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post #1 of 26 Old 07-29-2019, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Dolby Atmos through Dolby Digital Plus and ceiling speakers

Hello everyone,

I’m sorry if my question sounds dumb but I’m not an expert.

I’m considering upgrading my entertainment system and building an Atmos sound system (7.1.4). I basically watch 80% of my content through Netflix or other streaming services (eg. ITunes) and I’m not going to buy any Blu Ray player.

From my understanding Netflix Atmos movies/TV shows are delivered through Dolby Digital Plus.

My question is, does Dolby Digital Plus provides sound also from ceiling speakers or it just delivers a plain 5.1/7.1 experience without the vertical sound layer provided by Atmos?

Thank you very much,
Maurizio
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post #2 of 26 Old 07-29-2019, 03:21 AM
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My understanding is Atmos via Dolby Plus is lossy, low bit rate. It’s probably 640kbps (Max) as opposed to 7000+ kbps for Atmos TrueHD (lossless 48kHz/24bit). It should still contain Atmos ‘object’ 3D location info to position sounds over and above 5.1 (if you have a 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 etc system).
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post #3 of 26 Old 07-29-2019, 03:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundonak View Post

My question is, does Dolby Digital Plus provides sound also from ceiling speakers or it just delivers a plain 5.1/7.1 experience without the vertical sound layer provided by Atmos?

Thank you very much,
Maurizio
As previously said, it's lossy and on lower bitrate, but still more immersive than the standard 5.1/7.1. The more important thing, if you have an Atmos system (as you mentioned 7.1.4 for You) you can upmix all 5.1/7.1 content to your system, so you can use your ceiling speakers always.

So go ahead!

More info for Dolby Digital Plus: https://developer.dolby.com/technolo...-digital-plus/

Ps: I watched Netflix series - Stranger Things; Dark; The Order; Love, Death & Robots - all with DD+ and the sound was amazing!

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post #4 of 26 Old 07-29-2019, 03:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Renatto View Post
As previously said, it's lossy and on lower bitrate, but still more immersive than the standard 5.1/7.1. The more important thing, if you have an Atmos system (as you mentioned 7.1.4 for You) you can upmix all 5.1/7.1 content to your system, so you can use your ceiling speakers always.

So go ahead!

More info for Dolby Digital Plus: https://developer.dolby.com/technolo...-digital-plus/

Ps: I watched Netflix series - Stranger Things; Dark; The Order; Love, Death & Robots - all with DD+ and the sound was amazing!
Thank you for your reply. When you say "upmix" it means is not like what happen in TrueHD where objects are very precisely put in a 3d environment? What I would like to understand is if DD+ is "just" a lower bitrate version of TrueHD or it's something "slightly" different also in how it works.

I found this chart here: https://mediaarea.net/AudioChannelLayout
From what I understand, technical specification for Atmos through DD+ is ETSI TS 103 420 V1.1.1 (E-AC-3), can you help me read that chart?
Are Left/Right Front High and Left/Right Rear High what I call "ceiling" speaker in an Atmos setup?

Thank you very much for helping me figuring this out!

Sundonak
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post #5 of 26 Old 07-29-2019, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by sundonak View Post
Thank you for your reply. When you say "upmix" it means is not like what happen in TrueHD where objects are very precisely put in a 3d environment? What I would like to understand is if DD+ is "just" a lower bitrate version of TrueHD or it's something "slightly" different also in how it works.
Just lower bitrate and Lossy (you have to lose something to fit "more thousands kbps" in ~1000 kbps). Maybe you won't notice difference between Atmos vs DD+ Atmos. But it depends on the movie too. I heard many Atmos movies with "not so great" sound, but for example the Love, Death & Robot, Stranger Things was more than good even just DD+ Atmos or the Venom with 1536kbps DD+ (not Atmos).

The Upmix means you - your receiver - can upmix everything to your layout, so you can use the ceiling speakers on any content (music too > Multi channel stereo). The standard DD 2.0/5.1 or the TrueHD 7.1 also or DTS 5.1/7.1 can be upmixed to your all speakers - 7.1.4, if you want. With this you will hear much better sound - atmosphere - even just with an 5.1 source.


