Dolby Atmos is a surround-sound system of sound encoding that is revolutionizing the world of stereo. Touted as the most significant advancement in home audio since the introduction of 5.1 surround sound, Dolby Atmos provides a new level of realism in surround sound.
How is this achieved? Well, the audio encoding is advanced (of course) but the real advancement lies in the addition of height levels to the surround sound experience. Traditional surround sound is played on a flat plane.
Picture yourself playing a game of soccer in a huge stadium full of roaring fans. Traditional surround sound is hearing all of the noises of the crowd, your teammates and yourself at the same level – all coming at you from the same elevation. As if the crowd was all on the ground. Dolby Atmos surround sound is hearing sound distinctively above you and below – differentiating the crowd noises from the noises on the field and even from sound coming from directly above you.
As far as the encoding goes, Atmos marks a noticeable shift to “object-based sound encoding” which is a welcomed advancement in the world of home audio. The Dolby audio driver is now considered one of the leading standards for high-definition audio both for cinematic and musical purposes.
Dolby even offers Dolby Atmos TrueHD, a codec especially designed for lossless playback on one of their advanced audio setups.
How is this type of audio delivered? Typically, Dolby Atmos surround-sound setups employ up-firing speakers though built-in celling speakers will work also if they are pre-existing. It is important to know that even the best in-ceiling speakers will not provide the same quality of sound as a good setup with up-firing speakers. This setup must be coupled with a Dolby Atmos ready AV receiver. Another option is to purchase an all-in-one Dolby Atmos soundbar or home stereo system.
What is Needed to Make the Most of a Dolby Atmos Surround Sound System
As with any stereo setup, the first step is to identify your source. Luckily, many common audio and video sources are Dolby Atmos enabled directly from the manufacturer. Sources of Dolby Atmos include game consoles (Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X), some TVs (LG OLED, VIZIO M-, P-, R-Series), streaming devices (Apple TV 4K, Google Chromecast Ultra) and 4K Blu-ray Players.
Beyond that, you may be wondering which speakers and soundbars are going to be the most ideal for you. In this guide, we hope to highlight some of the best tech available on the market today including the best Dolby Atmos headphones, Atmos speakers and we’ll highlight the best in-celling speakers as well as standalone speakers.
1. Focal Sib Evo Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 Speaker System
Retailing for about $1,300, this speaker system is ideal for even the most tech-wary individual. On the lower-end of possibilities, a Dolby Atmos speaker system has around eight speakers. This isn’t ideal for many homes and you may find yourself wondering where you could even fit all of those speakers.
That’s where the Sib Evo system comes into play. This particular system is a variant of an existing system that has added Dolby Atmos capabilities. The Sib Evo comes with five satellite speakers and one sub. The speakers are small but fairly powerful.
The system is plug-and-play, though setup could be improved. Complaints about the Sib Evo Dolby Atmos system are rarely of sound quality and primarily regarding the setup. The speakers include spring-action wire clips as opposed to the more industry-standard “banana clips.” Getting the connections right could prove to be tricky for a beginner.
This system is a good option for many, especially considering the list of available lifestyle speaker systems that are natively Dolby Atmos-enabled is short.
2. PSB Imagine XA Dolby-Enabled speakers
If you have an existing surround-sound speaker setup and adding in Dolby Atmos tech sounds like something you’d be interested in, you’re probably wondering how to do so.
Adding in a pair of these up-firing, Dolby Atmos-ready speakers can bring you true Atmos surround sound quality, but the optimal setup is adding additional four speakers for the most advanced height-based sound.
If purchasing additional Dolby-enabled speakers is your plan for upgrading an existing sound system to Dolby Atmos surround sound, you’ll need to make sure that the speaker timbres match with your existing set up. This is the case with any surround system using both Dolby Atmos-ready speakers and traditional speakers.
3. Sony HT-S5000 Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Maybe you aren’t looking to shell out money for a standalone Dolby Atmos system and you don’t have an existing system to convert. There are still options for you to get the Dolby Atmos experience at home. One such way is through a Dolby Atmos Soundbar.
Our favorite is the Sony HT-S5000. The soundbar offers two-height sound all within a compact, sleek design. It is compatible with lossless files, has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and is equipped with Google Chromecast built right in.
Dolby Atmos Speakers are Revolutionary in the World of Audio – But Tech Advancements Extend Beyond That
Dolby Atmos does not just provide new quality of sound for your home audio system, it has revolutionized how we think about audio. It will provide further advancement for cinema audio as well as recording techniques for years to come.
We hope this guide of some of our favorite Dolby Atmos Speakers has shed some light on the new technology and has helped you better understand how it works.