FAQs

Getting Started with Dolby Atmos Music Mixing
  • What is Dolby Atmos?

    Dolby Atmos is an immersive audio format for music and audio visual content that delivers a spectacular experience and amazing sound quality to listeners at home, in cinemas and on-the-go. Because it is object based, Dolby Atmos empowers creators to precisely position and move discrete audio elements in a 3D sound field, which is not possible in channel-based surround formats (5.1, etc.). Additionally, because Dolby Atmos is not dependent upon a set number or configuration of speakers, it can maintain creative intent across a wide variety of environments and listening endpoints.

    Learn more
  • What DAWs support Dolby Atmos?

     Dolby Atmos workflows are integrated into many of the world’s leading DAWs.

     Supported DAWs include Ableton Live, Apple Logic, Avid Pro Tools, and Steinberg Nuendo.

    The Dolby Atmos Music Panner plug-in, which is an integral part of the Dolby Atmos Music authoring

    workflow, is available as an AAX, AU, or VST3 plug-in for use on supported DAWs on Mac.


    Pro Tools Ultimate 2018 or beyond is required to support native Dolby Atmos integration of the Pro Tools Panner / AAX version of the Dolby Atmos Music Panner.

     

    For detailed instructions on configuring systems and setting up sessions, please refer to the documentation included with the Dolby Atmos Production Suite / Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite, and Dolby Atmos Music Panner.

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  • How do I set up a mix in Pro Tools?

    You can use either the native Pro Tools panner or the AAX version of the Dolby Atmos Music Panner to create a Dolby Atmos mix when connected to a Dolby Atmos renderer. In this article we will cover creating a session with the Music Panner.


    First, make sure that you create your Pro Tools session at the sample rate you set in the Dolby Atmos Renderer, either 48 or 96kHz.

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     Next, under Setup > Playback Engine select Dolby Audio Bridge. Now set the I/O Buffer Size to 1024 samples for 48k and 2048 for 96k.

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    Now, navigate to Setup > Peripherals > Atmos and check the Enable radio button. Use the RMU Host drop-down menu to select your desired renderer if not already populated. In this example the RMU host is "localhost", which represents a renderer running on the same machine as your Pro Tools session.

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    Note: If you intend on using both the Pro Tools native Atmos panner and the Music Panner in the same session, be careful to manage your I/O setup correctly so that the object range used/reserved for the native panner does not conflict with the object range you intend to use with the Music Panner.

     

     

     In your Pro Tools session, insert the Dolby Atmos Music Panner on an Audio, Aux, or Instrument track. Assign that track's Output to output 11.  Now, in the Music Panner UI, make sure you are connected to a renderer - the connection status indicator should be green. Next, use the Object selection drop down menu to select or enter Object 11. Now start playback and you will be able to move and position this Object.


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    Note: If you want to create multiple objects on different tracks, repeat the steps above taking care to match your Object and output assignments for each instance of the Music Panner, e.g., if you assign Object 12, the output of your track should be set to output 12

     

    For detailed instructions on configuring your system and setting up a session, refer to the documentation packaged with the Dolby Atmos Production Suite (or Mastering Suite) and the Dolby Atmos Music Panner.

     


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  • How do I set up a mix in Logic?

    You can use the AU version of the Music Panner to create an Atmos mix when connected to a Dolby Atmos renderer. 


    First, make sure that your Logic project's sample rate matches that of the sample rate you set in the Dolby Atmos Renderer, either 48 or 96kHz.



    Next, in the Logic Pro X Preferences in the Audio Tab, select Dolby Audio Bridge as your output device. Now set the I/O Buffer Size to 1024 samples.


    In your Logic project, insert the Dolby Atmos Music Panner on a track with audio or an instrument loaded. Assign that track to Output 11.  Now, in the Music Panner UI, make sure you are connected to a renderer - the connection status indicator should be green. Next, use the Object selection drop down menu to select or enter Object 11. Now start playback and you will be able to move and position this Object.



    If you want to create multiple objects on different tracks, repeat the steps above taking care to to match your Object and output assignments for each instance of the Music Panner, e.g., if you assign Object 12, the output of your track should be set to output 12


    For detailed instructions on configuring your system and setting up a session, refer to the documentation packaged with the Dolby Atmos Production Suite (or Mastering Suite) and the Dolby Atmos Music Panner.

    Learn more
  • How do I set up a mix in Ableton?

