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Media Entertainment Hardware Technology

Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was? 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the audiophiles-despair dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Object-based audio is supposed to be the future of surround sound. The ability to pan sound around the room in 3D space as opposed to fixed channel assignments of yesterday's decoders. While this makes a lot of sense at the cinema, it's less likely consumers rush to mount speakers on their ceilings or put little speaker modules on top of their existing ones to bounce sound around the room. Leading experts think this will be just a fad like 3DTV was. What do you think?
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Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

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  • What do I think? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Saturday August 16, 2014 @07:03PM (#47686477)

    I think: "File Not Found".

    Bad linky...

  • Ambisonics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @07:17PM (#47686535)

    A more rational pannable surround could be implemented with just four speakers using Ambisonics [wikipedia.org]. It isn't patentable and doesn't sell lots of speakers so it will continue to be ignored.

    • Re:Ambisonics (Score:4, Informative)

      by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @07:30PM (#47686587)

      The primary developer of Ambisonics was Micheal Gerzon, one of the best minds to ever work in digital audio. His academic background was in the field of axiomatic quantum theory.

      Aside from Ambisonics he devloped

      Noise Shaping Dither
      Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP format used in DVD-A)
      Soundfield Microphone

    • Re:Ambisonics (Score:5, Informative)

      by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @09:27PM (#47686977)

      The problem with Ambisonics is it tends to favor a strong Sweet Spot [wikipedia.org], which is OK in a home theater but will fail in a large room, where people are seated to the four corners of the space. Speakers near the walls will always tend to be perceived as louder, and the further you are from the tuned center of the room, the more the sound field will appear to be warped toward the closest wall. This happens with 5.1 but the effect is mitigated by the fact that there's a center speaker behind the screen, and the mixers have individual control over speaker levels and panner divergence.

      Ambisonic mixes are almost by definition not mono-compatible and don't allow the mixers to address sounds to individual speakers with unlimited panner divergence. There's always some situation where you want a sound to come from every speaker in the room, or to come from speakers on the opposite sides of the room, with equal intensity: the latter is impossible with B-format (and only possible in the limit with n channels), and the former is impossible with any theoretical pure ambisonic sound system.

  • Here is TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Matt_H (34421) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @07:20PM (#47686547) Homepage

    The missing link is http://www.audioholics.com/audio-technologies/5-reasons-dolby-atmos-is-doa

  • what i think? static placement is so AARP.
  • by sjames (1099) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @07:22PM (#47686559) Homepage

    until the Sontarans invade.

  • I click the link and get sent back to the /. article so I click the link again and back again to /. ... help!!! How do I make it stop?????

  • 3DTV a fad? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jd2112 (1535857) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @07:48PM (#47686645)
    That would imply that it was popular at some point.
    • It also implies that places like WalMart dont still have racks dedicated to 3D movies or that they not still being released. I buy them all the time. Old movies that were converted always look better than new ones cause they weren't thinking od 3D ahead of time. The scenes look more natural.

      • by alen (225700)

        the only value in 3d movies is that in some of them it's the only way to get a digital copy on itunes or vudu

      • It also implies that places like WalMart dont still have racks dedicated to 3D movies or that they not still being released. I buy them all the time.

        There is exactly one movie where 3D makes it better. So unless you're buying another copy of Gravity every time you go into a WalMart, you're a fool.

  • by anthony_greer (2623521) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @08:01PM (#47686687)

    I love good sound, i would be willing to drop 5x or more on sound what a TV costs, but i don't, ya know why? cause I now have the cash but don't see any high end content. I am locked to Comcast which means shit audio streams even on HBO and other high end channels, netflix is better but not much. For music, a 40 year old tech, CD, is still king because all of the streaming and download services, like my choice, Google Music, all are over compressed and bitstarved.