For Atmos layouts mostly uses - call - Overhead/TOP speakers above the listener(s), while for DTS:X mostly uses - call - Height speakers on front and back walls.

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post #6 of 26 Old 07-29-2019, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
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The Upmix means you - your receiver - can upmix everything to your layout, so you can use the ceiling speakers on any content (music too > Multi channel stereo). The standard DD 2.0/5.1 or the TrueHD 7.1 also or DTS 5.1/7.1 can be upmixed to your all speakers - 7.1.4, if you want. With this you will hear much better sound - atmosphere - even just with an 5.1 source.
I don't get this "upmix" thing It is more like the process that "simulate" or "virtualize" sound in a soundbar? Basically there are not surround/overhead speakers so the AVR upmix it so you can "feel" the 3d audio? I mean, it's something "artifically" done by the AVR to "fill" the speakers you have, not something exactly created for them, am I getting it right?
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Originally Posted by sundonak View Post
I mean, it's something "artifically" done by the AVR to "fill" the speakers you have, not something exactly created for them, am I getting it right?
Yes. Even you have just a 5.1 system - so no ceiling speakers - you can hear the "environment" above, like in the forest the trees/leaves, birds or at the station "noise of the people" from everywhere (so from above too). The AVR collect these and send to the ceiling speakers (if you want), so these will come from above, makes everything much more real(istic).

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post #8 of 26 Old 07-29-2019, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I see, it's a kind of virtualisation I would say.

So coming back to my questions, does DD+ reproduce overhead sound as it would be reproduced in the TrueHD or does it "virtualize" overhead sound?
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Originally Posted by sundonak View Post
So coming back to my questions, does DD+ reproduce overhead sound as it would be reproduced in the TrueHD or does it "virtualize" overhead sound?
The DD+ uses real overhead objects/sounds as in the lossless TrueHD Atmos.

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Originally Posted by Renatto View Post
The DD+ uses real overhead objects/sounds as in the lossless TrueHD Atmos.
Lovely, thank you so much for helping me navigating this weird topic really appreciated!

Have you had any chance to compare TrueHD and DD+ side by side? Is there such a difference in quality?
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post #11 of 26 Old 07-29-2019, 06:31 AM
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I'll play devil's advocate here.

I was using Netflex's Pemium Ultra HD service which streams 4k video with DD+ audio. Neither the video or audio compares to what you can get from a Blu Ray disc (I have since went back to the standard HD service). That was my experience. You can do it, but it's my opinion that you will be selling yourself short on what either or both mediums can deliver.

To get the full experience you really should consider getting a cheap Blu Ray player and perhaps a rental plan through 3Dblurayrental.com. That way once or twice a month you can experience the full monty. Go for it, you deserve it!

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I'll play devil's advocate here.

I was using Netflex's Pemium Ultra HD service which streams 4k video with DD+ audio. Neither the video or audio compares to what you can get from a Blu Ray disc (I have since went back to the standard HD service). That was my experience. You can do it, but it's my opinion that you will be selling yourself short on what either or both mediums can deliver.

To get the full experience you really should consider getting a cheap Blu Ray player and perhaps a rental plan through 3Dblurayrental.com. That way once or twice a month you can experience the full monty. Go for it, you deserve it!
I know that might be some differences, and I would expect that, but I'm more on the convenience side of the equation, rather than on the quality side. I live outside the US, so I don't have any BR rental service that can help me on that. It's not about the cost of a BR player, rather the usage of it. The way I enjoy movies/tv series is not planned ahead, me and my wife decide what to watch 10 minutes before playing any content on Netflix.

For example, I also rent movies on Itunes, and it seems that I should enjoy the full Dolby Atmos + Dolby Vision experience from Apple TV 4k, or at least that's my understanding.

