Looking for advice before upgrading from 6.1 setup to Atmos - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-18-2019, 03:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Looking for advice before upgrading from 6.1 setup to Atmos

Hello, everyone!

My home theater consists of a Denon AVR-X4400H powering 6 in-ceiling speakers (front and center: 3 x Audioplex angled speakers; surround back and center: 3 x JBL SP6II) and a JBL ES150P subwoofer. I use it for gaming (PC, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X) and watching movies/TV shows (4K BDs and streaming) on my LG OLED B7.

I'll be remodeling my apartment soon and would like to finally make use of my receiver's full potential by upgrading to an Atmos setup: either 7.1.2 or 5.1.4 at first, and later to 7.1.4 or 9.1.2 (I have a busted AVR-X2000 that I may send for repair in the near future, or, if it's not worth the cost, will instead get a separate amplifier for the remaining two channels not covered by the AVR).

I'm not an audiophile by any means, and completely clueless when it comes to speakers. When I first built my system, I was mostly concerned with aesthetics, which is why I went all in-ceiling. As part of the remodeling, I'll be converting a guest bedroom-turned-game room back into a guest bedroom. In that room, I have 6 more JBL SP6II speakers that I can repurpose into my living room home theater.

Onto the questions:

1. Regarding the choice of Atmos setup

Which one is recommended? As I mentioned, at first I'll be running just my AVR-X4400H , which powers 9 channels, so I'll have to accommodate for either 5.1.4 or 7.1.2. And depending on how long the remodeling takes (and how much it ends up costing), I may stick with that setup for a while.

However, since I also want to avoid the possibility of requiring any other renovations in the years to come, I'd like to future-proof my living room as much as possible. It is 16.5ft (5.02m) in length and 12.5ft (3.8m) in width, with a recessed ceiling all around (like this one), where the speakers are installed (hence the future-proofing - I don't want to deal with drywall again anytime soon).

The actual listening area is a little smaller: about 15ft (4.57m) in length by the same width, as there is a wall separating the living room from a small passageway that leads to the bedrooms ,via a folding door, and the dining room via double sliding doors). I built a visualization for the purposes of this thread, and can provide more pictures/renders as needed.

2. Regarding the actual speakers

Should I stick with an all in-ceiling setup of is it worth investing in some standard speakers? If I go for standard speakers, which ones should I get? I don't want to break the bank (again, I'm not an audiophile), but I do want to benefit from my AVR's capabilities and enjoy that glorious Atmos surround sound.

Please bear in mind that I live in a country where everything costs at least 4x as much as in the US, and not all brands are available for purchase. Ideally, I'd make the most use of my current speakers, and only invest in what is absolutely necessary. Perhaps for the front and center channels?

I'm also still concerned about aesthetics. I'm not planning on mounting speakers to the walls or have them on the floor (something that isn't even possible for the front speakers, due to the custom built cabinet that can't be moved). I can probably fit a center speaker in the cabinet underneath the TV, if I shuffle around some of my devices (I'd rather have the TV sitting on the cabinet, instead of removing its stand and using a wall mount).

Unless there are wireless surround speakers, I'd have to find a way of connecting them to the AVR without running any cables across the room, where they can be seen (going into the drywall and from there joining the rest of the speaker wires). If my current in-ceiling speakers are fine for both traditional surround and Atmos, without getting the sounds mixed, I'd prefer that option.

3. Regarding the position of the speakers

Finally, how should I position my speakers, according to the recommended setup? My living room may end up becoming a home office, but nothing's set in stone yet, so I can't really have the speakers set up with only one fixed seating position in mind.

Here's what the current floor plan looks like.

Here's what it may end up looking like if I convert it to a home office.

A few notes:

  • The website I used for drawing the projects and building the visualizations didn't have in-ceiling speakers, so I modified the size of some ceiling lights to represent them (you can see them as the six gray rectangles spread around the room).
  • The four gray circles in the middle (in pairs of two) are the actual ceiling lights, and the tiny black squares are spot light fixtures.
  • The back, dividing wall is made entirely of drywall, and its center part is covered with stone in a method called "canjiquinha". To the left of it there's an opening that leads to the passageway.
I look forward to hearing your advice. Thanks in advance!

Last edited by EeK9X; 03-18-2019 at 03:35 AM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-18-2019, 03:34 AM
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You could always keep the ceiling speakers and use them as the overhead channels..
Just my OP, physical is always better than the reflector style of Atmos speakers.


