What is Dolby Atmos?
In real life, sound comes from all around. But conventional surround systems only allocate it horizontally – left, right, ahead and behind. What makes Dolby Atmos so staggeringly realistic is that the movement of every sound in the scene is reproduced in all three dimensions, including vertically. This creates a true 3D acoustic image of precisely located individual sounds that move in relation to you as if you were actually there. The effect is uncanny. Exhilarating. Sometimes scary, sometimes hilarious; always engrossing.
How does it work?
Dolby Atmos is infinitely more flexible and adaptable than channel-based home theatre. When a Dolby Atmos stream is fed to a Dolby Atmos compatible A/V receiver, the receiver will render the object-based audio to your home theatre’s unique speaker configuration to precisely recreate the sound the filmmakers intended. Dolby Atmos has the ability to adapt to diverse speaker setup. You can enjoy the full effect with just seven KEF speakers.
What do I need?
With an A/V receiver or pre-processor that supports Dolby Atmos decoding and playback in your system, you can play Dolby Atmos content at home through any Blu-ray disc player or game console, or via your favourite streaming service (with the device set to bitstream output and secondary audio disabled). Then it’s a just question of choosing your extra speakers – and for home theatre audiophiles, that means KEF.
KEF gives you two ways of reproducing Dolby Atmos soundtracks – either by installing Ci Series flush-mount speakers in the ceiling, or simpler still, adding the sensational new KEF Q50a up-firing Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker module to your front and rear satellites. Either way, it’ll transform your enjoyment of film.
Q50a Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers
KEF’S Q50a Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers sit above your existing floorstanding or bookshelf home theatre speakers. Knowing how the brain perceives sound, KEF engineers have perfected a way of beaming the sound upwards so that it’s reflected by the ceiling to replicate the vertical dimension in Dolby Atmos recordings. Integrating perfectly with Q Series range aesthetically as well as sonically, the closed-box design of the Q50a is built around the Uni-Q array developed for the revolutionary KEF Blade. With a sophisticated 25mm (1-in.) tweeter at the centre of a 130mm (5.25-in.) bass/mid driver and KEF’s ‘tangerine’ waveguide to maximise dispersion, it has excellent dynamics with accurate, fast and clean midrange response. And as the speaker footprint is the same, no more space is required.
Ci Series in-ceiling speakers
Alternatively, for the most cinema-like Dolby Atmos experience, you can add two or four of KEF’s Ci Series in-ceiling speakers to your existing home theatre set-up. Discreet and easy to install, they share the same point source Uni-Q array with ‘tangerine’ waveguide. Which you specify will depend on the size of the area and your power handling needs. The Ci160QR has a 19mm (0.75-in.) vented tweeter in a 160mm (6.5-in.) bass/mid driver; the Ci200QR uses a 25mm (1-in.) vented tweeter in a larger 200mm (8-in.) bass/mid driver for greater LF extension. The high-output Ci200RR-THX with THX Ultra2 approval steps up to a 38mm (1.5-in.) vented tweeter in a 200mm (8-in.) bass/mid driver with a massive magnet assembly for the deepest bass response. And with KEF’s Ultra-thin Bezel (UTB) design, they all lie practically flush with the ceiling with minimum visual intrusion.
Whichever you choose, you’ll be upgrading to a whole new dimension in home theatre enjoyment. Heightened emotions and physical sensations. More intense involvement with what’s on screen. A more complete experience – the one the director intended.