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Old 09-02-2019, 09:56 AM   #1
Bruce Morrison Bruce Morrison is offline
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Default Can my old receiver down-convert an Atmos track to 5.1?

I have 4K capability for video but I haven't invested in Dolby Atmos technology, so I just have a 5.1 speaker setup and my 6-year-old receiver doesn't support Dolby Atmos.

The 4K 'Black Hawk Down' disc has a choice of two audio tracks, Dolby Atmos and DTS MA 5.1. The menu defaults to the Atmos track, so I was wondering what would happen if I accidentally allowed the disc to load with the Atmos track. Would my receiver just down-convert it to some sort of 5.1 signal, and would this sound better, worse or the same as if I'd selected the DTS MA 5.1 track?

Or would my receiver simply not know what to do with it?
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:50 AM   #2
oddbox83 oddbox83 is offline
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You're fine. It would just ignore the Atmos data and give you Dolby True HD 5.1. Shouldn't be better or worse than any other lossless track, depending on external factors such as different mixes (I'd guess the DTS-HD 5.1 is original theatrical, the Atmos a modern remix)
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Old 09-02-2019, 12:01 PM   #3
Zoland2020 Zoland2020 is online now
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Those with receivers that doesn't support the object-based audio decoders, just remember that Dolby Atmos is backwards compatible with Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and DTS:X is backwards compatible DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1.
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Old 09-02-2019, 02:22 PM   #4
oddbox83 oddbox83 is offline
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They're actually now 3 layers. Lossy core for the oldest DD/DTS receivers, the lossless extension and then the object-based extension. The receiver reads what it can and the rest is ignored.

It's all getting a bit messy and arguably inefficient, mind. I think the next format whatever that will be will need a ground up reset.
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:32 AM   #5
Bruce Morrison Bruce Morrison is offline
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As I asked the original question, it's prompted me to wonder what proportion of those people who have upgraded their TVs and players to 4K/HDR and who are buying 4K discs are still using their original 5.1 (or possibly 7.1) speaker setups and have no plans to upgrade to Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.

I'm in the UK and my "home theatre" is otherwise known as the living room, which is not enormous. Realistically, I can't contemplate adding any more speakers to my 5.1 setup, especially ceiling-mounted ones - and if I ever tried to, I think my wife would probably leave me!

I know a lot of enthusiasts in the US are fortunate to have rooms dedicated as home theatres, but I suspect there are many others, both in the US and elsewhere, who have settled for enjoying the benefits of 4K/HDR video allied to "old-fashioned" 5.1 or 7.1 lossless audio.

Any thoughts on this would be interesting.

Last edited by Bruce Morrison; 09-03-2019 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:22 AM   #6
Geoff D Geoff D is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddbox83 View Post
They're actually now 3 layers. Lossy core for the oldest DD/DTS receivers, the lossless extension and then the object-based extension. The receiver reads what it can and the rest is ignored.

It's all getting a bit messy and arguably inefficient, mind. I think the next format whatever that will be will need a ground up reset.
That's how TrueHD has worked from the start, yeah: an embedded lossy track (though it's not a "core", it's a separate - albeit usually hidden - track) is encoded alongside the lossless TrueHD, and for Atmos the object-based information is carried on top in a packet of metadata.

To the OP: it could sound better or worse when downmixed to 5.1 than the standalone 5.1 mix, you won't really know unless you try it.
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Old 09-03-2019, 06:01 PM   #7
KRW1 KRW1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Morrison View Post
As I asked the original question, it's prompted me to wonder what proportion of those people who have upgraded their TVs and players to 4K/HDR and who are buying 4K discs are still using their original 5.1 (or possibly 7.1) speaker setups and have no plans to upgrade to Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.

I'm in the UK and my "home theatre" is otherwise known as the living room, which is not enormous. Realistically, I can't contemplate adding any more speakers to my 5.1 setup, especially ceiling-mounted ones - and if I ever tried to, I think my wife would probably leave me!

I know a lot of enthusiasts in the US are fortunate to have rooms dedicated as home theatres, but I suspect there are many others, both in the US and elsewhere, who have settled for enjoying the benefits of 4K/HDR video allied to "old-fashioned" 5.1 or 7.1 lossless audio.

Any thoughts on this would be interesting.
I was different, I went for Atmos before 4k and I've got the tiniest living room you can imagine but there's always a way.

You could always try those upfiring ones that sit on top of your speakers. They have mixed results but some people seem to get on with them. I don't understand how you can't have room for ceiling speakers - they don't take any room, surely? Can't help with getting them past the wife, though...
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Old 09-03-2019, 10:27 PM   #8
oddbox83 oddbox83 is offline
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I went for speakers with built-in Atmos modules. Focal Sib Evos as 5.1.2 takes up no more space than 5.1. You can buy 2 extra Atmos-enabled speakers speakers to make 7.1.4 as well.

There are also plenty of high-end soundbars that do Atmos for a small footprint.

Obviously it's all compromise and you won't beat a full ceiling installation but those who practically can't do that still have plenty of options.
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