    You can use the VST3 version of the Music Panner to create an Atmos mix when connected to a Dolby Atmos renderer. 


    First, in Ableton, open the Preferences Pane, in  the “Audio” tab, select the Dolby Audio Bridge as the audio output device.


    Next make sure the “In/Out Sample Rate” setting matches the sample rate you set in the renderer. For use of all 128 input channels, we recommend 48kHz .


    Set the buffer size to 1024 Samples (2048 for working with 96kHz)


    Then select the "Output Config" button, In the stereo outputs column, make sure that outputs 1-130 are activated.


    Now, in the session view in Ableton, load the Music Panner onto an audio track. In the Music Panner UI, using the Object Pair drop downs, assign objects 11 and 12.



    Now, in Ableton on the audio track, assign “Audio To” to “Ext. Out”, and then specify outputs 11 & 12.



    If you want to create multiple objects on different tracks, repeat the steps above taking care to to match your Object and output assignments for each instance of the music Panner, e.g., if you assign Objects 13 and 14, the external output of your track should be set to outputs 13 and 14.


    You will now be able to position your objects with the Music Panner.


    For detailed instructions on configuring your system, refer to the documentation packaged with the Dolby Atmos Production Suite (or Mastering Suite) and the Dolby Atmos Music Panner.

    Learn more
  • How do I set up a mix in Nuendo?

    You can use either the VST3 version of the Dolby Atmos Music Panner or the integrated Nuendo VST Multipanner to create an Atmos mix when connected to a Dolby Atmos renderer. In this article we will cover how to set up a Nuendo session using the Dolby Atmos Music Panner. 


    First, make sure that your project is at the sample rate you set in the Dolby Atmos Renderer, either 48 or 96kHz. Navigate to Project > Project Setup and set the sample rate accordingly.  Make sure that you are recording at 24bit as well.

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    Next, under Studio > Studio Setup > VST Audio System select Dolby Audio Bridge in the ASIO Driver pull-down.A screenshot of a computer

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    Now, navigate to Studio > Audio Connections and configure the Dolby Audio Bridge routing.  Below shows the default I/O used by the template provided in the Music Panner installer.

     

    In your Nuendo project, insert the Dolby Atmos Music Panner on an Audio, Instrument, or Sampler track. Assign that track's Output to output 11.  Now, in the Music Panner UI, make sure you are connected to a renderer - the connection status indicator should be green. Next, use the Object selection drop down menu to select or enter Object 11. Now start playback and you will be able to move and position this Object.


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    Note: If you want to create multiple objects on different tracks, repeat the steps above taking care to match your Object and output assignments for each instance of the Music Panner, e.g., if you assign Object 12, the output of your track should be set to output 12


    For detailed instructions on configuring your system and setting up a session, refer to the documentation packaged with the Dolby Atmos Production Suite (or Mastering Suite) and the Dolby Atmos Music Panner.

     


    Learn more
  • How should I use the center channel?

    The Center channel is not as common in music use cases as it is in the audio/visual content world. However,

    it can be a useful addition in your mix. Considerations should be made around:


    • Overly exposed lead vocals: Artists may not want their voice to be able to be soloed easily from other

    sources.


    • Overreliance on the physical speaker: In certain configurations, such as a common stereo system, there

    is no physical center speaker. For this target setup, it is a good idea to check how your mix will sound

    with left and right speakers only.

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  • What should I use LFE for?

    The whole sound field is available to emulate the bass management that might occur in consumer equipment, this can be done in the "Speaker" tab of the Preferences window of the renderer. Creative bass management can be achieved by a number of avenues - multiband splitter, Stemcell, etc. 

    Use of the LFE can be considered for supportive elements of the mix and but not as a destination for all low frequency content. 

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  • How do I know how loud my mix is?

     Loudness is a measure of the overall perceived amplitude of a track. It is related to mix level only in so much

    as it is in line with how comfortable your mix is at a particular level. In broadcast, it is used to ensure that

    different programs are perceived to be at the same volume, and therefore, a consumer would not be

    reaching for the remote between shows. In stereo music, it has been used to match between tracks in a

    similar but more elegant manner on streaming services.


    Version 3.4 of the Dolby Atmos Production Suite and Mastering Suite provide both realtime and offline integrated loudness measurement tools.

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  • Is there a loudness target for music mixed in Dolby Atmos?

