January 15, 2020

Dolby Music at NAMM 2020

by David Gould

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It’s been an exciting few months here at Dolby, especially for those of us working to change how people create and experience music. Having just got back from CES (where we wowed the consumer electronics world with music in Dolby Atmos) we are now gearing up for a big week at NAMM, where we are exhibiting for the very first time.

I’m sure by now that many of you have seen the announcements and news from Amazon, TIDAL, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group, about their commitment to Dolby Atmos. Testimonials from artists including Lizzo, Post Malone, J Balvin and Coldplay also show that they’re embracing how Dolby Atmos can help them bring their fans closer to their music. With TIDAL and Amazon Music now streaming Dolby Atmos, music in Dolby is now accessible to millions of consumers all around the globe. And now, here we are, about to bring Dolby Atmos Music to the largest gathering of the professional music industry in the world, as they make their yearly pilgrimage to Anaheim.

We can talk and write about Dolby Atmos Music all day long, but it truly is something that you have to experience, to really understand how much of an emotional reaction it can evoke, so we are excited to have the opportunity for as many people as possible to come and visit us and hear it. This year at NAMM we are hosting a Dolby Lounge, where we will be giving everyone the opportunity to experience music in Dolby Atmos. Come by for your chance to experience it on a mobile phone with headphones, on the amazing Echo Studio smart speaker, and on a full living room setup, with mixes from many of the world’s leading artists. You have to hear it for yourself.

Dolby Music Production Software at NAMM 2020

All this momentum, however, is meaningless if the people making music can’t easily create in Dolby Atmos with the products and workflows they are used to. With that in mind, Dolby created the Dolby Atmos Production Suite and Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite, that can be easily integrated into existing workflows to make mixing in Dolby Atmos simple and integrated.


This week, we’re excited to also be officially launching the Dolby Atmos Music Panner plug-in. This is the first plug-in we’ve designed specifically for music workflows, and it’s also the first time we’ve had plug-ins that can work in music focused DAWs such as Logic Pro and Ableton Live. The Music Panner opens up amazing new creative workflows, including the ability to dynamically tempo sync position and movements of objects within the Dolby Atmos space, meaning a much easier way to create rhythmic spatial effects, without the time-consuming process of manually writing automation.

Dolby Atmos Music Panner at NAMM 2020

The Dolby Atmos Music Panner is a free download here and works in conjunction with the Dolby Atmos Renderer that is part of either the Dolby Atmos Production Suite or Mastering Suite. The Dolby Atmos Renderer is a software application that runs alongside your DAW that you feed the object audio and metadata to, and it renders in real time to whatever playback environment you are in. You can feed studio monitors or use the binaural output to mix and monitor on headphones. In addition to the Music Panner, we’ve also updated the renderer to make it simpler and more streamlined for music-based workflows. 


While much of this has gone live in just the past six months, the journey to get here stretches all the way back to the early days of Dolby Atmos in the cinema. Only a handful of movies had been mixed when a few wonderfully creative music mixers were knocking on our door, asking to try out this new technology. Those experiences were just the start of working with creative community across the music industry to understand how we could take the foundation we had built with Dolby Atmos for film and television, and adapt it to music as well. We have worked closely with that community to enable the Dolby Atmos Music creation ecosystem. Many of the world’s leading recording and mix studios, including Capitol, Abbey Road and Blackbird, have installed Dolby Atmos, are mixing new tracks in the format every day, and many more are following.


A few years later and here we are with thousands of songs mixed in Dolby Atmos (not to mention thousands of movies and TV shows), a mature set of products and workflows for the creative community, and hundreds of millions of consumer devices that support Dolby Atmos in market around the world. 


And it’s not just Dolby who is in this, we have a community of partners who are also developing spectacular new products to make it easy to mix in Atmos — whether it is Avid and their streamlined native Dolby Atmos panning workflows, plug-in manufacturers such as Nugen and iZotope, or speaker manufacturers, including ATC, Genelec, JBL, PMC and Focal, all of whom are making amazing new speakers specifically designed for Dolby Atmos. Many of our partners are showing Dolby Atmos at NAMM, so make sure you check them out too.  On the Avid booth there will be daily demonstrations of mixing in Dolby Atmos on the main stage with chances to win a free copy of the Dolby Atmos Production Suite, as well as multiple demo stations showing off the latest immersive audio mixing developments.


In addition to Dolby Atmos, the Dolby Lounge will feature demonstrations of the Dolby On mobile recording app, that turns your phone into a powerful recording tool. With Dolby On, wherever you are you can capture a performance and apply incredible Dolby processing to make it sound amazing every time.


You can also learn more about all of these Dolby products at the Dolby Airstream which is going to be at the Grand Plaza throughout the show — pop in to get the lowdown on Dolby Atmos production tools, Dolby Atmos Music on an Echo Studio and record a performance with Dolby On.


We’re still at the beginning of this journey, but we’re excited to see where the amazing creative community take us and what we can achieve together. We look forward to seeing you at NAMM — come and say hi, get a coffee and lose yourself in the amazing world of Dolby Atmos Music. You can find us in the North Hall at Booth #15000.


And click here if you want to learn more about Dolby Atmos Music.