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I often think Atmos largely hasn't turned out to be quite what it promised in terms of immersion with demos that do far more than actual soundtracks. I think part of the problem is Dolby has tried to upset the old school paradigm that believes that surround sounds are distracting and thus should only be used for high action moments and largely silent the rest of the time.

Old school film mixers seem to largely continue to do what they do best, making underwhelming soundtracks that fail to immerse 75% of the time. A couple of short overhead flybys or a helicopter taking off and cars that drive off-screen, but seem to audibly disappear before the barely make it to the side surround as if they've already driven a mile away seem to be all too common, IMO.

I just watched The Rise of Skywalker in 3D with Atmos added. It had to be the most underwhelming Atmos soundtrack (or any soundtrack as I heard the 7.1 only version also with Neural X and it wasn't that different) I've heard this year so far. Sonic The Hedgehog ran circles around it (quite literally) and it's only average for immersion itself, IMO.

It's sad when Groundhog Day's retrofit does a better Atmos soundtrack in terms of actual immersion and realistic surround effects (even when it's just normal town/street sounds, it at least truly attempts to make you feel like you're actually there rather than just watching a movie, which I naively thought was the entire point of a format that's short for "Atmospheric"). Groundhog Day also better dynamic range than Star Wars, which is absurd for a comedy to claim, yet it's true. So much for the inventors of THX. They apparently now cater mostly to TV speakers and sound bars now....
 

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I often think Atmos largely hasn't turned out to be quite what it promised in terms of immersion with demos that do far more than actual soundtracks. I think part of the problem is Dolby has tried to upset the old school paradigm that believes that surround sounds are distracting and thus should only be used for high action moments and largely silent the rest of the time.

Old school film mixers seem to largely continue to do what they do best, making underwhelming soundtracks that fail to immerse 75% of the time. A couple of short overhead flybys or a helicopter taking off and cars that drive off-screen, but seem to audibly disappear before the barely make it to the side surround as if they've already driven a mile away seem to be all too common, IMO.
I think (hope) there is still a learning/experience curve that hasn't been overcome yet. There were similar growing pains in each of the previous technological leaps in audio (mono>stereo>quad>DTS-Dolby-Auro3D). I'm sure some of you remember some truly horrible quad recordings with a 4 piece band and one musician in each speaker...

Initially, access to Dolby Atmos for film makers was a difficult and expensive process. Dolby has continued to improve their process, it is far more accessible, and on-line workflows and tutorials abound. So I remain optimistic that the content will improve. More affordable 16ch surround processors are entering the market, so consumer interest in higher channel counts will increase. New music, gaming and Netflix content will expose more end-users and content creators to the format, hopefully creating a demand for better mixes, and a personal desire for the content creators to release their products in a high quality format.
 
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Hey Terry. I know you have been in the unintended middle of a pi$$ing match over your choice of atmos speakers. Any word on said speaker install date yet or did I miss something and your up and running now.
Rich
Rich,

If you by chance have not been over on my main dedicated thread for awhile ???
Left click on the link below and start reading from there and you will be 100% up to date once again. :)

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/15-general-home-theater-media-game-rooms/2995466-tigerhonaker-s-home-theater-phase-1of-being-up-dated-august-2018-a-20.html#post59577668

Terry
 

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I think (hope) there is still a learning/experience curve that hasn't been overcome yet. There were similar growing pains in each of the previous technological leaps in audio (mono>stereo>quad>DTS-Dolby-Auro3D). I'm sure some of you remember some truly horrible quad recordings with a 4 piece band and one musician in each speaker...
What's not to like about having bass in the left surround and drums in the right surround? With vocals and organ in the left speaker and guitars in the right? LOL.
 
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What's not to like about having bass in the left surround and drums in the right surround? With vocals and organ in the left speaker and guitars in the right? LOL.
Fond memories of your favorite album growing up?? ;)

That approach can be done well, of course. AIX records has quite a few multichannel "stage mixes", along with traditional stereo and audience 5.1 mixes.
 

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3D Immersive Audio at this stage reminds me somewhat of the path 3D video has taken over the years. Early on, 3D movies were primarily a special effects extravaganza, with bodies and blood and swords and car wrecks etc etc jumping out of the screen into your lap. Amusing, but not terribly interesting, and it certainly didn't pull me into the movie. Then Avatar was released in 3D, and suddenly viewers got a true sense of depth and realism, of being there.

