Are Dolby Atmos Soundbars and Speakers Worth it?

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Dolby Atmos Soundbars and speakers are definitely worth it if you’re someone who wants an immersive music experience. I say this because Dolby Atmos cannot only give you surround sound but also a vertical sound that gives you a similar experience as a movie theatre or a music show. 

Are Dolby Atmos Soundbars and Speakers Worth it

But are the Dolby Atmos Soundbars and Speakers worth the big bucks? Well, that’s what we’ll be breaking down in this article. From differentiating other speakers from the Dolby Atmos speakers to discussing their best and worst, we have much to offer you in this article. 

And I’m pretty sure that after reading this piece, it will be a cakewalk for you to decide on your next speakers. So, let’s get right into it.

Are Dolby Atmos Soundbars and Speakers Worth it?

Yes, Dolby Atmos Soundbars and speakers are completely worth it if you want to experience an immersive sound that comes not just from front, left, right, and rear but also from above. It makes you feel like you’re literally in the midst of the action. However, if you opt for other sound systems, this will probably not be the case as it only gives a surround sound experience and not a vertical one like the Dolby Atmos.

But, apart from this factor, there are many other factors that differentiate dolby atmos technology from the traditional sound system. This is why it is very crucial for you to understand it if you want to find out which sound system will be ideal for you. So, let’s talk more about the various sound system available in the market.

Understanding the Different Types of Sound Systems

To understand the value of Dolby Atmos, it’s vital that you realize the concept of other sound systems as well. So, let’s talk about them in detail in this section. 

The 2.1 Sound System

The first one on the list is the iconic 2.1 Sound System. Although this sound system seems outdated now, it still has a very simple yet efficient setup. This system consists of two stereo speakers and a single subwoofer. 

In a nutshell, the ‘2’ represents the two speakers that deliver a surround sound from both left and right. This setup is very effective as it very impressively separates the sound, letting you realize the source of the audio, like the musical instruments playing in a song. 

This is followed by ‘.1’, which simply denotes the subwoofer. It is responsible for generating low-frequency sounds which are also called bass. This concept gives additional richness and depth to your audio output’s overall performance and even makes it more vibrant and dimensional. 

The 5.1 Sound System

Next up, we have the 5.1 sound system, which is basically a better and stronger version of the 2.1 sound system. I say this because we get five speakers and one subwoofer in this setup. 

But what makes it a surround sound system is the actual placement of the speakers. Ideally, there are three speakers placed in the front, i.e., left, center, and right. The remaining two are meant for the surround sound experience as they are kept at the back or the side of the audience. And again, the ‘.1’ refers to the subwoofer in the setup. Overall, this sound system delivers a very immersive audio experience and feels like the sound is coming from all around you.

Other Sound Systems

Apart from the 2.1 and 5.1 sound systems, there are more setups as well, like the 7.1, 9.1, and even 11.1 sound systems. Basically, these specs simply add more speakers to the setup and give an enhanced and layered music experience. Apart from that, as we increase the number of speakers in the sound system, you’ll notice more precision and detail in the audio output as it is superior to the former sound systems. However, these types of sound systems are more common in home theater systems and professional audio environments.

Dolby Atmos: A New Dimension

Finally, let’s talk about the hero of the block, Dolby Atmos Sound System. This technology literally brought a wave of revolution in the audio industry by adding that third dimension to the world of sound. Yes, I’m talking about height. So, basically, in a Dolby Atmos setup, you get overhead or upward-firing speakers on top of the regular surround speakers and subwoofers. This changes a lot of things in the entire audio system. 

Atmos is not like any other surround system. I say this because it treats sounds as individual ‘objects.’ This means that it can be moved within a three-dimensional space. Through this, you get to experience a very realistic and more immersive audio experience. 

Not sure how this setup sounds? Well, just imagine that you’re watching a movie where an airplane is flying. Now, being a three-dimensional sound system, you get to hear the sound not only from left or right but also overhead, as if it’s actually moving from one side to the other. Or think about a rainforest, where you can feel the raindrops falling around and above you. This is the power of Dolby Atmos and its immersive sound experience.

