It’s More Complicated Than You Think
If you know anything about home theater design, you know it’s mostly about audio absorption. When sound emanates from a speaker, the elements of your theater should help reduce echo and offer ideal conditions for robust audio. But when you’re dealing with an immersive audio system like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, that’s not always the case. Too many sound-absorbing materials, and you could end up negatively impacting your experience. So, how do you ensure you’re getting the most out of your Alamo, CA home theater design? Start by reading below.
How Immersive Audio Works
Immersive audio formats work differently than surround sound formats. Surround sound operates by assigning audio to channels, or speakers. For example, you’ll hear mostly dialogue coming from the center-front speaker, and soundtrack music and other sound effects from the different speakers around the room. Sound editors assign audio to one or more speakers to create the intended impact.
Formats like Atmos and DTS:X approach it a little differently. Here, sound editors can treat each sound like it’s an individual object. They can then move each “sound-object” anywhere in a digital 3D plane. While each sound-object is still technically assigned to a channel, they appear to move more naturally among each speaker in your home theater setup. In other words, the sound of a big action-movie explosion will start in one corner of the room and realistically move throughout the space.
The effect works through a unique speaker configuration in your home theater. Speakers are placed in front of and behind the listener, as they would be in any surround sound setup. Additionally, two or more overhead speakers work to create a “sphere” of sound. When a listener sits in the center of the sphere, they are wholly immersed in audio.
Reflecting on Audio Reflections
So, why would you treat home theater design any differently when installing an immersive audio system? Because Atmos and DTS:X depend on the natural sound reflections of the room to create the immersive experience.
Sound reflections, or echoes, are generally seen as negative. Walk into any empty room, and you’ll immediately notice the sounds bouncing all over the place. Furniture, carpeting, and other plush objects absorb the extra noise, so they don’t echo. In extreme cases (or rooms that require optimal audio) acoustic panels can absorb even more.
But an Atmos system promises the same experience whether you have a 60-channel commercial system or a 5.1.2 channel system. Your backroom home theater should sound as good as the local megaplex, no matter the size. To accomplish that, Atmos will use the natural reflections of the room to make the system sound bigger than it is.
That means being strategic about the placement of the speakers, sparing with acoustic treatments, and aware of the architectural anomalies of the space.
How do you do all that? Easy. Just work with Northern California’s leader in home theater design. At Hermary’s, we have more than 55 years of experience in home audio and technology solutions. We offer the guidance you need to get the most out of your theater and more.
Want to work with us? Click here to get started or give us a call at 415-993-7600 today!