A preview of Immersive Audio technology that is reshaping and elevating our auditory journey; seamlessly blending into the ambiance and emotions of your home. Dive deeper into the world of Immersive Audio to discover the transformative impact it can have on your audio experience.
In the fast-paced and digitally connected world that we live in, home entertainment has evolved from a luxury to a genuine necessity. It has become an integral part of modern living, transforming homes into havens catering to relaxation and recreation.
As technology continues to advance, the evolution of home entertainment reflects society’s growing need for convenient, versatile, and immersive experiences that enrich our homes and lives. In home entertainment the role of audio systems extends far beyond mere sound reproduction; it plays a pivotal role in shaping and enhancing the overall mood and experience within a living space. A well-crafted audio environment has the power to transport individuals to new dimensions, creating immersive and memorable moments within the comfort of one’s home.
Over the years, sound reproduction technology has made great leaps, evolving from a basic monoaural audio system—that is, single audio channel to today’s surround sound systems, which range from a minimum of 5.1 (6-channel) or 7.1 (8-channel) setups suited for home theatres to large 64-channel and higher setups for cinema screens. The spatial sense of sound and its accuracy in these systems is however limited to the number of speakers and the positions they are in.
One of the latest buzzes in the music industry is Immersive Audio. For those who are not familiar with Immersive audio, it is a generic term that describes a broad range of technologies designed to make the sound listening experience more lifelike and encompassing for the listener. Immersive audio aims to create a three-dimensional sound experience, which means listeners can perceive sounds coming from all around them, including from above and below, not just from left and right. This is achieved using various technologies and techniques, such as surround sound, object-based audio, and binaural audio.
Dolby Atmos is a specific immersive audio technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. Unlike traditional audio methods that distribute sound across different channels, it’s an object-based audio technology that breaks audio down into individual objects that move around in a three-dimensional space. With Dolby Atmos, sounds are precisely placed and moved anywhere in a room, including overhead, to make the entertainment experience sound more realistic and immersive.
Dolby Atmos is a form of immersive audio, but not all immersive audio systems use Dolby Atmos. Other formats, such as Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, Sony 360 Reality Audio, MPEG-H 3D Audio (ISO/IEC 23008-3), DTS:X, THX Spatial Audio, and Discrete Immersive, and others provide immersive audio experiences but use different technologies or standards. The exact specifications and performance can vary depending on the technology used and how it’s implemented.
Therefore, while Dolby Atmos is a proprietary technology with specific standards and requirements, immersive audio is a broad term encompassing various sound technologies, including but not limited to Dolby Atmos.
Here are some notable brands known for providing immersive audio experiences
Dolby Atmos is a well-known immersive audio technology used in cinemas, home theaters, and mobile devices. Many audio and video equipment manufacturers integrate Dolby Atmos support into their products.
DTS is another audio company that provides immersive sound technology, particularly DTS:X, which competes with Dolby Atmos in the home theater and entertainment space.
Auro Technologies (Auro-3D) is an immersive audio format that adds a vertical dimension to sound. Some home theater receivers and high-end audio systems support Auro-3D.
Sony 360 Reality Audio: Sony offers a 360 Reality Audio platform that delivers a three-dimensional audio experience. It is supported by some Sony headphones and compatible streaming services.
Sennheiser AMBEO technology is designed for immersive audio experiences, particularly in the realm of 3D audio for headphones and VR.
JBL Synthesis is a well-known audio brand, that offers immersive audio solutions under its JBL Synthesis line, including speakers and audio processors for home theaters.
KEF is a brand that produces high-quality audio equipment, including speakers that support Dolby Atmos and other immersive audio formats.
Bose is recognized for its audio products, and they offer some immersive audio solutions, especially in the home entertainment sector.
Functionalities and Integration:
Speakers (Discrete) – Immersive audio involves reproducing music using both ear level and height speakers, usually placed on or in one’s ceiling. As the name suggests, listeners are immersed in music from the sides, rear, and top. Typical loudspeaker configurations accomplish this: 5.1.2 (5 ear level speakers, 1 subwoofer, 2 height speakers) and 7.1.4 (7 ear level speakers, 1 subwoofer, 4 height speakers). Surround speakers + height speakers = discrete immersive audio.
