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Dolby Atmos For The Home: Personal Views & Bluray Reviews

This thread contains reviews I have made of various aspects of Dolby Atmos (for the home), gathered together in one place for convenience. I shall add Bluray reviews of Atmos movies as the titles come my way.

The first few articles relate various experiences I had at Dolby Labs London HQ and I thank them for facilitating this.

All the articles are hyperlinked, so click on each title to go directly to the article.

1. 'Ears on' experience of Atmos in a home theater, using Atmos-enabled speakers.
2. 'Dolby Atmos For The Home – A Second ‘Ears-on’ Experience at Dolby’s London HQ.
3. Experiment. DSU and Atmos comparison.
4. Review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 as seen at Dolby Labs London HQ.
5. DSU and The Book of Eli.

Coming Soon - Bluray Reviews of:

Transformers: Age of Extinction
The Expendables 3
I, Frankenstein
John Wick
Overheard 3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Transcendence

These reviews will concentrate on the Atmos sound quality of the discs. Reviews of the movies themselves are readily available elsewhere.

For the record, this is the relevant equipment list for my HT:

  • Oppo 103 Bluray Player
  • Denon X5200W Atmos capable AVR used in a 5.2.4 configuration
  • Room EQ: Dirac Live via miniDSP DDRC-88A
  • Speakers: M&K S150 for Left, Center, Right
  • Surround speakers: Tannoy Di6 Dual Concentric
  • Ceiling speakers: Tannoy Di5 Dual Concentric
  • Subwoofers: Dual Seaton Submersives
  • Amplification: Emotiva XPA-3 (LCR), Emotiva XPA-200 (Surrounds), 2 x Emotiva UPA-2 (Ceiling speakers)
  • The room is heavily treated, mostly with acoustic treatments from GIK

1. 'Ears on' experience of Atmos in a home theater, using Atmos-enabled speakers.

It has come to my attention that there was some studio content that was showcased in error during the event I attended this week. I had posted a review that described the Dolby Atmos experience that talked in detail about these film clips. These clips were provided by the studio to help test the Dolby Atmos home capabilities during development and had not yet been approved to show during public demos. I have been kindly asked by Dolby to remove references to these movies in my review.

The deleted sections have been replaced by 'spoilers' explaining the reason for their deletion.

'Ears on' experience of Atmos in a home theater, using Atmos-enabled speakers

On July 15th I was invited to a demonstration of Atmos For The Home at Dolby Labs in London. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to be one of the very first AV enthusiasts to hear at first hand just how well — or not of course — the theatrical Atmos experience translates to the confines of the typical home cinema. What follows is a report of my experience that day and the impressions gained from it.

The demonstration was split into two parts. The first was held in Dolby’s amazing screening room. We were told that this room represents “probably the finest Atmos experience in Europe” and I can easily believe that, having heard what we did.

The room seated, at a guess, for I failed to count, about 130 seats and the rows of speakers on the side walls, down to the screen, on the rear walls and in two rows above our heads were pointed out to us. All in all I counted 32 speakers, more or less, including two huge subwoofers mounted in the rear corners.

Opening demo in Dolby’s main screening room.

After an explanation of the broad principles of object-based audio, we were treated to a couple of Dolby’s own short demo clips. While these did indeed display the amazing sense of 3D immersion in a sound field, my feeling was that this was to be ‘expected’. After all, Dolby themselves are not going to create special demo material that fails to deliver a good Atmos experience, especially in their own screening room. Sounds zipped around us, over us, even passing ‘through’ us. The precision and definition was startling, the bass was the best I have heard, anywhere, ever.

But what the small group of audience members was craving were some actual movie clips. And here, Dolby did not fall short. As we may have expected, the most awesome was the Academy Award Winning sound of

Spoiler!

So effective was the sound track at putting me “right there” that I felt my pulse rate quicken and my elevated heart rate left me a little short of breath. I was “there”, out in the open, with them. It was an amazing experience and I have never felt anywhere near as immersed in a movie as I did during that sequence.

But in some ways, this was as expected as it was amazing. We were sitting in “probably the finest Atmos facility in Europe”. What we all wanted to know now was “how does this translate to the home?”, and this was next up on the agenda.

Atmos in the home theater.


We were split into groups of six and taken into a small, 6 seater ‘home theatre’ on the first floor of the Dolby facility. Immediately on entering the room, I noticed that it was treated, including treatments running front to back down the centre of the ceiling, and that the 7.2.4 Atmos system which they were running consisted of two decently sized subs and 7 fairly modest looking bookshelf satellite speakers. In the ceiling I could see 4 modest in-ceiling speakers. I’d say the room was about 15 feet long and 12 feet wide, with an 8 foot ceiling, so the sort of space that many people could easily replicate at home. I would say that the system components in this room were of the sort that most people could afford - there was nothing that seemed in any way ‘over the top’, so Dolby had gone to lengths to make this room typical of what we could recreate for ourselves at home.

The first demo up were the specially created Dolby ‘sound logos’ we had heard in the main room so that we could compare the two experiences. As before, they were excellent but expected. What impressed was, again, the three dimensionality of the sound. This demo, it was explained, was using the physical in-ceiling speakers, but all of the subsequent demos would use the Atmos-enabled speakers. This is where it started to get interesting.

When the operator played the Dolby demo clip again, using this time the Atmos speakers, I noticed a small, but definite, diminution of the precision with which the sounds were placed, especially overhead. But it was surprisingly small. One of the audience members I spoke to afterwards said he couldn’t hear any difference at all. I stress that the difference was unexpectedly small.

Watch out - he's above you… behind you… in front of you… to the side of you…


But again, what I wanted to hear was not specially created Dolby clips but some real movie content and I was not disappointed. Let me try to describe what I heard when they played a clip from

Spoiler!

I am very familiar with this clip and I have used it myself to demonstrate how a good system can ‘lose the walls of the room’ making the space of the HT sound much bigger than it really is.

But nothing, nothing I have heard before prepared me for this Atmos mix. And remember, I was hearing this now only on the Atmos-enabled speakers. The sound came from above, from the left, from the centre, from the above left, from the left-centre, from everywhere that the character jumped to in the scene. The precision of the placement of his voice to reflect his physical location on the screen was excellent. I found myself moving my head towards his voice. In some parts of the scene we can’t see the character as he is obscured by shadows. But each time he spoke, before we could see him, we knew exactly where he was. Exactly. And when he came out of the shadows to reveal himself, he was exactly where we knew he would be.

Amazing though this was, and amazed as I was at the way the Atmos-enabled speakers ‘just worked’, this was not actually the most impressive part of this scene.

Much, much more than ‘height effects’.

