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post #1 of 31 Old 02-05-2017, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Dolby Atmos Purchasing Help

Hi. I'm recently have become interested in installing Dolby Atmos to my home setup because Sky plan to roll it out to their tv channels this year. I already have a 5.1 Samsung surround sound setup I brought 7 years ago. I initially thought I would have to purchase a new set of speakers but I've heard that I could potentially add speakers to my existing setup. Could someone explain to me exactly how this process works and direct me to any product examples? Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 31 Old 02-05-2017, 07:34 PM
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You can add either upward firing speakers to the front (and rear) or install downward firing speakers from your ceiling. They only need frequencies at 150Hz and up as well so a mid/tweeter combo is perfect. There are some rather affordable options - such as the Elac A4 which is $229 USD a pair.


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post #3 of 31 Old 02-05-2017, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asdfgh123 View Post
Hi. I'm recently have become interested in installing Dolby Atmos to my home setup because Sky plan to roll it out to their tv channels this year. I already have a 5.1 Samsung surround sound setup I brought 7 years ago. I initially thought I would have to purchase a new set of speakers but I've heard that I could potentially add speakers to my existing setup. Could someone explain to me exactly how this process works and direct me to any product examples? Thanks for your help.
Yes, you can simply add to you current system, you don't "need" all new speakers.

What you will need is an Atmos capable receiver and either upfiring modules for your current speakers, speakers you can mount high on your walls as Height Speakers or in-ceiling/on-ceiling speakers that you can mount for Top/Overhead speakers.
And your 5.1 speakers really need to be at ear level or close, in-ceiling speakers really should only be used for the overhead layer, you want separation between the two layers.
As far as product examples for the speakers, except for upfiring speaker modules, any speaker that will handle the signal from 80-100Hz or lower will work.
Also except for upfiring modules your speaker choices will really depend on budget, aesthetics, size for installation and if you want something that matches in timbre or not.

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post #4 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ALtlOff View Post
Yes, you can simply add to you current system, you don't "need" all new speakers.

What you will need is an Atmos capable receiver and either upfiring modules for your current speakers, speakers you can mount high on your walls as Height Speakers or in-ceiling/on-ceiling speakers that you can mount for Top/Overhead speakers.
And your 5.1 speakers really need to be at ear level or close, in-ceiling speakers really should only be used for the overhead layer, you want separation between the two layers.
As far as product examples for the speakers, except for upfiring speaker modules, any speaker that will handle the signal from 80-100Hz or lower will work.
Also except for upfiring modules your speaker choices will really depend on budget, aesthetics, size for installation and if you want something that matches in timbre or not.
Hi. Thanks for both of your replies. Do upfiring speakers provide noticeably better sound because I'm not convinced that reflecting sound off the ceiling would be that good but at the same time I don't really want to install in-ceiling speakers either. Is there any software to help me self calibrate these speakers too in the event I do buy upfiring speakers? Thanks again.
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post #5 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 02:37 PM
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Your atmos-compatible receiver should help calibrate them to your room.


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post #6 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asdfgh123 View Post
Hi. Thanks for both of your replies. Do upfiring speakers provide noticeably better sound because I'm not convinced that reflecting sound off the ceiling would be that good but at the same time I don't really want to install in-ceiling speakers either. Is there any software to help me self calibrate these speakers too in the event I do buy upfiring speakers? Thanks again.
The general consensus has been that in most cases using upfiring speakers should be the last of the three options, they require a flat ceiling between 7-14' high and near perfect placement to get a decent effect.
The other option besides upfiring and in-ceiling is Height Speaker, mounted on the wall at ceiling height. This is where smaller satellite speakers can really shine aesthetically.
As far as room correction, the Atmos AVR's built in room connection takes the Atmos speakers into consideration as well.

Honestly your first decision is going to be, how many speakers would you like to run overhead 2 or 4 (thinking your staying with a 5 channel lower layer) while a 4 speaker upper layer will give you the best experience, some people's rooms just won't allow for it.

If you could post up a diagram of your room, it would help in determining your options.

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post #7 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asdfgh123 View Post
Hi. I'm recently have become interested in installing Dolby Atmos to my home setup because Sky plan to roll it out to their tv channels this year. I already have a 5.1 Samsung surround sound setup I brought 7 years ago. I initially thought I would have to purchase a new set of speakers but I've heard that I could potentially add speakers to my existing setup. Could someone explain to me exactly how this process works and direct me to any product examples? Thanks for your help.
First things first.

