Surround speaker rec for Atmos sides/rears - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 22 Old 01-21-2020, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Surround speaker rec for Atmos sides/rears

Once again I’m turning to the AVS braintrust.

Researching a future speaker upgrade and need some advice. I’m currently running an 7.1.4 Atmos setup with Martin Logan motion 40s for front LR, Motion 30 center, with Polk RTI A4s for my sides, and Polk FXis for my rears.

Just got a larger sofa, that basically goes wall to wall, so my wife and I are looking for a surround speaker upgrade that will both improve sound quality for the surrounds and also lower their profile as our guests will end up sitting closer to the side speakers than before.

I’m open to suggestions, but am currently considering motion 15s, motion SLMs or Motion 4is. Has anyone compared these speakers? I assume the on wall SLM will be the worst option sonically, but is it a big enough difference to matter when used exclusively for surrounds? Would all of these speakers be upgrades over my polks? Any other suggestions for rear speakers?
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-25-2020, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Bump?
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post #3 of 22 Old 01-25-2020, 08:09 AM
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I'm going to be getting a full suite of surrounds within the next 6 weeks or so and I had the same question. What I'm planning on doing is turn to the ID companies. Most of them offer an in-home trial period and most have free 2-way shipping. My plan is to get several pairs and do a shootout, a speaker playoff so to speak. I'm looking at SVS, Ascend, Chane, Aperion, PSA, and Emotiva. There are others but those are the speakers that I found most intriguing.
I of course could always listen to some speakers locally however that's going to be highly altered from what I'll hear at home. Different electronics, different acoustics, volumes, etc. At home I can set them up in the exact same space with the exact same equipment I'll be using and can accurately calibrate volumes. I think that just about anyone will be able to find a fantastic speaker with in-home listening.
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-26-2020, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Good advice in general.

My issue is I’m looking for thin profile surround speakers, both for aesthetics and because I’ve just bought a new sofa that’s going nearly wall to wall, so I want to maximize the distance from sofa to side speaker for anyone sitting on either edge of the couch. I’m not finding a lot of ID companies that sell low profile speakers. I’m also a big fan of the folded style of tweeter that ML uses, so I’d prefer to match what I have up front.

I guess what I’m really looking for is some thoughts from people with first hand experience with the Martin Logan SLM speakers, as there aren’t many reviews to speak of.
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post #5 of 22 Old 01-26-2020, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by filmgeek47 View Post
I’m also a big fan of the folded style of tweeter that ML uses, so I’d prefer to match what I have up front.

I guess what I’m really looking for is some thoughts from people with first hand experience with the Martin Logan SLM speakers, as there aren’t many reviews to speak of.
A reasonable line of thinking to match them with MLs. Sorry, can't comment on them, have not heard, but your logic is sound. Another one to look at would be the GoldenEar Supersat series, also with the folded ribbon tweeter:

https://www.goldenear.com/products/supersat-series

I have heard these, and I thought they were pretty good.

7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
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Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
Subwoofers:
2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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post #6 of 22 Old 01-26-2020, 06:28 PM
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What about the Martin Logan Fx and Fx2? I have the Fx2s for surrounds and they work great.
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post #7 of 22 Old 01-26-2020, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
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What about the Martin Logan Fx and Fx2? I have the Fx2s for surrounds and they work great.
Are you running Atmos? When I get to the rear surrounds I’m planning on using the motion FX. I haven’t really tried using a bi-pole for the side surrounds. I’m worried about losing the precision that Atmos gives you.
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-26-2020, 07:13 PM
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Surround speaker rec for Atmos sides/rears

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Are you running Atmos? When I get to the rear surrounds I’m planning on using the motion FX. I haven’t really tried using a bi-pole for the side surrounds. I’m worried about losing the precision that Atmos gives you.