No, the most impressive part was the sheer scale of the space we were now ’sitting in’. The walls and ceiling of the room had gone. They had just vanished. In their place instead were the confines of a massive cave, hundreds of feet wide and high. There is a lot of ambient sound and echoes in this scene and Atmos’s ability to add a height dimension was just breathtaking. I don’t want to ‘gush’ over this, but there is no other way to describe what I was hearing. I had been transported to a huge, echoing cave with an evil little creature taunting me as he hid and revealed himself over and over in this huge space. I closed my eyes. Yes, I was sitting in a massive cave, not a small demo room in central London. If Dolby had blown a cold blast of aircon into then room, the illusion would have been total. And I repeat, this was from the Atmos speakers not the physical in-ceiling speakers. Remember I said that I heard a little more precision in the sound with the physical speakers playing? I can only imagine how much better this clip would sound when using the physical speakers because, sadly, we had run out of time and had to make way for the next six attendees.

My overall impressions? OK - first off, Atmos is much, much more than ‘height effects’. This is one of the great misconceptions about Atmos in my opinion - that is only for ‘height effects’. Forget all about it only being of value when helicopters fly over or rain is coming down. Sure, these things are vastly better when heard via Atmos, but in my view, that is not what Atmos is about. What Atmos truly does is use those ceiling speakers, or the Atmos ‘modules’ in an Atmos speaker, to enable the sound to be precisely located in three dimensional space. The ‘top’ speakers have just as much of an important role in helping place a sound ‘just slightly above your head and to the right’ as they do in flyovers and so on. There is no doubt of the role of top speakers in creating that huge cave space in the clip mentioned above of course - without the ability to put sound ‘over our head’ that scene can never be as impressive as it was in Atmos. But ‘height effects’ doesn’t even begin to cover it.

A genuine revelation - Atmos-enabled speakers.


If you haven’t actually heard Atmos-enabled speakers for yourself, you cannot begin to understand how effective they are. They are not just ‘a bit’ effective. They are not a ‘real compromise’. They are just stunning in a way that can’t really be believed until you have heard them. For anyone who cannot or does not want to install physical speakers on or in the ceiling, Atmos-enabled speakers are not some sort of ‘poor man’s alternative’. Having heard both, ‘side by side’ I can tell you without any shadow of doubt that if you go with Atmos speakers for your Atmos system, you will not, in any way, be disappointed.

Dolby seem to have achieved the impossible here - they have found a way to deliver the Atmos experience in a small home theatre, or in a living room, without the apparent addition of a single extra speaker. To look at the Atmos system I saw and heard this week, it looks no different to any other 7.1 system already out there. If you are comfortable with a 5.1 or 7.1 system in your home, then you can enjoy Atmos without any visible change to the room at all. Note the use of the word ‘visible’. The audible change is of a magnitude I have not heard before.

Acknowledgements.

I would like to thank Dolby, Onkyo (the co-hosts of the demo) and my good friend Allan of Ideal AV in Yorkshire, England for making this day possible. For anyone living within travelling distance of Allan’s great demo room, he will soon be having a full Atmos demo facility up and running. I urge everyone who can to go and hear this and especially anyone who feels that he cannot ‘accommodate’ an Atmos system. You can! And from what I heard this week, you will most definitely want to.

Click here to go back to the list of contents

2. 'Dolby Atmos For The Home – A Second ‘Ears-on’ Experience at Dolby’s London HQ.

I was privileged to be invited to a second demonstration of Atmos For The Home on Wednesday, 13th August, at Dolby's magnificent Soho Square HQ in London.

This report is a counterpart report to my original review, which can be seen here, so I won't attempt to cover the same ground, and this report will focus more on technical matters. Nor will I describe in any detail what Atmos is or how it works: those reading this article will already be up to speed on that.

The event.

The presentation this time was a much more intimate affair than the one I attended in mid-July. There was only a handful of us this time, including Richard Stevenson from the UK's premier home theater magazine, Home Cinema Choice, and Gerald Lynch from the high-tech product website, Gizmodo UK. So I was in very good company!

The event was hosted by the lovely Abi Holdaway of Dolby and the equally lovely Stella Coffey from Dolby's London PR company, Hill Knowlton. Abi and Stella introduced me to the two Dolby guys who were going to give us the presentation: Jonathan Jowitt, universally known as “JJ”, who is Dolby's Evangelist, Content and E-Media Solutions guru and Stephen Auld, Senior Manager, Broadcast Sales and Licensing.

Inside “probably the best Atmos experience in Europe”.

As before, the presentation was split into two parts: the initial briefing and demo in Dolby's truly magnificent screening room, and the second part in their special 'HT' demo room, which is the size of a typical HT room in the UK.

Content shown to us in both rooms consisted of the Atmos trailers which I saw last time ('Unfold', 'Amaze' and 'Leaf'), a Red Bull promo clip and the introductory scene from Star Trek Into Darkness where Kirk is being chased through a forest by spear-throwing aliens. As expected, these all sounded magnificent in the screening room, although I will say that I didn't feel that the STID clip fully did justice to what I know Atmos is capable of. That part of the movie soundtrack is incredibly 'busy', with so much going on that it isn't easy to focus on the Atmos effects that we were there to hear. In my view, a clip from the more recent Dawn of the Planet of the Apes would better demonstrate what Atmos is truly capable of, or of course, something from the award-winning Gravity soundtrack, or maybe the Gollum cave scene from The Hobbit. But Dolby is restricted by the studios as to what they can show publicly, so they do not have an entirely free hand at this time. Of the Atmos trailers, 'Unfold' was specially created by the Sound Designer of the Transformers movies, Erik Aadahl, and, in my opinion is the most impressive of the three, although 'Leaf' displays better the more subtle way in which Atmos can be used by the mixer.

Dolby's 'domestic HT room' setup.

But the main event of the day was yet to come and we filed into the special Home Theater demo room which Dolby have created to showcase Atmos. Stephen and JJ told us that we would hear the exact same clips as we had previously heard and that we would get the opportunity to hear them played through Atmos-enabled speakers and physical ceiling-mounted speakers, for comparison.

Before going into more detail, let me describe this room. It is a modestly sized room with 5 chairs in two rows (3 in front, 2 behind) and a ceiling height of 2.4m (roughly 8 feet). As can be seen in the photograph taken from the back of the room, there are some acoustic treatments on the walls.



What is less clear is the way the ceiling has been designed. The central section is a suspended design which features 4 reflective panels in its centre, and these are flanked by the ceiling-mounted speakers which are concealed behind acoustically transparent panels. In the photograph below you can see the central, reflective area and, to the bottom right you can just make out the acoustically transparent material covering the ceiling-mounted speakers. In the second photograph below you can see a close-up of that panel covering one of the speakers (to the right).





