Adding 2 rear speakers to 5.1 for height immersion? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Adding 2 rear speakers to 5.1 for height immersion?

Hey guys, I'm reading a lot of conflicting info on this and would really appreciate some incisive expert advice..

I currently have a Denon 7-channel AVR X1200 amp, of which I am using 5 channels for a standard 5.1 surround setup.
I would like to add 2 more speakers to utilise my remaining 2 channels, but I specifically want the extra 2 speakers to be used for height.

My seating position is very close to the back wall of my room, and my 2 rear surround channels are placed on my back wall and tilted towards the main seating position at a 45 degree angle. A ceiling mount (in the middle of the room between seating position and screen) is not viable, so I would like to add 2 extra speakers on the back wall preferably around where the wall meets the ceiling and angled down towards the seating position, in order to give a better perception of depth, overhead sound etc.

Would this be classified as 5.1.2 or 7.1? From what I have read, this is deemed a Dolby Atmos setup and not actual 7.1, is that correct?

Can anyone please advise the best speaker placement for this scenario, and would my amp recognise the position of the extra speakers and convert the sound spatially into the 7 speakers correctly for their positions in the room?

Or would 7 speakers only work in this instance if they were all placed at the same height?

The amp can perform a mic calibration test, but I'm not sure of the extent of it's powers when going to Atmos, true HD, 7.1 etc..

Many thanks for any input
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 03:39 AM
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Your receiver is a 7.1 channel receiver and does not have Atmos capability. Therefore it can't perform any Atmos, DTS:X or Auro 3D processing. So your speaker layout would be 7.1. Placing the rear speakers at the wall/ceiling junction does not make the system 5.1.2. You would need an Atmos-capable receiver to provide a 5.1.2 system.

Having said that, you can still place your rear surrounds up high on the wall, and you will still get some "height" information from behind you. However, know this: because of the anatomy of the human ear, our hearing is least acute for sounds coming from behind us. Sounds that originate behind us are less able to be localized with precision. If you place your rear speakers high up on the rear wall and you get some "height" information from back there, it will be more difficult to tell whether is is coming from a "height" location. This will be impacted depending on the angle of the speakers to the listening position. The further back they are, the less steep the angle, resulting in them providing less height perception. On the other hand, if the angle is steep, the height difference between the sides, (which I presume are mounted at the Dolby recommended height of ear level to slightly above ear level), and the rears will be more pronounced and noticeable. You may, or may not, find this acceptable.

In addition, the sounds coming from the rear won't be true, Atmos discrete height information. It will be rear-surround information coming from higher up than the "recommended" rear surround position. Here is the recommended speaker positioning for Dolby 7.1 systems: https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/su...7-1-setup.html Note that in the second illustration, all the surrounds are placed slightly above ear level.

Good luck!

Craig

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(Edited Feb. 2020 to add 4K and Atmos updates)
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 03:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey, I really appreciate your response, but before I go in-depth, I believe my amp does have Dolby Atmos... at least according to this review:

https://usa.denon.com/us/product/hom...vers/avrx1200w

"the AVR-X1200W 7.2 channel A/V receiver which features Dolby Atmos immersive surround sound decoding, delivering breathtaking surround sound with today’s advanced movie soundtracks. With Dolby Atmos, you’ll experience the same revolutionary 3D surround sound found in premium movie theaters, with the ability to create an overhead surround soundfield that dramatically expands the sonic space. And, via a future firmware update, the AVR-X1200W will be able to decode DTS:X soundtracks, which also deliver an immersive 3-dimensional soundspace."
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 04:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondie88 View Post
Hey, I really appreciate your response, but before I go in-depth, I believe my amp does have Dolby Atmos... at least according to this review:

https://usa.denon.com/us/product/hom...vers/avrx1200w

"the AVR-X1200W 7.2 channel A/V receiver which features Dolby Atmos immersive surround sound decoding, delivering breathtaking surround sound with today’s advanced movie soundtracks. With Dolby Atmos, you’ll experience the same revolutionary 3D surround sound found in premium movie theaters, with the ability to create an overhead surround soundfield that dramatically expands the sonic space. And, via a future firmware update, the AVR-X1200W will be able to decode DTS:X soundtracks, which also deliver an immersive 3-dimensional soundspace."
You're both right. The x1200 has 2 channels they call Atmos (5.1.2) but 'standard Atmos' is 4 channels (5.1.4).
Use the Dolby link that craig provided for positioning options. When I bought my 4 channel Atmos AVR I only had 2 spare speakers and a difficult ceiling to work with, but I managed to put them in the front Atmos position and I like that much better over the 7.1 setup which I had previously. It really fills the front sound stage. I'd recommend that since your side surrounds are placed all the way in the back of the room due to your seating setup.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondie88 View Post
Hey, I really appreciate your response, but before I go in-depth, I believe my amp does have Dolby Atmos... at least according to this review:

https://usa.denon.com/us/product/hom...vers/avrx1200w

"the AVR-X1200W 7.2 channel A/V receiver which features Dolby Atmos immersive surround sound decoding, delivering breathtaking surround sound with today’s advanced movie soundtracks. With Dolby Atmos, you’ll experience the same revolutionary 3D surround sound found in premium movie theaters, with the ability to create an overhead surround soundfield that dramatically expands the sonic space. And, via a future firmware update, the AVR-X1200W will be able to decode DTS:X soundtracks, which also deliver an immersive 3-dimensional soundspace."
Sorry, I missed the verbiage about Atmos on the Denon site. I just looked at the header that said 7.1 and assumed it was not an Atmos capable receiver.


