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Official Atmos Home Theater Thread UPDATED With First Impressions

Dolby Atmos

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#1 of 157 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted August 04 2014 - 09:16 PM

There have been a lot of questions about Dolby Atmos for the Home Theater since it was announced.  We have been in discussions with Dolby over the last few weeks and are pleased that we can finally share these whitepapers with you.   Additionally some HTF staff members will be getting a first hand listen next week to Atmos Home Theater and will be bringing you our honest opinions.  If you have any additional questions about Atmos or Atmos for Home Theater, please ask them in this thread and we will work to get you answers when we meet with Dolby next week.  If you happen to be headed to CEDIA and want to make sure you have a chance to listen for yourself, let us know that too. ;)

 

If you aren't sure what Atmos is and want a brief overview this quick video should help get you up to speed:

 

About Dolby Atmos from Dolby Laboratories on Vimeo

 

We previously covered the theatrical release of Atmos here.

 

Whitepapers:

 

Dolby Atmos for the Home Theater:

Attached File  Dolby-Atmos-for-the-Home-Theater.pdf   351.01KB   867 downloads

 

Dolby Atmos Enabled Speaker Technology:

Attached File  Dolby-Atmos-Enabled-Speaker-Technology.pdf   143.78KB   298 downloads

 

NEW! Dolby Atmos Home Theater Installation Guidelines:

Attached File  Dolby-Atmos-Home-Theater-Installation-Guidelines_9-9-14.pdf   964.48KB   136 downloads



#2 of 157 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted August 04 2014 - 09:16 PM

Notes and First Impressions

 

I along with some other people met with Dolby yesterday at their Burbank facility and got to demo Dolby Atmos for the Home Theater.  I'll make some brief notes/observations now and expand on them later this week after some other HTF members have a chance to hear it in NYC later this week.

 

As a refresher they showed us the following Atmos clips in the theater environment:

 

Amaze (Atmos trailer)

Unfold (Atmos trailer)

Star Trek Into Darkness (volcano clip) NOTE: Has not been announced for Atmos Blu-ray yet

Redbull Racing

Leaf (Atmos trailer)

 

They later showed us these same clips in a different facility using Atmos Home Theater equipment, switching between using both ceiling speakers AND Dolby Atmos Enabled Speakers. 

 

I was amazed in that I couldn't tell the difference between the direct firing ceiling speakers and the Dolby Atmos Enabled Speakers.  Prior to the demo I thought that the Atmos Enabled Speakers were probably designed more as a work around for people who didn't want to mount speakers on the ceiling, but after listening, its not the case--I could absolutely tell when Atmos was enabled (over a conventional 7.1 mix, but couldn't tell which type of ceiling speaker they were using even when they flipped back and fourth between the two types of ceiling speakers.

 

A few other notes:

The name for the Dolby Atmos upconversion mode on AVRs (used for enabling the height channels on non-Atmos mixes) will be Dolby Surround, not to be confused with Dolby Surround from the 70s and 80s :)

 

Assuming your Blu-ray player meets the basic format specs and can pass through TrueHD bitstream, it will work with Atmos Blu-rays.  Also Atmos enabled Blu-rays (when available) will playback fine as Dolbly TrueHD on AVRs without Atmos.

 

Except to see Atmos for two channel mobile devices sometime next year.  It works with any stereo headphones to increase special resolution and LFE info.  It will not require any HW updates, although it could be embedded in chipsets for future devices.  Existing apps/devices could use it through software updates, but it would be up to the manufacturer/app maker to update their device. 

 

Atmos enabled Blu-rays will be announced by their respective studios later this year.

 

In a nutshell Dolby Atmos for Home Theater sounds fantastic -- The best way to describe it is it really duplicates the theatrical experience at home.  If you are thinking about building a home theater now, plan on wiring for at least 4 height channels.  Dolby will be releasing a recommend installation/location guide around CEDIA in early September to assist with planning for the locations and types of speakers based on your room.



#3 of 157 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 04 2014 - 09:21 PM

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A few thoughts on my visit with Dolby Labs.

 

I had the opportunity to visit with them in their NYC location.

 

The fact that we did not have the opportunity to hear their Atmos 

demonstration in the same location as Adam did (above) yielded a

totally different experience for myself and the rest of the attendees

in our group.

 

I'll talk more about that in a moment.

 

We began our morning with Dolby by receiving an overview of Atmos

in the home.  Basically, the Atmos renderer automatically customizes

audio to the number of speakers and size of room.  No sound is put to 

waste in the home.  In other words, what you hear in the cinema is replicated

exactly in your home theater.

