Erik Skanderbeck Foto: Erik Skanderbeck

Dolby Atmos – the format set to revolutionise the industry

Dolby Atmos, a new type of surround sound, is on the rise. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple Music support Atmos, making the format’s 3D soundscapes available to the masses. This spring, Dolby plans to exhibit those soundscapes in Stockholm at the 2022 LLB Expo.

Dolby Atmos has seen significant growth in the industry in recent years, driven by the accessibility of the format. In 2019, it was possible for Amazon Prime users to experience Atmos through Echo speakers. But the major boom came in 2021 when Apple Music announced that they would support Atmos on their devices. It’s now possible for users to hear Atmos through high-quality headphones, marking a level of consumer access that exceeds similar surround sound formats. And now that many tech giants support Atmos, demand has only increased. 

Dolby is set to present at LLB Expo

Erik Skanderbeck is a board member of LLB and he works as a sales manager at Genelec — and is a serious audiophile. He invited Dolby to present at the LLB Expo this spring, where they plan to feature insights from Atmos users alongside a demonstration of the format.

“We’re going to present an Atmos experience at the fair and invite colleagues from the industry to speak from a user perspective. It’s important to learn from those who actually work with this technology on a regular basis,” says Skanderbeck. 

Apart from greater accessibility, the key difference between Atmos and other surround sound technologies is the spatial sound created by ceiling speakers. This allows for sounds based on objects that can move in a 3D environment. Those objects can then be isolated, so the sounds travel independently within the soundscape. 

“The classic example is when a helicopter starts in front of the screen and then lifts, flies above your head and slowly disappears behind you. This happens at the same time as the music plays in the speakers, so you can imagine the objects being isolated,” says Skanderbeck. “This creates a cool effect. This can also be done with music, and there are some clubs in London and San Francisco that support Atmos.”

Atmos in Sweden

In Sweden, Atmos is used most often in film and TV production. There are several post-production companies working with it, and it’s spreading within the music industry. Skanderbeck expects this trend to continue.

“It feels like the technology will allow Atmos to work with several other applications and perhaps be used in more public spaces like a hotel lobby or a showroom. The tech companies are driving the development because they support Atmos,” says Skanderbeck.

But he thinks that the industry needs greater education and knowledge about the format before it can be brought into those new environments. Atmos requires a new way of thinking, and the studios that he sees working with Atmos have recognised its potential for innovative business applications.

“Something happened when Apple sent out their press release,” he says. “It was like it happened overnight, and now all the studios in the world have the opportunity to mix sound in Atmos, both with new and old productions. This is a whole new business opportunity.”