@MagnumX mentioned Groundhog Day as an example of how well that movie did the same for immersive audio. Hopefully we will hear more of that, as Immersive Audio matures.
 

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Hey Terry. I know you have been in the unintended middle of a pi$$ing match over your choice of atmos speakers. Any word on said speaker install date yet or did I miss something and your up and running now.
Rich
Rich,

If you by chance have not been over on my main dedicated thread for awhile ???
Left click on the link below and start reading from there and you will be 100% up to date once again. /forum/images/smilies/smile.gif

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/15-general-home-theater-media-game-rooms/2995466-tigerhonaker-s-home-theater-phase-1of-being-up-dated-august-2018-a-20.html#post59577668

Terry
Thanks Terry
 

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3D Immersive Audio at this stage reminds me somewhat of the path 3D video has taken over the years. Early on, 3D movies were primarily a special effects extravaganza, with bodies and blood and swords and car wrecks etc etc jumping out of the screen into your lap. Amusing, but not terribly interesting, and it certainly didn't pull me into the movie. Then Avatar was released in 3D, and suddenly viewers got a true sense of depth and realism, of being there.

@MagnumX mentioned Groundhog Day as an example of how well that movie did the same for immersive audio. Hopefully we will hear more of that, as Immersive Audio matures.
While avatar showed the public what is possible it did not result in 3d becoming the norm at home. I think the same could be true of immersive audio. Of the friends I have only 2 have surround in at least a 5 channel configuration, there systems are older dd, dts. They hardly use them too. I'm a contractor and in 17 years of business I have seen maybe a handful of surround systems in homes.
Which is all to say that at this point there is not enough skin in the game for studios/sound mixers to bother with great soundtracks. The public watches what they watch either in theatre or at home with crappy TV speakers or a crappy sound bar.
We had some old friends stay with us for a week when they moved back into town a while back. You should have heard the comments about how much more enjoyable viewing was. I offered them my old gear that is sitting in storage. This would have gotten them 5.1. It was free to them including my help with setup
They are now proud owners of a Vizio soundbar with atmos support. Haven't gotten Dave to admit it but I'm pretty sure waf was at play.
So again. Surround. Very small market. Atmos. Small market of a small market.
Rich
 

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3D Immersive Audio at this stage reminds me somewhat of the path 3D video has taken over the years. Early on, 3D movies were primarily a special effects extravaganza, with bodies and blood and swords and car wrecks etc etc jumping out of the screen into your lap. Amusing, but not terribly interesting, and it certainly didn't pull me into the movie. Then Avatar was released in 3D, and suddenly viewers got a true sense of depth and realism, of being there.

@MagnumX mentioned Groundhog Day as an example of how well that movie did the same for immersive audio. Hopefully we will hear more of that, as Immersive Audio matures.
There are a lot of great Atmos soundtracks out there. I simply mention Groundhog Day because although I love the movie as a comedy, other than the opening song, I never noticed the surround in it at all on older releases (I had it on laserdisc when it first came out even). What's striking about the new Atmos version other than asking whether it even needed it is what a GREAT JOB the mixing guy did with it. While I don't recall a ton of overhead sounds (there's not a lot of things happening to put overhead, really), what I did notice in spades was that every little outside sound was present when Bill Murray's character goes around the town (indoors as well really). It was "almost" distracting it's so "atmospheric" but I think that's a good thing. It was like watching the movie again for the first time. My feeling is that older titles should probably include the original soundtrack (2-channel Dolby Surround if that's what it was in theaters, although I'm sure they could easily fit the prior 5.1 soundtrack in there too as Dolby Digital or whatever) for preservation sake, but then go wild with Atmos. If people don't like the end result, watch the original soundtrack.

