#1 Best Movie for Surround Sound Listening – My Top Audio Pick

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Well…choosing 1 is too hard so here are my Top 5 Movies to test Surround Sound, but #1 is totally awesome.

I had friends from overseas visit recently. They sat on the sofa while we watched a movie.

Quite soon in to the movie they couldn’t stop commenting, with faces lit up with surprise, about the surround sound experience.

When you have surround sound for movies it’s easy to get used to having it.

But when its there, or not there, you really notice it.

Every film needs sound, and low-quality sound design is one of the most visible signs of a poorly made movie. A film’s audio quality can destroy the movie experience, whether it is due to cheap stock sound effects, inadequate balance, or distorted vocals.

On the other hand, the best movie for surround sound with great audio can do wonders to draw the audience into its universe.

These movies fully utilize three-dimensional surround sound and have clean, crisp audio. They also have creative and effective sound effects.

The movie experience is elevated when surround sound is used. Usually, the sound you hear when watching a movie solely comes from the Hi-Fi speakers. As a result, you can identify the speaker’s location even when you close your eyes.

With surround sound, however, it’s impossible to discern where the speakers are because the sound seems to come from everywhere in the best movie for surround sound. You can experience immersion in a movie when using surround sound.

By making the most of your surround sound and experiencing moments that will pique your interest and excitement for the movie you are watching, you can recreate the cinematic experience in your own house.

There are many great movies you can watch, but I wanted to focus on just a few that I think will optimize the use of your surround sound system.

But as I did say this was the best movie, not movies, for surround sound listening, number one on this list was EPIC! 

#5. A Quiet Place

A Quite Place
Release Date (Theaters):Apr 6, 2018Runtime:1h 30m
Director:John KrasinskiRating:PG-13
On Netflix:YesRT Rating:96%

The film was directed by John Krasinski and is a lot of fun. All of the actors and actresses give excellent performances. To survive, the family must be silent, which lends the entire movie an unsettling sense of silence in several scenes.

When Emily Blunt gives birth, she must move to the upstairs bathtub in utter silence to prevent the monster from sensing her whereabouts. With each breath she takes, the terrifying footsteps of the monster moving beneath her are audible like you are there.

You have the impression that Emily is with you as you hear the creature ambling through the speaker systems in preparation to attack. I must admit that this movie didn’t feel the same when I viewed it without surround sound.

I had to check behind me to be sure there wasn’t a monster in the room with me as the ticking sound effects from the creatures crept over my head.

The experience was very realistic. The entire sequence is so quiet but powerful, and it perfectly illustrates how surround sound can make a movie more immersive without using loud, booming scenes.

#4. Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049
Release Date (Theaters):Oct 6, 2017Runtime:2h 44m
Director:Denis VilleneuveRating:R
On Netflix:YesRT Rating:88%

In Blade Runner 2049, the sound is firmly integrated into the score, blurring the distinction between music and sound effects to produce a seamless audio environment rich in pitch, rhythm, and texture.

Music in the movie receives the most Dolby Atmos treatment, using the surrounds for tense, dramatic moments to keep the image wide.

You will experience the musical atmosphere instantly after watching the first scene. The booming, rippling bass is one of the first noises that will hit you and your subwoofer(s).

If your drivers can handle the LFE, the scene should appear wide without obscuring other elements, such as the spinner floating overhead or the alarm waking Ryan Gosling.

Later, Wallace’s spoken voice can be heard in the overhead for sequences set in his harsh, reflective chambers, creating an uncomfortable, claustrophobic feeling.

At the same time, the vocal reverb is gently decorrelated to create an enormous sense of space. You should still notice that the screen pulls and retains focus even with ripple delays and reverberation tails bouncing all over the place.

#3. Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody
Release Date (Theaters):Nov 2, 2018Runtime:2h 15m
Director:Bryan SingerRating:PG-13
On Netflix:YesRT Rating:60%

I would tell you to go straight to the end of the performance, mainly “We are the Champions,” to experience the surround sound in all its glory.

To replicate the PA ambiance, the sound engineers of this movie collaborated with Queen’s music producers to play back the film recordings in an empty stadium using 22 microphones using a 16-track archive tape.

It and other minor elements make the overall performance sound exceptional and lifelike. Every camera viewpoint was perfectly timed with the soundtrack and sound effects from the Hi-Fi speakers.

Utilizing object-based sound with Dolby Atmos gave the impression that you were in the audience or behind Freddy’s piano during the live performance.

It’s a unique feeling, especially if you’ve never experienced Atmos before, to feel the audio move along with the camera as it soars over the stage and into the audience.

It feels like you’re there with them because this mixture includes all the minor things you don’t notice. It seems to be the closest thing to attending this concert in person.

#2. Inception

Inception Poster
Release Date (Theaters):Jul 16, 2010Runtime:2h 28m
Director:Christopher NolanRating:PG-13
On Netflix:YesRT Rating:87%

Each unique sound in the movie is perfectly reproduced, including falling buildings, cars colliding, metallic grindings, booming explosions, and gunfire. Moreover, the film’s sound design is impeccable.

The viewer is submerged in a captivating soundscape that makes the most of the side and rear speaker systems, thanks to the directionality and clarity of the sound. The superb music by Hans Zimmer also sounds very clear, which is undoubtedly the best part.

#1. Dune

Dune Poster
Release Date (Theaters):Oct 22, 2021Runtime:2h 35m
Director:Denis VilleneuveRating:PG-13
On Netflix:NoRT Rating:83%

I can’t even tell you how amazing this experience was for me. I have a 5.1.2 system and I was blown away by the audio in this movie.

In fact, I watched it twice as it was just such an amazing thing to sit through.

The sound just surrounds you and the constant floating ambient sound effects are never too much but makes it feel like your in a sound bath.

Just floating in the movie and almost feeling like your in the movie.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt compelled to message friends and audiophile friends urging them to watch this movie in surround sound.

The detail in soundtrack and sound effects are mind blowing.

Clearly, this is my top pick as the best movie for surround sound listening for this year.

I can’t wait for Dune II to see how that compares.

The audio of Dune is enhanced by the talented team led by composer Hans Zimmer (he really does ALL the soundtracks you’ll know) and sound designer Mark Mangini. 

The surround sound brings the movie to life because they have flawlessly blended the soundtrack with the film’s sounds.

Denis Villeneuve took a documentary-style approach to the sound design of this movie rather than attempting to make it sound like a “movie,” recording the sound as if you were truly there.

Instead of aiming to wow the audience with sound, he specifically focused on letting the viewer feel like they are in this universe.

Like most of the movies on this list, the entire film is excellent for experiencing surround sound at its best. Still, if you want to skip to a scene to impress a friend, I would recommend you watch the part where the sandworm is exposed roughly an hour into the film.

You will feel like you are in the airplane diving into the sandstorm thanks to the use of the height speakers. You won’t want to see this movie in any other way after hearing it in surround sound since it’s so expertly done.

Make sure the hi-fi speakers in the front, the speaker systems in the rear, and the soundbar are set up correctly before you watch any of these recommended movies with surround sound; it will ensure you get the best experience.

I will end by saying that these movies are a great place to start if you want to test your surround sound. As more films are released, I’ll keep updating this list.

Also, I would love to hear any suggestions for future posts you may have.

Please share your suggestions for movies to test surround sound in the comments below. 

Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.

Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.

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