What surprised me is how small the reflective area is. It covered an area roughly, I am guessing, 4ft x 4ft and it is at this area that the Atmos speaker modules were 'aimed'. Inevitably, there is some 'overspill' onto the slightly higher plastered part of the ceiling but, as JJ pointed out, the distance between the suspended part of the ceiling and the plastered part is only about 1 foot or so - a millisecond in terms of sound travel - and this difference will have no significance in terms of what we hear. This bodes well for those with smaller rooms, as it seems that the full Atmos experience can be gained even from a relatively small reflective area. Those with ceiling treatments may yet be able to use Atmos-enabled speakers or modules so long as they can create this clear central reflective area I saw in Dolby's room.

(Incidentally I should give credit to Gizmodo for the above photograph of the room and I hope they do not mind me using it here as it is so much better than the photograph I took myself. Gizmodo's take on the event can be seen here.)

Speakers and placement considerations.

The speakers used at listener level were all Kef designs: the tower and centre speakers are from the Kef R700 range. The upwards-firing modules are built by Kef according to the Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker specification but Dolby has no further information on that aspect of the speaker. As before, the surrounds were all placed at approximately ear level.

Stephen later confirmed that this was to help create an optimal distance between the listener level speakers and the ceiling speakers. In fact, Stephen said that ideally the ceiling speakers should be between 2 and 3 times the height of the listener level speakers. For listener level speakers, the height of the surround speakers is still less critical when compared with the height of the front speakers, but Dolby recommend that surround speakers in a Dolby Atmos system be no more than 1.25 times the height of the front speakers.

Translating that to a practical example, if your main speakers' tweeters are 3.5 feet off the ground, then you will need a ceiling speaker to be at least 7 feet from the floor for the best effect, and preferably a little more. And for those same mains speakers, the surrounds should not be higher than about 4ft 3 ins.

This should allow most people with a standard height ceiling to accommodate ceiling-mounted speakers, but may necessitate lowering the surround speakers somewhat, which is what I am having to do in my own room.

Again, I thank Gizmodo for the pictures of the Kef speakers and their Atmos upfiring module.



The incredible upward-firing Atmos speakers! No compromise!

JJ began the presentation by playing two Atmos trailers and asking us to guess whether they had been played via the Atmos speakers or via the ceiling-mounted physical speakers. I was the only person present who was able to detect that both clips were, in fact, played by the Atmos speakers. I am sure that the reason for this is that, having heard a similar demo before, I was much more tuned in as to what to listen for. Atmos speakers give a slightly more diffuse presentation while the ceiling-mounted speakers are slightly more 'precise' in where they place the sounds (objects). Neither one is better than the other: they are both excellent but (slightly) different.

It is a testament to the effectiveness of the Atmos speakers that even highly experienced listeners such as Richard and Gerald could not detect that these speakers were being used for this part of the demo
. Once again, most people present later confirmed that they actually preferred the Atmos speakers to the ceiling-mounted speakers. There is absolutely no sense of 'compromise' if domestic circumstances mean you have to go the Atmos speakers route. I think it is especially important to stress this for two reasons: one is that it is almost incredible that sound bounced off the ceiling can sound this good and the other is that, for most people, Atmos speakers will be the only way they can incorporate Atmos into their home. If you fall into the latter group, do not hesitate for one moment to go with Atmos-enabled speakers or modules. I can guarantee that you will in no way at all be disappointed.

JJ then played us the STID clip, using both types of speaker in turn so that we could compare. Again, my impressions of slightly more diffuseness vs slightly more precision were confirmed.

Don't just hear the sound - see the sound.

We were next treated to an incredibly interesting section of the presentation where a graphic was overlaid onto the screen, simultaneously with a clip being played, which showed the sound objects moving in real time around the room.



It was a simplified form of the mixer's control tool as shown above, with each speaker in the HT demo room being represented on the left and the room itself being represented on the right. This fairly poor photograph of my own shows what I mean:



The green dots on the left each represent a speaker. As Stephen switched between Atmos speakers and ceiling speakers, the dots lit or went out so that we could see which speaker set was in use. On the right, the cube represents the room with the green wall being the screen wall. As the clip played, we could see the position and progress of each sound object as it moved around the listening space. And of course, we could also hear the sound moving around the room at the same time as seeing it graphically represented. How cool is that!

Hardware implementation of Atmos in affordable AVRs and processors.

With regard to hardware, I asked Stephen and JJ some questions about the way Atmos is being implemented in current AVRs from the mainstream manufacturers such as Denon, Onkyo, Yamaha and Pioneer.

JJ went into some detail to answer my question concerning the angles that the rendering engine will render to and how current units handle this. JJ confirmed that Dolby are giving full capability to the AVR manufacturers to be able to use full speaker positional information. It is entirely up to the manufacturer to implement this or not, either by allowing the user to enter details manually or allowing the AVR to handle it through the measuring process which is part of the setup routine. Currently, as we know, none of the mainstream manufacturers is giving us this capability in their first generation Atmos units.

I took this question up with Stephen later and we discussed the information provided to date by Denon in the following oft-posted diagram.



I commented that the range of angles and the overlap between the speakers was quite considerable and asked if there was an 'optimum position' within the range given.

More flexibility than we might have expected.


Stephen's reply was interesting. He said that the actual positioning of the speakers was not as critical as we might have been conditioned to expect, basing our knowledge on the precise positional information dictated by ITU specifications for 5.1 and 7.1 systems. This would explain why the angles cover such a broad range. For example, as I pointed out, 30-55 degrees for the Top Front could cover a ceiling distance of several feet and Stephen's view was that, so long as we stayed within the recommendations then we should be good to go. This was also confirmed by JJ who pointed out that some flexibility was required simply because there could easily be some impediment to precision placing in the ceiling - eg a joist or a water pipe. While this is only speculation on my part, this could explain why the AVR manufacturers have, at this stage, decided not to bother with enabling the detailed input of precise speaker positions: if the placement is less critical than we might have expected, then diminishing returns (audibly) might have made the additional cost and complexity of the units less worthwhile.

I mentioned in the general chat that I was intending to use Tannoy Di5 DC speakers for my ceiling-mounted speakers and explained that these were a dual concentric design with a dispersion pattern of 90 degrees all round. JJ said that, in his opinion, these speakers sounded “ideal” for use as Atmos ceiling speakers, which is a good endorsement of Roger Dressler's view and, as I have now bought the speakers, a relief to me! Detailed specification for those speakers is here.

Psychoacoustics and the development of Atmos speakers and modules.

Staying with speakers for a moment, JJ also gave us some insight into how Dolby had developed the concept of upwards firing speakers and a hint of the incredibly sophisticated technology which lies behind the way they work so well.