I am running Atmos. I don’t really have issues with localization. If anything it’s increased the fill of the room for me. Overall they have worked great. No complaints. I also really like their form factor as they are very shallow depth which makes them easy to mount and place.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by precision that Atmos gives you? I feel like the bi-poles fill the room better. I like the bi-directionality and the feeling of the sound coming from a direction instead of just from 1 spot from that direction.
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-26-2020, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I am running Atmos. I don’t really have issues with localization. If anything it’s increased the fill of the room for me. Overall they have worked great. No complaints. I also really like their form factor as they are very shallow depth which makes them easy to mount and place.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by precision that Atmos gives you? I feel like the bi-poles fill the room better. I like the bi-directionality and the feeling of the sound coming from a direction instead of just from 1 spot from that direction.
The best example I can think of is if you play one of the Dolby Atmos demo clips, and you hear chimes moving around the room. Part of the advantage of Atmos is it allows sound designers to deliver sound more precisely around the room because they can use the volume from the ceiling speakers to place sound vertically as well as horizontally. My worry is that by using bipoles for the side speakers you “dilute” that precision. Officially, Dolby encourages direct radiating speakers only, even though obviously people ignore that, but that’s the reasoning.
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-26-2020, 07:56 PM
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The best example I can think of is if you play one of the Dolby Atmos demo clips, and you hear chimes moving around the room. Part of the advantage of Atmos is it allows sound designers to deliver sound more precisely around the room because they can use the volume from the ceiling speakers to place sound vertically as well as horizontally. My worry is that by using bipoles for the side speakers you “dilute” that precision. Officially, Dolby encourages direct radiating speakers only, even though obviously people ignore that, but that’s the reasoning.


Valid point, but all I can say is I like them and it’s not decentralized to the point t of not knowing where the sound is coming from. It’s simply more dispersed and covering a wider area. I’m sure if I had a full Atmos theater with a million channels I’d want direct speakers too, but since I don’t and I never will have more than 7 surround channels the bi-poles work great.

You can always buy them, see if you like them, and if you don’t return them.
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post #11 of 22 Old 01-27-2020, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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A reasonable line of thinking to match them with MLs. Sorry, can't comment on them, have not heard, but your logic is sound. Another one to look at would be the GoldenEar Supersat series, also with the folded ribbon tweeter:

https://www.goldenear.com/products/supersat-series

I have heard these, and I thought they were pretty good.
Thanks for the tip. I’m guessing with the tweeter tech in common they’d pair well. Which supersat did you hear? I’m intrigued by the supersat 3, mainly because it’s so much shorter than the ML option, but sound quality is still my first priority, so I’m not sure if they’d be strong enough sonically for the job. Conversely, I’m worried all the spread out elements on the Ml SLM won’t converge together correctly for someone only sitting a couple of feet away.
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post #12 of 22 Old 01-27-2020, 06:57 PM
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Thanks for the tip. I’m guessing with the tweeter tech in common they’d pair well. Which supersat did you hear? I’m intrigued by the supersat 3, mainly because it’s so much shorter than the ML option, but sound quality is still my first priority, so I’m not sure if they’d be strong enough sonically for the job. Conversely, I’m worried all the spread out elements on the Ml SLM won’t converge together correctly for someone only sitting a couple of feet away.
If memory serves, it was a set of 50s as L/R, and a 60 as center, all framing a wall-mounted display.
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7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
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post #13 of 22 Old 01-30-2020, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Valid point, but all I can say is I like them and it’s not decentralized to the point t of not knowing where the sound is coming from. It’s simply more dispersed and covering a wider area. I’m sure if I had a full Atmos theater with a million channels I’d want direct speakers too, but since I don’t and I never will have more than 7 surround channels the bi-poles work great.

You can always buy them, see if you like them, and if you don’t return them.
Listened to the SLMs at Best Buy and wasn’t impressed. They’re great for an on-wall, but it felt like listening to 3/4 of a speaker, which I guess is more or less what they are.

Leaning towards the Motion FX now, but I’m not finding any places local that have them up for demo.
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post #14 of 22 Old 01-30-2020, 07:21 PM
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Surround speaker rec for Atmos sides/rears

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Listened to the SLMs at Best Buy and wasn’t impressed. They’re great for an on-wall, but it felt like listening to 3/4 of a speaker, which I guess is more or less what they are.



