Using Dolby Atmos-Enabled Speakers in a 2.1.2-Channel System - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Using Dolby Atmos-Enabled Speakers in a 2.1.2-Channel System

These days, I'm all about 3D immersive audio and surround systems with as many speakers, subs, and as much power as I can cram into a room. But, I also enjoy traditional two channel listening and the smile inducing effect of holographic imaging and a well-rendered soundstage. This got me to thinking, can Dolby Atmos improve the two channel experience? Does the Dolby surround up mixer and its ambience extraction magic make for better listening?

Click the following link to read more and find out my thoughts on this interesting application of Dolby's latest surround format. And then, if you possess an Atmos-enabled system and have a chance to try it yourself, let me know your thoughts on how well it works: I Used Dolby Atmos-Enabled Speakers in a 2.1.2-Channel System & Here's What Happened

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post #2 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 01:08 PM
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Thanks for doing this! I am sure a lot of people are interested in ways to improve a 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1, etc. without adding surrounds. I used a 3.0.2 when I was in an apartment, and it definitely made a different over just 3.0.
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post #3 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mattopotamus View Post
Thanks for doing this! I am sure a lot of people are interested in ways to improve a 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1, etc. without adding surrounds. I used a 3.0.2 when I was in an apartment, and it definitely made a different over just 3.0.
Nice! Yes, the first hint I had this would work came from listening to Atmos-enabled 3.1 soundbars. I quickly realized that the front right effect had a significant impact on the overall sound, and that it was all good. So I figured, maybe what's good for a sound bar could also be good for full-size speakers! And here we are.

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post #4 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 02:32 PM
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Thanks for writing this article. For me, having a 7.2.2 system is not feasible. A 2.2.2 solution you mentioned (the $3000 option) is first, more in my price range, second, would be perfect for my room, and third will give me the expanded sound. Glad to know this solution works.
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post #5 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 02:57 PM
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Nice experiment Mark!
I always believed on the features that DSP effects bring to our venerable two channel stereo tracks!
So, how to proceed when we already have a 7.1.2 setup and want to apply your settings (2.2.2)?? As I know, no one receiver can't achieve two different settings at once (center phantom mode on 2.2.2 and real center channel with 7.1.2) on the same setup.

Thanks
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post #6 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 03:01 PM
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This article made me want to go out and buy Atmos upfiring speakers for my Definitive towers. I have enjoyed 5 channel stereo ever since I got my old Denon AVR3300 receiver, and thought that the expanded sound stage made for a more enjoyable listening experience. Good to know that height speakers will do the same.
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post #7 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 03:16 PM
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https://www.pioneerelectronics.com/P...eivers/VSX-832

Seems like Pioneer is on it for your basic new HT enthusiast who has decided soundbars just don't cut it as I recently found out, 5.1 channel that supports Atmos and will be 3.1.2 compatible with a firmwarte update........might be worth trying
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post #8 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by willmgordon View Post
https://www.pioneerelectronics.com/P...eivers/VSX-832

Seems like Pioneer is on it for your basic new HT enthusiast who has decided soundbars just don't cut it as I recently found out, 5.1 channel that supports Atmos and will be 3.1.2 compatible with a firmwarte update........might be worth trying
Ha! Look at that.

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post #9 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 06:18 PM
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Nice, that's an idea I hadn't thought of. Those KEF ATMOS speakers are pricey, almost as much as LS50s. I wonder how a pair of R100s or Q350s would compare laid on their backs with a wedge underneath to give them the proper angle.

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post #10 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 06:51 PM
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Uh oh,

I felt a disturbance in the force--and it was Mark!

The 2 channel guys are building their torches now as they reach critical mass and march to Pennsylvania. 2.2.2 Heresy!

I'll be building a 5.3.2 system eventually, it will be interesting to hear how the Atmos height speakers earn their keep. Thanks for giving it a shot and letting us know how well it works.
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post #11 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 07:46 PM
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I applaud the spirit of experimentation. It's also worth noting that a simpler version of this "heresy," the "Late Ceiling Splash" system by Duke LeJeune (AudioKinesis) and James Romeyn, has been favorably reviewed at 2-channel audio shows. See, e.g. https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2015/...pace-and-time/

Out of curiosity, what relative level setting did you find yourself preferring, and was it the same in both systems?

