Best answer: Sorry to say, but the Sonos Beam does not support Dolby Atmos. If you’re looking for Atmos support, you’ll want to try the Pioneer Surround Elite FS-EB70.
- Amazon: Sonos Beam ($399)
- Amazon: Pioneer Surround Elite FS-EB70 ($400)
The Pioneer Surround Elite offers Dolby Atmos support for the same price as the Sonos Beam
If you need Dolby Atmos support, but don’t want to pay more than you would for the Sonos Beam, then the Pioneer Surround Elite FS-EB70 is a great option. Dolby Atmos soundbars don’t get much less expensive than this, and if you’re trying to build a system on a more modest budget, you’ll get an Atmos experience, even if it’s limited to 3.1.2 channels.
In addition to the soundbar itself, the Pioneer also comes with a subwoofer, as well as a receiver, which you can use to plug in various 4K playback devices like an Apple TV 4K or Blu-ray player.
What’s so great about Dolby Atmos, anyway?
Atmos is a surround sound format developed by Dolby. Originally built for use in theaters, Atmos has since also been adapted for use in homes. The goal is to provide a detailed and immersive audio experience. Most systems utilize multiple components, including soundbars.
Whereas in traditional surround sound environments, sounds are held to specific channels, Dolby Atmos utilizes a concept called audio objects. Atmos allows sound designers to create these objects, specifying where a particular sound originates from, and to where it will move as the film plays. An Atmos system will recognize the objects and play them in a virtual 3D environment. These allow the sounds you hear from being set to a single channel.
Many Dolby Atmos-compatible soundbars achieve their effects through upward-firing speakers, whose sound bounces off your home’s ceiling and down towards you. The other speakers in your system will fill out the rest of the audio environment. Just like standard surround sound, Atmos still utilizes channels, with audio objects placed on top of sounds that don’t need the specificity that Atmos allows for.
The Sonos Beam is still great
If you don’t want or need Dolby Atmos support, and really just want better audio from your TV, the Sonos Beam is still a great option. Not only will it provide great audio, it also features support for Amazon’s Alexa assistant, letting you utilize Alexa skills (such as music playback) directly without any additional hardware.
The Sonos Beam also features support for AirPlay 2. This lets you connect the Beam to multiple other AirPlay 2 speakers around your home and play the same audio wherever you go in your house.
If you need Atmos
Pioneer Surround Elite FS-EB70
$400 at Amazon
If you need Dolby Atmos support, Pioneer’s Surround Elite offers that for around the same price as the Sonos Beam.
If you don’t
$399 at Amazon
Still great, even without Dolby Atmos.
If you don’t need Atmos, the Sonos Beam has great sound, along with useful features like built-in Alexa and support for Apple’s AirPlay 2.
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