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post #1 of 80 Old 02-07-2017, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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*Sponsored* Building Dolby Atmos® Enabled Speakers

Building Dolby Atmos® Enabled Speakers: Behind the Scenes With Three Speaker Manufacturers

With Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers, you can enjoy 3D audio immersion with sounds coming from above as well as all around you.

Movies mixed in Dolby Atmos are available on Blu-ray, UHD Blu-ray, broadcast and streaming services , and they use sound to put you in the middle of the action. The addition of height brings a heightened sense of immersion to the mix faithfully reproduces effects like airplane fly-overs raindrops hitting tree leaves or the immensity and depth of a sports coliseum.

Because the Dolby Atmos format uses sound objects instead of channels, sound engineers can place individual sounds anywhere within a virtual hemisphere that envelops the audience. A Dolby Atmos playback system then scales and renders the object-based mix to the channel configuration employed in the home entertainment system . This ensures you get the best possible immersive effect, regardless of whether the system is a 3.1.2 soundbar, a compact 2.1.2 configuration or an AVR-based 7.2.4 rig.

In dedicated home theaters, AV enthusiasts often install in-ceiling or on-ceiling overhead speakers. But in a residential living room or media room, it may not be practical to cut holes in the ceiling and run wires in the walls. And if you rent, installing in-ceiling speakers is clearly out of the question! Fortunately, there’s a décor- and lifestyle-friendly alternative to all that: Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers.

Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers feature an ingenious design that relies on directing tightly controlled beams of sound to the ceiling and reflecting them to the listener. With this approach, even though the speakers creating the elevation effects are roughly at ear level or slightly higher, what you hear appears to come from above your head.

In a pair of earlier videos, we looked at what Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers are and then took a deeper dive into what makes them tick. Now, in this third and final video, we learn what three speaker manufacturers—Triad, , Definitive Technology, and Klipsch—have to say about the exciting challenges they faced in designing Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. You’ll find out how these companies succeeded in creating designs that deliver a mind-blowing 3D immersive soundfield.


Unlike other threads on AVS Forum, this one is sponsored by our friends at Dolby and may be moderated more strictly than a typical thread. We welcome any relevant questions and comments you may have. After four weeks, the comments will be locked, but the video will remain available for viewing any time. Enjoy!

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post #2 of 80 Old 02-07-2017, 11:38 AM
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While there have been a number of videos and documents about Atmos-enabled speakers, I don't think I've seen a single one that discussed in/on-ceiling speakers for Atmos use. The enabled ones specifically talk about the need to focus or narrow the dispersion because of the bounce effect but I haven't seen anything for the ceiling speakers .. ie. should they be angled toward the main listening position? should the dispersion be even greater than a regular speaker due to the shorter distance to the MLP? The inference here is also that Dolby-enable add-ons would not be a good ceiling speaker but maybe this isn't the case.

Are there certain speaker designs (ex. concentric drivers) which are better? I've seen examples of people mounting speakers on the ceiling using U-shaped hangers which allows for directional adjustment but what about in-ceiling installs where you've typically only got one try to get it right? I've seen some designs which attempt to angle the woofer toward the MLP .. is this good? necessary? maybe it's better to angle the tweeter than the woofer .. or neither. The only guidance I've seen is that these speakers should be robust enough to handle a wide range of frequencies because unlike surrounds which typically aren't well exploited, Atmos speakers are expected to carry more range and volume.

Since most of the major manufacturers don't even sell specific Atmos ceiling speakers to my knowledge, I guess I'm looking to the Dolby professionals to comment on this.
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post #3 of 80 Old 02-07-2017, 03:31 PM
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Couple technical questions I never see info on:

1) what is the filtering used on the reflecting speakers that incorporates how we hear? I assume it is a bandpass filter, what cutoff frequency and slopes?