Dolby spent some considerable time (and no doubt money) researching the way our ear/brain combination works with regard to our perception of overhead sounds. Apparently, when we hear sounds from overhead, there is a natural 'notch filter' engaged by our brain and the physical disposition of our ears (and even our shoulders which reflect sound back up to our ears) and between them, these help us determine when sounds are emanating from overhead. To capitalise on this, Dolby's Atmos speakers and modules have a frequency response which is shaped by internal DSP in the AVR. This includes a recreation of that notch filter which is important in telling us that a sound is coming from above us. At this time, Dolby would not reveal at what frequency this notch filter operates other than that it is in the HF area. I speculated 7kHz and JJ said “no, it will be much higher than that”. Stephen has since added that while a 7kHz peak is an essential part of the filter, it's not just about a notch or a peak filter, but the relative shape of the filter above 5kHz - everything above 5kHz being an important part of the filter.

No doubt someone with suitable measuring equipment and a white noise generator will be able to determine the precise frequency at which the filter operates, once Atmos units are available to buy.

For anyone wondering if their automated room EQ (eg Audyssey) would try to counteract that notch, effectively nullifying it, read what Stephen had to say in answer to that question:

“Our guidance (in the form of an encyclopedia-sized specification manual) to the AVR manufacturers explicitly addresses this and there are a few techniques which can be employed to ensure any room EQ, such as Audyssey, does not interfere with the psychoacoustic filtering applied to Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. As well as these requirements, we also test for this as part of our mandatory product evaluation process which every Dolby Atmos receiver must go through before it can be brought to market.“

In reality, it is of academic interest: what is important is that, improbable though it seems at first thought, Atmos upward firing modules not only work, but they work in a way that to most people is indistinguishable from physical ceiling-mounted speakers. And in a way that to many people is actually preferable to the latter. I cannot overstress, having had two opportunities now to hear Atmos speakers, just how exceptionally well they work. They truly exceed all expectations and immediately on hearing them, skeptics become converts - they really are that good. My advice is to forget all preconceptions about 'reflected sound', to entirely dismiss from your mind anything you have heard from the so-called 'surround sound sound-bars' and so on and just get a demo of Atmos speakers as soon as you possibly can. Hearing is believing.

Dolby Surround - the all-new upmixing algorithm.

I asked JJ about Dolby Surround, the new upmixing algorithm which has subsumed Prologic, PLII, PLIIx and PLIIz. The Dolby Surround upmixer is mandatory and integral to the Dolby Atmos for AVR solution. JJ explained that all AVR manufacturers will therefore implement Dolby Surround, as one would expect, given that most people will have a much greater library of legacy content than Atmos content, for quite some time to come. There was no possibility of hearing the upmixer in action at this time. Maybe at a future demo?

And talking of content, the most I could squeeze out of JJ with regard to Blurays was that we could expect content to be available “in time for Christmas” and probably before. Similarly, when I asked what the very first Dolby Bluray release would be, JJ commented candidly that he simply didn't know. JJ pointed out that many of the movies which have currently been released in Atmos will not be available at launch because of practical and commercial considerations involved in the disc authoring process.

A question of bass management.

Some members have asked questions about how Atmos units handle bass management and I explored this with Stephen by email after the demo. I asked Stephen to comment for me on the following assumption of mine:

“Also, how does bass management work for physical ceiling-mounted speakers? I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the ceiling speakers will work in the same way as any other surround speaker does now - that is they will be bass managed by the AVR, and below the selected crossover they will be handed off to the subwoofer. In other words, the physical ceiling speaker does not get crossed at 180Hz (or so) to the associated speaker 'downstairs' by the AVR and then bass management takes over - it's just treated the same way as a conventional surround speaker would be? Do I have this right? If so, and I choose to cross my ceiling speakers at, say, 100Hz, then all the content below 100Hz goes to the sub?”

This was Stephen's reply:

“Bass management for Dolby Atmos is handled in the AVR according to Dolby's requirements and guidance provided to the AVR manufacturers. This special bass management system (quite different to traditional bass management systems) is specifically designed to work with object-based audio and the range of speakers and speaker configurations that Dolby Atmos supports. In essence, the Dolby Atmos AVR will handle the complex bass management effectively regardless of whether the speakers connected to the "height position" outputs are Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers, Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker modules or in-ceiling speakers.”


So not a specific response to my query as expressed above, but probably all that Dolby are permitted to say without revealing the 'secret sauce'. The interesting part of the reply, to me, is the confirmation that bass management for the Atmos speakers is “quite different to traditional bass management”. It does seem that Dolby have covered the ground and, other than a natural desire to understand the secret sauce, we have no need to worry about this aspect of Atmos, regardless of the speaker type we use.

Speaker configuration options - how much flexibility do we have?

I also explored with Stephen the different speaker configuration options which Denon have confirmed in their user manual, specifically the issue of the use of Front Heights in Atmos setups.

Denon are making available the following potential configuration options for their new Atmos AVRs:

Front Height + Top Middle
Front Height + Top Rear
Front Height + Rear Height
Top Front + Top Rear (default)
Top Front + Rear Height
Top Middle + Rear Height

This is especially relevant to my own situation because in my room I have limited space behind the listening position and I cannot meet the specified angles for Top Rear speakers. However, I am able to meet the required angles for Top Middle (65-100 degrees) and by using the extreme of 100 degrees, the speakers do fall behind my listening position. However, Denon's spec indicates that we cannot use Top Front and Top Middle together, so my plan was to use Front Heights (at the 42 degree position - which is a specified position for both Top Front and Front Heights) together with Top Middle. The latter is a permitted combination according to Denon. So I was especially interested in Stephen's comments on just how much flexibility we have with the speaker options. Stephen replied with this:

“We have a set of minimum speaker configurations which must be supported in a Dolby Atmos product depending on how many speaker outputs it has. However, other configurations which make use of additional speaker configurations is permissible provided our requirements are adhered to by the manufacturer. As you might recall, there are 34 speaker locations in the Dolby Atmos for the home format which consists of 24 "listener position" speakers and 10 "height position" speakers which can be thought of as 5 pairs of speakers in "front height", "top front", "top middle", "top rear" and "rear height" locations. It is perfectly feasible to have front height speaker pairs used in combination with top speaker pairs in a Dolby Atmos system. It is great to see that these additional configuration options are being made available by manufacturers such as Denon.”


The conclusion is that Denon have it right and we do have the flexibility that many of us will require.

And finally…. How did it sound?

No report of an Atmos demo would be complete without some attempt to convey in words how it all actually sounds. Well, in Dolby's multi-million dollar screening room, it sounds as good as the best commercial cinema in which you may have already heard Atmos movies: fabulous. The sense of immersion, the precision with which sounds are placed around you, the dynamic way that sounds move through the room, with such precision that you often end up following the sound with your eyes, as well as with your ears… all these are part of the commercial Atmos experience, and they all help take cinema sound to a whole new level (pun intended). As I said in my first report, Atmos is much, much more than 'height effects' and the occasional flyover of a helicopter.

