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Discussion Starter #1
I'm currently using front and rear height speakers in a 7.1.4 setup. I am considering doing a ceiling (@9') install for the presence speakers to get a little more.... well, you know, a little more. The speakers are Dynaudio and processor is a Yamaha CX-A5100 which does support both setups for ATMOS. Is it worth the effort?

Also, I see two implementations on the Dolby site for the location of the ceiling speakers. It seems sort of weird in that one implementation the rear ceiling speakers are on top of the rear speakers. Which is better?? (see attached)
 

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I'm currently using front and rear height speakers in a 7.1.4 setup. I am considering doing a ceiling (@9') install for the presence speakers to get a little more.... well, you know, a little more. The speakers are Dynaudio and processor is a Yamaha CX-A5100 which does support both setups for ATMOS. Is it worth the effort?

Also, I see two implementations on the Dolby site for the location of the ceiling speakers. It seems sort of weird in that one implementation the rear ceiling speakers are on top of the rear speakers. Which is better?? (see attached)
They are both the same - its just that one has the fronts a bit closer together and the Atmos are supposed to be in line with the fronts. It depends on your room and seating as to where your Atmos will end up.
What size is your room and where exactly is your current seating position and Atmos location ?
Are you planning on in-ceiling or ceiling mounted bookshelf speakers ? If in-ceiling are they down firing or angled ?

Basically to get the most out of your 4 Atmos heights you want to be as close as possible to on-axis to all of them from all seats - this will be the best determination of whether you should change your setup or not, IMO. Pcis or drawings would make it easier to help.
 

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The closer the speakers are to your seated position, the less area they can cover. The big advantage of having the Atmos speakers in the front and rear height positions, is that their additional distance and horizontal orientation allow for far better room coverage. This is beneficial if you have disparate seating (like a large "L" shaped couch or multiple rows of seats) and like to entertain lots of folks. If you move the speakers closer to your primary seats, those are the only seats that will fully benefit from the Atmos experience.

Since in-ceiling speakers project their sound in the vertical plane, they are very poor horizontal radiators. Think about having a flashlight and aiming it downwards, towards the floor. You have a circle of bright light and a surrounding area of lesser light. The bright circle is the area where the speaker has good, even frequency response. The surrounding area of lesser light represents the loss of frequencies, as you get farther away from the bright light.

In order to overcome this problem, many speaker manufacturers use angled speakers. Again, think of that flashlight, and raise the head slowly. The area of bright light grows as the angle from the floor grows. You will want each seating position to have access to the bright light from each speaker. If you want to do the math, most speakers have even frequency response up to 30 degrees off axis (a perpendicular line from the center of the speaker). Any angle that the speaker provides can be added to that 30 degrees, providing broader horizontal dispersion. These calculations must be done using the distance from your seated ear to the ceiling and the distance of the speakers from that point.

So, you will need to take all this into consideration when you decide what to do and where to place your speakers, if you choose to continue along this path.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Ah ok so some really good info here. Appreciate the replies so far.

So, to answer the questions.. my room (1/2 of my basement) is 30'x16' and I project on the 30' side. I sit in the middle and about 5' off the back 30' wall. This is a purpose built space for me - its ugly, but engineered for theater, and allows me ultimate flexibility with no regard for aesthetics. I can experiment down there and have fun with the nerdy side of audio, and it sounds amazing. I've treated the room with wool wall blankets, its 9' ceiling is open and insulated, as is the outer walls, and it has a thick carpet and a heavy foam pad underneath. There are also a lot of objects down there to break up signal paths and reduce echo. It is EERILY quiet when you go down there - even people unfamiliar with audio have commented, unprompted on the weirdness of it being so quiet!

My family members really don't care about surround sound, so I will only tune for my central seat. My presence height speakers currently are on the same axis as my fronts. My plan is to use some bookshelf speakers suspended from the ceiling with some 80/20 framing I'll configure to hold them safely. I will be aiming all speakers pretty much on axis to my king seat (Dynaudios like to be a little off axis for best imaging).

BTW, I am able to get the rear height and rear speakers more than 5' behind me. The wall I describe above that is behind me is actually a open stud that divides my unfinished basement. I can put speakers much farther behind me, although they would then be firing through a stud wall, which may cause issues.. maybe I'll try it and see if I prefer the sense of space over absolute imaging. I'd be curious to know if anyone has fired speakers through a stud wall before! I've attached a sketch of the room. The circles are presence height speakers and the faded circles are proposed new overhead locations (rear presence would go to overhead too, but in the same spot). The faded purple boxes would be moving the rear surround speakers backwards more, but firing through that wall. They are currently actually nestled inside the wall on a little platform. Thoughts?
 

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I tried both, ceiling is way better. Also looks better if you could do in-ceiling(hidden speakers + wires) instead of on-ceiling speakers.
 

