Sound Review – Dolby Atmos – Sound above all else…

So I recently underwent a rather painful theater upgrade.

When I originally planned out my theater I knew that Dolby Atmos was on the way, but never thought it would be something worthwhile.

I already was running 11.1 sound, and saw no real reason to invest in more speakers for the ceiling.

The are already rather low over my seating area anyway.

Well flash forward 4 years, and with the new addition of the Marantz AV8002a into my mix, I now have the ability.

So as any self respecting theater owner would do, I decided to tear the place apart and retro fit the roof with 4 speakers.

I decided to pick up 4 Polk speakers from Bestbuy on an insane price match deal.

The speakers retail for $399 a pair, but Amazon was blowing out their stock for just $149.99 each. Well with Bestbuy’s amazing price match / beat guarantee, that became just $124 per pair, much to the dismay of the manager I dealt with.

So after a 2 days of pulling wire through a fully dry walled ceiling, and then cutting through fabric panels on the roof for sound dampening, I finally had the little buggers in place and ready to be wowed!

And man o man wowed I was.

Dolby Atmos changes everything.

It is hands down the biggest addition to a home theater since 5.1 channel audio came along.

Through most 4k movies the ceiling comes alive. With Spider-man and Ironman whooshing overhead, to leaves and wind blowing above as Logan runs through a forest.

The discreet channels all work as individual speakers, sending data left and right, as well as front to back and vice versa.

So as planes pass overhead you can clearly hear their location.

On top of this with the addition of DTS:X the Marantz receiver is able to approximate audio for those channels as well in most video games.

Suddenly the Tower in Destiny 2 comes alive as ships fly over and other guardians tromp around on the catwalks above.

The entire back of the theater is now bustling and alive with ambient noise, no matter the presentation.

The only downside here is that sadly the .4 overhead speaker superseded the front height and wide speakers.

So it is truly still a 11.1 setup, or more aptly 7.1.4.

I am still leaving the other speakers in place, as who knows where technology will go in a few years.

But for now, I am more than pleased at the update.

Look forward to how Atmos affects some games in coming reviews.

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