But, apart from this audio experience, is there anything else not common between all these different sound systems from the Dolby Atmos? Let’s find it out below.

Dolby Atmos Soundbar/ Speakers vs. Other Sound System

Dolby Atmos Soundbar/ Speakers

Here are some of the major differences between the Dolby Atmos sound system and other surround sound systems.

Quality of Sound Experience

This is a no-brainer. With a vertical audio experience and the latest technology, Dolby Atmos speakers/ soundbars are clearly better than other sound systems. This is because it has an unprecedented level of immersion that makes it stand out. On top of it, the additional height dimension lets you feel like you’re sitting in the center of the action, whether it’s an airplane whirring over your head or a thunderstorm coming by. Overall, this gives a very engaging listening experience to the listener. 

That said, the traditional surround sound systems like the 5.1 or 7.1 are not completely useless either. These types of sound systems are still capable of delivering sound emanating from different directions. Now, although they do lack the overhead audio component present in Dolby Atmos, their multi-channel specification can still make you groove and give you an impressive audio experience. 

Installation and Space Requirements

Generally, a complete Dolby Atmos system requires a more complex and higher degree of installation as compared to a nominal sound system. It even has overhead speakers or specialized upward-firing speakers, making it complex for people with cozy spaces. At times it even requires a structural modification in your room.

On the flip side, normal sound systems are quite simple, with speakers set up around the room at ear level. This is why these sound systems are less complex and quite easy to install.

Availability of Optimized Content

This is a place where Dolby Atmos falls behind traditional sound systems. Now, although Dolby Atmos content is continuously increasing and getting available across movies and music, it still doesn’t get equal to the volume of content getting optimized for the traditional sound systems. Well, this is very obvious as well, considering the long time that these traditional sound systems have been around. This explains the vast content available for 5.1 and 7.1 audio.

Cost Considerations

The Dolby Atmos systems are normally quite expensive than their counterparts. This is because there is a need for more speakers, an atmos-enabled receiver, and probably a professional installation service. 

On the contrary, traditional surround sound systems like the 5.1 are quite cheaper because of easy installation and low price points. Not just that, these traditional sound system also come in various budget that gives a free hand to the buyer to adjust accordingly.

Sound Quality and Precision

Dolby Atmos takes a huge lead against the traditional sound system when it comes to audio quality, as it has spatial coding and detailed sound objects. This gives superior realism and precision to its audio quality, which is quite hard to beat. Still, the traditional sound systems are also not that behind. A high-quality 5.1 or 7.1 system can also give a crisp and detailed sound that dramatically enhances your listening experience.

Things to Consider Before Buying Dolby Atmos Speakers/ Soundbars

Things to Consider Before Buying Dolby Atmos Speakers Soundbars

Here are some of the important factors that you must consider before buying a Dolby Atmos Speaker or Soundbar.

Room Acoustics

The primary thing to consider before going for a Dolby Atmos speaker is your room’s acoustics. I say this because Dolby uses overhead sound, which is done through ceiling-mounted speakers or sometimes up-firing speakers. This is why the size of your room, shape, height, and even the material present in your room can heavily impact your sound system’s performance. Overall, an atmos system would not be your ideal choice for rooms with a high lot of sound-absorbing materials and vaulted ceilings.

System Configuration

You would have to adjust the configurations that best suit your needs. Dolby Atmos has a wide range of setups like the serene 5.1.2 setup(five surround speakers, one subwoofer, and two overhead speakers) or the full-blown 7.1.4 setup(seven surround speakers, one subwoofer, and four overhead speakers). Not just that, you could even go for a ceiling speaker with a higher price tag, pick the up-firing speakers, or even the soundbars if you want a less invasive setup.