    Yes. -18 LKFS (integrated). This is in line with popular music services. Version 3.4 of the Dolby Atmos Production Suite and Mastering Suite provide both realtime and offline loudness measurement tools. Alternatively, loudness measurements can be

    taken from a 5.1 re-render with the NuGen VisLM loudness meter plug-in.


    Learn more
  • What do I need in terms of source material to do a Dolby Atmos mix?

    Dolby Atmos is a rendering format, so source material could be any audio that you have available.

    Source material examples:

    • If you are a songwriter and are looking to start writing music that will be consumed in Dolby Atmos, your

    source material can include any instrument, sample library, virtual instrument, and so on.

    • If you are a recording engineer, you might have stems that have been previously defined by a writer, or

    tracks captured live in studio, or a multitude of other formats that can be used to create a Dolby Atmos

    soundfield.

    • If you deal with older recordings, you might have to work with anything from a mono tape to a 48-track

    tape, or another digital format. All can and have been used to create a Dolby Atmos soundfield. One

    method to do this is to reamp those sources into a studio environment and capturing the output in the

    room. Another method is to separate sources out from the available tracks and reposition them in the

    soundfield; there is a variety of other source extraction methods, as well.

    However, once you get to the mixing stage of your Dolby Atmos project, the choices you have are the same:

    • Does this sound work best as part of a bed or as an object?

    • If I apply temporal effects to this sound source, should they follow with the object or exist in the bed?

    The fundamental principal is that if it sounds right, then it is right. Generally speaking, the greater variety of

    source material and the more atomic and separated it is, the more options and flexibility you will have when

    creating a Dolby Atmos mix.

    As an example, if all of the drums and percussion instruments in your project are mixed into a single stem,

    you will only be able to create a single object or bed, which limits your creative choices for positioning in

    relation to your listener. If you had individual tracks for kick, snare, hi-hat, chimes, cowbell, and so on, you

    could potentially position them in disparate parts of the room to create a sense of space.

    Following are more suggestions on preparing source content for Dolby Atmos mixing:

    • Using mono stems, rather than stereo stems, will allow for more control of object position.

    • Consider printing out a wide variety of tracks (with and without effects, mono, stereo, bused, and so on)

    and experimenting in your mix:

     • Printing effects separately from the dry sound can allow you to place the dry source in a different

    position from the effects, and also allow you to apply different binaural render mode settings for the

    dry source and effects. This can be especially effective when working with vocals.

    • If only stereo stems or stems with effects included are available, consider using mid-side processing

    and positioning the mid and side separately.

    • The binaural render mode settings apply a distance model to the objects for which they are selected.

    You may want to try these with source content free from other spatial effects (such as reverb) to see

    how the settings change an object's sound.

    • The Renderer works at 48 and 96 kHz. Using source material with sample rates at least this high will yield

    better results than material that is upsampled.


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  • What sample rates does Dolby Atmos support?

    Dolby Atmos sessions and the Renderer support specific sample rates.

    The Renderer can operate at 48 or 96 kHz. Master files can be created at these rates and stored for archive

    purposes, and are then sample-rate converted to 48 kHz for encoding purposes. Keep in mind that when

    working at 48 kHz, the Renderer supports 128 input channels (ten bed only and 118 object/bed), whereas at

    96 kHz, 64 input channels are available (ten bed only and 54 object/bed).

    Starting with 48 or 96 kHz (or higher) sample-rate source content will yield better results than upsampled

    content.

    Note: If you work with audio in an 88.2, 176.4, or 192 kHz session, you need to create a 48 or 96 kHz

    version of the session for use with the Renderer.

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  • What bit-depths does Dolby Atmos support?

    Dolby Atmos operates at 24 bit

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  • How do I deliver a Dolby Atmos mix?

    Most streaming services require delivery of your mix as an interleaved Audio Definition Model (ADM)

    Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) .wav  file. This can be easily exported from the Renderer application.

    In addition to being used for delivery to streaming services, this file can be delivered to another studio or

    engineer for mixing, where it can be opened in Pro Tools or another DAW.

    Learn more
  • How do I QC my Dolby Atmos mix?

    You can perform quality control (QC) on your mix so that you hear what end listeners hear.

    Here are two common ways to QC your mix:

    • Play back your Dolby Atmos mix using the Dolby Atmos Renderer.

