24Bit + Dolby Atmos Are The New Technologies
Soundbars Have Matured And The Options Are Greater
During the past 24 months we have seen a significant change in soundbar design and what is on offer. You can now get soundbars with Dolby Atmos and 24-bit audio, while these new features do not come with the new Sonos Beam soundbar they are appearing in soundbars from the likes of LG, Sony Panasonic and brands such as Denon HEOS and later this year Polk.
Dolby Atmos is the hottest of the new technology. It’s essentially a surround sound technology that was originally implemented in movie theatres in 2012.
It allows for up to 128 separate audio tracks, as well as associated spatial audio description metadata. In simple terms, that means theatres receive information on the perfect way to optimize their sound systems for a particular movie.
The cool part is that each and every audio track can be assigned to an audio channel and then rendered in real time, so you get true surround sound to the best of a particular theatre’s capabilities.
The first movie to use Dolby Atmos technology was Disney/Pixar’s “Brave”, and the first Blu-ray to use it was “Transformers: Age of Extinction”. Video games soon followed suit, and Dolby Atmos is catching on! Now soundbars have the technology built-in, and through specific rendering of the multitude of audio tracks present, you can get “room-filling” and near-surround sound from just a soundbar and subwoofer.
There was a time when the digital music world was once ruled by the 128kbps MP3 file. Our music was mobile, and heavily compressed, and to anyone who had been used to CD or vinyl, it sounded pretty terrible. Lossy MP3, WMA and AAC music ripped from CDs or downloaded was the way of things … until recently when 24bit audio started to appear.
The generally accepted definition of High Res Audio is an analogue frequency response of at least 40kHz, and a minimum of 24-bit 96kHz digital recording and playback. In comparison a 16bit signal or CD quality sound has 96dB of dynamic range, and a 24 bit signal has 144dB. Compared to an LP, which couldn’t contain the full dynamic range of music, a 24 bit systems gives an additional 48dB of dynamic range. This technology can be found in both the Bluesound and Heos as well as LG and Samsung soundbars.
Yamaha YPS 2700 Soundbar