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

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the audiophiles-despair dept.

Media 197

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?

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

What do I think? (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 months ago | (#47686477)

I think: "File Not Found".

Bad linky...

Re:What do I think? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47686509)

By bad, you mean a link back to a prior shudder Slashdot story, then yes. Maybe they fixed it.

This smacks of the sort of home movie experience purchased by people who already have the newest hyper-resolution televisions.

For the If it's this or the light bill crowd, market share will be on the order of shoe size.

Re:What do I think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686721)

Try that link again, bot from the homepage and the article. My guess is that you typed your troll before trying the actual link.

Re:What do I think? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47687163)

I'm not sure

Re:What do I think? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686751)

Clearly you are a moron, idiot, pinhead, and probably about 16.

Amazingly, from the article itself, the link leads to the SAME fucking article.

Re:What do I think? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47687175)

I like

Re:What do I think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686877)

Perhaps you didn't check the actual link before posting your comment, or perhaps you meant to post as Anon because you wanted to troll.

The link is in fact broken (for now - though they will fix it eventually). Here is what the adults think it might be: http://www.audioholics.com/aud... [audioholics.com]

Re:What do I think? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47687169)

Your tone.

Re:What do I think? (1)

ShaunC (203807) | about 3 months ago | (#47686677)

ARR HREF="http://fuck.beta, me hearties!
>

im a music mixer in hollywood... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686483)

and yes, you dont have enough speakers and amps for atmos at home. sound bars wont make it. hell, most people i know have their 5.1 systems setup wrong.

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686521)

and yes, you dont have enough speakers and amps for atmos at home. sound bars wont make it. hell, most people i know have their 5.1 systems setup wrong.

I have more speakers than your puny mind can even imagine. Don't assume things about people.

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686689)

Facebook friends don't count as speakers.

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (3, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#47686813)

I have 2 speakers. It's the right setup. Center channel is clear, since they have good stereo imaging and each "object" in the front stage sounds like it comes from right where the mixer put it - you don't need more than 2 speakers when your listening positions are close together. (Well, unless it's a badly mixed movie and you can't hear voices over the noise, in which case being able to boost the center channel would actually help a lot).

As far as the rear? I bothered with rear speakers for years - what a waste. Nothing but noise there. The novelty of hearing a chopper fly over gets old fast. My living room is cluttered enough without that crap.

Re: im a music mixer in hollywood... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686817)

Clearly you aren't a gamer.

Re: im a music mixer in hollywood... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687083)

That's a good thing. There's enough of you fucking losers as it is,

Re: im a music mixer in hollywood... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687187)

oh so what should he be doing? Throwing money at girls in the hope for a little action every now and then? Bearing the mantle of marriage and family while society spits in his face?

Gamers might not be at the top socially, but they're definitely above the beta-provider-slaving majority in terms of life contentment.

Re: im a music mixer in hollywood... (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 months ago | (#47687281)

Gamers use headphones.

Re: im a music mixer in hollywood... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 months ago | (#47687417)

Come on man, most people I know who game have either 5.1 or 6.1 setups these days. Most gamers who use headphones do so because either other people whine and complain about it, or they play competitively, or play MMO's. Headphones are nice and all, but they don't approach a surround setup when you can enjoy it to it's fullest.

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687019)

So tell me, how recently were you married? Don't be a wuss. You don't always have to justify her expectations as something you want, too.

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (5, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 3 months ago | (#47686945)

and yes, you dont have enough speakers and amps for atmos at home. sound bars wont make it. hell, most people i know have their 5.1 systems setup wrong.

I'm a sound designer in Hollywood, my credits include Men in Black 3 and Zero Dark Thirty.

The main promise of ATMOS was that it wouldn't matter how many speakers you had -- a mixer could prepare a final mix in Atmos in his 60-horn room, but then when the bitstream on the DCP or Blu-Ray was decoded in the theater or home, it wouldn't matter if the end-user had a 60-speaker Atmos rig, a 9.1, a Barco Auro speaker system, a 5.1, a stereo or even a mono. The Dolby renderering algos would simply take the panned objects and automatically render the correct audio stream for each speaker, as a function of the speaker's position relative to the listener. The Dolby RMU is just a glorified OpenAL audio engine, it gets fed audio streams that have an alt/azimuth data envelope, and this envelope is transformed down to whatever speaker array the end user has.