Speakers (Virtual) – Immersive audio can also be played through two speakers, with the help of advanced digital signal processing, to reproduce the horizontal surround and vertical dimensions encoded into the music.
Smart Home World speaks to Audio/ Video Consultants and Brand Heads who have transformative space by using immersive audio. They share their experiences incorporating immersive audio in projects, revealing how it has exceeded user expectations and fulfilled their desires.
Mehernosh K Pervez, Audio/Video Consultant, Sound Decisions
I bring extensive knowledge and practical experience in implementing immersive audio formats, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D. While our specialization leans toward luxury homes, the foray into television MPEG-H 3D remains unexplored. Dolby Atmos, renowned for its object-based audio precision, finds applications in cinemas, home theaters, and various devices, delivering a captivating three-dimensional auditory experience. Parallelly, DTS:X mirrors Dolby Atmos, offering object-based audio for a convincingly lifelike soundscape. Auro-3D distinguishes itself by incorporating both height and overhead channels, notably employed in high-end home theaters and select commercial installations.
In crafting immersive audio setups like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, a thoughtful fusion of solutions is adopted to meet specific preferences. This includes a mix of traditional speakers, ceiling or upward-firing speakers, soundbars, in-wall/on-wall speakers, and wireless alternatives for retro scenarios. The integration extends to subwoofers, pivotal for infusing depth and impact into low-frequency effects.
Integration with AV Components
Ensuring a seamless blend with other AV components, the integration process spans AV receivers or processors that act as central hubs, supporting formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Precise speaker configuration, calibration tools, and synchronization between audio and video playback form the bedrock, complemented by integration with control systems such as smart home platforms and lighting control systems. This meticulous integration guarantees centralized management, facilitating an immersive viewing experience.
Compatibility across diverse audio sources, encompassing streaming services and physical media, is a hallmark of our systems. Formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are seamlessly supported on popular streaming platforms and physical media like Blu-ray discs. A vigilant approach to compatibility checks, HDMI support, and regular firmware updates ensures adaptability to the ever-evolving landscape of audio sources and formats.
Trusted names include Trinnov, Storm Audio, Anthem, Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, and Onkyo for AV receivers/processors, along with speaker systems from Legacy Audio, CAT, Artcoustic, Bowers & Wilkins, and PMC. Devices from Sony, LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sim2, Barco, Sony, and Christie are preferred choices for streaming and media compatibility. These brands are selected for their reliability, quality, and adaptability, making them preferred options for integrators and installers navigating the dynamic terrain of immersive audio technologies.
Ashish Hingorani, Managing Director, Avenue Sound
We have extensive experience working with leading immersive audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D, as well as for television, MPEG-H 3D Audio. Immersive audio has revolutionized sound reproduction, enhancing the listener’s experience with its multi-dimensional qualities. In our projects, we strive to integrate these formats into Dedicated Home Theaters and Media Rooms, adding an extra layer to audio that immerses users, providing heightened realism and accuracy to the sound stage.
We carefully plan speaker layouts to accommodate major immersive formats—Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D—in Dedicated Theater Rooms and, when space allows, in Media Rooms. By future-proofing the room with a speaker design that accommodates multiple formats, we ensure clients can fully enjoy content encoded in any of these immersive audio technologies.
Our immersive audio solutions cover a wide range, from independent speakers for each channel of direct sound to more compact options like soundbars. We advocate for a comprehensive experience with discrete channels of audio, but when space or aesthetics are limiting factors, we integrate soundbars, emphasizing that the experience may be more virtual than what individual speakers can provide. Whether it’s in-wall, on-wall, or tower and bookshelf speakers, our choice depends on the room’s acoustics, aesthetics, and client preferences.
Integration with AV Components
Integrating immersive audio systems with other AV components is a crucial aspect of our approach. As immersive audio and smart technology often go hand in hand, we align these systems with high-resolution video solutions. To enhance user experience, we seamlessly integrate audio/visual solutions with lighting, window shadings, HVAC, and more, consolidating control into a single user interface. This holistic integration elevates the overall realism, offering a premium, unified experience.
Ensuring compatibility with various audio sources is a priority. All streaming services, digital content, and audio services, including Tidal and Apple Music, support immersive audio playback. With nearly every new Blu-ray release and digital audio source supporting digital outputs, we guarantee that our immersive audio setups can decode and reproduce signals from a diverse range of sources, providing a rich and immersive audio experience for our clients.