    • Use the Renderer to export Dolby Atmos content as an .mp4 file for playback on Dolby Atmos enabled

    consumer devices (such as a Blu-ray player or Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar). For example, save

    the .mp4 file to a Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash drive, connect the drive to a USB input port on the

    device, and then play back the file on the device.


     See the Dolby Atmos Renderer Guide  for instructions on exporting a master as an MP4 master file.

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  • Who is going to hear my Dolby Atmos mix?

     

     There are currently hundreds of millions of Dolby Atmos enabled playback devices in the market today,

    including smartphones, AVRs, TVs, sound bars, and smart speakers (such as the Amazon Echo Studio).

    Depending on the device, Dolby Atmos is supported via streaming or physical media.

    Dolby Atmos Music:

    • Is available through leading music services paired with compatible Dolby Atmos enabled devices.

    For example, Tidal members with a HiFi subscription and a compatible Dolby Atmos enabled Android

    smartphone can enjoy Dolby Atmos Music. Fans with an Amazon Music HD subscription and the Echo

    Studio can enjoy Dolby Atmos Music with a simple command, such as, “Alexa, play best of Dolby Atmos.”

    • Is available on Blu-Ray discs. You can listen to Dolby Atmos Music on your Dolby Atmos Blu-ray player

    connected to a Dolby Atmos sound bar or home system.

    • Can be found on major movie and TV streaming services (such as Netflix), which can be listened to on a

    Dolby Atmos home system.

    • Can be shared via live pay-TV broadcasts, which can be listened to on a Dolby Atmos home system.

    • Can be experienced in cinemas and special event spaces.


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  • Can I make a stereo version from my Dolby Atmos mix?

    Yes. You can specify multiple channel-based re-render formats in the Dolby Atmos renderer. If you are planning on delivering channel-based mixes derived from your Dolby Atmos master, we recommend that you monitor in these formats as you complete your mix so you can preserve your creative intent. For more information on rendering and monitoring channel-based deliverables, refer to the documentation included with the Dolby Atmos Production Suite or Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite

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  • What renderer settings are recommended for Dolby Atmos music?

    For music use cases, we recommend setting trim controls to zero so that your mix is preserved when played

    back as a 5.1 or 7.1 re-render. Additionally, to hear how encoding your Dolby Atmos mix will sound, set the

    spatial coding emulation element count to 16 .


     

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Dolby Atmos Music Creation Products
  • What is the Dolby Atmos Renderer?

     Dolby Atmos mixing products include the Dolby Atmos Renderer, which is included with the Dolby Atmos

    Production Suite and Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite.


     The Dolby Atmos Renderer is a software program that allows for the reproduction of a particular soundfield

    in an environment that is different from the environment in which it was created. It has the capability of

    using up to 128 input channels that can be defined as either bed channels or objects. The input

    configuration of a session is entirely separated from the output configuration of a system, and the Renderer

    connects those two defined environments.


    The Dolby Atmos Renderer also includes a binaural renderer, which can be used to create and monitor

    binaural mixes on headphones.

    Learn more
  • What is the Dolby Atmos Production Suite?

     The Dolby Atmos Production Suite is the version of the Renderer that is intended for use on a single Mac

    computer, alongside your DAW. The Dolby Atmos Production Suite package includes the Dolby Atmos Renderer, which provides the software components required to monitor, create, and play back Dolby Atmos content.


    This suite is for engineers, sound designers, and others who use Dolby Atmos Renderer software on a single

    computer for editorial, premix, and sound-design workflows.


    The Dolby Atmos Production Suite provides access to one license for running the suite on a supported Apple

    Mac computer.


    It is available for purchase via the AVID marketplace, or as a 30 day free trial via the Dolby Developer Portal. https://developer.dolby.com/forms/dolby-atmos-production-suite-trial/
    Learn more
  • What is the Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite?

    The Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite offers all of the features of the Dolby Atmos Production Suite in addition to

    certain advanced controls and features. The key differentiator of the Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite is that the

    Renderer is intended to run on a dedicated Mac or Windows computer (called a rendering and mastering

    workstation), whereas the DAW runs on a separate computer.


    This suite is for engineers, sound designers, and others who use Dolby Atmos Renderer software for creating

    and monitoring content on a multiple-computer system that supports full equalization (EQ) calibration and

    includes a dedicated rendering and mastering workstation for power on demand.


    The Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite includes one license for the Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite and three

    licenses for the Dolby Atmos Production Suite.


