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post #1 of 12 Old 07-20-2019, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Help needed with Dolby Atmos Speaker Placement

I had a 7.1.2 setup at my previous house but have been using a soundbar in my basement since I moved to my current house a year a half ago. I am finally running speaker wires in my basement for a 7.1.4 setup but I'm stuck on were to place my overhead Atmos speakers.


I have attached a couple of pictures to show what I'm dealing with. I believe the easiest way to run my .4 wires will be to use the configuration in image1. However, I'm not sure how the Atmos speakers will interfere with the back surrounds, if any. Is this something I should worry about?


Second option will be the configuration in the other 3 images. 2 speakers behind my seating location and 2 in front (behind the partition). This presents some wiring challenges and I'm worried about the partition between the two set of speakers preventing the object based sound from getting to the seating location.



What do you guys think? Any input will be great. I'm anxious to get the speakers setup to open my Denon AVR-X6500H, it's been sitting in a box for over 6 months now.
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post #2 of 12 Old 07-20-2019, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benso37 View Post
I had a 7.1.2 setup at my previous house but have been using a soundbar in my basement since I moved to my current house a year a half ago. I am finally running speaker wires in my basement for a 7.1.4 setup but I'm stuck on were to place my overhead Atmos speakers.


I have attached a couple of pictures to show what I'm dealing with. I believe the easiest way to run my .4 wires will be to use the configuration in image1. However, I'm not sure how the Atmos speakers will interfere with the back surrounds, if any. Is this something I should worry about?


Second option will be the configuration in the other 3 images. 2 speakers behind my seating location and 2 in front (behind the partition). This presents some wiring challenges and I'm worried about the partition between the two set of speakers preventing the object based sound from getting to the seating location.



What do you guys think? Any input will be great. I'm anxious to get the speakers setup to open my Denon AVR-X6500H, it's been sitting in a box for over 6 months now.
You're right, the rear surrounds as they are currently installed would interfere with your height speakers. Side and rear surrounds should not be mounted high when an ATMOS config is being used.

A few ideas:
-can you move your seating position back directly underneath the partition? As it stands, the partition will interfere with your proposed ceiling pairs as far as blocking the sound.
-can you lower your rear surrounds down to ear level when seated?
-not ideal but if necessary, you could use your current rear surrounds as the rear ATMOS speakers and then install a new pair of rear surrounds lower down.

Last edited by PlanetAVS; 07-20-2019 at 08:14 PM.
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post #3 of 12 Old 07-20-2019, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PlanetAVS View Post
You're right, the rear surrounds as they are currently installed would interfere with your height speakers. Side and rear surrounds should not be mounted high when an ATMOS config is being used.

A few ideas:
-can you move your seating position back directly underneath the partition? As it stands, the partition will interfere with your proposed ceiling pairs as far as blocking the sound.
-can you lower your rear surrounds down to ear level when seated?
-not ideal but if necessary, you could use your current rear surrounds as the rear ATMOS speakers and then install a new pair of rear surrounds lower down.

I currently have two couches next to each other. Moving them forward will block the entry way into the front of the home theater area. I might put one couch in front of the other in the future but that's not part of this setup since the back recliner will require some sort of platform.



Thanks for the response. Lowering the rear speakers will be a problem. Half of the back is a hallow space as you can see in image1. It will be very awkward to have both speakers lower than the current location. See attached image1.1


Not sure about option 3. Might have to chew on that for some time. I have specific in ceiling speakers picked out for my Atmos setup already.


Now, how much of an interference will the back surround speaker cause and can the AVR's sound calibration correct any of it? I'm wondering how the commercial home theaters do it since they have the Atmos and rear speakers above the sitting location.
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post #4 of 12 Old 07-20-2019, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benso37 View Post
I currently have two couches next to each other. Moving them forward will block the entry way into the front of the home theater area. I might put one couch in front of the other in the future but that's not part of this setup since the back recliner will require some sort of platform.