I can't really give you advise on receivers as I tend to go complete overkill in my budget constraints, there are plenty of 32ch processors out there s you have the bux, the only thing i can add is research and go with what the pocket allows. Almost all the big names have decent sound You already own a Denon AVR they're a very good choice. I recently purchased the AVR-X8500H that thing is crazy....I was so close in purchasing the Onkyo TX-NR3030, but spent a little more and got the one mentioned.


All the best in your endeavours

Last edited by Buzniak; 03-18-2019 at 03:40 AM. Reason: adding info
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-18-2019, 03:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzniak View Post
You could always keep the ceiling speakers and use them as the overhead channels..
Just my OP, physical is always better than the reflector style of atmos speakers.

I will definitely keep the ceiling speakers at least for the 4 overhead channels, but I'm still not sure about their positions, or with what setup I should go (5.1.4, 7.1.4 or 9.1.2).



I can only have them placed around the seating area, not directly above it, because of the recessed ceiling (the only part of the ceiling that is drywall and where wires can run).


Also, I need convincing if I'm to buy any more speakers, instead of just using what I already have (6 in-ceiling speakers with 6 more available). I've had this 6.1 all in-ceiling setup for years. Would replacing some of those for standard speakers make a noticeable difference?



My budget doesn't allow for any of the high-end stuff, which is considerably more expensive where I live. Before Atmos was even a thing, I was looking at JBL Arena and Studio speakers for the front, center and surround channels, for example.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-18-2019, 03:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzniak View Post
You could always keep the ceiling speakers and use them as the overhead channels..
Just my OP, physical is always better than the reflector style of Atmos speakers.


I can't really give you advise on receivers as I tend to go complete overkill in my budget constraints, there are plenty of 32ch processors out there s you have the bux, the only thing i can add is research and go with what the pocket allows. Almost all the big names have decent sound You already own a Denon AVR they're a very good choice. I recently purchased the AVR-X8500H that thing is crazy....I was so close in purchasing the Onkyo TX-NR3030, but spent a little more and got the one mentioned.


All the best in your endeavours

Just noticed your edit.



At the moment, I'm only looking for speakers, not receivers. My AVR-4400H was a recent purchase and still serves me well. As I mentioned, I may consider using my old, busted X2000 as an amplifier or even purchasing a separate device to power 2 more channels in the future, since my receiver can handle 11 in total, but, for now, I'm good.


Thanks anyway for the suggestions!
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-18-2019, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EeK9X View Post
Just noticed your edit.



At the moment, I'm only looking for speakers, not receivers. My AVR-4400H was a recent purchase and still serves me well. As I mentioned, I may consider using my old, busted X2000 as an amplifier or even purchasing a separate device to power 2 more channels in the future, since my receiver can handle 11 in total, but, for now, I'm good.


Thanks anyway for the suggestions!

You need to adjust the positioning of your front left/right in-ceilings if you wish to utilize them for Front Tops in an immersive capacity. Then shift your seating forward so you are a bit more equidistant between the Front and Rear Tops. Since this will call for some re-modeling/re-wiring/re-patching, you will have to determine if it is worth to you to use the current in-ceilings or buy on-ceiling's and place them accordingly.



I would wire for 7.1.4 if you can swing it.



As for speakers... it doesn't sound like you will be in a position to order from most of the popular internet direct companies as we are able to in the States. The cost of international shipping and customs could definitely out-way the price/performance benefits.


You could potentially consider internationally sold brands like Triad, PSB, GoldenEar, Monitor Audio, B&W, Tannoy, Dali, KEF, Paradigm, and other quality manufacturers like that. I was impressed with GoldenEar's line of speakers at a prior CEDIA expo and I own Triad's and really like those even better as they are quite musical (just a tad on the warm side of neutral, but not "dark" sounding, and very smooth and detailed for vocals) and yet have some punch for movies (Bronze LCR fronts with Bronze bipole Surrounds as side and rears would probably work in your room since it looks to be a smaller space). If budget is a concern, you could add a little at a time.

Listen up, studios! Dolby Atmos Lite™ print-outs must stop!!

Last edited by Dan Hitchman; 03-18-2019 at 10:31 AM.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-19-2019, 01:33 AM
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Usuallt the 4 overhead drivers are positioned 1-2 meters in front and 1-2 meters to the back of the center eating position, depending on number of seats and room size. Or at least this is what I've done with my setup.
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