    The Dolby Atmos Renderer installer includes the Dolby Atmos Renderer remote application. This application

    controls the Renderer on the rendering and mastering workstation from a computer on the same network.

    The Renderer remote application does not require a license.


    Learn more
  • What is the Dolby Atmos Music Panner?

    The Dolby Atmos Music Panner plug-in is for positioning audio objects in a Dolby Atmos Music mix when used in a supported DAW and connected to the Dolby Atmos Renderer.

    The Dolby Atmos Music Panner installer includes AAX, AU, and VST3 format versions of the Dolby Atmos

    Music Panner plug-in. This panner plug-in lets you position audio objects in a three-dimensional audio field.

    Additionally, the panner includes a sequencer for syncing object positioning to the DAW tempo.

    Learn more
  • Can I sync the Renderer to my DAW for recording Atmos masters?

    Using channels 129-130 of the Dolby Audio Bridge, users can sync their DAW to the Dolby Atmos Renderer using one of two methods. The first method is for users of Pro Tools Ultimate.  The second  method is for users of Logic Pro and Nuendo. 

     

    1 – Using the Dolby LTC Generator AAX plug-in 

     

    Pro Tools Ultimate users can take advantage of the Dolby LTC Generator AAX plug-in that is installed as part of the Dolby Atmos Production Suite. It can be found under the category ‘Other’ in the plug-in menu. 

     

     

     

    If you are using the I/O Setup provided in the Music Panner installer channel 130 is already mapped to an LTC bus and should be available as an output. If not, go to I/O Setup and configure channel 130 to route the LTC over audio. 

     

     

     

    Next, we will configure the Dolby Atmos Renderer to accept the incoming LTC on channel 130. This setting can be found in the applications preferences. 

     

    Lastly enable sync in the Renderer main window 

     

     

     

    The Renderer will now chase your session transport via LTC over audio. 

     

     

    2 – Using MTC to sync the Renderer with Logic Pro, and Nuendo. 

     

    First we will need to bring the IAC connection online. Navigate to /Applications/Utilities and open Audio Midi Setup. 

    Select Window > Show MIDI Studio. You might see the IAC Driver dimmed.  Double-click it to open the properties window. Make sure the radio button next to “Device is online” is checked. 

    In the screenshot below I’ve renamed the default port name to “LTC”. 

     

     

    Now we have created an IAC MTC MIDI bus. 

     

     

    For Logic Pro Users 

     

    To show the option to enable sync, right-click in Logic’s main counter window and choosing “Customize Control Bar and Display” . 

     

     

    Navigate to File > Project Settings > Synchronization. In the General tab, change Sync Mode from Internal to MTC and also set the plays at SMPTE timecode to 00:00:00:00.00. Be sure the Frame Rate setting matches the Frame Rate set in the Renderer. 

     

     

     

    Now in the MIDI tab Select IAC Driver MTC in the first Destination pulldown.  Select the Clock and MTC options.  

     

     

     

    Close the window and return to the Project. Right-click on the newly visible sync icon in the Control Bar and choose SMPTE Sync (MTC).  

     

     

    note: Blue means sync is enabled. 

     

    Next, we will configure the Dolby Atmos Renderer to accept the incoming MTC. This setting can be found in the applications preferences. 

     

    Lastly enable sync in the Renderer main window 

     

     

     

    The Renderer will now chase your session transport via MTC. 

     

     

     

    For Nuendo Users 

     

    Navigate to Transport > Project Synchronization Setup. In the Sources tab: 

    • Enable Activate External Sync 

    • Select MIDI Timecode from the Timecode Source list 

    • From the MTC Input pulldown under MIDI Timecode Settings, select IAC Driver MTC 

     

    In the Destinations tab: 

    • Enable IAC Driver MTC in the MIDI Timecode Destinations list 

    • Enable MIDI Clock Follows Project Position 

    • Enable MIDI Timecode Follows Project Time 

    • Make sure Timecode Offset is at 00:00:00:00 

     

    Make sure your project is at the same Frame Rate that is set in the Dolby Atmos Renderer under Project > Project Setup. 

     

    Next, we will configure the Dolby Atmos Renderer to accept the incoming MTC. This setting can be found in the applications preferences. 

     

    Lastly enable sync in the Renderer main window 

     

     

     

    The Renderer will now chase your session transport via MTC. 

     

     

    Learn more
Objects and Beds
  • What is an object?

