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Dolby ATMOS 5.1.4 wall speaker suggestions


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Hi Everyone, feeling a bit of fomo so I have decided to take the plunge into Dolby Atmos. I have my 4k Panasonic 820 and Denon AVR-X3700H capable of 5.1.4 which got me started. I can go 7.1.4 but would need a seperate stereo amp so will probably stick with the 5.1.4 for the time being. 

I am currently running 7.1 using Tannoy Precision 6.4 fronts and a Paradigm Studio CC 590 v5. My surround speakers include an old Jamo Classic 2 Signature bookshelf as sides and KEF Q800DS as rears so quite a missmatch but have been happy with the sound. 

 

So with my move to atmos speakers my wife has been wanting me to make sure they are all from the same line so that they asthetically match whereas my interest is more for the sound, but I have caved into her need for looks rather than necesarily price. Of course I will need to sell some things to fund this! So this is what I am considering:

 

(all in gloss black, asthetically match is very good)

Monitor Audio Silver AMS 7G atmos height speakers

Monitor Audio Silver Fx 7G surround speakers

Monitor Audio Silver C250 7G centre speaker

 

I was also looking at the 

POLK Reserve R900 with Polk Audio FXiA6

SVS Prime Elevation Speaker

DALI ALTECO C-1 with DALI OBERON ON-WALL 

 

But these surround speakers don't seem to match very well asthetically to the atmos speakers.

 

My other requirement is a reasonably low profile side speakers of which the Monitor Audio Silver is 147mm, as the couch on the left is very close to the wall, much closer than in the diagram.

I also can't go built in ceiling speakers for ATMOS so I am stuck with the downward facing wall types.

 

Let me know what your thoughts are and if you can recommend any other visually appealing speaker sets, and/or if you know of anyone offering good deals on Monitor Audio in Sydney metro area. 

 

See my planned set up below, just a rough layout but open to suggestions. Note ceiling height is 2.8m, and HT stands for the atmos speakers (not sure on their height yet). 

 

 

Media Room.jpg

Edited by don
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Your positioning for the heights would be less than ideal, with 5 speakers on the base level you would want the rear heights to be essentially on top of the listener, in line with the surrounds which should be 10-15 degrees behind your head unless you plan to add rears immediately.

 

The front heights should then be placed at an equal angular distance in front, so they will end up further away, but then they should be angled roughly towards the listener. Basically, if you point at the rear base  layer speaker (surround right for your setup) then move your arm in an arc up to the height, then over to the front height, then down to the front base speaker, each source should be roughly the same angle away, the physical distance isn't important as the receivers room correction or manual distance settings can fix that timing. Doing it this way is the quick hack to accurate Atmos and DTSX sound, and it is much easier than measuring everything exactly according to the Dolby guide.

 

The way you have it set at the moment would result in moving effects jumping from directly beside you to behind and above your head abruptly, then shooting off to the front base level very fast, rather than smoothly arcing over your head.

 

If you added rears for a 7.1.4, then your existing base layer could work, but I would still adjust the placement of the heights according to the dolby guide in that case.

 

Don't use up firing speakers, they are a waste of time and money, use ceiling speakers if possible, wedge speakers like the Alteco are good in smaller rooms where they can face the listener, so they would work for the rear heights in this case, but would be imperfect for the fronts as in order to face the listener they would have to be on the front wall, which would be too far forward for a correct setup, but if the ceiling is higher than standard wouldn't be too far off.

 

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Oh dear! FOMO is making you set up a compromised Atmos setup.   

 

Given the size of the room, you will likely be better off with a 5.1 or 5.2 setup  with better, matched speakers.  Getting the bass and sound right goes a long way to making a good movie experience...

 

 

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Hi Don, firstly your wife is a keeper and following her suggestion for the speakers matching aesthetically will give you a better long term result for overall sound quality too.


As a starting point have you considered applying the same theory to the front LCR speakers? Getting some synergy across the front three speakers will give you greater sonic benefits than anything you do above or behind you.

 

Monitor Audio will offer you some good options plus matching atmos speakers where needed. I’ve never heard a bad word about the silver series so seems like a pretty safe bet. MA have three floor standers and even the bookshelf 100s would work well for your L and R to match the centre you mentioned so you have options to suit any budget.

