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Ron E

Dolby Atmos Theaters

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Has anyone went to one?

I went last night and watched the latest Captain America movie, and it was the best audio I have ever heard in a theater! I had heard it was good but I was shocked as to how good it was. It reminded me of the first time I went to a THX theater years ago... So much better than anything else that was available at the time.

This theater had 6 speakers on each wall, 12 on the ceiling and 4 on the back wall. I went down to the screen to see how many speakers were behind the screen and I couldn't see any. I am assuming that they were above and below the screen (which struck me as odd), which might be the way they do it in an Atmos theater since they use height channels.

If you haven't went to a Atmos theater you deserve it, IMO. I went at 1030pm and there was only 4 others in the theater... Plus it only cost $10.

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as a kid, I heard sensurround when it was released... ATMOS is infinitely better.

I make it a point to go to theaters that take their sound seriously... and consequently I avoid those that do not.

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I went to one in Vegas at the hotel I stayed at (don't remember the hotel at this time). I saw Gravity and was 1 of 4 people in the theater as well. However this theater was huge and had many more speakers, 144 if my memory serves me correct. It was unbelievable the accuracy and envelopment of the sound mix. Highly recommend viewing your next movie at one if it's accessible to you.

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the palms hotel here has Dolby Atmos.

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That's it. It was The Palms. Klipsch speakers by the way. Chose that theater versus the IMAX offering with larger screen because I had just read about the Atmos offering.

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That's news to me. Thank goodness I could never get 64 speakers in my space. Dolby Atmos: A Revolutionary New Cinema Sound Technology

Dolby® Atmos™ represents a completely new platform for cinema sound. It provides full creative freedom for filmmakers and ensures that you’ll hear the soundtracks exactly as their creators intended.

Employing overhead speakers as well as surrounds, Dolby Atmos can create realistic and natural sound experiences that envelop and involve you in the stories.

See the complete list of movies released in Dolby Atmos. Find a Dolby Atmos theatre near you.

Benefits of Dolby Atmos

Delivers a powerful and dramatic new cinema sound listening experience

Allows sounds to move around the theatre to create dynamic effects

Reproduces a natural and lifelike audio experience that perfectly matches the story

Adds overhead speakers for the most realistic effects you’ve ever heard

Reflects the artist’s original intent, regardless of theatre setup

Employs up to 64 speakers to heighten the realism and impact of every scene

Artistic Freedom

For filmmakers, details matter—a lot. And Dolby Atmos gives filmmakers full creative control over the placement and movement of sound around the audience. This completely new level of artistic freedom enables precise matching of audio to onscreen action.

Dialogue follows characters. Sound effects track with camera pans. Ambient sounds envelop you. For the first time, you’ll hear the whole picture.

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From what I understand the number of channels is not that important... It is that they are doing object orientating. I have heard they are working on a home version that would allow you to get by with 5.1 if that is all you had. If you only have 5 it will direct the info to one of the 5. I am assuming that each speaker should have good dispersion and be spacious so you could hear the full benefit of the object orientating.

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SEE LATER POST -- having trouble with the quote function

Edited by Garyrc
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Indeed... they are working on a home based version of atmos

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I applaud the effort, and will enjoy the effect in selected theaters, and perhaps eventually in our HT.

Dolby is using some old (and good) ideas, plus, no doubt, some new ones :) . Below are some of the old ideas, discussed in my post below the quote.


Employing overhead speakers as well as surrounds


Allows sounds to move around the theatre


Adds overhead speakers for the most realistic effects you’ve ever heard

Employs up to 64 speakers to heighten the realism and impact of every scene


Dialogue follows characters.

Overhead speakers were used (in some theaters) in several 70mm films from 1955 through at least 1977. Sometimes (I'm told) using them depended on the cooperation of the projectionist. The overheads at the Coronet in San Francisco were bigger than many, and looked like JBL C40 enclosures just barely sticking out of the ceiling (& I know Ampex commisioned JBL to provide the speakers for Todd-AO, the first modern 70 mm process). As I recall there were about 8 big overhead boxes. The early Todd-AO tracks had only one true surround channel, but it could be sent to various locations, at least with Around the World in 80 Days (1956), which allowed the Queen's band to move up the side of the theater as it left the screen. In those days 70 mm houses had 5 speakers behind the screen -- Dolby later reduced that to 3, plus 1 sub, and used 2 true surrounds. During a demo of 8 channel D150, someone got their wires crossed (literally) and sent the sound of a tank in Patton to the overhead speakers in the theater. When Star Wars ran in 70 mm at the Coronet in 1977, the Big Ship "flew" overhead, thanks to some of the sound being temporarily channeled to the big ceiling speakers. No such luck for the revival (a pale 35 mm version).

The sound (music) moved around the theater, and followed some action, in the 1940/41 version of Walt Disney's Fantasia. This is covered in many articles, including the one by A.P. Peck in the January 1941 Scientific American. In New York, Fantasia used 90 speakers, 36 of which were behind the screen, with the rest around the theater. The soundtrack had only 4 channels -- one control, and three music channels -- but the control track moved the sound around the theater, always preserving some sourcing from behind the screen, so people wouldn't get too disoriented. I knew two people, a few generations before me, who experienced Fantasound, as it was called. They both used the same word to describe it: "Hypnotic." One of these gentlemen was an audio engineer who interviewed the sound guys when they were setting up in San Francisco. He said they said that the reason for having so many speakers behind the screen itself (36, if S.F. was set up like N.Y.C) was partly to allow the sound to move around, but also to build up the potential SPL to a high of 75 dB over 30 dB possible room noise, bringing the theoretical top to 105 dB. In the scene in which Artimis (or whatever goddess it was) uses the crescent moon as a bow, and fires an arrow of stars across the sky, when the arrow leaves the screen some of the music follows it off-screen, and up beyond the procenium arch.

As to dialog following characters, it followed them quite accurately in the early Todd-AO films. In the famous whist table scene in 80 Days, the (5) behind the screen channels placed the dialog of the several players and onlookers in their mouths, at least horizontally.

So, congratulations to Dolby for reviving and expanding on these ideas!

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