In ceiling or box speakers for ATMOS? - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 9 Old 03-16-19, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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In ceiling or box speakers for ATMOS?

My room is 15' x 25'. My 7.1 system speakers are all floor standing of one sort or another. My ceiling is plaster, but it is the first floor with a second floor above. I will be adding 4 height channels.

The Atmos discussions I have seen show in ceiling speakers just in front of and just behind the main listening position or angled speakers mounted on the top of the mains. Towards that end I have ordered 4 in ceiling speakers. However as I re-evaluate the level of difficulty installing said speakers and their requisite wiring, I take pause.

I have in hand 4 KEF 101.2 Reference box speakers, which, I believe could be mounted in the 4 corners of the room with less aggravation, wiring wise.

As far as electronics driving these 4 channels;

Marantz AV7704 11.2 Sound Processor
Sherbourn 5/1500A Five channel 200 watt power amp. One channel unused.

The questions is, "Will Atmos work well with corner placed speakers?"

Does anyone have experience with this?

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post #2 of 9 Old 03-21-19, 05:56 AM
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Re: In ceiling or box speakers for ATMOS?

Here is a link to a Dolby Atmos setup page. You'll notice they begin at 5.1 and continue up to 11.1.8. and each configuration is broken down further within each speaker placement and type etc etc. As you look through each example notice there are in-ceiling speakers indicated with a black square on the ceiling however included in many examples are floor speakers firing upward, indicated with blue coloration reflecting of ceiling from a floor standing speaker.


https://www.dolby.com/us/en/speaker-...des/index.html



Note: the examples included in the link above are for home use. For theater purposes the speaker array increases by the foot or so-to-speak. My point with regard to theater is, although 11.1.8 is the largest number of speakers shown others may find a need for more speakers e.g. a second subwoofer etc etc



I hope this helps..., as far as which is better upward firing speakers or ceiling mount direct firing i feel an in ceiling speaker better be a very good speaker one that disperses sound well enough that the speaker disappears into the sound stage.


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post #3 of 9 Old 03-22-19, 11:37 PM
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Re: In ceiling or box speakers for ATMOS?

In/on ceiling is definitely better. The upfirirng modules take a lot of work to get right. Imagine making a bank shot playing pool, except you canít actually see your target. Also since atmos uses XYZ coordinates for object placement, the 4 corners are much less than ideal, since that will probably place them behind the mains, and surrounds. You will get sound from them, but it wonít be very Atmosy. Theyíre not just extra channels in the traditional sense.

Try this guide. Itís a little more in depth.
https://www.dolby.com/us/en/technolo...guidelines.pdf
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-28-19, 04:41 PM
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Re: In ceiling or box speakers for ATMOS?

Quote:
aceinc wrote: View Post
I have in hand 4 KEF 101.2 Reference box speakers, which, I believe could be mounted in the 4 corners of the room ... "Will Atmos work well with corner placed speakers?"
First, a huge yes to using box speakers instead of in-ceiling/in-wall speakers. For my surrounds I used good in-wall speakers for many years due to WAF. Recently my wife let me install box speakers to replace the in-walls, the box speakers are noticeably much better.

Next, I don't have personal experience with different height/ceiling speaker lay-outs yet (another WAF hurdle to get over) but I have read many reports of satisfied enthusiasts that installed their height speakers at the top corners of the room pointing downward toward the listening area. I have also read that this set up works well for both formats of Atmos and DTS:X, where as the strict Atmos speaker lay-out (speakers mounted directly above listener pointed straight down) does not always sound as immersive when using DTS:X.

So yes to box speakers instead of in-ceiling speakers.
And if ceiling mounted speakers is too daunting, yes to top corner mounted speakers (known as 'height' mounted speakers) instead of ceiling mounted speakers.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-28-19, 06:59 PM
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Re: In ceiling or box speakers for ATMOS?

Quote:
gdstupak wrote: View Post
First, a huge yes to using box speakers instead of in-ceiling/in-wall speakers. For my surrounds I used good in-wall speakers for many years due to WAF. Recently my wife let me install box speakers to replace the in-walls, the box speakers are noticeably much better.



Next, I don't have personal experience with different height/ceiling speaker lay-outs yet (another WAF hurdle to get over) but I have read many reports of satisfied enthusiasts that installed their height speakers at the top corners of the room pointing downward toward the listening area. I have also read that this set up works well for both formats of Atmos and DTS:X, where as the strict Atmos speaker lay-out (speakers mounted directly above listener pointed straight down) does not always sound as immersive when using DTS:X.



So yes to box speakers instead of in-ceiling speakers.

And if ceiling mounted speakers is too daunting, yes to top corner mounted speakers (known as 'height' mounted speakers) instead of ceiling mounted speakers.


Thatís funny Glenn, I went the other way. As part of my Atmos ďdealĒ, I took down my s-38 surrounds and installed a pair of JBL studio 55IW in their place(but lower). They are really really good, but the 38ís have superb imaging. I miss them. lol.

FWIW, on my 7.3.4 system with top front/rear, dts-x tracks, at least ones that are good sound excellent with the ďtopĒ layout. I have also heard that dts-x does well with the more ďauroĒ layout in the corners, but Iíve been pretty impressed.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-03-19, 02:18 PM
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Thumbs up Re: In ceiling or box speakers for ATMOS?

