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post #1 of 32 Old 07-11-2014, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Dolby Atmos Comes Home



Andrew Jones, Pioneer's chief speaker designer, talks about the new Dolby Atmos specification for home theaters, including how he became familiar with Atmos, the entire Atmos ecosystem (speakers, AVRs, and Blu-rays), ceiling-mounted speakers versus upward-firing drivers that reflect from the ceiling, room-height specs and ceiling configurations, driver characteristics, his new CST (Coherent Source Transducer) concentric driver, the design of Pioneer's new floorstanding and bookshelf Atmos-enabled speakers, the new center speaker and subwoofer, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

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post #2 of 32 Old 07-11-2014, 04:30 PM
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Good interview Scott, look forward to Andrew coming back and giving us an update as Atmos technology and product evolve.
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post #3 of 32 Old 07-11-2014, 04:32 PM
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Hello Scott, I have a question. Do you think it would be possible to use the new Atmos speakers for a traditional height set up (front high) and use Dolby Pro Logic IIz or DTS Neo:X?

Love the show.

Thanks,
Tony

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post #4 of 32 Old 07-11-2014, 07:33 PM
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@8:19...Scott coins a new term.

SAF...

 

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post #5 of 32 Old 07-11-2014, 07:38 PM
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I've heard him use SAF several times in the past.
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post #6 of 32 Old 07-12-2014, 01:50 AM
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how much will these system be?

i am just about to build our first home theater. maybe our timing is just right

http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-th...aters/#!bdmYe6
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post #7 of 32 Old 07-12-2014, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrcrunch View Post
how much will these system be?

i am just about to build our first home theater. maybe our timing is just right

http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-th...aters/#!bdmYe6
Andrew mentioned the pricing of his speakers near the end of the podcast: $750/pair of the bookshelf speakers, $700 each for the floorstanders, $400 for the center channel, and $600 for the sub. Then there's the AVR; Pioneer introduced three models from $1600 to $3000. Not an inexpensive proposition, to be sure, but well worth it in my opinion.

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post #8 of 32 Old 07-12-2014, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneJoy View Post
I've heard him use SAF several times in the past.
SAF would imply the potential of your wife having a A/V obsession and her husband not approving of XYZ gear in the home.

Alternate reality right there!

Wait a sec?... Just hit me this very sec that "spouse" approval factor may be a bit more PC this day and age... Sorry for the off topic rant guys.

Scott, it was great getting to put a face and voice with the Andrew Jones name. Hearing testomony from such professionals really does go far in convincing me (and I'm sure others) how awesome the tech is going to be.

 

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post #9 of 32 Old 07-12-2014, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by popalock View Post
SAF would imply the potential of your wife having a A/V obsession and her husband not approving of XYZ gear in the home.

Alternate reality right there!

Wait a sec?... Just hit me this very sec that "spouse" approval factor may be a bit more PC this day and age... Sorry for the off topic rant guys.

Scott, it was great getting to put a face and voice with the Andrew Jones name. Hearing testomony from such professionals really does go far in convincing me (and I'm sure others) how awesome the tech is going to be.
Exactly so! By using that term specifically, I allow for the possibility—albeit slight—that the wife is an AV enthusiast and the husband is not. It also applies to gay couples in which the roles of "wife" and "husband" might not be well defined.

Glad you enjoyed the podcast! One of the main points of the show is to let people see and hear important members of the industry that they would otherwise only read about.
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post #10 of 32 Old 07-12-2014, 12:19 PM
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Scott, so when are you doing your Atmos? We want details!
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post #11 of 32 Old 07-12-2014, 12:23 PM
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Interesting speakers for the mass market. For theaters, it is iffy. The angle is set on these speakers, so the physics say for a given speaker height and ceiling height you are specifically set for the listening position.

I'm really happy that Atmos is essentially treating the positions like two physical speakers, you can put in a 2nd one and aim it. I ran a new wire to all of my speaker positions when I rebuilt it, so it appears that I lucked out and can use the original wires for the "high" speakers.

I liked the interview, but everything was revealed in the first 20 minutes.