 

Dolby Atmos in the home supports up to 24 speakers on the ground and 

10 speakers overhead.

 

For those that do not wish to install speakers in their ceiling, Dolby is working

with individual speaker manufacturers to introduce Atmos enabled passive

filtering upward firing speakers that project sound towards the ceiling which is

then reflected downwards towards the listener.

 

Speaker manufacturers are also gearing up to introduce all-in-one front and

up-firing speakers in a single cabinet.

 

The rollout of Atmos in the home is meant for the masses.  This means that

there will be affordable options for every consumer budget including a home

theater a box that will include the necessary receiver and speakers.

 

150 Atmos Blu-ray titles are expected to be released starting this fall.

 

Our experience listening to the upward firing vs. ceiling speaker demonstration yielded

vastly different results for our group in NYC than it did for the audience in Burbank.

 

We were given the same demo, once with ceiling speakers turned on and then 

again with a substitution of the upward firing speakers (located in the back sides of

the room). For the third demo we were all told that we would have to guess which

option was being used.   Upon quizzing the 7 people in the room, it was unanimous

that we could tell that ceiling speakers were not being used in the demo.   None of us

were fooled.

 

For this reason, I am not convinced that the Dolby enabled upward firing modules can

effectively do the job that ceiling speakers could.  

 

Now, of course, the fact that the audience in Burbank had a different experience may

something to consider.  

 

Personally, I am very excited about Atmos in the home.  However, I was not impressed

enough with what I heard to want to go out and invest in upward firing Atmos technology.

Until I hear otherwise, I believe that anything other than the use of ceiling speakers is a

huge compromise.


 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#4 of 157 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted August 05 2014 - 05:04 AM

Can't wait to hear this for myself! I've been a huge proponent of Atmos in the theater and VERY frustrated with the slow rollout of new places on the east coast to catch Atmos films (I still have to drive 90 miles each way to go to one!) so anything that brings it to more places is aces in my book!

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#5 of 157 OFFLINE   JediFonger

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Posted August 05 2014 - 05:48 AM

fascinating... speakers bouncing off of ceiling vs. actual overhead speaker installs



#6 of 157 ONLINE   Patrick_S

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Posted August 05 2014 - 06:12 AM

I'm glad to see that this is coming to the home market. I've been a big fan since hearing it at Dolby a few years back and have held off buying any new equipment waiting for it's eventually migration into the home theater arena.

#7 of 157 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted August 05 2014 - 12:12 PM

fascinating... speakers bouncing off of ceiling vs. actual overhead speaker installs

Yep, I'm a skeptic Fonger! Will hear it at the Atmos event next week and report back, earlier attendees in Europe reported being quite impressed!

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#8 of 157 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted August 05 2014 - 01:02 PM

I expect that the reason for doing reflective speakers for home use is that cinemas are typically constructed to be as acoustically "dead" (no reflections and thus no reverberation of sound in the auditorium) as possible, while not all home theatres have that luxury. In practice, I suspect the effect will be similar acoustically to Bose 901s utilising direct/reflecting technology to increase audio "presence", creating (as described) a diffuse movement of sound across the field better controlled than what engineers can get with simply reversing phase to fill sonic dead spots in the listening area.


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#9 of 157 OFFLINE   andySu

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Posted August 05 2014 - 06:23 PM

Well its only an illusion. I like to walk about in large once EMPIRE 1, 1330, Dolby Atmos, playing STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (twice) and hearing the sound where they have designed it to be? Above on the ceiling with certain sound effects as to when they are active? As screen sound will mask or some sounds will mask after sounds its a fact.

 

These enable seems like if I was to walk around the room, my attention will be drawn down to the speaker firing the sound upwards. Cheaper ways of placing a smaller speaker on top, of another and aim at the ceiling if one doesn't want to buy new enable speakers that I'm sure will cost a bit. 

 

Haven't there been speakers designed like this, in 90's I'm sure I have seen some speakers with multiple drives fitted on the front, sides and on top.

 

Overhead surrounds isn't a new idea.

 

The local odoen when STAR WARS was playing around December 1977, had ceiling flush mounted speakers at least 6, and 4 on each side wall and 2 on the back wall, and that was playing Dolby Stereo matrix.Yeah, it was great with star destroyer, or PLATOON with helicopters flying around.

 

When working at UCI 10 screen all screens had EV, speakers for stage and (surrounds that was mounted to the suspended ceiling). Yes it sounded like, it was coming from above or kinder behind me depending on the sound frequency. I can recall all the Dolby A and SR films in all the screens, most of them I have.

