Difference between Dolby Atmos & Other Similar Technologies: From Dolby Vision To DTS:X

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You might be confused by these terminologies related to Dolby technologies. That’s why I have created this crash course for you to understand it better.

I have to blend them all in a very easy-to-digest course. By reading this article, you will know more than your friends and neighbors about Dolby technologies.

It will help you to select the best format for your home theater.

Without taking much time, let’s discuss each one and clear this confusion once and for all.

Difference between Dolby Atmos and Dolby audio

Dolby AtmosDolby Audio
It is a complete 3D sound bubble around the audience with overhead speakersIt is a surround sound that surrounds the audience on the ground
It is a coordinate-based audioIt is a channel based audio
It needs extra hardware and raises the costIt can be implemented with minimal hardware

What is Dolby Audio?

Dolby Audio is created to erase the annoying behavior of movies and TV shows’ audio. Where the dialogues are hard to hear, and the background music is loud. When you up the volume to hear the dialogues clearly, then a sudden rise in the background music makes the experience frustrating.

That’s why Dolby Audio was invented to control the volume for you automatically. Now, the dialogues, background noise/music, and sound effects are all kept in check.

Now you will hear the dialogue clearly and also all the sound effects. Now, you don’t need to up or lower the volume.

It is channel-based audio that is applicable more in professional theater rooms. There, all the speakers on each side are assigned one channel. All the speakers play one sound at a time.

Know there 5 easy steps to optimize your home theater audio to the best. I have added easy applicable steps to it.

Source: Dolby Labs

What is Dolby Atmos?

The Dolby Atmos is a one-step more to the future of the 3D experience. It creates a sound bubble around you and instead of channels it works on coordinates. In channel-based audio, all the speakers in that channel have to play one sound, but in coordinates-based audio, each speaker can play sound independently.

In coordinates-based audio, the flying of the helicopter will be tracked precisely through each point of the room and not only at one side speakers’ set at a time.

Read my this guide to know if the Atmos speakers are worth it. Don’t forget to read the poll stats.

What is Dolby Audio used for?

Dolby audio is used for home theaters that are based on ground surround sound like 5.1 or 9.1. Many soundbars are now Dolby Audio enabled.

It delivers clear audio for movies and TV shows with automatic volume control. Those huge sudden explosions in the movie will not get freak out of you because every sound including dialogue is kept in check.

What is Dolby Atmos used for?

The Dolby Atmos is used for professional theaters and those home theaters which are having overhead or Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers.

To create a 3D sound field around you, you will need overhead or on-ground Atmos-enabled speakers. That’s why Dolby Atmos cost a little more.

I will not be repeating Dolby Atmos' definition in the rest of the comparisons

Difference between Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision

Dolby AtmosDolby Vision
Deal with the audio of the movieDeal with the video of the movie

What is Dolby Vision and do I need it?

Everyone needs it, just read the details below about what is it, and you will know why.

Dolby Vision is invented to give the best possible picture experience to the audience. It is a smart HDR technology that optimizes picture quality for each size of the screen. Now, no more worries about watching movies on a bigger or smaller screen.

Dolby Vision improves the picture quality by targeting the most important 3 aspects of the picture such as brightness, color vibrancy, and black levels.

Vibrant colors are needed to satisfy your eyes with colors on the screen. The brightness is a thing that we home theater owners will always be after it. The next critical aspect is Black levels that are easily washed out by the brightness of the image.

Dolby Vision controls the washing out of the black levels and hence provides the most realistic picture possible.

Know how to optimize the video and audio experience of home theater. I have added 13 instantly applicable tips.

Can you have Dolby Atmos without Dolby Vision?

You can have Dolby Atmos without Dolby Vision. They are separate entities. You can still enjoy Dolby Atmos-enabled movies without the need of searching for Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision deals with the video and Atmos deals with audio. And they can work separately with and without the presence of one.

Difference between Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital

Dolby AtmosDolby Digital
It is an audio formatIt is an audio codec
It is a 3D sound bubble over the audienceIt is an on-ground 2D surround sound around the audience

Is Dolby Digital the same as Atmos?

There is a huge difference between Dolby Digital is an audio codec that can carry audio formats with itself like CD version or 7.1 surround sound. On the other hand, the Atmos is an audio format that needs a codec to carry it.

Also, Atmos is a 3D bubble audio format but unfortunately, this Dolby Digital is not capable to carry the Atmos format. You need other advanced codecs to carry the Atmos.

Which is better Dolby Atmos or Dolby Digital?

If you are concerned about the budget Dolby Digital is better for you but if you care only about the audio experience then Dolby Atmos is better for you.

Difference between Dolby Atmos and Dolby digital plus

Dolby AtmosDolby Digital Plus
It is an audio formatIt is an audio codec
It needs a codec for deliveryIt is a codec by itself
The audio format is dependent on a codec to deliver it to the audience

What is a Dolby digital plus?

Dolby Digital Plus is a more advanced and enhanced updated version of Dolby Digital. The DD+ is also capable of delivering Dolby Atmos. But the format of the Atmos will be in lossy compression. You will get the Atmos but not in its original high quality.

Does Dolby Digital Plus sound better than Dolby Digital?

