Have you been researching audio technology lately and are wondering what the best tech for your next project is? You are not alone! There are so many changes happening with next-generation audio technology, and we are here to tell you everything you need to know so you can feel confident in what is best for your space.

Surround sound systems have many different capabilities, standards, and formats. The most common home audio technologies on the market are Dolby Digital, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X. You may have heard of one or all of these audio platforms, but something to know is that they are all very different. These surround sound and multi-room technologies have made many improvements over the years and are becoming more accessible and work seamlessly between the many tech devices that we use regularly. Let’s dig into each one and discuss their differences.

Dolby Digital

First used by movie theaters in 1992, Dolby Digital delivers sound with up to six locations or channels: right, center, left, right surround, left surround plus, and one channel (20 Hz – 120 Hz allotted audio) for the sub-woofer. Dolby Digital is the standard for basic surround sound in home theaters because it is used for many different applications from TV, streaming, Blu-rays, and gaming.

Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos is very similar to Dolby Digital in that it started in cinemas and later became audio technology for home cinema through speakers and soundbars. Atmos delivers a cinematic sound experience through the positioning of speakers, which allows you to hear sound in a 360-degree bubble. The up-or-down-firing speakers create a sound by letting the sound move around the room and sending bouncing audio beams off the ceiling. Installing ceiling speakers is recommended for Atmos to get the full cinematic effect. Since Dolby Atmos is an audio format, compatible content is needed along with a Dolby Atmos player and speakers to get the true Atmos experience. Since Dolby Atmos is an audio format, compatible content and a Dolby Atmos player and speakers are needed to get the true Atmos experience.


DTS:X is a surround sound technology that is commonly used in sound systems for music, movies, and TV shows. It is very similar to Dolby Atmos. Both Atmos and DTS:X are object-based surround sound technologies, but DTS:X lets you manually adjust sound objects and place sound in more specific places around the room. This means that you can turn up the volume of voices and turn down background noises, so the dialogue is easier to hear. Unlike Dolby Digital and Atmos, DTS:X does not have any speaker configuration requirements, and it can support up to 32 locations or speakers.

Overall, each system or platform is worth considering depending on your space and brand preferences. While looking, you will find that Dolby Atmos is more commonly found in audio products than DTS:X even though the home audio market supports more DTS:X products. We carry an assortment of Denon and Marantz receivers and speakers, which allow our clients to use all of the best technologies. These receivers come with a range of features such as 3D Audio, HEOS Built-in, and Voice Control and are compatible with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

The good news is that you don’t have to feel limited with just one type of audio system.

There are plenty of AV surround sound systems that support multiple technologies. If you have the content, any of these systems will produce high-quality audio for you. Of course, if you are still wondering what system would work best for you, we are here to help. Just call us at 704-287-3334 or find us at Audio Video Charlotte to schedule an appointment. One of our technicians will be happy to walk your space and design a system that is best for your space and your vision.