Invisible loudspeakers a great solution for Dolby Atmos home cinema suggests Amina

posted on Wednesday, 25th March 2015 by David Slater

Amina  Dolby Atmos 


In-wall Invisible loudspeakers are an ideal solution for immersive audio technologies such as Dolby Atmos. That’s the view of Babs Moore, director of Amina Technologies. “Both Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D uses additional height layers of speaker channels. In high quality installations both systems require additional discrete speakers compared to the current standard 5.1, 7.1, surround sound formats,” she says.

There's little doubt that these new formats, along with upcoming DTS:X, present unique challenges for installers. Atmos requires additional speakers to be positioned above the audience in the ceiling, while Auro-3D calls for a ‘height layer’ of speakers to be placed high on the walls with the option for a single ‘top layer’ speaker in the ceiling. “Whichever format AV professionals specify for their clients (high-end home cinemas will often cater for both), the audio system design will probably require speakers to be placed in the ceiling."

There are two key issues facing installers: How to achieve a clean, flat ceiling finish in home cinemas that don’t feature a dropped fabric ceiling? And how to ensure the whole audience receives consistent sound pressure and sound quality from ceiling speakers which are typically much closer to the listening position?

The key, suggests Amina, is DMLs (distributed mode loudspeakers). “By using flat, lightweight, rigid vibrating panel technology, speakers can be flush mounted and plastered directly onto with standard 2mm thick trade finishes. This solves the aesthetic issue.”  Against conventional perceived wisdom, the resulting sound quality is not muffled either, Moore stresses.

AIW450i V2 (1)

Of course, care needs to be taken during the installation. When specifying in-ceiling speakers, the dispersion angle of the speaker needs to be known in order to calculate the correct spacing between speakers. “Simple geometry says that the lower the ceiling, the closer the speakers need to be to achieve the desired goal. Alternatively the speakers may need to be changed to ones that have a wider dispersion angle,” says the Amina director.

In a home cinema the quantity of speakers is normally dictated by the number of channels required. “Even if a large room system is specified with four in-ceiling Atmos speakers, there is likely to be a situation where certain speakers are at quite an acute angle in relation to listening positions on the other side of the room,” explains Moore. “Therefore the only solution to achieve consistent tonal quality for all listeners is to use speakers with wide dispersion, such as 180 degrees. “This is one of the many useful characteristics of Amina’s speakers,” says Moore. “This is achieved because unlike a conventional speaker, which behaves like a piston where dispersion is directly related to the size of the radiating area (larger cones have narrower dispersion), a DML uses bending waves which inherently radiate all frequencies over 180 degrees. It’s the same principle that endows many musical instruments, such as the acoustic guitar, violin or piano, with such excellent room-filling, audience pleasing properties.”

For more on Amina’s Invisible loudspeaker product portfolio, jump to our partner page here.

Also read:
Don’t forget that acoustic fire hood says Amina
Amina intros new i-series invisible loudspeakers
Amina AIW750E evolution speaker review

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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Posted by Tim Mather on 8th April 2015, 9:25 AM
This looks brilliant.

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