Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology that was introduced in 2012, and it has since revolutionised the cinema and home theatre experience. In this article, we will explore the history and development of Dolby Atmos, referencing specific developments and advances in technology and examples of its benefits.

Dolby Atmos was developed as an extension of the original Dolby Surround technology, which was introduced in the 1970s. Dolby Surround used four channels of audio to create a surround sound experience. In contrast, the Atmos technology can support up to 128 discrete audio tracks, allowing for a much more immersive and realistic sound experience.


What is Dolby Atmos?

One of the key features of this innovation is its use of object-based audio. This allows sound designers to place individual sound effects in a 3D space, creating a more precise and accurate sound environment. Additionally, the technology supports height channels, allowing sound to be placed above the listener for an even more immersive experience.

Atmos has been adopted by many major film studios, and it has become a standard in the cinema industry. One of the first films to be released with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack was Brave, which was released in 2012. Since then, many high-profile films have been released with this kind of immersive soundtrack, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Gravity.


Can you have Dolby Atmos sound at home?

The benefits of Atmos extend beyond the cinema experience, as it has also become a popular technology for home theatre systems. Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers and soundbars allow consumers to experience immersive surround sound in their own homes. Additionally, many streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, offer content with Atmos soundtracks.


Atmos Music

One notable development in the history of Atmos is the introduction of the Dolby Atmos Music format. This allows musicians and sound engineers to create music in a 3D space, creating a more immersive and dynamic listening experience. The first Dolby Atmos Music release was in 2019, with the release of David Bowie’s Space Oddity album.


Atmos for Headphones

Another development is the introduction of the Atmos for headphones feature, which allows consumers to experience enveloping sound on their mobile devices and headphones. This technology uses virtualisation to create a spatial sound experience, even when listening through headphones.


Dolby Atmos Sound for Gaming

In addition to its use in cinema and home theatre, Atmos has also been adopted by the gaming industry. Many video games have been released with Dolby Atmos soundtracks, allowing gamers to experience a more immersive and most importantly, realistic sound environment.


Immersive Experience

In conclusion, Dolby Atmos has revolutionised the surround sound experience, offering a more immersive and realistic sound environment through its use of object-based audio and height channels. Its adoption in the cinema, home theatre, music, and gaming industries has allowed for a new level of creative expression and a more dynamic listening and viewing experience. As technology continues to advance, it will be interesting to see how Dolby continues to evolve and shape the future of sound.


What is needed to get started with Dolby Atmos?

In short, the bare minimum system requirements for Atmos:

  • Atmos compatible Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • A compatible monitor system, minimum would be 12 speakers (7.1.4); 7 Speakers around you, 1 subwoofer, 4 overhead speakers (this would differ for a larger or more commercial set-up)
  • An interface compatible and capable of outputting 12 channels with ganged level control for each channel
  • Atmos Renderer


Whether you need Atmos equipment, upgrade your existing recording studio or a new full Atmos design and build, contact us today for a non-committal chat to discuss your options.