Thanks for the response. Lowering the rear speakers will be a problem. Half of the back is a hallow space as you can see in image1. It will be very awkward to have both speakers lower than the current location. See attached image1.1


Not sure about option 3. Might have to chew on that for some time. I have specific in ceiling speakers picked out for my Atmos setup already.


Now, how much of an interference will the back surround speaker cause and can the AVR's sound calibration correct any of it? I'm wondering how the commercial home theaters do it since they have the Atmos and rear speakers above the sitting location.
IMO, the rear surrounds and proposed rear ceilings would be way too close together and would likely blend. I don't see how room correction can fix that.

One other question, is that an inwall front surround in pic 4? If so, that is too far forward from your seating area, and moving the seating up would also serve to address that.

You probably don't want to hear this especially since you have an 11 channel AVR and it sounds like you already purchased all the speakers but based on the current seating config, I would use the rear surrounds as the back ATMOS speakers and only install the front set of ceiling speakers and use a 5.1.4 config. Once you move the seating up and build a platform for the 2nd couch, then add the 2nd ceiling set in front of the partition as the front heights. I would then remove the current rear surrounds and run new wiring along the baseboard to create a new ear level rear surround pair location. You could wall mount them or put them on bookshelf stands.

Btw, in your first pic I believe you have the ceiling pairings misnumbered. #3 should be #2
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post #5 of 12 Old 07-20-2019, 08:59 PM
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post #6 of 12 Old 07-20-2019, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benso37 View Post
(snip)

Now, how much of an interference will the back surround speaker cause and can the AVR's sound calibration correct any of it? I'm wondering how the commercial home theaters do it since they have the Atmos and rear speakers above the sitting location.
In a commercial theater, the rears could be placed physically high but would be at a large angle off the vertical, because they are far back of the listening position (for at least some of the rows). That gives a separation between the rears and the Amos speakers, even if they are at similar physical heights.

It'd be nice if home Atmos accepted actual physical location data for the speakers and optimized the channels based on those, but it's much more primitive than that. I suppose that many people (me included) run an Atmos system that doesn't meet Dolby Lab's requirements, but using in-ceiling surrounds probably won't give much separation between sounds coming from the rear and those above.
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-20-2019, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PlanetAVS View Post
I have looked at this guide multiple times. Unfortunately, these things don't necessarily work for a lot of folks. Most rooms are not setup to allow for a guide like this. I'm just trying to find something that can use some of the recommendations from the guide to achieve a decent sound.



The guide actually has the rear surrounds very close to the atmos ceiling speakers. I know the surrounds are floor standing speaker but would angling my rear mounted speakers down help?
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-20-2019, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benso37 View Post
I have looked at this guide multiple times. Unfortunately, these things don't necessarily work for a lot of folks. Most rooms are not setup to allow for a guide like this. I'm just trying to find something that can use some of the recommendations from the guide to achieve a decent sound.



The guide actually has the rear surrounds very close to the atmos ceiling speakers. I know the surrounds are floor standing speaker but would angling my rear mounted speakers down help?
They should be angled down anyway, otherwise the rear channel sound would be pointed along the ceiling. The ceiling speakers will also be angled down, which is part of the problem of the sound blending.
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post #9 of 12 Old 07-20-2019, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benso37 View Post
I have looked at this guide multiple times. Unfortunately, these things don't necessarily work for a lot of folks. Most rooms are not setup to allow for a guide like this. I'm just trying to find something that can use some of the recommendations from the guide to achieve a decent sound.



The guide actually has the rear surrounds very close to the atmos ceiling speakers. I know the surrounds are floor standing speaker but would angling my rear mounted speakers down help?
Here is a more detailed guide.
- a few issues i see is they recommend a 4 ft separation of lower speakers to atmos or half the wall height. Need separation between the 2.
- surround and rears should be at ear lvl or 1.25 times ear lvl.
- that beam is going to cause issues.

Options i can see.