But it is when you move to a typical HT environment that you will be truly amazed. Here, in a typical sized domestic space, Dolby seem to have worked a miracle. So little is lost compared with the commercial theater experience that you can scarcely believe it. In many ways, the HT demo is even more impressive than the 'big room' demo, simply because the result is so much less expected.

Using either Atmos speakers or ceiling-mounted speakers, your HT room will suddenly become the environment in which the action is taking place. Walls and ceiling simply disappear and you are transported to a cave, to outer space, to a forest, adding immensely to the enjoyment of the on-screen action in a way which you will not have previously experienced. In the opening scenes of Star Trek Into Darkness, when the aliens throw their spears, they don't just move from front to back of the room, as before. Now they also move overhead as well. As the aliens and the Enterprise crew run through the forest, you can hear precisely where they are, where their voices are coming from; the rustle of leaves and the snapping of branches happen above you, to your left, your right, in front of you. You are there. When I got home, I played that scene in my own HT, which is substantially treated and has high quality speakers, subs and amplification. The difference left me feeling 'flat'. So I say to Dolby, the AVR manufacturers, the content creators, the studios: bring it on! I can't wait. And I would love to hear how the upmixing algorithm treats my legacy version of STID and how it compares with the full fat Atmos version - but that is something, I hope, for another demo on another day.

Acknowledgements.

I would like to thank Dolby for inviting me to the event in their London HQ and specifically thank JJ and Stephen for their patience and enthusiastic responses to questions which they must have been asked many times before. Thanks also to Abi and Stella for their help and guidance on the day. I had a fabulous day - thanks guys!

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3. Experiment. DSU and Atmos comparison.

This is interesting, and gave some unexpected results.

Today I decided to listen to two movies with all speakers/subs switched off, other than the 4 overheads. For the Atmos movie, I only have one choice at this time of course, and that is Transformers: Age of Extinction. For this movie I chose Chapter 20 as it has considerable action taking place 'in the air'. This movie was obviously reproduced via Dolby Atmos. For the other movie, I chose Transformers, Dark of the Moon, as I thought that this might give me the closest comparison in terms of sound design and mix. This movie was auditioned via Dolby Surround and I chose Chapter 17, as again there is considerable 'in the air' action in this section of the movie.

Transformers: Age of Extinctionn.

Before playing the chosen track, I skipped through some of the earlier Chapters just to hear what was coming from the 4 overhead speakers. I was shocked to hear nothing at all on my first few random selections. At first I thought that I had some sort of configuration problem and halted the test to check my setup. All was well. But the overheads were still totally silent. I skipped on to Chapter 20 and again, at the beginning of the chapter, silent overheads. I mean totally silent: no sound from them at all. As the Chapter progressed, the overheads did start to make noise, occasionally. But far less than I had expected given the nature of the content in that Chapter. Finally, when the alien craft starts to suck metal objects up into the air, I heard some activity from the overheads. And when the SUV that the characters are in starts to get lifted, the overheads finally started to make some decent noise.

Transformers, Dark of the Moon.

Following the same procedure as above, I first skipped through some sections of the movie at random. All 4 overheads made noise almost all the time. Music was certainly 'up there' on every selected section, but so were effects and other sounds. Skipping on to Chapter 17 revealed the same. All 4 overhead speakers made noise almost all the time. I could hear the 'tail end' of lots of effects, as the skydivers exit the chopper and start their descent. Wind noise, music, various weapons, bullets whooshing past etc all came from the overhead speakers to some extent.

Conclusion.

On a true Atmos movie there will be times when the overhead speakers are totally silent. Transformers 4 does not seem to be making the most of Atmos in its mix. There were numerous occasions in Chapter 20 when I could have seen the overheads being used to great effect, matching the action onscreen well. But the reality of this mix is that for the majority of the whole movie, the overheads are silent.

By comparison, if you upmix Transformers 3 using DSU, your overhead speakers will be making sound throughout almost the entirety of the movie. Now of course, the DSU effects will be ambient and music a lot of the time, with pseudo-discrete effects occasionally, whereas the Atmos effects are always 100% discrete and placed precisely by the mixer. And Transformers 4 does have a better overall sound than the earlier movie, which may be a direct result of the mixer being able to work in Atmos at the beds level. But overall, the use of the overheads in the new movie has to be regarded as disappointing IMO. It is surely a kickass soundtrack, but the overheads could, IMO, have been deployed to much better effect.

I will look forward to conducting this experiment again with the next Atmos soundtrack that is released. Meanwhile, it is very easy to see what batpig calls the 'in the movie' effect that he is getting from DSU upmixed soundtracks. Looking solely at immersion as the desired characteristic, DSU is actually more effective than Atmos on these two Transformers movies.

It is easy for anyone to conduct this same test if they own these two movies, using the same Chapters as I did. It is real simple if, like me, you have separate amplification - just turn all the amps off (including the subs) except for those powering the overhead speakers. If you don't have external amps, disconnect the ear-level speakers at the speaker end, being very careful to ensure that the terminal wires don't touch each other. Wrap them in electrical tape - and make sure the AVR is off before you touch any connections of course. And remember to turn off the subs or they will distract you.

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4. Review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 as seen at Dolby Labs London HQ.

Background and introduction.

I was fortunate to be invited by Dolby to a special screening of this movie a few days before it opened theatrically in the UK. As I am a fan of the first two movies in the series, this was an opportunity I could not miss.

This review is deliberately not a review of the movie itself. The notion of releasing a final chapter of a trilogy in two parts is one that can be discussed elsewhere and individuals will have their own view on the creative impact of this practice. All I will say on that topic is that Part 1 of such a movie will inevitably be a 'build-up' and the real action will always come in Part 2. I leave it to individual viewers to form their own opinion of what many see as a cynical Hollywood ploy to extract more cash from their audience.

This review is purely about the Atmos sound experience in the movie. But first, a few words about Dolby's facility in Soho Square, London. For those who are unaware, Soho is the district of London which has traditionally been the home of movie production houses, sound studios and all of the associated creative industries which serve the movie, TV and radio industries. The area has many viewing facilities, consisting of small but perfectly formed (usually) theaters which are used for clients to view dailies, rushes, edits and the finished article. In my former career as someone involved in the creative side of TV and cinema commercial production, I have visited many such facilities over the years.

But nothing has been remotely comparable to the Dolby screening room. This is a multi-million dollar facility, housing about 70 viewers in a luxurious setting with, of course, and as you'd expect, top drawer sound and acoustics. Dolby described this facility to me as "probably the finest Atmos sound you will hear anywhere in Europe" and after having seen presentations there a few times now, I am in no doubt as to the accuracy of that description.

