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stavvy's picture
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What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

Was very very lucky to be invited to attend the What HiFI / Dolby demonstration night of the new Dolby Atmos system at Dolby HQ in London last night.  All I can say is wow  :O I have always been a fan of surround sound and up until now I've been more than happy with my 5.1 setup or even 7.1 in the cinemas.  I always thought the surround effect was very immersive and you could imagine the sounds sweeping around the room in accordance with the on screen action.

With Atmos I genuinely think this is much more than just the next step, its a monumental leap forward not only in the technology but also the whole experience.  It is much much more immersive ( a description that is used too often I feel in conventional surround sound set ups) to the point where during several of the demo clips they used to show off the system I had goosebumps, I felt that drawn in.  Also the panning of sound is much more smoother, but I have only noticed this in retrospect to what I'm used to.  You can easily track sounds as it goes, not only around you in  a somewhat linear plane, but also up and over your head.

One clip was a rainforest setting and the noise of the rain from above was simply incredible. A very basic effect but made it so much more enthralling.  Another was a peice they had filmed of opera. Placement of the opera singers and the backing choir was amazing, it was so precise it made the whole thing more life like and immersive.  At the end of the clip when the audience starting applauding I nearly stood up thinking it was the people behind me applauding!

I am genuinely very excited by this emergence and I cannot wait till it is rolled out in more cinemas here.  If you get a chance to see something in Dolby Atmos I urge you to go. My words here really don't do it justice, but if you get the chance to experience it I hope you would agree with what I've tried to get across.  To this effect, Dolby, and the cinema chains, need to advertise the fact they have the Atmos system installed and what films they will be showcasing it with.  Something like Gravity I would imagine would be outstanding.

 

Many thanks the the What HiFi team for the invitation and to Dolby.  It was truely a great and very exciting experience.  The chance to hear and see some of the latest award winners was also fantastic  Smile

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

http://www.dolby.com/gb/en/consumer/content/movie/theater/find-a-cinema.html

There are only 4 in the UK at the moment, 2 in London and 2 in Scotland.

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

Unfortunately yes, but I guess they have to start somewhere! Annoyingly, the cinema in Glasgow with Atmos is only about 15 minutes away from where I used to live.  The guy last night was explaining it takes at least a week to install the new speakers, decoding/amplifiers and to calibrate the room so I can imagine it might take a while for it to become more mainstream in cinemas.  Easy enough for new builds like the Glasgow one but more tricky to retrofit to operating cinemas.  We'll just need to wait I guess!

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

Hi stavvy, glad you enjoyed the evening and the Atmos demo. Hope they looked after you well!

Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision and whathifi.com

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

Andy Clough wrote:

Hi stavvy, glad you enjoyed the evening and the Atmos demo. Hope they looked after you well!

 

Hi Andy,

 

Thanks for the comments.  I certainly did enjoy the evening and the demonstration.  I am very excited by the technology and I think the night worked well in terms of generating interest in the public.  The What HiFi stafff were great! Very talkative and happy to answer lots of questions and chat generally about hifi and home cinema. Many thanks to them for working late and setting up the award winners demo room (the panasonic plasma and sony/dali zensor setup was astounding!)

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

I wonder if anyone's going to attempt installing Dolby Atmos standard in their house! You need 84 speakers, right? :?

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

You'd also need an Atmos processor and films with the audio encoded in that format, so probably not.

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

haha! that would be amazing but try getting that one past the girlfriend/wife.  Perhaps in the future it would be more feasable than you might think.  The guy from Dolby hosting the evening went into some depth about the theory of Atmos (all quite interesting).  Interestingly, Atmos scales with the size of the room without any real loss in performance or effect.  He went as far as to say the minimum number of speakers Atmos needs to be effective is 14-16. So I guess if you were building a dedicated cinema room it wouldn't be completely unfeasable given that many of us already have 5,6,7,9 or more speakers set up. And ceiling mounted speakers wouldn't take up any more space.  Of course, we need the processing equipment and the soundtrack for it to work too.

 

It seems the Atmos software is very clever in that it can calibrate itself based on the room dimensions and speaker layout so it will be exciting to see if any Atmos enabled receivers appear on the market in the next 5-10 years (or sooner who knows!)

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

I have a hangover...

