Originally Posted by kbarnes701
I only have 4 overheads and intend to stay that way for the foreseeable, but do you not think that speakers at ear level, in front of you, are more useful than speakers on the ceiling, above you? Neither Wides nor Overheads are all that much different in terms of Atmos content, but there is a big difference in how we hear sounds in front of us and sounds above us.
Also, as Sanjay pointed out recently, with 6 overheads, the TF pair and the TR pair are mostly silent with almost all the content going to the TM pair, whereas with 4 overheads, the TF and TR pair are active most of the time, with a phantom image for where the TM pair would be. So if I had to choose between TM and Wides, I'd go with the latter I think. But I only have a single row theater, which may be relevant.
My thinking for prioritizing six height channels:
1) I installed Top Middles because my room has a low ceiling and my other height speakers are spread rather far apart at the Front Height and Rear Height positions. As a result, sounds were not imaging well between them and I had an auditory hole above my head. Top Middles fill that hole.
2) As mentioned earlier in the thread, Wide channels only get much usage if you disable Surround Backs for a 5.1(+W) layout on the ground. This would mean I'd have to disable both Surround Backs and Top Middles, downgrading from 7.1.6 to 5.1.4(+W). That seems like too much of a compromise.
3) Although Atmos content may direct most sounds to the Top Middles and not use the other heights much, the Dolby Surround Upmixer (which is active for most of my viewing) uses all six height speakers. DSU really only has 2 channels of height info, but it's spread across all speakers on each side of the room.
4) One of the reasons I'd been resistant to Wide channels in the past is that I never felt I was missing anything in those locations. Sounds image pretty well between my front mains and Surrounds.
5) My Top Middle speakers are already installed in the ceiling. What am I gonna do, leave them there and not use them? At least on the ground level, I can remove speakers if I don't need them, but removing overheads will require patching and repainting my ceiling.