Cost plays a very important role in your buying journey, and Dolby Atmos speakers and soundbars are no different when it comes to a wide range of price points. These devices can range from an affordable price (like the standalone Atmos soundbar) to a very high range as well (a complete Atmos sound system with separate components). Also, don’t forget to add the additional costs, like the installation charges and the Atmos-enabled AV receivers.

Content Availability

Being a comparatively new technology in the world of sound, the availability of Atmos-optimized content is very crucial. Although there is a constant rise in the amount of Atmos-enabled content, it’s still less prevalent when compared with traditional surround sound systems. That’s why you should consider getting an Atmos-enabled soundbar or speaker only if you’re comfortable with the content available on the sound system.


Your soundbar/ speaker is just a box of plastic if your existing equipment is not compatible with it. This includes not only the content delivery system and AV receiver– that has to be Atmos-enabled– but even your source device, like a Blu-ray player or game console. For example, not every streaming service platforms support Atmos. That’s why you should consider the right way to access Atmos content.

Pros & Cons of Dolby Atmos Speakers/ Soundbars

If you’re someone who doesn’t want to get into the details and just want to know the best and worst of getting a Dolby Atmos speaker/ soundbar, then this section is for you. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of getting a Dolby Atmos-enabled sound system.


  • Immersive 3D sound experience
  • Very detailed audio
  • Easily scalable 
  • Supported widely


  • Comparatively expensive than traditional surround sound system
  • Requires a bigger space and a dedicated setup if going for a complete sound system
  • Limited Atmos-enabled content
  • Little scope for improvement in some content


1. Can you get Dolby Atmos just from a soundbar?

Yes, you can get Dolby Atmos just from a single soundbar. There are many manufacturers offering these products in the market. These soundbars come with a built-in upward-firing speaker that basically reflects the sound off the ceiling to create a sound field. This is what makes the sound feel like it’s coming from over the head. However, the Atmos-enabled soundbar might not be enough to replicate the immersion of a complete Dolby Atmos setup that comes with separate speakers. It is still an affordable and space-efficient solution for people who want to experience Atmos technology.

2. Is there anything better than Dolby Atmos?

In general, Dolby Atmos is regarded as the gold standard for immersive home audio technology. That said, different audio formats like the Auro-3D and DTS:X also provide good quality and object-based sound like Atmos. It is also important to remember that “better” can be quite subjective, depending on the individual’s preferences, audio setup, room acoustics, and the content available. So, you must always consider these factors while concluding what’s the “best” sound system for you.

3. Are Atmos speakers better on the ceiling or the wall?

The placement of Atmos speakers largely depends on the specific type of speakers you’re using and the layout of your room. If you’re using upward-firing, Atmos-enabled speakers or soundbars, these are generally placed at ear level, such as on TV stands or wall-mounted at the same height. They are designed to bounce sound off the ceiling to create an overhead audio effect.
On the other hand, if you’re installing dedicated overhead speakers for a more authentic Atmos experience, these are mounted in the ceiling. This configuration allows sound to be directly emitted from above, increasing the immersive quality of the audio.
So, whether Atmos speakers are “better” on the ceiling or the wall is context-dependent. Ceiling-mounted speakers may offer superior immersion but require a more complex installation. Conversely, Atmos-enabled speakers or soundbars offer a more straightforward setup but may not achieve the same level of overhead audio realism.

My Verdict

Overall, a Dolby Atmos speaker/ soundbar can incredibly enhance your audio experience, thanks to its three-dimensional output. That said, you should still consider the factors mentioned above if you wish to make the best out of your sound. 

There are various brands, including Sony, JBL, Bose, etc., that have a wide range of Dolby Atmos speakers and soundbars available in the market, which makes it easier for you to find the ideal sound system that suits your needs and budget.

On top of this, you can also check out the complete sound system that is Dolby Atmos-enabled, as it is comparatively better than the soundbars and speakers because of obvious reasons.

I hope I was able to clear all the doubts regarding Dolby Atmos and its various components. If you liked this article, do share it with your friends and family who are looking to upgrade their music system.