Mixed Atmos & Auro-3D speaker layout - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-26-2020, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Mixed Atmos & Auro-3D speaker layout

I am planning my speaker layout with a Denon X4500H at the center of the system. I want to be able to take advantage of both Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D in content and upmixing for both movies and music.

I've done some reading on speaker layout compatibility and compromises. The following two documents were the most helpful:

  1. Are the Auro-3D and Dolby Atmos speaker configurations compatible?
  2. Combined Auro-3D and Dolby Atmos Setup V4

The former link is from the AVR manufacturer whereas the latter references none other than Floyd Toole, who has shared his take on this whole immersive audio frontier here on AVS, mostly in the speaker science thread (spoiler: he prefers Auro-3D).

I want to hear from those who have followed these setup recommendations and whether I will be well-served in following them myself. Thanks.

Last edited by Soulburner; 05-26-2020 at 01:06 AM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-31-2020, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Any takers?

So far my thinking is that the recommendations make sense to bias your setup more toward Auro and compromise a little on the perfect Atmos placement.

Also, it means different speakers are needed. Whereas the general consensus is that Atmos ceiling speakers do not need to be of the same make as your bed layer, I think speakers in an Auro setup should be more closely matched.

Thoughts?

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post #3 of 8 Old 06-24-2020, 01:11 AM
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Interesting, I was wondering if it would be useful to follow Auro3D guidelines at all, since there is not much content. I have exactly one disc with Auro 3D on it, Spiderman Homecoming and haven't even tried that one yet!

I did use the compatibility setup as Denon proposed on my X4500H, but went back full Atmos again, just to be sure. I did not do much listening tests on it.

When using Audyssey, does it make a difference if you set a different speaker configuration (Top Front/Top Rear vs Top Front/Rear Height) before the calibration?

Anyway, if I find tiome I will check on it, but it takes a long time to calibrate with all speakers and it is not possible to compare different setups with a switch of the button. Using MultEQ to upload a new calibration also takes about a minute or so.

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post #4 of 8 Old 06-24-2020, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post

I want to hear from those who have followed these setup recommendations and whether I will be well-served in following them myself. Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoFuzz View Post
Interesting, I was wondering if it would be useful to follow Auro3D guidelines at all, since there is not much content.
Echoing the content concern. If your system is primarily for watching movies/TV, then I'd design for Atmos, as that is fast becoming the de facto standard for content, and there is vanishingly little in the way of Auro mixes.

If, however, you are primarily interested in music playback, Auro is more interesting - not only for the native Auro-3D music recordings and mixes (which are spectacular), but also the up mixer. Although even on that front, the amount of Auro music content is also disappointingly small, and more and more music is now being mixed in Atmos.

Keeping that in mind, if you decide to try to accommodate Auro-3D, my suggestion is to first of all design around 5.1 rather than 7.1, and to make sure your Surround Height speakers are directly above the surround speakers. Most of the magic in Auro recordings and mixes is in the vertical stereo field in the surrounds, and all of the designs I see that break that vertical plane negate the most important aspect of the Auro design.

As far as speakers go, your instinct is correct - using the same speakers for surround and surround height will definitely maximize the Auro experience.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-24-2020, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Taking all of this into consideration, thanks.

I can not duplicate my surround speakers for surround heights due to their size and price, but I can find the closest match and place them properly.

Atmos music is interesting but you can only get it on Tidal at the moment, and only with their $20/mo plan.

I think the front heights, ceiling mounted and in-line with Front L and R but a foot or two forward does make logical sense. Maintain about the same distance to the seats for each. Surround heights directly above the surrounds is the same idea of speakers in-line with each other. I have to believe that should produce a good Atmos effect in a small room.
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System 1: Samsung Plasma | Denon X4500H | Hypex Ncore NC252MP | Buchardt S400 | Polk LSiM 702 F/X | Heights TBD | Subs TBD Rythmik
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-06-2020, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
Taking all of this into consideration, thanks.

I can not duplicate my surround speakers for surround heights due to their size and price, but I can find the closest match and place them properly.

Atmos music is interesting but you can only get it on Tidal at the moment, and only with their $20/mo plan.

I think the front heights, ceiling mounted and in-line with Front L and R but a foot or two forward does make logical sense. Maintain about the same distance to the seats for each. Surround heights directly above the surrounds is the same idea of speakers in-line with each other. I have to believe that should produce a good Atmos effect in a small room.

Well, this all makes me think I need to rethink some things. I had seen the document from the second link in your original post but I don't think I realized how important it is to have the heights directly above the mains or corresponding surrounds. Perhaps it's in the text and I missed it. I was also going by the speaker setup recommendations in the Monolith HTP-1 user guide rather than the Denon one you linked since it accounts for a full 16 channels. There is information in the Auro-3D thread that you have also posted in stressing this importance. I have almost zero interest in Auro for theater use since there is so little content available and it appears to be waning rapidly, but I have a lot of interest in the Auro-3D upmixer for music and want to get the best possible results I can from it. I'm sure very few folks have their layouts optimized for Auro in this way, which may explain why we don't see the Hosannas for Auro upmixer that we perhaps might, though it does still appear that most people still think quite highly of it, which may in itself be telling.


