First Came 4K UHD TVs Now We Have Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion Sound­bars

This month two new prod­ucts emerged that I think are game chang­ers.

SmartHouse - - COMMENT - Writ­ten by David Richards

They are the Sam­sung Dolby At­mos Sound­bar and the all new Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion Sound­bar from Blue­sound.

From a TV prospec­tive this year has been all about 4K Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion TVs, which by the way are sell­ing like hot cakes in par­tic­u­lar the larger screen TVs.

But with ev­ery great dis­play you re­ally need great sound to fully im­merse your­self in fully ap­pre­ci­at­ing the work that has gone into cre­at­ing great TV en­ter­tain­ment.

Whether it be a big ac­tion movie or a live stage gig what is crit­i­cal is that you pay as much at­ten­tion to the sound sys­tem that you are at­tach­ing to your TV. What dif­fer­en­ti­ates Sam­sung Dolby At­mos Sound­bar and the all new Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion Sound­bar from Blue­sound is that the Blue­sound prod­uct de­liv­ers 24Bit Au­dio, most other sound­bars are still 16Bit.

As for the Sam­sung of­fer­ing it has two rear wire­less speak­ers and Dolby At­mos.

So what is Dolby At­mos and 24Bit Au­dio?

Dolby At­mos has been around for a short while now, with the sound tech­nol­ogy gain­ing trac­tion in Hol­ly­wood. But the ma­jor­ity of cin­e­mas have still yet to equip their screens with com­pat­i­ble sound pro­ces­sors and speak­ers.

The good news is that you can now have the At­mos ex­pe­ri­ence at home with Com­pa­nies such as Sam­sung, Denon, KEF, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer and Yamaha all de­liv­er­ing prod­ucts to mar­ket with a Dolby At­mos chipset.

The Dolby At­mos sys­tem has been cre­at­ing a 3D au­ral ex­pe­ri­ence in the­atres since June 2012. Now the com­pany is de­liv­er­ing its ob­ject-based au­dio ex­pe­ri­ence into the home and on mo­bile de­vices.

The weird thing about au­dio is that it’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to film, but when done well you don’t even no­tice. You’ve prob­a­bly al­ready heard Dolby’s At­mos tech­nol­ogy in movies like Star Trek into the Dark­ness or the best film of the Sum­mer, Guardians of Galaxy. But when you do no­tice what’s go­ing on with the au­dio, it’s spec­tac­u­lar.

The Dolby At­mos sys­tem places speak­ers above the au­di­ence. But it’s more than just shov­ing a few speak­ers in the ceil­ing. The ac­tual At­mos sys­tem lets film mak­ers place sound el­e­ments in a 3D space. With 5.1 and 7.1 sys­tems, when you want to cre­ate the il­lu­sion that some­one is be­hind the au­di­ence you just throw that sound to those speak­ers. It’s a speaker based sys­tem. With At­mos, in­stead of push­ing a sound to a

par­tic­u­lar speaker, it’s pushed to a place in a 3D space. For ex­am­ple, to cre­ate the il­lu­sion of a he­li­copter fly­ing over­head the sound en­gi­neer­ing doesn’t pick which speaker the sound of the he­li­copter will come out of. In­stead, the en­gi­neer picks a point in a 3D space and the At­mos sys­tem au­to­mat­i­cally ad­justs the sound com­ing of the ap­pro­pri­ate speaker.

24Bit Au­dio

2015 saw high-res­o­lu­tion au­dio (HRA) hit the main­stream with sev­eral Com­pa­nies mov­ing to launch Ul­tra High Def­i­ni­tion Sound prod­ucts.

Ul­tra HD au­dio de­liv­ers crisp clear sound how­ever worth point­ing out that the def­i­ni­tion of high­res­o­lu­tion au­dio isn’t set in stone. Un­like high­def­i­ni­tion video, which has to meet cer­tain cri­te­ria to earn the name, there’s no uni­ver­sal stan­dard for hi-res au­dio.

But the term tends to re­fer to au­dio that has a higher sam­pling fre­quency and bit depth than CD - 16-bit/44.1kHz. High-res­o­lu­tion au­dio files usu­ally use a sam­pling fre­quency or 96kHz or 192kHz at 24-bit, but you can also have 88.2kHz and 176.4kHz files too.

The Dig­i­tal En­ter­tain­ment Group, Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics As­so­ci­a­tion and The Record­ing Academy have, to­gether with record la­bels, come up with a for­mal def­i­ni­tion for high­res­o­lu­tion au­dio.

As well as the def­i­ni­tion - “Loss­less au­dio that is ca­pa­ble of re­pro­duc­ing the full range of sound from record­ings that have been mastered from bet­ter than CD qual­ity mu­sic sources” - there are four dif­fer­ent record­ing cat­e­gories based on the source of the file.

Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios are now de­liv­er­ing movies with HDR, Dolby At­mos and 24Bit au­dio out­put.

The main claimed ben­e­fit of high-res­o­lu­tion au­dio files is su­pe­rior sound qual­ity over com­pressed au­dio for­mats.

What I sug­gest is that you go to your lo­cal store and take a lis­ten to a Dolby At­mos sound­bar or the new world first Blue­sound 24Bit sound­bar, you will no­tice a big dif­fer­ence.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.