4 Ways to Bring Dolby Atmos to Your Home. But which Is Better? (Podcast🎙️)

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In this episode, you will know the most common 4 ways to get Dolby Atmos at your home and which is the right one for you. I have discussed every aspect of each option that can give you Atmos at home.

Here Is The New Exclusive Podcast Episode

Here are the articles that I mentioned in the above episode:

  1. How much does Dolby Atmos cost? (Setup + Content)
  2. Is Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Worth It? (Experiment)
  3. Read this review guide about the best Atmos speakers. (From this guide you will know what qualifies a speaker as the best for Atmos effects)
  4. Is Soundbar Enough For Home Theatre? (Truth Or Hoax)

Where To Listen

Here is the transcript Of This Podcast for you if you love reading.

Option 1: Dolby Atmos Enabled Soundbars?

Okay, This is a little controversial topic to talk about. I’m not saying that this is controversial for everyone but for pro and intermediate home theater enthusiasts. 

This is because the soundbar is not meant to give you Dolby Atmos but still the Dolby company has approved them to use their logo.

I’m not saying that these soundbars are totally not worth it for Atmos but there are a few ways where they can provide good Atmos effects but I will talk about that in a while.

Okay, but why do these soundbars have Dolby logos, hmmm it is business. They just want to have more eyeballs on their products.

Why Am I using such harsh words? Because many three-channel soundbars have a Dolby logo which is very funny.

Dolby Atmos can never be delivered with three channels. You need at least 4 separate channels for better Atmos effects. These channels will be separate from all other channels that will deliver surround sound. 

But. Now, some of your friends will say that soundbars can give you surround sound. Yes, that’s true but not in every scenario. If the soundbar has two to four separate speakers that you can place around you, then yes they can give you a taste of true surround sound. But it won’t be able to compete with the real surround sound. Because in real surround sound, you get bigger speakers and bigger speakers have better sound quality.

In the same manner, if the soundbar gives you a few speakers that you can place around you and two to four speakers that you can place above your head then yes it can give you a taste of real Atmos. But I didn’t come across such a soundbar during recording this episode.

Okay, here is a question. But why does the brand say that their soundbar is Atmos enabled? 

The fact is that these soundbars are equipped with virtual Dolby Atmos and not real Dolby Atmos.

This virtual Dolby Atmos effect technology can create a bubble of sound around you and give you a sense of object-based audio. If you have never listened to real Dolby Atmos then you will like these Atmos effects. But if you have listened to real Dolby Atmos then you will hate these effects. It is like eating Tacos prepared by a real Mexican cook and eating one that is not prepared by a real Mexican. If you are from the UK you will relate to Chicken Tikka Masala.

And wait I am not saying that every Soundbar with Dolby Atmos logo on it will deliver these effects. You need a soundbar from reputable brands like Sonos and Nakamichi. There are a few more brands.

We will talk about the real Dolby Atmos in the later parts of this podcast and will also analyze each option and pick the best one.

Option 2: Atmos Height Virtualization or Virtual Atmos provided by AV Receivers

Some receivers provide this feature. In this feature, the receiver stimulates the height of the speakers. You will place the speakers on the ground all around you in a 5.1 or 3.1 surround sound setup.

Then you turn on this feature of the receiver. The receiver will create an illusion in which you will feel like the sound is coming from above but in reality, your speakers will be on the ground.

You will also get 2D sound from the speakers as you do in traditional surround sound setup but here the receiver at another layer to it and makes it a 3D sound.

This feature is really great if you want to get your Atmos effect to another level than the Atmos-enabled soundbar but it can’t come closer to what real Atmos provides.

But if you have never listened to real Dolby Atmos then you can give it a try. It will blow your mind if you are a newbie and want to upgrade the Atmos effects. You can set up just front LCR speakers with a subwoofer and this will work.

Many receivers support just front speakers setup for this feature. This is better because in this feature you get bigger and robust speakers to create a simulation out of it and not tiny speakers that are installed in most of the soundbars.

Let’s proceed to another option but don’t forget to stay for the final verdict to know which option is the right one for you.

Option 3: Upfiring speakers For Atmos effects?

