Originally Posted by Bill-99
Have to think about on-wall as a potential answer. Not sure.
As you point out, other manufacturers have shown interest in Atmos-enabled / elevation speakers. Could be lots of reasons why Revel isn't in this space -- maybe not enough customers, or not enough margin, or not the target audience of Revel products, etc. But it would be useful to have an answer from the manufacturer.
Of course, no answer at all is an answer in itself.
A few years ago I participated in a CEDIA panel discussion on elevation loudspeaker options, including a Dolby representative (see attachment). I began by explaining how humans localize sounds at different elevations. It is entirely very high frequency spectral information, and it works most reliably for familiar sounds, so we can notice the directional cues when the sound source is elevated. Our precision of localizing vertically is poor because the ears are in the wrong locations.
There is no doubt that real loudspeakers in the right locations are vastly more convincing than the option of bouncing sounds off the ceiling from upward facing speakers on top of towers or bookshelf units. The artist's renderings of sound "beams" from the upward aimed speakers bouncing off the ceiling are laughable - sound does not propagate that way. Only the most directional high frequency sounds get close, which generates an "effect", but it is much less persuasive than when all of the wide bandwidth sounds originate at elevated locations.
So, one should abandon the real speaker option only if none of the options can be made to work.
The good news is that those speakers may or may not need to be in or on the ceiling. It depends on the geometry of the room. The requirements state that the front and rear elevation speakers should be about 30 or more degrees up from the head location of the prime listener. In my room that permitted quality bookshelf speakers to be suspended from the walls close to the ceiling - they are 35 deg. up and aimed at me so I get the highest quality direct sound.
Being directly overhead is not necessary to generate impressive 3D effects. In the real world few sounds originate from such elevated locations, and some of those in movies end up being localized "up there" even when no speakers were in those locations. Flyovers and hovering helicopters have for decades been successfully portrayed with 5.1 channels. Nothing is ever localized below the floor. The brain knows better and will deliver perceptions that are "plausible". Still, in some movies deliberately steered sound effects come from the elevated speakers and this is where real speakers in those locations are highly advantageous.
Finally, it has to be noted that the four elevated speakers commonly recommended are far fewer than the number available for use by sound mixers in movie production facilities and in upscale Atmos cinemas. We get to hear a "downmixed" sound track, but from my own experience it can still be very impressive.
As for Revel's position with respect to Atmos enabled speakers, I cannot comment. That is a marketing decision, not an engineering one.