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As you may well know, surround sound for home theater has been around for decades. In the 1990s, multichannel audio components with Dolby Surround started appearing. The surround sound then was very basic. In fact, these first components initially took stereo and synthesized it into surround sound! But things progressed quickly after that.

We don’t have room to cover all the history here, but surround sound has come a long, long way. No home theater should be without great surround audio; it is part and parcel of the movie experience. As a home theater company, we know there are many ways to get an excellent surround experience in your Calabasas, CA home cinema or media room. We’ll get into some of the basics below!

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Basic surround sound is a 5.1 speaker arrangement – left, center, right, surround left, surround right. The .1 is the subwoofer. This is the way surround sound started, and it has since expanded in several ways, with more surround speakers and subwoofers. Basic surround is available in any decent AV receiver and many soundbars, but that doesn’t guarantee high-fidelity sound or a true cinema-worthy audio experience.


You may already know this too, but it is Dolby Atmos and similar formats like DTS: X. Both companies have long been major players in film soundtracks, as these new, immersive formats are not synthesized; Hollywood sound engineers specifically author soundtracks to take advantage of them. Fun fact: DTS is based right here in Calabasas!

So how are these formats different? Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are the culmination of years of development in surround audio which has added much more “surround” to the sound with many more speakers. Atmos and DTS:X are known as object-based audio, allowing sound engineers to mix sounds not attached to the speaker channels themselves (i.e., left, right, back, etc.) but use many more points to create a 3-D-like sound field. With the right soundtrack and system, the result is like being in the middle of the scene, with sound naturally all around you, immersing you in the story and action.


Quite a few things, but it’s not difficult. You need audio components, like AV receivers or processors, that can process Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. You need the right speaker setup for your theater or media space. For these formats, height speakers installed in the ceiling are best to help deliver the 3D-like effects. More than one subwoofer might also help, depending on the size of your space, seating layout, and other factors. Perhaps more than anything else, you might want an expert home theater company to design and install the system. An expertly designed, installed, and tuned surround audio system can be jaw-dropping, and one that isn’t properly done might be underwhelming.

Want to know more about great surround sound? As one of the premier home theater companies in the Los Angeles area, Malibu Wired is your local expert. Contact us by giving us a call, filling out our online contact form, or chatting with an expert in the pop-up window below to schedule a no-obligation consultation. We look forward to working with you!