No other system integrator in Southeast Asia has as much experience with ATMOS as Goldenduck. We’ve commissioned more than 90 ATMOS halls throughout the region.
We start by designing the ATMOS speaker and amplifier configuration specifically for your hall, and we’ll work with Dolby to fine tune the layout and get their approval. After installation is complete, our Dolby-certified engineer will check everything and carry out the final equalization to ensure that the ATMOS sound is perfectly aligned to your cinema. The hall is then registered with Dolby and will appear on their guide to Dolby ATMOS locations. You will also have access to ATMOS promotional trailers, electronic artwork, etc.
Dolby ATMOS is supported by all major Hollywood studios and countless international distributors, so there’s no shortage of movies in this exciting audio format!
How Dolby Atmos Works Its Magic
A More Effective Speaker Setup
The most immediately noticeable difference in a Dolby Atmos system is the use of overhead speakers, but that's just part of the story.
A typical surround sound system consists of left, center, and right discrete channels with the speakers behind the screen. The surround channels are handled by wall-mounted arrays of speakers, divided acoustically into two or four zones. All speakers within a zone receive the same audio information.
In a Dolby Atmos theatre, every speaker—as many as 64 total—is powered independently and gets its own separate audio feed. In effect, each speaker is its own zone. In addition to the overhead speakers, Dolby Atmos typically adds more surround speakers and screen speakers.
The improved speaker layout is a key to implementing the dramatic audio improvements of Dolby Atmos.
Sounds Gain Their Independence
Imagine sitting in a restaurant. There's a general buzz of conversation and music all around, yet you can pick out an individual voice behind you or a clink of silverware from the terrace above you—and you can tell exactly where each sound is coming from.
Now you're watching that same restaurant scene in a movie. With conventional surround sound, you'll get the ambience, but the voice and clink come from vague locations—if you can pick them out at all. That's because channel-based sounds—particularly surround effects—have to be assigned to a general zone, not a specific location. And because there are no overhead speakers, the sounds cannot move above you.
In Dolby Atmos, each of those sounds can be created as an independent entity—an audio object. Put all the objects together, and you'll feel like you're actually in the restaurant, not just watching a scene.
Any sound can be a single audio object, placed and moved independently anywhere in the theatre. The filmmaker decides exactly where the sound should come from and where it should move. So you hear the roar of a plane flying overhead from above you, or a door closing to the left. Sounds can originate from a single speaker or sequence of speakers, or from any number of speakers simultaneously.
Audio objects empower filmmakers to focus on the story and put the sounds where they belong, rather than compromise the artistic impact to fit a fixed channel or zone.
Making the Bed
Some elements of a movie soundtrack, however, still benefit from a channel-based approach—for instance, ambient effects and music backgrounds. So a Dolby Atmos soundtrack also includes a more conventional channel-based "bed," together with the audio objects. Dolby Atmos packages up to 128 audio tracks—a 9.1 bed and up to 118 audio objects.
Putting It Together
The Dolby Atmos processor in the theatre intelligently assigns each audio track. It maps the bed channels to screen channels or surround arrays, and positions objects within the room. It's all reproduced in real time based on where the loudspeakers are. Dolby Atmos scales to the specific speaker complement of a theatre, so the effects will be the same regardless of the auditorium's size.
Sound placement is consistent throughout the audience. Thanks to audio objects originating from specific locations rather than general areas, you'll hear the exact same effect no matter where you sit in the theatre—every seat is the "sweet spot."
Even More Audio Improvements
Having independently powered speakers improves the sound in other ways as well. For instance, tonal quality sometimes suffers when a sound is reproduced by an array of loudspeakers. Being able to direct that sound to single speakers makes the reproduction much more accurate and realistic.
Also, in traditional surround setups, a sound moved from the screen to the surround zones drops in volume. Dolby Atmos, using improved room equalization and better bass management along with the independently powered speakers, avoids this problem. Sounds maintain the right volume as they move, adding to the realism.