 

I'd wait myself for a better make-over on Atmos that has below stereo surround channel to make me feel "immersive" also give better excitement to possible re-mixes in future like TOP GUN as when up in the air how much space do you have below you? My point exactly. A lot. So having side wall pan-though effects and I can picture re-mixing TOP GUN in my head.

 

Also the fronts three screen not enough now for advice listeners. They need at least 9 screen channels with extra middle two Le Re for possible 70mm re-mixes being done in the exact same way. No more excuses.

 

The side wall and back wall not enough channels.

 

Also I'm fed up with fast car chases with whoosh left whoosh right and whoosh around the room. You just don't see reality looking or sounding, like that. Scenes don't hold long enough to say that was fantastic Its ether 2sec this 2sec that.

.

Yes reading the book can be better than Atmos. Least your into the story and not been shown flash images at few frame chunks in less than second.

 

Still most of what we hear or how mixes mix it we'd still be facing forwards to the common centre channel for dialogue effects music. or how its been spread around to make it sound open and airy,



#10 of 157 OFFLINE   Dr Griffin

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Posted August 05 2014 - 06:28 PM

Thanks for the coverage. I've been waiting for the white papers. My plans are for an 11.1 system with on ceiling speakers. Looking forward to more details.



#11 of 157 OFFLINE   andySu

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Posted August 05 2014 - 07:01 PM

Posted Image

 

Not sure what they mean by floor? Does that mean below surround with certain sound effects, like being out in the open when its raining and hearing the rain drops landing on the ground and making a sound or TOP GUN, F-14 tomcat, passing below me as it moves off screen and circle around the seating while making me looking below, then whoosh, as it swoops upwards,

 

Well if I'm seeing this correct 7 across the front, 7 across the back wall 5 speared spaced across each side wall. 10 of spread spaced across the ceiling of left and right. That's no problem.

Posted Image

 

Even with an average cost on pair of matched all around speakers for small room bookshelf at cost of £200.00 would cost total of £3.400.00 not cheap if spending more on the cost of speakers.



#12 of 157 OFFLINE   Dr Griffin

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Posted August 06 2014 - 09:43 AM

My 12'X26'X8' room would look like a speaker showroom with the full ATMOS array! :) Not ruling it out though. ;)



#13 of 157 ONLINE   Patrick_S

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Posted August 06 2014 - 05:55 PM

I'm very interested in hearing the feedback on the speakers that bounce the sound off the ceiling. I have a conventional eight foot ceiling and could easily mount speaker in the ceiling but if the bouncers work great I might use them instead.

#14 of 157 OFFLINE   Dr Griffin

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Posted August 06 2014 - 06:51 PM

I thought it interesting that Dolby is OK-ing using both enabled and ceiling if needs be. I wouldn't have thought that previously. They are actually recommending to use the ATMOS enabled speakers if you have a standard (8 feet) or lower ceiling, which I also wasn't expecting. Much to consider.



#15 of 157 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted August 06 2014 - 08:50 PM

I may wait on Atmos this edition...and it has nothing to do with Atmos.It is the projector front. It appears there is going to be a 4k projector at $500 above my threshold in cost(my threshold is wholesale, not retail).If this price I see is accurate...the AVR upgrade will wait(for full 4k support...not half ass).

#16 of 157 OFFLINE   andySu

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Posted August 07 2014 - 06:01 AM

Ether way 34 speaker layout with outboard chosen of gear, on the cheap side will still come close to £10 grand unless ebay happens to sell best top line JBL speakers at £1.00 pound each.  :P and amps at £2.00 pound for 600watts EQ at £1.50p. Yeah sure it would be worth buying. 

 

Do-it-yourself, make your own speakers will still come in maybe a grand  or so less.

 

I think we should focus on the amps EQ cables speakers. The AVR or AVP whatever model is released that supports the Atnos 34 channel? 

 

MDF is cheap. I thought of idea a few nights ago. Make an 8 foot long surround speaker fitted to the side walls and two sides of the ceiling above. Gonna need thick screws or couch bolts screwed though jolts as I don't fancy wearing the surround speaker if it fell on me. :lol:

 

Angle the front of the enclosure and have holes cut out for multiple 8"  10" and some small tweeter horns. Fit about 8 spaced apart evenly. Damn, it would weigh a bit, Fit small passive crossover in for each speaker. Wire each up to the amp to drive the cluster surround. :lol:

 

If we all go nuts for hazel nuts over Atmos and maybe a few films as not all of the Atmos releases appeal to me, that includes Hobbit and few more, To spend out thousands over a bluray costing about £20.00 or less. This is going far beyond insane, God knows how much its cost some cinemas. Hundred thousands,  



#17 of 157 OFFLINE   Dr Griffin

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Posted August 07 2014 - 03:36 PM

Atmos has been around a couple years and I'd still have to drive 2 1/2 hours to hear it. The theater that has Atmos is not in the major metroplolitan area that's only 30 min away, it's in the middle of nowhere! :angry: The theaters must be in dire financial shape, that hardly any in my area have THX certification anymore, and certainly aren't springing for Atmos!