It's something I'd be interested to try myself, even though in my listening experience DSU is inferior to the old DPL2 generally as a 2-channel music upmixer. Maybe in 2.1.2 channel DSU will be better for music than it is in 7.1.4 channel.

Also, I get $7196 (2599 + 1699 + 1699 + 1199), not $9794.
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post #12 of 81 Old 06-28-2017, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
I applaud the spirit of experimentation. It's also worth noting that a simpler version of this "heresy," the "Late Ceiling Splash" system by Duke LeJeune (AudioKinesis) and James Romeyn, has been favorably reviewed at 2-channel audio shows. See, e.g. https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2015/...pace-and-time/

Out of curiosity, what relative level setting did you find yourself preferring, and was it the same in both systems?

It's something I'd be interested to try myself, even though in my listening experience DSU is inferior to the old DPL2 generally as a 2-channel music upmixer. Maybe in 2.1.2 channel DSU will be better for music than it is in 7.1.4 channel.

Also, I get $7196 (2599 + 1699 + 1699 + 1199), not $9794.

I guess you were counting! Thx.

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post #13 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 04:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OsoSolitario View Post
Nice experiment Mark!
I always believed on the features that DSP effects bring to our venerable two channel stereo tracks!
So, how to proceed when we already have a 7.1.2 setup and want to apply your settings (2.2.2)?? As I know, no one receiver can't achieve two different settings at once (center phantom mode on 2.2.2 and real center channel with 7.1.2) on the same setup.

Thanks
I read this and wondered if I could improve listening to "stereo sound", two channel rock and blues by utilizing a DSP setting on my 5.1.2 system. I have a Yamaha AV, RX-A760 and 2 Klipsch, RP-140SA atmos speakers sitting on top of two Polk Audio TSI500 speakers. I have a center Polk CS20, two rear speakers, Polk TSI200 on top of two speaker stands and a Polk PSW505 powered suwoofer. I did not want to bring the rear speakers or center into play. I found the DSP setting "Hall in Munich" worked well. The atmos speakers came into play and the sound was much more dynamic, like a live presentation. There was a very slight level of sound coming from the rears but not audible enough to hear unless I put my ear right up to them. I am going to use this DSP setting from now on when listening to rock and blues and will experiment with other traditionally two channel music recordings.
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post #14 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OsoSolitario View Post
Nice experiment Mark!
I always believed on the features that DSP effects bring to our venerable two channel stereo tracks!
So, how to proceed when we already have a 7.1.2 setup and want to apply your settings (2.2.2)?? As I know, no one receiver can't achieve two different settings at once (center phantom mode on 2.2.2 and real center channel with 7.1.2) on the same setup.

Thanks
Indeed, unfortunately the only way to do it, if you already have a surround system, is to go into the AVR's menu and change the speaker config each time.

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post #15 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
I applaud the spirit of experimentation. It's also worth noting that a simpler version of this "heresy," the "Late Ceiling Splash" system by Duke LeJeune (AudioKinesis) and James Romeyn, has been favorably reviewed at 2-channel audio shows. See, e.g. https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2015/...pace-and-time/

Out of curiosity, what relative level setting did you find yourself preferring, and was it the same in both systems?

It's something I'd be interested to try myself, even though in my listening experience DSU is inferior to the old DPL2 generally as a 2-channel music upmixer. Maybe in 2.1.2 channel DSU will be better for music than it is in 7.1.4 channel.

Also, I get $7196 (2599 + 1699 + 1699 + 1199), not $9794.
I liked boosting the two height channels by 3 dB vs. the L/R mains. This is consistent with the amount of boost most Atmos-enabled systems need to sound balanced (between 2 and 4 dB), per the advice of Andrew Jones.
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post #16 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 06:38 AM
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Dolby Atmos

I'm so glad you wrote this article. In March, I bought (2) Klipsch RP280-FA's, (1) RP-450 center channel speaker and (2) R-115SW subwoofers. I plan on adding (2) more RP-280FA's next month. Would this set-up be considered 5.2.4? Or is it 5.2.2? I am a bit confused by this, with my current set-up. Is an additional amp needed to maximize the potential of the speakers. Should I bi-amp all (4) RP-280FA's? And since I'm only going to be using (4) RP-280Fa's, (1) RP-450, and (2) R-115SW subwoofers is buying the Yamaha RX-A3070, next month, too much receiver for my set-up?



