Dolby Atmos and DTS:X both use the surround sound effect to provide a realistic view of a video or movie experience. Before comparing Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, we should know a little about surround sound effect. Generally, stereo effects are limited to only two audio channels, but frequently, the sound travels in all the directions. In such scenarios, the surround sound technology captures music from all the places and provide you a more realistic and captivating sound effect.
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Surround sound is a type of audio output in which the music seems to “surround the listener” by 360 degrees. Surround sound systems use 3 or more channels and speakers in front and behind the listener to produce a surrounding effect. The term surround sound has become famous in the last few years. Surround music can be either an analog or digital system.
Surround sound effect specify from where an individual sound originates and move to, and the proprietary sound tech’s like Atmos and DTS:X interpret the data and play it within a virtual 3D space. Generally, in home theaters, Surround sound effect is provided using 5.1 channel surround sound and 7.1 channel surround sound. In 5.1 surround sound consists five speakers at ear level located at the front left, center, front right, surround left and surround right and the .1 indicates one subwoofer. In a 7.1-channel surround sound, two ear-level speakers are added behind the listener: surround back left and surround back right.
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are the two new surround sound formats. Both of these formats are 3D oriented and use virtualized sound objects to capture sound above and around you. So if you are a home theater enthusiast or audiophiles, you should take a look at our detailed comparison down here.
DTS:X and Dolby Atmos have some similarities and some differences between them. We are going to mention all these here. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X have more similarities than differences.
Dolby Atmos was released in June 2012 and the first movie to use it was Brave. Dolby Atmos is a product of Dolby laboratories. DTS:X was released in 2015 April 2015 to compete with the Dolby Atmos designed by California-based DTS Inc. Both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X adds an overhead sound effect to add sound effects with greater realism. Both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are object-based immersive or 3D audio formats. These have sound objects that can be placed anywhere in the 3D space of your listening area.
There are certain things you need to enjoy the surround sound effect using Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. You will need a receiver that supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. However, Atmos need at least one pair of height speakers like ceiling speakers or upward-firing Atmos-enabled speakers. However, DTS:X works with a regular surround sound speaker system. You will need the encoded content with Atmos and DTS:X to get the full effect. Unlike Dolby Atmos prescribed layouts DTS:X can support any channel layout. Check out their DTS:X Demo video.
Both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound effects are backward compatible. Both support the lossless coding for a better sound quality. Along with this, both are also compatible with lossy compression for streaming services. Most of today’s receivers offer both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X processing. Various OEMs having several receivers and speaker models that are compatible with both technologies are Marantz, Pioneer, Onkyo, Yamaha, Klipsch, Definitive Technology, etc. Dolby Atmos leads to this effect with a maximum of 128 individually programmed sound objects moving independently in 3D space whereas DTS:X accommodates an unlimited number of sound objects.
Source: Dolby Labs
DTS surround sound usually encoded at a higher data rate than Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos comes in Dolby TrueHD, DTS:X comes in DTS-HD MA. Both these formats are layered on High Definition lossless audio. Dolby is not a free software; it is licensed and paid whereas DTS:X is open. Some people call the DTS:X as the immersive audio alternative to the Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos supports a maximum of 64 individual channels in the cinema and up to 34 channels in a home theater whereas DTS:X supports up to 30.2 channels in the cinema and 11.2 channels in the home theater setup. Unlike Dolby Atmos prescribed layouts.
To play either of these formats, you will need an A/V receiver or a preamplifier with built-in firmware support. You can enjoy these formats with the same set of speakers powered by a compatible amp. However, if you want to enjoy both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X within the same speaker system, you will need to align your speaker setup according to the Dolby Atmos specifications (see image).
So if you are confused which one to choose between Dolby Atmos and DTS:X go for the receivers that have both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X capability and try to follow the Dolby Atmos specifications to set up your home theater.