 

Once you get that right, maybe look at the matching in ceiling speakers they offer for atmos, put all that together and the wife will be happy and I have no doubt you will be too.

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Thanks guys I appreciate the comments. I've watched a few youtube videos including the ones above and can see the angles are quite critical as Home Theatre Guru points out. Making a lot of sense but could be difficult to achieve perfection in practice. That link to Dave's best speaker placement guide is also really helpful! Thanks Dave. I will re-position things accordingly and work on a more precise design but seems like the 5.1 to the 5.1.4 set up is a good starting point. Maybe adding the rears later on.

 

Thanks for the assurance on the MA Silver speakers. They are a little more pricey but I figure they will remain with us for the next fifteen years or so. The finish also seems very good and satisfies my wife's need for something attractive but subtle. 

 

I did look at the matching MA Left and Right fronts but my wife is quite happy with our Tannoys which are a very dark gloss oak wood colour and don't look out of place with our other decor. The sound is pretty good but I will try to audition the MA floor standers when I am at the store and perhaps can consider them in the future if I can hear an improvement. Otherwise I started out wanting Atmos speakers which evolved into surround speakers and then the centre speaker as well so my original budget as has already blown out by more than double!

Edited by don
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I was recently shopping for a complete 7.2.4 atmos speaker package in the same league as you are looking at. The Monitor Audio Silver and Dali Oberon series do look great for a modern home, especially the Dalis. I went with the dynamic wow factor of Krix speakers in their Blackwood real wood veneer even though their design is more conservative. The Neuphonix are close to full range for music and the centre is basically the same speaker laid on it's side. Their surrounds, on wall and in ceiling speakers are fantastic value, the IC50 is huge in real life and they offer a sealed back too for better isolation of sound and keeping creepy crawlies out of the speaker.

 

As @Hi-Fi Whipped has mentioned, I'd prioritise getting the LCR and surround speakers matching first, and if budget doesn't allow right now give the height channels a miss while you save up a little extra for the heights. Get the bones right before adding the cherry on top atmos speakers.

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Can you move your seats closer to the screen?

Your seating position sets the datum point for both speaker positions and the screen viewing angle. Currently, to get a THX recommended 40 degrees,( many experts recommend a wider 45 to 50 degrees) the screen would need to fill the entire wall. 

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18 hours ago, don said:

I also can't go built in ceiling speakers for ATMOS so I am stuck with the downward facing wall types.

 

Is this due to running of cables, or ceiling void constraints? Some brands offer on ceiling atmos speakers, and there are ways to run the cable, just requires some good plaster patching afterwards. I had to re-run an in ceiling HDMI cable to my projector in the last home when I upgraded to a 4k projector. I had to cut around 5 holes in the ceiling from memory and then attach the cut out plaster again. Wasn't too hard to get a good finish, but a painter or plasterer would do better.

 

 

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 The screen does fill the entire end wall so 

 

13 hours ago, cdave said:

G'day Don, your room is a similar size to mine with 7.1.4 :)

What size screen are you using?

 

1 hour ago, cdave said:

Can you move your seats closer to the screen?

Your seating position sets the datum point for both speaker positions and the screen viewing angle. Currently, to get a THX recommended 40 degrees,( many experts recommend a wider 45 to 50 degrees) the screen would need to fill the entire wall. 

The screen size does pretty much fill the entire back wall so measures approximately 3.5m across. It is probably one of the best things about the set up! Love the big screen. 

 

I agree I'd like to push the seating position forward but unfortunately this is a bit of a multi-purpose room with L-shaped lounge so there is quite a bit of comprimise to the optimal seating position. I can try and push it out a bit more but as mentioned my wife is more concerned with asthetics than practicalities of sound. With that said the current position with 7.1 tuned with Audyssey sounds pretty good but just hoping to take advantage of the great Atmos tracks that people have been talking about like Top Gun 1 & 2 and The Batman amongst others. Some overhead sounds would be a nice addition. 

