Dolby Atmos Movie-Theater-Sound Technology Heading to Home Gear

Onkyo, Integra and Pioneer Announce Atmos-Equipped Products

If you haven’t heard of Dolby Atmos—Hollywood’s attempt at delivering a “powerful new listening experience” that’s more enveloping than the best of today’s Dolby Surround 7.1 theaters—you might want to find an Atmos-equipped theater near you and see (actually hear) what it’s all about now that Atmos is heading home.

Today Onkyo and Integra said they will each ship three Atmos-equipped products to retail stores late summer and Pioneer announced that its Elite SC receivers will be upgradeable to Atmos via a firmware update that will be available by the end of the year.

Dolby Atmos is a multichannel audio format developed for commercial theaters that gives filmmakers a new set of tools. Descriptive metadata embedded in the movie soundtrack and the use of additional speakers in the theater provide more control over the placement and movement of sound around the audience. Think of it as 3D sound. Atmos theaters use multiple overhead speakers to literally heighten sonic realism and additional speakers are placed behind the screen and along the side walls to allow for more precise placement of sound.

Onkyo announced two Atmos-equipped AV receivers— the 9.2-channel TX-NR1030 ($1,699) and the 11.2-channel TX-NR3030 ($2,399)—and the 11.2-channel PR-SC5530 network A/V controller ($2,499). Slated for retail delivery in August, the THX Select2 Plus-certified models feature dual 32-bit DSP engines to decode, scale, and calibrate Dolby Atmos soundtracks and support 4K video at 60 Hz with HDCP 2.2 compatibility for Ultra HD streaming.

Integra announced that the upcoming DTR-60.6 and DTR-70.6 AV receivers and flagship DHC-80.6 network AV controller will launch with Dolby Atmos by late summer/early fall and the current DTR-30.6, DTR-40.6, and DTR-50.6 models will be upgradable to Atmos via a firmware update due in September. Pricing was not announced.

In addition to the Atmos-upgradeable receivers, Pioneer said it will introduce an Atmos-enabled Elite Series line of speakers designed by Andrew Jones. Details of the receivers and speakers will be announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

About 120 movie theaters across the country are equipped with Dolby Atmos, which debuted in 2012. By the end of 2014, well over 100 movies will have been produced using the technology. Recent theatrical releases include Noah, Godzilla, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Visit dolby.com for more on Atmos.

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COMMENTS
prerich45's picture

Ok, they just flew over the cuckoos' nest with this! Can you imagine the space needed for all of this?! This is something IMHO that should come out in a high-end, price no object system first (at least Pioneer is offering it as a firmware upgrade), then in consumer arena. How many people want to deal with the extra amplification and speakers and so on? I love HT as much as anyone (7.1 with soon to be 6 subs - I currently have 4), but this is where I draw the line in the sand. I can truly say - I'm satisfied with 7.1.

Warrior24_7's picture

First it was 3D, then UHD, now this Atmos. People complain and know nothing about the product or what they're buying. You don't make any sense criticizing this and your rationale is ridiculous. Especially coming from someone with 4\6 subs. I bet that theater sounds like a Hip Hop club! "This" is what Home Theater is all about, immersion. Pioneer is set to release a 5.1 speaker system that takes advantage of this new technology for about $3100.00. There is nothing going on here that people are not already doing, or in your case..."over doing"!

prerich45's picture

Naw, it doesn't sound like a hip hop club at all. My subs are not all on the .1 area - some are just passive linked to my surrounds - so they can dig a bit lower on BD disk (and thoses subs are small ones).

Home theater is all about immersion - and I'm very well immersed. This was just my opinion, not a stated fact. Atmos will require a rather large room - and there are those that will buy into this. However - Atmos is capable of 128 channels of information if I'm not mistaken. That's a lot!!!! It's a challenge to place current speakers - without having to go into the ceilings too! THis is why I said it should be marketed toward the high-end first.

