HEARD ABOUT 3D AUDIO?
Most of us have experienced 3D Video
but have you ever experienced 3D Audio?
5.1 Surround sound, the most commonly used audio technology before 3D Audio has been prevailing around for about 3 decades now. Most of us have a 5.1 surround sound system installed at our homes.
In case you are new to the surround sound world, 5.1 means 1 subwoofer and 5 speakers - 3 speakers in the front (left, right and centre) and 2 speakers in the rear (surround left and surround right). All these together try to reproduce a surround sound experience, as sound travels from front to back.
Surely, 5.1 surround sound can make a bullet fired or a racing car sound great because these sounds travel from front to back or left to right. But do you find something wrong with this 3 decade old technology? What if we want to reproduce the sound of rain or a helicopter flying? Rain never falls from front to back, or left to right. Isn’t this a big compromise that we are living with in terms of the sound experience?
Dolby ATMOS, the trendiest 3D audio technology that is completely changing the surround sound experience solves this problem with 5.1 surround sound.
Upgrade your surround sound system from 5.1 to 5.1.2 by adding 2 ceiling speakers or 2 up firing front speakers and your existing speaker setup is now Atmos ready. All you need is an Atmos amplifier or receiver that will create the 3D audio magical experience for you. These speakers, also called as Voice of God speakers or Atmos speakers reproduce the sound that travels in the 3rd dimension. With 3D Atmos we can now hear lightening sounds or the sound of an aeroplane flying from where it is supposed to be heard, from above us. This is the biggest small change that the audio industry has experienced in a long while.
Don’t be mistaken, it’s not just the simple addition of 2 additional speakers that is the game changer for Atmos. Object based audio reproduction instead of channel based audio plays a big role in making Atmos a life like sound experience. In Dolby 5.1 each speaker was called a channel. Audio content recorded in 5.1 format is reproduced channel wise, so basically sound is broken into 6 channels. Technologically speaking Dolby Atmos breaks sound into 128 objects and then reproduces them from any desired number of channels. An Atmos cinema is usually designed with 64 channels but a home theatre can have upto 34 channels. Dolby’s reference guides for the best Atmos speaker setup however recommends using only 12 speakers at most for home cinema.
Inicio Automation, a popular AV integrator, have a 3D Atmos surround sound setup one year back at their Mumbai experience centre. When we asked Dhiral Shah, one of the promoters of Inicio Automation about their views on the 3D audio trend, he explained,”It’s interesting how audio technology began with the design of mono speakers which involved a single speaker reproducing all the recorded sounds. Then someone realized that humans have 2 ears and hence sound reproduction should also be separated into left and right for a better experience, which led to the invention of stereo speakers, i.e. 2 channels.
Since speakers were not capable of reproducing low frequency high bass sound, subwoofers were added and led to 2.1 configurations. Still something was missing as sound was always heard from the front speakers while in real life sound travels all around us. 5.1 speaker systems changed the trend and created an astonishing surround sound experience. The only missing component in surround sound technology now was the Z axis sound which Dolby Atmos has so path breakingly answered and completely transformed the experience into life like and immersive. With Dolby Atmos, we AV enthusiasts feel that we have finally arrived.”
“Hearing is believing when it comes to Atmos.”, added Maulik Unadkat, the other promoter of Inicio Automation. “Dolby Atmos was invented 4 years back and is all set to take off in a big way now. Dolby Atmos is arriving. Simpler setups like Atmos enabled soundbars are also setting a trend. You will soon have the Atmos experience embedded in your smart phones and you will be able to use your existing headphones and enjoy life like sound. Be a trend setter. Upgrade your home cinema to 3D audio, GO ATMOS MAD!”