I saw a lot of complaints by "purists" about the new Blade Runner 4K Atmos soundtrack retrofit on the Blu-ray.com site. Some were quite angry how aggressive it is compared to the original soundtrack. I think it's bloody brilliant, personally, but I can understand why some might be upset about it being so very different sounding. I mean it's night and day. I think I have every version of Blade Runner there is (even a VHS copy from the '80s) and the Blu-Ray box set that has all the versions prior to the 4K Atmos version (all 5 of them) to compare or even remux. Neural X does a credible job with the originals, but the Atmos version goes far beyond just putting various sounds overhead. It's also much more aggressive and dynamic. The only place it fails, IMO is there are some damaged bits (mostly red line clipping, if I remember correctly) that couldn't be completely corrected, but it's pretty darn good, IMO. I actually prefer the US and UK Release versions (the voiceover by Ford reminds me of Bogart film noir and really Blade Runner is kind of futuristic film noir, really and a detective story to some extent so it made sense. It's also good (but different) without the voiceovers. I'm not sure how I feel about the added unicorn dream sequence and even Harrison Ford disagrees with Scott about whether Decker was meant to be human or not (Since everyone knew him from long back, it doesn't make sense he'd be a non-expiring model that just came out and even that notion was added for a "happy ending" with Rachel, so it was all out there, really.

I actually love that Blade Runner 2049 leaves hints that still leave it somewhat open, although Deckard's apparent resilience to radiation in Vegas for being there so long might be considered a telling clue, but we don't know if he wore something outdoors, etc. so that doesn't mean the hotel itself was still contaminated inside or why people wouldn't raid Vegas for wooden items and ancient whiskey with radiation suits, especially given they have flying cars to get there and out again, but those are 2049 issues). Speaking of 2049, it may be the single most impressive over Atmos (or Auro-3D; I have both versions here) soundtrack there is in terms of overall dynamics, earth shaking bass and full use of all the available channels you can muster. I have better overhead examples, but the overall quality of Blade Runner 2049 is very impressive. The 3D version is excellent as well (I remuxed it with both Atmos and Auro-3D for my Zidoo X9S player so it's 3D video and audio).

The overall issue is that only about 15-20% of Atmos (or DTS:X for that matter) soundtracks are what I'd call "excellent". Another 25-45% are very good to just acceptable. The rest are disappointing in almost every possible way. When a 5.1 mix blows away an Atmos soundtrack, I'd say there's a problem and I could point to many excellent 5.1 soundtracks. In some cases (e.g. Labyrinth or Superman The Movie), it seems like they wanted to keep "most" of the original soundtrack intact and just enhance it here and there. The problem with that is it pleases neither purists or fans of Atmos. It's the worst possible combination, in my opinion. Other soundtracks (mostly Disney) are greater or lesser examples of "mix for the lowest common denominator" by the sounds of them. FilmMixer said he was surprised at the real reason they're doing print-through soundtracks with lower volumes, etc. (implying there IS a reason of sorts), but wouldn't tell us and Disney sure as heck has literally nothing to say about them. Given they bought Skywalker Sound, it's particularly distressing, IMO as they used to do some of the best soundtracks around in the 1990s. Even as recently as something like TRON: Legacy, the soundtrack (7.1) is just a spectacle. At some point after that movie (around 2014 or 2015?) they suddenly shifted into sub-grade soundtracks. Some are better than others, but none seem to rise to the standards of something like TRON: Legacy. I'm afraid they're just mixing for sound bars at this point.

I really wish they'd include a higher grade soundtrack, even if it's not the default. People who would accept those level soundtracks probably don't care one whit about Atmos anyway. Do what The Matrix did and include the old Dolby Digital track as the default if they're worried and use a better Atmos one (and even it suffers from a 6-8dB drop in maximum sound effect levels relative to dialog compared to the Cinema DTS (AptX) soundtrack I've got to compare them side-by-side. So it's not just Disney that's reducing maximum levels to 'improve dialog intelligibility" or whatever changes beyond just "near field" mixes (which most AVRs have a setting on them to compensate for anyway and by having both out there it's hard to know whether to use that setting or not; they should have had a flag embedded, IMO). I can play cinema mixes at reference levels (e.g. The THX rated Raiders of the Lost Ark BD mix) or at least close to it and they sound great (Paramount supposedly doesn't do near field mixes from what I read). Movies that have their sound effect levels reduced have too loud of dialog when raised to reference levels, forcing a level drop or having your ears bleed. It's not the near field part that screws it up, but the level ratio changes, which an interview I read with an industry guy made no bones about it. It's to "sound better on typical home theater levels and equipment" meaning people in apartments can't play loud if they wanted to and most people don't have equipment that cleanly plays to 105/115dB (Peaked average/LFE) anyway. Those of us that do, don't get to listen at those levels even if we want to with those kind of changes due to the loud dialog.
 