What's even more interesting is you could have a significantly more complex speaker array than the person who mixed it -- maybe he mixed it with 32 speakers, and you have some future-ready system with 100 -- and the renderer will still do the Right Thing and expand the spatial resolution accordingly. Atmos mixes are future-proof for any simple, non-phase-related speaker array.

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (4, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#47687043)

What could be done by reversing this process from the stream? There's a nifty trick on surround sound - some sounds you'll find the center channel is used for lyrics and the sides for instrumentals in songs, making it trivial to isolate them and get clean audio for redubbing with. If it works as you describe, would that make it easy to pull out individual instruments or effects? That could be useful for hobbyist remixers.

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (4, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 3 months ago | (#47687245)

The way Atmos works is it can carry up to 128 individual audio channels. 20 of these are set aside for two discrete 9.1 mixes (mixers choice what goes in those), the remaining 108 are set aside for individual pannable objects. In the file themselves, these audio objects are full-rez and lossless; however, these objects don't "live" all the time, the mixer can use them for a few seconds here and there. Nothing as general as "all the dialogue" or "all the car sound effects" lives in the pannable objects throughout the entire project.

There are discrete sounds in the Atmos bitstream itself though, and in principle it would make remixing easier, so I suspect you'll never see an Atmos bitstream in a consumer format without DRM.

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (3, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about 3 months ago | (#47687423)

Paul,

When has DRM seriously hindered anyone (but legitimate consumers) from accessing desired content?

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (1)

Xipher (868293) | about 3 months ago | (#47687301)

I would equate it to how a lot of sound is done in 1st/3rd person video games.

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (3, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | about 3 months ago | (#47687325)

What I'd like to hear is an orchestra recording which mics each instrument and gives each of them a channel. It'd be interesting to see how well Atmos can recreate the sound stage of a full orchestra.

If it can't do that properly, then it's a useless fad, because that's just presenting a "static" sound image, not a moving one. I have a strong suspicion it relies on moving sounds to mask the fact that it's not very accurate about positioning them.

Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47687477)

here's the problem - my major concern is whether it will increase my enjoyment of Maru videos. If this mindset is more common in the marketplace than the multi-speaker mindset, then atmos has a problem.

Sound is a fad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686505)

The return of silent films is coming, mark my words.

3dTV is a flop? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686533)

Then why do all the TVs over 50 inches include it?

Re:3dTV is a flop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686563)

Then why do all the TVs over 50 inches include it?

This is Slashdot. They don't recognize those pesky "facts".

Re:3dTV is a flop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686693)

I have the "feature" on my 50 Inch, never used it. Its not "3d" at best its 2d Iso.

Re:3dTV is a flop? (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 3 months ago | (#47686789)

If you gotta wear glasses, it's not 3D.

Re:3dTV is a flop? (0)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 months ago | (#47687295)

Huh. Should I get LASIK to improve my depth perception, then?

Re:3dTV is a flop? (1)

PNutts (199112) | about 3 months ago | (#47686729)

Then why do all the TVs over 50 inches include it?

Not true.

Re:3dTV is a flop? (2)

dugancent (2616577) | about 3 months ago | (#47686911)

Because it's another notch I the feature list that no one uses, or cares about.

That said, I have a sixty inch I just bought that doesn't have 3D.

Re:3dTV is a flop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687009)

They don't. In fact, the majority don't. A quick search of fry's for their first category of TV over 50" says 32 have 3D, 47 don't.

There's also lots of stats you can find out there that back up that not only do the cheaper non-3D ones sell better, but that when people do buy a 3D TV it wasn't the 3D feature they bought it for, and they didn't see it as a positive.

