So, you’ve splashed out on a full-bore surround sound speaker system with all the trimmings and are looking to put it to the test. A good surround system will improve the soundtrack of every movie and make for a more enriching experience regardless of what you are watching.
However, there are some movies out there that really come alive when watched through the immersive experience of surround sound.
That’s why I decided to put together this list of the best movies for surround sound that every fan of the cinematic experience should appreciate on their surround sound setup. So. without further ado, let’s get into it with…
Top 10 Best Movies for Surround Sound
What can be said about this movie? If you want to feel what it’s like to be sitting in a tank firing shells, then the Atmos mix here is probably going to blow a hole through your chest with the amount of eardrum blasting bass on offer.
The tank battles are the highlight in this mix, and so are the sounds of gunfire that can be heard traversing between every single one of your speakers. When there’s downtime, you can still hear tanks in the distance moving around or the chattering of people in the background.
War movies usually sound great. And “Fury” is one of the best war movies for surround sound systems.
This Sci-Fi action flick about extraterrestrial robots is 100% pure mayhem. If you’re a Transformers fan, you’ll love the way the transformation sounds in Dolby Atmos.
From the first second you play this movie; you’ll hear fireballs flying right over your head. You’ve got giant robot dragons flying through the high channels and huge spaceships crashing from above to the lower channels.
Cars zip around the lower speakers, and, of course, if you’ve got decently sized speakers, you can get full-range explosions in just about every channel. In short, there’s always something going on in this movie.
Another giant robot movie. This movie’s got earthquakes of low-frequency bass and amazing mechanical effects that surround you while you’re inside the “Jaegers.” When the battle scenes hit the city, you’ll be surrounded by collapsing buildings with debris scattering through all your speakers.
When the subwoofers kick in, you may start believing there’s a “Kaiju” walking around outside. There’s crazy LFE (Low Frequency Effects) in this movie, and the high channels are always constantly active. The Atmos surround sound in this movie is simply incredible.
While not a raging commercial success, “The House with a Clock in its Walls” is a surround sound experience well-worth enjoying. The intro of this movie is pretty cool, with all those clocks ticking between the channels. It’s a precursor to how great and subtle this Atmos mix is.
The sound design gives the house its own character. There are excellent atmospheric effects like floorboards creaking, ghostly sounds moving around the soundstage, and some killer infrasonic bass frequencies in chapter four.
Sure, it’s a kid’s movie, but it’s a great kids movie for surround sound. And, even if you’re not a child, you will appreciate the audio details on full display with Dolby Atmos turned on.
Next on my list of the best movies for surround sound is Aquaman. This one is an Atmos mix, and that pulsating bass in the aquarium is ultra-low and incredibly impressive. Your subwoofers will have a good workout throughout the entire movie.
The underwater scenes have fantastic high-channel activity that gives you that full-on surround effect. Even when people are talking underwater, you get that cool submarine reverb that travels through all your speakers.
There are many scenes throughout the movie that would make great Atmos demonstration moments, whether it’s big action or just atmospheric subtlety.
Believe it or not, this is one of the best surround sound movies, thanks to the audio mixing. The beginning has a sound effect that starts with you feeling like you’re inside Zordon’s helmet. It’s a hollow sound effect with Zordon breathing in all channels.
As the camera pulls away…
Your room will start shaking when the ship flies from the back speakers overhead and then makes its way to the front channels with perfect audio panning.
The last half of the movie has Zord flying through the high channels and explosions blasting away through the lower channels. You’ll be surrounded by an insane amount of bass, and the destruction moves through every channel seamlessly.
It’s got a super-detailed and extra-wide soundstage. Oh, and the musical soundtrack is excellent too.
Next up, we’ve got “Kong: Skull Island” presented in Dolby Atmos. The first time Kong makes his appearance and starts battling the soldiers is surround sound heaven.
Choppers hover overhead, bullets zing in and out through the soundstage, and Kong’s feet stomp in the lower channels while his roaring can be heard about a hundred feet above you.
Fantastic use of height sound effects…
Your subwoofer will also work overtime from the musical score and the giant monster fights with insane levels of chest-pounding bass. The jungle sounds are always atmospheric and will transform your home theater into a sweaty rainforest where anything could happen.
So, if you’re after one of the best movies for Dolby Atmos surround sound, then this is one you don’t want to miss.
This Sci-Fi thriller is the subtlest of surround sound mixes on my list. Having great surround sound isn’t always about bombastic effects. If you want to test out how well your system can create a three-dimensional environmental soundstage, this is the movie to watch.
There are always some subtle effects present in every channel throughout the film. Whether it’s the sound of being inside the house or outside during the day or night, the Atmos track conveys what you see on screen. It makes you feel like you’re inhabiting that space.
The audio mix can go from soft and peaceful to loud and abrupt in a second. This is a great mix and should be in your collection for that reason alone.
Just like “Kong: Skull Island,” there’s neighborhood-shaking bass in this one. From the start, the way that bass builds up and lingers is earth-shattering.
There’s great atmospherics with rain and the sounds of the city filling in all the speakers. One of the main highlights is the musical score that enhances the entire movie with a deep and incredibly detailed soundstage.
The great action sequences, the quiet, ominous scenes, and the killer soundtrack are all dealt with beautifully by outstanding surround sound engineering. The 4k video is pretty amazing too. If you need a movie to show off both audio and video, then this one needs to be on your shelf.
Now, for my last pick, “Gravity.” This one’s not in 4k, so you’ll have to put up with regular Blu-ray in Dolby Atmos. The first chapter of this movie is just perfect. If you want to know how well-matched your speakers are tonally, this movie will reveal all.
When George Clooney starts talking off-screen and moves in a full 360 degrees, his voice should sound the same when he moves from speaker to speaker. If he sounds like an adult in your front speakers and like a toddler when he’s in the back or above your head, then it’s time to upgrade.
Putting your system to the test…
The scene where the camera moves in and out of Sandra Bullock’s helmet is another standout effect. When you’re inside the helmet, you can hear her breath surround you. Then, as the camera pulls out, it gets all silent. This is probably where “Power Rangers” got their in-helmet shot from.
This is another movie that, in a second, can go from absolute quiet to complete destruction on every channel. There’s excellent sound movement from lower to high soundstages, and one of the widest-sounding presentations on my list. “Gravity” is a must-have movie for surround sound enthusiasts.
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Best Movies for Surround Sound – Final Thoughts
Sound is a vital part of every movie. To get the most out of your surround sound setup, make sure you’ve got every speaker positioned correctly. That way, you can fully appreciate the soundscape these movies have to offer. Then, and only then, can you immerse yourself in surround sound heaven.
I hope you enjoyed my selections. Which titles would you add to this list?
Until next time, happy listening.