Dolby Atmos anyone?


Cinema Sound Technology - Dolby Atmos

If you keep up with home theater technology and know the debate about 5.1 vs more and more speakers. On a larger scale I hear and read about people feeling "upgrade fatigue" meaning they are tired of being told life would be better with the latest model. Nothing wrong with pushing boundaries and making new tech available. But back to surround sound. We have been listening at home with stereo and 5.1 for years. Is it good enough for you? Would you invest in more speakers, wiring, and a new multi-channel receiver for "true" cinema sound?

Fringe Reception

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I remember when Hi Fi (high fidelity) was the rage and when two-channel 'stereo' blew it away as obsolete. If you want to listen to a classic record in a way that should annoy you, listen to The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album in its original mix wearing headphones: the right versus left channels are overemphasized to compensate for the audio equipment of the day and it sounds terrible!

Around 1972 there were a couple different design attempts at four-channel audio but like BetaMax video, they failed. Around 1978 an expensive home system might have included 'audio-holograph' and it was really cool for the day because when dialed in correctly, it could make a small stage production sound like a large venue like Carnagie Hall or Winterland using only two channels. That made the home system sound terrific, but the 'altered' music could be copied to a cassette tape for a car and it sounded the same. It was fantastic, for those days. This is not unlike what many 'modern' amp/tuners offer today.

Ours is good but the best 5.1 system I ever heard was owned by friends who had a large living room around 22 x 35 feet. They invited us over to see a movie that had just been released, Private Ryan. Early in the movie when fighter aircraft flew overhead, their Chocolate Persian Cat literally hit the dirt ... or 'ducked' flat on their living room carpet in front of us while the fighters flew by. An amazing sight to see and a totally unusual behavior for a cat.

Personally, I would not invest in any sound system beyond 5.1 unless I had a dedicated square or rectangular room with no windows and no open doorway passages. I have run the audio mix for several rock bands and every venue needs 'fine tuning' for two-channel through sixteen channel mixing and it is an art. Adding two more speakers in a space that was not designed for multi-channel audio would be a waste of time for me.



I am sticking with 5.1 also. My living room is rectangular but one of the long walls opens up to the staircase and hallway. So it is not really a closed rectangle. I could not run side fill speakers if I wanted to. I guess it is a good thing-keeps me from getting more gear.
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