07 Nov 3D Surround Sound – Dolby Atmos: What Is It and Why Do I Need It?
3D Surround Sound
For the last three years movie studios have been enhancing the soundtracks of most of the movies they are releasing with Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound. The enhancement is related to the addition of a three dimensional sound field while mixing and engineering the audio for most major films. This means that beside enjoying the left to right sound field and the front to rear sound field, we now have an additional floor to ceiling field of sound as well (talk about an improvement from your normal flat screen sound!). So, during a movie scene that features a rain or hail storm the sound of the rain and hail will be heard from speakers installed in the ceiling and appear to fall into the room from above the viewers head. A helicopter can take off from a landing pad and zoom into the sky. The sound of the copter blades will be heard from the floor level speakers and end up in the ceiling mounted speakers. This third dimension is a very enveloping, and makes a significant improvement to the standard 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby Digital systems that PAC has been installing for many years.
What is required for 3D Surround Sound?
The most optimum and cost effective approach to designing and installing a Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound system would include the following equipment. A Dolby Atmos equipped A/V receiver, with 9 amp channels, three speakers located in the front of the room, and at ear level, while seated. The center speaker needs to be below or above the video display screen. The left and right speakers should flank the video display, as wide as the room furnishings will allow. Another pair of speakers must be installed behind the seating area, at ear level. Two more pairs of speakers will be installed flush in the ceiling. One pair in the front of the room, above the ones at ear level. The other pair will be install in the ceiling above the ear level rear speakers. Add at least one subwoofer, and you are ready to go. I have just described a 5.1.4 version of Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound. There are many other variations, most being more sophisticated than this one. The key is to hire an a/v specialist to help plan the system design and room layout. It is also possible to upgrade an existing Dolby Digital system to include Atmos 3D surround sound, or to start with basic Dolby Digital, and add Atmos technology at a later date. Visit the PAC showroom in downtown Millburn to audition and experience our 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos, 4K super system.