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Thank you, in advance, Mario
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post #17 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by isthatmario View Post
I'm so glad you wrote this article. In March, I bought (2) Klipsch RP280-FA's, (1) RP-450 center channel speaker and (2) R-115SW subwoofers. I plan on adding (2) more RP-280FA's next month. Would this set-up be considered 5.2.4? Or is it 5.2.2? I am a bit confused by this, with my current set-up. Is an additional amp needed to maximize the potential of the speakers. Should I bi-amp all (4) RP-280FA's? And since I'm only going to be using (4) RP-280Fa's, (1) RP-450, and (2) R-115SW subwoofers is buying the Yamaha RX-A3070, next month, too much receiver for my set-up?



***My Current television***

Panasonic VIERA TC-P65VT50 65-Inch 1080p Full HD 3D Plasma TV (2012)


I plan on upgrading to QLED late August

Thank you, in advance, Mario
If you have four RP-280FAs (that's what I have) and two subs, then you are running 5.2.4, as long as your AVR supports it.

Is the RX-A3070 too much AVR? No. That looks like a good match for the rig you are assembling. As long as it's discretionary funds you are using to buy it, then the system you wind up with will kick ass and be well balanced plus highly capable.
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post #18 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 08:19 AM
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Absolutely love this idea for stereo! I have an atmos 7.1.4 setup but no receiver to power it... Any cheap recommendations?
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post #19 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 09:57 AM
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So I'm in a situation where I have two def tech towers that have the option to add the atmos speakers on top.
However I have a Yamaha Aventage RX-A3010 receiver which does not decode Atmos.

Would there be a good solution to use those atmos add-ons for the def techs?
Have them hooked up as the rear channels perhaps?
I am in a room where I do not want to add rear speakers, but would like to add a little more to the towers.

Thanks
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post #20 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 09:58 AM
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Atmos 2.2.2 upgrade question

Mark, I've been toying with various ways to improve the overall 3d experience for my 2.1 system for music without filling the room with more speakers and your Atmos article is very intriguing. Can you explain with some specifics what kind of setting tweaks you made in the Denon to be able to play music that engaged the atmos speakers? Also, can you explain what you mean by upmixing your music with Dolby surround? And, what was the music source and was it connected via HDMI? Thanks!!
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In my 5.1 system I have the rears at ear height when standing and I do like the added sensation of height it provides.

Not sure about not running a center in a surround system though; it always sounds better with it to my ears.
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post #22 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RN2013 View Post
Mark, I've been toying with various ways to improve the overall 3d experience for my 2.1 system for music without filling the room with more speakers and your Atmos article is very intriguing. Can you explain with some specifics what kind of setting tweaks you made in the Denon to be able to play music that engaged the atmos speakers? Also, can you explain what you mean by upmixing your music with Dolby surround? And, what was the music source and was it connected via HDMI? Thanks!!
Sure thing.

On Dolby Atmos receivers, the Dolby Surround function is the name of the new upmixer. I did not have to tweak anything aside from engaging Dolby Surround after setting up the AVR with appropriate settings for a system consisting of 2 subs, two main speakers (front left and right) plus two Atmos-enabled speakers. The only tweak beyond that is, after the AVR performance room correction/distance/level/EQ you can tweak the Atmos modules, mostly it to add output and enhance the effect i.e. add more of that extracted ambience.

Speaking to that specific point, Andrew Jones noted that most systems need a boost in the output levels of those Atmos-enabled channels. That's because some sound does leak and travel to the microphone directly. Ideally, the microphone shouldn't be picking this up and factoring it into the final levels, but it does. The takeaway is that you want the reflected sound to be set to the proper levels, without factoring in that leakage.

I asked Dolby about this, and the response was that the Atmos-enabled reflected-sound height channels should in fact be tweaked to accommodate or compensate for both listeners taste and acoustic issues such as having an absorptive as opposed to reflective ceiling.

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post #23 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RN2013 View Post
Mark, I've been toying with various ways to improve the overall 3d experience for my 2.1 system for music without filling the room with more speakers and your Atmos article is very intriguing. Can you explain with some specifics what kind of setting tweaks you made in the Denon to be able to play music that engaged the atmos speakers? Also, can you explain what you mean by upmixing your music with Dolby surround? And, what was the music source and was it connected via HDMI? Thanks!!
Sure thing.

