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!