    An object is a discrete audio element that can be placed anywhere in the three-dimensional soundfield. Objects can consist of mono or stereo content and are positioned via dedicated Dolby Atmos panning. Use objects for precision positioning of your content.

    An audio object can utilize as few, or as many, speakers as defined by the positional and size metadata for that

    object. Objects can be static or moving and are not constrained to the outside edges of the Dolby Atmos soundfield.


    Learn more
  • What is a bed?

    A bed is a channel-based premix or stem that includes multichannel panning, and does not need dedicated

    panning via Dolby Atmos metadata. Use a bed for stereo or surround panning.


    A bed can be thought of as a traditional channel-based stem with the rules and expectations of stem

    configurations (such as 2.0, 5.1, and 7.1). These are fixed locations in space that are tightly constrained to

    traditional speaker environments, including theatrical environments where a speaker array might be used.


    In Dolby Atmos, the largest bed configuration that exists is 7.1.2. This configuration allows for Low-

    Frequency Effects (LFE), with left and right side walls, and an additional overhead stereo pair. Dolby Atmos

    supports the use of multiple beds.

    Learn more
  • What’s the difference between beds and objects?

    The choice of using an object versus a bed is entirely up to the mixer however there are a few things to keep in mind:


    • Objects have no access natively to the Low-Frequency Effects channel. In most circumstances, this is not
    a consideration, as the content that exists in the LFE channel should also exist in the main mix. (That is,
    do not rely on the LFE to be the “bass channel.”)


    • Bed channels map differently to different overhead speaker configurations. Overheads in an x.y.4
    configuration will create a phantom center of the x.y.2 component, whereas in an x.y.6 overhead
    configuration, it will use the point source speakers. If you have a concern about a source in the overhead
    beds, try switching it to an object so you can have more control over how it renders.


    • Depending upon the position and size metadata applied to an object, objects and bed channels can be
    sonically identical. For instance, an object placed in the left front with size set to zero will be identical to
    placing the audio in the Left channel bed.


    • A Dolby Atmos input bed can be 2.0, 3.0, 5.0, 5.1, 7.0, 7.1, 7.0.2, or 7.1.2. Distribution of the bed in the
    Renderer is defined by the number of speakers in a particular room. For example, if a room is configured
    with no center speaker for playback purposes, 3.0 and greater bed configurations will try to phantom
    image the content in the bed Center channel to the available left and right positions. This is further
    accentuated in the overhead domain. Overheads in a x.y.4 configuration will create a phantom center
    (front/back center) of the x.y.2 component, whereas in an x.y.6 overhead configuration, it will use the

     point source speakers. If you have a concern about a source in the overhead beds, try switching it to an

    object so you can have more control over how it renders.


    Learn more
  • What should I use objects for?

    Objects are discrete audio elements that can be placed and moved within a 3D sound field. If you want precise control of placement and motion of individual sounds, consider using objects.

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  • What should I use beds for?

    A Dolby Atmos input bed can be 2.0, 3.0, 5.0, 5.1, 7.0, 7.1, 7.0.2 or 7.1.2. Distribution of the bed in the output stage is defined by the number of speakers in a particular room. For example, if a room is configured with no center speaker for playback purposes, a 3.0 and greater bed configuration will try to phantom image the content in the bed's center channel to the available Left and Right positions. This is further accentuated in the overhead domain. Overheads in a x.4 configuration will create a phantom center of the x.2 component while in an x.6 overhead configuration it will use the point source speakers.  If you have a concern about a source in the overhead beds, try switching it to an object so you can have more control over how it renders. 

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  • How many objects can I/should I use?

    When working at 48 kHz, the Renderer supports 128 input channels (at least ten bed channels and up to 118

    objects). At 96 kHz, the Renderer supports 64 input channels (at least ten bed channels and up to 54 objects).

    Objects can be mono or stereo.The sonic content of the source material and creative considerations about how that content will bereproduced in a 3D soundfield will influence the number of objects used in any given mix

    Learn more
Studio Setup
  • How should I configure my mix room?

    Dolby Atmos tools allow for flexibility in the speaker configuration chosen, and guidance is available for the

    conversion of your room into a multichannel mixing environment. You can mix Dolby Atmos in headphones,

    on stereo speakers, or on up to a full 64-channel output system, such as those available in film mix

    workflows.