You NEED a new receiver if you're still using the one that came with your original set.

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post #8 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for my lack of knowledge about these speakers but would someone be able to link me to an example of height speakers please as I can't seem to come across any.
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post #9 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 06:42 PM
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If your Samsung setup is a Home Theater In a Box (Most Were), you "MAY" be able to use your speakers, but you will need at minimum a new receiver. I would agree with ALtlOff. Before you set out to buy the latest and greatest, map out your room, decide on speaker placements and gather your room dimensions and any potential limiting factors in speaker placement.

Also keep in mind, HTIB systems generally were more centered around low cost. You can almost always get a acoustic experience by spending just a little bit more on separate gear! Be patient, often you find fantastic deals on Klipsch Bookshelves & center channels at Best Buy. Keep an eye on slickdeals. If you're patient, you can piece together a great entry Atmos system for less than a HTIB!
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post #10 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 06:45 PM
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Sorry for my lack of knowledge about these speakers but would someone be able to link me to an example of height speakers please as I can't seem to come across any.
No problem, we all started from scratch...
Technically for this application, a Height Speaker is "Any" speaker you mount high on the wall, bookshelf speaker, satellite speaker, doesn't matter, if you can get it mounted up near the ceiling, it's a Height Speaker. (Height is simply referring to it's mounting location)
But... SVS does offer a speaker designed to be mounted up near or on the ceiling, they call it their Prime Elevation speaker.

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To directly answer your question, google "Dolby Atmos Enabled". That should get you started. Again, there's a lot more to it than just slamming new speakers in. When picking a new speaker set, you'll want to try to keep the brand and series together, this keeps your sound matched across all sound fields.

The recommendation is almost always to get out of the HTIB world. There are some really nifty speakers out there that have integrated height modules, like the Klipsch RP-280FA. No need to buy a second pair of speakers!
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post #12 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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No problem, we all started from scratch...
Technically for this application, a Height Speaker is "Any" speaker you mount high on the wall, bookshelf speaker, satellite speaker, doesn't matter, if you can get it mounted up near the ceiling, it's a Height Speaker. (Height is simply referring to it's mounting location)
But... SVS does offer a speaker designed to be mounted up near or on the ceiling, they call it their Prime Elevation speaker.
Oh that explains why I couldn't find any as I was literally searching 'height speakers'. I've just picked out a random product from richersounds.com, such as the KEF ATMOS speakers (sorry can't post URL's yet) , so would I be able to use them as height speakers by mounting them near the ceiling? Also, if that is possible, am I able to tell the AV receiver that these are mounted near the ceiling as opposed to them being upfiring speakers?
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post #13 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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To directly answer your question, google "Dolby Atmos Enabled". That should get you started. Again, there's a lot more to it than just slamming new speakers in. When picking a new speaker set, you'll want to try to keep the brand and series together, this keeps your sound matched across all sound fields.

The recommendation is almost always to get out of the HTIB world. There are some really nifty speakers out there that have integrated height modules, like the Klipsch RP-280FA. No need to buy a second pair of speakers!
Thanks for your reply. I'm assuming these kinds of products like the Klipsch you've mentioned still suffer from the disadvantages of using upfiring speakers? Do these upfiring speakers still give noticeably better sound? My ceiling is roughly 4 metres high and made of plasterboard.
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post #14 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 08:39 PM
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Oh that explains why I couldn't find any as I was literally searching 'height speakers'. I've just picked out a random product from richersounds.com, such as the KEF ATMOS speakers (sorry can't post URL's yet) , so would I be able to use them as height speakers by mounting them near the ceiling? Also, if that is possible, am I able to tell the AV receiver that these are mounted near the ceiling as opposed to them being upfiring speakers?
This may get confusing but I'll try.
Anything that you find listed as an "Atmos" speaker is going to be either an upfiring module or a speaker with an another upfiring speaker built in. Problem with using an "official Atmos" upfiring module is that in order for a manufacturer to use the Atmos name, the speaker had to be designed to Dolby spec, which includes frequency limiting to help aide in its reflective qualities, as an upfiring or Dolby enabled speaker, this isn't a problem since those signals are also frequency limited by that setting in the AVR. Where as the signal from the AVR for a Height or Top (overhead) speaker is not limited by anything but your crossover. (This is why some mfg's like SVS didn't use the Atmos name and called their speakers something else, elevation for example, they are not internally limited)
So if it's at all possible, you don't want to use an upfiring module as a Height Speaker.
But...
After reading the above posts I have a thought, if your system is an old HTIB, what you may consider doing is looking for better quality Fronts and Surrounds, and then repurpose your old HTIB speakers as your Heights, just to start out with, since they probably aren't that physically large. This would give you a much better experience than decent heights and HTIB main speakers.