My assumption here is that a 5.1.4/7.1.4 should be enough engaging event though we're talking about lower quality. My setup will be in a living room, with small speakers (expect the front right/left where I have good loudspeaker I use also for music very often).
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post #13 of 26 Old 07-29-2019, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by sundonak View Post
My question is, does Dolby Digital Plus provides sound also from ceiling speakers or it just delivers a plain 5.1/7.1 experience without the vertical sound layer provided by Atmos?
Suffice to say... In order to obtain/hear Atmos (object based) audio you'll need either an AVR or a soundbar to decode the object based data stream. Have you decided what you're going to get?

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Originally Posted by sundonak View Post
Lovely, thank you so much for helping me navigating this weird topic really appreciated!

Have you had any chance to compare TrueHD and DD+ side by side? Is there such a difference in quality?
Yes, there is! You are try to compare a 5000-8000kbps - average - quality to a 384-768kbps - average - quality. There can be 10x more "information"... Get a movie with Atmos like Venom ~5000kbps in English, for my natvie language it's only 448kbps 5.1. You can hear the difference (but there is a small chance You don't). If your native language is not English, then you can check it easy, watch a scene with your language and then in english....

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Suffice to say... In order to obtain/hear Atmos (object based) audio you'll need either an AVR or a soundbar to decode the object based data stream. Have you decided what you're going to get?
Sure, I mean, not final products though, but I have more or less narrowed down the budget:
- below 2k USD for the AVR (for a total of 9 amplified channels, I will use my amp for left/right channels). Some models I'm considering are the Yamaha A3080, Onkyo TX-RZ840 or the TZ-RZ1100, Denon AVR-X4500H, Marantz SR6013/7013.
- 2/3k USD for surround, rear surround and ceiling speakers (I have already the main front left/right speakers + amp). Some models I'm considering are the Focal Dome Flax or the B&W M1 for surround and rear surround.
- 2/3k USD for 4k Oled TV (like the Sony A9G or the Panasonic GX-950)
- source will be Apple TV 4k

We should have Dolby Atmos throughout all the chain, from the source till the AVR and TV.

Do you have any suggestions?

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post #16 of 26 Old 07-29-2019, 09:38 AM
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I also rent movies on Itunes, and it seems that I should enjoy the full Dolby Atmos + Dolby Vision experience from Apple TV 4k, or at least that's my understanding.
Your understanding is correct. Think of Atmos soundtracks as being made up of 2 parts: data (audio) and metadata (instructions on where to place the audio). The metadata doesn't take up much space, so instructions on where to place the audio are the same on streaming and disc (same Atmos mix). The difference is in the fidelity/quality of the audio. Discs have enough storage space to allow the data to be packed losslessly (using TrueHD). Streaming requires taking up minimum transmission bandwidth, so the data is squeezed down using lossy compression (DD+). In both cases you have the full Atmos experience (same metadata), with the main difference being the audio quality (lossless packing vs lossy compression).
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Your understanding is correct. Think of Atmos soundtracks as being made up of 2 parts: data (audio) and metadata (instructions on where to place the audio). The metadata doesn't take up much space, so instructions on where to place the audio are the same on streaming and disc (same Atmos mix). The difference is in the fidelity/quality of the audio. Discs have enough storage space to allow the data to be packed losslessly (using TrueHD). Streaming requires taking up minimum transmission bandwidth, so the data is squeezed down using lossy compression (DD+). In both cases you have the full Atmos experience (same metadata), with the main difference being the audio quality (lossless packing vs lossy compression).
Thank you sdurany, this is very clear to me now! Appreciated.
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Sure, I mean, not final products though, but I have more or less narrowed down the budget:
- below 2k USD for the AVR (for a total of 9 amplified channels, I will use my amp for left/right channels). Some models I'm considering are the Yamaha A3080, Onkyo TX-RZ840 or the TZ-RZ1100, Denon AVR-X4500H, Marantz SR6013/7013.

Do you have any suggestions?
Having owned Yamaha, Denon and Marantz AVR's in the last ten years, I found the Marantz to be the most musical of the three. They are also a bit more when comparing feature for feature. But I guess that's what you get in return.

