How do Dolby Atmos speakers work

Dolby Atmos on the phone: how does it work?

Maybe you've heard of it, maybe you were surprised: Dolby Atmos works on cell phones too! The powerful 3D sound can actually be experienced on some smartphones. But how is that supposed to work when with Dolby Atmos each individual speaker is controlled with its own sound signal in order to create a realistic sound experience, but the number of speakers in a cell phone is usually very limited? We'll explain the technology behind it and tell you which current smartphones are Dolby Atmos-capable.

3D sound through headphones

If the sound for a film is in Dolby Atmos, then each individual soundtrack is precisely defined and coordinated: The airplane rushes over the heads of the audience, something explodes on the right in the distance and someone starts screaming right next to us. All these You can pinpoint noises thanks to Dolby Atmos. This is what makes the sound so realistic: 3D sound.

In order for this to work, each channel usually has its own loudspeaker, which is controlled separately. The overall result is a great soundscape. But if only two channels are available, as is the case with headphones, for example, you have to be a little tricky.

The key to 3D sound through stereo speakers is this HRTF, i.e. Head-Related Transfer Function. This describes that we perceive and interpret sounds depending on the direction from which they reach us. And Dolby has now virtually imitated this effect and plays on the two speakers in headphones accordingly. Up to 128 individual audio objects - the loud airplane, the crashing bomb as well as a screaming person, for example - can be defined in this way, together with the precise details of where this noise has its source in the room. From this, the Dolby Atmos processor in the smartphone calculates exactly how the sound should sound in the left and right ears so that it is as realistic as possible and sounds like in a large cinema with a Dolby Atmos system.

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You can experience Dolby Atmos sound with these smartphones

That all sounds wonderful - but which smartphones are able to reproduce sound in Dolby Atmos? The list is still manageable: You can find an overview on the Dolby website. Of the current top smartphones, the following are:

  • Samsung Galaxy S10
  • Sony Xperia 1
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
  • Nokia 6
  • Samsung Galaxy Note9

You are guaranteed the best sound through headphones with these devices, whether you are watching movies, listening to music or gaming. But there are some smartphone models that have the defined sound even from the built-in speakers get it, for example the Samsung Galaxy S10. But you have the best coordination and the most realistic 3D sound with headphones, because only what really belongs to the left or right ear lands there.

How exactly you activate Dolby Atmos on your mobile phone differs depending on the model. With some devices, the function is only available after you have connected headphones. In the settings you can then switch Dolby Atmos on or off and make other sound settings. If the integrated stereo speakers can also reproduce Dolby Atmos sound, you can of course find the settings at any time.

With these headphones you can hear 3D

  • REAL BLUE NC: Which headphones you put on doesn't matter to Dolby Atmos on the mobile phone. But the more powerful it is, the better the sound experience. With the REAL BLUE NC noise-canceling headphones, no background noise annoys you thanks to the circumaural pads and active noise suppression: You just enjoy the pure 3D sound.
  • MOVE BT: In-ear headphones can also play the Dolby Atmos sound from your smartphone. If you like things small and handy and don't like tangled cables, put these powerful plugs in your ears. Since they are splash-proof, you can even jog through the park with them in the rain.

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Conclusion: Dolby Atmos works like this on mobile phones

  • The Dolby Atmos processor in the mobile phone calculates exactly how the individual sound tracks have to be distributed to the headphones speakers in order to create a realistic soundscape.
  • For this, up to 128 individual sound objects can be defined, which are assigned a fixed place in the virtual space - always with reference to the listener.
  • Some top smartphones can even play Dolby Atmos through the built-in stereo speakers.