What is Dolby Atmos Music and how does it work | Digital Trends Spanish


Despite the arrival of music streaming services – which have completely changed the landscape when it comes to accessing music – there have not been many changes in the way songs are played. Whether you listen to music via FM radio, digital satellite radio, MP3, CD, DVD audio, or even high-resolution lossless files like FLAC or DSD, the original recording was likely created in stereo at the time, that mix of two channels of sound that has been with us for decades.

But that’s about to change: Dolby Atmos Music is slowly making its way into the mainstream of the music business and this makes good stereo sound like AM radio. You may already know this audio system in film and television – if not, we have a great detailed guide – but this audio experience is unique. A whole new way of recording and listening to music, it could become a very important part of the next leap in recorded music. We tell you below what is Dolby Atmos Music.

What is Dolby Atmos Music?

Dolby Atmos Music it is music that has been recorded and produced using the Dolby Atmos 3D audio format. That’s what we call it, but Dolby prefers the term “immersive” to “3D,” and describes Atmos not so much as a format but as an “experience.” Semantics aside, Atmos Music differs from traditional stereo music in some key ways.

Keep the channels open

Today’s music producers have access to very sophisticated digital recording equipment, which allows them to mix music from dozens of separate channels (also called tracks). However, no matter how many channels you start recording with, if you create a stereo recording, these multiple channels must eventually be combined into just two: left and right, which correspond to the two speakers in a stereo environment. Dolby Atmos Music, on the other hand, is a native surround sound technology, with support for up to 128 channels and up to 34 separate speakers in a home theater system, including speakers that can direct sound towards the listener from the ceiling.

That sounds like the kind of sound you’d get in a commercial movie theater, and it is: Dolby Atmos is used to create highly immersive soundtracks for movies, with sound that feels like it’s coming from in front of you, behind you. , both sides, and from above. But that same recording technique can be used with music to achieve a similar result: total sound immersion.

It would be easy to categorize Dolby Atmos Music as a way to play normal tracks through a surround sound setup – after all, every home theater receiver can take an audio source like vinyl, CD, or streaming media, and run it through. through circuitry and software that optimize it for a surround sound system, such as a 7.1 speaker setup. But Atmos Music isn’t a stereo to multi-channel surround sound conversion – it’s a recording that uses these additional channels in a whole new way.

One of the defining characteristics of Dolby Atmos for movies and Dolby Atmos Music is that the producer can manipulate an object (or in the case of music, an instrument or a vocal track) in 3D space independently. For example, when listening to Atmos Music on an Atmos compatible sound system, you might hear the violins from the front of the room when a symphony begins, but as the music continues over time, those instruments could gradually change. in space as if they came from everywhere. This is an unprecedented level of control for producers, and like the 3D effect in movies, it can seem jarring or even annoying if set in a forced way. But in the same way, it can be sublime when the spatial options are manipulated by a skilled and experienced hand.

Where can you listen to Dolby Atmos Music?

Atmos Music in home theater and sound bars

Tidal’s HiFi Subscription includes a library of Dolby Atmos Music soundtracks. If you have an Atmos-capable media streaming system, such as Apple TV 4K, Amazon Fire TV (Stick, Cube, Stick 3rd Gen), or the 2019 Shield TV models from Nvidia and an A / V receiver or sound bar with Atmos capability, you can listen to music via the Tidal app for these devices.

If you have an Atmos-capable Sony or Philips Androi TV, you can download the Tidal app from Google Play and stream Music Atmos tracks directly to your TV. This will be played through the TV speakers, but if you connect an Atmos-capable A / V receiver or soundbar via HDMI ARC or eARC, you’ll have the full Atmos Music experience.

There are also some live concert videos recorded in Dolby Atmos. For example, him Reputation Stadium Tour by Taylor Swift on Netflix was recorded in Dolby Atmos. Live performances recorded on Atmos offer a slightly different listening experience than Atmos recorded in the studio. Live performances benefit from Atmos by offering a more realistic concert experience, enhancing the feeling of “being there”.

