I've made some purchases recently and have narrowed down my questions for where to go next with my theater.
I'm upgrading from a 9.2 setup (RBH Signature 616/66/61-se and 2 rythmik 1501's custom sealed boxes). I've purchased a Denon x8500h and 8 (rbh r-5e) bookshelf speakers for either height/ceiling. I only plan to use 6 of the r5-e for now and have 2 for use later if needed.
My concern is that my ceiling height is 8.5' and that I can't mount/use speakers in-ceiling as typical for atmos. The theater is under a garage and the ceiling is covered with 4" of fr701 and stretched cotton fabric over the fr701. In fact, the room exterior is entirely constructed of cement so there is 1"-4" of acoustical treatment on all walls and ceiling, except above ear level on the sides so the room is on the anechoic side. I do have a build thread that goes into more details if anyone is interested.
Due to the low ceiling height of 8.5' and not being able to mount speakers in it, I'm left with the likely option of mounting the r-5e speakers on arms/poles/mounts out from the soffit in the room. Although all ear level speakers are placed in columns behind AT material, the room is 99% listening and 1% visually focused (Mostly matte black to avoid light reflections as well) so I won't mind if the atmos speakers are visible or stand out visually.
Also note that in the images, the speakers shown in the columns to the sides of the second row are not there now -- I'm debating on moving the two bed level speakers from the rear room columns to the sides columns of the second row as people are rarely in the second row. The first row center is the primary listening position. From reviewing Dolby's 7.1.6 layout suggestion, they show the atmos speakers wider in the room than the rear speakers so I may leave the rear bed level speakers in the rear columns, suggestions?
I've mocked up the room and the 'recommended' cones areas of angles for where speakers should be if they were in-ceiling atmos for a 7.1.6 atmos. I do plan on leaving the front wides there as the x8500h supports a 9.2 and 7.1.6 with 15 speaker terminals for 13 active speakers.
I am not sure if due to my ceiling height I should or should not be doing an atmos ceiling location setup or if I should instead be looking at doing 'front and rear height' locations at the front and rear of the room, potentially more Auro-3d like.
I also am curious if I do atmos ceiling locations, rather than down firing the speakers if I should angle the speakers facing such that they direct sound as the "poles" in the images show? And if so, would that achieve Atmos and Auro-3D sound imaging both well, just atmos well, or both poorly?
Tinekrcad URL, likely easier to see visually than the images below: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/e2gg0nTfeNg