Leaning towards the Motion FX now, but I’m not finding any places local that have them up for demo.


Where are you located? You can try calling Martin Logan directly. I actually got put in contact with their North American marketing guy and was tagged with with a dealer locally that helped me out.
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post #15 of 22 Old 01-30-2020, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Where are you located? You can try calling Martin Logan directly. I actually got put in contact with their North American marketing guy and was tagged with with a dealer locally that helped me out.
I’m in Los Angeles. You’d think we’d be teaming with dealers, but most of the local places are custom installers.
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post #16 of 22 Old 01-30-2020, 07:29 PM
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I’m in Los Angeles. You’d think we’d be teaming with dealers, but most of the local places are custom installers.

Interesting that their are no dealers. Is there a Magnolia Theater around you, Best Buy or otherwise? Mag Theaters sell Martin Logan and they carry their highest end stuff too. I know Best Buy isn’t the best for high end audio gear, but the actually Magnolia Theaters can be decent.

If ther doesn’t work, seriously call Martin Logan directly and see if they can help you. Just explain your issue and see what they say.
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post #17 of 22 Old 01-30-2020, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting that their are no dealers. Is there a Magnolia Theater around you, Best Buy or otherwise? Mag Theaters sell Martin Logan and they carry their highest end stuff too. I know Best Buy isn’t the best for high end audio gear, but the actually Magnolia Theaters can be decent.

If ther doesn’t work, seriously call Martin Logan directly and see if they can help you. Just explain your issue and see what they say.
I got a bit frustrated with Best Buy. Drove a ways to the nearest store that claimed to have the Motion fx on display, but they didn’t’ end up having them.
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post #18 of 22 Old 01-30-2020, 07:33 PM
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I got a bit frustrated with Best Buy. Drove a ways to the nearest store that claimed to have the Motion fx on display, but they didn’t’ end up having them.


Man, that sucks. Can’t blame you for being PO’d.
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post #19 of 22 Old 01-30-2020, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Man, that sucks. Can’t blame you for being PO’d.
I might end up calling ML as you suggested. I’m trying to narrow down my choices as much as possible before I go hunting around for demos. Choosing a speaker with the same tweeter tech as my fronts is top priority for me, which actually narrows down the choices quite a bit.

After hearing how thin the SLM sounded, I’ve narrowed it down to either the motion FX, the Motion 15, or the GoldenEar supersat. I’m a bit skeptical that the GoldenEar will sound any fuller than the ML on-wall, but it would certainly solve some problems if they did.

I’m still very mixed on whether bi-pole or direct radiating is the better choice in an Atmos system. I think this weekend I’m going to try swapping my existing rear bi-poles for my direct radiating side surrounds and compare the surround effect in each setup. That should narrow things down further.
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post #20 of 22 Old 01-30-2020, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Anybody heard the Emotiva E2? Curious to see how they compare against the motion FX. Ditto the Emotiva E1 vs the motion 15 (for surround)

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post #21 of 22 Old 01-30-2020, 08:04 PM
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Anybody heard the Emotiva E2? Curious to see how they compare against the motion FX.


I would ask in this thread what people think of bi-poles in Atmos. I love mine.

The official Dolby Atmos thread (home theater version)
https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink/top...ink_source=app
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post #22 of 22 Old 01-31-2020, 04:23 PM
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I would ask in this thread what people think of bi-poles in Atmos. I love mine.

The official Dolby Atmos thread (home theater version)
https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink/top...ink_source=app

Others on the forum do as well. Dolby indicates bipoles are acceptable for Atmos. Just not dipoles. Monopoles seem to be preferred, but if they are overly close to a listener, a bipole certainly could be considered. Placement, experimentation. I have heard bipoles in an Atmos config. and it sounded great. YMMV!
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7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
Subwoofers:
2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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