On Dolby Atmos receivers, the Dolby Surround function is the name of the new upmixer. I did not have to tweak anything aside from engaging Dolby Surround after setting up the AVR with appropriate settings for a system consisting of 2 subs, two main speakers (front left and right) plus two Atmos-enabled speakers. The only tweak beyond that is, after the AVR performance room correction/distance/level/EQ you can tweak the Atmos modules, mostly it to add output and enhance the effect i.e. add more of that extracted ambience.

Speaking to that specific point, Andrew Jones noted that most systems need a boost in the output levels of those Atmos-enabled channels. That's because some sound does leak and travel to the microphone directly. Ideally, the microphone shouldn't be picking this up and factoring it into the final levels, but it does. The takeaway is that you want the reflected sound to be set to the proper levels, by factoring in that leakage.

I asked Dolby about this, and the response was that the Atmos-enabled reflected-sound height channels should in fact be tweaked to accommodate or compensate for both listeners taste and sound related issues such as having an acoustically absorptive as opposed to reflective ceiling.

Source music was primarily Tidal HiFi Lossless, played through HEOS. So, the AVR is the source. But also a Chromecast Audio with an optical connection, a Sony PS4 Pro for games, and a Samsung K8500 UHD Blu-ray player (my HDMI source). And even some Amazon Echo Dot Bluetooth action!

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post #24 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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In my 5.1 system I have the rears at ear height when standing and I do like the added sensation of height it provides.

Not sure about not running a center in a surround system though; it always sounds better with it to my ears.
Although there are some surround-sound applications, the main focus I had here was actually on two-channel listening, where you sit centered. You rely on the holographic imaging that stereophonic music, when consumed in this manner, already has. But, with this approach, it's enhanced beyond what it sounds like with the same speakers but no ambience extraction. It's really just a bonus that it can do proper Atmos height effects if you do watch a movie.

I agree that a 3.x.2 system would be more appropriate for somebody who is looking to implement this sort of minimalist system, but planned to be movie and TV centric about it.
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post #25 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 10:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
In my 5.1 system I have the rears at ear height when standing and I do like the added sensation of height it provides.

Not sure about not running a center in a surround system though; it always sounds better with it to my ears.
Running a phantom center in the pre-Atmos era meant that all the dialogue clarity would be stuffed into the left and right channels, which are already doing heavy duty for explosions and such, so naturally it would be muddier. Plus, the center has dedicated information so it makes sense to keep it separated, if only for the fact that 3 speakers and do a better job than two. In the Atmos Era, more speakers the better as well, but I think having precise pin-point accuracy on each channel via concentric or coaxial drivers, combined with angle aware processing, can deliver a much more precise sound field, better matching the director's intent. Especially for people who have, say, their left and right mains on the sides and the center underneath (or above) the TV. The center would be "off" if fed in a naive way considering it's at several degrees lower than the mains. I'd love to have two centers, personally.

Ideally, we need to move away from channels and have processors capable of an arbitrary number of speakers placed in arbitrary positions in any room (ideally equidistant from each other in a hemi-spherical pattern around the MLP). So I would actually go in the opposite direction from this thread: get more speakers in there. It's still a great idea to try these KEF axials. I was considering scrapping my active JBLs /w waveguides and switching to an all-Volt-10 DIY Atmos setup, but it's a lot of money (even despite the low cost of the speakers), unless I sell my current speakers. First I want an AVR which is flexible enough to let me place my Atmos speakers where I want, and so far only Yamaha has this capability. (3D angle measurements).