And yes, once you get the Atmos receive you can set it for the location that the speaker is actually in or near.

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Yes, any upward firing speaker will be restricted to the same ceiling guidelines. If your ceiling is 12 feet, you're right at the height where upward firing work well. As long as your ceiling is flat, you could easily get away with either. Some of the upward firing modules (Klipsch RP-140SA) also have a wall mount, and are able to act as a downward firing or surround speaker as well. Best scenario is a direct firing speaker, but if your room won't allow you to get speakers up there or the spousal approval factor gets in the way, there's nothing wrong with reflective speakers. If you haven't been to Dolby's site yet, I would highly suggest taking a look at the configurations that are available (5.1.2, 5.1.4, 7.1.2, 7.1.4). The first number is denoting the "bed" soundtrack, or the standard 5.1 or 7.1 configuration we are all used to. The final number denotes how many overhead speakers. Therefore 5.1.4 is stating there is a 5.1 system with 4 ceiling (or reflective) ceiling speakers. When selecting the configuration, keep in mind that you're not only spending more money on speakers, you may need to spend more on a receiver that supports the configuration.

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/sp...tup/index.html

After you decide what configuration you want to use, you need to settle on what your budget is. A good entry level 5.1.2 system will start at somewhere around $1500-$2000. 7.1.4 easily runs north of $7500.00.

A really good way to start down the path of Atmos is to build your system over time, specifically if cost is an issue. It's often best to start out with just the base 5.1 system and a good receiver and work your way up! Edit: Repurposing some of your HTIB speakers may be a great way to get Atmos on a budget

Good luck!

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Thanks ALtlOff and jcoultas. This is making a lot more sense now. Just to confirm, this means that I could potentially use any suitable speaker as height speakers for use with Dolby Atmos even if it isn't Dolby Atmos enabled? Which speakers from the HTIB set should I use as the height speakers?
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How do I determine if my Pioneer AVR (SC-1523-K) is Dolby Atmos compatible? The specs say: Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio, and DTS Neo:X.

If so, could I simply purchase the Klipsch RP-140SA elevation speakers and add to the front height setup?

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Dolby Atmos Purchasing Help

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Originally Posted by LuckyBogey View Post
How do I determine if my Pioneer AVR (SC-1523-K) is Dolby Atmos compatible? The specs say: Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio, and DTS Neo:X.

If so, could I simply purchase the Klipsch RP-140SA elevation speakers and add to the front height setup?


Seems to not be Dolby Atmos capable. You would unfortunately need a new AVR. A shame really because otherwise it looks quite nice. I would probably hold off until the 3D audio market stabilizes a bit more anyway. With DTSX just now hitting the scene and all.


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post #19 of 31 Old 02-07-2017, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by asdfgh123 View Post
Thanks ALtlOff and jcoultas. This is making a lot more sense now. Just to confirm, this means that I could potentially use any suitable speaker as height speakers for use with Dolby Atmos even if it isn't Dolby Atmos enabled? Which speakers from the HTIB set should I use as the height speakers?
That is correct. The connection and speaker requirements for a height speaker are not any different from any other speaker. While it obviously doesn't make sense to mount a tower speaker above your head, there isn't any technical reason you could not do so. So in your case, yes, you can re-purpose those HTIB speakers. The ONLY thing to be careful about there is to make sure they are 4-8 ohm load. HTIB systems are notorious for using 16 ohm speakers. Using speakers outside of 4-8 ohms can place unnecessary strain on your electronics. While it's no guarantee you'll actually damage anything, it's not a risk I personally would be willing to take to save a couple hundred bucks.
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Seems to not be Dolby Atmos capable. You would unfortunately need a new AVR.
Thanks Mort. Much appreciative.

