Dolby Atmos or DTS x, a decision that can be very difficult for some. And if you know anything about surround sound, you know what I am talking about. Those who don’t know about this, stay with me for a while. This can be very important to get the best out of your surrounding home theater system.
Dolby Atmos and DTS x are two audio codecs for surround sound systems to give you a basic understanding. They enhance your surround audio experience in some ways. But when it comes to Dolby Atmos vs. DTS x, it’s hard to choose one of them.
Why is that? Well, you will know about that once I take you through the comparison of these two. So, without wasting your time, I will jump right into it.
What is DTS X?
DTS X is a technology that unlocks the full potential of a surround sound system with various functionalities. The main purpose of this technology is to expand the surround system you have even further to give you better sound quality.
The system does some automatic calibration on your sound system and brings out the best possible results. Also, when you have DTS x enabled in your sound system, you can even control the volume of the voices you hear in movies and shows. This enhances the whole experience of watching movies in a home theater.
The great thing about the DTS x codec is that it doesn’t rely on your speaker configuration to give you the best results. It does most of the work by itself to deliver you the best possible effect from your surround system.
What is Dolby Atmos?
Whenever you hear surround sound, Dolby is another word that pops up in your mind. It’s heavily associated with surround sound because Dolby Digital has been the most popular surround sound codec.
Now, Dolby Atmos is a different codec than Dolby digital. As for the functionality, it’s pretty much the same as the DTS x. The goal is to provide you the best possible surround sound you can get from your home theater system. It makes sure that you hear the sounds from your sources as they were intended to be.
For example, while watching a movie, you should hear the sound overhead when you see something flying. A normal surround system can’t deliver that kind of effect. Whereas, if you have Dolby Atmos codec in your system, then you can get that effect. So, now you know what it is and how awesome would it be to have this, right?
In short, having Dolby Atmos gives you a 3D hearing experience from your surround sound system, instead of just left, right, and center.
Related: Windows Sonic vs Dolby Atmos
Dolby Atmos vs. DTS x
Here is where the real war starts. Whether you should go for Dolby Atmos or DTS x can be a tough choice. Because they both have their strengths and weaknesses, in some cases, Dolby Atmos is having the upper hand, while in others, DTS x has the upper hand.
Going through several factors and the benefits of having each will clear out the confusion for you. Because then you can decide on one of them based on what you prefer to have. Let’s get going then.
Things Dolby Atmos can offer that DTS x can’t
- First of all, Dolby Atmos is much more common than DTS x. You can find a lot of sound systems and programs that are compatible with Dolby Atmos.
For example, Netflix supports Dolby Atmos rather than DTS X. So, when you are watching Netflix movies or shows, you can get the best sound experience from your home theater if you have Dolby Atmos in it. Even Amazon Prime Video has support for Dolby Atmos rather than DTS X.
- Another aspect where Dolby Atmos outshines DTS x is the efficiency of the codec. They have better efficiency in producing quality sounds even at a lower bit rate. This makes them a better choice when you are considering efficiency in the first place.
Things DTS X offers that Dolby Atmos can’t
- The first and most crucial factor of DTS x is the higher bit rate. When you look at the higher bit rates, you can instantly say that DTS x produces better sound quality. Although there is no solid proof for that, DTS x is a better choice in terms of sound quality on paper.
- Another thing DTS x has the upper hand in is the manual adjustments of particular sounds. This means with the DTS x codec in your system; you can choose which particular sounds will have a higher volume. I will give an example to make it clear.
Let’s say you are watching a movie that has a lot of dialogue. So, with a DTS x codec in your system, you can specifically enhance the voice volumes to hear the dialogues even better. This is a pretty handy feature to have in your home theater system for watching movies.
- Now, the best part of DTS x is that it doesn’t require any particular speaker configuration. If your sound system is compatible with DTS x, it will work.
On the other hand, Dolby Atmos only works for a particular speaker configuration. You will at least need to have two additional speakers on your system to use the Dolby Atmos to its full potential.
As you can see, you can’t truly have a clear winner here. You will have to consider different factors to decide on a single audio codec for your system; also, before anything else, you will have to consider if your sound system is compatible with these codecs or not.
The best thing here is that you don’t need to choose a single one. You can also go for both these choices, which I deem to be the best solution. Because that way, you get the true surround sound feel from your home theater system.
Don’t know how to get them? Well, I am still here. I will tell you how to get these codecs for your system.
How to get them
Well, getting the benefits of Dolby Atmos or DTS X or both has two ways to go about it. You can either get a receiver along with your home theater system. Or you can go for a soundbar that has compatibility with these codecs. Let’s go through both these methods.
Using a receiver
An AV receiver helps in decoding the sound codecs and sends them to your sound system. Now depending on the codecs, you will get different results.
For example, if you have DTS x codecs, you get overhead sounds even if you don’t have upward-firing speakers. Just connecting your speaker setup with your receiver is enough to enjoy the full surround system capability from your system. And you will love the experience.
Whereas to get the best surround experience with Dolby Atmos, you will need upward-firing or ceiling speakers. So, if you want to enjoy Dolby Atmos, you might need to add height channels in your system through some upward-firing speakers.
You can go either way, whichever you prefer is up to you. You can even find receivers that come with support for both codecs; I think you should aim for that.
Using a soundbar
Don’t like those bulky speaker setups? Then try going for a soundbar that has support for Dolby Atmos and DTS x. There are lots of soundbars out there that come with support for these codecs.
The best soundbars usually have built-in upward-firing speakers and a wireless subwoofer. So, you still get the surround sound effect without having to go for bulky and ugly setups. Going for a soundbar setup gives you clean and stylish looks that enhance the room's aesthetics. It’s not just about the sound when you are considering soundbars.
So, all you have to do is find a suitable soundbar that comes with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS x. And don’t worry, you won’t need to spend too much money on these; you can get many affordable soundbars that come with compatibility for these codecs.
Now, which setup you will go for is up to you. If you have a large room and can afford a receiver and some speakers, then go for the receiver option. But if you have issues with space, then going for the soundbar is a better choice.
All in all, there is no clear winner in the battle of Dolby Atmos vs. DTS x. While DTS X looks a far better contender on paper, there are so many things that go into choosing one. You already got that from the discussion above.
So, my ultimate suggestion would be to go for something that can give you both these features. Even if they cost a bit more, they will be worth it for sure. Because in reality, you wouldn’t want to miss out on any of the features that both the codecs offer. That’s it from me. I hope this helps you.
Graduated with a Bachelor of Audio Engineering and Sound Production. He has worked with a number of studios as a Recording Engineer, with over 10 years of servicing experience in both re-recording mixing and sound editing.