Mobile phones can do a lot of things, but producing quality sound probably isn’t one of them. Dolby, one of the audio industry’s most popular brands, hopes to change this by bringing its Atmos Cinema sound to mobile phone users. The beauty of Atmos on mobile is that it can be experienced through any type of headset, even an inexpensive brand.
“Dolby Atmos can be rendered very well over headphones,” Emmanuel Delorme, senior product manager of E-Media Mobile at Dolby, told us during an audio workshop. “All the effects you can get on any type of headphones. The idea is to create a soundstage that will envelope you, the music elements will be able to go around you and over your head. Everyone has a slightly different perception, but the feeling is the same.”
Dolby Atmos technology is currently available in select movie theaters. The cutting-edge audio technology features overhead, independently controlled speakers. The idea of Atmos is to allow users to feel as if they’re experiencing a movie, rather than just watching it. Atmos has been used for feature films like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Godzilla,” “Transcendence” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
Atmos for smart phones and tablets can be expected by the end of 2014. During a demo at New York City’s Dolby Laboratory last week, we listened to several sound samples using a standard pair of $40 headphones. The sound was clear, dynamic and impressive. The audio was immersive, and felt like it was moving around.
Though Delorme insisted the quality of sound would improve using a more expensive headset, using one isn’t necessary. “If you have $400 headphones, it would sound even better,” he told us.
Dolby Atmos creates a natural, multidimensional sonic atmosphere that allows sound to come from all directions. More film studios are using the technology for feature productions, but there’s no word yet on whether music apps like Spotify or iTunes will integrate Atmos into their platforms.
“Could Atmos apply to music? It’s up to the artist, up to the company, but you can ask for it if you like what you hear,” Delorme said.