#18 of 157 OFFLINE   zoetmb

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Posted August 07 2014 - 03:48 PM

I expect that the reason for doing reflective speakers for home use is that cinemas are typically constructed to be as acoustically "dead" (no reflections and thus no reverberation of sound in the auditorium) as possible, while not all home theatres have that luxury. In practice, I suspect the effect will be similar acoustically to Bose 901s utilising direct/reflecting technology to increase audio "presence", creating (as described) a diffuse movement of sound across the field better controlled than what engineers can get with simply reversing phase to fill sonic dead spots in the listening area.

No, the reason for doing reflective speakers is that it's much more likely someone would be willing and able to place four speakers (in the 5.1.4 configuration) on top of their current floor-standing speakers than install speakers on their ceiling, especially those who have only a standard 8-foot ceiling height.    This is true from both a technical and aesthetic ("what the spouse will permit") standpoint, especially if it's going in the living room and not a dedicated home-theatre room. 



#19 of 157 OFFLINE   JediFonger

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Posted August 08 2014 - 07:47 AM

according to the latest Atmo whitepaper dolby just released if you have 8FT ceiling or less, they want you to do the reflective speaker for acoustic performance reasons! go google it and read it. it's quite fascinating.



#20 of 157 OFFLINE   andySu

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Posted August 08 2014 - 09:56 AM

A fairly well set-up 5.1 / 7.1 with surrounds located on side walls rear wall all at even height so one sound appears to move one to the other. LCR should always be matched and placed at the same height about middle height of the room that vary from room to room. 

 

Reason for the stage channels to be high up is so that the sound reaches the front and back row seating. I seen lot of home dedicated rooms where speakers are positioned on the floor and no way the sound will reach the back row as the seats in front and bodies will also absorb some of the sound. 

 

Been watching some AIR FORCE ONE (1996) region 2 DVD, and wow this film still has thrilling Dolby mix. It would be wild to listen too to it with re-mix, "Dolby Atmos-Plus", Re-mix of older films will happen in Atmos.

With below stereo surround channel and a 9 to 15 channel array that would allow for height and below sound to match the on-screen visuals.

 

Upper and lower corner surrounds for directional and defused surrounds where off-screen sounds can follow, would create a better sense of involvement with advanced cinema listener goers.

 

Also half pans can happen between upper surround corners to the middle surround arrays and middle arrays to below corner floor and back wall arrays. 

 

The current 4 extra or up 34 for home or 64 for cinema isn't enough. :P

 

Difficulty with home would be where some surrounds are placed due to door to the room. In a cinema the door/s are often placed in large premiere cinemas leading to the middle of the auditorium. Some multiplexes ether have single door leading to one side the auditorium at the back with narrow aisle leading down the side with rows of stadium seating in the middle of the cinema.   

 

In the home locating below corner surrounds would be tricky to making sure one doesn't trip over them.  or could be fitted in flush into the wall lower to floor so any off-screen sounds that pan off screen moving at downwards angle should sound in those positions with a "pan-though".

 

Somehow I don't see Dolby updating Atmos any sooner. 70mm had few make-overs during the mid '70's and soon one format was settled on that became to be known as 5.1.

 

A scene in Air Force One that I looked at over and over looking at where it would be logical to place 15 screen sound and off screen sounds with the re-fueling plane going up in ball of flames.

 

Posted Image

 

Outside scene would have the jet engines to left off screen in the distance with rushing air being pushed all around the front of the nose of 747.

The re-fueling line would be panning across the middle stage channels right centre across to centre an
d upwards to height screen channels upper-left-centre to upper-left, would make sense in a now "Atmos world" But the standardize Atmos needs to updated.

There should also be rushing air all over the stage channels and surrounds overhead corner surrounds above and below back surrounds above middle and corner floor areas and below surrounds, as the both planes are miles up in the air.

 

Posted Image

 

Interior scene seen from the pilot in the cockpit of the re-fueling line rubbing aganst the window moving upwards, should sound from centre middle with sprays of fuel leaking across the wider over the rest of the stage channels middle below above as its close-up shot for brief few seconds.

