Originally Posted by FilmMixer
I know I'm one who doesn't like to derail threads, but thought my experience yesterday was useful to the discussion.
Wen't and saw "Rise of the Guardians" yesterday at the Grove in Los Angeles in Auro 3D 11.1.
Surprisingly there were no trailers before hand to announce the presence of such a system.
The room was rather large (I'd estimate 450 seats) with a floor to ceiling screen. Had a fair rake to it. No 3D, but it was one of the most gorgeous visual experiences I've had in a while... bright, sharp and beautifully colorful.
I sat probably 3 rows in front of dead center, middle of the room.
The theater was using typical surrounds (they looked to be JBL's from what I could see...) they were the smaller wedge type, and spaced out about every other row.
They were raked with slope of the seats, and I'd guess that they were about 7 feet above the audiences head.
They started about 10 feet from the screen (typical surround install.)
The second row of speakers were another 6-8 feet above them.
The overheads were the same smallish speakers as the surrounds, two rows spaced out about the same as the surrounds.. aesthetically, they looked kind of funny being so small and up so high.... I was expecting to see more speakers for the size of the room.
I'm taking all of my own comments with a lot of caveats...
This was my first time hearing the system, and I don't know the mix of the film, and have never been in that room before.
Based on the trailers of other films, I would say the room is really a good sounding room, well above average, with plenty of power, good low end, great clarity.
Once the film started, for the first 10 minutes I wasn't sure if the format was playing back.. it sounded really good, but I had a hard time discerning anything different.
As it went on (and I only was able to watch the first 50 minutes) I noticed some nice overhead cues, and what I would describe as "height" depth to the surrounds...
I'm not sure how the extra LCR behind the screen is set up.. I can't imagine they added anything significant behind there, but I'd suspect it's a larger speaker than the surrounds, but not a full blown 2 way cabinet..
I know a lot of people were a bit underwhelmed by the Atmos mix on "Brave.."
However, it was really obvious how the system was different (the trailer gave a good impression of the capabilities of the system..)
With the speakers right off the front of the screen, the music had an amazing amount of spread to it... there were several overhead pans (the Disney logo at the start goes right over your head from the sides)
Even though it wasn't flashy, it was enveloping in a way I hadn't heard before..
To me, the Auro system suffers from band limited surrounds in an array, which is very diffuse.. stacking another array on top of them doesn't add to the discrete nature of the sounds with this mix as an example.
I would imagine it could also lead to comb filtering when "lifting" sounds from the bottom to the top depending on where you are seated.
One other thing I noticed was a dialog pan from the surrounds/height speakers behind the screen/overheads was how the timbre changed in the voice... IMO, it wasn't seamless.
That is one of the things that I love about Atmos... you now have speakers besides the mains that are very capable and fairly timbre matched... in addition to bass management, they just sound very similar to whats coming off the screen.... in addition, when mixing, you are able to use the sphere as single point sources if you want or spread out sounds to create and array type of bed...
For full disclosure, let me state a couple of things before I wrap this up.
I was actually invited to the screening by a company who was going to do exit interviews on camera about the experience who were there on behalf of Barco..
When I found out about the interview, I told them I would not do it due to my employers policies (and I even if I could, I wouldn't do it for fairly obvious reasons.)
I wasn't informed of this before I showed up... the owner of the production company/PR firm had posted on FB he had tickets for anyone in the community that was interested.. no mention that he was working the screening.
There was some mix up about the tickets with the theater, and I decided to buy my own.
I wasn't upset about this in the least, and lest anyone from Barco read this and think I might have been bothered by this rest assured that my comments weren't influenced as such.
Again, this was my first opportunity to hear the system.
I've had the opportunity to hear Atmos in a couple of settings (2 screenings of "Brave" and a two hour meeting at Dolby where I heard a ton of various content, saw the production tools, was able to hear 7.1 vs. Atmos, etc..)
IMO, I'd like to hear Auro in a smaller venue.
I think some of the limitations (i.e. arrays for surrounds and overheads, no full range speakers in the auditorium, etc.) would dissipate..
But I wasn't knocked out by the presentation yesterday...