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post #12 of 32 Old 07-12-2014, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post


Andrew Jones, Pioneer's chief speaker designer, talks about the new Dolby Atmos specification for home theaters, including how he became familiar with Atmos, the entire Atmos ecosystem (speakers, AVRs, and Blu-rays), ceiling-mounted speakers versus upward-firing drivers that reflect from the ceiling, room-height specs and ceiling configurations, driver characteristics, his new CST (Coherent Source Transducer) concentric driver, the design of Pioneer's new floorstanding and bookshelf Atmos-enabled speakers, the new center speaker and subwoofer, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3c295SyGQag
Scott,

I was party to one of those threads discussing Andrew's Atmos speakers in a disparaging way when he dropped in and made a few very helpful comments. I was not one of the detractors, but I asked a few questions I was hoping he'd cover there or on the podcast. Unfortunately he didn't answer them directly, but I am curious:

He established that directionality of the upward firing drivers is crucial, so as to avoid hearing either sound emanating directly from the driver, or reflected sound of the driver hitting some other surface(i.e. a side wall) before it hits the listening position. If that is the case, then does that restrict the placement of the speakers to that narrow window in which the sound from the upward firing driver hits the ceiling exactly halfway between the location of the speaker and the listening position? And does the toe-in of the speaker have to be such that both reflections hit the listening position exactly in the center?

Sorry for the wordiness; I didn't know how to put it more succintly.
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post #13 of 32 Old 07-13-2014, 10:32 AM
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how do they tackle any timing issues?

seeing as everyone's ceiling is at different heights.

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post #14 of 32 Old 07-13-2014, 02:45 PM
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Really cool tech, I'm definitely interested in hearing a demo and possibly even buying some of these speakers. However, I have a bunch of spare speakers I could mount above, so I'm not entirely sure I want to buy custom Atmos speakers.

I have a couple questions thought:

1) If the object oriented sound mix is fully virtualized, why can't you have 6.1.4 or 5.1.5 instead of 5.1.4? Like an upward firing center channel as well as the ones in the four corners. I'm not a fan of horizontally aligned center channels and would much rather buy, say, three identical bookshelf models for my all my front speakers and rear ones.

2) Indeed, why place any restrictions whatsoever on the number of speakers at all? 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 should be able to collapse into a 5.1 or 7.1 setup and sound virtually the same, minus the height information. I'm not sure if I want to buy custom speakers with upward firing drivers, I guess I will have to audition them, but I would really like to fully understand why you couldn't support any number of speakers and not just proscribed configurations. Like for example, why can't one have 4 front speakers, or 5, and three in the rear, with only four up above. Seems like an arbitrary limitation on the processing ability if indeed the sounds are just point sources located in 3D space. As far as I know, it's possible to even encode 3D audio in stereo headphones and have the sound flying around inside your head. I heard some old Gravis Ultrasound demos back in the 90s with the ability to do this, but of course it was a niche product so it didn't take off.

I would gladly add support for Atmos in my next videogame, or rather push for it to be supported as a feature, but first I'd like to understand what the limitations are, and why I should purchase Pioneer vs some other make for Atmos receiver. Basically what I'm asking is, is how flexible are the configurations, and will that flexibility be upgradeable over time with new firmware.

I ask this because I was about to buy a pair of B&W 685s2 bookshelves for a new front stage, and would like to avoid buying a standard center channel, and it vexes me that these are only sold in pairs, which now I see the same kind of mentality for these Pioneers, namely you can only buy the bookshelves in pairs with the upward firing driver, but there is no support for having 6.1.6 for example (if I were to have to buy 3 pairs, thereby having three front and three rear speakers).
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post #15 of 32 Old 07-13-2014, 03:57 PM
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I'm hoping to get to listen to some Atmos home demos at CEDIA in September.

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post #16 of 32 Old 07-13-2014, 05:37 PM
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Can someone post a visual of the Dolby Atmos specification for home theaters here?
Or, link to where it is, thx I've been gone 5 weeks, 2 in Japan and 3 for out west vacation, so lots to catch up on.

Ok - I see this, reflecting sound off ceiling to the listener(s)??
How about acoustic management of second reflections then?
Plus multiple row HT, 2 row with 4 seats each row, a very typical HT for many here at AVS.
How to simulate them in the design phase?
Many ceilings have acoustic treatments for the front soundstage, including mine, looks like these are NOT candidates for the reflected sound approach rather the direct fire ceiling to listening area approach, right?