- move couch forward some and install atmos on ether side of the beam. Might have refection issue still though. Lower down the rear surrounds.
- only install 2 atmos speakers and use the rear surrounds as rear height channels if angle them down. Install rear surrounds lower down.
- install the atmos rear side of the beam and get best possible placement. Lower down the rear surrounds
- surface mount speakers so they hang lower then the beam, might be able to do that with ones like Boston acoustics soundware speakers or one of the other out door speaker. Lower the rear surrounds.

Pg8 and 9 for reference

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/technologies/dolby-atmos/dolby-atmos-home-theater-installation-guidelines.pdf

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post #10 of 12 Old 07-21-2019, 07:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the feedback. I was thinking about all the concerns you mentioned and that's what prompted me to start this thread. Not sure what my final setup will look like but we'll see. I will definitely drop by rear surrounds if I didn't have that void in the second half of the wall behind me. I will have to come up with something creative.



I do have a question that might sound silly so forgive my ignorance.



The whole idea behind atmos and dts-x is to have object based tracks, right? So, if I have true 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 configured and the AVR supports it, I would expect my .2 or .4 to be the only speakers to produce atmos (object) and not the rear speakers. If that's the case, wouldn't I only hear object based sound (like a plane flying overhead) through the overhead speaker? Wouldn't that minimize interference from the rear speakers? Similar to what the center speaker is used for (mostly dialogue).
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-21-2019, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by benso37 View Post
The whole idea behind atmos and dts-x is to have object based tracks, right? So, if I have true 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 configured and the AVR supports it, I would expect my .2 or .4 to be the only speakers to produce atmos (object) and not the rear speakers. If that's the case, wouldn't I only hear object based sound (like a plane flying overhead) through the overhead speaker? Wouldn't that minimize interference from the rear speakers? Similar to what the center speaker is used for (mostly dialogue).
The issue is that by having the rear ceilings and the rear heights close together is that you lose on the imaging and sound field that the director intended. As an analogy, think of listening to music in a stereo two channel mode. The guitar is mixed on the left channel and the bass guitar is mixed on the right. If you were to sit in your room and place the two stereo speakers at the front but only 3 feet apart you would lose the stereo image and soundfield as the two channels would blend together. It would sound like one center channel.

As bobknavs mentioned above, the Dolby ATMOS whitepaper is meant to be the ideal target to strive for but in the real world sometimes compromises have to be made. We are talking about the rear ATMOS speakers and the rear surrounds, which generally speaking are not as active in many movies. You could try your plan and see what you think and then move the rear surrounds down if you're not happy. IMO, it will end up sounding like a 5.1.4 setup but who knows?

As another idea, what about using one of your ceiling pairs in wall in the back wall of the hollow space and deploying these as the rear surrounds?
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-26-2019, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
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The issue is that by having the rear ceilings and the rear heights close together is that you lose on the imaging and sound field that the director intended. As an analogy, think of listening to music in a stereo two channel mode. The guitar is mixed on the left channel and the bass guitar is mixed on the right. If you were to sit in your room and place the two stereo speakers at the front but only 3 feet apart you would lose the stereo image and soundfield as the two channels would blend together. It would sound like one center channel.

As bobknavs mentioned above, the Dolby ATMOS whitepaper is meant to be the ideal target to strive for but in the real world sometimes compromises have to be made. We are talking about the rear ATMOS speakers and the rear surrounds, which generally speaking are not as active in many movies. You could try your plan and see what you think and then move the rear surrounds down if you're not happy. IMO, it will end up sounding like a 5.1.4 setup but who knows?

As another idea, what about using one of your ceiling pairs in wall in the back wall of the hollow space and deploying these as the rear surrounds?

Thanks for the input. I have decided to install the four atmos speakers in my image one and leave the back surround speakers up where they are currently mounted to see how it all sounds. If the back surround end up causing an issue, I'll put two in-wall speaker lower, even though there are two separate walls in the back. I hope that doesn't cause it's own sound issues if I end up moving the back surrounds.



Thank you all for your help.
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