Re:3dTV is a flop? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 3 months ago | (#47687483)

because it is nearly free to add from a hardware perspective, and some companies believe it helps them when people spec check at the wall of tvs at best buy. here are my major concerns for an hdtv:
1) how quickly does it turn on when I press the power button?
2) what is the remote like?

want to see a pissed off best buy drone? ask to see the remote for a particular TV.

Re:3dTV is a flop? (1)

ArcadeNut (85398) | about 3 months ago | (#47687497)

Not all of them do. I have a 65" and it's "3D Ready" (like a lot of the TV's), which means for another $400 you can upgrade your set to have 3D. The upgrade usually consists of a box you plug into the TV and a set of glasses.

No thanks.

Ambisonics (4, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 3 months ago | (#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 (3, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 months ago | (#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 (4, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 3 months ago | (#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.

Re:Ambisonics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687397)

Ambisonics tries to give uniform spatial resolution in a sphere around the listener. People don't tend to have their speakers in a uniform sphere, so a lot of the spatial resolution of ambisonics is wasted in a typical setup. I think the atmos home theatre stuff actually allows for something a little bit like ambisonics, but with some clever stuff done to give better resolution around where people actually put speakers.

Here is TFA (5, Informative)

Matt_H (34421) | about 3 months ago | (#47686547)

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

Re:Here is TFA (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#47686855)

You do like this, OK?

<URL:http://www.audioholics.com/audio-technologies/5-reasons-dolby-atmos-is-doa>

http://www.audioholics.com/audio-technologies/5-reasons-dolby-atmos-is-doa [audioholics.com]

Re:Here is TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686921)

What the hell type of tag is that? I mean, it works, but what the hell? Is that Slashdot-specific, or did I miss some change to HTML?

Re:Here is TFA (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 3 months ago | (#47686967)

What the hell type of tag is that? I mean, it works, but what the hell? Is that Slashdot-specific, or did I miss some change to HTML?

He thinks Slashdot uses BBcode.

Re:Here is TFA (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 3 months ago | (#47687025)

It works because slashdot recognised the URL, and automatically made it clickable, rather than because of any design. You need to use html to get it a link to work correctly.

Re:Here is TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687065)

I just use the linkification plugin for firefox [mozilla.org] so even if the site doesn't automagically recognize a URL, my browser sitll figures it out.

Goin' Mobile (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 3 months ago | (#47686553)

what i think? static placement is so AARP.

It's all a lot of fun (4, Funny)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47686559)

until the Sontarans invade.

Re: It's all a lot of fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687237)

Haha, the first thing I thought of was the Atmos from Dr Who!

Stereo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686603)

I have two ears. I prefer 2 speakers.

Re: Stereo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686641)

Ever wondered how you can hear if the sound comes from infront or behind you with your two ears?

Re: Stereo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686731)

Nope. Your point?

Re: Stereo (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 3 months ago | (#47686737)

Ever wondered how you can hear if the sound comes from infront or behind you with your two ears?

You can't. You just think you can because you over-estimate your abilities. I encourage you to do an internet search for the relevant research. There was a slashdot story about it ~ 5 years ago.

Re: Stereo (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 3 months ago | (#47686749)

Yes, you can, because your head isn't perfectly still and your mind can use that information to pick up the location of the sound using only two ears and a handful of other sensory information.

Re: Stereo (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 3 months ago | (#47686825)

Actually I think some major research institution (I don't recall witch) was trying to understand how you can tell where a sound is coming from, and they were doing this as part of some kind of aerospace research to send directional audio cues to pilots. You can actually do it better than you probably think you can. They actually came up with a technique where they could map your ear canal by placing a speaker inside of it, and they could then make sounds seem like they're coming from different directions by altering them based on how they would end up by the time they hit your ear drum. Supposedly it worked pretty well. SRS from what I understand was developed based on this principle (but since it isn't unique to you, it doesn't work particularly well.)