The theater is now set up for Atmos and I counted about 32 speakers in all, including side surrounds and overheads, and the substantial subwoofers mounted at the rear as well as the front.

Hurry, hurry, hurry - grab that sweet spot!

As Dolby's guests filed into the theater I quickly made my way to the sweet spot, identifying it as the row of seats where there was no toe-in on the side surrounds, and of course occupying the seat at the very center of this row. What follows is a write-up of the notes I made, in the dark, as I watched the movie. Given that it is unlikely I will ever see or hear this movie in better conditions than in this particular screening room, this should be the definitive experience for me and I will try to convey as much as possible of what I heard that day. Hopefully, these notes will help people viewing this movie on Bluray to compare what they hear at home with what I heard in this amazing facility.

The presentation began with the Atmos 'Amaze' trailer which we are by now all familiar with. Heads darted to the left, right and above as the trailer played, including my own. The temptation to 'follow;' the sound around the room is irresistible.

The movie begins.

The movie opens dramatically with a whisper. It is Katniss and immediately I notice sounds coming from above and around me. I have observed before with some Atmos movies that they seem to do this in the very early scenes, as if to establish that this is an Atmos movie by demonstrating very early on the sounds coming from overhead. My attention was immediately captured.

One of the first things I notice is that voices follow the actors on screen.

Early on, an aircraft takes off vertically and we can follow the sound up into the overhead speakers as it does so. Other than this, the first 20 minutes or so of the movie are 'quiet' and there is little demonstration of 'Atmos effects' or if there was, they are extremely subtle to the point of being unnoticed.

One scene has President Snow being shaved with a traditional razor. The sound of the blade on the stubble is clearly defined. It is an exceptionally good Foley effect and will be a good test of your system's ability to resolve low level detail. If you don't clearly hear this, you need to crank up your volume!

Snow makes an address in the rain, over closed circuit TV. The rain is clearly noticed as coming from oerhead, but also observe the echo on Snow's voice as it reverberates around the space, adding to the realism and capturing the size of the space well. When the camera closes in on the TV screen, notice how the timbre of his voice changes and becomes more intimate.

Later, in a scene in the mess or cafeteria, note the way that the ambience of the room is captured and how the chatter of the occupants comes over. As the camera moves we can focus on individual voices. Also note again how the voice from the closed circuit TV changes in character and timbre as the camera closes in or pulls back. Your home system should clearly demonstrate these effects.

The movie is slow and talky at this stage and the opportunities to clearly hear 'Atmos effects' are few and far between. I start to focus more on Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss - the best-dressed rebel in history and then realise why I am here!

As Katniss is taken to the combat zone, there is a huge aircraft flyover followed by an aircraft taking off after dropping Katniss and the crew at the LZ. Very good demo of overhead effects.

In the camp hospital, note the atmospheric and ambient sounds all around, with a clear sense of size and space created by the sound design. One of the things Atmos does very well, in my opinion, is the recreation of the size and character of a given space and this scene is a very good example of that.

Enter the action! At last...

Now comes the first real action of the movie in one of its rare set pieces: the attack on the hospital. Gunshots are presented with great precision, force and position. Explosions feature, for the first time in the movie, really deep and prolonged bass action from the subwoofers. There is terrific use of the overhead speakers, with flyovers all around, and the surrounds are constantly engaged in this scene too. The immersion of the audience in the battle is, as my notes say, "fabulous" and the sense of realism and of 'being there' is enhanced by the 'around and above' effect created by good use of Atmos in the mix.
This entire scene is what Atmos was created for!

Following a rousing speech from Katniss we move to District 7 and a fight in the forest. Explosions are literally chest-thumping. Note the good overhead effects in this scene. Following this scene is a quiet scene in the forest. Note the ambient sounds and especially the birds singing around and above you.

Katniss sings. When the entire group joins in, notice how individual voices can be clearly picked out from the overall singing. There is great precision of sound yet again, throughout the soundstage.

As the dam breaks, note the depth and force of the bass.

Precision among the chaos.

In the subsequent evacuation scene, note how the size of the space is captured and the precision of the sound placement throughout the soundstage. There are huge bassy explosions in this scene too, with a real kick to the bass that is rare in this movie so far. Voices come from all around as the characters panic. Note the quality and quantity of bass as Katniss goes back to find her sister in the chaos. The score swells from all the speakers and immersion is complete - I am there with our heroine in her fearless rescue attempt. In amongst all the chaos, each sound is clearly delineated, along with its position and direction of movement. This precision of sound placement in the soundstage has become, for me, a characteristic of a good Atmos presentation and this scene, along with the others mentioned above, demonstrates this clearly.

There is another huge bass thump as bombs are dropped. More bombs, more bass. There is a shot of the ceiling of the building starting to crack and this is rendered with terrific realism and force, enhanced by the fact that the sound is coming from where the ceiling is: above us.

As the characters emerge from some bushes later, note the small ambient sounds and the sound of running water.

(I have noted here in my handwritten notes some observations about the theater itself: the overhead speakers are located closer to the middle of the room than to the walls. I’d say just wider than the one third line of the ceiling. Side speaker array is 5 per side.)

In the scene in which the raid on the tribute center takes place, note the timbre change in Katniss's voice when she is talking to Snow over the video link. As her voice moves from the rear surrounds from back to front center there is a noticeable change of timbre. I am not sure if this is deliberate or not but remember this is the best Atmos facility in Europe, so chances are it is deliberate. See if you notice this at home - but if you do, do not assume that it is a result of a poor timbre match between your front and surround speakers.

As one of the characters leaps and attacks another (identities concealed so as not to spoil the moment for those yet to see the movie) there is huge, sudden, violent explosion of sound. Again note the precision of the Foley effects. And the force.

When Madame President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) addresses the rebels note how individual clapping sounds can be picked out of the whole as the camera pans around.

My conclusion.

Those are what, for me, were the sonic highlights of the movie. This movie is not an action movie. It is more a drama punctuated by a few action scenes. I suspect the real action will come in the climactic Part 2. As such, you may be disappointed by the lack of numerous 'overhead' effects in the film, but there are enough to make it a satisfying Atmos experience. But, as I have always said, Atmos is much more than 'overhead effects'. Note the number of times I have commented in this short review on the precision with which sounds are placed in the soundstage. This is where I feel Atmos contributes big time to this (and all) movies. Also note how Atmos helps create an almost physical sense of size and space in different types of locations. All in all, Atmos is adding an additional layer of 'realism' to the movie, through the medium of sound.

Acknowledgements.

I would like to thank Dolby Labs in London, and their helpful PR team at Hill Knowlton, for inviting me to this event and I look forward to others in the future.

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5. DSU and The Book of Eli.

The Book of Eli.