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post #21 of 31 Old 02-07-2017, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by asdfgh123 View Post
Thanks ALtlOff and jcoultas. This is making a lot more sense now. Just to confirm, this means that I could potentially use any suitable speaker as height speakers for use with Dolby Atmos even if it isn't Dolby Atmos enabled? Which speakers from the HTIB set should I use as the height speakers?
Just a suggestion. If you're going to buy speakers anyway, You can get a really nice pair of RBH R5Bi speakers for $225 a pair, you can get a 3rd to use as a center for $112.50 more. Use the R5BI as your mains and move your HTIB speakers to height channels. You'll have greatly upgraded an much better sounding setup for about the same as you were willing to spend on atmos speakers.
https://rbhsound.com/r5bi.php

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Just a suggestion. If you're going to buy speakers anyway, You can get a really nice pair of RBH R5Bi speakers for $225 a pair, you can get a 3rd to use as a center for $112.50 more. Use the R5BI as your mains and move your HTIB speakers to height channels. You'll have greatly upgraded an much better sounding setup for about the same as you were willing to spend on atmos speakers.
https://rbhsound.com/r5bi.php
Before making any purchasing decision, I would highly recommend auditioning. All speakers have different characteristics and you should always pick them based upon your personal taste. If you have a nice audio shop near you, go listen there, otherwise walk into a Best Buy and commandeer their listening room. Spend at least 30 minutes listening to things YOU like. Bring some CDs that you know well. You'll naturally gravitate towards a speaker line you like. Don't let the salespeople steer your decision, and don't let price dictate everything. It's worth spending a bit more to get something you really like!

(Not at all saying RBH, or any other brand is better than another)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asdfgh123 View Post
Hi. I'm recently have become interested in installing Dolby Atmos to my home setup because Sky plan to roll it out to their tv channels this year. I already have a 5.1 Samsung surround sound setup I brought 7 years ago. I initially thought I would have to purchase a new set of speakers but I've heard that I could potentially add speakers to my existing setup. Could someone explain to me exactly how this process works and direct me to any product examples? Thanks for your help.
Greetings,
You have gotten great advice here, so ill just be adding what i can to it. I agree with those that have said it already...audition, audition, audition. Go to stores in your area, take your own content you are familiar with, and find out what you like.
For receivers, get the cheapest one you need that will be capable of doing everything you need it to, features and all that (wifi, Bluetooth, atmos capable obviously lol, etc.).
The suggestion to buy better speakers for your front 3 speakers and use your HTiB speakers for atmos is a good idea to save some $$$.
I do suggest that you go for 5.1.4 setup, i have found it does a better job of providing that encompassing bubble of sound that one is looking for with atmos. That is my configuration and it sounds amazing.
Also, if you really wanted to up the ante with your system...id suggest investing in a great subwoofer. This suggestion is assuming that the one you have is still the one from the HTiB that you have. You could be amazed at the improvements of making that one improvement, let alone going from HTiB to 5.1.4 Atmos.

Good luck.

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sorry to just jump in but I have a similar question about Atmos set-ups. I realize there are a lot of variables but to keep it simple:

Would it be better to use height speakers or in ceiling speakers in a 18'x16' living room with 17' ceiling (possibly higher if vaulted). Open floor plan makes overall room 40'x16' but only the living room will have the high ceiling.

Or am i better off next getting a better 5.2 system in my case?
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post #25 of 31 Old 02-07-2017, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgarc View Post
sorry to just jump in but I have a similar question about Atmos set-ups. I realize there are a lot of variables but to keep it simple:

Would it be better to use height speakers or in ceiling speakers in a 18'x16' living room with 17' ceiling (possibly higher if vaulted). Open floor plan makes overall room 40'x16' but only the living room will have the high ceiling.

Or am i better off next getting a better 5.2 system in my case?
I vote for better 5.2 setup. IMO, It's much more enjoyable to have a really good sounding 5.1 setup before even considering atmos. I think your ceiling height may not be ideal for atmos, but I'm no expert.

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post #26 of 31 Old 02-07-2017, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GiTcHaSuM View Post
Greetings,
You have gotten great advice here, so ill just be adding what i can to it. I agree with those that have said it already...audition, audition, audition. Go to stores in your area, take your own content you are familiar with, and find out what you like.
For receivers, get the cheapest one you need that will be capable of doing everything you need it to, features and all that (wifi, Bluetooth, atmos capable obviously lol, etc.).
The suggestion to buy better speakers for your front 3 speakers and use your HTiB speakers for atmos is a good idea to save some $$$.
I do suggest that you go for 5.1.4 setup, i have found it does a better job of providing that encompassing bubble of sound that one is looking for with atmos. That is my configuration and it sounds amazing.
Also, if you really wanted to up the ante with your system...id suggest investing in a great subwoofer. This suggestion is assuming that the one you have is still the one from the HTiB that you have. You could be amazed at the improvements of making that one improvement, let alone going from HTiB to 5.1.4 Atmos.

