Gentleman, I can attest to all the above....with a vengeance (...but politely....)
My own use of Audio Transducers, and their ability to create a quasi-omni directional dispersion always produced a more diverse sound scape that any but the most expensive, non-directional multi-element speaker arrays. Not to say it was always "better" than anything else...but absolutely saying it sounded "wider" than virtually anything comparably.
As I progressed into 5.1 and 7.1 (...and 7.2 / 2 / 4 etc) and used up to 4-6 Drivers per channel combined with impeccable Power Amps / Signal sources, the differences between my systems and "directional-oriented" multi-channel systems became all the more obvious. Whereas I was creating a smooth, transitional "Envelope " or "Bubble" (...I found that term amusing...) I noted that everyone else was needing all the more acoustic treatment for a room to offset the reflections, and combat standing waves and tendencies toward cancellation. And without the use of Bi-Directional or Tri-Directional Surrounds, the supposed "Sweet Spot" was grossly confined to a smaller, more centralized area within the room.
Now of course, even with Transducers there still existed some common sense reasoning as far as how the room affected the audio (Absorption & Reflection) but I found it becoming markedly less an issue for all but the most challenging rooms. More drivers that covered larger areas meant less volume needed per location to "Fill" a room's space.
Now obviously, as I stated in a prior post, I'm (was) excited about Atmos because cosmetically the Speakers I use have a distinct advantage.....and price-wise on as well. Placement and dispersion is pretty much ideally suited to multi-room installation, and saturation / blending of imagery simply comes tagging along. Present some clean, dynamic, and distinct channel imaging, and there it is / will be, seamless and omni-present.
Which all sounds good so far except everything I've read about Atmos leads me to believe at present that all it is offering is a better adjustment of the delivered channel steerage of the given format, with supposedly a more distinct "positioning" off effects within the Front soundscape. Now that is good, but gosh....the front channels have never been as much at issue as have the Rears / Center Rears. My most common complaint from people is "How come I hardly ever hear anything from my Rear Speakers ? "....not "The Airplane doesn't seem to wiz overhead and across the room evenly"
As 7.1 came into being, the same complaint existed when Hi / Wide channels were supposedly in play. I jumped on that particular bandwagon too quickly,(...I was a Yamaha-hooligan...) and found that only the rare AC-3 Laser Disc programing did it justice, but that no synthesized Mode was effective enough to wow me...or more importantly, my end users.
Now that eventually changed....and pretty much I could hear the improvement. But as far as Atmos goes, what seems to be happening is the marketing of a concept that uses the promise of true 9. /11. / + formatting to hype 7.1 and / or 9.1 / 11.1 systems. If indeed reasonably affordable processing and amplification (...and programming...) would allow for both High / Wide speakers as well as transitional placement of speakers between the Front and Rear sound stages, as well as between the Rear and Center Rear....then my pulse would quicken once more.....
But that does not seem to be happening, as none of the upcoming Receivers and Processors that lay within the reach of common Mortals aspire to that sort of achievement. Gimme some true 15.4 potential and I'll be falling down crazy !
Now I'm always ready to be shown the error of my thinking...especially if the education is advantageous and not simply demeaning in nature. So if I'm to be corrected here...lemmie have it!
Otherwise....I'm settling back to see it shake out.