SoundVision

Bringing the Immersive Movie Theater Experience to Your Home Theater

Blown away. You’ve just watched, no, experienced, the summer’s blockbuster action film at your favorite movie theater. Your heart is pounding, your head is spinning. For the past 2.15 hours you were completely immersed in the film. Every sight, every sound, perfectly orchestrated to put you at the center of the action. So, how did they do it? And, more importantly, how can you replicate this immersive experience in your home theater?

The sharp, Ultra HD imagery was certainly a factor, providing details that would previously have gone unseen. The same holds true for the audio. Whether DTS:X technology, Auro 3D or Dolby Atmos, 3D sound systems are bringing a new dimension to movies, gaming, television and music by adding a multi-dimensional level of realism.

Hear the pin drop and pinpoint where it was dropped from

Close your eyes and listen to all the sounds around you; your HVAC system, a slamming door, a barking dog or the wind whistling through an open window. You’re able to determine exactly where that sound is coming from. For a movie or game to simulate a real-life experience, it must recreate that same multi-sensory experience.  Surround sound systems, having made a comeback in 1976 with the introduction of Dolby Stereo, ushered in a new era for audio. Popularity for the new technology exploded in 1977 with the release of Star Wars and its engaging rear-channel effects. By the early 90’s we were enjoying 5.1 surround systems and who could forget 1999’s famous Matrix Lobby shootout in 5.1 HDR? Eventually, the 7.1 surround sound system brought audio to the rear of the room.  By 2004 we were enthralled with the breathtaking precision of the blind dancer in House of Flying Daggers as she meticulously replicates the strike of each surrounding drum with her scarves. And do you remember watching in awe as the Star Ship Enterprise navigated to the space dock in 2009 or being charmed as Wall-E catapulted himself through space using a fire extinguisher? Audio places a dimension to the event.

How 3D audio is achieved

There are distinct differences between DTS and Dolby Atmos technologies, but each accomplishes an immersive audio experience by routing sounds to their place of origin. DTS:X adds a height element to a surround sound system which improves sound accuracy. Without the need for additional speakers, and irrespective of the channel assignment or speaker placement, a compatible receiver can interpret and isolate an object’s location and direct its movement and volume.  

In contract, Dolby Atmos creates the realistic effect through the use of multiple speakers. In a commercial movie theater, 64 speakers are used but the technology may be replicated in your home theater using only 14. Essentially, Dolby Atmos avoids the constraints of sounds being routed to specific channels. Instead, they are routed to particular speakers.  This demo video explains it well: Dolby Atmos Demo Sound Test.  

Legendary performance

The blockbuster sensation “Bohemian Rhapsody” took full advantage of Dolby Atmos technology and, in addition to a 4K image, provides a number of scenes showcasing Atmos on its UltraHD Blu-ray. The clearly defined sounds take you in and out of a recording booth and have you feeling like you’re a part of Live Aid 1985 singing along with “We are the Champions.”

According to Dolby, manufacturers can embed Atmos in both hardware and software, so that your game console, laptop, soundbar and even your smartphone, can support the technology. Are you ready to make immersive audio part of your home theater? Call SoundVision for a demo or in-home consultation and we’ll make your theater legendary!

Additional Resources:

Dolby Atmos Explained: What It Is, How It Works and Where to Get ItSurround Sound – The Audio Side of Home Theater

What is Dolby Atmos? All you need to know

The Immersive Audio You’ve Never Heard that could Revolutionize Virtual Reality

Top 10 Most Cliché Home Theater Demos

Today’s Home Theater. The Ultimate Entertainment Experience

Ultra HD, 4K…the quality of content these days is amazing and so are the number of ways we have in accessing it! Is your home theater or media room up to the task, able to make the most of the high definition audio and video available? With summer blockbusters available for streaming and with the holidays just around the corner, there’s no better time to add the home theater you’ve dreamed of or to upgrade your existing theater so that you may enjoy the very best digital entertainment experience!