Good luck.

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Assuming he has an AVR with either pre-outs or 9 channel processing. If it doesn't, a better front 3 would be a much more noticeable upgrade.

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post #27 of 31 Old 02-07-2017, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
Assuming he has an AVR with either pre-outs or 9 channel processing. If it doesn't, a better front 3 would be a much more noticeable upgrade.
I would agree that 5.1.4 is a significant jump in imaging. Receivers with 9 channels jump significantly in cost. More important than getting an AVR with 9 channels of amplification, is making sure the receiver can process 5.1.4, even if it only has enough onboard amps for 5.1.2. You can always connect another 2 channel amp later!
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post #28 of 31 Old 02-07-2017, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi. I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who's contributed to this forum. I really appreciate the help. I am prepared to replace my HTIB so I'm wondering what speakers would you recommend for a 5.1.4 setup (don't mind whether they are height speakers or Dolby Atmos Enabled speakers). Aesthetics are important for me so ideally the speakers look good in black. I don't have a budget as such but ideally they would be less than £1200 minus the cost of the receiver (or $1200 annoyingly as that's how the currency conversion works for these kinds of products). Thanks.
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post #29 of 31 Old 02-08-2017, 10:53 AM
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Again, my recommendation is to listen for yourself. People will give you their opinions all day, but there isn't a "right" answer.

I am a huge advocate of buying speakers second hand. Speakers will outlive electronics 5 times over. For your budget new I would probably recommend you take a listen to the Definitive Tech ProCinema 1000 set with 4 additional height satellites.

Used, on the other hand, opens up a huge world of possibilities. On craigslist right now by me is a full 7.1 Definitive Tech BP2000 set for 1500.00 The new retail was close to 5000. There is a Klipsch Synergy 5.1 set (Upper entry level) for 600.00. Retail would have been somewhere around 2000. Not much has changed in speaker technology in the past 15 years. Remember, there is no reason you can't use a 30 year old speaker for Atmos.

When purchasing used gear, you'll want to ensure none of the drivers are blown. You will want to listen to music at a moderate volume and make sure there is no scratchy sound coming from any of the speakers. It's worthwhile to note that powered sub woofers do contain amps and electronics.

Some of my personal speaker likes that will fall in your price range are: Definitive Technology BP series, Klipsch Reference, KEF Q, Boston Acoustics (VRA from the mid 2000s), Infinity Interlude (IL series). Again personal preferences, 10 people will give you 10 separate preferences. My only two pieces of advice with my list is the following: Definitive Tech BP speakers LOOOOVE power, i would not recommend matching them with a entry or mid level receiver. Klipsch Speakers are very very efficient. You can drive them very well with an entry level receiver.
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post #30 of 31 Old 02-08-2017, 01:17 PM
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I'm kind of in the same boat as you. I have a fairly decent 5.1 system for my purposes. I use a Boston Acoustics 8000 series Micro 80 satellite system. It has outlasted all my other components including my second AVR Pioneer vsx 1021 k (UE22 error). I loved these speakers but i want to upgrade the system for my new larger living room. I will pass along my research if it helps. I find that depending the size of the room, most satellite systems would be an improvement over HTIB gear.

I found a few entry systems that may fit your needs. If budget is big concern, Monoprice has a couple of budget 5.1 systems that got good reviews on CNET. They are priced low enough that you could but two sets and get a matched 5.2.4 system with one speaker to spare for less than the cost of most 5.1 systems. However, I have read and heard many great thing about the new ELAC debut series. The 5.0 system is only about $500 (US). This leaves some money for a sub and heights, or use your existing system for sub and heights until you can upgrade. The Yamaha YST-SW012 sub is less that $100 (US) I have heard that one and like it for its size. I would definitely consider the ELACs if I had to replace my Bostons, but I am keeping them for a secondary theater setup in my den.

I'm still new to AV as a hobby I respectfully defer to those who know better, but I hope some of this information is of some help.
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