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post #1 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Overthinking Atmos?

Hi. We converted a bedroom (11.5' wide x 15' long x 9' high) to use as a dedicated small home theatre. I ran speakers in the wall and ceiling while it was getting renovated. I'm not looking at "high end" by any means, but I also don't want crap.

I've picked up a Denon AVR-X3600H and 5x KEF T101 speakers and sub package. I think it sounds fine. The receiver supports 4 ceiling speakers for Atmos and I've already got the wiring. I could also add a couple of rear speakers and go 7.1.4 if I add a 2ch amp.

I start looking for ceiling speakers and I see reviews of $40/pr (all figures Canadian dollars) that make it sound like I can get away with that and be fine. But then I read people saying you "must" timbre-match or the universe ends. I can pick up KEF ceiling speakers on sale right now for $160/pr. That's within my budget, but I don't want to spend 4x as much if there's really no point.

I am *not* a huge audiophile. In fact, this will be my first surround system I've ever installed. I typically figure the TV's speakers suffice. I splurged on a Yamaha YSP2200 sound bar (when sound bars were just coming out) once and honestly couldn't really appreciate it over the TV speaker if it weren't for the sub.

Same question for the rears... do I need to get KEF T101s for the rears (I won't - the pair costs more than I got the whole 5.1 for on Black Friday) or can I buy some cheap-o satellites just to fill in that channel?

Put another way... am I *better* with my KEF 5.1 and leave it at that vs. 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 where the additional 4 or 6 speakers are lesser quality?

Thanks
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, and I also meant to ask... will I see any benefit to adding a 2nd sub? I wired for a 2nd one at the back of the room, but wonder if with the size of the room if it would be a complete waste.
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by s_mack View Post
Hi. We converted a bedroom (11.5' wide x 15' long x 9' high) to use as a dedicated small home theatre. I ran speakers in the wall and ceiling while it was getting renovated. I'm not looking at "high end" by any means, but I also don't want crap.

I've picked up a Denon AVR-X3600H and 5x KEF T101 speakers and sub package. I think it sounds fine. The receiver supports 4 ceiling speakers for Atmos and I've already got the wiring. I could also add a couple of rear speakers and go 7.1.4 if I add a 2ch amp.

I start looking for ceiling speakers and I see reviews of $40/pr (all figures Canadian dollars) that make it sound like I can get away with that and be fine. But then I read people saying you "must" timbre-match or the universe ends. I can pick up KEF ceiling speakers on sale right now for $160/pr. That's within my budget, but I don't want to spend 4x as much if there's really no point.

I am *not* a huge audiophile. In fact, this will be my first surround system I've ever installed. I typically figure the TV's speakers suffice. I splurged on a Yamaha YSP2200 sound bar (when sound bars were just coming out) once and honestly couldn't really appreciate it over the TV speaker if it weren't for the sub.

Same question for the rears... do I need to get KEF T101s for the rears (I won't - the pair costs more than I got the whole 5.1 for on Black Friday) or can I buy some cheap-o satellites just to fill in that channel?

Put another way... am I *better* with my KEF 5.1 and leave it at that vs. 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 where the additional 4 or 6 speakers are lesser quality?

Thanks
You do not need to timbre match *anything* but if you are going to do so, you still do not need to timbre match the ceiling speakers. Those speakers are 99% ambiance and quick sounds.

Timbre matching is most important, in my opinion, between the floor speakers only.

As for where your money is better spent, I'd say 5.1.4 is really good with 7.1.4 adding extremely little so you're better off with 5.1.4 with better quality speakers than 7.1.4. You can add satellites as the rear channels, yes.
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 09:49 PM
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I have a 7.x.6 system with all 13 identical speakers and you can definitely tell the improvement over 'mismatched' speakers.
So yes it is best to have identical or at least timbre matched speakers all round.


However is it a must ? No ! Like most things AV related, it can sound good no matter what you run until you hear something better


But if you can then you should match as closely as possible for the most cohesive and immersive soundfield.


And although Atmos speakers may not always be active and may be predominantly ambient sounds, you still want the best you can afford and/or fit. There are still a lot of times when there is a lot of discrete lower frequency signal sent to overhead speakers. You don't want a dragon/helicopter/bomb over head that sounds like a butterfly/drone/firecracker


From my interactions on this forum it seems to be that on-ceiling bookshelf speakers are preferred to in-ceiling speakers unless you are using top-tier in-ceilings - have you considered that option ?