Are you a movie lover, serious gamer or avid sports fan? A dedicated home theater makes an exceptional space for your home entertainment. And with technologies like Dolby Atmos and 4K, enjoying the mind-blowing sights and sounds in a room specifically designed for hi-performance audio and video is spectacular!

So what’ll it be, Home Theater or Media Room?

Your home media room offers a great space for enjoying some family-time movie-watching and for hosting your friends on game day. It can boast a stunning 4K laser projector or a surreal OLED display along with Smart TV streaming and savvy social media features. A well-designed and outfitted media room can also take advantage of exceptional audio through a surround sound or Dolby Atmos system. However, one potential disadvantage is its central location; today’s open floor plans often place the media room adjacent to the kitchen, the busiest hub in the home. While this is great for engaging conversation, it is not ideal for either sound or picture quality as the room is open to the back (uncontrolled sound) and likely flooded with natural light. These features may be distracting.

Get lost in an immersive experience

A dedicated home theater includes technologies specifically designed to perform in a controlled space. Acoustic issues have been addressed for optimal sound as well as for noise-control to and from adjoining spaces. Custom seating is ideally positioned for viewing and comfort rather working around window placement or to aid in conversation. Speaker systems, like Martin Logan’s iconic Masterpiece Series, can be positioned and calibrated in the defined space as designed.  And in this perfectly suited environment, it won’t take long to understand why they have earned the tagline “the art of Truth in Sound!”

This isolated room rarely features windows, so images are true and free from glare. If there are any windows, they will have been treated with black-out shades to maintain the perfect environment. So, enjoy an afternoon of football or binge-watch your favorite streamed series free from interruption.

Another advantage is that, in a purpose-built space, décor doesn’t depend on the rest of the house, so the sky is the limit (actually, it’s not; you can add a custom fiber-optic constellation mural on the ceiling!). A home theater is also a place that reflects your personality and style– from mid-century modern to the Starship Enterprise or a custom tribute to your alma mater or favorite NASCAR driver!

The set up can be a single or multi-screen configuration, or a hybrid of multiple screens ideal for watching sports with a large projection screen that rolls down for serious movie watching. Integrated controls allow the user to choose from a variety of streamed or local content. The content may be exclusive to the theater or shared across the home’s systems from a movie server.

Trending now

Aside from incredible imagery and sound, what’s trending in custom theaters now?

  • Establishing a seamless connectivity across a robust network
  • Experiencing virtual reality through wearable technology & virtual reality that transforms your movie-watching experience.
  • Connecting in real-time through Social Media integration
  • Integrated control throughout the home, with access to content sources, control of security features, whole-house lighting, HVAC and more
  • Voice Control – Limitless searching, command and control of the theater and smart home’s multiple features including the ability to order your showtime pizza via a voice control interface such as Josh.ai!

Where will you be hosting Thanksgiving Day game-watching and cozy mid-winter movie nights? Give us a call and let’s get started planning the best seat in the house!

 

 

 

 

The Soundbar. A Great Audio and Design Solution

Soundbar, sound system, TV speakers, hi-res audio, surround sound, Dolby Atmos

The choices in mounting options for TVs continues to grow, and so do the challenges in speaker placement. Thin, lightweight displays can be mounted just about anywhere: above an entertainment cabinet, the mantle, or on an open wall. So, where do you place the speakers? While in-walls offer an elegant solution, installing them isn’t always an option. This is where the soundbar comes in with its versatile installation and feature options.

Many of today’s leading audio manufacturers offer a soundbar, an all-in-one speaker system that delivers high-quality audio without requiring the space of a home theater receiver and surround sound speaker set-up. Placed below or mounted below and/or along the sides of your display, they offer exceptional sound and stunning design. A remarkable improvement to your TV’s speakers, the soundbar features a center channel and often a full LCR (left, center and right channels) experience. Some are designed to be paired with surround speakers and a subwoofer while others replicate full surround sound.