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By my understanding of your STANDARD home Dolby Atmos mix (as normally accomplished in a Pro Tools HD session with a consumer Atmos plug in), especially if coming from a professional theatrical Atmos session, you allocate 7.1 channels (the standard base bed layer) and two fixed objects in the Top Middle position (acting as the two overhead bed channels from the theatrical session). You then have a few leftover discrete objects that can move through any of 34 speaker positions in the lookup table depending on where you pan them (which creates metadata control packets). If your theatrical mix has more discrete objects than allowed in the home Atmos session, those get clustered with the handful of discrete objects available plus the 7 base speakers (now considered objects within the count too) using "spatial compression" based on object location metadata.
(not picking on you specifically, Dan, just your comment spurred me to remember this) I'll raise up a minor nitpick that I didn't have a chance to follow up on from a few days back -- I think recent discussion of the info in the Atmos Renderer Guide has changed how we should be thinking of the structure of home Atmos mixes. It's a minor thing, but I do think it clarifies some of the behavior of home Atmos to think about it with the correct common framework of understanding.

TL;DR: We have tended over the years to think of home Atmos as "7.1 channels + objects", but I think it's more accurately "11, 13, or 15 objects (plus LFE), of which up to 9 of the objects mimic channels". In other words, the distinction you make between "7.1 channels (the standard base bed layer) and two fixed objects in the Top Middle position (acting as the two overhead bed channels from the theatrical session)" is actually a non-distinction. ALL NINE of those operate identically once the Atmos renderer kicks in, they ALL become "fixed objects acting as channels". If the cinema track had 9 beds + LFE, the home Atmos track will have 9 fixed bed-like objects + LFE.

I've shared these screenshots before, but see below for the actual text / graphics in the Renderer Guide. There's a few important highlights:

- Note that beds + objects can be combined in the spatial coding process, there's no distinction once the process is done, just a set of 11/13/15 "elements". Any of the 9 "fixed" elements will behave as channels, but could be a combination of original bed content + any clustered objects. Again, no distinction between the ear level "channels" and the two Top Middle "channels" in this process.

In the example, the original presentation (the Dolby Atmos mix without spatial coding) includes nine bed channels (in red) and ten objects (in blue). Then, spatial coding is applied. The spatial coding dynamically and optimally aggregates the beds and objects into a target number of clusters (here, 11 clusters with representative position highlighted in red). Some clusters can comprise several original objects, or be the combination of an original bed and one or more original objects.

- This next quote is important IMO, note the comment that "spatial coding converts bed channels to equivalent objects at predefined canonical locations" -- again, no distinction between ear level and overhead, they all map directly into a "fixed object" when converted into home Atmos format. And then it continues and explicitly recommends "configuring spatial coding with 11 to 15 output objects and one bed channel for the LFE". The posted metadata from the media files when this came up a few months back corroborates this is happening, as every Atmos mix posted showed 1 bed (LFE) and 11/13/15 objects.

In order to maximize efficiency, spatial coding converts bed channels to equivalent objects at predefined canonical locations. Because of this, the best results are generally obtained by configuring spatial coding with 11 to 15 output objects and one bed channel for the LFE. (This budget of audio signals is referred to as the number of elements in both the Dolby Atmos Renderer and the Dolby Media Encoder software application. Both Dolby Atmos Renderer software and Dolby bitstream codecs support choices of 12, 14, or 16 elements.)

- I also think there's a common false conflation with the 7.1 TrueHD downmix and the Atmos "bed" that has created this shared misconception that "home Atmos = 7.1 bed + objects". I've also seen people infer that because streaming Atmos is carried on a 5.1 DD+ track, that implies that "streaming DD+ Atmos has 5.1 channels + objects whereas TrueHD Atmos on Blu-rays is 7.1 + objects". I don't think that's accurate at all, and is a misunderstanding of how home Atmos works. Instead, I think that the 7.1 (or 5.1) mix literally ceases to exist once the Atmos OAR kicks in, it's completely broken apart into 11/13/15 objects/elements that are then rendered on the fly based on the speaker layout (again, with up to 9 of those elements mimicking channels).

