Dolby Atmos VS DTS:X | Let’s Differentiate both Technologies

With the increasing trend of home theaters, the importance of audio formats has increased massively. These audio formats determine how immersively you will enjoy your movies and games.

Dolby Atmos and DTS: X are two big names in the world of surround sound audio formats that have revolutionized home theater systems, providing you with a truly realistic and immersive experience.

Unlike channel-based audio formats, these surround sound technologies use object-based surround sound to create a more realistic, immersive, and lifelike sound experience. 

In this blog post, we’ll compare Dolby Atmos vs Dolby DTS:X in detail and discuss their features, performance, pros, and cons to help you make the right choice for your specific situation. Let’s get straight into it.

Dolby Atmos vs DTS:X Comparison Table

FeatureDolby AtmosDTS:X
Development CompanyDolby LaboratoriesDTS (Digital Theater Systems)
Height channelsRequiredOptional
Audio TechnologyObject-based audio with height cuesObject-based audio with height cues
Number of speakersRequires 8 speakers for 5.1.2 surround sound, up to 64 speakers for 3D audioRequires 6 speakers for 5.1 surround sound, up to 32 speakers for 3D audio
Speaker ConfigurationTypically requires dedicated overhead or up-firing speakersOffers greater flexibility in speaker setup
Bit rate768 kbps1.5Mbps
Audio QualityExcellent, known for superb audio quality and precise sound placementExcellent, rivals Dolby Atmos in many aspects
Content AvailabilityAvailable in both physical media (Blu-rays) and streaming servicesSupported by Blu-ray discs and streaming services but with fewer titles
CompatibilitySupported by a wide range of AV receivers, soundbars, and home theater systemsCompatible with many AV receivers and systems but may not be as readily available
AdaptabilityPrimarily suited for dedicated home theater setups with overhead speakersOffers adaptability to different room layouts and speaker configurations
Equipment AvailabilityWidely available from major manufacturersAvailable from various manufacturers but may have less product selection
Licensing feeYesNo
Gaming performanceSome people prefer DTS:XSome people prefer Dolby Atmos

A Detailed Comparison of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X

Now that we have a quick and clear understanding of both 7.1 and Dolby Atmos surround sound, let’s compare them in detail.

What is Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is a surround-sound technology that uses height channels to create realistic and immersive soundscapes. It has revolutionized the way sound is delivered in commercial cinemas and home theaters.

Dolby Atmos was developed and introduced by Dolby Laboratories in 2012, and unlike traditional surround sound systems that use channel-based sound distribution, Dolby Atmos is an object-based technology.

It treats each sound as an individual audio object with its own location and motion in 3D space to create a more realistic sound experience. As a result, you’ll feel immersed in the movie or game as the sound comes from all directions.

Dolby Atmos was introduced to cover the flaws of Dolby Digital sound, and it is better than everything and anything offered by Dolby.

What is DTS:X?

DTS:X is a competitor to Dolby Atmos and was developed by Digital Theater Systems in 2015.

Like Dolby Atmos, it also works by placing sound objects in 3D space that can be moved around the space independently to create a more immersive audio experience. But the way DTS:X works is different.

It is also an object-based surround sound format that offers more flexibility in speaker positioning and can be used with any speaker configuration, including traditional 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems as well as systems with height channels.

DTS:X can even support more extensive systems, such as 11.2-channel systems and up to 32 speaker locations. It allows its users to customize their setup however they wish.

DTS:X uses an open-source Multi-Dimensional Audio (MDA) platform as its base, which means anyone can use it. In other words, like the Android system, any manufacturer can use it to make a system compatible with DTS:X without any permission.

DTS:X can be mapped out on any layout by sound engineers, and height speakers are not mandatory to take advantage of DTS:X.

Dolby Atmos speaker layouts

Speaker layouts are commonly denoted as X, Y, and Z. X is the number of traditional surround sound speakers; y denotes the number of subwoofers; and z is the number of overhead or height speakers.

For example, the most common speaker configuration is the 5.1.2 system, which has five front speakers, 1 subwoofer, and 2 height/overhead speakers. Other speaker configurations include 7.1.2, 9.1.2, and 11.1.2 systems. Moreover, larger setups such as 7.1.4 and 9.1.4 are also not uncommon.

DTS:X speaker layouts

DTS:X surround systems support a variety of speaker layouts, offering flexibility to adapt to different home theater configurations. Whether you already have a traditional 5.1 or 7.1-channel system or a more complex setup with overhead or up-firing speakers, DTS:X can accommodate your configuration. So, you can enjoy the benefits of object-based audio technology regardless of your existing speaker layout.

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content

Dolby Atmos content is widely available on both physical media such as Blu-rays and streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. Moreover, the latest games and popular internet music providers are making Dolby Atmos-compatible content. Many blockbuster movies are mixed in Dolby Atmos, offering viewers a chance to experience immersive audio at home.

DTS:X, on the other hand, is not as prevalent as Dolby Atmos, but it is still supported by many streaming services and Blu-ray discs.

Audio Quality

Dolby Atmos is known for its excellent audio quality, providing a captivating and immersive soundscape. Each sound is placed precisely due to object-based technology, which creates a truly immersive and realistic experience. It is often considered the gold standard for home theater audio.

DTS:X also delivers excellent sound quality, competing with Dolby Atmos in many aspects. Its flexibility in terms of speaker configurations means it can adapt to various room layouts, ensuring a satisfying audio experience.