I know you mentioned the SR6013/7013. I would consider looking at the xx12 or even xx11 models assuming they are still available new. You may find any 'upgrades' from the previous model year not worth the price difference between new and discontinued.

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Having owned Yamaha, Denon and Marantz AVR's in the last ten years, I found the Marantz to be the most musical of the three. They are also a bit more when comparing feature for feature. But I guess that's what you get in return.
Thank you! Marantz seems a very good AVR; when you say more “musical” when compared to the other you are referring to a movie experience, not to a music one, right?

I will not listen to music through the AVR, I have an hybrid stereo amp I’m very happy about.

Have you had any chance to compare DACs performance across those brands?

Which one would you suggest for compact loudspeaker like B&W M1 or Focal Cone Flax?
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Yes, there is! You are try to compare a 5000-8000kbps - average - quality to a 384-768kbps - average - quality. There can be 10x more "information"...
I get it, I see the 10x more information thing, I just don’t know if I will be able to hear any difference considering I cannot hear any difference from a 320kbps Spotify song vs an uncompressed flac/wav file.

Again, I’m not interested in any critical watching/listening sessions here, I’m talking more about chilling out on the sofa watching a movie while crunching some chips and pop corns.

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if I will be able to hear any difference considering I cannot hear any difference from a 320kbps Spotify song vs an uncompressed flac/wav file.
Neither do I! But on movies you will, give it a try. Of course won't hear 10x better sound, but something MORE.

Before my Yamaha I had a Marantz SR6011, which is quite good and I liked it - just that "keyhole" display . The price is also quite good for a 9.2 receiver, the latest - for few more weeks - SR6013 is ~800 EUR in EU and that's a BestBuy!

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Neither do I! [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG] But on movies you will, give it a try. Of course won't hear 10x better sound, but something MORE.

Before my Yamaha I had a Marantz SR6011, which is quite good and I liked it - just that "keyhole" display [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif[/IMG] . The price is also quite good for a 9.2 receiver, the latest - for few more weeks - SR6013 is ~800 EUR in EU and that's a BestBuy!
Haaaa you see? 😛 I would love to give it a try, hopefully in a store here in Italy. I’m also considering a good used AVR, at the end I don’t need more then 9 channels of amplification, I might end up spending less the 1500 USD.
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Well... I've checked some specifications from several AVRs, but only Yamaha and Onkyo clearly state Dolby Digital Plus support, Denon and Marantz don't state that specifically. Should I imply that if they state Dolby TrueHD / Dolby Atmos it means Dolby Digital Plus is also supported?
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Originally Posted by sundonak View Post
Well... I've checked some specifications from several AVRs, but only Yamaha and Onkyo clearly state Dolby Digital Plus support, Denon and Marantz don't state that specifically. Should I imply that if they state Dolby TrueHD / Dolby Atmos it means Dolby Digital Plus is also supported?
I'm pretty sure the newest models - Denon/Marantz - can handle DD+: https://www.marantz.hu/uk/support/pages/glossary.aspx My SR6011 received Atmos signal from Xbox, which couldn't be TrueHD, but DD+.

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post #25 of 26 Old 07-30-2019, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by sundonak View Post
Well... I've checked some specifications from several AVRs, but only Yamaha and Onkyo clearly state Dolby Digital Plus support, Denon and Marantz don't state that specifically. Should I imply that if they state Dolby TrueHD / Dolby Atmos it means Dolby Digital Plus is also supported?
Every AVR less that 10 years old supports Dolby Digital Plus [E-AC-3], as it was one of the mandatory audio formats for HD DVD [High Definition Digital Versatile Disc] hardware back in the day. And is used by various TV broadcasters and media streaming services today...

If you think other-wise then download the AVR's 'user manual' and check through it to see!

By-the-way... This is from the Marantz SR6011 user manual: -

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post #26 of 26 Old 07-30-2019, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Interesting, thank you... it's quite weird it is just in the manual and not in the specs summary on the website. But, well... the most important thing is that it's handled!
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