2) what is the actual dispersion spec?
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post #4 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanR View Post
While there have been a number of videos and documents about Atmos-enabled speakers, I don't think I've seen a single one that discussed in/on-ceiling speakers for Atmos use. The enabled ones specifically talk about the need to focus or narrow the dispersion because of the bounce effect but I haven't seen anything for the ceiling speakers .. ie. should they be angled toward the main listening position? should the dispersion be even greater than a regular speaker due to the shorter distance to the MLP? The inference here is also that Dolby-enable add-ons would not be a good ceiling speaker but maybe this isn't the case.

Are there certain speaker designs (ex. concentric drivers) which are better? I've seen examples of people mounting speakers on the ceiling using U-shaped hangers which allows for directional adjustment but what about in-ceiling installs where you've typically only got one try to get it right? I've seen some designs which attempt to angle the woofer toward the MLP .. is this good? necessary? maybe it's better to angle the tweeter than the woofer .. or neither. The only guidance I've seen is that these speakers should be robust enough to handle a wide range of frequencies because unlike surrounds which typically aren't well exploited, Atmos speakers are expected to carry more range and volume.

Since most of the major manufacturers don't even sell specific Atmos ceiling speakers to my knowledge, I guess I'm looking to the Dolby professionals to comment on this.
Tks ...Ian
Some very interesting points that I too share, specifically why is the greater focus on using the ceiling to reflect the sound as oppose to speakers installed or hung from ceiling? The theaters use direct speakers, (obviously) but why not focus on the use of direct speakers like the theaters? I wonder if it could be the point that reflecting sound from the ceiling causes a higher level of immersion as oppose to directional speakers in the ceiling may be too direct? Some answers I am looking for.

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post #5 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by augerpro View Post
what is the filtering used on the reflecting speakers that incorporates how we hear?
From Dolby's patent filing:


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post #6 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 09:39 AM
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What happens when you have a slanted ceiling- angled >left to right---, or a ceiling that has beams running over head- say log cabin style . Does it still work the same a flat ceiling??
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post #7 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
From Dolby's patent filing:

That can't be it (or completely it anyway). In Google's patent link there are no illustrations included even though they are cited. For some reason I'm not finding at it the USPTO
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post #8 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 10:59 AM
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That can't be it (or completely it anyway).
Why not?

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post #9 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 11:10 AM
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Well you're going to have wide dispersion at low frequencies, so the atmos speaker must be high passed somewhere.
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post #10 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by augerpro View Post
Well you're going to have wide dispersion at low frequencies, so the atmos speaker must be high passed somewhere.
No high pass required, other than for power handling purposes. That portion isn't really any different than any other speaker in the system.

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post #11 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 11:30 AM
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Well you're going to have wide dispersion at low frequencies, so the atmos speaker must be high passed somewhere.
You had asked about "filtering used on the reflecting speakers that incorporates how we hear". Hence the diagram with the Dolby Elevation squiggle. There isn't more to the HTRF filtering than that.

High pass depends on speaker designer/manufacturer; whatever works for them and the drivers they choose. Nothing special. To address wide dispersion at low frequencies, some use foam absorption in front of the upfiring drivers while others use multiple small drivers for a tighter pattern. Some don't use either, since low frequencies aren't as directional as mid/higher frequencies. This isn't about perfection, just doing enough to trick the listener's hearing into perceiving the sound from above.

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post #12 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 12:12 PM
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Some very interesting points that I too share, specifically why is the greater focus on using the ceiling to reflect the sound as oppose to speakers installed or hung from ceiling? The theaters use direct speakers, (obviously) but why not focus on the use of direct speakers like the theaters? I wonder if it could be the point that reflecting sound from the ceiling causes a higher level of immersion as oppose to directional speakers in the ceiling may be too direct? Some answers I am looking for.
I'll jump in quickly, members please correct me if needed. Dolby Atmos Enabled speakers are a convenient option to installing in-ceiling speakers. No need to cut holes, mount brackets, etc.. The Atmos solution operates from newer, enabled floor standing models or enabled modules that can sit on top of older floor standing models.

Not everyone has the time, energy or ability to cut holes. Atmos-enabled technology allows you to add height to your sound stage without renovations.

