Ee Metropole Studios in West London built a Dolby Certified 3D audio recording facility – with results that left me in audio nirvana.
Moviegoers are well used to the overall effect of Dolby Atmos 360-degree surround sound, but experiencing it with music recordings has been a revelation – a revelation that, along with Dolby, Apple and Amazon Music, now offers compatible surround sound. Dolby Atmos. mixtures, can’t wait to breed at home.
What is Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology designed for theaters that envelops the viewer in sound from all angles, through high and / or low speakers, overhead and traditional surround sound. The effect can be strangely realistic; if it rains on the screen, it looks like you get wet.
How do you build your own Atmos surround sound system?
To build your own Atmos surround sound system, you need an Atmos compatible TV or AV receiver (Sony and Denon make these) and then, depending on space (and budget), speakers. surround sound or a compatible soundbar. Having HDMI ports is essential, and if you are using a sound bar, your TV needs an eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) port.
If you’re after a seamless look or a dedicated movie theater, flush-mounted designs like the Lithe Audio Pro Series Wi-Fi Ceiling Speakers (from Â£ 599) work brilliantly, but most Atmos speaker sets integrate speakers upward into their front speakers, bouncing sound off the ceiling and toward your listening position to trick your ears into believing the sound is coming from above your head. You can also upgrade existing surround speaker sets with additional Atmos speakers for brands like Monitor Audio and KEF (richersounds.com).
More speakers usually mean more compelling surround sound, but in recent years soundbar technology has come a long way and designs such as the Sennheiser Ambeo (Â£ 2,199) have revolutionized what is possible from a single box.
That said, at Â£ 499, Denon’s Home Sound Bar 550 also looks impressive.
Atmos compatible streaming is still new, but more content is in the process of being remastered. Subscribers to Apple Music can hear selected songs in spatial audio with Dolby Atmos using Apple TV 4K speakers, MacBook and HomePod. Amazon Music HD subscribers can stream directly to an Echo Studio speaker (Â£ 159, amazon.fr), while Tidal subscribers (tide.com) can stream to A / V receiver and speakers for the full Atmos experience.
Better compatible surround speakers and soundbars
Amazon Echo Studio
While it may not match the immersive audio of a room full of speakers, this voice-activated smart speaker has five speakers that emit sound in all directions. It is the most affordable way to enjoy Atmos music at home.
The Sonos Arc uses 11 drivers, including up-triggered ones that bounce sound off your walls and ceiling and give you a stunningly realistic Dolby Atmos effect. Dynamic, balanced and brilliant for movies and music.
Focal Chora 826-D
With upward-facing speakers mounted above the floor-standing speakers, this luxury design from French brand Focal offers one of the best ways to enjoy the multi-directional performance of Dolby Atmos.