Atmos - 7.4.1 Systems - $$$ -Would You Do It Again? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 15 Old 02-26-2018, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Atmos - 7.4.1 Systems - $$$ -Would You Do It Again?

Hi folks,

For decades I was an early adopter for pretty much every HT related technology. Four CRT $ three digital projectors, stacks of amps, AVRs and processors, HD DVD players, SDI converted DVD players, scalers, SACDs, DVD-As, you name it, I bought it. A lot of it is now in the closet...

I've been tracking the 'new' height surround formats and haven't (yet?) made the plunge. I've got some concerns, and really don't want to buy yet another "tech flavor of the day." In short, I'm tired of paying dearly for the privilege of being a beta tester.

An 'upgrade' to Atmos/DTS:X requires an upgrade to my Onkyo PR-SC5508, and going 4k means I'll be shopping for a new PJ to replace my JVC RS46. Not an inconsequential expenditure. Likely around $4k to $5k. Plus investment in 4k discs, etc.

My question, is the money worth it? I read Widescreen Review, and Gary Reber seems to be mostly underwhelmed by the encoding of most 4k discs. Many seem to be upconverted from 2k video sources, and the surround channels of some discs are reported to be pretty quiet.

I've read some threads here where fellow forum members share that they like the matrixed height channel info, but that strikes me as 'fake' surround.

Can some folks share their "I would or wouldn't do it again" thoughts, please?

FWIW, here's my current HT system:
Polk RT3000p fronts
CS1000p center
F/X1000 side surrounds
RT3000p sats rear surrounds
Polk RT35 height channel
2 x SVS PB12/Plus 2's
Onkyo PR-SC5508 Controller
Sherbourne 7/2100 200 x 7 Amp
Sherbourne TST4 100 x 2 Amp for Height
PS-3 BD
HD-A35 HD DVD
Oppo DV-980H for hirez audio
Technics SL-D2 TT, Grado Gold Cartridge
JVC DLA-R46u projector
Silver Ticket 120" acoustically transparent screen
Berkline 090 electric recliners with Aura Bass Shakers

I'm finding that I'm smarter than I thought, but dumber than I need to be.
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Last edited by rtart; 02-27-2018 at 03:39 AM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-26-2018, 11:53 AM
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i got lucky with my atmos upgrade as I got a receiver at an awesome clearance price ($500 CDN) and 4 ceiling speakers on sale ($40 each). plus I sold my old receiver for $170 !

Anyway - not quite sold on it yet but to be honest I have only watched 2-3 movies since the upgrade.

I do like the upgrade to Denon with the better version of audyssey, coming from low end pioneer.
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-26-2018, 12:39 PM
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I always say: Atmos (and DTS:X) are nice to have.
Just as 7.1.
As long as you have 5.1 set up to perfection.

I’d do it again, but because it’s my hobby and I have a dedicated space. To friends I recommend getting 5.1 right first.

As far as the projector goes, I’m at 1080p with the Sony VPL-HW45ES which still turns out to be a keeper: https://www.avsforum.com/best-projector-home-theater/

Similar quality in 4K I can’t afford yet.

HT:7.2.4 - Marantz AV7705 - InterM amps - Bose Controlspace ESP88 16x16
LCR: Bose 802-III - Surround/Atmos: Bose 502A - LFE: Bose AWCS
Living:3.1 - Marantz AV7702mk2 - InterM reference amps - Bose Controlspace ESP880 8x8
LR: Bose 901mk3 - C: Bose Acoustimass satelites - LFE: Bose MB12
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post #4 of 15 Old 02-26-2018, 12:43 PM
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I'm running 5.4.4 and have been very disappointed in the dearth of atmos on blu ray discs. The tide seems to be turning with streaming services supporting it.
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post #5 of 15 Old 02-26-2018, 07:42 PM
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You can get Atmos very affordably, esp used; I did it more expensively and would do it again.

4k would be a waste, as at my viewing distance and screen size I can't see all of the detail in 2k.