Note the paragraph about delivery over TrueHD; it refers to the 7.1 mix as a "render of the objects" (i.e. it's a downmix, not the mix), and then later notes that when Atmos kicks in, it "losslessly reverses the downmixes and render to recreate the original spatially coded objects". In other words, the 7.1 render ceases to exist, it's converted back into the original output of the spatial coding process: 11/13/15 objects + an LFE channel/bed. The "7.1 channel render" and "the original spatially coded objects" are consistently referred to as mutually exclusive entities.

Dolby TrueHD: In this case, the spatially coded objects are losslessly delivered to consumer playback devices. Typically, the Dolby TrueHD encoder creates a bitstream containing the spatially coded objects, a 7.1-channel render of the objects, and 5.1-channel and 2-channel downmixes. The 7.1-, 5.1-, and 2 channel presentations are backward-compatible with legacy Dolby TrueHD decoders. A Dolby Atmos capable Dolby TrueHD decoder losslessly reverses the downmixes and render to recreate the original spatially coded objects. Dolby TrueHD also supports independent 7.1-, 5.1-, and 2-channel presentations of 7.1.

 

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(not picking on you specifically, Dan, just your comment spurred me to remember this) I'll raise up a minor nitpick that I didn't have a chance to follow up on from a few days back -- I think recent discussion of the info in the Atmos Renderer Guide has changed how we should be thinking of the structure of home Atmos mixes. It's a minor thing, but I do think it clarifies some of the behavior of home Atmos to think about it with the correct common framework of understanding.

TL;DR: We have tended over the years to think of home Atmos as "7.1 channels + objects", but I think it's more accurately "11, 13, or 15 objects (plus LFE), of which 7 or 9 of the objects mimic channels". In other words, the distinction you make between "7.1 channels (the standard base bed layer) and two fixed objects in the Top Middle position (acting as the two overhead bed channels from the theatrical session)" is actually a non-distinction. ALL NINE of those operate identically once the Atmos renderer kicks in, they ALL become "fixed objects acting as channels".

I've shared these screenshots before, but see below for the actual text / graphics in the Renderer Guide. There's a few important highlights:

- Note that beds + objects can be combined in the spatial coding process, there's no distinction once the process is done, just a set of 11/13/15 "elements". Any of the 9 "fixed" elements will behave as channels, but could be a combination of original bed content + any clustered objects. Again, no distinction between the ear level "channels" and the two Top Middle "channels" in this process.



- This next quote is important IMO, note the comment that "spatial coding converts bed channels to equivalent objects at predefined canonical locations" -- again, no distinction between ear level and overhead, they all map directly into a "fixed object" when converted into home Atmos format. And then it continues and explicitly recommends "configuring spatial coding with 11 to 15 output objects and one bed channel for the LFE". The posted metadata from the media files when this came up a few months back corroborates this is happening, as every Atmos mix posted showed 1 bed (LFE) and 11/13/15 objects.



- I also think there's a common false conflation with the 7.1 TrueHD downmix and the Atmos "bed" that has created this shared misconception that "home Atmos = 7.1 bed + objects". I've also seen people infer that because streaming Atmos is carried on a 5.1 TrueHD downmix, that implies that "streaming Atmos has 5.1 channels + objects whereas TrueHD Atmos on Blu-rays is 7.1 + objects". I don't think that's accurate at all, and is a misunderstanding of how home Atmos works. Instead, I think that the 7.1 (or 5.1) mix literally ceases to exist once the Atmos OAR kicks in, it's completely broken apart into 11/13/15 objects/elements that are then rendered on the fly based on the speaker layout (again, with up to 9 of those elements mimicking channels).

Note the paragraph about delivery over TrueHD; it refers to the 7.1 mix as a "render of the objects" (i.e. it's a downmix, not the mix), and then later notes that when Atmos kicks in, it "losslessly reverses the downmixes and render to recreate the original spatially coded objects". In other words, the 7.1 render ceases to exist, it's converted back into the original output of the spatial coding process: 11/13/15 objects + an LFE channel/bed. The "7.1 channel render" and "the original spatially coded objects" are consistently referred to as mutually exclusive entities.




