There are no fewer than eleven Dolby Atmos demos at CEDIA 2014, and I’ve made it my goal to check them all out. So far, the demo that impressed me the most is GoldenEar’s. It conveyed a true sense of immersion, a 3D hemisphere where sounds floated freely, all rendered with tremendous precision.
Sandy's Atmos demo did not lack power, which came from three Pass Labs amps.
GoldenEar founder and famed speaker designer Sandy Gross ran the demo, with a with a Integra DHC-80.6 pre/pro providing Atmos processing. I listened to several produced by Dolby to show off Atmos, which by design take maximum advantage of the system’s capabilities. I found that during the Leaf clip I was able to judge the distance as well as direction of the different sounds, making them seem quite real.
The cinematic Atmos demo consisted of a clip from Transformers: Age of Extinction, which happens to be the first Blu-ray title released with an Atmos sountrack. The system managed to render the ridiculously complex on-screen CGI mayhem with incredible detail and realism. Most importantly, all of the speakers remained invisible, so to speak. Kudo’s to Sandy’s system, it offers seriously visceral impact. I was especially impressed with how well the Invisa HTR-7000 in-ceiling speakers worked in the 5.1.4 Atmos setup. According to Sandy, the angled design of the HDR-7000s allows them to cover more of the seating area, enhancing the seamlessness of the Atmos effect. Dolby made it clear that wide dispersion is a desirable trait for the ceiling speakers, and the GoldenEar demo provided ample proof that’s true.
The demo included an Atmos mix of Enrique Iglesias’ "Bailando" that’s become somewhat of a show favorite. Once again, the GoldenEar system’s rendition of the content was notably exceptional. Without question, it is the first Atmos demo that proved to me how much potential the new format holds. Now, I’m curious if any of the demo’s I’ve yet to experience can top this one. Others have already tried and failed.
The speaker system used for the demo consisted of two Triton One towers (L/R Main), one SuperCenter XL (center), four HTR-7000 in-ceiling speakers, and two Triton Two towers (L/R surrounds). Frankly it was some of the very best bass I heard at the show. The total retail price for that speaker package is $10,800.
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AVS Coverage of CEDIA Expo 2014