    Common Dolby Atmos speaker configurations include 6.0.6 (L, R, Lss, Rss, Lsr, Rsr, Ltf, Rtf, Ltm, Rtm, Ltr,

    Rtr), 7.1.4 (L, C, R, LFE, Lss, Rss, Lsr, Rsr, Ltf, Rtf, Ltr, Rtr) and 9.1.6 (L, C, R, LFE, Lss, Rss, Lsr, Rsr, Ltf, Rtf, Ltm,

    Rtm, Ltr, Rtr). The role of the Renderer is to preserve your artistic intent in the speaker configuration you

    have used when creating your mix, as well the end listener's speaker configuration.

    The Dolby Atmos Renderer also allows you to audition how your mix may translate to other speaker

    configurations. For example, if your colleague in a different country mixed a song in their 7.1.4 configuration

    and sent it to you for comments/collaboration, in your 9.1.6 room you could create a subset of your speakers

    to experience the mix on the same monitoring configuration that they used.


    Learn more
  • At what level should I calibrate my speakers? At what level should I mix?

     Dolby Atmos mix rooms should be capable of reproducing 85 dBC from each speaker at the mix position. The

    level at which you actually choose to mix should be in line with your room dimensions. In smaller

    environments, mixing at 79 dBC will be more comfortable for longer periods and still allow you to render

    your mix at an appropriate level.


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  • How is bass managed?

     The whole soundfield is available to emulate the bass management that might occur in consumer

    equipment; this can be chosen in the preferences of the renderer.

    Creative bass management can be achieved by a number of avenues: multiband splitter, The Cargo Cult

    Stemcell surround filter software, and so on.

    Use of the LFE channel can be considered for supportive elements of the mix but not as a destination for all

    low-frequency content. Do not rely on the LFE channel as your exclusive bass channel.

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  • Do I have to have overhead speakers?

    We strongly recommend incorporating overhead speakers in your Dolby Atmos mix room, as this will allow

    you to take advantage of the vertical dimension in your mix. The most common speaker configuration for

    music-focused Dolby Atmos mix rooms is 7.1.4, but this is by no means the only configuration that may be

    employed to create immersive Dolby Atmos mixes.

    Keep in mind that it is also possible to mix and monitor Dolby Atmos binaurally using headphones.


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  • I have a stereo recording/mixing/mastering studio. How do I get started with Dolby Atmos?

    Please contact musicstudios@dolby.com for guidance on Dolby Atmos enablement.


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  • Are there hardware changes needed to enable my studio for Dolby Atmos Music mixing?

    In order to provide the most robust creation and listening experience, it is necessary to scale monitoring systems, routing matrix (channels of IO between systems), as well as to add a dedicated rendering machine.

     

    Please contact musicstudios@dolby.com for speaker implementation and workflow consultation. 


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  • Are there currently studios for hire to mix music in Dolby Atmos?

    Please contact musicstudios@dolby.com for information on studios enabled for Dolby Atmos Music.


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Headphones and Atmos
  • Can I mix on headphones?

    Yes. You can create an immersive Dolby Atmos mix using the binaural rendering capabilities of the renderer. To take full advantage of the renderer's binaural capabilities, we recommend experimenting by adjusting the binaural render mode settings for each of your mix elements.

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  • What is Binaural Render Mode, and how do the settings affect my mix?

    Binaural Render Mode is a feature of the renderer which allows you to apply a distance model via metadata to each of the objects or bed channels in your mix. This is only relevant to the binaural render of your mix that will be encoded as Dolby AC-4 immersive stereo for headphone listening, and your headphone monitoring feed. The various binaural render mode settings (Off/Near/Mid/Far) are intended to give varying levels of spatialization to each the objects or bed channels to which they are applied. You can think of the Near/Mid/Far settings as measures of the virtualized distance between an object or bed and the listener's head. Setting the Binaural Render Mode metadata writes those settings globally to the entire master, from the beginning to the end of the master. The binaural metadata is applied to headphone output during monitoring, recording, or playback of a master.  This metadata is not included with speaker processing.

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Atmos Mixing for Binaural Headphone and Loudspeaker
  • Can I create a single mix that preserves my creative intent for binaural headphone and loudspeaker listening?

    Yes. We have spent many hours with professional mix engineers who work across a variety of genres to verify

    that this is indeed possible. By understanding some things about how humans perceive sound in 3D space

    and how the Dolby Atmos creative tool set works, you can create an immersive music experience for your

    audience, whether they are listening with headphones or speakers, that would not be possible in traditional

    stereo.