Quote:
Do I have to install speakers in my ceiling?
In real life, sounds come from all around us, including overhead. Having the ability to recreate overhead sounds is a key element in making Dolby Atmos sound so realistic.
The obvious way to create overhead sounds is to install speakers in or on your ceiling. But that’s not the only way to get great overhead sound.
Through our knowledge of psychoacoustics and sound physics, we’ve developed speakers that can create overhead sound even though they’re only a few feet off the floor. These speakers fire sound upward, where it reflects off the ceiling to produce an incredibly lifelike recreation of overhead sound—you really have to hear them to believe them.
You will be able to buy integrated Dolby Atmos enabled speakers that include both traditional forward-firing speakers and upward-firing speakers in one speaker cabinet. (Those speakers have two sets of posts, one for the traditional speaker and one for the upward-firing speaker.)
But if you already have conventional speakers you like, you can simply buy Dolby Atmos enabled speaker modules. These include only the upward-firing speakers. You can put the modules on top of your current speakers or on another nearby surface.
Will Dolby Atmos enabled speakers work in my room?
Dolby Atmos enabled speakers can produce an incredibly accurate Dolby Atmos experience in many kinds of rooms. You’ll get the best sound if your ceiling is flat (not vaulted or angled) and made of an acoustically reflective material, such as standard drywall, plaster, concrete, or wood. While we designed the technology for rooms with ceiling heights of 8 to 9 feet (2.4 m to 2.7 m), our testing indicates that you can still hear incredible Dolby Atmos sound in rooms with ceilings as high as 14 feet (4.3 m), though the effect may become more diffuse in rooms with higher ceilings.
Recessed lighting fixtures, chandeliers, crown molding, and heating or air conditioning vents in your ceiling do not noticeably interfere with the Dolby Atmos experience.

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post #17 of 32 Old 07-13-2014, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
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how do they tackle any timing issues?

seeing as everyone's ceiling is at different heights.
I don't see why the receiver wont be able to adjust for the timing of the reflected sound using its calibration system. But we are waiting on a lot of the specifics to be published.

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post #18 of 32 Old 07-14-2014, 12:55 AM
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I like the way Andrew's mind works. First design the speaker to play music well, before movies. He gets it.
Great show too Scott. Any chance to get a engineer from Dolby on the show to talk about Atmos in the future?

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post #19 of 32 Old 07-14-2014, 01:26 AM
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For me it is the bouncing the sound off the ceiling that hangs me up. All the years and years of controlling the sound bounce, now it is OK. I'm sure $$$ was spent to achieve this effect, but oh well, i guess if you aim the speakers to bounce the sound off the ceiling fan, the helicopter on the movie will sound very real.
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post #20 of 32 Old 07-14-2014, 06:53 AM
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Scott - You mentioned that you heard demos of Atmos for the home. Were the demos direct or reflected overhead channels, and which did you prefer?

Thanks,
Mike
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post #21 of 32 Old 07-14-2014, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
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I don't see why the receiver wont be able to adjust for the timing of the reflected sound using its calibration system. But we are waiting on a lot of the specifics to be published.

TY sir

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post #22 of 32 Old 07-14-2014, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Scott - You mentioned that you heard demos of Atmos for the home. Were the demos direct or reflected overhead channels, and which did you prefer?

Thanks,
Mike
The demos I heard were with reflected sound coming from upfiring speakers on top of the front and surround speakers. I was very impressed with them. It's difficult to compare that with a commercial Atmos system, which has many real overhead speakers, but I think the reflected approach is quite good for the home.

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post #23 of 32 Old 07-14-2014, 05:47 PM
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I have two questions:

1. If I were to use the top-firing speakers to emulate the ceiling speakers, do all the speakers (mains and surrounds) have to be at or around ear-level for the top-firing speakers to work?

2. Are the top-firing speakers specially designed for Atmos ceiling speaker emulation or can I use any other speaker and position it on top of the main and surround speakers and aim it towards the ceiling?
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post #24 of 32 Old 07-14-2014, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
The demos I heard were with reflected sound coming from upfiring speakers on top of the front and surround speakers. I was very impressed with them. It's difficult to compare that with a commercial Atmos system, which has many real overhead speakers, but I think the reflected approach is quite good for the home.
I wonder if in my loft with 13 foot high ceilings if it would bother my upstairs neighbour more at the same volume levels, vs having actual height speakers aimed downwards. I rarely if ever get complaints (except during game of thrones cranked up with my old klipsch!) but I'd like that to continue.

I finished watching it finally, learned a lot about speaker design. Very informative.

