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post #1 of 29 Old 08-16-2017, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Adding Front Height speakers for 9.1 Atmos/DTS:X

Hey all,

So my new Yamaha RX-A2060 will be here Friday to replace my Anthem MRX520. At the moment my setup is (3) Hsu CC8's for LCR and (2) SVS Prime Elevation speakers for surrounds. Room is 11x11x8, loveseat 3ft off back wall and dead middle between side walls with 3ft on each side. TV/LCR speakers are 7ft away from seating, with the Front Left and Right directly on side of TV and Center directly under TV at 24" high. The Surrounds are at exactly 90 degrees in relation to seating and 6ft high.

Along with the Yamaha I am getting a single SVS Ultra Surround that has two sets of speakers (that can be run independently) angled out to allow for Surround Back Left and Right from one mounting position directly behind the middle of my seating. So it'll be a very typical 7.1 setup in terms of height of speakers, angles, layout etc.

Now, I can't do on-ceiling or in-ceiling speakers for an x.x.2 Atmos setup with overheads. But reading the Yamaha manual, I can easily fit two Height speakers (they call them presence speakers) on the front wall up near the ceiling (so 8ft high), either directly above the Front L/R or slightly outside of them (closer to side walls) and since they would be another pair of SVS Elevations, they would easily be angled down towards the seating.

For object based Dolby Atmos and DTS:X tracks, would the heights positioned in this setup offer an uptick in envelopment that others routinely experience with those soundtracks? Or would it be nothing more than a glorified Dolby PLIIz setup of years past?

Thanks!

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post #2 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by BigCoolJesus View Post
Hey all,

So my new Yamaha RX-A2060 will be here Friday to replace my Anthem MRX520. At the moment my setup is (3) Hsu CC8's for LCR and (2) SVS Prime Elevation speakers for surrounds. Room is 11x11x8, loveseat 3ft off back wall and dead middle between side walls with 3ft on each side. TV/LCR speakers are 7ft away from seating, with the Front Left and Right directly on side of TV and Center directly under TV at 24" high. The Surrounds are at exactly 90 degrees in relation to seating and 6ft high.

Along with the Yamaha I am getting a single SVS Ultra Surround that has two sets of speakers (that can be run independently) angled out to allow for Surround Back Left and Right from one mounting position directly behind the middle of my seating. So it'll be a very typical 7.1 setup in terms of height of speakers, angles, layout etc.

Now, I can't do on-ceiling or in-ceiling speakers for an x.x.2 Atmos setup with overheads. But reading the Yamaha manual, I can easily fit two Height speakers (they call them presence speakers) on the front wall up near the ceiling (so 8ft high), either directly above the Front L/R or slightly outside of them (closer to side walls) and since they would be another pair of SVS Elevations, they would easily be angled down towards the seating.

For object based Dolby Atmos and DTS:X tracks, would the heights positioned in this setup offer an uptick in envelopment that others routinely experience with those soundtracks? Or would it be nothing more than a glorified Dolby PLIIz setup of years past?

Thanks!
You have two options when using Height speakers in a x.x.2 setup, either Front Heights as you've suggested (Yes the sound is better than the old PLIIZ format)
Or
Surround Heights, while not Dolby approved, many have had very good luck with this setup, you basically figure where your Top Middles would be positioned (within 1' forward or back of your MLP) and simply mount the speakers as Heights on the side walls even with that line, simply call them Top Middles.

Double check with your manual, the early Atmos Yamaha receivers only allowed for TM in a x.x.2 setup, so make sure it actually allows for FH in a x.x.2 setup, and they're not just for the Yamaha DSP modes.

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post #3 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ALtlOff View Post
You have two options when using Height speakers in a x.x.2 setup, either Front Heights as you've suggested (Yes the sound is better than the old PLIIZ format)
Or
Surround Heights, while not Dolby approved, Dionne have had very good luck with this setup, you basically figure where your Top Middles would be positioned (within 1' forward or back of your MLP) and simply mount the speakers as Heights on the side walls even with that line, simply call them Top Middles.

Double check with your manual, the early Atmos Yamaha receivers only allowed for TM in a x.x.2 setup, so make sure it actually allows for FH in a x.x.2 setup, and they're not just for the Yamaha DSP modes.
The Yamaha manual says using a 7.2.2 setup with front height speakers allows you to "enjoy Atmos and DTS:X" and states that such a setup is "ideal for enjoying the full effects of Atmos and DTS:X"

So I'd say that should be a green light for me to go forward with it?