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I tried both, ceiling is way better. Also looks better if you could do in-ceiling(hidden speakers + wires) instead of on-ceiling speakers.
Speakers are called speakers and not lookers for a good reason ;)
You want to be on-axis for a speaker to sound best and unless you buy expensive angled in-ceiling speakers you will be better off with on-ceiling speakers (if looks are not important)
 

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Speakers are called speakers and not lookers for a good reason ;)
You want to be on-axis for a speaker to sound best and unless you buy expensive angled in-ceiling speakers you will be better off with on-ceiling speakers (if looks are not important)
Of course! i am the last person to care how my speakers honestly look, i have three HUGE JBL M2's for my front stage. bigger than most people would want to have.

Regarding my in-ceiling speakers i have a large 120 degree coverage area. which is actually recommended for Atmos. you can check them out here.

Also they are close to each other so that helps a lot with the on-axis measurements (confirmed this myself with REW+UMIK-1)

Of course a better option would be, ceiling speakers with a rotating bracket (Something like the JBL SCS8-from the top of my head) so they can be pointed at/close to the MLP.

:D
 

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I understand you're wanting to know if it's worth it to switch from height to ceiling but I just thought I'd throw this direct quote in from page 12 of the Dolby Atmos Home Installation Guidelines as it directly represents my experience as well...

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/technologies/dolby-atmos/dolby-atmos-home-theater-installation-guidelines.pdf

Dolby Atmos enabled speakers produce a slightly more diffuse overhead audio experience that is quite lifelike and, in some cases, may be preferable to the sound that originates from overhead speakers. If the ceiling is low or you have to mount the speakers on overhead trusses or brackets, overhead speakers may be too close to you as you listen. The audio may be distracting because you’ll hear and notice the output from each speaker instead of feeling immersed in an atmosphere in which sounds occur naturally overhead.

In this environment, Dolby Atmos enabled speakers may be a better solution for reproducing the height plane of sound, similar to what you would hear in a cinema. In a cinema, the overhead speakers are located high in the auditorium and naturally create a more diffuse experience. Using Dolby Atmos enabled speakers produces a similar experience: the reflection of sound off the ceiling makes the overhead effect sound diffuse, which results in the room sounding larger. Audio mixers and experts who have auditioned Dolby Atmos enabled speakers agree that the sound these speakers produce can be preferable to the sound of dedicated overhead speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I understand you're wanting to know if it's worth it to switch from height to ceiling but I just thought I'd throw this direct quote in from page 12 of the Dolby Atmos Home Installation Guidelines as it directly represents my experience as well...

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/technologies/dolby-atmos/dolby-atmos-home-theater-installation-guidelines.pdf

Dolby Atmos enabled speakers produce a slightly more diffuse overhead audio experience that is quite lifelike and, in some cases, may be preferable to the sound that originates from overhead speakers. If the ceiling is low or you have to mount the speakers on overhead trusses or brackets, overhead speakers may be too close to you as you listen. The audio may be distracting because you’ll hear and notice the output from each speaker instead of feeling immersed in an atmosphere in which sounds occur naturally overhead.

In this environment, Dolby Atmos enabled speakers may be a better solution for reproducing the height plane of sound, similar to what you would hear in a cinema. In a cinema, the overhead speakers are located high in the auditorium and naturally create a more diffuse experience. Using Dolby Atmos enabled speakers produces a similar experience: the reflection of sound off the ceiling makes the overhead effect sound diffuse, which results in the room sounding larger. Audio mixers and experts who have auditioned Dolby Atmos enabled speakers agree that the sound these speakers produce can be preferable to the sound of dedicated overhead speakers.
Thats because they get a kickback for the sale of ATMOS branded speakers. :)


I installed height speakers last night and the benefit is huge. I think I need to move my rears back now to get more depth behind.
 

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Agreed, I went from ATMOS upfiring to installing on-ceiling speakers. Made a huge difference. Even my wife noticed the huge improvement, and she normally doesn't notice/care about those things. She now asks if the track is in Atmos or DTS:X before watching something.
 
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Agreed, I went from ATMOS upfiring to installing on-ceiling speakers. Made a huge difference. Even my wife noticed the huge improvement, and she normally doesn't notice/care about those things. She now asks if the track is in Atmos or DTS:X before watching something.
I wouldn't say the difference is THAT large, but its a bit more engaging for sure. I'm still getting used to it.. I'm sort of on sound coming at me overload. :)
 

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I wouldn't say the difference is THAT large, but its a bit more engaging for sure. I'm still getting used to it.. I'm sort of on sound coming at me overload. :)
I'll admit, to be fair, I have a wood A-Frame ceiling. With the upfiring speakers, it took a while to get the angle correct, and even then, it only worked in the sweet spot (MLP). I have a stand-up computer desk about 3 feet directly behind the MPL, and could never hear the overhead effects from that position.

With the on-ceiling speakers, now I can. And the MLP is even better.

Not to mention speaker quality. The upfiring were $100/pair Onkyo speakers, and now the on-ceiling are JBL N24's. So yeah, that makes a difference as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yah I originally had some cheap, but actually quite good, audioengine a2+ for the front presence speakers, and when I did all of this I went to dynaudio bookshelves.
 
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