5.x.4 with 9 matching speakers should be superior to 7.x.4 with mismatched speakers. So go 5.x.4 and add matching rear surrounds later if required and once funds are available.


2 subs will likely be superior to just one - it all depends on room size/shape and treatments and sub locations. General advice around here is to buy the best sub you can to start with and then save or a second one later. One good sub should be better than 2 crap/average ones until you get the second good one.

Last edited by niterida; 12-14-2019 at 09:53 PM.
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-14-2019, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by niterida View Post

And although Atmos speakers may not always be active and may be predominantly ambient sounds, you still want the best you can afford and/or fit. There are still a lot of times when there is a lot of discrete lower frequency signal sent to overhead speakers. You don't want a dragon/helicopter/bomb over head that sounds like a butterfly/drone/firecracker
I disagree with this. You're better off spending that same money to upgrade your center or left/right front. In fact, if there's a better center, you should spend that money on that until you have the best center possible then upgrade other speakers. For theater, I prioritize center, then sub, then left/right front, then surrounds, then rear surrounds then ceiling. I'd say a system with a $5000 center and $50x4 atmos speakers will sound better than a system with $1000 center and $1000x4 atmos speakers.

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post #6 of 15 Old 12-15-2019, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
I disagree with this. You're better off spending that same money to upgrade your center or left/right front. In fact, if there's a better center, you should spend that money on that until you have the best center possible then upgrade other speakers. For theater, I prioritize center, then sub, then left/right front, then surrounds, then rear surrounds then ceiling. I'd say a system with a $5000 center and $50x4 atmos speakers will sound better than a system with $1000 center and $1000x4 atmos speakers.
And I even more strongly disagree with the above, seeing that it places Atmos capability at a low level. @niterida has it nailed down correctly.

That example above.....now that's just not making much sense because anyone who would lay out $5k for a Center (high end KEF) isn't going to waffle on spending $150.00 / $200.00 on decent Atmos Seakers. Probably a LOT more. I know of some DefTech and KEF speakers that the $5K-Guy would drop some coin on in a heartbeat. All under $1K too.

Unless an austere budget rules all buying decisions, Atmos speakers should at minimum be chosen for the Future...because you had better believe that the amount of content, as well as the "mixed-in" volume and intensity is only going to get more and more extensive...and extended.

Consider all the individuals who felt the same way 1st with Rear Surround. Then came Center Rears...and considerably more content in what had become Side Surrounds.

Atmos is a extension of the older High-Wide &/or High Front Channels on so many pre-Atmos Receivers. Now it's called "Object Based"...why? Because it's easier to describe the mixed effects in terms of "Rain & Thunder"...Bullets and shells whizzing...Helicopters passing. The 1st and last items can have a tremendous amount of low end and mid-Bass frequency...as well as piercing mid-range, and you cannot send a Boy to do a Man's job when impactful effects are needed.

Certainly for some there are both limits and limited need....but when one starts describing Atmos systems in terms of 5.2.4 or 7.2.4, then the Atmos should take it's place as being something well considered vital for both the present and the future.

There are spectacular performing, positional Woofer/Tweeter 6.5" Ceiling Speakers with Bass porting that can be had for under $150 ea. Suggesting a $50.00 In-Ceiling is simply telling someone; "Buy some cheap crap now so you can spend more later, and lose your modest investment in the original choices."

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post #7 of 15 Old 12-15-2019, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh man... if I ever came home with a $5k speaker, it had better come with divorce papers already filled out!

I'm sure the KEF speakers I bought are far from "high end". All five plus the sub cost me C$600 (black Friday package).

I can get four KEF 6.5" ceilings on sale right now for another C$320. I think I'll go that route given what's been said here. Not cheap cheap, but still in budget and I'd say they are probably a good match for the T101s, no?

Thanks for the input.
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-15-2019, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by s_mack View Post
Oh man... if I ever came home with a $5k speaker, it had better come with divorce papers already filled out!

I'm sure the KEF speakers I bought are far from "high end". All five plus the sub cost me C$600 (black Friday package).

I can get four KEF 6.5" ceilings on sale right now for another C$320. I think I'll go that route given what's been said here. Not cheap cheap, but still in budget and I'd say they are probably a good match for the T101s, no?

Thanks for the input.

Dunno how close of a match they are - but I'm guessing they'll do you just fine. Why not call KEF support and see what they say?