I'm of the opinion (of course it's in hindsight given what we know now) that Dolby moved too quickly to add Dolby Atmos to the more limited Blu-ray spec and shoe horn it with existing TrueHD specs at the time rather than hold off for the BDA's next implementation of UHD Blu-ray. Given that UHD Blu-ray was to have a)greater storage and b) greater bandwidth, the immersive home format wouldn't have had to rely quite so heavily on spatial coding as you would have had more room for discrete 3D objects (also there's the fact that video is usually not allocated with as much bandwidth during encoding anyway even with the capability of 100 Megabits/sec peaks). Perhaps, objects would not have been necessary at all for a consumer immersive format and a lossless 22.2 channel (or similar) format layout (sort of like the NHK proposal, but without the center rear surround as this is not a good speaker position anyway) could have taken its place. Therefore, you wouldn't have this problem of studios locking Atmos mixes to 11.1 or 13.1 like they sometimes do (or have to do with DTS: X). Plus, this 20+ channel layout would cover most every home theater you could conceive of since the majority could not afford luxury private screening rooms and there most clients would opt for cinema gear anyway.
 

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The promise of object-audio was that what you described wouldn't be necessary -- the mix natively scales to any layout. When you hear a top notch Atmos mix it's clear that 15 elements is sufficient to create fantastic immersive audio on a home theater layout even with 15+ speakers. The problem isn't the technology, it's how it's being used. And, anecdotally, it's an outcome which Dolby was not anticipating and isn't happy about.
 
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The promise of object-audio was that what you described wouldn't be necessary -- the mix natively scales to any layout. When you hear a top notch Atmos mix it's clear that 15 elements is sufficient to create fantastic immersive audio on a home theater layout even with 15+ speakers. The problem isn't the technology, it's how it's being used. And, anecdotally, it's an outcome which Dolby was not anticipating and isn't happy about.
But weren't Dolby Labs the ones who added the "feature" of locked Atmos encodes that they are now not happy about?? Talk about shooting your own toes off!
 

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I have to agree with the many comments about disappointing Atmos and extend that to surround sound in general. There are too many mixes that simply do not take advantage of what is possible. Atmos is by definition supposed to be 'atmospheric' but often is not. That is forsaken for a largely stereo mix with occasional audio 'bling', by which I mean e.g. the helicopter that zooms by. Then basic stereo again once it's gone.

Jungles are noisy places, with sound ALL AROUND. But in even an Atmos movie the sounds mainly emanate from the front, with just the occasional bird flying past (like the helicopter example). But with a decent surround setup, all those jungle sounds should be all around you, that's what would make it truly immersive and 'atmospheric' and encourage the viewer to feel like they are actually there, because that's what it's like in real life. A real jungle doesn't concentrate all the sound from in front of you. It's background noise and that means all around you. I have never heard what I would consider a true to life mix of this sort of movie scene.

As is typical in so many walks of life these days, the producers of prepared content we experience seem to not be interested in realism, but concentrate instead on flashy effects. Whether that be in the audio or visual realm. The statement (by producers of said content) that true immersive audio is too distracting is utter tosh. What is distracting is a helicopter or bird that suddenly appears behind you while all the rest of the sound is concentrated at the front. Same problem with 3D video. Mostly used for flashy 'shock' effects rather than to make the experience more lifelike which is what it should be used for.

I've been messing with home theatre surround sound for almost 30 years and yet, even with the advent of clever and extremely capable technologies like Atmos etc, I still find myself occasionally running the AVR's 'test tone' around all the speakers, just to confirm they are all still working. Maybe I should give in, throw away all the decent AV kit and just get a soundbar, to suit what the sound engineers seem to be aiming at.
 

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But weren't Dolby Labs the ones who added the "feature" of locked Atmos encodes that they are now not happy about?? Talk about shooting your own toes off!
I'm pretty sure it is more of an unintended abuse of the Dolby tools as such a recording involves more steps in the workflow. First you do the proper object based encode, then render it (play it) in the target "printed" layout where those speaker outputs locations are recorded to be used as individual fixed objects in the final encode.
 
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***RE: "So again. Surround. Very small market. Atmos. Small market of a small market."