These are speakers that fire the sound to the ceiling and from the ceiling, it showers over you and gives you the sense of Dolby Atmos.

But this option has pros and cons. Well, you get a real sound shower over you which you can’t find in 95% of soundbars. There are a few soundbars that have Upfiring speakers but dedicated Upfiring speakers are always better than them.

Because dedicated Upfiring speakers have bigger drivers than the soundbar built-in speakers.

This option is better than the Atmos height visualization or virtual Atmos effects because here you get real sound waves and not a simulation of Atmos.

Well, you get a real sound shower from Upfiring speakers but your sound quality is at the mercy of your ceiling material.

The sound that touches the ceiling and then showers over you. This sound usually has a blend of textures added by the ceiling material. Due to this, you don’t get real sound but another version of it.

This version is not easily detectable by ears. But audiophiles who have listened to real Dolby Atmos a lot can sense it easily. Also, if you listen to the same audio on a real Dolby Atmos setup you will sense it too.

Okay, the Upfiring speakers are better than an Atmos soundbar but still, they are not the best solution for you.


Option 4: Real Dolby Atmos with 7.2.4 or 9.2.4

If you are a newbie then let me first explain what 7.2.4 and 9.2.4 is. 

The first number indicates the traditional surround sound speakers like 7 speakers around you, the second number indicates the number of subwoofers in your home theater, and the last 4 numbers indicate the number of speakers that you have installed in the ceiling for Atmos speakers.

Okay, let’s get back to the main topic. Dolby Atmos was invented by Dolby Labs for this format when they introduced it for home theater.

Atmos effects without real speakers installed in the ceiling are just a joke and will never feel the real magic of it. For which the inventors invented this sound format.

In real Dolby Atmos, you install physical speakers in the ceiling. Two are a must but 4 are recommended if you have one to two rows in your home theater.

This is because you need to feel the transition of Atmos effects from your front to the back over your head. Two speakers can’t do this better. That’s why you need at least 4 speakers to feel the sound transition of the Atmos effects.

Well, this is the best option for you to enjoy Dolby Atmos at your home but this comes with a catch. You need a receiver that can handle this many numbers of speakers at a time. You need to install nice speakers with good wire management in your ceiling.

You also need to control the fire hazards that might occur due to worn-out speaker wires in the ceiling in the future.

You also need to keep your speakers protected from the humidity and you also need to fish in the wires in the walls and in the ceilings properly to keep the aesthetics of your room clean.

Getting a real Dolby Atmos sound is the job of the pros or you can get help from an expert.

Well, let’s discuss the final verdict and see what is right for you. You saw the best but now you should see the right one.

Final Verdict: Which is better?

If you can spend a good budget and can also hire an expert then I will recommend going for the real Atmos but if you are a complete newbie and want to spend less and set up the Atmos effects within 5 minutes then you can go for an Atmos-enabled soundbar. Yes, you can set up a soundbar within 5 minutes.

But if you are good with little speaker wires management and small group of speakers management then you can go for Atmos height virtualization. Here you will get better sound than a soundbar and you can set this up with just front speakers and a subwoofer with a receiver. 

Here you will get a dedicated subwoofer for the bass too.

Now, I hope you know which is better for you. Don’t forget to read the articles from the description of this podcast to know this topic in detail.

This article was first posted on Homelytainment.com.
Rajendra Kumar
Rajendra Kumar

I am The Homelytainment Podcast Show host. I manage every aspect of the show. The content is sometimes researched by Daniel after that I add my insights and then present them to my listeners. I have worked as a helper in a home theater shop during my student life in UK and that's why know the in and outs of it. During my time there I observed what problems enthusiasts have and what they really need. Now, I own a home theater too. I also wanted to have a podcast to deliver my experience to listeners and I was so thrilled when Daniel considered me to host this show. I am a home entertainment fanatic and that’s why I took up this opportunity right away. We, the show team discuss the common problems of new home theater owners or persons who are on the fence and also we record on-demand episodes to tackle the problems of existing home theater owners. You can demand new episodes too by just dropping us an email at Support(AT)homelytainmentDotCom. Every Podcast on Homelytainment is curated according to Homelytainment's Editorial Policy and Sponsorship Policy.

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