Here's my dilemma(s). My main L/R will be out in the room quite a bit, about 3 ft from either the front or side walls, and will be toed in. My wall height is 9', with the ceiling sloping upwards (from all 4 walls) before flattening out at 11' (partially to eliminate hard corners at the ceiling). This arrangement makes it hard to have the front top speakers directly overhead (and apparently, slightly ahead) of the main L/R. I had planned to mount the top fronts on the wall up near the ceiling, directly behind and above the main L/R. Really, the only way I can imagine doing it is to use a mount similar to a projector mount in which a "pole" extends from the ceiling that has a really versatile speaker mount (my top surrounds are Kef R100's and I definitely don't want to drill or screw into the cabinets. They're also fairly heavy). I'm also planning to use "wide" channels. Should this mean that perhaps the top fronts would be better if moved a little wider than being directly over the mains? Or are wides even used in upmixed, matrixed Auro 3D? The surround placement will also need to be rethought though they are certainly easier to deal with. My top middles are in-ceiling speakers, which goes along with the HTP-1 guidelines. I'm guessing just moving them further out to the sides more so that they can blend with the side surrounds better is probably the best I can hope for, and they are already the one top surround channel speaker set that are directly above/in-line with the corresponding bed-level speakers. Perhaps I should even consider putting them in the sloped part of the ceiling to further this blending, though this would be less than ideal for Atmos.


I realize that you are here looking for guidance for your own speaker layout, but I have also seen enough of your posts to know that you are well informed and logical in your thinking, so I trust your opinions and/or instincts about the broader subject. So what's your suggestion? Do you think these extra placement hurdles are worth the effort or do you think I would get enough of the magic of Auro 3D by sticking with my current plan? If the Logic 16 upmixer in the JBL SDP-55 turns out to be the holy grail in music upmixing this could all be rendered moot but I'm definitely not holding my breath for that. Early results are less than stellar but I'm sure they're not through refining it's implementation. And apparently the Atmos music upmixer is better now, too, but when I see the Auro upmixer described as "magical" when done properly that makes me think that's the one to pursue if it can be made to work well without a too deleterious affect on the more movie-oriented formats.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-06-2020, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the kind words. There's a ton that I don't know, which is why I keep coming back to these forums.

I've been looking at these mounts for my setup. The reviewer images look good. I realize drilling into a speaker is not desirable. I wonder if a sort of cage or bracket could be made for the speaker that this would bolt to. Failing that, some speakers already have mounting points, which could be adapted. You could probably paint the metal rod to match your walls/ceiling.

https://smile.amazon.com/Omnimount-2.../dp/B014JUDRZQ

As far as the other placement concerns go, I'm afraid I won't be much help. It's my understanding that you can't use wides with Atmos, though I hope I'm mistaken.

I've only done (very) limited testing so far with the Auromatic with just surrounds. It doesn't change the sound of your front speakers, unlike virtually all of the other sound modes, which is welcome. It just mixes in some ambience to your other speakers. I seemed to be able to "listen into" the music better with just 2.0, but as I don't have any heights yet I can't fully test the system.

System 1: Samsung Plasma | Denon X4500H | Hypex Ncore NC252MP | Buchardt S400 | Polk LSiM 702 F/X | Heights TBD | Subs TBD Rythmik
System 2: Laptop | NAD T758 v3 | PSB Imagine B
System 3: PC | Micca OriGen G2 | Mackie MR624
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-06-2020, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulburner View Post
Thanks for the kind words. There's a ton that I don't know, which is why I keep coming back to these forums.

I've been looking at these mounts for my setup. The reviewer images look good. I realize drilling into a speaker is not desirable. I wonder if a sort of cage or bracket could be made for the speaker that this would bolt to. Failing that, some speakers already have mounting points, which could be adapted. You could probably paint the metal rod to match your walls/ceiling.

https://smile.amazon.com/Omnimount-2.../dp/B014JUDRZQ

As far as the other placement concerns go, I'm afraid I won't be much help. It's my understanding that you can't use wides with Atmos, though I hope I'm mistaken.

I've only done (very) limited testing so far with the Auromatic with just surrounds. It doesn't change the sound of your front speakers, unlike virtually all of the other sound modes, which is welcome. It just mixes in some ambience to your other speakers. I seemed to be able to "listen into" the music better with just 2.0, but as I don't have any heights yet I can't fully test the system.

I did see some speaker mounts once that used a kind of adjustable clamping system that may be what I end up using, but If do end up placing them directly above the main L/R I'll have to see if it's possible to mount them to some kind of "downpipe", since mounting them close to a 11' ceiling would obviously be way too high. My MLP will only be about 10' from the mains.

I thought I read recently that there have been some changes to Atmos, one of them being that wides are now usable, though certainly not as discreet channels. Maybe that was wishful thinking.

What you say about Auromatic, even in your limited testing, is exactly what I am looking for in an upmixer, i.e., that the surrounds only add to the ambiance and the mains still sound the same. Man, I may end up going all in on the Auro array. Please let me know when you've had a chance to add some heights to your mix as apparently that's where the real magic is.
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