That's their loss. I understand your well founded observation but with a little bit of effort, you can make most home Dolby Atmos layouts work. And what a huge difference in bringing to life to a movie or a TV show with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack via streaming & ARC & DD+ or a Bluray disc. I remember the first time I heard Saving Private Ryan in 5.1. A real game changer. As I've said before, outside of the switch from SD to HDTV, I can't think of anything else that has provided a bigger bang for the buck and enjoyment.

Yes, there will be the majority of home owners that use a soundbar or won't invest in any speaker setup at all. Part of that is education (Dolby Atmos isn't as complex and confusing as some folks think) as well as cost considerations (AVR/speaker cost/room limitations.) But most AVR's are Dolby Atmos capable. Hopefully, new house construction builds in wiring for an extended speaker layout in the main room or a separate, dedicated theater room. It always gets down to cost and what you value. How can Dolby expand this "small market of a small market" beyond us home enthusiasts?
 

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Jungles are noisy places, with sound ALL AROUND. But in even an Atmos movie the sounds mainly emanate from the front, with just the occasional bird flying past (like the helicopter example). But with a decent surround setup, all those jungle sounds should be all around you, that's what would make it truly immersive and 'atmospheric' and encourage the viewer to feel like they are actually there, because that's what it's like in real life. A real jungle doesn't concentrate all the sound from in front of you. It's background noise and that means all around you. I have never heard what I would consider a true to life mix of this sort of movie scene.

Same. After having watched a lot of atmos content, I still didn't get this feeling of getting surrounded especially during these scenes. I always used to think it was due to my setup with only 2 overhead speakers that none of them took advantage of. What really surprised me was the way DTS:X content sounded overall. I watched bourne trilogy and throughout most of the movies, I really felt like I was in the middle of the city with vehicle movements and ambient noise was all over me. This was even clearly felt during chase sequences. Also for atmos movies, I had to bump my overhead speakers by 2 or 3 db, but it wasn't necessary for DTS:X.

I'm planning to watch the entire harry potter collection with dts:x audio as I heard good things about that too. :)
 

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***RE: "So again. Surround. Very small market. Atmos. Small market of a small market."

That's their loss. I understand your well founded observation but with a little bit of effort, you can make most home Dolby Atmos layouts work. And what a huge difference in bringing to life to a movie or a TV show with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack via streaming & ARC & DD+ or a Bluray disc. I remember the first time I heard Saving Private Ryan in 5.1. A real game changer. As I've said before, outside of the switch from SD to HDTV, I can't think of anything else that has provided a bigger bang for the buck and enjoyment.

Yes, there will be the majority of home owners that use a soundbar or won't invest in any speaker setup at all. Part of that is education (Dolby Atmos isn't as complex and confusing as some folks think) as well as cost considerations (AVR/speaker cost/room limitations.) But most AVR's are Dolby Atmos capable. Hopefully, new house construction builds in wiring for an extended speaker layout in the main room or a separate, dedicated theater room. It always gets down to cost and what you value. How can Dolby expand this "small market of a small market" beyond us home enthusiasts?
Say what you will, but that's where COVID-19 may present an opportunity in the midst of the pandemic. If the large cinema model becomes an albatross due to the need for social distancing and (at least as important) the potential risk factor of contracting the disease for moviegoers, getting a blast of the "good old days" looks a lot better when you have a PJ, screen and an AVR with supporting speakers and sub(s). You don't need to exactly own a Trinnov (although it's recommended LOL) to do a reasonable job for an HT with a 7.1.4 system, a late model AVR that supports Atmos, and a used or inexpensive PJ + screen. All you need is a separate room or at least one with where you can have a drop-down screen (hell, you could do a bedsheet on a wall as a rough start) and a portable PJ. And in the area of perfect not being the enemy of the good, those Dolby Atmos Enabled speakers that it was fashionable to mock a few years ago look a LOT better for a midrange home A/V users with a spare room and minimal design skills.

It won't be like anything we'd do as best practice, but it can be affordable enough to be in the reach of at least upper middle class America. And if the studios are forced to move to a model where Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ are primary delivery vehicles, this change may eventually start to happen. The economics of how movie releases are priced, and what kind of movies get released will need some changes, though.
 

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***RE: "So again. Surround. Very small market. Atmos. Small market of a small market."

