Hi-Res sound, Dolby Atmos, DTS , … there are a lot of terms and concepts that can complicate the purchase of a new television or even other audio devices. So let’s see what each of these terms means, what their benefits are and other important information. So you have everything clear.
In recent years, not only has image quality improved. It is true that it is more striking to advertise something that is visible to the naked eye, such as screens that offer 4K and even 8K resolution, support for high dynamic range images or HDR, etc., but the audio has also improved a lot.
The problem is that by not giving it the importance it deserves, many users see that in the medium term they can not enjoy the advances and improvements that content platforms add now. So, it is worth it when you go to buy a TV or any other device you are clear about what it offers.
The main thing today is the sound of high resolution or Hi-Res. This term is neither more nor less than the acronym for the English term High Resolution and refers to a format that was created with the aim of offering the same quality as the original track. That is to say, to be able to capture and reproduce an audio with a quality equal to that of the moment in the recording.
How is it achieved? To do this you must first know how to capture audio. This is an analog process in which the sound wave generated by each of the instruments or voices is analyzed and captured using what is known as sampling. In other words, a process that consists of taking samples from time to time and then recomposing that waveform.
As you can imagine, the greater the number of samples, the greater the sampling frequency or speed and therefore the quality. To give you an idea, a music CD has a sampling rate of 44.1 Khz and a resolution of 16 bits. Hi-Res or Hi-Res audio, however, raises that number to 96 Khz.
This means that it doubles the number of wave samples per second to reach 96,000. With that boost and 24-bit resolution, the wave can be recomposed more precisely, and that translates to sound with richer nuances and greater definition.
Anyway, this is the raw catch. When transmitting it to the different teams it is necessary to compress them and that is where the other two terms come into play: Dolby Atmos and DTS. Both are technologies that take advantage of the use of Hi-Res sound through any of the compatible formats (FLAC, ALAC, DSD, MQA and WAV) to offer much richer surround sound.
What is Dolby Atmos
Dolby Atmos is a Dolby proprietary surround sound standard. This allows you to mix the classic channels that 5.1, 7.1 and even 9.1 configurations could offer with dynamic sound objects. What does the latter mean? Well, it gives the opportunity to place up to 128 objects in a sauce and improve the feeling of immersion.
That is, although many manufacturers like to call it immersive sound, it is still 3D sound . The audio that is played not only comes from the front, the sides or the rear, it also comes from above or below the user. Therefore, the experience is much richer and there is greater clarity when determining where a specific sound comes from.
This in certain content is very interesting. For example, in a concert you could know exactly where any instrument is placed , which expands the sound scene and with it the experience. When you try to play content compatible with a system that supports this format, the truth is that there is no going back.
What is DTS
DTS (Digital Theater Systems) arguably that Dolby rival in surround sound tracks. Currently, the company responsible for its development has released a multitude of surround sound formats (DTS, DTS-HD or the lossless format DTS-HD Master Audio), all of them improving on the previous ones until we reached the last one: DTS: X.
DTS: X also achieves that same 3D, spatial or surround sound that allows for a more immersive experience. On a technical level it offers some improvements over Dolby, but still has not had the impact of the previous one. But this should not be ruled out, because there are platforms that are adopting its advantages and you could miss an improvement if you do not have compatible devices.
Dolby Atmos or DTS: X
Having already seen both systems, the question you are asking yourself is which is better, Dolby Atmos or DTS: X? Neither really is better than the other. Both solutions have their own advantages and disadvantages, although in essence they seek the same thing: to offer a better surround sound experience.
If we take into account some technical aspects, such as the level of compression, DTS: X does seem a bit higher when compressing each file less. But here Dolby is justified with a better performance of its codecs, so that at the same quality it would be more efficient when transmitting such content between devices or via services from the Internet.
What you as a user must be clear about is what each of them offers and that both are complementary. If you can choose both better than better. And yes, it is not enough that a service offers you content with Dolby Atmos or DTS: X audio, your player and sound equipment must be able to handle it. If not, then you will continue to enjoy the hitherto 5.1, 7.1 or 9.1 audio quality. But you won’t have that feeling that sound is coming from anywhere in the room.