Re: Stereo (1)

Time_Ngler (564671) | about 3 months ago | (#47686927)

Interesting, but I thought a lot of the way we determine the direction of sound is through triangulation, in combination with the delay it takes from sound to hit one ear and then the other. That's why when you try hard to listen for where something is coming from, you often instinctively tilt your head slightly. (and the time for sound to travel from one ear to the other is also why when you hear things underwater, you have trouble telling where they come from because sound travels faster in water than in air)

Re: Stereo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687073)

They actually came up with a technique where they could map your ear canal by placing a speaker inside of it, and they could then make sounds seem like they're coming from different directions by altering them based on how they would end up by the time they hit your ear drum

Binaural recording. [wikipedia.org]

Re: Stereo (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 3 months ago | (#47687125)

You can't. You just think you can because you over-estimate your abilities. I encourage you to do an internet search for the relevant research. There was a slashdot story about it ~ 5 years ago.

I did do an Internet search, and in fact found plenty [springer.com] of research [aip.org] that indicates [sciencedirect.com] humans and other mammals [physiology.org] can in fact localize sound in the vertical plane (i.e. whether it comes from in front of behind of you). Of course, it doesn't work for all sounds, but the capability is there.

Re:Stereo (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 3 months ago | (#47686791)

I have two eyes, I guess I'd need two screens?

Re:Stereo (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#47687051)

You do. But they need to be seperated by eye. That's done either by having two small screens (The 3D visor, much used in VR rigs), or by using polarisation to allow one screen to appear to show two images depending upon eye (The cinema approach) or by using active shutter glasses an very rapidly alternating images (Most home 3DTV systems.)

Oh god I'm stuck in a loop!!! (1)

MarkTina (611072) | about 3 months ago | (#47686607)

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?????

Re:Oh god I'm stuck in a loop!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686615)

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?????

I'm afraid your condition is fatal. I'm so sorry.

Re:Oh god I'm stuck in a loop!!! (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 3 months ago | (#47686701)

Don't click?

3DTV a fad? (5, Insightful)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 3 months ago | (#47686645)

That would imply that it was popular at some point.

Re: 3DTV a fad? (1)

Albinoman (584294) | about 3 months ago | (#47686665)

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.

Re: 3DTV a fad? (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 months ago | (#47686695)

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

Re:3DTV a fad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686959)

3D Blu-rays are the only way I get to see any new releases in 3D. Sure, it's not "OMG, how did we ever live without this" amazing in comparison to 2D, but it is nicer than a 2D experience and the discs are only a couple of bucks more than the flattened versions.

media cos killed it w/compression+Bitstarvation (3, Insightful)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about 3 months ago | (#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".

Re:media cos killed it w/compression+Bitstarvation (2)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about 3 months ago | (#47687145)

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?

All you need is 8 speakers (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 3 months ago | (#47686697)

One in each corner of a room, floor and ceiling. Two quadrophonic amps with a computer software program to 'fade' between below and above audio and you're set.

I had conceived of this over 12 years ago.

Re:All you need is 8 speakers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687071)

My room is L shaped

Re:All you need is 8 speakers (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 3 months ago | (#47687489)

Welcome to Ambisonics! [wikipedia.org] . Most ambisonic systems include 8 speakers, arrayed as you describe (and many go or 16, with two speakers in the center of each wall, at the floor/wall and wall/ceiling junctions.

Maybe I'm the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686727)

... but I never felt the need to invest in even a 5.1 surround system. I find my old stereo speakers and amp at 100 watts RMS per channel is more than enough for my needs. Hearing bullets fly past my head doesn't really affect my enjoyment of any movie. So I can't see myself shelling out for this either anytime soon.

Re:Maybe I'm the only one... (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 3 months ago | (#47686889)

I prefer headphones. I can watch a movie at night and not bother the neighbours.

Stuff like this and 3D only works in big rooms (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 months ago | (#47686745)

Stuff like this and 3D only works in big rooms

and by big is cinema sized rooms

Re:Stuff like this and 3D only works in big rooms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687355)

It would be fine in small rooms too if they did it the same way. The reason 3dTV sucks is because it projects "in" to the TV, getting smaller and smaller, instead of projecting OUT of the TV and filling the room like in the theater.

not fad, flop (1)

dltaylor (7510) | about 3 months ago | (#47686755)

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 constitute a fad.