That's their loss. I understand your well founded observation but with a little bit of effort, you can make most home Dolby Atmos layouts work. And what a huge difference in bringing to life to a movie or a TV show with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack via streaming & ARC & DD+ or a Bluray disc. I remember the first time I heard Saving Private Ryan in 5.1. A real game changer. As I've said before, outside of the switch from SD to HDTV, I can't think of anything else that has provided a bigger bang for the buck and enjoyment.

Yes, there will be the majority of home owners that use a soundbar or won't invest in any speaker setup at all. Part of that is education (Dolby Atmos isn't as complex and confusing as some folks think) as well as cost considerations (AVR/speaker cost/room limitations.) But most AVR's are Dolby Atmos capable. Hopefully, new house construction builds in wiring for an extended speaker layout in the main room or a separate, dedicated theater room. It always gets down to cost and what you value. How can Dolby expand this "small market of a small market" beyond us home enthusiasts?
Say what you will, but that's where COVID-19 may present an opportunity in the midst of the pandemic. If the large cinema model becomes an albatross due to the need for social distancing and (at least as important) the potential risk factor of contracting the disease for moviegoers, getting a blast of the "good old days" looks a lot better when you have a PJ, screen and an AVR with supporting speakers and sub(s). You don't need to exactly own a Trinnov (although it's recommended LOL) to do a reasonable job for an HT with a 7.1.4 system, a late model AVR that supports Atmos, and a used or inexpensive PJ + screen. All you need is a separate room or at least one with where you can have a drop-down screen (hell, you could do a bedsheet on a wall as a rough start) and a portable PJ. And in the area of perfect not being the enemy of the good, those Dolby Atmos Enabled speakers that it was fashionable to mock a few years ago look a LOT better for a midrange home A/V users with a spare room and minimal design skills.

It won't be like anything we'd do as best practice, but it can be affordable enough to be in the reach of at least upper middle class America. And if the studios are forced to move to a model where Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ are primary delivery vehicles, this change may eventually start to happen. The economics of how movie releases are priced, and what kind of movies get released will need some changes, though.
The trouble with everything being produced for the small screen is that more and more audio mixes will be designed for the lowest common denominator, mainly soundbars and TV speakers. The bulk of the mixes will no longer be monitored in large auditoriums with powerful audio systems and multi speaker arrays in order to shave production costs.

Our A/V hobby and audio mixing and presentation quality in general are going to be hit as badly as the economy.
 

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The trouble with everything being produced for the small screen is that more and more audio mixes will be designed for the lowest common denominator, mainly soundbars and TV speakers. The bulk of the mixes will no longer be monitored in large auditoriums with powerful audio systems and multi speaker arrays in order to shave production costs.

Our A/V hobby and audio mixing and presentation quality in general are going to be hit as badly as the economy.
***You're correct about the movie theater industry. From "The Motley Fool" last month - "The prognosis isn't getting any better for the movie theater industry. AMC (NYSE:AMC) -- in a letter obtained by Deadline -- wrote to its landlords late last month, explaining that it will stop paying rent this month. The sobering report finds Loop Capital analyst Alan Gould downgrading the stock to "sell" on Wednesday, concerned about the liquidity of the country's largest multiplex operator.

AMC argues that its theaters have been closed since mid-March. It has furloughed 25,000 employees, reduced salaries of its general managers, and slashed payroll at its corporate office. It can't afford to pay the lease on theaters it can't use. Gould sees bankruptcy a "distinct" possibility for AMC, and even if it can line up financing, it will be highly dilutive. He is lowering his price target on the stock from $4 to $1."

Like Mr. Drucker said - - the entire motion picture industry "model" will have to change with the temporary home delivery of first run films. (But not at the ridiculous price of $20 for a movie like the "Invisible Man" from Comcast. They have to be out of their minds.) I'm not sure how much production costs can be saved on the audio side - - it would seem that on the video side, location selection as well as actors' salaries would make much more of an impact on the bottom line.

I do know one thing - - cash will be "King" in the next couple of years and you'll be able to get some incredible deals on lots of things besides home theater equipment. A very unfortunate outcome of the Coronavirus. I just don't see peoples' spending habits going back to what they were before COVID-19. Many folks will be digging out from the lost income.
 
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