The Dolby Digital Plus always sounds better than the Dolby Digital. Because the DD+ can carry the Atmos but the DD can’t. Due to this DD+ can deliver spatial and 3D audio. That’s why to choose DD+ if you want the 3D audio to feel in your home theater.

Keep reading another Codec that can carry Atmos in its original form.

Difference between Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD

Dolby AtmosDolby TrueHD
It is an audio formatIt is an audio codec
It can’t carry audio formatsIt can carry audio formats such as Dolby Atmos

How good is Dolby TrueHD?

Dolby TrueHD can carry Atmos in its true form. That gives the best audio experience of Dolby Atmos possible. That’s why it is not good but one of the best audio codecs to choose from.

Read more about it in my another article; Dolby TrueHD Vs Dolby Digital Plus. Don’t forget to read the facts and figures.

Difference between Dolby Atmos and DTS:X

Dolby AtmosDTS:X
It needs extra speakers to create the 3D sound-fieldIt doesn’t need additional speakers to create the 3D sound-field
A lot of content is enabledNot a lot of DTS:X enabled content is enabled

Is DTS X better than Dolby Atmos?

It is better if you are short on a budget and want an object-based 3D sound field but if you want real 3D sound field effects then the Dolby Atmos is better. Because when it comes to the real 3D audio experience then a ground surround sound can’t beat the over-head speaker’s setup along with the on-ground surround sound.

There will be many sound tones that can be missed in DTS:X as compared to Dolby Atmos.

Is DTS x worth it?

It is absolutely worth it if you want object-based 3D surround sound with minimal hardware setup and a minimal budget.

Difference between Dolby Atmos and 5.1 and 7.1

Dolby Atmos5.17.1
Needs extra overhead speakers. Doesn’t need overhead speakersDoesn’t need overhead speakers
3D sound field2D surround sound2D surround sound
Overhead speakers from 2-4 along with 5 on the ground with a subOnly 5 speakers on the ground with subOnly 7 speakers on the ground with sub

Which is better surround sound or Dolby Atmos?

The Dolby Atmos is always better because the video will be replicated in the form of audio with exact coordinates in your theater room. By coordinates I mean if the bullet in the movie’s video hit a certain spot on the wall the exact point in the theater room will be felt like it is being hit but in the form of audio.

Do you need 7.1 for Dolby Atmos?

You don’t need a 7.1 setup for Dolby Atmos. You can have Dolby Atmos with 5.1, 9.1, or more or less than 5.1.

The 7.1 surround sound is independent of Dolby Atmos and similarly, Atmos is independent of the 7.1. They don’t need each other.

Read my this review about the best home theater system under $1000. Each one has surround sound speakers along with a receiver.

Did you get something out of this Atmos guide? Hold On We Have Something Exciting To Share.

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Which surround sound mode is best?

The best is the Dolby Atmos. Because it can go with any setup of surround sound and also it provides an additional dimension to the sound. It gives you 3D sound and matching coordinates with that of the video on the screen.

Is it worth upgrading to Dolby Atmos?

It is worth upgrading Dolby Atmos if you want to feel the sound all around you. You can feel like you are seating in the middle of the battle or watching the gladiator fight in person when you have enabled the Dolby Atmos along with the required hardware.

How many speakers does Dolby Atmos need?

You can have the Dolby Atmos from 2 to onwards of speakers installed. These speakers may be in-ceiling, overhead, or up-firing speakers.

Is Dolby Atmos only on 4K?

Dolby Atmos has nothing to do with 4K. You can have the Dolby Atmos with or without the 4K. The reason that you are confused about it is that the 4K is now a standard format. That’s why producers produce movies in a 4K and accompanied it with Dolby Atmos audio because it is now the norm.

Are Atmos speakers different?

The Atmos speakers are not different as long as they are enabled to shower the audio over your head. Any speaker can be Atmos-enabled as long as you assign the Atmos channel and install the speaker in a way that can shower the audio over your head.

Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More

  1. Read about this more on this Reddit discussion. (Resource for the second answer)
  2. I have compared the experience of each speaker type in this article. Is Atmos height virtualization worth it? (Resource for the third answer)
  3. Know more about Dolby Atmos from this CNET Blog. (Resource for the fourth answer)
  4. This was my opinion. Know more from this Youtube video. (Below Video Resource for the fifth answer)

Watch To Learn More

This article was first posted on Homelytainment.com.
Ayaan Khan
Ayaan Khan

I'm Ayaan khan, a freelancer and a Computer Science degree holder from P.E.S. College. After my degree, I started an internship with my father in his home theater showroom. After working for a month I realized that this is the best job in the world for me and it could be turned into a passion. Fast forward to when my internship ended, I joined my father as a full-time home theater equipment tester. I test new equipment and approve it before it can be installed in the customer's house. I love to test equipment and sometimes love to install it by myself in the customer's theater room. I have the right experience and knowledge to learn from my articles. In my Free time I write & answer questions here on AVSFORUM. Every Article on Homelytainment is curated according to Homelytainment's Editorial Policy and Sponsorship Policy. If you have any questions for me. Reach out to my email (Support(AT)homelytainment.com)

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