The audio encoding of a movie or concert that delivers optimum results depending on the listening device (headphones, computer, 5.1 home theater, 7.1 home theater, etc.). In traditional "channel-based" audio, music is recorded with a listening device in mind; for example, a 5.1 home theater with five speakers and one subwoofer. Object-based audio encodes audio sources as objects with meta-data that describes the microphone's placement in 3D space. Audio characteristics (dialog, musical instruments, explosion, etc.) are also identified.
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X Pioneered This Method
This method was introduced in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X encoding, which added ceiling-mounted speakers for more realistic surround effects. For example, a scream or gunshot can be perceived as if it were coming from high up on a hill. Although all those signals are combined when listening to stereo headphones, when each object is encoded separately in the soundtrack, that same movie can sound more realistic by adding more speakers to the home theater. See Dolby Atmos
and home theater