But if you can, word is that a JVC 2k w/eshift gets you awful darn close to 4k.

Noah
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-26-2018, 08:47 PM
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I would upgrade your pre/pro in order to get the 4k (HDCP2.2) support. weather or not you go whole hog with the Atmos speakers. There is lots of streaming content at 4k it seems. I am using Amazon. very happy with it.

Main: Sony XBR75900E, Denon AVR-x4400, Denon POA-5200 (L/R(a) Goldenear supersat 60, (b)FW Boston acoustic Bravo 2. C Goldenear supersat 60C,
SSR DIYSG Volt 6v2. RSS Volt 6, Atmos(.4) Boston acoustics soundware XS
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-26-2018, 10:46 PM
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I have to agree with the OP if you have a proper Atmos setup and do not like it you most likely have it setup wrong. I have a 5.1.4 setup and love it. I also use the Dolby DSU and the DTS neturel X if the material is not in atmos or DTSX because I like it so much. I also like the UHD Blu Ray discs bette4 than stand BD discs because they. Outlying have the Atmos/DTSX sound tracks and not all of the regular BD’s do. If you buy the UHD disc you also get the regular BD with it which is nice. I also have AppleTv 4k as a streamer and watch a ton of Netflix on it. I currently have a LG oled E6 and was going to get the 88” Oled when released next year but had a horrible experience with LG custmer service so I will never buy a LG product again, someone else can get my $25k+ but LG will never get another penny out of me.
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-27-2018, 01:20 AM
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Crawling up in the attic mid summer fishing wire for on ceiling speakers later to be replaced with in-ceilings (all done ) seeking out an 7 or 8 ch amp for a tight space (now replaced with a more powerful one) and sitting back and falling in love with home cinema all over again!

Yes indeed I'd do it all again:cool
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-01-2018, 08:11 PM
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Best improvement I ever made. Total sound immersion. Not a gimmick.
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Onkyo TX-RZ1100 (Atmos 5.1.4)
RSL C34E In-Ceiling Speakers
Energy Speakers (5.1 arrangement)
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-01-2018, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtart View Post
My question, is the money worth it?
Of course, it's all subjective, but in two words, "HELL YES!"

I would never go back to NOT ATMOS.
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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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post #11 of 15 Old 03-01-2018, 09:05 PM
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Atmos?

I've had an Atmos and DTS:X setup for about 14 months. I could never be satisfied with anything less nowadays. I think it keeps getting better all the time with more and more excellent movie soundtracks!

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Main 4K Setup: LG OLED55E6P, Oppo UDP-203, Denon AVR X-4500H,AudioSource 2 channel amp, (4) Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 bookshelf (1) Debut 2.0 C6.2 center channel speaker, (4) Monoprice Monolith 24" speaker stands, (4) Dayton Audio IO655B speaker, Hsu VTF-2 and VTF-3 subs, 10" Monolith THX sub, Roku Ultra, Amazon Fire TV4K, Dish Network Joey, Monoprice premium certified HDMI cables
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post #12 of 15 Old 03-02-2018, 09:06 AM
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Yup. No going back now.
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post #13 of 15 Old 03-02-2018, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtart View Post
Hi folks,

My question, is the money worth it? I read Widescreen Review, and Gary Reber seems to be mostly underwhelmed by the encoding of most 4k discs. Many seem to be upconverted from 2k video sources, and the surround channels of some discs are reported to be pretty quiet.
I had a nice 5.1 system, and converted it to a 5.2.4 system with in ceiling speakers. I like it a lot and even with the extremely difficult in ceiling install would do it again. The sound with 4 overhead speakers is really different from the horizontal surround sound. It made more of a difference than I expected. It is best with 'real' ATMOS content, but Dolby Surround does a pretty good job with non-ATMOS material too. That alone I think would be worth it to me, but with ATMOS content it is a for sure.
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post #14 of 15 Old 09-15-2018, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm the OP and have done the Atmos upgrade to my HT. Thought I would revisit this thread and provide my feedback after having made the changes.