ps that pioneer for $479 with 5.1? NO. That's not a good deal. You can get full 7.2 for that price easily. Don't reward these companies offering less and charging more, that's screwing the entire AV market. We should be demanding MORE channels, not less, and cheaper too. It's such a scam how all affordable Atmos AVRs are still stuck on 7.2, and now they're lowering that even more and charging the same price for it? No, no, no. It means you have to pick between ever adding surround speakers or getting rid of heights for Atmos. This is awful, a step in completely the wrong direction. I've heard virtual surround stuff before, it's nowhere near as good as having rear speakers back there.
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post #26 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 11:27 AM
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I can't wait to try this trick when i get back home from London. In my 9.4.1 setup, I have always preferred 2.1 for stereo music listening. No other combination of speakers ever sounded better to my ears. Maybe this 2.2.1 is going to be a winner....
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post #27 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
These days, I'm all about 3D immersive audio and surround systems with as many speakers, subs, and as much power as I can cram into a room. But, I also enjoy traditional two channel listening and the smile inducing effect of holographic imaging and a well-rendered soundstage. This got me to thinking, can Dolby Atmos improve the two channel experience? Does the Dolby surround up mixer and its ambience extraction magic make for better listening?

Click the following link to read more and find out my thoughts on this interesting application of Dolby's latest surround format. And then, if you possess an Atmos-enabled system and have a chance to try it yourself, let me know your thoughts on how well it works: I Used Dolby Atmos-Enabled Speakers in a 2.1.2-Channel System & Here's What Happened
Mark,

I have 2 channel set up currently with 2 definitive technology bi-polar towers (BP9020) that have the capability to add atmos speakers on top (A90).
I am currently using a Yamaha RX-A3010 receiver that cannot decode Atmos/DTS:X and hence has no upmixing capability.
I am looking at adding some 3d sound to the room, as rear speakers are out of the question.
Would adding the atmos speakers on top and hooking them up to the rear channel ports be a viable option?
Or at this point I would need a new receiver?

Thanks
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post #28 of 81 Old 06-29-2017, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talldrink67 View Post
Mark,

I have 2 channel set up currently with 2 definitive technology bi-polar towers (BP9020) that have the capability to add atmos speakers on top (A90).
I am currently using a Yamaha RX-A3010 receiver that cannot decode Atmos/DTS:X and hence has no upmixing capability.
I am looking at adding some 3d sound to the room, as rear speakers are out of the question.
Would adding the atmos speakers on top and hooking them up to the rear channel ports be a viable option?
Or at this point I would need a new receiver?

Thanks
If you attempted to make this work with your current receiver, it would be a hack. Given that Atmos/DTS:X is now available on some very affordable AVRs, that's what I'm going to recommend. I'm sure improvisation could yield an interesting result but I'd rather stick to systems purpose-designed to deliver this experience.

I do have BP-9040 and BP-9060 towers, with Atmos modules, that are part of a DefTech surround-sound system I have to review. When I do, I'll be sure to check out a 2.0.2 config.

Mark Henninger
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post #29 of 81 Old 06-30-2017, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by stef2 View Post
I can't wait to try this trick when i get back home from London. In my 9.4.1 setup, I have always preferred 2.1 for stereo music listening. No other combination of speakers ever sounded better to my ears. Maybe this 2.2.1 is going to be a winner....
Sorry that it's a bit of a PITA to change modes.

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post #30 of 81 Old 06-30-2017, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talldrink67 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
These days, I'm all about 3D immersive audio and surround systems with as many speakers, subs, and as much power as I can cram into a room. But, I also enjoy traditional two channel listening and the smile inducing effect of holographic imaging and a well-rendered soundstage. This got me to thinking, can Dolby Atmos improve the two channel experience? Does the Dolby surround up mixer and its ambience extraction magic make for better listening?

Click the following link to read more and find out my thoughts on this interesting application of Dolby's latest surround format. And then, if you possess an Atmos-enabled system and have a chance to try it yourself, let me know your thoughts on how well it works: I Used Dolby Atmos-Enabled Speakers in a 2.1.2-Channel System & Here's What Happened
Mark,

I have 2 channel set up currently with 2 definitive technology bi-polar towers (BP9020) that have the capability to add atmos speakers on top (A90).
I am currently using a Yamaha RX-A3010 receiver that cannot decode Atmos/DTS:X and hence has no upmixing capability.
I am looking at adding some 3d sound to the room, as rear speakers are out of the question.
Would adding the atmos speakers on top and hooking them up to the rear channel ports be a viable option?
Or at this point I would need a new receiver?

Thanks
You would need a new Atmos capable receiver. The good news is that if you're only doing a 2.0.2 or 2.1.2 system (or even 3.1.2), you could use a 5 channel Atmos receiver which you could get for as little as $300-400.
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