Arjun Agarwal, CEO, Cinerama Pvt Ltd
Cinerama Pvt Ltd stands out as a leading provider of premium home entertainment solutions, dedicated to delivering exceptional audio and visual experiences. Renowned for its unwavering commitment to excellence, the company caters to discerning clients seeking cutting-edge home theaters and immersive audio setups. Emphasizing state-of-the-art technology, the brand seamlessly integrates high-end audio-visual components into its offerings, featuring renowned products such as Klipsch RP-8060FA II, Jamo S-27FA, Klipsch RP-500SA II, Onkyo SR-3100, and Pioneer LX-805.
With over 700 movies released with Dolby Atmos, the technology has become the dominant immersive audio standard, complemented by popular alternatives like DTS:X and Auro 3D. It’s crucial to note that passive speakers, commonly used in various configurations, do not inherently offer immersive audio technologies. However, “Dolby Atmos speakers” provide a unique exception.
These Atmos speakers come in two types: integrated Atmos speakers, such as Klipsch RP-8060FA II and Jamo S27FA, with built-in upward-firing modules, and standalone upward-firing speakers like Klipsch RP-500SA II, designed to be placed on existing floor-standing speakers. Directivity is a critical factor for Dolby Atmos speakers, and Klipsch’s use of precision-controlled horn technology contributes to the worldwide popularity of their Atmos speakers.
In building an immersive sound system, the A/V receiver plays a pivotal role. Notably, Onkyo has introduced an entry-level 8K 5-channel AVR with DTS:X, the Onkyo SR-3100. Both Onkyo and Pioneer have been at the forefront of incorporating Dolby Atmos into their 5-channel AVRs, providing consumers with a more immersive listening experience. Additionally, flagship AVRs from Onkyo, Integra, and Pioneer, namely the RZ-70, DRX 8.4, and LX-805, feature Auro 3D, further expanding the options for a captivating audio experience.
Harshul Parikh, CEO & MD, Trescent
We specialize in crafting home entertainment spaces, particularly home theaters, incorporating immersive audio formats like Dolby Atmos to create engaging and interactive sensory experiences for clients. Our immersive audio solutions cater to various room sizes. Larger spaces benefit from in-wall and ceiling speakers paired with immersive audio processors, while soundbars and in-wall speakers are recommended for more compact areas. Seamless integration of immersive audio systems with other AV components, including video systems and lighting control, is a cornerstone of our solutions. We offer smart home control systems that empower clients to effortlessly customize and manage their room environment.
Integration and Compatibility
Ensuring compatibility with diverse audio sources, spanning streaming services to physical media, is a core focus. We specialize in seamlessly integrating various audio sources into our immersive audio setups.
We recently completed a notable project—a 50,000 sq ft multi-family residence with dedicated media rooms for each family. These rooms feature cutting-edge immersive audio and video technologies, incorporating brands such as Marantz, B&W, Paradigm, Sonance, Definitive Technologies, Lyngdorf Audio, Steinway Lyngdorf, and Legacy Audio.
We designed a Home Theater in Mumbai:
Projection: Sony 4K with Stewart Screen.
Video Sources: Oppo Bluray, Apple TV, Club X.
Audio System: 16 Channel Dolby Atmos, DTS-X powered by Steinway Lyngdorf – In-Wall Series & Subwoofers.
AV Processor: Steinway Lyngdorf.
Seating: Cineak Belgium chairs.
Brand and Offerings
Trinnov Audio specializes in immersive audio technologies, boasting compatibility with Dolby Atmos, DTS X Pro, and Auro 3D. Their unique non-DSP-based implementation distinguishes them, allowing the delivery of all formats at their maximum capability without compromising the original signal quality, setting them apart from typical DSP-based platforms.
One of their flagship products, the Trinnov Altitude 32, stands out as a peerless performer, renowned for its configurability and sound quality. Its groundbreaking hardware architecture challenges obsolescence, enabling the integration of new technologies and features through a pure software implementation. This ensures a sustainable product that consistently improves over time, making it the unchallenged reference processor for immersive home theater systems.
