With Dolby Atmos being one of the top choices for surround sound systems, how can you go about building your own cinema sound experience?
Since we first heard Dolby Atmos roll out, we were blown away by how awesome it sounded then and how they have evolved it as well. The most recent amps have had this new technology at the forethought of their creation and certainly Pioneer, Onkyo and Denon have built their new amps with this in mind. The top end of the scale from Yamaha will also be looking to bring Atmos to their loyal customers and certainly seeing as many new Blu-ray discs are coming out with this improved audio track it does make sense.
Atmos takes an existing 5.1 surround sound system (a centre speaker, two fronts, two rears for surround and a subwoofer for bass). It then adds an additional “.2” speakers to it, (so a 5.1 Atmos system becomes 5.1.2). Similarly there will be higher end amps that will facilitate 5.1.4 which adds Atmos to the rear surround to give an even more accurate sound position when it comes to feeling the object based movement… or as it is also defined a “360° immersive bubble”.
The speakers for surround sound systems have also had to have a minor tweak in many ways to facilitate the sound-from-above effect that it produces too.
Well there are many ways to future proof yourself right now when it comes to Dolby Atmos and the manufacturers mentioned above are the main guys in the game right now from an amp perspective. The first speakers were Onkyo and Pioneer, but there are other ways to adapt what you may already have to get this incredible immersive sound.
Onkyo TXSR444, JBL Cinema 510 & Onkyo SKH410
This system comprises of Onkyo’s entry level Atmos enabled amp and a small satellite package made up of the great sounding JBL Cinema 510 speakers. However, it is the SKH410 that is the real addition to a normal 5.1 system. They bounce the audio off the ceiling and back down, thus creating a fully immersive object based sound. There is a lot of detail to be had from both sets of speakers and amp. It is a perfect configuration for those who wish to experience Atmos and also take their first steps into building a surround sound system. The system is also 4K compatible as well, so works extremely well for those who have just invested in a new TV.
Pioneer VSX930, Monitor Audio Bronze 6 5.1 & Monitor Audio CT165
The next system is a bit of a jump, but this is a hi-fi separates grade full surround sound system of the highest quality. The Monitor Audio Bronze range has been re-designed for 2015. It’s certainly turning heads, with fantastic build quality and lovely sound detail thanks to the matched C-Cam driver and tweeter. The subwoofer is big but very powerful and certainly compliments the big bottom end presence that a Pioneer amp can provide. The CT165 ceiling speakers are one of our favourite install speakers, thanks to their bright treble and again a hefty amount of bass from such a small cut-out size. These ceiling speakers provide you with the Atmos sound bubble, and in our opinion give a slightly better position for sound when it is “moving around” in the sound space. They also work a little more directionally, so if you are serious about your cinema setup and want the best experience for your movies and games, then this will be the optimal setup for you. Quality is the name of the game here and this package will deliver it in abundance. If you want to look at getting a full 5.2.4 setup then the installation service at Richer Sounds can help you pick out the best locations and any tweaks that you may want to make, such as wall mounts or running cables and hiding them discreetly in the room.
Yamaha RXA3050, Pioneer S-FS73a, Pioneer S-BS73a, Pioneer S-C73a, Rel T-7
The latest offering from Yamaha’s gorgeous RXA Aventage range is their first amplifier to look into using Atmos technology. Couple this surround sound capability to hi-fi grade amplification modules and you have a system ready for music, movies, games and anything else you can throw at it. We’ve always loved the sound and build quality of Yamaha amplifiers and the new range looks set to blow us away yet again. The surround speakers are a dedicated set of Atmos enabled floorstanders and bookshelf speakers respectively, which have built in speakers in the top domes to provide that up-firing Atmos sound. No matter how you position these speakers, the app Yamaha provide make it easy to place that optimal position for everyone in front of your TV or projector. The sound that they will produce is filled with rich bass as well as clear vocals for speech. There’s no need for cutting out holes in the ceiling and chasing cables through the walls here so if you want a hidden cable system then again pop in to see one of our in store installers to see how easy you can get this set up.
One or more of the systems mentioned might be perfect for your home set up. If you aren’t quite sure whether it would fit/be plausible do get in touch with your local Richer Sounds store and ask us to book you in for one of our free on site surveys, where we can come to your property and build a quality Atmos system for your own needs and room shapes/sizes.
Author – Andrew, Weybridge store