Humans have evolved to perceive sounds coming from all around them in space, and how our ears and
brains work together to determine the position of a sound is a product of this evolution. Our experiences
and expectations also influence how we make sense of our sonic surroundings. With an understanding of
some key aspects of how we localize sounds, you can more fully take advantage of the immersive creative
possibilities afforded by Dolby Atmos.
Following are things you may want to consider when mixing in Dolby Atmos:
• We perceive sounds that are higher in frequency as more likely to originate from above us than below.
• It also follows that sounds with more low-frequency content are more likely to be perceived as
originating from lower positions.
• Lower-frequency sounds are also less directional than those with higher-frequency content. For instance,
panning a bass sound around a room may not produce dramatic spatial effects, whereas a percussive
sound with a broader frequency spectrum that includes some high-frequency information, such as a
wood block, is likely to produce a more dramatic effect.
• We are more likely to be able to perceive changes in the height of a sound if it has pronounced 4 to 8 kHz
• As listeners and mixers, we have been trained by stereo for more than 50 years that the soundfield exists
in front of us. With Dolby Atmos, you can now consider not only the left-to-right balance as in stereo, but
also the front-to-back balance. Placing sounds behind the listener to complement or contrast what is
happening in front of them can highlight the 3D soundfield made possible by Dolby Atmos.
• As with the front-to-back balance, try experimenting with layering sounds from top to bottom.
• Intermittent sounds can provide important spatial cues (for instance, a lead vocal positioned in front of
the listener with responding backing vocals placed behind the listener).
• Sounds that are positioned off center from the listener's head provide more spatial information. Try
positioning objects to the left or right of the listener's head and then moving them from front to back,
higher and lower.