Atmos Music in wireless speakers

Amazon Music HD also has a library of Dolby Atmos soundtracks, but the only way to listen to them is via Amazon’s $ 199 Echo Studio 3D wireless smart speaker.

Sonos has also announced its first Dolby Atmos-capable wireless speaker, the $ 799 Sonos Arc Soundbar. So far, neither Tidal nor Amazon Music HD have announced support for Atmos Music on the Arc, but we imagine it won’t be long before it is included.

Atmos Music Downloads

Currently, there is no way to buy Dolby Atmos Music in digital formats online. Even online stores that serve fans of high resolution music do not sell soundtracks in Atmos Music – although we have found two exceptions: AcousticSounds.com, which sells a single piece in Dolby Atmos, which offers it in. mp4 and Matt Darey, an EDM artist who sells his albums Wolf Y Retrospective, as dedicated Atmos mixes directly to the public. You can buy them in MT2S, MKV and MP4 formats.

To listen to these Atmos tracks like true Atmos Music, you’ll need to use an Atmos-capable streaming device like Apple TV 4K or Nvidia Shield and an Atmos-capable media player app, like Plex.

Atmos Music on Blu-ray

Blue-ray discs can be used to play Atmos Music and several albums have been released in this format. Beatles fans will be happy to know that Abbey Road It is one of them. Unfortunately, the selection is still very scarce. If you have a Blu-ray disc player and a Dolby Atmos-capable soundbar or receiver, you’re ready to start listening to your music.

What kind of music is available in Dolby Atmos Music?

Dolby is currently associated with two major music companies: Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Both companies have said they will release new recordings and classics from the catalog in Atmos Music format. The exact number of Atmos Music tracks is not something that any of the players have shared publicly, although previous commitments peg the size at thousands. An industry insider says there will be 10,000 tracks on Atmos Music available in 2021.

Warner hasn’t offered a list of their available artists, but Universal has said their contributions to Atmos Music will include tracks by Bastille, The Beatles, Billie Eilish, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Luciano Pavarotti, Marvin Gaye, and The Weeknd, to name a few. .

Is there any other way to experience Dolby Atmos Music?

Some clubs are starting to install Dolby Atmos music systems that give DJs the ability to control their music in the 3D space of the club. These include Ministry of Sound in London, Sound-Bar in Chicago and Halcyon in San Francisco.

Are there competitors for Dolby Atmos Music?

Atmos Music’s biggest competition comes from Sony. Its new 360 Reality Audio technology, which gave our staff the chills when showcased at CES 2019, is also an immersive, object-based audio format for speakers and headphones. He made his streaming debut on the Deezer music service in October 2019 and was added to Tidal shortly after. Sony plans to make the format available on Amazon Music HD and Nugs.net in the future.

As the new kid in the bunch, he has a long, steep climb ahead of him to catch up to Dolby Atmos on the record and playback sides of the equation. But, as the owner of Sony BMG’s huge music publishing empire, Sony has a huge advantage in pushing its concept of immersive music. The next few years will be critical to the success of these competitive technologies, and yes, it is possible that we, as consumers, could get caught up in another format war.

In the movie and home theater space, Dolby’s main rival is DTS, the company behind DTS: X, an object-based surround sound technology that bears a strong resemblance to Dolby Atmos.

DTS: X can also be used for music, but so far there doesn’t seem to be much support for it. Most A / V receivers that can decode Dolby Atmos can also decode DTS: X, but again, you’ll need music recorded using DTS: X to take advantage of it. Unless record labels jump on the DTS: X bandwagon, as Universal and Warner have done with Atmos, the DTS: X music landscape will likely resemble a desert for some time to come.

Clearly Atmos is unlike any other format on the market right now, which makes it difficult to fully appreciate it if you don’t hear it for yourself. When you’re ready to make the switch from stereo music to Dolby’s innovative immersive system, Dolby’s proprietary technology will get you there. In the end, Sony or DTS will catch up, but for now, Dolby is the leader. We honestly can’t wait to hear how music will improve in the future.

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