Meet Dolby Atmos
Dolby Atmos is the first new surround sound technology in twenty years that actually matters, in our opinion. Most of us have heard of Dolby Digital or DTS, both of which are digital surround sound formats. Almost every home theater receiver built in the last fifteen years supports both, and you can hear these surround sound formats when watching almost all TV programs, and certainly all DVD or Blu-ray movies. So what is this Atmos, and how is it different?
Surround sound hasn’t really had a revolutionary leap since 1994 when Dolby Digital came onto the scene. While you might have heard such terms as 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, 9.1 (you get the idea), all that happens is an increase in the number of speakers around your room, either on the side walls or behind you. While the sound did get a bit more immersive, it wasn’t dramatically different than your normal 5 speaker setup. Atmos changes all of that.
Dolby Atmos is commonly referred to as a 3D surround sound. In a movie theater that has Atmos, there are actually 64 speakers in the auditorium, many rows of them on the ceiling, which allows for placing sound not just around you, but above you in specific spots. While we don’t expect that many of us will outfit a room with 64 speakers, you can get the same Atmos experience with different speaker and placement options that fit into a home.
Upgrade Your Experience
What you will need to get started is a new Dolby Atmos receiver or preamp/amplifier combo. If your speakers are all in-wall or in-ceiling you will need to add more speakers. If you have free-standing tower speakers around the room, they can be replaced the Atmos-capable speakers that have extra channels built-in. Finally you will need a current-generation Blu-ray player such as an Oppo.
We sell Atmos products and would love to discuss upgrading your existing system to Atmos or helping you build a new spectacular movie room of your own!
Have you ever noticed how sometimes the audio from your system is not always the same from program to program when you are watching television? Your cable or satellite provider doesn’t always send 5.1 surround sound down the line to your system. Typically, if the program you are watching is in HD, whether a major sporting event or a movie, then almost all the time it will be broadcast in surround sound. Many times it will even be advertised at the beginning of the program. However if you are watching the news or an old rerun of Murder, She Wrote, then it will most likely be broadcast in plain old two-channel stereo. What does this mean?
In a surround sound situation, not all the speakers are working at the same time. It is directional, so if a sound on the screen appears to come from the left, then the left speakers will produce the audio with the others quiet. That being said, generally, dialogue comes from your center channel speaker.
This is a very common question that we receive on a regular basis. Just because we installed a 5 or 7 speaker surround system in your house, doesn’t mean all the speakers will be playing all of the time. This is totally normal. If you are watching an HD program and you still don’t have all speakers firing, let us know and we’ll help troubleshoot it for you.
Watch your TV like never before.
You have invested in a high-quality television, shouldn’t you make sure it is calibrated to get the best picture possible? Out of the box, most televisions come from the manufacturer set up with over saturated color and contrast turned up to 11 to maximize consumer impact on the big-box floor. We can’t begin to stress how awful this picture quality actually looks. What you are missing are the details that filmmakers pride themselves on capturing.
ISF Certified Calibration comes from the Imaging Science Foundation using highly specialized equipment and a thoroughly trained professional who will calibrate your display to various standards on every input.
- Truer color
- Blacker blacks
- Whiter whites
- More detail
- Sharper image
- Increases the life of your display
What about projectors?
Your projector deserves the same treatment as your televisions. Every device is different and ISF Calibration takes into account room layout and ambient light that can affect the picture. If you haven’t had your projector properly ISF calibrated by a certified professional, then you have not been seeing your projector at its best.
Have you had your displays calibrated? Give us a shout with your questions or to schedule a tune up!
Recently Comcast sent out an update to some of their HD boxes (not X1 or the older, silver models – see photo) that has a power save feature. If you have a Motorola DCX3400 series (3412, 3416, etc) box, you have received this update and you may have experienced your box shutting itself off.
If you have no picture or see an error message, simply go to your box and hit the power button. Once your cable box is turned on again, press the Menu key, then go to the Menu option, select Setup, then you’ll see Power Save. Select that and turn power save off.
It happens to us all the time – two must-watch games on at the same time, or sometimes three, or even four! There is a solution, a good solution.
A fully touchscreen controllable, high-definition, high-resolution, multi-window video processor that can handle up to 8 different source inputs: HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, HD-SDI and good-ole analog, with Crestron’s DVPHD. If your head didn’t explode with that one, you might be asking: What does it all mean? You can display 8 *different* feeds of anything your heart desires – satellite or cable TV, Blu-ray, computer screens and more – either all at once, a couple at a time or switch between them effortlessly through your handy touch panel. Add transition effects and customizable graphics to sweeten the delivery.
The DVPHD, when added to an existing or new Crestron system, can be connected to your big television in the great room or 2-piece projection system in the theater (anywhere, really). It is also perfectly suited for board room applications making presentations stand out with multi-media capabilities and real-time on-screen annotation at the touch of a button.
We have been in many media/theater rooms with problematic audio. Typically there is not a room in your home perfectly suited for how your ear actually hears audio (there are some rare exceptions of purpose-built listening rooms). Room size, furnishings, dead spots and a legion of other factors can turn the best speakers and equipment into boring, or sometimes ear-splitting, wasted money.
Room equalizing is not a new concept by any means but Anthem’s room correction system (ARC ) mimics how the human ear hears, adjusting for the room’s features on each speaker independently. ARC corrects for up to 7 speakers and subwoofer with multiple microphone measurements, as compared to a standard wimpy “room EQ” with only one cheap, plastic mic at the primary listening position. Multiple microphones allow you to receive real-life feedback from many listening positions as well as adjustments for surround and rear speakers that are often given less priority. The outcome is a surround experience that will give you goosebumps.
The ARC is an add-on accessory to any Anthem product. Want to geek out? Read the full white paper from Anthem here.