As the other poster said, if you want to add 2 Atmos speakers, it's better to add Atmos Front Heights or Overheads, (Dolby refers to them as "Top Middle Overheads: https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/sp...tup-guide.html ). Those will offer much more envelopment and immersiveness than Rear Heights or Rear Surrounds.
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(Edited Feb. 2020 to add 4K and Atmos updates)

Last edited by craig john; 02-18-2020 at 10:22 AM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 10:34 AM
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despite what has been posted here, you most certainly utilize a 5.1.2 setup with your current receiver for ATMOS/DTS:X. also, you and others have to understand in the real world, we have to make our given situation work. if your current "surround" channels are at ear level and not higher you can as you mentioned mount 2 channels to the back ceiling or as close to the ceiling/wall juncture (since you said ceiling mounting near the middle of the room isn't possible) and give them a 45 degree tilt or as close of an aim as possible towards the MLP and set them up as "Top Rear" and you will be fine.

everyone won't have absolute "dolby specs" (which i consider more recommendations) in their installation so, you have to tailor the system to your room as close as you can to the "dolby specs" it should still sound good. i have a 5.1.2 in my bedroom with the speakers mounted onto the sheetrock ceiling and they are "top middle" and my surrounds are at ear level in the back of corners of my room angled between the two walls. works perfectly.

sometimes, you've got to make what you have work. that is my position/opinion.

best of luck, please keep us posted and please do post some pictures.

Edit:

i just checked your manual and you don't have a Top Rear option, only Top Front or Top Middle. so, depending on the location of your surrounds, again, assuming they are mounted at ear level, you could mount the height speakers at the same wall/ceiling juncture aimed down towards the MLP and assign them as Top Middle or Top Front in relation to and distance from/to/between your current surrounds and front. that should give you the best effects possible.

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Last edited by solarrdadd; 02-18-2020 at 12:02 PM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 10:41 AM
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I have 5.1.4 setup, 4 speakers on the side walls , where the ceiling meets the wall, angled down and slightly towards MLP. It sounds pretty amazing. Just wish more movies used height effects.
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Dough View Post
I have 5.1.4 setup, 4 speakers on the side walls , where the ceiling meets the wall, angled down and slightly towards MLP. It sounds pretty amazing. Just wish more movies used height effects.
yep, i'm sure it sounds great. working with what you have!

just so there is no confusion for folks reading your post, the OP can only support 5.1.2 or 7.1 as his receiver is 7 channels only.

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post #9 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarrdadd View Post

Edit:

i just checked your manual and you don't have a Top Rear option, only Top Front or Top Middle. so, depending on the location of your surrounds, again, assuming they are mounted at ear level, you could mount the height speakers at the same wall/ceiling juncture aimed down towards the MLP and assign them as Top Middle or Top Front in relation to and distance from/to/between your current surrounds and front. that should give you the best effects possible.
Hey, thanks also for your advice. Though to be clear, am I correct that you are suggesting I mount my 2 extra speakers high on my BACK wall, pointed towards the listening position, and assign them as TOP FRONT on my amp? Isn't that going to place sounds that should be coming from the front, behind me instead?
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 03:33 PM
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Before I respond again, please put up some pictures of the setup and show MLP, location of current surrounds and a good side shot of the MLP. We need to see actual rather than described. Better suggestions come from pictures because we can think of things better when we can see the actual room or area.

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post #11 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondie88 View Post
...am I correct that you are suggesting I mount my 2 extra speakers high on my BACK wall, pointed towards the listening position, and assign them as TOP FRONT on my amp? Isn't that going to place sounds that should be coming from the front, behind me instead?
Can your seating be moved forward off the back wall? If so, that would place the seating in much more optimal position for surround sound. Then you could use the Side Surrounds in their current locations and mount the "Rear Surrounds" high on the back wall and you would have something close to a standard 7.1 system, (non-Atmos.) You would also get some Height effect.

Another alternative, (if you haven't already purchased the extra speakers), consider front-firing speakers. Then place them on the ceiling pointing straight down at the listening position? Then assign them to the Top Middle positions. This would be the most correct way of setting up your system if you want an Atmos system. You could use wall/ceiling placement with an angled speaker and connected as Top Middle, but the LP would be well outside the optimal dispersion pattern of the of speakers. It'll "work" but not optimally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blondie88
...and my 2 rear surround channels are placed on my back wall and tilted towards the main seating position at a 45 degree angle.
In a 5.1 system, the "surrounds" should be placed at 90 to 110 degrees and aimed directly at the listening position. Also, just to be thorough, they should be connected as the "Surrounds" not the "Rear Surrounds." Is there any possibility that you could move the surrounds to the side walls and aim them inwards at the seating? This would be better no matter which of the above scenarios you select.

Craig

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post #12 of 12 Old 02-18-2020, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondie88 View Post
Hey, thanks also for your advice. Though to be clear, am I correct that you are suggesting I mount my 2 extra speakers high on my BACK wall, pointed towards the listening position, and assign them as TOP FRONT on my amp? Isn't that going to place sounds that should be coming from the front, behind me instead?
Not usually.

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/sp...tup-guide.html

Range is from 25° forward of the mail listening position to 10° behind. Straight overhead is OK.
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