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Streaming from home technology - Atmos sound system


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2022 with Dolby Atmos sound technology or other object oriented sound systems, what would it take to have JW concert broadcast in Atmos to home?  I understand that it's a rather newer side of the envelope, and Atmos is still new to the market in terms of on-demand streaming content.

Would it not be favorable to have JW concert halls recorded and streamed with this technology.  Imagine CE3K with true surround sound!  Make it happen maestros!

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The Blu-rays of the Vienna I and Berlin concerts both have an Atmos track. Sadly the Berlin mix is rather lousy (at least the stereo and regular surround mixes are; I suppose there's a small chance the Atmos track could sound better, but at least the 5.1 downmix on my amp doesn't), but the Vienna surround mix (at least the regular one which I can play directly) sounds very much like it really did in the concert hall.

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Interesting response @Marian Schedenig   I listened to my Berlin Blu Ray with both my Atmos soundbar system, and my 5.1 system. In both cases I found myself having to volume down the applause as it was mixed soooo loud.   I haven’t savored my Vienna Blu Ray yet, but now I’m more interested to compare. 
 

Did you find the same frustration with the applause loudness as I did, or was there something else that you thought didn’t measure up?

 

To @Ryo Saeba definitely check out these Blu rays if you are interested, and see what you think of the Atmos . Deutsche Grammaphon has released two so far with a third coming this August.   

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5 minutes ago, Andy said:

Did you find the same frustration with the applause loudness as I did, or was there something else that you thought didn’t measure up?

 

I didn't mind the applause, I didn't even notice anything unusual with it. I'd have to re-check and try to compare with my memory how accurate that is mixed.

 

My issue is with how the orchestra is mixed. When I went to Berlin, I was for some reason under the impression that the Philharmonie was supposed to have bad sound, and was surprised and stunned (and later learned that it is rightfully renowned for its acoustics). Yet I've heard various, often reasonably modern, recordings from there that just sound off, balance wise, e.g. with a try orchestra and a cavernous choir sound (even for live recordings), or unbalanced instrument groups (like percussion that doesn't just sound too loud but too up front). Perhaps despite its great live acoustics, the hall isn't easy to record?

 

In any case (and I've been long meaning to post this in the Berlin concert thread, but never could be arsed), my issue with this particular recording was the balance. It sounds very different from how it sounded live (at least from my two seats on the two days I attended, which were both in front of and rather close to the stage, so I don't know how much it differs at different spots in the hall).

 

For one thing, while on the Vienna Blu-ray you get the orchestra in the front and the luxurious Musikverein ambience and reverb in the rears, the Berlin surround mix sounds like you are surrounded by the orchestra. Hearing the strings from behind isn't what you'd expect from a traditionally set up orchestra, and certainly isn't what it sounded like on the day.

 

Curiously, bass isn't half as massive at it was live (it's stunningly massive when you're there). But instrumental details on the recording sound emphasised and de-emphasised in curious ways that are neither natural, nor logical in context of the compositions, nor similar to how the same pieces were recorded for their OSTs or elsewhere.

 

The main offense is the piano, which at least during the final third or so of the concert is the piano. Perhaps it was overbalanced from the start, but I started noticing it somewhere in the second half and then couldn't unhear it anymore. Williams has the piano as a supporting instrument and member of the orchestra in most of his orchestral pieces (I've long been a fan of hearing it in the Imperial March and The Asteroid Field). But on the Berlin Blu, it is mixed almost like a solo instrument. Which is a problem when it doesn't play anything more interesting than straightforward chords in a steady rhythm. As a result, Throne Room sounds like a piano concert, but one written by a composer who just learned to play the piano a few months ago (i.e. it actually makes it seem like a bad composition).

 

I know a few others have commented on the same issue, but perhaps because of collective burn out after the Vienna hype, two years of the pandemic and the Berlin hype and three day live excitement, I don't think we've ever had more than a handful of detailed reviews of this release.

 

In any case, the stereo mix unfortunately seems to be the better one in this case. But as I said, the Vienna surround mix is an impressively close approximation of the real deal.

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I’m not an expert. Far from it. But my understanding is that Atmos uses your ceiling to either bounce sound off the ceiling or to have dedicated in-ceiling speakers to create a bit more immersion.  5.1’s “surround” speakers are more just “there” without the ability to direct the sound in a more enveloping fashion. 
 

I may be oversimplifying, but that is my understanding of it. 
 

 

Great detailed answer to my question @Marian Schedenig  Thank you.  I will be paying more attention in my next listen. 

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I never really figured out what exactly Atmos does, but my understanding was that the basic idea is that it's not limited to a fixed number (and positions) of speakers (e.g. 5.1 or 7.1), but rather has "virtual" sources that can be freely positioned, which are then downmixed live to whatever physical speakers you have (including ceiling mounted speakers, if you have them).

 

(But I may be completely off on that)

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If you have an Atmos system or soundbar then you probably have something along the lines of a 5.1.2 or 7.1.4. The last digit representing the up firing/ceiling speakers. If you're listening to an orchestra I have no idea how they would utilize those last speakers. It would seem weird to have some of the music sound like it's coming from above you and I doubt they use it that way. So by that point you're back to typical surround sound with 5.1 or 7.1. Maybe it's supposed to sound a little better but I really doubt anyone could listed to it and say they can tell a difference. I think adding atmos to music is pretty gimmicky. It can be pretty cool for movies though and I have a Atmos soundbar that works okay for sounds above you.

 

If they really want to utilize Atmos, Williams should arrive to the concert on a helicopter.  

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I tend to agree with this.  I suppose there are acoustic nuances based on concert hall geometries that could be replicated beyond stereo (quadrophonic?) with 5.1, but truly Atmos does seem a bit "fake" or at least overkill in terms of reproducing the fidelity of hearing an orchestra in front of you.

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