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  • How should I approach creating a mix in Dolby Atmos that works across headphones and speakers?

    If you want to provide an optimal mix to headphone listeners, you need to work with headphones while

    mixing. You can start your mix in speakers or headphones, but it is critical that you incorporate headphone

    monitoring as you work. While you mix, try changing the position and binaural render mode settings for

    each of your objects. Changes to the binaural render mode settings will be apparent only in the headphone

    monitoring feed and the binaural render of your mix. Our experience has shown that some mixers feel that

    they can achieve a mix that works across both speakers and headphones more quickly if they approach the

    headphone mix first, and then make adjustments to the mix while switching between speakers and

    headphones. There is no right or wrong way, and we encourage you to experiment.

    Here are a few more things to consider and explore when making a mix for binaural headphone and speaker

    playback:

    • Avoid placing objects in the very center of the room. At this position, there is no binauralization on the

    headphone output, and the binaural render mode settings will have no effect.

    • If your aim is to create a dry center front image, try positioning the object in the center on the front wall

    and setting the binaural rendering mode to Off or Near.

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  • How will my source material translate to Dolby Atmos? Can I use stems to create a Dolby Atmos mix?

    Generally speaking, the greater the variety of source material and the more atomic and separated it is, the

    more options and flexibility you will have when creating a Dolby Atmos mix.

    As an example, if all of the drums and percussion instruments in your project are mixed into a single stem,

    you will only be able to create a single object or bed, which limits your creative choices for positioning in

    relation to your listener. If you had individual tracks for kick, snare, hi-hat, chimes, cowbell, and so on, you

    could potentially position them in disparate parts of the room to create a sense of space.

    Following are more suggestions for preparing source content for Dolby Atmos mixing:

    • Using mono stems, rather than stereo stems, will allow for more control of object position.

    • Consider printing out a wide variety of tracks (with and without effects, mono, stereo, bused, and so on)

    and experimenting in your mix:

    • Printing effects separately from the dry sound can allow you to place the dry source in a different

    position from the effects, and also allow you to apply different binaural render mode settings for the

    dry source and effects. This can be especially effective when working with vocals.

    • If only stereo stems or stems with effects included are available, consider using mid-side processing

    and positioning the mid and side separately.

    • The binaural render mode settings apply a distance model to the objects for which they are selected.

    You may want to try these with source content free from other spatial effects (such as reverb) to see

    how the settings change an object's sound.

    • The Renderer works at 48 and 96 kHz. Using source material with sample rates at least this high will yield

    better results than material that is upsampled.

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  • What are some things to think about with regards to how we perceive sound when mixing in Dolby Atmos?

     Humans have evolved to perceive sounds coming from all around them in space, and how our ears and

    brains work together to determine the position of a sound is a product of this evolution. Our experiences

    and expectations also influence how we make sense of our sonic surroundings. With an understanding of

    some key aspects of how we localize sounds, you can more fully take advantage of the immersive creative

    possibilities afforded by Dolby Atmos.

    Following are things you may want to consider when mixing in Dolby Atmos:

    • We perceive sounds that are higher in frequency as more likely to originate from above us than below.

    • It also follows that sounds with more low-frequency content are more likely to be perceived as

    originating from lower positions.

    • Lower-frequency sounds are also less directional than those with higher-frequency content. For instance,

    panning a bass sound around a room may not produce dramatic spatial effects, whereas a percussive

    sound with a broader frequency spectrum that includes some high-frequency information, such as a

    wood block, is likely to produce a more dramatic effect.

    • We are more likely to be able to perceive changes in the height of a sound if it has pronounced 4 to 8 kHz

    spectral content.

    • As listeners and mixers, we have been trained by stereo for more than 50 years that the soundfield exists

    in front of us. With Dolby Atmos, you can now consider not only the left-to-right balance as in stereo, but 

     also the front-to-back balance. Placing sounds behind the listener to complement or contrast what is

    happening in front of them can highlight the 3D soundfield made possible by Dolby Atmos.

    • As with the front-to-back balance, try experimenting with layering sounds from top to bottom.

    • Intermittent sounds can provide important spatial cues (for instance, a lead vocal positioned in front of

    the listener with responding backing vocals placed behind the listener).

    • Sounds that are positioned off center from the listener's head provide more spatial information. Try

    positioning objects to the left or right of the listener's head and then moving them from front to back,

    higher and lower.


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