You’ve probably already heard of Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D, both new home theater audio formats based on audio objects rather than audio channels (as in 5.1 or 7.1 channels). Now, a new object-based format is here from DTS called, DTS:X.
DTS had actually hinted about this format in late 2014 and even gave fleeting demos to journalists at the Consumer Electronic Show this year, but there were almost no details about the format back then. Now there are.
According to DTS, its latest format is designed to replicate a real-world sound environment that immerses audiences in sound, regardless if they are in a cinema or enjoying their home surround sound systems.
“DTS:X is built on the foundation of providing an open, adaptable solution for content creators, cinemas and homes to fulfill our goal of bringing immersive audio to as many people around the world as possible,” says Jon Kirchner, chairman and CEO, DTS, Inc.
“Until recently sound in movie theaters and in our homes has been dictated by a standardized speaker layout. Through the use of object-based audio, DTS:X is able to scale immersive soundtrack presentations across a wide range of playback systems, from efficient to extravagant, while staying true to the content creator’s vision. This approach delivers the most authentic three-dimensional audio experience ever, making the audience feel as if they are in the center of the action.”
Elaborating on Kirchner comments, DTS explains its X format does not mandate a predetermined speaker configuration or specific amount of audio channels. The company says the format adapts to the viewing environment to support flexible speaker configurations that best fit the viewing space. DTS points out the format is engineered to convey the fluid movement of sound to provide listeners with a rich listening environment.
At the heart of DTS:X, the company points out is its license-free MDA platform that gives movie studios control over the specific placement of objects within the soundfield.
“MDA is DTS’ license-free contribution to the professional audio community for mixing and storage of immersive audio content,” says Kirchner. “MDA fits perfectly within today’s production workflow, and a combination of MDA and DTS:X provides a complete end-to-end workflow from creation to exhibition.”
Currently DTS offering commercial cinema owners a licensing program that configures to any room environment with support from DTS-approved equipment and installation procedures, and DTS is working with the companies GDC Technology, QSC and USL for the delivery and playback of DTS:X content.
In the home market, DTS says that by the summer of 2015 almost 90 percent of the surround sound systems’ receiver and preamplifier/processor market will introduce products that incorporate DTS:X. Confirmed AVR partners include:
– A firmware update for its Denon AVR-X7200W is schedule for later this year
– Integra will introduce new products this year
– Marantz AVR8802 is getting a firmware update later this year
– Onkyo will launch new products later this year
– Pioneer says details are on the way
– Steinway Lyngdorf will provide a firmware update for its P200 Surround Sound Processor later this year
– Theta Digital will issue a firmware update for its Casablanca IVa in the summer
– Trinnov Audio will introduce a firmware update for its Altitude32 later this year
– Yamaha will launch new models with DTS:X in the fall of 2015
The format will be backwards compatible with DTS-HD Master Audio, and it can spatially reformat stereo 5.1 and 7.1 to fully utilize all of the speakers within an audio system. Other features include a dialog control option that allows AVR owners to control the volume of specific audio elements to meet their listening preferences. The format supports systems up to 11.2 in a variety of layouts and configurations through its remapping technologies that allow for the placement of speakers nearly anywhere in a listening area.
In addition, DTS says X supports lossless encoding, including 96k for object mixes, and up to 192k for stereo and multichannel mixes. The company also offers Headphone:X that delivers a personal, immersive listening experience to headphone users.
Check out the top receivers for Dolby Atmos here.