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post #4 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Found a pair of Prime Satellites for under $270 open box so pulled the trigger.

For a smaller room like mine where seating is between the width of the front soundstage, is it better to keep the heights more in line with the Front Left and Right speakers rather than further out towards the side walls?

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post #5 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by BigCoolJesus View Post
The Yamaha manual says using a 7.2.2 setup with front height speakers allows you to "enjoy Atmos and DTS:X" and states that such a setup is "ideal for enjoying the full effects of Atmos and DTS:X"

So I'd say that should be a green light for me to go forward with it?

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They meant you can use front height (front presence) and mount them in/on the ceiling (overhead) in order to enjoy the full effect of Atmos/DTS:X.
If you mount it directly over the front speaker (front wall), it ain't going to get you anywhere.

I have 2 overhead speakers mounting above MLP on my ceiling and honestly, I am not that very impressed with the 3D sound. I can't image how my impression level will be if they installed in the front wall.
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post #6 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
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They meant you can use front height (front presence) and mount them in/on the ceiling (overhead) in order to enjoy the full effect of Atmos/DTS:X.
If you mount it directly over the front speaker (front wall), it ain't going to get you anywhere.

I have 2 overhead speakers mounting above MLP on my ceiling and honestly, I am not that very impressed with the 3D sound. I can't image how my impression level will be if they installed in the front wall.
That's not what they meant though. I'm looking at the diagram and it corresponds to front heights on the front wall specifically.

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post #7 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 09:49 AM
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That's not what they meant though. I'm looking at the diagram and it corresponds to front heights on the front wall specifically.

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Regardless of what Yamaha is trying to sell you, Dolby Atmos primary benefit is adding height front to back via sound above your listening position or refracted from the ceiling. Adding 2 height speakers directly above your mains will get you "some" perceived sound separation from your listening position however it is no where near optimal for Dolby Atmos tracks. Are the height speakers your adding upward firing? Secondly they also recommend lowering your surrounds to just above your listening position to achieve audible separation from the Atmos height speakers vs traditional surrounds. Always best to reference Dolby Atmos site for optimal speaker placement and positioning.

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post #8 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dbruce13 View Post
Regardless of what Yamaha is trying to sell you, Dolby Atmos primary benefit is adding height front to back via sound above your listening position or refracted from the ceiling. Adding 2 height speakers directly above your mains will get you "some" perceived sound separation from your listening position however it is no where near optimal for Dolby Atmos tracks. Always best to reference Dolby Atmos site for optimal speaker placement and positioning.
Which I also have. From what I've been told, along with various reviews (such as Hifi Digest), front heights for Atmos and DTS:X seem to utilize the object based sound formats fairly well.

Of course following reference layout of in ceiling speakers slightly forward of the MLP and behind the MLP for a true x.x.4 setup is the ideal. But as I said, that's not possible for this room.

Also. Not sure why you made a small dig towards Yamaha of trying to sell anything. Both Neural X and Dolby Surround are meant for upmixing content to use height speakers.

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post #9 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 10:01 AM
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Which I also have. From what I've been told, along with various reviews (such as Hifi Digest), front heights for Atmos and DTS:X seem to utilize the object based sound formats fairly well.

Of course following reference layout of in ceiling speakers slightly forward of the MLP and behind the MLP for a true x.x.4 setup is the ideal. But as I said, that's not possible for this room.

Also. Not sure why you made a small dig towards Yamaha of trying to sell anything. Both Neural X and Dolby Surround are meant for upmixing content to use height speakers.

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Wasn't a dig on Yamaha was really meant to point out their diagram may have been intended to reference upward firing height speakers or height speakers used in conjunction with other ceiling speakers etc. Either way running the EQ setup from Yamaha with whatever space constraints you have will be better than not having them at all. You may have more benefit pointing the heights towards the ceiling vs towards the listening position. You may want to tinker with it
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post #10 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Also, since making this thread last night and doing more Googling, I came across multiple Atmos setup pages with diagrams showing how to setup heights for Atmos (and also works for DTS X).

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post #11 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Wasn't a dig on Yamaha was really meant to point out their diagram may have been intended to reference upward firing height speakers or height speakers used in conjunction with other ceiling speakers etc. Either way running the EQ setup from Yamaha with whatever space constraints you have will be better than not having them at all.
Ah gotcha. No their diagram differentiates between those three scenarios. One is for front firing heights. Another diagram is for Dolby Enabled "up firing" speakers, and the third is for in ceiling speakers. From the manual, they also have you specify in the settings menu which exact setup is being utilized before running YPAO.

