What is Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. It expands on existing surround sound systems by adding height channels, allowing sounds to be interpreted as three-dimensional objects.
Why should I get Atmos?
There is a lot of new video content that is out and that has Atmos sound track, Movies and TV shows become more immersive, the location based effects are a lot more real.
Artists are now releasing albums and concerts for a musical experience never available before!
How is Dolby Atmos achieved?
There are a couple ways of adding Dolby Atmos experience to a standard surround system.
You will of course need a Dolby Atmos compatible Audio video receiver with the appropriate amount of amplified channels to drive them. (Ex. for a 5.1.2 channel system you will want at lease a 7 channel AVR)
Each Atmos speaker will require its own dedicated amplified output channel.
1. In-ceiling speaker installation - install down firing in-ceiling speakers in the appropriate location in the ceiling.
2. Up firing speakers - install up-firing speakers, on top of the front channels (and rear if completing a X.X.4 setup). The idea there is for the sound to travel at an angle into the ceiling to reflect into the audience position as if there was an in-ceiling speaker. This method usually requires the least amount of setup but only works well with flat ceiling under 10ft tall. There are some speakers out there that have both the Atmos channel and the standard surround channel built in (see RP-8060FA II or the satellite speakers in the RCS Surround system) those speakers are essentially 2x speakers in one cabinet and they will have 2 separate speaker wire terminals for the main channel and Atmos channel.
3. Front wall down firing angled speakers - For some surround setups especially when the seating position is close to the screen and the ceilings are tall this method can work really well. Typically the same type of angled Atmos speaker can be used.
Example - Klipsch RP-500SA II which can be used for the second or third method.
Does ATMOS require a special ATMOS ready speaker to work?
Speaker designed for Atmos application are just normal speakers that have angled cabinets.
There is nothing special about the Atmos speaker drivers, any loudspeaker can be used for Atmos channel application provided it can be mounted in the appropriate location.
What does the Atmos switch do?
Some Atmos speakers will have an "Atmos" switch (like the one on the RP-500SA II). This switch just cuts the low frequencies to be outputted from this speaker - this is advised to be switched on when the speaker is used in the 2nd position - up-firing. Lower frequencies are not as directional as the higher and will not bounce well from the ceiling therefore it isn't necessary to send them to the speaker.