A Brand New Path: Dolby Atmos and DTS X is here.

 

Until recently, most popular surround sound formats offered either 5.1 or 7.1 channels, and surround sound music and movie sound tracks were mixed to work well with the standard speaker layouts. Some audiophiles and dedicated video fans chose to install more speakers, including more surround channels, and even speakers above the screen, but all the existing surround sound decoders could do was guess what to send to those speakers. The result was sometimes interesting, but usually less than compelling.

 

The latest immersive surround sound formats, the most popular of which are Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, have broken this barrier by encoding some or all audio content based on actual location rather than simply speaker channels. As a result, when decoded properly, this new immersive content can take full advantage of larger numbers of speakers, which can include both surround speakers in a wider variety of locations, and height speakers, specifically positioned to enable sounds to extend above the listener, for a truly immersive three dimensional listening experience.

 

 

 

In order to take full advantage of this new technology, a surround sound processor must both include the advanced technology necessary to decode it properly, and support enough channels to deliver a compelling immersive experience. The Emotiva RMC-1 provides support for sixteen audiophile quality fully balanced audio output channels, which can be configured as fifteen full-range channels and one subwoofer output, or thirteen full-range channels and up to three subwoofer outputs. In addition to this, the RMC-1 includes three expansion slots, which can accommodate up to twelve additional output channels, when and if they are needed, as well as a variety of additional input options.

 

The RMC-1 supports all of the standard channel configurations specified by the applicable licenses for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, as well as continuing to fully support existing high quality surround sound formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Users familiar with the previous standards will notice a few changes in how they are decoded. All Dolby Atmos content will be decoded using the new Dolby Atmos renderer; and Dolby TrueHD and other Dolby Digital content will de decoded exactly as before; but the Dolby PLIIx surround synthesizer has been replaced with the more advanced Dolby Surround Upmixer. Likewise, DTS:X content will be decoded by the DTS:X decoder; and DTX-HD Master Audio and DTS Digital content will continue to be decoded as before; but the older DTS Neo:6 synthesizer has been replaced by the new DTS Neural:X upmixer. Recent updates to the licenses now also specify which upmixer may be chosen for use with each particular type of content.

 

What Is Dolby Atmos™?


Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology which is commonly used in movie theaters and for the sound tracks on Blu-Ray and 4k UHD movie discs and streaming content. With virtually all previous surround sound formats, like Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio, the audio content consists of several tracks, each intended to be played via a specific speaker. With Dolby Atmos, the audio content is divided into bed channels and objects. The bed channels are each intended to be played from a specific speaker. However, sound objects are defined as having specific locations in space; when the audio information is decoded, each object is assigned to one or more speakers based on the speaker layout you have. Most previous surround sound formats support either five or seven speakers plus a subwoofer; Dolby Atmos adds the option to include width speakers. Dolby Atmos also specifically supports “height channels”. Height channels are used to portray objects above the listener, and are reproduced either by speakers mounted in the ceiling, or by special speakers mounted on top of certain other main channel speakers, and positioned to bounce their audio signal off the ceiling, so it reaches the listener from above.

 

What Is DTS:X™?

DTS:X is an object oriented surround sound technology, and is the main competitor to Dolby Atmos in the USA. While the current version of DTS:X supports fewer channels and options than the current version of Dolby Atmos, the basic principle is quite similar, and updates are planned. We can expect both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to evolve over time, and the RMC-1 has both the channels and the processing power needed to stay up to date and continue to evolve with them.

Dolby Atmos And DTS:X Compatibility
The Emotiva RMC-1 provides support for sixteen audiophile quality fully balanced audio output channels, which can be configured as fifteen full-range channels and one subwoofer output, or thirteen full-range channels and up to three subwoofer outputs. The RMC-1 supports all of the standard channel configurations required by the applicable licenses for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. (We are also required, as a condition of the license requirements, to avoid offering specific combinations of channel assignments and upmixing options.)

Dolby Atmos

DTS:X

Dolby Digital Upmixer

DTS Neural:X Upmixer

Dolby Atmos content

YES

X

X

X

DTS:X content

X

YES

X

X

Dolby Digital content (except Atmos)

X

X

YES

X

DTS Digital content (except DTS:X)

X

X

X

YES

Stereo Analog content

X

X

YES

YES

Stereo PCM content

X

X

YES

YES

Multi-channel PCM content

X

X

YES

YES

DSD content

X

X

X

X