Which is Better - Dirac or Dolby Atmos?

January 27, 2023
Which is Better - Dirac or Dolby Atmos?
Published on  Updated on  

Which is Better - Dirac or Dolby Atmos?
Every movie buff, gaming enthusiast and audiophile wants to make the most out of their movie, gaming and music-listening experiences. 

Not happy with the way your speakers sound? It would help to take a deep dive into what Dolby Atmos and Dirac are, so you can take the right pick and create a near real-life listening experience from a movie, video game, or film recording. 

If we compare the Dolby Atmos and Dirac both have their uniqueness in sound, so let’s start with a detailed breakdown of both, so as to achieve great audio quality right.

A Quick Introduction to Dolby Atmos - Object-Based Audio Format

If you’re enjoying media from your phone, TV, or local movie theatre, in all likelihood, the audio is supported by Dolby. Dolby Atmos puts you in the centre of it all when watching movies or listening to music to upgrade low quality audio and give you the most immersive sound possible. 

Dolby Atmos is the name of a surround sound technology by Dolby Laboratories. 

This technology allows up to 128 audio tracks plus associated spatial audio description metadata which notably includes location or pan automation data to be distributed to theatres for optimal, dynamic rendering to loudspeakers. Each audio track can be assigned to an audio channel, the traditional format for distribution, or to an audio "object." 

An improvement on what came before and a leap forward from surround sound. 

Enjoyed at the cinema to bring movies to life, it can now be experienced with the help of everyday home gadgets such as soundbars, smart speakers, TVs, and computers.

Also Read: Heard of Dolby Atmos? - Here's everything you need to know about it

How does Dolby Atmos work?
Dolby Atmos

Traditional surround soundtracks confine all sounds to the 5.1 or 7.1 channels in a typical home theatre setup. 

In contrast, Dolby Atmos frees sound from channels. It is one of the first commercially prevalent cinematic audio formats in which sounds exist as individual entities, called audio objects. 

Every sound signal can exist as an independent audio object, free of channel restrictions. These objects can be precisely placed and moved anywhere in your room, including overhead, to flow above and around you in three-dimensional space.

In Dolby Atmos for home installation, every sound in the original cinema mix is an audio object. 

Together with Dolby Audio™ codecs and advanced scalable algorithm, this technology can be delivered via Blu-ray Disc and streaming media. A Dolby Atmos-enabled audio/video receiver (AVR) adapts the content aural experience to your home theatre from seven speakers to as many as 34.

It supports up to 128 simultaneous independent audio objects in a mix that delivers rich, realistic, and breathtaking surround sound. 

An Atmos-enabled system delivers sounds above you through dedicated ceiling-mounted overhead speakers, special upward-firing speakers, or even newer Atmos-enabled soundbars. 

Speakers can be placed along walls, in ceilings and even behind the screen itself in order to totally immerse the audience in sound.

Dolby Atmos in the Latest Home and Lifestyle Gadgets 

Dolby Atmos for the home theatre

Dolby Atmos enabled speakers direct sound upward, where it reflects off the ceiling to produce incredibly lifelike overhead sound. Most mixers prefer the performance of Dolby Atmos enabled speakers as opposed to traditional overhead designs

Dolby Atmos for mobile

Dolby optimises picture and sound for your mobile device's display and speakers to create powerful, moving audio and premier cinema sound experience on your phone or tablet over speaker.

Dolby Atmos on streaming

Android TV and Google TV from version 9 support Dolby Atmos technology.

Streaming media players with Android TV or Google TV version 9 or higher also support Immersive Audio when connected to an external Dolby Atmos-capable audio system.


Dolby Atmos Pros

Dolby Atmos Cons

Expands surround sound to include overhead effects

Overhead sound cues need to be encoded in the content

It entails precise placement of sound objects around the room

Not all content benefits from overhead sound effects

Content available on Blu-ray/Ultra HD Blu-ray and select streaming movies/programs Requires compatible receiver/processor to decode Dolby Atmos information
Also available on some soundbars and smart TVs

Not all smart TVs or media streaming devices can pass-through Dolby Atmos coding

If you do not have budget constraints, Dolby Atmos can enhance your home theatre experience.

Here’s a quick look at our best selling Dolby Atmos Speaker Packages.

What is Dirac Live? How does it enhance sound in the environment?
Dirac Live

Also Read: A Quick Guide on What is DIRAC Live and its Benefits

Electronic based solutions like Dirac Live, when used correctly, help audiophiles get the best from their systems. It is highly effective at compensating for certain room acoustics problems, improving overall performance in either a stereo or surround-sound system.

Dirac is named after the renowned British physicist Paul Dirac, whose name is associated with the mathematical function that lies at the core of the company's Dirac Live room correction software. 

Dirac Live comes under the broader room correction category however proper room correction would entail building a new one from scratch, subsequently aiming at improving the rooms acoustics with physical treatment. 

So, a more suitable category title for Dirac or other DSP solutions would be “Sound Management '' but as they are working in the realm of room acoustics, they definitely qualify to be in the category of room correction.

This software works across domestic listening rooms, car audio, smartphones and headphones and enables you to tailor the system's sound to be more how you want it. It will attempt to get the best sound from a set-up in any given room. Dirac Live is meticulously designed for both home and professional audio applications.

Best Ways to add Dirac to your HiFi

  • The easiest way to do it is to buy a HiFi component that features Dirac
  • Another way to integrate a Dirac brain into your HiFi is with software, you can buy, download and install Dirac Studio which will run as a stand alone software and use that computer as the brain for Dirac
  • The most flexible way most audiophiles will best be able to integrate Dirac into their HiFi system is with a miniDSP

What are the key benefits of Dirac Live?

  • It's useful because you can see how your speakers are behaving in your listening room
  • It enables you to see things in the measurements you cannot hear
  • It puts you in total control of the sound you will hear from your speakers and system from a frequency response point of view and allows you to optimise the system’s sound
  • You can significantly reduce obvious bass peaks and nulls 
  • You would experience improved localization of sound events, so-called staging
  • You would see a significant increase in the levels of clarity and intelligibility in music and speech
  • The listening area would be free of resonances

  • Dirac Live takes a comprehensive approach to room optimisation, prioritising the impulse response of the speaker alongside its frequency balance in the room.

Final word

For an average home living room, a Dirac seems a better fit however, a dedicated, acoustically treated space, Dolby Atmos is a more suitable choice. 

An ultimate sound experience is every audiophile’s dream treat. 

We understand there is a lot to keep in mind when choosing between Dolby Atmos and Dirac, and if It’s not a task you want to take up single handedly, we are here to help! 

Head on over to check it out.

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