You have to read to the bottom to find out.....:-)

My existing theater had a 7.1 system. Polk audio RT5000 system with voice matched RT3000p mains, CS1000p center, FX1000i side surrounds and a set of the RT3000p satellites (without the powered subs) for the rear surrounds. I originally bought this setup back when physically matching drivers was the best way to set the groundwork for a good sounding system....pre-Audyssey, etc. Pink noise and a Rat Shack sound meter....... And a pair of SVS PB12/Plus-2's, with 2x12" drivers, each.

I had to replace my Onkyo PR-SC-5508 with a Marantz AV-7702 MkII to be able to decode Atmos and DTS:X, and feed the 'top surround' signal to my amps. Bought a new Emotiva 5 channel amp (BasX A-500, 110WPC) to run the new top speakers. Added 4 x Polk RC80i speakers up top, as Polk recommended to get close to a voice match with the RT5000 system.

What it cost me:

I bought decent used gear when I could find it, and did the install myself. Don't know how I could have done it much cheaper, and could have spent a LOT more.

Used Marantz AV7702 MkII - $800
New Polk RC80i x 4 speakers - $240
Used Emotiva amp: $425
Wiring, connectors, etc.: $50
Total: $1,515

(Where else could I have spent $1,500 in my HT and maybe gotten more bang for my bucks? 100 new BD discs? A big dent in a JVC 4k e-shift projector? Netflix or Hulu for the rest of my life? )

To do an evaluation of the new setup, I went through my BD collection and marked each of the Atmos or DTS:X encoded discs based on info from the Dolby and DTS websites. 40 or so. Over the weeks since the upgrade I've re-watched a lot of them with the new top surround channels. I also use the 'synthesized' top channel modes when watching non-top surround encoded material.

The verdict? There have been a few "wow" moments from native-encoded discs, like when a helicopter flew overhead and the top channels were active, but for the most part, I've been fairly unimpressed. The capability is there, and when it's utilized the results can be really compelling, but the folks doing the sound mastering seem to be focused elsewhere. The upgrade has shown me that the top channels can add a lot when they are used.....but that's not very often, unfortunately. Shutting off the main amp and just listening to the top surround channels is usually disappointing.....very often not much, if anything, is there.

So, if I were designing and building a new, ground-up HT on a budget, I'd prioritize the top channels somewhere behind the rear surrounds for 7.1. I'd also save myself a lot of coin by looking at a quality non-Atmos capable AVR or pre-pro. There's a glut of great sounding used non-height-enabled gear around, for pennies on the dollar. (Because people like me upgraded... :-) ) 5.1 and 7.1 systems still sound great, and actually have sound mastered into the surround channels for you to hear. I'd pre-wire for the top surrounds, of course, but probably not pull the trigger until (if ever) the folks making movies start using the top channels more. There are lots of other 'better bang-for-the-buck' ways to spend your money, IMO. If money's not an issue, though, go for it.

Other's opinions and experiences may be different, and I certainly respect that. Just one man's opinion....and this is something that I would have liked to have seen before I pulled the trigger.

I'm finding that I'm smarter than I thought, but dumber than I need to be.
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post #15 of 15 Old 09-15-2018, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtart View Post
Can some folks share their "I would or wouldn't do it again" thoughts, please?
i'm using a 6.1.2 setup (or 6.2.1 in your naming convention) with a Yamaha AVR since 18 years now, since 10 years 7.2.4 with a Yamaha Z11 and now with a Atmos/DTS:X capable CX-A5100.
the Yamaha DSP programs profits a lot from the height speakers.

at the very beginning of Atmos i bought a Marantz 7009 with Atmos to replace the Z11. Not even 3 months later i bought the CX-A5000 WITHOUT Atmos!

now with the CX-A5100 i'm able to combine native Atmos/DTS:X sound with the Yamaha DSP programs and that's ok.
if i had to decide: DSP or Atmos i would clearly choose the DSP programs and discard Atmos as i did with the Marantz and the CX-A5000.
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