 

33 minutes ago, blybo said:

 

Is this due to running of cables, or ceiling void constraints? Some brands offer on ceiling atmos speakers, and there are ways to run the cable, just requires some good plaster patching afterwards. I had to re-run an in ceiling HDMI cable to my projector in the last home when I upgraded to a 4k projector. I had to cut around 5 holes in the ceiling from memory and then attach the cut out plaster again. Wasn't too hard to get a good finish, but a painter or plasterer would do better.

I did consider in-ceiling height speakers, but yes, there is a bedroom above and the ceiling joists are 130mm which is too shallow for a lot of the in-ceiling atmos speakers, let alone running the cables. Although if anyone knows of a reasonable shallow atomos ceiling speaker I could revisit that option. There is also the concern of sound bleeding into the bedroom above and there are some noggins between the joists so I'd have to check with the snake whether or not I can get through those spots, but as you say I can always cut some extra holes where needed, but it is a more difficult option. 

 

Hence the wall mounted speakers seem like a better option and I should be able to run the cables through the cavity once I'm happy with the positioning.  

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10 minutes ago, don said:

Although if anyone knows of a reasonable shallow atomos ceiling speaker I could revisit that option.

here you go https://krix.com.au/ic-20/. Mounting depth of 86mm. They are also a closed back design to minimise sound bleeding to other rooms

 

Edited by blybo
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1 hour ago, don said:

 The screen does fill the entire end wall so 

 

 

The screen size does pretty much fill the entire back wall so measures approximately 3.5m across. It is probably one of the best things about the set up! Love the big screen. 

 

I agree I'd like to push the seating position forward but unfortunately this is a bit of a multi-purpose room with L-shaped lounge so there is quite a bit of comprimise to the optimal seating position. I can try and push it out a bit more but as mentioned my wife is more concerned with asthetics than practicalities of sound. With that said the current position with 7.1 tuned with Audyssey sounds pretty good but just hoping to take advantage of the great Atmos tracks that people have been talking about like Top Gun 1 & 2 and The Batman amongst others. Some overhead sounds would be a nice addition. 

 

I did consider in-ceiling height speakers, but yes, there is a bedroom above and the ceiling joists are 130mm which is too shallow for a lot of the in-ceiling atmos speakers, let alone running the cables. Although if anyone knows of a reasonable shallow atomos ceiling speaker I could revisit that option. There is also the concern of sound bleeding into the bedroom above and there are some noggins between the joists so I'd have to check with the snake whether or not I can get through those spots, but as you say I can always cut some extra holes where needed, but it is a more difficult option. 

 

Hence the wall mounted speakers seem like a better option and I should be able to run the cables through the cavity once I'm happy with the positioning.  

Monitor audio do slim ceiling speakers too 100mm depth

 

https://www.monitoraudio.com/en/product-ranges/slim/

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2 hours ago, blybo said:

here you go https://krix.com.au/ic-20/. Mounting depth of 86mm. They are also a closed back design to minimise sound bleeding to other rooms

 

 

1 hour ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Monitor audio do slim ceiling speakers too 100mm depth

 

https://www.monitoraudio.com/en/product-ranges/slim/

Thanks guys this is very tempting. I might just have to check how I can route the cables. This option was my original plan but I am still concerned with the sound in the upper room, what with it seperated by 19mm particle board and a bit of carpet. Anyone have any real life experience with these speakers and are the up to the standard of say the wall mounted ones?

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55 minutes ago, don said:

Thanks guys this is very tempting. I might just have to check how I can route the cables. This option was my original plan but I am still concerned with the sound in the upper room, what with it seperated by 19mm particle board and a bit of carpet. Anyone have any real life experience with these speakers and are the up to the standard of say the wall mounted ones?

 

You'll need some sort of box for Monitor Audio in ceiling speakers as the ones I looked at were infinite baffle. The Krix have an enclosed back so won't push nearly as much sound to the room above. Having said that even your floor mounted speakers will leak upstairs if volumes get too loud. My previous 7.2 system was below a spare bedroom, but my kids still complained as soon as I tried to turn up the wick, and I used Audyssey volume and ran my subs below the pre set volume.