For reasons I don't fully understand, this has become one of my favorite movies and I have watched it several times. It has a great turn from Denzel, one of my favorite actors, and a wonderful production design. It also features an amazing 5.1 soundtrack, with near constant use of all channels and in a very relevant and creative way.

Last night was the first time I have seen the movie using DSU for the sound. I can say that anyone who has this movie and who hasn't yet watched it with DSU working, needs to correct that immediately! Even before the movie starts, while the distributor's logo is on screen, you will hear what I mean. Wind whips through the soundstage from all directions and paves the way for the post-apocalyptic adventure which is to follow. And just listen to those first 5 minutes!

All through the movie, DSU brings an amazing extra layer of immersion. Gunshot ricochets, gusting wind, explosions, atmospherics - they are all enhanced very significantly by DSU.

But the real killer scene comes later in the movie. I have omitted the characters' names here so as not to spoil the movie for those who have not seen it, as the scene in question is a pivotal one. If you have seen the movie or don't care, the names are revealed by clicking the spoiler button. It is the scene where Xxxxxx
Spoiler!
shoots Xxxxxx
Spoiler!
after the siege at the old couple's isolated home (riveting cameos from Michael Gambon and Frances de la Tour). After the initial gunshot, just listen to the after-effect sound effect. Wow oh wow! Listen and be amazed as it criss-crosses your ceiling, from left to right, around behind you, back to the front, into the surrounds and mains. Marvel at DSU's steering of this sound. It is just a fabulous demonstration of what DSU is capable of doing. Even though I almost never do this, I stopped the movie, rewound and listened to that scene not once, not twice but three times.

The scene referenced above (the siege at the old couple's home) has a tremendous and extended firefight, with all manner of weapons used and when it is over you will look around your room expecting to see it shredded by bullets. The trajectories of many of these bullets is portrayed with astonishing realism as they go from front to back, right corner to left corner, side to side and so on. Elsewhere in the movie, creaks and pops and various noises associated with dilapidated old buildings come across realistically, with enhanced immersion thanks to DSU, placing you right inside the buildings. Dialogue reproduction is perfect throughout the movie.

All in all this is a blistering soundtrack, made significantly better thanks to the magic of DSU. Highly recommended.

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Acknowledgements.

I would like to thank Dolby Labs in London, and their helpful PR team at Hill Knowlton, for inviting me to this event and I look forward to others in the future.

Click here to go back to the top[/quote]
And, I would like to thank you for probably the most thorough, astute examination of Dolby Atmos in the real world. Job well done!

Last edited by dvdwilly3; 03-05-2015 at 07:19 AM. Reason: Unintended lengthy quotation
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdwilly3 View Post
And, I would like to thank you for probably the most thorough, astute examination of Dolby Atmos in the real world. Job well done!
Why, thank you! I will add the Bluray reviews of my current Atmos discs soon and will update the post as new BDs are released. The reviews will concentrate on the way Atmos is used in the soundtracks rather than the movie itself or general comments on the sound, the latter being comprehensively dealt with elsewhere.
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The official Dolby Atmos thread (home theater version)

20,500 posts and a sticky in the forum.
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Originally Posted by zgeneral View Post
The official Dolby Atmos thread (home theater version)

20,500 posts and a sticky in the forum.
Yes - all the posts here, so far, have been posted in that thread originally. I am just gathering them here for convenient reference. In future I will post the reviews here and link to them in the main Atmos thread.
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I wonder if dvdwilly could edit his post, removing the long quote of the original post, which is right above it? It makes for a really long scroll to get to the next post. If you're reading, thanks.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
I wonder if dvdwilly could edit his post, removing the long quote of the original post, which is right above it? It makes for a really long scroll to get to the next post. If you're reading, thanks.
I would if I could, but I don't know. I was so impressed with the writeup that I didn't think about it.
Also, I did not know that you could edit a post once it is posted. If some can point me to the right FAQ or something I would be happy to do that.
Ahhh, I see--at least for the original post--uncheck the "Quote message in reply?" box...
Is there an unquote button the advanced edit section?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdwilly3 View Post
I would if I could, but I don't know. I was so impressed with the writeup that I didn't think about it.
Also, I did not know that you could edit a post once it is posted. If some can point me to the right FAQ or something I would be happy to do that.
Ahhh, I see--at least for the original post--uncheck the "Quote message in reply?" box...
Is there an unquote button the advanced edit section?
Okay, probably the big hammer approach...I went into edit mode and backspaced 5,943 times (or so it seems...). But, it worked...thanks, again.
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Originally Posted by dvdwilly3 View Post
I would if I could, but I don't know. I was so impressed with the writeup that I didn't think about it.
Also, I did not know that you could edit a post once it is posted. If some can point me to the right FAQ or something I would be happy to do that.
Ahhh, I see--at least for the original post--uncheck the "Quote message in reply?" box...
Is there an unquote button the advanced edit section?
Thanks!
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Okay, probably the big hammer approach...I went into edit mode and backspaced 5,943 times (or so it seems...). But, it worked...thanks, again.
You can select text with the mouse in the usual way (left click and drag) and then just hit backspace once and it's all gone

If you want to quote part of the text, begin it with the QUOTE=username;number (in square brackets - you'll see it when you edit or reply) and end with /quote also in square brackets.
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First rule--engage brain! I was doing this from my iPad. Too funny!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
Yes - all the posts here, so far, have been posted in that thread originally. I am just gathering them here for convenient reference. In future I will post the reviews here and link to them in the main Atmos thread.
You don't think it's a tad disrespectful to the forum to spam all of us and ignore the thread that is sticked specifically for what you're talking about? I can't comment on the level of intelligence of that without getting reprimanded.

We should all do that for every thread. Make our own separate thread and then just cross like our posts into the main thread. That would make for a great forum.
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You don't think it's a tad disrespectful to the forum to spam all of us and ignore the thread that is sticked specifically for what you're talking about? I can't comment on the level of intelligence of that without getting reprimanded.

We should all do that for every thread. Make our own separate thread and then just cross like our posts into the main thread. That would make for a great forum.
The main Atmos thread is 287 pages and 20,589 posts long as I write this. It will almost certainly be longer by the time you read this reply. In fact, it will almost certainly be longer by the time I finish writing this reply.

That thread moves very quickly and is very difficult to keep up with. Interesting posts and discussions get lost in it all the time. If I'm away from the forum for more than a day, I find that I need to skip over whole pages of content just to get to the latest posts.

If Keith wants to create a separate thread to focus on one particular discussion, I see nothing wrong with that. I actually find it very useful.

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You don't think it's a tad disrespectful to the forum to spam all of us and ignore the thread that is sticked specifically for what you're talking about? I can't comment on the level of intelligence of that without getting reprimanded.
No.

Quote:
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We should all do that for every thread. Make our own separate thread and then just cross like our posts into the main thread. That would make for a great forum.
Did you read my post just above? I said that future reviews will be posted here and linked in the main Atmos thread. This thread is specifically for my ongoing reviews of Atmos blurays.

