You may have noticed the little Dolby Atmos logo on the back of some Blu-ray and most 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray slipcovers. The logo indicates the movie, TV show or video game incorporates Dolby Atmos audio, an advanced format that with the right setup can create an immersive sound experience.
The audio format is actually created by metadata within a Dolby audio stream like Dolby TrueHD. The data contains information about where to place audio objects, therefore creating a spatial experience with the right set up.
But if you purchased a movie with Dolby Atmos either on Blu-ray or in digital format, how do you get it to work and how do you know you’re listening to it? Here’s a quick overview of what you need to set up and what to look for in order to actually hear Dolby Atmos audio.
Your device, whether an audio receiver, speaker, sound bar, streaming media player or TV must support Dolby Atmos. Look for the logo on the device packaging or in the manual to be sure. If your device currently doesn’t support Atmos it is possible a firmware update will. Look for updates from the manufacturer.
Whether you are using an audio/video receiver, streaming media player or game console be sure to set the audio output to bitstream and make sure any secondary audio function is disabled. HDMI must be HDMI 1.4 compliant or later in order to function correctly.
Dolby Atmos Content
As mentioned above your set up needs to be Atmos-ready. And, the content you play must also be encoded with Atmos. Look for the Dolby Atmos logo on the back of a Blu-ray Disc or video game case, or within the details of a digital title. We have lists for Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Netflix and Vudu that indicate whether or not a title features Dolby Atmos.
Turn On Dolby Atmos in Disc Settings
Before playing a disc or game look in the audio settings of the disc interface. Dolby Atmos can typically be found in the main Settings of the disc, and without it turned on will default to Dolby TrueHD. You may have to turn it on every time as we’ve found a UHD BD player will not remember the setting.
Is It on?
Samsung sound bars with Dolby Atmos will let you know when Atmos is activated by a blue light on the front of the bar. On a Sony system you can press the Display button on the Sony remote and DAtmos or Dolby Atmos will show on the screen. You can also press the Display or Display Mode on the front of the device, although if playing a 4k Blu-ray this may not work. In addition, Sony has something called Vertical Sound Engine but Dolby Atmos will override that sound feature. Check the manual for your specific audio system for details.
There are a few ways to set up your speakers in order to experience Dolby Atmos including overhead sound. 1. Install ceiling speakers. 2. Use new Dolby Atmos enabled speakers. 3. Use a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.
Ceiling speakers are obviously intended to be installed near the ceiling, but other speaker systems have been designed to point sound upward where it can bounce of ceilings to create an overhead sound effect. Dolby says you can get the experience with just two speakers but suggests four to get the full effect. Dolby provides different layouts on their website for locations, but you can also experiment with placement is whatever locations you have available.
Some of the easiest setups for Dolby Atmos include using a sound bar with a subwoofer and optional speakers. Companies that make Atmos-supporting sound bars include LG, Philips, Pioneer, Onkyo, Samsung, Sony, Vizio, and Yamaha.
Of course, home theater audio setups can get a lot more complicated and vary between 5.1.2 or 7.1.2 (two speaker setups) and 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 (four speaker setups), and even a 9.1.2 system with two speakers added to a 7.1.2 setup. But hopefully we’ve given you some information to get you started.
Also Read: How To to Watch HDR Movies & TV Shows