Dolby Atmos is undoubtedly something you’ve heard in a movie theater. The sounds emit from all sides and over your head during a movie. The adjective most typically used to describe the experience is immersive.
A few years back, Atmos made its way into home entertainment equipment. Atmos movie sound is available on Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could enjoy immersive music experiences with your Atmos home theater system as well? Not just with movie soundtrack music but also with a wide range of popular songs.The kind that’s often heard in stereo.
Today, it’s no longer an exaggeration to say you want to have a home theater on any budget. With less than five hundred dollars, you can already have Atmos mixes, libraries, and a complete home theater set up.
This is now possible in your own home. And, owing to music streaming services like Apple Music, Amazon Music HD, and TIDAL, it’s more accessible than ever. Apple, in particular, has invested heavily in Dolby Atmos Music – you may have heard their “spatial audio” TV commercials.
Will Immersive Music Become Popular?
Stereo has been the primary format for music consumption for decades. Several attempts have been made to promote surround sound music. On the other hand, quadrophonic LPs, DVD-Audio, and multi-channel SACDs were never very popular.
First, special discs were required, which were more expensive than regular records, CDs, DVDs, or Blu-ray discs. You couldn’t locate a lot of popular music in those forms.
What about the sound of older surround music formats?
They may have sounded incredible at the time. However, the tools at their disposal limited recording engineers. And home playback equipment was not as advanced as it is now.
Dolby Atmos Music enhances the overall listening experience. Artists can create soundscapes that are more smooth and appealing. Producers can now create sounds and place them in specific locations, then move them around to make listening more immersive.
Immersive music is also becoming more affordable. It’s also less challenging to get. That’s because it’s a streaming service. There is no additional charge for Dolby Atmos Music with an Apple Music or Amazon Music HD subscription.
You may sample a wide choice of surround music from prominent musicians with an Atmos sound system. You don’t need to buy a lot of CDs or locate a storage space for them.
How do music producers use the Atmos mixing tools to create immersive experiences for listeners?
There are two leading schools of thinking for recording and mixing music. The first is to correctly record a performance and provide listeners with an experience as near to being in the audience as possible.
Then there’s the idea of using the studio as an instrument, popularized by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and others. Artists use this method to produce more abstract or surreal aural experiences. Both ways can be supported by Dolby Atmos mixing tools.
Engineers striving for a live music atmosphere may utilize the new capabilities to give the front soundstage more breadth, height, depth, and accuracy while delivering reverberant sounds to the back and overhead speakers. This provides the listener with the impression of being at the venue.
To listen to Atmos Music, you’ll need the following items:
To enjoy Atmos at home, you’ll need an AV receiver that can turn Atmos soundtracks. A speaker system with ceiling speakers or Atmos-enabled speakers that bounce sound off the ceiling is also required. For a more basic setup, you may use an Atmos-capable soundbar.
To listen to Atmos tracks, you’ll need a Hi-Fi tier subscription to Apple Music, Amazon Music HD, or TIDAL. You’ll also need a streaming device that supports Atmos and has the software for your streaming providers, such as the Apple TV 4K or the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
You won’t need the streaming device if you have an Atmos-enabled Android TV (like Sony’s XR A90J range) and an Atmos-capable receiver or soundbar with an eARC HDMI connection.
AirPods and other headphones with Atmos Music
Apple Music launched high-resolution music streaming in June 2021 and Dolby Atmos Music. Both are included in their standard subscription plan at no additional cost.
Dolby Atmos Music is being pushed alongside Apple’s own “spatial audio” technology embedded into the third-generation AirPods headphones. The two audio elements work together to offer a similar experience to a complete Atmos home theater system.
But, to dispel a common myth, you may listen to Atmos Music with any pair of headphones. The sound will still be three-dimensional, but it will move about as you move your head. Because there are many different models of headphones with various sound qualities, the results will vary.
Dolby Atmos tracks may be found in the Apple Music app for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV if you have the newest version of iOS or macOS installed. When you listen to a song on AirPods or newer Beats headphones, Dolby Atmos will automatically play if one is available. Choose “always-on” for Dolby Atmos in the Apple Music audio settings with other headphones. While the exact number of tunes mixed for Atmos on Apple Music is unknown, Apple claims it is in the thousands.
On TIDAL, where can you locate Dolby Atmos music?
While surfing TIDAL, you might not be able to find an option that says “Atmos Music. But when you search for “Dolby Atmos” and click on the “Playlists” box, you will discover 37 Atmos playlists which also increases as time goes by.
The Atmos playlists are all over the place. Some of these will keep you occupied for hours. Others have a limited number of tracks.
How does Atmos Music really sound?
One solid example is the Riders On The Storm by the Doors. You may recall the rain and thunder noises included in this tune.
The rain emanates from the above speakers, while the thunder comes from the back speakers in the Atmos version. The storm appears to be quite genuine. The sound effects in the left and proper channels fight with the melody in the stereo version of this song. Riders On The Storm is ideal for demonstrations with its cinematic sound effects. A good Atmos Music mix, on the other hand, provides you with a lot more to enjoy.
The soundstage is colossal
The soundscape may be incredible while listening to music with ten speakers instead of only two. This was especially true for big rock anthems like Rush’s Tom Sawyer, but it was also true for more private music.
Some synthesizer bits are swirling around in the overhead speakers in Tom Sawyer. Although a lot is going on, each instrument is given its room. And when the guitar begins to play in time with the synth portion, both instruments are audible and distinct. The bass guitar solo explodes from my front left and right tower speakers.
Meanwhile, the lead guitar is mostly heard via the center speaker, although also heard through the rear speakers. That makes it sound enormous.
Drums are played through the front, left, right, overheads, and rear speakers. A succession of drum rolls pan from right to left as the instrumental portion concludes. Each drum’s pitch is very discernible.
The Rush cut is impressive in general. Individual components are well-placed. They interact with you without attracting undue attention to themselves.
In one crucial way, listening to Dolby Atmos Music on your home theater system is similar to viewing a movie. To fully appreciate the mix, you must sit in or near the seat in front of your TV. A stereo mix will be a better option if you’re looking for party music.
Is Dolby Atmos a good surround sound for Gaming?
The idea of having a surround sound system like Dolby Atmos for gaming sounds pretty exciting, right? However, you may be wondering what you might need to recreate that kind of experience at home. And the best part is, Dolby Atmos made sure it won’t be as complicated s surround sound systems for homes.
Support for Dolby Atmos is built into the graphics engine used to create the game and runs via the graphics card on a PC or via headphones for the optimum experience. In simple terms, if the game developers include a Dolby Atmos code in the games’ soundtrack, it’s very much possible to have the best game room all inside your home.
To get started, download the Dolby Access program for Windows; there’s a free trial before paying a nominal monthly charge to use Dolby Atmos through your headset or headphones.
In this case, you don’t even need a surround sound headset.
Simply having stereo headphones or regular gaming headsets will suffice. Because Dolby Atmos is included in the games, the Dolby Access app uses the appropriate technologies to offer spatial audio and the Dolby Access experience.