Dolby Atmos: Coming Soon to a Home Theatre Near You

Published On June 25, 2014 | News

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Dolby Atmos is finally coming to home theatres with Pioneer, Marantz, Integra, Onkyo and Denon all announcing the release of Dolby Atmos-enabled home theatre systems.

Brett Crockett, Director of Sound Research at Dolby announced yesterday via a blog post, the imminent release of a slew of Atmos-enabled home theatre systems, saying:

Our goal was to make home theater sound better than ever, while giving audio enthusiasts flexible choices in how they set up their system. I’m proud to say that after a lot of dreaming, experimentation, and innovation, we’ve succeeded in creating an incredible Dolby Atmos experience for the home that will be available to any entertainment fan.”

Explaining how the systems will work, Crockett went on to say: “If you’re willing and able to install speakers in your ceiling, there will be great options. If that’s not possible for you—and for many people, it isn’t—our partners will offer new Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers that produce full, detailed overhead sound from speakers located where your conventional speakers are now. If you already have speakers that you love, you can choose an add-on, Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker module that complements your existing speakers. (In fact, many people will place the modules right on top of their current speakers.)”

Which is great news for those not interested in updating their entire home theatre systems. In addition, Blu-ray players that already fully conform to Blu-ray specification will support Atmos content, so you won’t need to replace your player either.

Although 3D didn’t become the success filmmakers and television manufacturers hoped it would be, the same cannot be said for sound. Historically, the latest audio tech is quickly adopted by audiophiles and then later once prices have reduced, it is picked up by the general population (e.g walkmans, iPods, user defined EQ pre-sets, surround sound).

We imagine most new content will include an Atmos track and we’re even predicting Dolby Atmos it will become a regular (if not expected) feature in new productions, much the way 5.1 is currently. Dolby are already hard at work producing Atmos soundtracks with studios and production houses and a range of TV shows & films will soon be released on Blu-Ray, with Atmos soundtracks included in their audio options. Online video-streaming content will begin broadcasting from the third quarter of this year with more content slated for 2015.

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7.1.4 Dolby Atmos config

Atmos is capable of producing 128 channels of sound routed to 64 speakers, however, home theatre systems will largely contain 9 channels of Dolby Atmos, with a configuration of 5.1.4 (the simplest layout). This configuration contains the 5 regular sound channels (front, center, left & right) with a subwoofer and either two height channels (which bounce sound off the ceiling) or ceiling-mounted speakers.

High-end models will contain up to 11 channels of sound with a 7.1.2 configuration of front, center, right & left speakers, a subwoofer, two side speakers (left & right), two rear (left & right) and two ceiling-mounted speakers. There’s even a 7.1.4 configuration, with four speakers mounted on the ceiling. There is also a 9.1.2 configuration consisting of the 7.1.2 with a further six ceiling-mounted speakers (two front wide speakers, two side speakers and two rear).

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Atmos 7.1.4 config using 11 channels with 4 surround speakers capable of bouncing sound off the ceiling.

Hot on the heels of the Dolby announcement came an onslaught of press releases from manufacturers announcing their own Atmos-enabled home theatre system.

 

THE SYSTEMS

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Pioneer Elite SC reciever

Pioneer 

Pioneer today announced its dedicated line of Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers designed by the legendary Andrew Jones. The Elite speakers and Elite SC series home theater receivers will be Dolby Atmos upgradeable via a firmware update which will be available towards the end of the year. Chris Walker, director of AV product planning for Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc said “To ensure the best Dolby Atmos experience possible, Pioneer not only produced a series of ultra-high end receivers dedicated for the task, but also appointed Andrew Jones, our top speaker engineer, to design a speaker system worthy of the Elite brand and that can reproduce the sound quality that only Dolby Atmos can deliver.” 

Pioneer will be making further announcements about their new Atmos range from the CE Week Show in New York, today at 11:45 a.m (US EST).

 

Denon X Series

Denon X Series

Denon 

Denon announced the September release of  its AVR-X4100W and AVR-X5200W AV receivers which will incorporate Dolby Atmos when they are launched in September. The X5200 will support 11 channels of Atmos, adding the possibility of a 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos configuration.  Yoshinori Yamada, global business team leader for Denon audio and video products, said: “It is a testament to the unique sound experience Dolby Atmos delivers that some of the world’s leading filmmakers have embraced it as a storytelling tool.”

 

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Onkyo TX-NR1030

Onkyo 

Onkyo announced the release of the new TX-NR1030 and TX-NR3030 AV receivers, flagship PR-SC5530 network AV controller, HT-S7705 and HT-S9705THX home cinema in a box systems, and SKS-HT678 and SKH-410 speaker packages will all offer Dolby Atmos sound. The company will also release a firmware update, due in September, enabling Dolby Atmos on its midrange TX-NR636, TX-NR737 and TX-NR838 network AV amps. Onkyo says it’s dual 32-bit DSP Engines will “decode, scale and calibrate Dolby Atmos to suit individual home theatre configurations”.

 

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Integra’s $1000 (USD) DTR-30.6 will receive a firmware update for Dolby Atmos compatibility in Q3

Integra

Integra has announced that its upcoming DTR-60.6 and DTR-70.6 network A/V receivers and flagship DHC-80.6 Network A/V Controller will launch with Atmos. Also, a firmware update, targeted in September, will enable Atmos on its previously released mid-range network A/V receivers the DTR-30.6, DTR-40.6 and DTR-50.6. Integra Director of Sales, Keith Haas said “Some of the world’s leading filmmakers are using Dolby Atmos to transport audiences to the center of the action. We are excited to be among the first brands to offer this technology to our customers.”

 

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Marantz SR7009 receiver

Marantz

The new Marantz Atmos-enabled SR7009 (9 channel) receiver will be capable of a 5.1.4 speaker layout and the Marantz AV7702 (11 channel) preamp will be capable of the much higher 7.1.4 speaker layout. The SR7009 AV receiver will be available in September and the AV7702 will be available in October. Don Freeman, Vice President Global Marketing at D+M said “Only Dolby Atmos delivers multi-dimensional sound that fills the room to make every detail come alive, whether it is the roar of a racecar speeding around the track, the whisper of wind, or an arrow shot across the room. It’s a ground-breaking achievement for home theaters.”

 

UPDATE

Amber Technology have announced they will start selling the Onkyo systems in Australia any day now. Check out our article about the announcement : Atmos in Oz

 

Excerpts from Press Releases