Quote:
Gregr wrote: View Post
You'll notice they begin at 5.1 and continue up to 11.1.8.

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/speaker-...des/index.html

Note: the examples included in the link above are for home use. For theater purposes the speaker array increases by the foot or so-to-speak. My point with regard to theater is, although 11.1.8 is the largest number of speakers shown others may find a need for more speakers e.g. a second subwoofer etc etc
Under How It Works:

No More Channel Dependency

Descriptive metadata accompanies every Dolby Atmos soundtrack, specifying the exact placement and movement of the audio objects. A Dolby Atmos powered AVR reads the metadata and determines how to use the speakers in your specific setup to best recreate this precise placement and movement. Dolby Atmos is highly scalable. You can play a Dolby Atmos movie and get the spatial effects on nearly any speaker configuration in a home Dolby Atmos system, and adding speakers increases the precision of the audio placement. You can have up to 24 speakers on the floor and 10 overhead.

Guys are running multiple AVR's on avsforum.com to go past DA 11.1.8.

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post #7 of 9 Old 05-08-19, 07:38 PM
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Re: In ceiling or box speakers for ATMOS?

The first thing to understand is just how bad, how TERRIBLE, Atmos soundtracks are most of the time. Studios use some automated process on the original cinema mix of 5.1 or 7.1 to produce the crappiest immersive soundtracks EVER because the budget for creating the UHD disc is almost zero... Auro-3D and DTS:X are both much better-sounding with Auro-3D sounding far better than DTS:X. In fact, if the movie has an Atmos soundtrack, it will almost ALWAYS sound better with AuroMatic decoding the 5.1 or 7.1 sound track rather than using Atmos. Example: The Enterprise is being boarded by aliens who drill through the hull. Fighting is happening all over the ship, and all you hear in the Atmos height channels is "Red Alert" zero ambience of the fighting, explosions, gunfire, hand-to-hand fighting... none of it ever touches the height channels with Atmos decoding. With AuroMatic and NO Atmos, the same soundtrack envelops you with ambience as if you were onboard during the fighting. AuroMatic is similar to Dolby Surround (for ear-level and height) or Neural:X but Auromatic gets a "10" for ambience placement in the height channels while Neural:X gets a 6 and Dolby Surround gets a 0 (literally, it makes the soundtrack sound worse than the sound you get when you do not use Dolby Surround.

That said... I wouldn't use in-ceiling speakers unless there was no other option. If something happens and we end up with "cooperative" immersive sound formats and that calls for re-locating height speakers, it will be @#%@#%$ annoying to relocate in-ceiling speakers (don't forget the drywall patching and repainting that will be required). With box speakers, you get a bracket that attachs with a few wall anchors and if the speakers ever have to be moved to different locations or to a different house, it's easy with minimal patch/paint work. And downfiring loudspeakers are the worst sounding loudspeakers (compared to on-wall or free-standing). That said, you have to chose box speakers for height duty carefully. The side height channels may need to be very close to a wall... that makes a rear-firing port problematic. If you go for a ported speaker, it would be more useful as a height speaker if the port was on the front or one of the sides of the speaker rather than on the back. Using box speakers also avoids having to run speaker cable in the wall/ceiling unless you want to do that.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-15-19, 08:35 PM
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Re: In ceiling or box speakers for ATMOS?

I agree to a certain extent with Da Wiz. Atmos is on the bottom of the totem pole as far as the big three formats are concerned, but it still doesnít sound that bad. Iíd take it over stereo any day of the week.

I wouldnít use in-wall or in-ceiling speakers as they simply donít sound as good. Iím in the process of building a dedicated home theater/listening room and will be using four center channel box style speakers mounted in the ceiling and firing downwards at a slight angle, as well as box style surrounds hidden in the walls (in columns). If money affords, Iíll be integrating an Auro 3D layout along with the Atmos/DTS:X layout. At any rate, you won't be finding any in-wall or in-ceiling speakers in this system.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-16-19, 02:32 PM
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Re: In ceiling or box speakers for ATMOS?

Taking a closer look at typical In-wall/ceiling speaker physics and engineering, i find there are too many conditions that are much less than optimal for best sound reproduction.
For instance:
Wiring, there are reasons why producers of Audio wiring focus much of their resources building short runs of highly specialized wire configurations and accessories. In-wall/ceiling wiring must meet building codes and are bulkier in every domain and usually longer than out of wall A/V wiring. In-wall/ceiling fittings are also much less fine-tuned/engineered as well. Although Cardas has put together in-wall wiring the satisfies building codes and listener..., but again you pay by the foot.

Next, speaker box depth in walls (except for specifically designed HT walls) are usually much less than than optimal.

Tweeter drivers are very directional, in that it has a very narrow optimal/on axis sound wave. All sound waves radiate widely out of the speaker box (if you all think back to physics class where you had a baking dish filled with water where the water wave follows along every wall and obstacle/obstruction in the pool of water) however on axis and off axis sound differs. Better in-wall/ceiling tweeters are movable and can be aimed.

Using a box speaker pointing up, by the time the reflected sound wave enters the listeners sound stage it is a wider on axis sound wave and i feel gives a more natural sound presence.

Then we have "matching drivers" required for maximum stereo imaging etc etc etc
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