Trinnov’s immersive audio technology seamlessly integrates across various entertainment platforms, including commercial cinemas, home theaters, Hifi systems, recording studios, and dubbing stages. Their dominance extends to the creation of media, thanks to patented proprietary technologies like Trinnov’s Optomizer™, 3D-Remapping™, and Waveforming™, ensuring perfect bass across the listening area.
Certification is a key aspect, with Trinnov requiring its dealers to be certified to ensure the delivery of the best user experience. Additionally, the company strongly advocates following CEDIA’s ‘RP22 Immersive Audio Design Recommended Practice,’ providing crucial guidelines for designing immersive audio spaces.
The Trinnov Altitude range, introduced in 2015, has become a benchmark in the industry. Led by the Altitude 32, this range continuously receives accolades, maintaining longevity through continual updates and a non DSP-based platform. Manufactured in France, the Altitude 32 adapts to a myriad of applications, from home theaters to major music festivals and sensory immersion rooms, showcasing its revolutionary flexibility and innovation.
In essence, Trinnov’s comprehensive range reflects their commitment to pushing the boundaries of immersive audio technology. With unparalleled performance, flexibility, and sustainability, they continue to lead the industry in delivering cutting-edge audio experiences.
MZ Audio Distribution (India)
The Marantz Cinema 40 emerges as a powerhouse among AV receivers, boasting cutting-edge features and meticulous design for an exceptional audio-visual experience. With state-of-the-art surround format processing and comprehensive 8K video support, the Cinema 40 is engineered to deliver flagship-worthy performance, evident in its excellence that captivates both the ears and eyes.
The Cinema 40 features a robust 9.4-channel configuration with a 9-channel Class A/B amplifier, each channel capable of delivering 125 W (8-ohm load, 2 channels driven). This power ensures a dynamic and immersive audio experience for various home applications.
This range provides four independently adjustable subwoofer outputs, a rare feature in today’s market. With comprehensive bass management, it allows users to choose between Standard and Directional modes, optimizing the performance of multiple subwoofers based on layout configurations.
Supporting the latest discrete multichannel audio formats, including Dolby Atmos with Height Virtualization, DTS:X with Virtual:X, IMAX Enhanced technology, and Auro-3D processing, the Cinema 40 elevates the home theater experience to new heights.
While equipped with 9 amplified channels, the Cinema 40 offers pre-outs for 11 channels, enabling compatibility with 11-channel setups through an additional 2-channel external amplifier or powered speakers. With 8K Ultra video upscaling and HDMI pass-through featuring HDCP 2.3 support, the Cinema 40 ensures top-notch video quality for a truly immersive multimedia experience.
The receiver comes equipped with the wireless app and HEOS (Home Entertainment Operating System) control features, allowing users seamless and convenient control over their audio-visual settings.
The Marantz Cinema Series finds its primary application in home audio and home theatre systems, where its exceptional features and performance redefine the standards for immersive entertainment experiences.
The other Marantz flagship products with immersive technology are:
Marantz AV8805A: The AV8805 is a 13.2-channel AV preamplifier that offers support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D. It is designed for high-end home theatre setups and includes advanced audio processing capabilities.
Marantz SR8015: The SR8015 is a 11.2-channel AV receiver that supports formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D. It features advanced video processing, high-quality components, and extensive connectivity options.
Marantz Cinema 40 is a 9.4 Channel AV receiver featuring Dolby Atmos, DTS:X Auro 3D.
Marantz Cinema 50 is a 9.4 Channel featuring Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, IMAX Enhanced and Auro 3D.
PRO FX Tech Pvt. Ltd.
PROFX stands as a distinguished specialist in audio, video, and automation solutions. Pioneering the AV landscape in the country, PROFX was among the first brands to address the unique requirements of audiophiles, introducing them to a world-class audio and video experience. The product range has expanded, now offering tech-savvy solutions and hosting some of the world’s finest brands. PRO FX specializes in delivering top-quality Home Theatres and Hi-Fi systems, professional audio-video solutions tailored for corporate offices and business houses, as well as cutting-edge solutions in automation and integration.