Oh and back to the hip-hop statement...I listen to jazz, gospel, and world music - thank you very much. The subs are there for movies mainly - and the bass measures pretty darn flat in the room using filters generated by REW. I can show you the graph if you'd like ;) no boom in my room. One more thing - I don't think you have ever heard a proper Hip-Hop setup either....I've ran across a few people in that genre that actually have a clue about imaging, music, and less boom.

Warrior24_7's picture

According to Pioneer's website, all that is mentioned are 8' to 14' ceilings so the speakers can bounce the sounds off of them. It's a standard 5.1and above setup with a .2 or .4 to designate the ceiling speakers. So that would be a 5.1.4 or better. There aren't even any reviews out yet for these speakers or an Atmos setup. So you're inaccurate and premature in your assessment of it. You're one to talk about not having a proper setup with 4/6 subs in a 7.1 setup! Subs just don't have the fidelity of tweeters and mids, I don't care if they're small or not. You're "definitely" not hearing the tracks, voices, and other sounds they way that they were meant to be heard in a sub dominated setup. Hip Hop music is dance music, street music, with emphasis bass (heavy bass at times) at certain beats per minute so the songs can be mixed. My brother is a DJ and makes his own beats and has a small home studio. I know about Hip Hop. Music sounds a whole different when played outside or in a large venue or room.

prerich45's picture

I looked up specialized speakers used for the Atmos setup (the ones being designed by Andrew Jones). I see what you are saying and yes this application is viable. I was going off of what I know about Atmos in the commercial application.

Once again my subs don't dominate my setup at all. My entire system is calibrated to 80db to include my subs. I have multiple subs to deal with room modes ...not for more bass. If you look at the white paper conducted by Harman International http://www.harman.com/EN-US/OurCompany/Innovation/Documents/White%20Pape... the best setup would be using 4 subs - this will get rid of room modes associated with standing waves.
And as far as telling me about Hip Hop...it's not like I've never been there - I served as a DJ overseas for 6 years, I've also remixed songs to include a gospel rap by Kurtis Blow. I've made my own beats, written gospel music, and directed choirs, worked in ITV, - I've also worked with people in the business.
You sir can't judge a system until you've heard it. My opinion about Atmos was without the knowledge of proprietary speaker. With this knowledge - yes, I believe it can work, however - the conditions remain - if you would have had to perform a traditional Atmos setup....just too many speakers for the average individual.

Andrew Jones is one heck of a speaker designer (TAD) and I believe he wouldn't let his name be put on anything that's not well made. You my friend are adding words to my mouth - my initial statement was that there would be too many speakers involved - (viewing Atmos at the commercial level).

Warrior24_7's picture

"Your" system sounds the way "you" want it to sound, but it's still not a traditional 7.1 setup. So saying that about somebody else is hypocritical. That's all I was trying to say. I don't believe that I was putting words in your mouth. I assumed that you read the article and did a little bit of research before attacking it the way that you did. You admitted that you didn't research anything and thought it was commercial. But, this is no different than THX in theaters. If you want an actual THX system in your home they'll gladly install it and bill you for it too! Now there are THX certified speakers and equipment even though studios seem to prefer Dolby when releasing Movies and music. Then you advocated for it to be released only to the extreme high end first. Why? I believe that at a certain point you start getting diminishing returns on your investment. You start paying for name, pedigree, or some ridiculous distortion level that the human ear (or "your own" ear) can't even hear. Then room size and other factors come into play and you're wasting money and power. Pioneer's system is perfect for the average home. They're priced right to be sold retail by stores like Best Buy and Fry's, so you can at least see and hear them. I like to read any reviews so I have a basic idea of what to expect. Then see and hear them for myself. Extreme high end and high end hurt the hobby IMO.

prerich45's picture

Hey, what do ya know?!!!! S&V are on top of things and gives us a preliminary review!!!! It's a great review that brings up some of the same concerns that I have as well (as well as others that I didn't think about)!

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