    Blue Ray, DVD-A, SA-CD and any other truly good sounding form of content delivery seem to be flopping because they are tied to physical media.We need high end streaming and downloadable content but this will never happen as long as people can be tricked into thinking Beats and other poorly configured experiances are somehow "good".

    • I learned about people like you in school! They said you could tell apart Monster Cables from coat hangers half the time, you bought both Super Audio CDs released, and your speakers are made of gold particles supersuspended in a quantum magnetic field. Is it true extinct whales sing to you in your sleep?

  • Stuff like this and 3D only works in big rooms

    and by big is cinema sized rooms

  • In order to be a fad, there has to be some significant adoption ("pet rocks", for example). Not gonna happen, IMO, with Dolby Atmos (tm). I've got a fairly extensive last gen' home setup (1080p, not 4K; 7.1, not 9.3), and there's nothing I've seen or heard that encourages me to "upgrade" to even those levels, much less the whole room redesign needed for Atmos. I'm sure there will some adoption by those who simply "must" own the latest tech, then watch cable/satellite 720p, but it won't be enough to const

  • Pssssh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @08:23PM (#47686771)

    It's not even a fad - it's dead on arrival. Most people don't even use 5.1 speakers. Hell, most don't even use 2.1. Anything that requires that much dedication of the room to audio is not going to sell to the mass market. Period.

    3D TV at least had a vague hope of succeeding in the mass market. If they can ditch the glasses, they might actually succeed. But people are lazy and don't want to put any effort into their mindless entertainment. Putting glasses on to watch a movie was too much for them. Do you really think setting up a shitload of speakers all around the room is going to pass?

    • And most of those who do have even 2.1 don't have it set up right due to room layout. For it to work you need your TV to be centered on one wall, and a sofa on the opposite wall. In many shapes of living room, including my own, that isn't possible. We just use the speakers in the TV.

    • I have a "2.0" system - no need for a subwoofer if the main speakers can shake the floor.

      Pretty much all music I listen to is either in mono or stereo and the system is primarily for music. Stereo for movies is good enough too (for me).

      I don't care for 3D TV unless they start producing real 3D (a picture that looks different when looked at from different angles).

    • It's not even a fad - it's dead on arrival. Most people don't even use 5.1 speakers. Hell, most don't even use 2.1. Anything that requires that much dedication of the room to audio is not going to sell to the mass market. Period.

      3D TV at least had a vague hope of succeeding in the mass market. If they can ditch the glasses, they might actually succeed. But people are lazy and don't want to put any effort into their mindless entertainment. Putting glasses on to watch a movie was too much for them. Do you really think setting up a shitload of speakers all around the room is going to pass?

      Perhaps you're right. It could be that most people do not have more than 2.1. That being said, most of my friends and family have 5.1 surround. That's largely because we either enjoy watching movies or, in the case of my brother-in-law, enjoys playing video games on his PS3. That being said, I agree that more than 5.1 would be overkill for the average family and would appeal only to those who either have a large amount of discretionary spending or to movie buffs who feel that they have to get the full i

    • But people are lazy and don't want to put any effort into their mindless entertainment.

      It's hard to judge tone on the internet, but it sounds like you're saying that like it's a bad thing. The whole point of mindless entertainment is it's mindlessness and lazyness. I do mindful things all day and when I'm totally fried at the end of the day it's great to be able to order a takeaway and watching something utterly mindless.

      Putting glasses on to watch a movie was too much for them. Do you really think setting

  • When I built my house, we had a large living room - 20x30 feet. Not grand because it's function was mostly solar. I installed four speakers in the ceiling. They were arranged L/R/L/R going around the room. This was quite sufficient to fool you into thinking it was surround and things moved from right to left. In short, quite unnecessary technical clutter proposed here.
  • 1080 HD and 5.1 audio are more than adequate for immersive viewing experiences. Most don't need or want more and even if they did they're certainly now willing to pay for it.
  • Anything over 2.1 makes music sound Terrible. So I don't bother. Go 2.1, and spend the money making sure those 2 speakers and the sub are of quality, screw the surround.

