Proper Setup is the Key

People spend a lot of money to experience surround sound at home but some end up complaining that they do not get the expected result. The title says it all. Today, I will share how you should set your surround sound system the way sound emitted through those speakers was meant to be felt. Placing the speakers in a line will not do !

Figure : 5.1 Speaker Setup
Figure 1 : 5.1 Speaker Setup [1]
The figure given above shows how a typical 5.1 surround system should be placed in order to experience the optimum sound quality from the speakers. L, C and R are left, centre and right speakers, respectively while Ls and Rs represent left surround speaker and right surround speaker. Sub is the subwoofer which deals with low frequency content.

Given below is a suggestion by Dolby :

“Create a clear path between you and your speakers. If you can’t see the speaker, sound is being blocked” [2]. I found this really meaningful.

A recent innovation by Dolby is Atmos and this can now be experienced at home.

Figure 2 : Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 setup
Figure 2 : Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 Setup [3]
The system is similar to that of 5.1 but notice the two speakers on the ceiling. The .2 in 5.1.2 represents these two speakers. The link given below has a more detailed picture illustrating the arrangement with angles :

http://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/dolby-atmos-speaker-setup/5-1-2-setups.html

Dolby has shared other speaker setups ideal for home use. Explore these out in the Dolby website.

References

[1] 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker Setup. 2015. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.audioholics.com/home-theater-connection/speaker-placement-setup-tips-for-upgraded-home-theater-systems/5.1.jpg/image_preview. [Accessed 10 February 2015].

[2]  5.1 Speaker Setup Guide . 2015. 5.1 Speaker Setup Guide . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/surround-sound-speaker-setup/5-1-setup.html. [Accessed 10 February 2015].

[3] Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 Speaker Setup. 2015. . [ONLINE] Available at: http://icdn2.digitaltrends.com/image/atmos-5-1-2-with-two-in-ceiling-speakers-970×646-c.jpg?ver=1. [Accessed 10 February 2015].

“Boom Boom, Shake the Room !!” : Dolby Atmos

Do you go to the cinema just to watch a movie on a big screen or does sound play an important role in your entertainment? If you are a person who needs to feel every “thud” and “boom” in a movie, this blog post will surely fantasise you because it is about Dolby Atmos : The technology which helps to produce these amazing sound effects.

Dolby Atmos ensures that the audience hears the sounds produced in movies exactly the way the filmmakers intended. Full creative control over the placement and movement of sound around the audience is provided. Dolby Atmos uses an innovative layered approach to building a soundtrack. A base layer consists of static ambient sounds, which are mixed using the channel-based method. Dynamic audio elements are layered on top of the base layer that can be positioned and moved precisely to match images onscreen to the audio.

Here are some benefits of Dolby Atmos :

  • Creates clearer, more accurately positioned cinema sound; uses object-oriented mixing to layer independent sound elements over channel-based audio content
  • Captures all the director’s intent as descriptive metadata to provide customized playback for each theatre
  • Automatically generates optimum soundtracks for theatres with 5.1- and 7.1-channel setups
  • Delivers a rich, realistic sound experience through support for up to 128 simultaneous and lossless audio elements in a mix
  • Scales easily to any size theatre, with up to 64 independent speaker outputs

Given below is a diagram illustrating speaker setups for Dolby Atmos, 5.1 surround speakers and Dolby Surround 7.1 :

Dolby Atmos Theatre Configuration Comparison

Figure : Speaker configuration for Dolby Atmos, 5.1 surround speakers and Dolby Surround 7.1

The table given below gives an overview of the comparison between Dolby Atmos, 5.1 surround speakers and Dolby Surround 7.1 :

Comparison of Dolby Atmos, 5.1 and Dolby 7.1 Surround

Table : Comparison between Dolby Atmos, 5.1 surround speakers and Dolby Surround 7.1

Reference : Cinema Sound Technology – Dolby Atmos . 2014. Cinema Sound Technology – Dolby Atmos . [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/technology/movie/dolby-atmos-details.html. [Accessed 20 April 2014].

Theory Behind Soundbars

Modern houses are equipped with various consumer electrical devices such as smart televisions and home theatre systems. If you look at home theatre systems, careful wiring should be done, so that the living room is tidy without any wires trailing on the floor, and this is clearly not an easy task. The solution to this would be having a soundbar instead because one only needs to connect the soundbar to the “optical out” port of the television using one cable. A soundbar can also save space if you are living in a small room because it is not necessary to have so many speakers : The sound emitted from a set of speakers can be delivered from one device. Let me explain the theory behind this compact yet incredible  device.

A soundbar is a long slender device, which consists of seven speakers and each speaker is integrated in such a way that surround sound can be achieved. It has been designed to reflect the sound emitted from the device by the walls. The walls have to be reflective surfaces for this feature to be effective. If there are a lot of absorbers such as curtains and cushions, a soundbar will not be a good choice.

Soundbar

The figure above shows how surround sound effect is created by the soundbar.

Another advantage of having a soundbar is that if the television is mounted to a wall, the soundbar can be mounted to the wall too, so that the ground can be kept clear for furniture or for movement.

Reference :

How a soundbar works | BUILD. 2014. How a soundbar works | BUILD. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.build.com.au/how-soundbar-works. [Accessed 15 March 2014].