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post #9 of 15 Old 12-15-2019, 10:11 PM
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Dunno how close of a match they are - but I'm guessing they'll do you just fine. Why not call KEF support and see what they say?
@s_mack ......or PM me with the model number and as a KEF-Direct Dealer I can give you the straight skinny on what to expect...and what not to as well.


4 - 6.5"ers for $320 seems like an awfully good deal on KEF, so I'm thinking you need to snacth 'em up fast!


BTW...virtually all KEFs are tonally matched...certainly more so than most since KEF places a high priority on aural quality.

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post #10 of 15 Old 12-15-2019, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
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@s_mack ......or PM me with the model number and as a KEF-Direct Dealer I can give you the straight skinny on what to expect...and what not to as well.
PM sent. Model number is CI160ER for the ceilings
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post #11 of 15 Old 12-15-2019, 10:17 PM
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If you only have one seat you really care about, then a single sub is fine. Otherwise, two, in diagonal corners from one another in a room like you describe, will help get more even response across multiple seats.

But if you can't swing the budget for two, get one now and one later. Personally, I'd get the second sub before going beyond 5 speakers, but that's just me, and there is a wow factor to putting in those overhead speakers (and you get that wow factor without spending a lot on the overheads).

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Originally Posted by s_mack View Post
Hi. We converted a bedroom (11.5' wide x 15' long x 9' high) to use as a dedicated small home theatre. I ran speakers in the wall and ceiling while it was getting renovated. I'm not looking at "high end" by any means, but I also don't want crap.

I've picked up a Denon AVR-X3600H and 5x KEF T101 speakers and sub package. I think it sounds fine. The receiver supports 4 ceiling speakers for Atmos and I've already got the wiring. I could also add a couple of rear speakers and go 7.1.4 if I add a 2ch amp.

I start looking for ceiling speakers and I see reviews of $40/pr (all figures Canadian dollars) that make it sound like I can get away with that and be fine. But then I read people saying you "must" timbre-match or the universe ends. I can pick up KEF ceiling speakers on sale right now for $160/pr. That's within my budget, but I don't want to spend 4x as much if there's really no point.

I am *not* a huge audiophile. In fact, this will be my first surround system I've ever installed. I typically figure the TV's speakers suffice. I splurged on a Yamaha YSP2200 sound bar (when sound bars were just coming out) once and honestly couldn't really appreciate it over the TV speaker if it weren't for the sub.

Same question for the rears... do I need to get KEF T101s for the rears (I won't - the pair costs more than I got the whole 5.1 for on Black Friday) or can I buy some cheap-o satellites just to fill in that channel?

Put another way... am I *better* with my KEF 5.1 and leave it at that vs. 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 where the additional 4 or 6 speakers are lesser quality?

Thanks
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post #12 of 15 Old 12-15-2019, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by s_mack View Post
PM sent. Model number is CI160ER for the ceilings

Absewlewtlye Killer units for that price. Specifically designed for Atmos too!

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post #13 of 15 Old 12-15-2019, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
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PM sent. Model number is CI160ER for the ceilings

Absewlewtlye Killer units for that price. Specifically designed for Atmos too!
good 'nuf 4 me! Thx
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post #14 of 15 Old 12-16-2019, 03:10 PM
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One or 2 pair overhead speakers, small room?

I have a small room appx 17' L x 11' W x 8' Hi, with side surrounds and back surrounds, and 1 pair of SVS elevation speakers at ceiling, about 30 degrees forward from MLP. (Also two subs, but that's not relevant to my inquiry). Is it worthwhile, given the small size of the room, to add another pair of overhead speakers? Or should I call it good and just sell the second pair of elevation speakers? Thanks for opinions/advice. Jack
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post #15 of 15 Old 12-16-2019, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bearr48 View Post
I have a small room appx 17' L x 11' W x 8' Hi, with side surrounds and back surrounds, and 1 pair of SVS elevation speakers at ceiling, about 30 degrees forward from MLP. (Also two subs, but that's not relevant to my inquiry). Is it worthwhile, given the small size of the room, to add another pair of overhead speakers? Or should I call it good and just sell the second pair of elevation speakers? Thanks for opinions/advice. Jack

My room is 16' long, and I've got front and rear overheads. Your idea works in my book. You've got the speakers, give it a go. More is better, you'll get the front-back pan more effectively with 4 speakers, not just the side-to side, so you'd be bringing in the 2nd axis by adding the other two. You don't want the two pairs squished too closely together though.

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