I am not going to argue with you about it. Feel free to report the thread if you wish and let those decide who have some authority to do so. If they decide the thread is legitimate, then I suggest you unsubscribe from it and then you will no longer have an issue with it.

In the main Atmos thread, you said this:

"...and that post above is why I really don't care about Atmos. It's mostly only available on terrible movie releases and you have some people spending thousands so they can watch a horrible transformers movie over and over again."

So as you don't "really care about Atmos" why do you care so much who posts what and where about Atmos?

And given your second sentence above, I'd have thought you'd have welcomed a thread like this one so that you can find out something about the Atmos content of a movie before you buy it.

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post #20 of 277 Old 03-05-2015, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
The main Atmos thread is 287 pages and 20,589 posts long as I write this. It will almost certainly be longer by the time you read this reply. In fact, it will almost certainly be longer by the time I finish writing this reply.

That thread moves very quickly and is very difficult to keep up with. Interesting posts and discussions get lost in it all the time. If I'm away from the forum for more than a day, I find that I need to skip over whole pages of content just to get to the latest posts.

If Keith wants to create a separate thread to focus on one particular discussion, I see nothing wrong with that. I actually find it very useful.
Thanks Josh. I think a thread focusing on how Atmos is used in Blurays has some merit. The upcoming reviews will be similar to the Mockingjay review above. The idea is that readers will get an idea of how well Atmos is being used in the particular movie, and to perhaps then help him make a decision about buying that movie if his prime interest was Atmos (as it seems to be at this stage for many people). In the other thread there are numerous questions about how well Atmos is translating to Blurays, with many expressing disappointment at, for example, Transformers: Age of Extinction because they feel there is a lack of overhead speaker activity. Hopefully, these Atmos-specific reviews will be helpful to people. If not, well, nobody is forced to look at this thread!

I guess zgeneral has made similar comments in the other AVS threads which also have Atmos as a topic. I fail to understand why - AVS is full of threads which have crossover to other threads on the same overall topic. There is no rule which says a topic can have only one thread AFAIK. But the solution is really, really simple: if anyone finds a thread to be of no interest or use, simply ignore it. How he sees this as "spamming all of us" is something I also fail to see.
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post #21 of 277 Old 03-05-2015, 02:20 PM
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I have no interest in Atmos (yet!) and can still appreciate Keith's OP as a great piece of work, good job!

I also completely disagree with zgeneral....as usual.
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post #22 of 277 Old 03-06-2015, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I have no interest in Atmos (yet!) and can still appreciate Keith's OP as a great piece of work, good job!

I also completely disagree with zgeneral....as usual.
Thanks Alan P. I don't see what the fuss is about TBH. There will be no cross-posting - going forward the BD reviews will be in this thread only. I will link to them in the main Atmos thread - but linking to other threads and posts is normal practice on AVS so why this would excite anyone is beyond me. And as soon as I get around to it, I will go back to the originals of the reviews listed in this thread and replace them with links to this thread*. All perfectly normal AVS practice.

I aim to start with Expendables 3 in the next day or so.

*EDIT: This has now been done with the exception of Item No 2 which I have left in the main Atmos thread as it contains a lot of useful general Atmos information and is, IMO, worth leaving in the main thread.

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post #23 of 277 Old 03-06-2015, 04:27 AM
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Would you prefer to control the reviews by your self, or can others chip in with experiences?

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post #24 of 277 Old 03-06-2015, 04:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Would you prefer to control the reviews by your self, or can others chip in with experiences?
By all means chip in! All my reviews will be in Post No 1, hyperlinked from the list at the top of the post. If you or anyone has additional comments to make, or maybe a difference of opinion from my own, by all means let's have it!

For example, gerchy over in the main Atmos thread said he believed Mockingjay was the best Atmos experience he had heard. If you read my review of it above you'll see I wasn't so sure. Long sections of the movie are dialogue only and there is little opportunity for use of the overheads. When the overheads are used they are used to good effect though. And IMO this is as it should be. I'd rather have the overheads coming to life only occasionally, as the on-screen action demands it, than be used indiscriminately. Mockingjay did demonstrate, as have all the Atmos movies I have heard, how much more precise the whole soundstage is, regardless of overhead use.

The best Atmos movie I have heard, so far, has been Transcendence, which I have in Atmos as an imported disc. I am sure that when I isolate my overhead speakers and listen to this movie purely for overhead content, that it will be one of the winners. I’ll do that one right after Expendables 3 I think.
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post #25 of 277 Old 03-06-2015, 08:42 AM
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Keith, are you planning to put all of the disc reviews in the first post of the thread? That post is already unwieldily long. Doing so also requires that people reading the most recent posts constantly jump back to the first page.

I think it would be better to use the first post as an index with links to relevant posts later in the thread.

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post #26 of 277 Old 03-06-2015, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Keith, are you planning to put all of the disc reviews in the first post of the thread? That post is already unwieldily long. Doing so also requires that people reading the most recent posts constantly jump back to the first page.
I was. The post length isn't an issue as the reviews are reached instantly via the hyperlink. It's the way I did the Audyssey FAQ, which is about 70 screen pages long! But you make a good point that people reading the most recent posts have to jump back to the first page, if they want to go back to a specific review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
I think it would be better to use the first post as an index with links to relevant posts later in the thread.

My $.02.
That is not a bad idea at all. It is a lot slower as AVS hyperlinks don't work across different thread pages, so they will force a browser reload of the linked post. And of course, once someone has done that they can’t easily go back to the list of contents to read another review, if they wanted to. I think both ways have their pros and cons. I'll leave it as it is for now and see if there is any other feedback. Maybe later, if the list of reviews gets very long, your suggested way might be the best. Thanks for suggesting it BTW.
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post #27 of 277 Old 03-06-2015, 09:35 AM
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Excellent idea Keith. Thanks for taking the time to organize all of this info. It makes it much easier to locate.
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post #28 of 277 Old 03-06-2015, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Excellent idea Keith. Thanks for taking the time to organize all of this info. It makes it much easier to locate.
Thanks Zeus - that was the intention. I found myself searching for these reviews myself and not being able to find them easily when I wanted to direct others to them. Having them in one handy location should make it much easier.
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post #29 of 277 Old 03-06-2015, 02:41 PM
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Good job Keith, appreciate your summarizing and keeping the focus where it belongs.
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post #30 of 277 Old 03-06-2015, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
Keith, are you planning to put all of the disc reviews in the first post of the thread? That post is already unwieldily long. Doing so also requires that people reading the most recent posts constantly jump back to the first page.

I think it would be better to use the first post as an index with links to relevant posts later in the thread.

My $.02.
Excellent idea.
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