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post #12 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 10:47 AM
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Also, since making this thread last night and doing more Googling, I came across multiple Atmos setup pages with diagrams showing how to setup heights for Atmos (and also works for DTS X).
The DTS:X format doesn't have speakers located at the FHL/FHR & RHR/RHL locations in the diagram you posted (high up on the front & back walls). What DTS:X calls "heights" are located at 45 degrees elevation, where the TFL/TFR & TRL/TRR are in your diagram. Basically, DTS:X "heights" = Atmos "tops". Yamaha refers to "tops" as "overheads".

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post #13 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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The DTS:X format doesn't have speakers located at the FHL/FHR & RHR/RHL locations in the diagram you posted (high up on the front & back walls). What DTS:X calls "heights" are located at 45 degrees elevation, where the TFL/TFR & TRL/TRR are in your diagram. Basically, DTS:X "heights" = Atmos "tops". Yamaha refers to "tops" as "overheads".
Gotcha. Thanks.

So, in your opinion, if I'm adding two speakers for overall improvement between both object based formats and also upmixing via Dolby Surround and Neural X, should I stick with the Front Heights in my situation or should I try to make room to put them about 3ft forward of the MLP on the side walls near the ceiling aimed downwards towards the seating?

I can add pictures of the two spots I can use if that'll help.

Thanks!

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post #14 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 11:09 AM
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Speakers high up on the front wall will give the impression of a taller front soundstage but not the overhead effect that Atmos & DTS:X are aiming for. You know how spreading out a pair of speakers in front of you can create a soundstage between those speakers with distinct phantom imaging in front of you? IF you can mount a pair of speakers directly to your sides, as high up as possible on the side walls, the soundstage between those speakers will create phantom imaging above you. The speakers will be a little farther apart than Dolby recommends, but you still end up with the overhead effect WITHOUT mounting speakers in/on the ceiling.
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post #15 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Speakers high up on the front wall will give the impression of a taller front soundstage but not the overhead effect that Atmos & DTS:X are aiming for. You know how spreading out a pair of speakers in front of you can create a soundstage between those speakers with distinct phantom imaging in front of you? IF you can mount a pair of speakers directly to your sides, as high up as possible on the side walls, the soundstage between those speakers will create phantom imaging above you. The speakers will be a little farther apart than Dolby recommends, but you still end up with the overhead effect WITHOUT mounting speakers in/on the ceiling.
Thanks.

So here's the three spots I could use. The first picture is front height obviously.

The second picture shows where i can put the speaker on the side wall (red) or on the ceiling slightly closer to seating (about 1ft off side wall) aimed more down (blue).

The third picture helps show where the side wall and ceiling spots are in terms of seating... About 3ft in front of seating. You can also see the left surround in the third picture and where it would be in relation to the side/ceiling spots.

In the pictures is my ceiling fan directly in the middle of the ceiling, hence why in ceiling/on ceiling closer to seating isn't possible.

Your opinion (since I know you have A LOT of experience with sound setup), which would you choose? The only hesitation I had with looking at top "middle" placement on ceiling/side wall like this is people told me an x.x.2 traditional setup isn't worth it only x.x.4 is so I figured front height made more sense.

Thanks!

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post #16 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 11:53 AM
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The location I'd choose for the height speaker is where your surrounds already are (maybe mount the heights closer to the ceiling). 4 height speakers are better than 2, since they will let you hear left/right and front/back movement. But 2 height speakers are better than none, since they will at least give you a sense of sound above you. However, with your surrounds so close to the ceiling, might not be worth doing Atmos since you can't get the around-you vs above-you separation when all the speakers are at roughly the same height near the ceiling.

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post #17 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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The location I'd choose for the height speaker is where your surrounds already are (maybe mount the heights closer to the ceiling). 4 height speakers are better than 2, since they will let you hear left/right and front/back movement. But 2 height speakers are better than none, since they will at least give you a sense of sound above you. However, with your surrounds so close to the ceiling, might not be worth doing Atmos since you can't get the around-you vs above-you separation when all the speakers are at roughly the same height near the ceiling.
That was one of the reasons I was just going to do the front heights, the fact my surrounds are already "high up" so overhead noises might not separate from the surrounds since my ceiling is only 8ft high. To be fair, they are at head level when standing (6ft from ground) which is what I've always been told to use for surround placement.