Pssssh (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 months ago | (#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?

Pssssh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687029)

Also, doesn't 5.1 or 7.1 accomplish 95% of what "object-based audio" promises? How many people actually want to "pan around the audio room"? The main use for that which I could see would be in virtual reality setups. Which has been disappointing consumers since approximately 1998.

Even the Oculus Rift, which nerds have been drooling over for a while now. When you get right down to it you are strapping a device to your face that looks like Scuba goggles. It's not very fashionable or inclusive. And I'm not aware of any decent content libraries that make the device compelling. Maybe in time those problems can be overcome but it's going to take a lot more work.

Re:Pssssh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687061)

> 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.

Atmos is a lot more than just a speaker on the ceiling. It is vectorized audio which means it doesn't have channels the way we are used to, it has audio locations. The decoder is responsible for figuring out what to send to what speakers in order to make it seem like the sound is coming from the intended location.

Thus it has the potential to make 5.1 and 2.1 systems sound better because most people don't have the option to install the speakers in the ideal location as the current standards requires but atmos can correct for that in a way that no previous audio format has been able to.

Re:Pssssh (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 months ago | (#47687063)

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.

Re:Pssssh (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 3 months ago | (#47687087)

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).

Re:Pssssh (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 3 months ago | (#47687441)

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 immersive experience.

Ceiling speakers (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 3 months ago | (#47686779)

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.

Re:Ceiling speakers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687161)

I guess, if you're sonically retarded.

What Atmos could do (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686863)

I haven't seen anyone comment on what I think could be the best thing about Atmos: getting the best of whatever surround sound setup you have. Because all the sounds are objects in 3D space, if your receiver knows where in the room your speakers are located, it could make the best use of wherever your speakers are located to recreate the spatial sense of each sound. Most people who get a home theater in a box and don't have it set up in the optimal configuration. I mean, I've got a system that's a bit better than the box systems, but because I'm not willing to get rid of the bookshelves in my den, I can't get the rear channels mounted quite equidistant from my seating. I think a lot of people are in similar situations. I mean, how many people do you know who have a dedicated theater room with all the speakers in the perfect positions?

I know that most receivers now do have positional information, but the standard 5.1 and 7.1 mixes are hard encoded per channel. And while some receivers do processing on the streams to approximate what I'm talking about, the Atmos system of giving each sound it's own position in space and letting the system figure out how to best play that back in a room would be a better experience. I think Atmos should really be diving straight to the bottom. Get it into those home theater in a box systems that people buy at big box stores and promise them that however they set up their speakers, it'll make the best use of them.

Virtual Reality (1)

Ingo Ruhnke (3575189) | about 3 months ago | (#47686913)

As speaker setup this might be to complicated and a waste of effort, however motion tracked virtual reality headsets are right around the corner and with them you can do some really fancy binaural 3D sound rendering on the cheap. So I would assume that the success of this depends in large part on if they will let people write support for it for the virtual-cinema players that already exist or if they shoot it dead with patents.

You only have two ears. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47686923)

Although we feel like we can hear in 3D, the reality is that we only have two ears. Our brain makes the 3D part by incorporating our vision and by head movement to try to figure out where something is louder/softer and subtle pitch changes. Dolby knows that. To get the 3D like effect you pretty much need to tune the seat. There are tools out there, but unless you are going super high end home theater, it's a waste of time.

Re:You only have two ears. (2)

Thagg (9904) | about 3 months ago | (#47686953)

We have two ears, but you might notice that the ears have fairly complicated geometry. Why would that be? Well, it turns out that the various parts of the ear bounce sound, and sound coming from different directions, both azimuth and elevation, bounces differently. Your brain is very good at figuring this out. This wikipedia page on Sound Localization [wikipedia.org] is quite informative.

It turns out that humans have among the best direction-sensing hearing of any animal.

[disclaimer -- I work for Dolby, but in their imaging group]

Consumer electronics industry victim of own sucess (1, Insightful)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 3 months ago | (#47686955)

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.

Betteridge's law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687177)

No - it's not the speaker count - it's about finally breaking away from the speaker count.