    • Anything over 2.1 makes music sound Terrible.

      Unless it's been mixed for 5.1. War of the Worlds sounds awesome on SACD.

      • War of the Worlds sounds awesome on SACD.

        My good man I've only ever listened to it on vinyl (and tape, but kindly forget I said that).

        Before you think I'm snobbish, that was the copy I listened to when I was a kid that my parents bought way before CDs were a thing. I was going to buy it on CD, but never quite got around to it because I was always disappointed at the sad, shrunk size of the artwork.

        That I think it the main advantage of vinyl: War of the Worlds looks way WAY better.

  • Cinavia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by citizenr (871508) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @11:17PM (#47687357) Homepage

    Cinavia killed any future sound innovation.

    Whats the point of dolby n-teen when you can HEAR the fucking DRM squeaking and reverbing in the background?

  • I'd say that we won't know the answer for a while more, provided Dolby don't ditch the tech before that. Firstly, humans are generally much more visual than auditive: a brand new TV set with vivid colors, large contrast and a sharp image will be a much easier and more obvious sell/upgrade than a new sound set. Not only are we better wired to notice the difference, it's also much more easily demonstrated in a shop, whereas a sound system normally needs a closed room with not too horrible sound properties to
  • I've heard Dolby's positional audio, being driven from a game, in the Dolby Labs screening room in San Francisco. It sounds great. You can hear people sneaking up behind you in the game. You can hear someone walking around you. There's a real sense of presence.

    That's in a room built, at a cost of millions, as a demo for Dolby's audio technology. The room is on a separate foundation from the rest of the building, with an inner set of vibration isolated walls. The room acoustics are very good; you don't ne

    • by Tapewolf (1639955)

      I've heard Dolby's positional audio, being driven from a game, in the Dolby Labs screening room in San Francisco. It sounds great. You can hear people sneaking up behind you in the game. You can hear someone walking around you. There's a real sense of presence.

      Before Creative destroyed them and threw away the technology behind it, Aureal had this capability 15 years ago, even when downmixed to stereo headphones. Playing System Shock 2 and suddenly having a voice behind you suddenly scream "THE MANY ARE STRONG!!" will make you jump out of your chair.

      • ...and if Aureal had this 15 years ago, where's the money and why bother? Or is it like 3D that keeps coming back every few years as a fad only to go away again?

        You're 100% right - all this has happened before, and all this will happen again.
      • Fuck yes. I still have my a3d2 card.
  • Seems people are more interested in the tech than the actual content. If I'm listeing to speech my attention is on what the speaker is saying, not where in the room they appear to be. If it's music, I'm more interested in hearing all the instruments and the dynamics than any positioning that I wouldn't know about anyway.

    If you have visual cues then this positioning information will be more effective than playing with sound phase relationships etc. If you don't have such cues then does it matter at all?
  • Most TV's out there are 3D now and most new content is 3D. 3D showings at the theater are generally packed.

    I appreciate it, you fall into one of the three groups who don't like 3D. People with glasses, People who are super sensitive and get headaches even with the new great refresh rates, or People who formed an opinion without having seen modern 3D. For the rest of us, we are oddballs who fall into the "life is in 3D therefore a quality 3D picture is more realistic."

    They did seriously overrate 3D in the pi
  • I was in a cinema recently with Atmos sound and to be honest I didn't think there was a huge deal of difference to other systems which offer spatial sound. It was nice boomy sound but I wasn't thinking this is nothing like I've ever heard before. It was more or less the same.

    I find it unsurprising that Atmos will fall on its ass in home cinema. Who is going to plaster their walls and ceilings with speakers?

  • As someone who watches ASMR videos, the ability to control the direction where the viewer experiences sounds coming from is a really great thing, and if it's used properly it could be really beneficial to the entertainment experience.

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