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In game Dolby Atmos vs Driver's version


holobyte
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Hey,

 

I play Overwatch a lot but only today I tried disabling Dolby Atmos in CUE and enabling the game's built in implementation of Atmos and they sound quite different.

CUE's version seems to sound better in my ears but for the first time I was able to kinda distiguish if the sounds are coming from above or below my character by using the in game driver.

 

Can someone explain why they sound so different? Which one should be more precise and why? :confused:

Edited by holobyte
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Hey,

 

I play Overwatch a lot but only today I tried disabling Dolby Atmos in CUE and enabling the game's built in implementation of Atmos and they sound quite different.

CUE's version seems to sound better in my ears but for the first time I was able to kinda distiguish if the sounds are coming from above or below my character by using the in game driver.

 

Can someone explain why they sound so different? Which one should be more precise and why? :confused:

 

Dolby Atmos technology is different than surround sound, in that the encoding on the soundtrack allows for dynamic placement of various sound sources. The physical speaker placement in the theater is then calibrated with the playback equipment to ensure that the proper speaker and volume is used for a particular sound source.

 

As you have noticed, however, your Corsair headset is a bit different than the speakers set up at a Dolby Atmos theater, in that you have only two speakers. This is okay, as you only have two ears! The way that humans can tell the directionality of sound based on this is that there is a slight phase difference in sound received from one ear to when the same sound reaches the other ear, for example. This helps one determine at what angular direction from a straight front/back axis from which a sound is arriving. In order to detect altitude, the shape of the human's external pinnae (ears) as well as some bone conduction and interference/resonance with the various densities of the head causes the soundwaves to take on a different character by the time they hit your eardrums.

 

So for a two-speaker reproduction of the three-dimensional encoding of sound in Dolby Atmos, the decoder doesn't so much have to be told about speaker placement, but instead relies on modelling the Head-Related Impulse Response (HRIR). [The fourier transform of this is better known as the Head-Related Transfer Function (HRTF).]

 

As you have observed, different people have different ear shapes and head sizes, and this influences their own HRTF.

 

The difference you hear between using Corair's Atmos decoding and the in-game Atmos decoding is caused by Corsair and the game engineer having settled on using two distinct HRTF functions--the Dolby Atmos sound encoding protocol is the same in both cases, so both Corsair and the game audio software engineer have the information about the 3d location of the sound source and its volume and pitch--its just that there is no uniformly used HRTF to indicate how to play back this sound using only two speakers.

 

Perhaps someday Corsair will allow us to modify the HRTF in use, to better fit our own ear shape and head size, but most people lack both the mathematical understanding andd the ability to physically measure their own HRIR, so it is a bit problematic to come up with a good way that a novice user can adequately use this type of control without risking overwhelming Corsair support with questions.

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