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hmm let me guess a 150" 16:9 screen? (about 143" 2.35:1 when watching movies) thats why the couch cant be moved forward 🙂 in a similar but different boat going from a 123" 16:9 to a 154" 2.35:1 (poor front rowers at 3.3m haha)

 

i would skip the 7 bed speakers, seriously get the 5.2.4 set up, not going the 4 height is criminal in a 6m room. my 4.5m long x 2.4m has 5.1.4 so no excuse not to there.  i would not do in ceiling speakers even if you could, no flexibility should you change seating etc.

 

 

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17 hours ago, hopefullguy said:

hmm let me guess a 150" 16:9 screen? (about 143" 2.35:1 when watching movies) thats why the couch cant be moved forward 🙂 in a similar but different boat going from a 123" 16:9 to a 154" 2.35:1 (poor front rowers at 3.3m haha)

 

i would skip the 7 bed speakers, seriously get the 5.2.4 set up, not going the 4 height is criminal in a 6m room. my 4.5m long x 2.4m has 5.1.4 so no excuse not to there.  i would not do in ceiling speakers even if you could, no flexibility should you change seating etc.

 

 

Thanks for the encouragement! Can I ask where you've positioned your height speakers?

 

Yep, I just checked my old screen receipt and it is a motorised 150" 16:9, measuring approx 3.5m across. However, I'm thinking if I could do with moving forward another 0.5m to help with the angles as my prime listening position is currently at 1.4m from the rear wall which doesn't leave a lot of room for the surround backs or rear atmos height speakers. Although as you say above I might not need the surround backs, and rather go the 5.2.4 and move the surround sides a little bit behind the listening position and maybe even mount the rear atmos height speakers on the back wall in the corner (see below). My rearward low listening position would put the ht speaker at around 1.4m above the listening position at an angle of 44 degrees leaving about a further metre to the ceiling

 

At the moment I have to use a bean bag style seat which sits in front of the couch giving me the 1.4m but very low seating position (virtually on the floor) but it doesn't have any back support to comfortably move forward. If anyone knows any similar style low profile movable seats with back support let me know. 

 

I've been looking at my angles and have done some preliminary drawings. My ceilings are a little higher than I thought and even with a more conventional seat height it places my height channels on the wall. As you can see below I if I were to use the ceiling speakers the angles on the end view reaches 55 degree or more which I think is too steep according to the guide? So I think I am back to the wall mount.

Media Room Elevations.jpg

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It doesn't matter if you're top speakers are on the wall or the ceiling. It's just the angle to the listening position that matters, and to aim them at the listener.

In my first reply, the link to Dolby's best speaker placement guide, explains how the height of your surround speakers changes the angles to your top speakers.

 

So the process is:

 

1 Set your listening position, which sets your viewing and speaker angles. (Ideally a bit forward of your current position)

 

2 Postion your bed layer speakers.

(Sides 10 degrees behind and rears 45 degrees behind) 

 

3 Decide on the height of the surrounds to calculate the angles for your tops.

 

The hardest part is finding the Median listening position!

 

The closer I've been able to get my setup to the ideal angles described in the Dolby Studio guide pdf I linked to, the better it's sounded :)

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Thanks Dave, I've been looking at the Dolby diagrams and angles initially but I started reading that 60 page Dolby Atmos® Home Theater Installation Guidelines last night so I will update again soon. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to update I have purchased the Monitor Audio speakers:

  • 2 pairs Silver AMS 7G Dolby Atmos®
  • 1 pair Silver FX 7G Surrounds
  • 1 pair Silver 50 7G for Rears

These speakers come well recommended and satisfied my wife's asthetics and approval for gloss black. I'd considered the in-ceiling speakers but for various reasons went with the on-wall. The similar SVS prime elevation speakers have been getting good reviews so I think the Monitor Audio will be just as good with the slightly larger main driver. 

 

I spent quite a bit of time at Eastwood Hifi in Dural listening to these. They have an excellent set up there and even better prices for package and cash deals so I well recommend them. They also sell online but I suggest giving them a call if you need anything!

 

I was also considering the matching Silver C250 7G 3 way centre speaker which has 5.25", 3", 1" drivers. Nick told me to bring in my Paradigm Studio CC 590 v5 for comparison. The Silver 250 7G did sound great but I don't think you can expect it to have the dynamic range and sensitivity of the Paradigm which has 7", 4.5", 1" drivers and a lot more volume so I will stick with that for now. 

