Top 5 Movie Soundtracks in Surround Sound
Got a high-quality home theater room with surround? These five films make for a great demonstration of what your setup can do.
By Ben Jacklin
Cinema and surround sound is a match made in heaven. In fact, if it weren’t for the constant evolution of cinema technology, we may have never got to the point where immersive audio is available in your home. The two have driven one another forward.
If you are looking for an authentic audio experience when listening to a movie soundtrack, surround sound is the way to go. In this guide, we’re exploring some of the very top movie soundtracks. What do we mean by a “soundtrack” though?
This is not all about the score, the soundtrack is a combination of the dialogue, the effects, and the music. All of these aspects can mix to further add to the realism and…well, immersion.
Alex Garland’s Annihilation is not the most high-profile movie ever released. Far from it. The Netflix release brought critical acclaim for a number of reasons, not least for the soundtrack that was created to go with the Ultra HD graphics and special effects.
Geoff Barrow of Portishead fame is responsible for much of the music, which combines with a thrilling and engaging palette of sound effects, rumbling bass, and thrilling builds and dynamics to give you the perfect opportunity to show off your Dolby Atmos system.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut
Yes, we’ve lost track of the number of cuts Blade Runner has, too. It doesn’t matter, though, this is the one you want if you’re an audiophile.
“The Final Cut” is available with a stunning Atmos soundtrack that plunges you into the heart of the action. Never has weather felt more real on screen, and the bustle of a futuristic vision of LA is interwoven with a 3D soundscape of effects, and of course, the iconic Vangelis score.
Gravity won a number of awards for its visual effects, acting, and the soundtrack. The incredible challenge of mixing in Dolby Atmos in a way that recreates the feeling of space is met with style. The Oscar-winning mix paints the enormity of space perfectly, but also makes use of some groundbreaking techniques. Both the score and the dialogue are mixed for immersive audio, giving the feeling of really being in the heart of the action for this thrilling sci-fi ride.
You can enjoy the soundtrack on the special-edition HD Blu-Ray disc edition of the movie.
Saving Private Ryan
It tends to be the science fiction and action genres that opt for the immersion of Dolby Atmos, and turn this into part of their platform to propel you into another world. However, when you watch Saving Private Ryan with 5.1 audio, you might wonder why more war films don’t take the same approach.
The action scenes are actually difficult to watch at times due to the realism the visuals and soundtrack create. Legend has it that some veterans had to leave the movie theater because of just how immersive the experience was. From barking orders to the sound of gunfire, combined with the compositions of cinematic legend John Williams, you’ll struggle to find a better immersive experience (well, one set on earth, anyway).
Another science fiction selection, acclaimed producer and director Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 high-budget monster flick contains an incredible immersive soundtrack. The opening giant robot vs. monster battle in the midst of a hurricane uses all channels to great effect, with waves crashing behind the listener and wind gusts moving from front-to-back.
Pacific Rim is available in a variety of high-definition video packages, including standard Blu-Ray, 3D Blu-Ray, and Ultra-HD Blu-Ray. The latest Ultra-HD edition features a newly-remixed Dolby Atmos soundtrack in addition to the standard DTS-HD 5.1 surround mix.
About the Author
Ben is a writer and musician from the UK with a background in music technology. He writes about engineering and production, musicianship and music equipment for a number of publications including his own site, subreel.com