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post #13 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 12:30 PM
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I guess I am not allowing myself to think that "convenience" is the focus regarding the sound diversion set up as oppose to actual speaker placement representing Atmos or DTS X. If I could, I think that I would prefer direct speaker placement, As I think that something is lost when bouncing sound off of walls.
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post #14 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 01:39 PM
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I'll jump in quickly, members please correct me if needed. Dolby Atmos Enabled speakers are a convenient option to installing in-ceiling speakers. No need to cut holes, mount brackets, etc.. The Atmos solution operates from newer, enabled floor standing models or enabled modules that can sit on top of older floor standing models.

Not everyone has the time, energy or ability to cut holes. Atmos-enabled technology allows you to add height to your sound stage without renovations.
This is it. I've had a 5.2.4 AE setup for over a year. I loath putting nails in my walls let alone holes in my ceiling. That being said, the actual home theater experience of what I have now VS. what I had prior (7.2) is night and day. I demo my setup all the time to family, friends and neighbors. I don't explain to them what Atmos is or point out the function of each of my speakers in relation to what they hear. Just have a seat while I play these clips and judge their reactions. Every single one of them look up and wonder how they're hearing overhead sounds when there are no speakers in my ceiling. Only after explaining the tech and pointing out all the AE speakers do they understand. Even then, the question to ask isn't if AE is better than in ceiling or overhead placement. Is it an improvement over standard base layer setups? And the answer is hell yes.
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post #15 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
You had asked about "filtering used on the reflecting speakers that incorporates how we hear". Hence the diagram with the Dolby Elevation squiggle. There isn't more to the HTRF filtering than that.

High pass depends on speaker designer/manufacturer; whatever works for them and the drivers they choose. Nothing special. To address wide dispersion at low frequencies, some use foam absorption in front of the upfiring drivers while others use multiple small drivers for a tighter pattern. Some don't use either, since low frequencies aren't as directional as mid/higher frequencies. This isn't about perfection, just doing enough to trick the listener's hearing into perceiving the sound from above.
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No high pass required, other than for power handling purposes. That portion isn't really any different than any other speaker in the system.

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Look at patent claims 11, 25, 26, and 29. They are consistent with the work done in other places, for example sound bars, where the reflective driver has a 500-5000hz band pass filter applied to mimic how the ear perceives reflected sound.
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post #16 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by augerpro View Post
Look at patent claims 11, 25, 26, and 29. They are consistent with the work done in other places, for example sound bars, where the reflective driver has a 500-5000hz band pass filter applied to mimic how the ear perceives reflected sound.

A bandpass filter isn't applied in the 500-5kHz range for the current speaker type discussed.

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post #17 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 02:12 PM
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A bandpass filter isn't applied in the 500-5kHz range for the current speaker type discussed.

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...there is some HP and LP filter in place, it's right there in the patent. Are you the Dolby rep? Because you are really not adding anything to this discussion except speculation.
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post #18 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 02:20 PM
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...there is some HP and LP filter in place, it's right there in the patent. Are you the Dolby rep? Because you are really not adding anything to this discussion except speculation.
I am not a Dolby rep, but I know how to make a DAES. I don't want to spell out the Dolby requirements, I will leave that to someone with permission to do so.

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post #19 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 02:22 PM
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While there have been a number of videos and documents about Atmos-enabled speakers, I don't think I've seen a single one that discussed in/on-ceiling speakers for Atmos use.
Probably because there's nothing new to discuss. You already know what to do with speakers in front of you and speakers around you. Do the same for speakers above you. Atmos didn't change the physics of sound reproduction.
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post #20 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 06:06 PM
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I just bought a Marantz SR7010 to drive DT speakers with two A60 elevation speakers (see my signature). While there is some overhead activity I can hear from movies like Sicario, John Wick, and Transformers Age of Extinction, the overhead sound is weak and disappointing (likely because the A60s are not very good speakers). I cannot wait to buy a townhouse and install ceiling speakers.

I've heard a few store demos of ceiling bounce vs. in ceiling/on ceiling speakers and EVERY time, the ceiling speakers blew away the ceiling bounce speakers.