 

I am considering a B&W CM CENTRE 2 S2 in gloss black which seems more comparable to the Paradigm but I'm not able to audition it so if anyone is familiar with that speaker let me know. 

 

I will update again once I have them set up.

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2 minutes ago, don said:

I was also considering the matching Silver C250 7G 3 way centre speaker which has 5.25", 3", 1" drivers. Nick told me to bring in my Paradigm Studio CC 590 v5 for comparison. The Silver 250 7G did sound great but I don't think you can expect it to have the dynamic range and sensitivity of the Paradigm which has 7", 4.5", 1" drivers and a lot more volume so I will stick with that for now. 

 

I am considering a B&W CM CENTRE 2 S2 in gloss black which seems more comparable to the Paradigm but I'm not able to audition it so if anyone is familiar with that speaker let me know. 

is there some reason to pass over the paradigm studio if happy with it ? i see no reason to be changing to B&W ? unless its just the gloss back you are chasing. if its just colour change .. you can get speaker wrapped in gloss black if want.. any of the car detailers /wrap places will do this for you in gloss black of choice :)

 

ps am a prior paradigm cc570 owner myself.. awesome centre... who it lacked was perhaps the warmth of vocals some other speakers deliver.. eg when moved to focal mains .. i ended up finding that as clean and dynamic the paradigm was the focal centre was a much better match.. there might be something upper end in the monitor audio range that perhaps better suits your taste and a further step up if perhaps its what looking for. otherwise stick with the paradigm... ? 
 

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Yes, I thought of vinyl wrapping the paradigm in gloss black but can you believe it that my wife does not like the shape. She wants a rectangle so I'm thinking the B&W CM CENTRE 2 S2 in gloss black should match the Monitor Audios finish pretty good. 

 

I did consider the Monitor Audio Gold centre but it is very pricey but probably more comparable to the Paradigm. Otherwise with side-by-side listening I preferred the Paradigm over the Silver centre. Unfortunately, they didn't have the Gold available to audition. 

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11 minutes ago, don said:

Yes, I thought of vinyl wrapping the paradigm in gloss black but can you believe it that my wife does not like the shape. She wants a rectangle so I'm thinking the B&W CM CENTRE 2 S2 in gloss black should match the Monitor Audios finish pretty good. 

i just suspect the B&W cm is not really in the league of the paradigm... though i guess best to check out ...

 

11 minutes ago, don said:

I did consider the Monitor Audio Gold centre but it is very pricey but probably more comparable to the Paradigm. Otherwise with side-by-side listening I preferred the Paradigm over the Silver centre. Unfortunately, they didn't have the Gold available to audition. 

when i purchase the cc570 back in the day it did cost about the same of the gold centre there .. id keep a look out ... and ask for a discount if possible ... might be surprised :)

 

it also doesn't make sense that just as have got new mains you cant match up with a centre speaker from same brand ?  seems a bit of a shame really...

Edited by betty boop
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Yes, ideally I'd probably go for the matching Monitor Audio Silver floor standers and the Gold centre, but its a lot more expense and I do like my Tannoys, as does my wife so not really any approval to replace those as yet! Thanks for the tip on the B&W, I thought they were meant to be good but maybe not. I guess I could try it and then alway sell it if it doesn't fit in. 

 

Just getting back to the design, as you guys might have gathered I have decided to stick with the 7.2.4 set up as the additional cost was not much more with the silver bookshelf speakers as rears and I picked up an Arcam P85 to run my front speakers. So looking forward to listening to my front Tannoys in stereo mode. This leaves the remaining 9 channels for my AVR to power the remaining speakers. 

 

For my design I read the Dolby Atmos® Home Theater Installation Guidelines, but what I found the most help was this video from Home Theater Gurus. This home theatre design tool from Audio Advice was also useful:
https://www.audioadvice.com/home-theater-design

 

 

Although the guides refer to in ceiling atmos speakers I think there is enough there to get a reasonable set up. So this is what I ended up with. Let me know what you guys think and if you think I should change anything. 

Media Room Top.jpg

Media Room Elevations.jpg

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