Now, I can absolutely move my surround speakers lower to about 5ft from the ground, maybe even 4.5ft if you think that would help make the case for putting heights on the ceiling directly above them?



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Thanks.

So here's the three spots I could use. The first picture is front height obviously.

The second picture shows where i can put the speaker on the side wall (red) or on the ceiling slightly closer to seating (about 1ft off side wall) aimed more down (blue).

The third picture helps show where the side wall and ceiling spots are in terms of seating... About 3ft in front of seating. You can also see the left surround in the third picture and where it would be in relation to the side/ceiling spots.

In the pictures is my ceiling fan directly in the middle of the ceiling, hence why in ceiling/on ceiling closer to seating isn't possible.

Your opinion (since I know you have A LOT of experience with sound setup), which would you choose? The only hesitation I had with looking at top "middle" placement on ceiling/side wall like this is people told me an x.x.2 traditional setup isn't worth it only x.x.4 is so I figured front height made more sense.

Thanks!

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My top front Atmos speakers are pretty close to your sidewall location, 2nd pic blue circle. Works well, not as accurate positioning as a couple of demo rooms I've heard but not far off.

I tried front height (and top rear) initially but it was a bit disappointing, I tried side mounting before giving up on Atmos and found it a huge improvement. The helicopter test is a bit wide and oval sounding but much much better than the heights position.

I couldn't ceiling mount in the right places due to a floating ceiling.
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post #19 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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My top front Atmos speakers are pretty close to your sidewall location, 2nd pic blue circle. Works well, not as accurate positioning as a couple of demo rooms I've heard but not far off.

I tried front height (and top rear) initially but it was a bit disappointing, I tried side mounting before giving up on Atmos and found it a huge improvement. The helicopter test is a bit wide and oval sounding but much much better than the heights position.

I couldn't ceiling mount in the right places due to a floating ceiling.
So yours are mounted on the ceiling but only about a foot or two off the side wall? About how far forward from your seating are they? And are they pointed pretty sharply down towards the seating?

How high is your ceiling and how high are your side surrounds speakers from the floor?

Sorry for all the questions but obviously want to get this right

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Thanks.

So here's the three spots I could use. The first picture is front height obviously.

The second picture shows where i can put the speaker on the side wall (red) or on the ceiling slightly closer to seating (about 1ft off side wall) aimed more down (blue).

The third picture helps show where the side wall and ceiling spots are in terms of seating... About 3ft in front of seating. You can also see the left surround in the third picture and where it would be in relation to the side/ceiling spots.

In the pictures is my ceiling fan directly in the middle of the ceiling, hence why in ceiling/on ceiling closer to seating isn't possible.

Your opinion (since I know you have A LOT of experience with sound setup), which would you choose? The only hesitation I had with looking at top "middle" placement on ceiling/side wall like this is people told me an x.x.2 traditional setup isn't worth it only x.x.4 is so I figured front height made more sense.

Thanks!

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Now, I can absolutely move my surround speakers lower to about 5ft from the ground, maybe even 4.5ft if you think that would help make the case for putting heights on the ceiling directly above them?

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Thanks Sanjay ( @sdurani ) for clearing up what I was trying to say.

@BigCoolJesus , do the above...
Move your surrounds down as close to ear level as possible, then mount your other speakers preferably where the blue squares are, but if not, the red circles.

Front Heights "Only" should really only be used when you have no other choice (big open great room), and this is because, if you have no other choice, x.x.2 with Front Heights is still a better experience than PLIIz with Front Heights.
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Thanks Sanjay ( @sdurani ) for clearing up what I was trying to say.

@BigCoolJesus , do the above...
Move your surrounds down as close to ear level as possible, then mount your other speakers preferably where the blue squares are, but if not, the red circles.

Front Heights "Only" should really only be used when you have no other choice (big open great room), and this is because, if you have no other choice, x.x.2 with Front Heights is still a better experience than PLIIz with Front Heights.
Thanks.

Should I mount the speakers directly above (in line) with my surrounds so they are directly to the side of my seating or still put them a foot or two forward of the seating?

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post #22 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 01:32 PM
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Thanks.

Should I mount the speakers directly above (in line) with my surrounds so they are directly to the side of my seating or still put them a foot or two forward of the seating?

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Honestly, it relay won't matter, my personal preference is....
Directly above you seated ears in a 7.1.2 setup and about 1' forward of that in a 5.1.2.