Lastly for those who don't want to cut holes in their ceiling, there is another option: ceiling mounted small satellite speakers. I plan on ceiling mounting, wiring, and pointing some old Harman Kardon HKTS1 speakers in the media room once I move into a townhouse.

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post #21 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Blitzdog View Post
I'll jump in quickly, members please correct me if needed. Dolby Atmos Enabled speakers are a convenient option to installing in-ceiling speakers. No need to cut holes, mount brackets, etc.. The Atmos solution operates from newer, enabled floor standing models or enabled modules that can sit on top of older floor standing models. Not everyone has the time, energy or ability to cut holes. Atmos-enabled technology allows you to add height to your sound stage without renovations.
You've missed the point. No one is debating that AE configurations have their place. But for those of us who can or choose to go the ceiling installation route (which most agree is the superior immersion choice), we're just pointing out that no one has really issued any guidance for it .. and we're asking for that to be addressed.

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post #22 of 80 Old 02-08-2017, 08:06 PM
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Probably because there's nothing new to discuss. You already know what to do with speakers in front of you and speakers around you. Do the same for speakers above you. Atmos didn't change the physics of sound reproduction.
You could make the same argument for AE speakers too .. they're just speakers .. but that's obviously wrong. There's a lot of special design work that vendors had to do to get the sound right.. in part due to the longer distances sounds travel. And as I pointed out in the first post, the overheads are much closer than LCRs so you have the opposite problem as AE and dispersion is likely a consideration. The directionality is likely a consideration as well. Look at how many people have installed 5.1 and 7.1 systems all in the ceiling .. and experts certainly don't suggest that. All I'm requesting is to hear what the Dolby experts best advice is for Dolby in-ceiling speakers. On ceiling is easier to adjust after the fact; in ceiling isn't.
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post #23 of 80 Old 02-09-2017, 12:44 AM
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You've missed the point. No one is debating that AE configurations have their place. But for those of us who can or choose to go the ceiling installation route (which most agree is the superior immersion choice), we're just pointing out that no one has really issued any guidance for it .. and we're asking for that to be addressed.
This is exactly what I've been asking for. I want to make the jump to atmos and have even figured out exactly where the in ceiling speakers will go, but I have no clue what to buy. There are hundreds of reviews on atmos add on modules but almost nothing on in ceiling speakers. The only places to find information on that is on forums, there is no recommendation from dolby on what type of speakers to choose, you are on your own for that. It seems like the add ons are being pushed over installing in ceiling speakers because let's face it most people are lazy (myself included) and don't want to crawl up in their attics to run speaker wire and put a hole in a ceiling. I get why they push them but there should be just as much information out there on in ceiling speakers because you are alienating the crowd like the people on here who are going to be the first ones to install your technology and spread the word.

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post #24 of 80 Old 02-09-2017, 07:57 AM
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Personally Id rather use front and rear heights than in celling and I have wires up there for them. BUT depending on where you are sitting you'll get less of a effect if your right under those. I've herd it all 3 ways and my preferred is Heights then Enables systems. Those ways its no pinpointed where the sound is coming from as it is with the celling speakers. With the 1st 2 its a much wider sweet spot in my room and in the rooms I've herd it in. I built a dedicated room 2 years ago so my 2 cents.
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post #25 of 80 Old 02-09-2017, 07:58 AM
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You could make the same argument for AE speakers too .. they're just speakers ..
Not really, due to the fact that they're special purpose speakers (the built-in Dolby Elevation processing makes them problematic to use as "just speakers" for any other speaker position). That's why there are videos, articles and threads like this about AE speakers. IF placing speakers above you was as different as you describe (compared to placing speakers anywhere else), then you would have seen similar videos, articles and threads about it. But instead, you haven't "seen a single one that discussed in/on-ceiling speakers for Atmos use". If you want to continue believing that moving a speaker from ear level to above you requires re-thinking the speaker, I won't argue otherwise, but then you'll have to continue wondering why the lack of coverage. If you're willing to start from a different premise, the lack of coverage will make sense. Your choice.

