Dolby Digital Plus vs Dolby Atmos vs Stereo: Surround Sound Explained

Last Updated on 22 January, 2023 by Sourav Roy

Dolby Digital Plus vs Dolby Atmos vs Stereo – Together, we will take a deep dive into each one of them and discuss all the intricacies.

Dolby Digital Plus vs Dolby Atmos vs Stereo

Once you decide to get yourself the best home theatre or the best soundbar, be ready to come across the terms mentioned above. These complicated terms are nothing but surround sound formats that deliver magnified audio and visual experience. Each one of them promises to be authentic and realistic.

The big question here is, what is the difference between each and of them? And hey, which is the best one? All of these surround sound technologies are outlined to provide audio from all sides and angles. But the outcome and approach of each of them are completely distinct.

So, get geared to walk through my ultimate surround sound guide: From DTS to Dolby Atmos, every format explained! Everything that’s playing on your mind right now is on my blog.


Dolby Digital Plus vs Dolby Atmos vs Stereo: Which surround system is better?

Okay so, this is how we proceed. We will speak independently on each of the surround sounds and differentiate them based on a few criteria. But before I begin, my question to you is – Are you completely familiar with the concept of surround sound?


What is Surround Sound?

What is Surround Sound

Surround sound is a contemporary method of refining the credibility and depth of audio effects by using multiple audio channels from diverse loudspeakers that surround the listener. The mechanism of audio from all angles is generated by placing additional speakers strategically. This 360 degrees of sound representation can splendidly create a sound sensation from all directions.

The popularity of home cinema has risen the need for surround systems as well. The most common types of surround sound channels are – 5.1 and 7.1. This mainly refers to the number of speakers required to enrich the audio quality at home.

In the case of a 5.1 sound system, you will have five main audio spectrum channels and one subwoofer. Each of the sound channels is discrete so that you can place it anywhere in the room. This is one of the most common and inexpensive configurations for home theatre systems.

Speaking about the 7.1 sound system, it comprises eight speakers. Compared to the 5.1 channel, this one has two additional speakers. The placement of the 7.1 configurations ensures a more reinforced sound quality. So, they are more recommended for large rooms.


Dolby Digital – What do you need to know about the spatial audio format?

dolby digital

Formerly known as Dolby AC-3, this sound encoding system can dwindle the substantial amount of data required to generate a high-quality sound. The Dolby Digital technology is designed for online streaming, DVDs, TV broadcast, Blu-ray disc and more.

The smart automation imparts a speedy transfer for audio signals, which may have one or more surround channels. Almost every home theatre system has a built-in Dolby Digital decoder. So, the surround sound marketplace is well dominated by Dolby.

The sound effect of Dolby Digital is not just impactful but also realistic. The technology convincingly brings out all the emotions. You are sure to feel like you are in a cinema. The only downside of the audio technology is the high chances of deterioration in the audio and video quality. The reason behind this degradation is the high compression level.

Advantages of Dolby Digital Surround Sound

  • Dolby Digital can certainly deliver cinema feels at home.
  • The technology has easy access to all software.
  • You can expect accurate transfers from the channels.
  • The Dolby Digital technology is capable of operating at a low bit rate.


Dolby Digital Plus- What do you need to know about the spatial audio format?

Dolby Digital Plus

Dolby Digital Plus is nothing but an improved version of Dolby Digital audio technology. The key difference between both surround sound formats is the number of channels. The Dolby Digital technology can support only six channels. On the contrary, Dolby Digital Plus technology can efficiently support upto eight channels. Because of this, the latter can deliver high definition audio. It is capable of compressing large files without compromising on sound quality. So, you can expect a more realistic sound interface.

Advantages of Dolby Digital Plus Surround Sound

  • In addition to the standard channels, Dolby Digital Plus is compatible with HDMI as well.
  • The advanced technology delivers high-resolution sound along with retaining the original audio quality.
  • Dolby Digital Plus can support a wide range of data.
  • The progressive technology is also backwards compatible.


Dolby Atmos – What do you need to know about the spatial audio format?

Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos surround sound can gracefully bring out a revolutionary change in cinema audio. The technology is a notch higher in providing a 3D surround sound. Every channel comes with a lot of detailing and provides a three-dimensional sound interface. So, this format can deliver a more realistic sound ever.

Dolby Atmos changes the game completely by adding custom-built upward speakers for an exclusive sound experience. How does this work? With the help of the system (placed on the top), the technology creates a high-defined dramatic sound by bouncing back the audio to the listener. So yes, Dobby sound and Dolby Atmos aren’t the same.