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post #25 of 32 Old 07-16-2014, 09:41 AM
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I'm in communique with Triad speakers to implement Atmos with existing Triad speaker system. Though announcement of Dolby Atmos has come premature, it has a lot of speaker manufacturers scrambling I suspect. With overhead pans from front to back and visa versa, timbre matching will be paramount.....how to implement Atmos with proper timbre matched speakers and finding drivers with appropriate dispersion radii must be very problematic.

I'm smack dab in middle of ceiling project which started out as coffered ceiling then to ceiling cloud with ascoustical treatments and now has morphed to some nebulous hybrid of "VOG" speakers with who knows what inside a ceiling cloud tucked behind acoustical fabric.

Still waiting on Triad in consultation with Dolby to come up with answers for my application. BTW, have to give Triad kudos for going the extra mile for customer service!

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post #26 of 32 Old 07-16-2014, 05:43 PM
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That was both informative and very enjoyable Scott
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post #27 of 32 Old 07-16-2014, 11:33 PM
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As one of the few who have actually spent time installing a LOT of speakers, I am beyond disappointed if all they can come up with is this bounce off the ceiling business.

Obviously this is another stop-gap just like dolby-pro-logic was back in the day. Clearly the issues are affordability for most home users, the feasibility for most people to put speakers in the ceiling, and the ability to put the home codec onto blu-ray effectively.

I was hoping for at least ONE manufacturer to come out with a system that is scalable to 16 to 24 speakers placed WHEREVER you want them... Anything else is simply nonsense and should NOT bear the Atmos name. Honestly this doesn't require any technical expertise that Dolby doesn't already have. If they ride the coat-tails of their theater product and damage the brand name, will they achieve anything? Perhaps Dolby just needs to stay afloat until the industry and the customer have matured sufficiently to do "True Atmos"?

Dolby's website is crap and doesn't reveal ANYTHING of use in terms of their future time table.

There is not a single atmos receiver product release thus far that looks compelling at this point to move away from my existing DTS NeoX setup. This is from a guy that now has 19 channels available and 4 subwoofers. If atmos can't cater to people capable of a lot of channels... then WHAT IS THE POINT?

Are these companies simply trying to stay relevant in an increasingly commoditized world of surround protocols?

I would love to hear some reply's from folks that simply love the new Atmos announcements and are planning on "up-firing bouncing" speakers and a crippled Pseudo-Atmos followed by Dolby TrueAtmos at "some point in the future".
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post #28 of 32 Old 07-16-2014, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublewing11 View Post
I'm in communique with Triad speakers to implement Atmos with existing Triad speaker system. Though announcement of Dolby Atmos has come premature, it has a lot of speaker manufacturers scrambling I suspect. With overhead pans from front to back and visa versa, timbre matching will be paramount.....how to implement Atmos with proper timbre matched speakers and finding drivers with appropriate dispersion radii must be very problematic.

I'm smack dab in middle of ceiling project which started out as coffered ceiling then to ceiling cloud with ascoustical treatments and now has morphed to some nebulous hybrid of "VOG" speakers with who knows what inside a ceiling cloud tucked behind acoustical fabric.

Still waiting on Triad in consultation with Dolby to come up with answers for my application. BTW, have to give Triad kudos for going the extra mile for customer service!
Timber matching would be ideal but when you have 16-64 channels I PROMISE you that your ears won't know the difference. At 19 channels now, everything pans so smoothly in my setup and I have several different brands of speakers depending on the location. People are worried about matching and even angle of the speakers ... believe me it becomes just a SHEET of sound (with enough speakers) and the speakers really just "disappear".

On the other hand, the upward firing "bounce" speakers look like pure nonsense....

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post #29 of 32 Old 07-17-2014, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
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As one of the few who have actually spent time installing a LOT of speakers, I am beyond disappointed if all they can come up with is this bounce off the ceiling business.

Obviously this is another stop-gap just like dolby-pro-logic was back in the day. Clearly the issues are affordability for most home users, the feasibility for most people to put speakers in the ceiling, and the ability to put the home codec onto blu-ray effectively.

I was hoping for at least ONE manufacturer to come out with a system that is scalable to 16 to 24 speakers placed WHEREVER you want them... Anything else is simply nonsense and should NOT bear the Atmos name. Honestly this doesn't require any technical expertise that Dolby doesn't already have. If they ride the coat-tails of their theater product and damage the brand name, will they achieve anything? Perhaps Dolby just needs to stay afloat until the industry and the customer have matured sufficiently to do "True Atmos"?

Dolby's website is crap and doesn't reveal ANYTHING of use in terms of their future time table.