Compatibility and Equipment

A wide range of AV receivers, soundbars, and home theater systems support Dolby Atmos. A lot of manufacturers create products that are compatible with Dolby Atmos, so you can easily find compatible equipment.

DTS:X is also compatible with many AV receivers and systems, but it is not as readily available as Dolby Atmos equipment. However, if you already have a setup, it may be a good choice due to its flexibility.

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundbars

If you feel that the speaker system required for Dolby Atmos or DTS:X is not too much for your room, don’t worry! A lot of soundbars support both of these surround sound formats. But obviously, the sound quality and level of immersion will not be up to the level of a dedicated surround-sound speaker system.

Many DTS:X and Dolby Atmos soundbars have less than five speakers, and some have built-in upward-firing speakers for height effects. Sound is processed inside these soundbars to provide you with modestly emulated surround sound.

Moreover, there are some other soundbars that have a minimum of seven speakers to deliver full Atmos sound. Mostly, all these speakers are present inside the soundbar itself, but some models come with a pair of wireless rear speakers for a more wraparound effect.

Bit rate

In simple words, bit rate is the speed at which a sound system processes and compresses the audio data. The higher the bit rate, the better it is. Unexpectedly, DTS:X has a higher bitrate than Dolby Atmos. It is one of the most controversial aspects of the surrounding technology debate. Some say the higher bit rate of DTS:X means better quality, while others say the lower bit rate of Dolby Atmos is better because it depicts that its high quality is more efficient.

Home Cinemas

The most common setup in home cinemas is a 5.1-channel system. Investing in either DTS:X or Dolby Atmos can add life to your existing setup if your goal is to get the highest-quality audio and visuals.

Most streaming services support Dolby Atmos, which makes it easy for consumers to watch movies with Dolby Atmos, provided that they have up-firing speakers. Media should also be Dolby Atmos-compatible.

On the other hand, most audio devices, including home theaters, also support DTS:X. You can make your older device DTS-compatible with a simple firmware update. However, it is supported by many streaming services and movies, and that number is increasing slowly. Additionally, you don’t need additional speakers or a re-arrangement of your speakers when you opt for DTS:X technology.


The DTS Sound Unbound application is used on Xbox products and Windows to unlock DTS:X and other DTS technologies in movies and games. It can be used with both speakers and headphones to turn them into a much more expensive surround sound system for no money at all.

Unlike DTS:X, which can be used on every device, Dolby Atmos requires permission and implementation from the manufacturer. Some games support Dolby, but the problem with Dolby is that it requires exclusive devices that support it, such as speakers, headphones, headsets, or even laptops.

What do I need to get Dolby Atmos and DTS:X?

To take advantage of either surround sound format, you’ll need a compatible receiver that can decode it. Fortunately, most home theater receivers that have seven or more channels can be used with these technologies.

On top of that, most of these receivers upscale non-DTS:X and non-Atmos-encoded content, giving you height effects from almost any content you may be watching.

When it comes to Dolby Atmos receivers, there are dedicated height channels that reproduce overhead effects. So, for Dolby Atmos, some height speakers are required along with a regular 5.1 or 7.1 speaker layout.

DTS:X vs Dolby Atmos: Which is better?

As mentioned above, the Dolby Atmos vs DTS:X debate has been really raging on for a long time. Both companies are close competitors, and Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are very similar. But I hope, after reading this comparison guide, you can easily spot the superior surround sound system.

While each has its specific advantages, Dolby Atmos finally comes out on top. Sure, DTS:X doesn’t necessarily require height channels, has a higher bit rate, and even its users can isolate certain sound objects like sound effects and voices. But Dolby Atmos is more widely supported in home theaters, and for a good reason, too.

It has far more efficient codecs; most of the top streaming services support it; and it provides a more immersive experience due to its increased number of speakers. At the end of the day, Dolby Atmos is the final winner by a remarkably slim margin.

Dolby Atmos vs DTSX Comparison Table

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is DTS:X the same as Atmos?

No, DTS:X and Dolby Atmos are not the same. Though both are object-based surround-sound audio formats, the way they work is different. Dolby Atmos requires height channels, while DTS:X does not necessarily require them. Moreover, Dolby Atmos is more widely available than DTS:X.

Is Dolby Atmos or DTS:X better for gaming?

This is a matter of opinion, and there is no clear result. Some people believe that Dolby Atmos is better for gaming because it can provide a more immersive 3D audio experience. While others believe that DTS:X provides a better gaming experience because it can create a more realistic sense of spatial awareness. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

Why is DTS better than Dolby?

There are a few reasons why some people believe that DTS is better than Dolby. First, DTS has higher bit rates than Dolby, resulting in a more accurate representation of the audio signal. Second, DTS is considered more efficient than Dolby, which means it can deliver the same audio quality with less bandwidth. Third, DTS is more flexible than Dolby, so it can be used with a wider range of devices and content providers.

Can Dolby Atmos play DTS:X?

No, Dolby Atmos can’t play DTS:X, as both are different audio formats and use different codecs. However, there are some devices that support both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, so you can play either format on these devices.

Is Dolby Atmos the best for gaming?

Dolby Atmos is an excellent choice for gaming, but it is not the only option. DTS:X is also a good choice and may be better for some people. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your personal needs and preferences.

Is DTS:X worth it for gaming?

Whether or not DTS:X is worth it for gaming depends on your personal needs and preferences. If you are a serious gamer who wants the best possible audio experience,then DTS:X may be worth the investment. However, if you’re not a serious gamer or more budget-conscious, then DTS:X may not be worth it for you.

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