We all know those iconic adverts we see during the trailers at movie theatres. The sports car engines revving at 100mph, the booming speakers – even the satisfying stitching sounds in the leather seats. It’s just one example of the genius that is Dolby Audio, and there’s a reason why it’s the audio of choice for so many home cinema owners. But, what is Dolby Audio, and what does it mean?
The science is in the compression
They say the devil is in the detail, and that’s certainly the case for Dolby Audio. Essentially, Dolby is an audio compression technology – it takes sound like movie soundtracks, which is designed for vast rooms and huge, cinema style speakers – and compresses it for our viewing pleasure at home. Thanks to advanced technology, it does this without compromising on sound quality.
Movie audio is recorded in surround sound, helping to create an immersive experience with noises exploding all around us. Dolby helps to recreate this in smaller speakers that can be used in the home.
Until recently, the typical home cinema surround sound system would use five speakers and one subwoofer. Today, we have HD surround sound, giving us access to overhead speakers. This is known in the industry as a 7.1 format, as opposed to the former 5.1 format.
Where it all began
We were first treated to Dolby’s superior audio prowess in 1992. The Tim Burton classic Batman Returns was the first feature film to use Dolby Digital sound, which has since spawned Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD. Dolby’s latest products offer a ‘lossless format’, giving viewers a listening experience as close to the original as possible.