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Spatial Encoding Information


newbie to Atmos here!

I have a doubt regarding Spatial Encoding Information when using the Dolby Atmos Production Suite:

It says on the manual that this info is not included in the master file set, requiring a licensed Dolby Atmos encoder (such as the  Dolby Media Encoder) to do so.

So it means that if we want to produce Atmos master files for Netflix delivery, of both localisation or original content, the Dolby Atmos Production Suite running on the same MAC as Protools is not enough for the task?

Can somebody elaborate more on what Spatial Encoding Information is, relevant to the audio files, that the metadata file doesn´t cover?

Many thanks

Hi Paolo,

Spatial Coding is a process that takes place during encoding not during mixing or mastering Atmos master files.  

It is a process/algorithm that dynamically groups nearby audio from beds and objects based on position and size into “elements”.    These elements have their own positional metadata. 12 to 16 elements are created prior to encoding to Dolby Digital Plus with Atmos Content for delivery to the home.   Again this all happens during the encode and is downstream from the delivery of Atmos Master files.

However, the Renderer used with both the Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite and the Dolby Atmos Production Suite have Spatial Coding emulation so you can hear what the end result will sound like when Spatial Coding is actually applied during the encode.    

For delivery of master files you should monitor with Spatial Coding emulation on and set to 16 elements as you do the final mix.   

There is no Spatial Coding metadata in the Dolby Atmos Master Files themselves other than an indication of how many elements were monitored during the emulation.

The Renderer used with either the Dolby Atmos Production Suite on the Mac running Pro Tools or the Renderer used with the Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite running on a separate Rendering and Mastering workstation will generate the same type of Dolby Atmos Master Files (.atmos).   These can subsequently be exported as ADM BWF (.wav) as needed.

The difference is that the Renderer running as the Production Suite on a Mac running Pro Tools is not designed for mastering complex content as Pro Tools and the Renderer both run on the same CPU.   There is also no delay compensation for plug-ins.    The Production Suite is primarily designed for sound design, editing, mastering low complexity content and QC.   

If you are using the Production Suite for mastering you should use a powerful MacPro and use separate drives for audio playback from Pro Tools and for recording master files.    Minimize the complexity of your session by bouncing to disk tracks with plug-ins offline where possible and manually manage the latency.    QC the results very carefully.

There is a reason the Mastering Suite is available to run on a separate Rendering and Mastering workstation.

I hope this helps.



Hi Adam,

thanks a lot for your detailed explanation.

From what I understand and despite the diferences between the Mastering Suite running on a separate machine and the Production Suite running on the same machine as Protools, we are able to master Dolby Atmos files for Netflix delivery, as I assume that the encoding for Dolby Digital Plus will be handled by Netflix themselves, since they only require Dolby Atmos ADM BWF files in their specs. I´m I right? Thanks

Hi Paolo,

Yes.   Netflix handles all their own encoding so you only need to be aware of monitoring your mix with spatial coding emulation turned on.


Hi Adam, thanks for the confirmation. Not to mess the topic of this thread, I´ll open another one regarding the HT RMU, if you don´t mind. Thanks

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