5.1 sound has been the standard used in cinemas for many years and is also popular in home cinemas. There are six channels, the centre channel, front left and right, two surround channels and the LFE channel (Low Frequency Effects).
Dolby has created a much more immersive sound experience, Dolby Atmos. Although this technology has been around for a few years now not many people, including myself, have experienced it as it has not been installed in many cinemas – until now. As more and more films are released in Atmos, it is starting to catch on.
What is Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos uses a vast array of up to 64 speakers around the cinema creating a 3D experience for the listener. The main difference to 5.1 is that sound can be treated as ‘objects’ and directed from one speaker to another around the room (Langridge, 2015). Previously, sound was directed to specific channels, so movement of sound was limited. To make the experience truly surround, Atmos utilises speakers that are placed above the listener on the ceiling, so next time you are watching a plane come into shot it really will feel like it is flying over your head!
I’m going to make sure the next film I see uses the Atmos system and will write about my experience here. This may not be for a while though as the closest cinema that has Atmos is in Leeds!
Langridge, M. (2015). Dolby Atmos: What is it? How can you get it? Retrieved 11 October 2016, from http://www.whathifi.com/advice/dolby-atmos-what-it-how-can-you-get-it