If you have only a stereo system - no problem. Maybe you only have 5.1 - no problem. Want to upgrade to 7.2.4 or beyond - no problem. When done correctly there's only one Dolby Atmos soundtrack that the studio needs to master - every stub (sound channel) in there has an ideal tracking position stream, and the final mix happens at playback for exactly the hardware you happen to be listening to.

The problem this fixes is that up tell now almost every movie and some music was mixed for stereo and 5.1 only. Find anything made for 7.1 or higher - they are super rare as each new format that tried (and dozens have) to come along died before it became popular. The entire sound industry is stuck with stereo and 5.1 because no one wants to create a mix for short lived one-off systems. Dolby Atmos future-proofs the sound format so truly high resolution spatial audio can finally happen. Studios save money because they only need to mix for one format. Theaters like it because it really sounds better with overhead and high resolution surrounds. Audiences like it because all the individual sounds (like dialog) sound much clearer without being crammed together like before with 5.1. Also - did I mention dialog being much easier to understand even with the same sound levels (read up on the cocktail effect)?

Nearly every blockbuster movie for the last two years has been made with Dolby Atmos.

Don't take my word for it (or the article) - please try it yourself. The next big movie that comes out - go see it twice. Once in flat surround, once in Dolby Atmos. If you can hear the difference you will probably want this at home - even without going nuts with lots of speakers.

My biggest pet peeve - many if not most 5.1 mixes in the wild are terrible. There's no consistency as to what the ".1" happens to be, and the center channel is often ignored or worse. The Dolby Atmos format helps fix this - we handle the bass management at playback so it's correct for your system, and all position information lives in metadata rather than the mix so it's also as correct as possible for your system. I can hardly wait for "The Dark Side of the Moon" to come out in this format!

Full disclosure: I work at Dolby. You ain't heard nothing yet folks.

Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687209)

Forget movies - think games!
If you can hear exactly where someone is trying to sneak up behind you (or above you) - you've got a huge advantage.

2.1 (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47687223)

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.

Re:2.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687275)

It all depends on how it was mixed. The Blue Man Group surround sound mixes are fantastic.

Can't hear height? Incorrect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687263)

From the fine article - "The fact is that our ears are not properly placed to locate higher sounds very well."

That may be true for you - but most of us animals have evolved to track the birds (or snakes) above us, and the snap of twigs and rustle of leaves below us. It might not be fully understood how this all works, but it does.

Here you go - put on some headphones and have a virtual haircut...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA

Cinavia (3, Interesting)

citizenr (871508) | about 3 months ago | (#47687357)

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?

Audio is different (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 3 months ago | (#47687379)

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 work well. On top of that, you can buy speakers individually, or in a pack with the receiver. Finally, lest we forget, most people will have one "home theater"-style room, be it the living room or a dedicated room just for movie watching. While they might buy a new TV for another room in the house, just about nobody will buy a second sound system.

The end result is that people upgrade their sound system at a much slower pace than the rest of their home theater setups. For instance, we've had the same speaker setup for something like 15 years. The speakers themselves don't really age (they'll eventually degrade, but that's about it - there isn't as pronounced a difference in tech as with TVs where you could get 2x better sound for the same price within a few years), so there's no point in changing them, and therefore we don't really think about changing the receiver itself. It's old enough that it doesn't have HDMI. It doesn't support Dolby True HD or DTS HD. Atmos is pretty much the equivalent of OLED TVs to us - it sounds neat, but not enough to be worth the investment.

Can't imagine adding more speakers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47687385)

I have 5.1 and never upgraded to 7.1 or 7.2 ( even dumber), and adding more speakers is simply not worth the bother. No thank, not for me.

Won't work in most rooms (1)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47687463)

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 need a microphone when giving a talk there. The walls and ceiling conceal speakers everywhere, and the room with the amps and processors looks like a small server farm.

You're not going to get that in Joe Sixpack's living room. You might get close to it in some high end home theater installations, the ones that look like small movie theaters and are used for no other purpose. It's a niche market.

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