- What is Dolby Atmos?
- What music services support Dolby Atmos content?
- Who can listen to Atmos content?
- Can I add Atmos versions to stereo back catalog releases?
- Is Dolby Atmos lossless?
What is Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Atmos is essentially an advanced type of surround sound, originally designed for commercial movie theaters, that provides two distinct advantages over stereo and 'classic' surround sound.
- Greater spatial resolution
Sounds can be placed anywhere in three dimensional space, in effect creating a dome of sound around the listener.
- Scalability over many types of playback systems, from commercial and home theater systems all the way to mobile devices and stereo headphones
This means that Atmos mixes are not limited to playback on full blown home theater and advanced surround sound systems and will be accessible to a much broader listener base.
What music services support Dolby Atmos content?
Currently, Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon Music's HD tier support playback of Atmos content.
Who can listen to Atmos content?
Anyone with Atmos-capable playback devices.
Support for Atmos playback has become more ubiquitous and now includes a wide range of recent models of popular devices like the iPad, iPhone, Amazon smart speakers, numerous Android mobile and tablet devices and an extensive array of hi-fi receivers and other high end audio gear.
Can I add Atmos versions to stereo back catalog releases?
You only need to create Atmos versions from the existing releases and the Atmos audio can be delivered and linked into the original stereo versions on Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon Music HD.
Is Dolby Atmos lossless?
Lossless audio simply means that no audio quality is sacrificed for the sake of reliability and convenience.
For example, a 320kbps mp3 doesn't sound as good as the same recording on a CD, but it takes up about 1/10th of the space. The mp3 is lossy compressed, and the CD is lossless.
Because Atmos master recordings are much larger than what is reliably streamable to listeners, the Atmos mixes hitting listeners' ears are lossy compressed.
Ingrooves and the music services require lossless Atmos masters, similar to standard audio. However, the end Atmos listener experience is lossy by necessity.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. The vast majority of stereo listening via streaming is lossy compressed today.
However, it's still important to understand the benefits and differences of lossless, high resolution and Atmos-like formats when deciding where you'd like to focus your resources.