Originally Posted by Ellebob
You could do a little experiment. Get some speaker wire and extend your center speaker. Disconnect your other speakers and put your receiver in all channel stereo. Have one person stand on a ladder and one person in the sitting where you sit. Let's say 6 O'clock is the speaker aiming straight at the floor similar to a regular in ceiling speaker. Place the back of the speaker against the ceiling and then tilt it slightly towards the listener or about 7 o'clock that would 30 degrees and it still won't be directly aiming at the listener. To directly aim at the listener you would have to be more like 70 degrees or between 8 and 9 o'clock. See how it sounds and compare it to being placed on the mantle which would simulate the sound bar. You'll have your answer which you prefer. Towers or bookshelf speakers on stands would still be best but I understand about wanting a cleaner décor.
I was just experimenting with four different setups:
Configuration 1: All LCR simulating 30º in-ceiling speakers.
Configuration 2: All LCR simulating ~60" soundbar (i.e. GoldenEar SuperCinema XL).
Configuration 3: L & R fronts simulating 30º in-ceiling speakers with a matching center channel below the screen.
Configuration 4 (not pictured): L & R fronts simulating bookshelves to the sides of the fireplace at ear level.
*NOTE: The Logitech speakers each hung at 32-34 degrees. I didn't adjust them beyond that because I thought the difference was negligible. A true in-ceiling will be about 6-8" higher than the hanging speakers, so the location they're aimed at in the room would be about the same.
Rank (best to worst): 4, 3, 2, & 1. I went back and forth between all of them several times and will say that it wasn't a total blowout.
Configuration 1, simulating all 30º in-ceiling speakers did have a slightly higher sound. It didn't sound like the dialogue was coming from above the screen, but I will admit that if trying to pinpoint where it was coming from, it sounded like it was coming from above the screen, or at least above where peoples mouths are on the screen.
Configuration 2 & 3. Configuration 3 did have a slightly higher sound overall, but the center speaker being below the screen brought the dialogue back down to where it should be. I will say that the dialogue appeared to be coming from lower on the screen than the average character's on-screen mouth, but I guess without a speaker behind the screen it's never going to be perfect. Dialogue was better with the center below the screen versus above. With that said, the overall sound stage in configuration 3 had a much larger presence than configuration 2 and left/right sounds were much more distinguishable. As mentioned, configuration 3 did ever so slightly sound higher in the room, but it's overall sound stage presence pushed it past configuration 2.
Configuration 4, simulating a bookshelf on a stand did sound the best, but not much better than configuration 3. The sound stage didn't seem larger or better than configuration 3, but it did seem to bring the sound down to the proper level in the room.
On a side note, my wife found the sound from every configuration perfectly acceptable.
Conclusion: I'm nearly back to where I started. I'd like to run a 30º in-ceiling left and right front with a center channel on my mantle below the TV. The two primary in-ceiling speakers I'm considering are the Paradigm H-65A ($250ea) and the GoldenEar Invisa HTR 7000 ($500ea). Would either one match better with my Definitive Technology Mythos 7 center? I'm also willing to replace my center to something that would work well with either of those two ceiling speakers, but I'm limited to ~6" of depth and height on my mantle. I just purchased my Sony STR-DN1060 receiver and probably won't upgrade for a few years, at which time my little guy will be a little older; at that time I'd probably convert my two in-ceiling front speakers to front height Atmos and add some floors standing fronts.