Dolby Atmos is here. Many of the brand new 2014/15 AV receivers are shipping with Dolby Atmos either built-in or available free via an update. To be honest there’s so many Dolby codes out there and I did roll my eyes when someone mentioned it to me initially, but Atmos is actually really cool!
Instead of being based on specific channels, Atmos revolves around ‘audio objects’ that are placed in a space. So rather than the sound engineer deciding what speaker(s) a particular sound comes from, he can literally describe a direction it should come from and move to in a 3D space. What’s so great about this, is it means that there’s a whole lot more freedom when designing your home theatre (or adapting your current one for that matter) and should give more realistic and impacting results than ever before.
You can get set-up for Atmos quite easily. It will be delivered either digitally or by bluray disc, so all your current bluray players and HDMI 1.4 cables will be sufficient. You’ll also need an Atmos enabled AV receiver or dedicated Atmos decoder and a minimum of a 5.1.2 surround sound speaker configuration (Left, Centre, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround + Sub + Left overhead, right overhead). While there’s little to no Dolby Atmos content available at the moment, it’s definitely where everything is moving towards, – so read up before your next big home theatre upgrade. This article on the Dolby website is very helpful if you’re looking for some more info.