 

Posted Image

 

Posted Image

 

Terrorist leader and pilot looking upwards as the re-fueling line bumps up and down on the outside above, on the cockpit should sound on the upper stage channels upper-left and upper-right with smaller sound down on middle stage channels left and right and lesser on below-left below-right at different sound frequency to create some sort of alarming moment.

 

Posted Image

 

Re-=fueling line sparks on the topside of the 747 and ignites the leaking fuel starts to trail up the fuel line to the re-fueling plane. Sound of air rushing around should be on stage channels and equally so on the surrounds everywhere as the plane is miles up in the air!

Fuel leaking and fire starting should sound on middle stage left-centre to left.

 

Posted Image

 

Fire grows larger as it starts to climb up the fuel line. should sound on middle stage channels left and left-centre.

Again rushing air all around should be on all channels to heighten realism.

 

Posted Image

 

Interior of cockpit the scene seen from this angle should have the fuel line and the fire sounding from above surround channels as the re-fueling plane is located above the the 747 in front.

 

Posted Image

 

Air force one 747, starts to pull away from the burning fuel line. The 747 drops down over to stage left. Complex scene I see here.

The sound of engines of the 747 are at the angle would be located off-screen above so engines should sound on the upper
stage channels and as the plane drops off screen to left the sound should track with the engines coming into view sound on the middle stage channels to below.

The burning fuel line should sound on the upper-right-centre to right with the re-fueling plane engines sound somewhere on the upper corner surrounds and party somewhere across the height channels as the wing-span don't forget would be in the same positioning as the 747 only its above it.

 

Posted Image

 

747 Air force one banks downwards to escape the exploding re-fueling plane.

Air should be rushing all around and fuel line on fire sounding on upper centre, The 747 engines panned to below-left, the other engine on-screen should be sounding on the middle-right-centre.

 

Posted Image

 

Fire rages upwards to the ill-fated re-fueling plane and explodes. The air should be rushing around on all channels and the fire sound would be a bit louder as its close-up as its flaming away on below left to below left-centre to middle left and left-centre to above left and above left-centre.

 

Posted Image

 

Fire hits the aft end of the plane and erupts into a huge fireball.

Engines sounding should be on middle stage to below stage channel as the air craft tries to stabilize.

 

Posted Image

 

KABOOM! The aft end explodes should sound on below and middle stage left, left-centre. Air rushing all around at same time,

 

Posted Image

 

Explosion moves up and though the air aircraft completely engulfing it.

Sound of KABOOM should be mostly moving across below middle and upper stage channels.

 

Posted Image

 

Air force pilot sees the exploding plane. Dialogue would be best on middle left stage channel 100% with no half pan to left or centre, it would sound much cooler than "common centre channel" as the pilot in this shot isn't positioned within the middle of the scope frame.

The explosion should and would sound better alone the side wall surround (with pan-though) would best near to the corner middle surround at back and partly on the rear middle back wall surround, from looking at the angle of the scene. The plane by now has already lost some altitude due to the damage and is fulling out of the sky.

Air sound should be rushing around all around and the F-15 engines should be off screen to below left and middle left.

 

Posted Image

 

Air rushing all around on all channels and F-15 engines should sound on below left and below left-centre with small shifts in the sound.

The other F-15 should sound on the middle right-centre to right, again with small panning shifts in the sound as both plans are moving about.


Explosion would be a bit distant and located in the middle-centre channel.

 

Posted Image

 

Re-fueling plane burning above on middle stage channels and gradually moves across on-screen. 747 engines would be located on the below stage channels left-centre right-centre and gradually move into the shot should widen outwards.

 

Posted Image

 

 

Here in this should the engines are seen and one engine on below stage left-centre the others on middle stage left-centre right.

Explosion of the plane above on middle below stage left-centre centre, middle and partly upper stage channels as its very dynamic scene.

 

Posted Image

 

Air force one 747, should pan off screen with the engines located on overhead surrounds with windy air rushing around on all channels.

 

Posted Image

 

The president floating around on the parachute ramp should be sounding on middle stage centre to left-centre, with burning fireball of flames and fulling airplane in the background shot.

 

Posted Image

 

Wider shot should have the sound of the fireball burning in the upper middle and partly below stage channels with air rushing around outside and the inside of plane on surrounds should carry some sort of background noise?

 

Posted Image

 

Re-fueling plane falls downwards should sound on upper middle and below stage channels lett, left-centre with small traces of sound distant on the other stage channels and the windy air rushing around as this is miles up in the sky.







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