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

stavvy wrote:
haha! that would be amazing but try getting that one past the girlfriend/wife.  Perhaps in the future it would be more feasable than you might think.  The guy from Dolby hosting the evening went into some depth about the theory of Atmos (all quite interesting).  Interestingly, Atmos scales with the size of the room without any real loss in performance or effect.  He went as far as to say the minimum number of speakers Atmos needs to be effective is 14-16. So I guess if you were building a dedicated cinema room it wouldn't be completely unfeasable given that many of us already have 5,6,7,9 or more speakers set up. And ceiling mounted speakers wouldn't take up any more space.  Of course, we need the processing equipment and the soundtrack for it to work too.

I guess if you used something like KEFs T-series or similar flat(ish) speakers it could be quite subtle or perhaps here is the market that in-ceiling manufacturers have been waiting so long for?

Quote:
It seems the Atmos software is very clever in that it can calibrate itself based on the room dimensions and speaker layout so it will be exciting to see if any Atmos enabled receivers appear on the market in the next 5-10 years (or sooner who knows!)

Perhaps not if it takes a week to calibrate everything as someone appeared to suggest earlier (may have mis-read that though).

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

John Duncan wrote:
I have a hangover...

At your age John you should know better Wink

Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision and whathifi.com

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

 

Perhaps not if it takes a week to calibrate everything as someone appeared to suggest earlier (may have mis-read that though).

[/quote]

I might've misinterpreted this myself but I think Dolby meant it took a week to install everything which I guess is quite impressive. And I dare say the technology will be improved upon.

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

It doesn't feel like a domestic system to me (apart from the complexity, it's in some ways designed to solve problems that don;t really exist in the home).  Jonathan 'JJ' Jowitt (Dolby's Sound Evangelist, if I heard that right) would not be drawn on what this might mean for new playback hardware.  And he did wonder aloud whether 'soundbars on all sides' might be the way forward for implementing this sort of stuff.

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

Yes, thanks to Dolby and WHF for their hospitality. 

Hard to see Dolby Atmos making it into the (normal) home due to all the ceiling speakers - I figured it was more for cinemas so they can boast about having 30,40,50,60 channels to give you something that you can't replicate at home. 

You can imagine it being really good for something like a plane landing from overhead or a war film. I could see myself going out of my way to get to an Atmos cinema if it was an action film I really wanted to see. Could really be good for sport - something like boxing with the corner men shouting and the crowd all around.

The orchestra segment was the best bit for me - it was all encompassing but you could pick out each instrument. The Red Bull bit felt like they were trying to give me motion sickenss or something and I might have nightmares about that opera singer's eyes.. 

 

As to the award winners, the Panasonic plasma picture was stunning and the Dali speakers in the same room had a lovely clarity. Really like the thinking behind the Philips sound bar as well.

 

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

MakkaPakka wrote:

Yes, thanks to Dolby and WHF for their hospitality. 

Hard to see Dolby Atmos making it into the (normal) home due to all the ceiling speakers - I figured it was more for cinemas so they can boast about having 30,40,50,60 channels to give you something that you can't replicate at home. 

You can imagine it being really good for something like a plane landing from overhead or a war film. I could see myself going out of my way to get to an Atmos cinema if it was an action film I really wanted to see. Could really be good for sport - something like boxing with the corner men shouting and the crowd all around.

The orchestra segment was the best bit for me - it was all encompassing but you could pick out each instrument. The Red Bull bit felt like they were trying to give me motion sickenss or something and I might have nightmares about that opera singer's eyes.. 

 

As to the award winners, the Panasonic plasma picture was stunning and the Dali speakers in the same room had a lovely clarity. Really like the thinking behind the Philips sound bar as well.

 

 

pretty much exactly what i thought.  the opera was amazing, I especially liked the applause at the end, really did feel like you were there.  The opening dolby demo in the rainforest was pretty impressive too.

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RE: What HiFi/Dolby Dolby Atmos Demo Night

A really enjoyable evening - thanks to the What HiFi team and to Dolby / JJ.

The sound experience was really intense - I just wonder how long you could hack it during an action movie (ie the ones mainly produced for Far Eastern audiences with very little narrative) - it could become very tiring in the wrong hands. A bit like the most obvious of 3d movies.

Great to see that Mr Duncan found the fridge and to meet other forumites Smile

ps. I forgot to ask what the speaker cables were in the second demo room with the Panasonic plasma? - they looked like hosepipes.

 

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