The smart technology is compatible with all high-resolution systems – Television, laptop, tablets and more. The major downside of this sound technique is that the overhead sound signal requires extensive content-encoding. Besides that, setting up the system can get a bit complicated.

Advantages of Dolby Atmos Surround Sound

  • The surround sound provides overhead effects as well.
  • The precise placement of the system helps the user achieve an exact sound.
  • The system is compatible with HDMI cables and Blu-ray disc players.
  • Dolby Atmos supports online streaming efficiently.


DTS – What do you need to know about the spatial audio format?

Digital Theatre System

Originally known as Digital Theatre System, DTS was established to deliver a supreme sound effect with the help of surround sound channels and subwoofers. Unlike Dolby Atmos, DTS:X does not need a ceiling speaker setup to derive an enhanced sound effect.

Dolby Digital and DTS have been competing aggressively with each other. Both technologies can deliver a phenomenal sound quality. However, the way to the end result is remarkably different.

Dolby Digital v/s DTS: What’s the exact difference? For the Blu-ray discs, the former compresses 5.1 digital sound to a bit rate of 640 kilobits per second. Whereas for DVDs, the bit rate is lower than that- 448 kilobits per second.

Speaking about DTS, the technology can efficiently support high bit rates and is less compressed. It can support about 1.5 megabits per second for Blu-ray discs, and for DVDs, it can support 768 kilobits per second.

Let me now explain this to you in layman’s language. Less compression means an explicit audio result. So, you can hear closer to what was primitively planned. Based on the compression criteria, DTS scores an edge over Dolby Digital.

Advantages of DTS Surround Sound

  • DTS promises a truer cinematic experience.
  • The technique is capable of encoding sound at high bit rates.
  • DTS is adaptable to change.
  • The technology makes use of personal software. Therefore, the end results are magnificent.


Stereo Sound – What do you need to know about the spatial audio format?

Stereo Sound Speaker

The Stereo sound was the first ever to bring a significant change in the world of a surround system. The sublime technologies like Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus came into existence by following the routes of the evergreen Dolby Stereo. The system has channels on the left and right to create a high-quality sound.

Today, the Stereo sound format may fall short because of the fewer sound channels. Therefore, the technology may fail to provide a room-filling sound.

Advantages of Stereo Sound

  • It is one of the cheapest surround sound providers.
  • The system is sufficient to deliver a pleasant audio experience.
  • It can skillfully prevent phase interference between speakers.


Dolby Digital Plus vs Dolby Atmos vs DTS vs Stereo: Quick comparison Table

ParametersInitial costSpeaker placementSound creationPrimary system
Dolby Digital PlusHighHorizontal2DSpeaker based
Dolby AtmosHighHorizontal and Vertical3DObject-based
DTSHighHorizontal2DSpeaker based
StereoComparatively lowHorizontalN/ASpeaker based

Dolby Digital Plus vs Dolby Atmos vs Stereo: Which one is better?

Dolby Digital Plus vs Atmos vs Dolby Stereo

Firstly, what is your sole reason to invest in sound technology? Certainly, an enriched and high-quality audio effect. If a particular device does not satiate your sound requirements, what is the point of investing in one?

Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, DTS, Stereo; all of these sound technologies deliver excellent sound for you to have cinematic feels at home. However, there is a sharp difference in the mechanism of each one of them.

In the case of DTS and Stereo, there is no setup of ceiling speakers. This means you will not feel anything above or behind you. On the contrary, Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Atmos are capable of providing a room-filling experience. These technologies can beautifully create 2D and 3D sound effects and help you experience a more dramatic and realistic audio feel.


Final words

Get your hands on a sound system with Dolby Atmos or Dolby Digital Plus technology. The sound output from each one of them is high-defined, subtle and alluring.

You can conveniently stream online services like Netflix, Amazon, Youtube and more. Not just that, anything you watch, you are sure to feel like it’s happening right in front of you! Drama movies, action scenes, cricket stadium feels or listening to rock music at a high pitch; you are sure to have the best time watching either of them.

Well, if you are inquisitive to know which is a better option of the two, grab the best soundbar with the Dolby Atmos technology. It is object-based, has a vertical and horizontal speaker placement and provides 3D surround sound effects.

PS: Dolby Digital Plus vs Dolby Atmos vs Stereo; I hope there is no scope of confusion anymore!

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