Interesting concept, but is it a system for Hollywood blockbusters and 3D films or a system that most cinema owners will see as a "must have" to keep or hopefully even gain visitors?

http://vimeo.com/40699179 http://soundworkscollection.com/atmos http://www.dolby.com/us/en/professional/technology/cinema/dolby-atmos.html

Still quite scarce of technical details, mostly sales jargon imho. Looks like a combination of automatic matrixing together with specific signal streams tha can have realtime metadata controlling its playback position. Still need more info, will call Dolby when I have some spare time.

If anyone else has got more specific knowledge plese inform us.

Main question is: FLIP or FLOP?

  • It's a filp or flop now ? are we better off with dolby audio or should we go ahead end embrace dolby atmos ?
    – King
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 20:37

4 Answers 4


There's a white paper here on the topic for more technical details: http://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/Assets/US/Doc/Professional/Dolby-Atmos-Next-Generation-Audio-for-Cinema.pdf

My personal opinion? I think it will flop, at least to start with (although I hope it doesn't). I mean, most cinemas can't (or won't - you decide) even get 5.1 running correctly, let alone up to 64.1. The large cinema chains (at least here in the UK) seem to have a "If it's broke, and no one can tell - no need to fix it" kind of mentality which leads me to believe that the value they attribute to sound is low. To be honest, I don't exactly blame them. They're a business and if their consumers don't notice, then why spend the money?

I think Dolby Atmos is a great idea, and I think it's good for Dolby to keep advancing the technology behind cinematic audio. However, I feel that their money/time would be spent better trying to get cinemas to correctly play back what we've currently got. The amount of times I've been to a cinema with sub-par audio is astonishing and a true evolution of cinema sound would be standardizing the quality of audio playback in cinemas, rather than the introduction of new playback systems (which probably won't be set up correctly anyway!)


  • 2
    I agree here totally , went to a premier of one of our movies only to find the reason for bad sound was blown speaker on the right and missing left surround speakers ( they think it was stolen) No one complained or knew better so it remained , for how long i dont know. Introducing more channels well imo might make it to 1% of the theaters. Not going to be a good business investment. flop . Fred here is right , dolby should spend the money on more full proof current systems
    – Bourne
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 21:03

I'm quite surprised about the overhead speaker part actually. Partly as humans don't do up and down directional hearing very well at all and also because I heard Dolby had experimented with it over 10 years ago and didn't get very good feedback on the results.

I agree with Fred that I'd rather they put more effort to ensuring cinemas replay the audio better in its current form. In fact I'd go a step further and say that I wish cinemas would start employing more well-trained projectionists and not have so much automation in the projection room.


Of course this won't happen like: "Great! Now we have Dolby Atmos in all theaters. And it is working 100% everywhere". But I really hope this will happen. It is great that Dolby is pushing audio industry ahead. We will never have a situation where all theaters are correctly working and calibrated. But that is not a reason to stop.

I've been waiting a long time to get overhead monitors. And this system goes even beyond that. Absolutely great. Just hope that the cost of this system won't be too high so it won't kill itself.

Bye / Tumppi


I am not quite sure what the purpose of overhead monitors might be. There is not much use for this, other than an occasional effect here and there in some films. But for such a small effect such a big and expensive system, I don't see that becoming a big success. But I hope I am wrong.

Cinemas are predominantly a business. And I agree with Fred, sound has low priorities. I find it hard to find a commercial cinema that even has a decent 5.1 system. The audience does not seem to care a lot about the sound. I just had a revelation about this a few month ago. I went to see a film in a cinema that usually has a good sound system. Well the centre speaker was broke. So they used the right speaker as centre and panned the signal from the right speaker to the left speaker. So you had the stereo signal mono down mixed coming from the left and all the centre signal coming from the right. Plus of course noises coming from the surround speakers that where now totally unrelated to the front speakers. Of course it sounded horrible, but no one other than me even seem to have noticed that there was something wrong with the sound.

I complaint to the cinema and got a very polite answer from them. But two month later I was in that cinema again, thinking that they must had mixed by then, but it wasn't fixed. Their calculation seems to be that 99% of people do not realise the difference between mono and 5.1. And as sad as it is, but they are probably right with this calculation. At least actively, 99% will not realise that there is something wrong with the sound. Of course the film experience will be worse, but they will just blame that on the film. So who is going to care about Dolby Atmo?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.