DENON – AVC-A1H
The DENON AVC-A1H, is a powerhouse in home entertainment. This 15.4-channel AV Amplifier, boasting 190 watts per channel at 6 ohms, redefines your audio experience. With an impressive 8K Ultra HD capability, immersive 3D audio, and the convenience of HEOS Built-in, this amplifier is designed to transform your home cinema into a professional theater experience.
Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, the AVC-A1H features our most potent transformer, carefully selected components, and robust, high-rigidity construction. Supporting configurations of up to 9.4.6 channels, it delivers unparalleled audio performance. Manufactured at Denon facilities in Japan, this amplifier guarantees precision and excellence in every aspect of its design.
Equipped with 7 HDMI inputs, the AVC-A1H ensures seamless connectivity and versatility for your home entertainment setup. Elevate your audiovisual experience with the DENON AVC-A1H, where cutting-edge technology meets Japanese craftsmanship for an immersive and powerful home cinema experience
KEF – LSXII
The KEF LSXII – where HiFi meets the convenience of WiFi. Immerse yourself in a world of High-Fidelity sound that feels almost tangible. This second-generation all-in-one speaker system has been upgraded to provide a more balanced sound in higher resolution, offering a comprehensive range of connectivity options. Effortlessly stream your favorite content using AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify, Tidal, or easily connect the LSXII to your laptop, TV, and various other devices for a seamless audio experience.
POLK – MagniFi MAX AX
Introducing the flagship 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos and DTS:X Sound Bar, accompanied by a powerful 10” wireless subwoofer. This audio marvel features an impressive 11-driver array, including built-in height drivers, working seamlessly with Polk’s patented SDA technology to deliver a captivating 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D sound experience, creating an accurate and expansive soundstage for both movies and music.
Elevate your audio journey with high-quality Wi-Fi music streaming directly from your phone, tablet, or computer using Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect, or any Works with Alexa-compatible music service. Bluetooth connectivity adds another layer of convenience, ensuring a hassle-free connection to your favorite devices.
The MagniFi AX Series doesn’t stop at superior sound quality; it also offers a multi-room music listening experience. With services like Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect, and Works with Alexa compatibility, you can sync multiple sound bars for a seamless and immersive audio experience throughout your home.
DEFINITIVE TECHNOLOGY – BP Series
Explore a New Dimension of Sound The BP9000 range offers the most cutting-edge audio technologies, including Forward-Focused Bipolar array technology, integrated powered subwoofers, Intelligent Bass Control™ and Dolby Atmos® and DTS: X™ compatibility. This extraordinary speaker is truly state-of-the-art in both music and home theatre sound reproduction. We expect you will enjoy the full-range sonic signature of Definitive Technology.
Embark on a Sonic Journey Discover the BP9000 series, where state-of-the-art audio technologies converge to redefine your audio experience. With Forward-Focused Bipolar array technology, integrated powered subwoofers, Intelligent Bass Control™, and compatibility with Dolby Atmos® and DTS: X™, this extraordinary speaker sets the benchmark for cutting-edge music and home theater sound reproduction. Immerse yourself in the full-range sonic signature of Definitive Technology and elevate your audio encounters to a new dimension.
The next generation of immersive audio systems will be built with novel techniques applied to sound reproduction that will make use of an improved understanding of how our minds process and localize sound. These systems will bring a 360-degree immersive sound experience to home theatres without requiring a large number of speakers positioned around a listener. However, a lack of environmental awareness about the listener and the listening environment will be a major impediment to these systems in meeting the demands of immersive audio. A fusion of vision intelligence with sound reproduction is key to overcoming the impediments and bringing the next generation of immersive audio systems to life.
Samsung and Google have been working behind the scenes to create a new 3D spatial audio technology to challenge the likes of Dolby Atmos. ‘Immersive Audio Model and Formats’ (IAMF), is claimed to be the first open-source 3D spatial audio technology. Work on IAMF began back in 2020 through Samsung and Google’s joint venture, ‘Project Caviar’, which drove the idea of pushing open and royalty-free HDR video and 3D audio alternatives.
In conclusion, we would say, that the journey into immersive audio is marked by a commitment to excellence, innovation, and a pursuit of audio-visual perfection. As technology continues to evolve, immersive audio stands as a testament to the industry’s dedication to delivering not just sound, but an unforgettable and immersive entertainment experience that resonates with the desires of audio enthusiasts and home theater connoisseurs alike.
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