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Honestly, it relay won't matter, my personal preference is....
Directly above you seated ears in a 7.1.2 setup and about 1' forward of that in a 5.1.2.
Thanks!

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So yours are mounted on the ceiling but only about a foot or two off the side wall? About how far forward from your seating are they? And are they pointed pretty sharply down towards the seating?

How high is your ceiling and how high are your side surrounds speakers from the floor?

Sorry for all the questions but obviously want to get this right

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A foot at most from the wall, ceilings are ~9ft, speakers are angled down a little from aiming at the mlp sofa due to limits of the brackets.

Front top is about 4 feet forward of the sofa, about 1\3 of the way to the L&R. I can look up the angles that YPAO measured tomorrow when I'm home from working abroad.

It's a little closer to the mlp that it should be for top front so probably ideal for 7.1.2 but my top rear are exactly right at the edges of my bay window.

Front heights were a bit meh, but this arrangement is pretty good.

The front tops are wider apart than rear tops and wider than L&R which is apparent in the demo sequences but less of an issue in real films. Even Gravity atmos version works well. I did have to set my crossover quite high for the ceiling mounted speakers because there's an unwelcome resonance at 147Hz, crossover at 120Hz and YPAO eq fixes it well enough.
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post #25 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all.

Just finished relocating my surround speakers. They are now at 4.5ft off the ground. And I will get the overhead speakers as close to the seating on the ceiling I can without hitting the ceiling fan but also having ample angling room.

Excited!

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post #26 of 29 Old 08-18-2017, 03:28 PM
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I have a similar question to OP. I am currently running a 7.1 setup, but the rear surrounds are mounted at the top of the wall angling downward to the MLP (Can't move them). I want to add front heights as well as overhead speakers. However, if I were to add the overheads as rear overheads, I feel they would be too close to the rear surrounds and somewhat useless. Specifically on the Yamaha A3070, if I add front heights I can only add rear overheads, designed to be placed slightly behind the MLP. If I add front heights and overheads slightly in front of the MLP but set them to rear overheads, will the overhead effect of Atmos be totally off since it supposed to be coming from behind me?
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post #27 of 29 Old 08-18-2017, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoySauceWDF View Post
I have a similar question to OP. I am currently running a 7.1 setup, but the rear surrounds are mounted at the top of the wall angling downward to the MLP (Can't move them). I want to add front heights as well as overhead speakers. However, if I were to add the overheads as rear overheads, I feel they would be too close to the rear surrounds and somewhat useless. Specifically on the Yamaha A3070, if I add front heights I can only add rear overheads, designed to be placed slightly behind the MLP. If I add front heights and overheads slightly in front of the MLP but set them to rear overheads, will the overhead effect of Atmos be totally off since it supposed to be coming from behind me?
How big is your room, and you absolutely set on a 7 channel ear level layer. It would be very easy to simply add Front Heights and use your current rears as Rear Heights in a 5.1.4 setup.

*Warning* None of my suggestions, ideas or even thoughts have any WAF, in any way!
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post #28 of 29 Old 08-19-2017, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALtlOff View Post
How big is your room, and you absolutely set on a 7 channel ear level layer. It would be very easy to simply add Front Heights and use your current rears as Rear Heights in a 5.1.4 setup.
My room is fairly small, 12.5'L x 11.5'W. I do want to keep the 7 channel ear level layer. What I think I might do is place the "rear" overheads directly over the MLP (lengthwise, they would be off the side) or VERY slightly back from the MLP.
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post #29 of 29 Old 08-19-2017, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoySauceWDF View Post
I am currently running a 7.1 setup, but the rear surrounds are mounted at the top of the wall angling downward to the MLP (Can't move them). I want to add front heights as well as overhead speakers. However, if I were to add the overheads as rear overheads, I feel they would be too close to the rear surrounds and somewhat useless.
Consider using your current rear surrounds as rear overheads. With your current set-up, sounds that were intended to come from behind you are instead coming from above you. Those speakers are at the wrong locations to give the intended directionality. However, they're much closer to the recommended locations for rear overhead or middle overhead speakers in a 5.1.4 layout. And you're just one pair of speakers (front heights) away from achieving that layout. If you're doing an immersive audio set-up, you wouldn't place the height speakers at ear level; likewise you shouldn't place your surrounds overhead. If you already have speakers overhead, then use them as heights rather than surrounds.

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