First Came 4K UHD TVs Now We Have Ultra High Definition Soundbars
This month two new products emerged that I think are game changers.
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.
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.