Dolby calls its new Atmos technology “The most significant development in cinema audio since surround sound”. Onkyo is the first to embrace Dolby Atmos, ditching Audyssey in the process.
The new Onkyo TX-NR1030 and TX-NR3030 receivers and the flagship Onkyo PR-SC5530 network AV controller, will all come with Dolby Atmos surround sound. Firmware updates are now available also for TX-NR636, TX-NR737 and TX-NR838 receivers.
Pioneer has also confirmed it will be releasing a firmware update for its Elite range of receivers to allow them to support Dolby Atmos.
To enjoy Atmos to its full potential users will need to add a pair or more of ceiling speakers to an existing surround sound system. Unlike Dolby Pro Logic IIz, they are designed to appear discretely in the mix and not be simply “matrixed” from the front channels. The addition of height speakers adds a new dimension to the sound making it sound more full.
The first Blu-ray disc Transformers: Age of Extinction has just been released on Amazon UK. Dolby says that you do not need a dedicated blu-ray player to enjoy Atmos content as long as your player fully conforms to the current Blu-ray specification. Movies Gravity, Godzilla, and Edge of Tomorrow were also filmed with Atmos encoding. But don’t expect many blu-ray titles with Atmos anytime time soon. It is early days yet and the distributors do not want to get stucked with older stocks.
If you do not want to spend more on your home theater system, Dolby’s “hardware partners” will also make side speakers that will emulate the experience of sound coming from above your head.
Denon and Marantz have announced new receivers which will be Dolby Atmos compatible. Look out for reviews of these coming up soon.