There is not a single atmos receiver product release thus far that looks compelling at this point to move away from my existing DTS NeoX setup. This is from a guy that now has 19 channels available and 4 subwoofers. If atmos can't cater to people capable of a lot of channels... then WHAT IS THE POINT?

Are these companies simply trying to stay relevant in an increasingly commoditized world of surround protocols?

I would love to hear some reply's from folks that simply love the new Atmos announcements and are planning on "up-firing bouncing" speakers and a crippled Pseudo-Atmos followed by Dolby TrueAtmos at "some point in the future".
Problem with upfiring speakers is that they will blow sound into your upstairs neighbour's living room if you live in an apartment, and are watching a movie with any volume. Also, it prevents you from adding insulation and sound proofing and acoustic treatments because as the interview makes clear, those actually work against the effect of the bouncing off sound.

I think if I buy these Atmos speakers I will lose out on getting the speakers I want (B&W 685s2) and the upfiring speaker will only get used once in a blue moon for the trouble. I have plenty of other speakers lying around that I can mount facing downwards, and even if they aren't timber matched, if the Atmos effect doesn't work with non-identical speakers it's not worth it.

These Atmos "configs" are a stopgap measure. They will need to configure during calibration all the relative positions of the speakers vs mic / seating location, as well as adjust the EQ and volume and phase of each speaker only after knowing their position in 3D space. If they don't know the precise 3D distance of each speaker to the listening position, then this is all a gimick and it can't possibly work. So, what I think is that this is exactly what the calibration does, and there's no reason why 1, 2, 3, or ten height speakers can't be used, quite independently of where all your main speakers are on the horizontal plane. Indeed, calibration should even be able to compensate for the height difference in most people's home theaters because their center channel's midrange and tweeter are rarely at the same height off the ground as those of the main speakers, unless you're using a projector with an acoustically transparent screen.

Atmos could even provide a slim 3D effect by keeping your rears and surrounds on a different plane as your fronts and front center channels. Each speaker's position should be completely, 100% independent, although the overall effect should be better if all the speakers can reproduce a full range signal, and are equidistant from the seating area.

I'm getting convinced that these early implementations might wow people, but they're also an expensive way to populate sound in a room. There is simply no way that only 4 concentric 4 inch drivers that are only capable of 220hz +, can deliver as good a sound field as four (or more) dedicated height speakers that can go down to 80hz. The concentric aspect is intriguing, for accurate positioning, and that may be what makes Pioneer's system actually better than other setups, but I'd rather be able to mount the number of ceiling speakers where I want, and add more or move them around to get a good experience.

I really need to hear this in person now. Are there Magnolias in Canada? I went to a Best Buy or some other store once that had a closed off theater room to audition speakers, locally, so it's possible, but it could have been just that store's setup and not actually a Magnolia.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post
As one of the few who have actually spent time installing a LOT of speakers, I am beyond disappointed if all they can come up with is this bounce off the ceiling business.

Obviously this is another stop-gap just like dolby-pro-logic was back in the day. Clearly the issues are affordability for most home users, the feasibility for most people to put speakers in the ceiling, and the ability to put the home codec onto blu-ray effectively.

I was hoping for at least ONE manufacturer to come out with a system that is scalable to 16 to 24 speakers placed WHEREVER you want them... Anything else is simply nonsense and should NOT bear the Atmos name. Honestly this doesn't require any technical expertise that Dolby doesn't already have. If they ride the coat-tails of their theater product and damage the brand name, will they achieve anything? Perhaps Dolby just needs to stay afloat until the industry and the customer have matured sufficiently to do "True Atmos"?

Dolby's website is crap and doesn't reveal ANYTHING of use in terms of their future time table.

There is not a single atmos receiver product release thus far that looks compelling at this point to move away from my existing DTS NeoX setup. This is from a guy that now has 19 channels available and 4 subwoofers. If atmos can't cater to people capable of a lot of channels... then WHAT IS THE POINT?

Are these companies simply trying to stay relevant in an increasingly commoditized world of surround protocols?

I would love to hear some reply's from folks that simply love the new Atmos announcements and are planning on "up-firing bouncing" speakers and a crippled Pseudo-Atmos followed by Dolby TrueAtmos at "some point in the future".
I am. I'm also interested in how many people watching this thread have more than a 7.1 setup being used in their space. I can understand your frustration, but you're clearly in the minority here.
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