Auro 3D Explained
Auro 3D Audio is a consumer version of the Barco Auro 11.1 channel surround sound playback system used in some cinemas.
Auro 3D’s competitors are Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the difference being that it is a channel based rather than an object based format. Which means that during the mixing process, sounds are assigned to specific channels instead of a specific point in space.
Another difference is that Auro 3D Audio Codec can be embedded in a standard uncompressed 5.1 PCM soundtrack and placed on a Blu-ray Disc or Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, i.e, Auro 3D Audio is backward compatible, which would mean that if your AV preamp processor or receiver isn’t Auro 3D enabled, you still have access to a standard 5.1 or 7.1 channel uncompressed audio signal.
Pros of Auro 3D Audio:
- Backward compatible with 5.1 and 7.1 channel audio.
- Accommodates 10.1,11.1 and 13.1 channel configurations.
- Can map DTS:X to an Auro 3D Audio speaker setup.
- Upmixer can adapt 2, 5.1 or 7.1 channel audio to an Auro 3D Audio speaker layout.
Cons of Auro 3D Audio:
- Requires a lot of speakers for fully immersive sound.
- Auro D audio and Dolby Atmos speaker mapping aren’t compatible.
- Content isn’t as readily available as compared to Dolby and DTS formats.
- Expensive to implement.
Auro 3D Audio speaker layout options:
For listening, Auro 3D starts with a traditional 5.1 channel speaker layer and subwoofer. Surrounding the listening room (above the listening position) is another set of front and surround speakers,i.e, a two layer speaker layout.
Level 1: 5.1 channels- front left, center, front right, left surround, right surround and subwoofer.
Level 2: Height layer- front left, front right, left surround, right surround. This results in a 9.1 channel speaker setup.
Level 3: Top layer- If you go for the full 10.1 channel setup, place one ceiling-mounted speaker directly above the listening position. This is referred to as the VOG (Voice of God) channel.
Auro 3D Audio Content:
To benefit completely from Auro 3D, you need movie or music content that is properly encoded. This includes select movies on Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, as well as select audio-only content on Pure Audio Blu-ray Disc.
In addition, Auro Technologies provides an additional upmixer ( Auro-Matic) that takes advantage of the Auro 3D speaker layout for non-Auro 3D Audio encoded content. Auro-Matic expands the surround sound experience of traditional 2/ 5.1/7.1 channel content. It brings out sonic detail and opens up mono source material without exaggerating the intent of the original recording.
Brands that offer Auro 3D audio for select AV processors and home theater receivers include Denon, Marantz, Storm Audio and DataSat.