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post #26 of 80 Old 02-09-2017, 08:02 AM
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I want to make the jump to atmos and have even figured out exactly where the in ceiling speakers will go, but I have no clue what to buy.
Have you checked out the Atmos install guide on Dolby's website?

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/technolo...guidelines.pdf
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post #27 of 80 Old 02-09-2017, 08:29 AM
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Have you checked out the Atmos install guide on Dolby's website?

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/technolo...guidelines.pdf
This is better than the other guide I found but still doesn't answer the question. For the dolby add ons the only real difference is quality which comes with how much you want to spend. They are all designed to do the same thing. For in ceiling speakers there is no definitive guide for what speakers to use, I know I want something with a large dispersion but that is about it. I am looking at a couple different Polk in ceiling speakers and they all claim to have a high dispersion and all do feature aimable tweeters but is that setup going to work? Is there a different type of driver that will work better at dispersing the sound? The enabled speakers take the guesswork out of it but probably won't sound as good, which is why I want the in ceiling speakers, but I also don't want to install the speakers and have only 4 distinct spots in my living room where you hear the speakers.

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post #28 of 80 Old 02-09-2017, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by loveracing1988 View Post
For in ceiling speakers there is no definitive guide for what speakers to use...
This isn't really Atmos related, considering in-ceiling speakers have been around way before any of the immersive audio formats existed, and none of them change the way in-ceiling speakers work.

Just use the same common sense you would with any other speaker. For example: you wouldn't aim a regular loudspeaker at an area where there are no listeners, so likewise don't mount an in-ceiling speaker several feet in front of you that is aimed straight down at a spot on the floor where there are no listeners. Since most folks aim their speakers towards the listening area, get in-ceiling speakers that have angled baffles or point-able drivers and rotate them to point towards the listening area. Same as with regular speakers.

If you had a set-up that included in-ceiling speakers, you'd have the same things to consider, with or without Atmos.

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post #29 of 80 Old 02-09-2017, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
This isn't really Atmos related, considering in-ceiling speakers have been around way before any of the immersive audio formats existed, and none of them change the way in-ceiling speakers work.

Just use the same common sense you would with any other speaker. For example: you wouldn't aim a regular loudspeaker at an area where there are no listeners, so likewise don't mount an in-ceiling speaker several feet in front of you that is aimed straight down at a spot on the floor where there are no listeners. Since most folks aim their speakers towards the listening area, get in-ceiling speakers that have angled baffles or point-able drivers and rotate them to point towards the listening area. Same as with regular speakers.

If you had a set-up that included in-ceiling speakers, you'd have the same things to consider, with or without Atmos.
They have and that is kind of the problem. If you didn't have atmos to consider you would out the speakers wherever you sit and you are done. With atmos though you have the recommendations from dolby as to where to put the speakers, which if you go by that to place your speakers you are putting them possibly further in front or further behind the seating position than you would normally place them. Hence why I asked the question. I could install them by where the seating positions are but if that is not going to give a good atmos experience why bother in the first place?

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post #30 of 80 Old 02-09-2017, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by loveracing1988 View Post
If you didn't have atmos to consider you would out the speakers wherever you sit and you are done.
Prior to Atmos, if you had 4 in-ceiling surrounds, you couldn't just put them "wherever you sit". There have been recommendations for where to put the speakers since the days of stereo. There continued to be recommendations for 5.1 and 7.1 placement. That hasn't changed with Atmos.
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With atmos though you have the recommendations from dolby as to where to put the speakers, which if you go by that to place your speakers you are putting them possibly further in front or further behind the seating position than you would normally place them.
Prior to Atmos, you had speakers in front and behind the seating position. With Atmos, you still have speakers in front and behind the seating position, just some of them are higher up. Speaker placement recommendations aren't a new phenomenon that showed up with Atmos. If you take a pair of speakers that are in front of you and elevate them 45 degrees, they don't turn into different speakers. You're complicating things for yourself unnecessarily. The Atmos install guide gives you good starting points for placement above you.
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