Connectivity, control and quality are prevalent across today’s models, offering conveniences such as wireless connectivity, music streaming, simple IR learning for integrated control through your current remote, and even voice control.

Triad has an extensive array of options ranging in size and capabilities. They offer micro and mini LCR’s as well as a micro 3-in-1 speaker designed for use with shallow flat-panel televisions. New to their line-up is their on-wall Mini LCR 3.0 SE (Special Edition), offering “unparalleled” performance with 3 separate audiophile speaker systems integrated into one sleek, acoustiperf-grilled package.

The Sonos Playbar features Trueplay software that measures the room and fine tunes the sound to fit and fill the space. Playbar is a versatile unit that makes games, movies, sports and music come alive!

Custom and colorful

Always an elegant choice, James Loudspeaker offers a variety of soundbar solutions. True to their brand, their line of soundbars is completely customizable and offered in an array of both standard and custom colors. The line-up includes an extensive variety of formats to suit client preferences and range from center channel, stereo bar, or complete LCR package. James’ soundbars are custom fit to the TV for seamless integration and elegant design. For added design versatility, they are available in vertical or horizontal configurations. And the sound, well, they raise the “bar.”

Immersive DTS:X & Dolby Atmos built-in

Dolby Atmos has set the sound bar even higher. Dolby Atmos “frees” sound from its channels for heightened impact by enabling finer control of individual sounds. Through strategically positioned speakers, sounds move around the listener from every dimension for an immersive, life-like experience. DTS:X is another immersive technology that isolates and directs sounds dimensionally for an amazingly realistic effect. A few manufacturers have integrated these technologies into their soundbars.

Martin Logan’s Motion® Vision X with DTS Play-Fi® technology creates stunning, real-life audio and allows listeners to stream high-res music wirelessly over existing Wi-Fi networks. The speaker’s design looks as impressive as it sounds!

Sony answered the call with a 7.1.2 channel Dolby Atmos/DTS:X TM Soundbar and subwoofer system that claims its 3-dimensional, accurately positioned 360º surround sound will take your breath away. We don’t doubt that it will!

On-wall or on console, wireless and Blu tooth, surround sound or Dolby Atmos, the choices are endless but all are great solutions for incredible audio and gorgeous design. Give us a call, we’ll help determine the best features and solutions for your overall system requirements, connectivity, control and space.

OLED is Flexing its Muscles, and Design Capabilities

Sony77inchOLED

On-Wall television, once avoided by the Interior Design Professional at all costs, has thrust itself into the realm of stunning artwork, worthy of being featured, not hidden.  OLEDs of 2017, consuming less power than LED TVs, offer striking blacks and brilliant whites from surfaces no thicker than a credit card.

While the video technology’s curved, flat or even “wallpaper” configurations allow for incredible flexibility in design options, audio solutions have become equally as creative.  LG’s newest OLED Wall-Paper, introduced at CES earlier this year, is so thin and light, it actually mounts to the wall with magnets, leaving no room within the display for AV control, connection ports or audio.  Their solution is an external shelf-like sound bar, mounted just below the video display which boasts Active HDR with Dolby Vision as well as spectacular Dolby Atmos for the sound.  You may imagine that professional installation is a must.  While some embrace the sleek design, others would prefer a less conspicuous solution – perhaps it’s in the works.

Sony jumped back into the OLED arena, introducing its new Bravia A1 OLED TV, which turns the glass front into a speaker! The “Acoustic Surface” vibrates to create audio. The super-thin design also means there’s no need for a traditional stand. Instead, it features a pop-out lean stand similar to that of a tablet.

Samsung deviated from OLED by developing QLED which features a “reinvented Quantum Dot technology.”  Truly designer-friendly, it comes with “invisible connection” for nearly undetectable cabling. For audio they’ve developed the Sound+ soundbar with subwoofer, complementing their line of flat and curved units both aesthetically and acoustically.

Interior Designers can now embrace technology in design with OLED TVs that are beautiful whether on or off.  So, which is right for you?  Give us a call – we’ll help you navigate OLED!

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