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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I'm in the process of preparing a small dedicated cinema room. I have some old equipment that I might be able to reuse, but I will need to at least get an Atmos-enabled 5.1.2 4K receiver. I was budgeting around 500 CAD for the receiver (can also be 2nd hand).

Desired setup:
I want to setup the audio system in a 5.1.2 configuration. I think that for this small room, 2 ceiling Atmos should be enough. I could go for 4 Atmos, but I don't know if there would be that much benefit, or would it?

The Room
The room is 13.5' deep, 11.5' wide, and 8' tall. The listening distance will be about 10' from the front wall. It is pre-wired for front and rear left and right speakers with junction boxes as below:

Front wall:
3061738


Rear wall:
3061739


Current Equipment:
My current equipment is a dated Yamaha YHT-196 combo with a powered Precision Acoustics CW10 100W sub (45Hz-150Hz).
I also have a couple stands that I could use for the satellites.
I am aware that my current equipment does not support either 4K, or Atmos, or a 5.1.2 configuration, but I will use it in the interim while everything else gets into place.


The Request:
What I need help with is:
  1. I need to make the holes for the in-ceiling Atmos speakers. Where should I make the holes? I read a bit on a forum, and I got that about 15 degrees forward from the listening position would be appropriate. Unfortunately, the Dolby documentation that I also saw referenced in some threads uses "Atmos-enabled" front speakers which reflect the sound. This is not what I am aiming for in a 5.1.2 setup, rather I prefer ceiling-mounted speakers
  2. What are some good budget Atmos ceiling-mounted speakers? (thinking $50 each)
  3. How should I layout the rest of the speakers? I'm thinking the center one can be below the 16" line from the floor, but given I'll be only about 3.5' from the rear wall, I am not sure how to place the surround speakers.
  4. What would be a good budget receiver upgrade? (around 500 CAD)
  5. What speakers should I prioritize upgrading? I'm thinking the three front speakers and maybe the sub (as the one I have only goes down to 45 Hz)
  6. What would be good budget front and center speakers?
  7. I'm thinking of adding some "Plush Triple Velvet black" curtains/veneer around the screen and some acoustic panels to improve the SQ. Where should these be placed?
Keep in mind the size of the room on suggesting speakers :)

Thanks.
 

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From the "Basic Speaker Setup FAQ":
1) I need help with picking out an HT or stereo setup. What kind of information should I provide?

When creating a new thread in the Speaker forum for help with recommendations for an audio setup, be sure to include

1) Your budget.
2) Your listening interests: movies/gaming/music--and whether or not any of those are your primary concern.
3) Your existing audio equipment (make/models) if any. Include comments about what you hope to improve upon.
4) The size of your room. Please also mention if there are adjacent open areas and how big they are (important for subwoofer choice).
5) Any placement restrictions.
6) Any aesthetic or size concerns.
7) Any equipment you are already considering (or would not consider).
8) Any particular audio sonic signatures you know you prefer (e.g., you are a basshead, you have a preference for bright treble, etc.)

If you are seeking help with configuring or troubleshooting an existing setup, be sure to give the make/model for your entire setup and try to describe the problem with good detail.

Once you have given good, detailed information for what you need help with, provide a title for your post that helps people to understand what you are looking for. "

You have give us the room dimensions, and desired setup. We need to know your budget, and are you using a TV or a projector.
Gibby's has the best deal on 7.1 AVRs right now: Denon AVR-S750H 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver - B-Stock
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply.

I will be using a projector. I just received the BenQ HT3550 (if that matters) and I am planning to project inside the blue rectangle "Target projection area".

My budget is not fully determined yet, I am looking for a decent setup to watch movies and be able to hear the dialogue well.
Initial budget idea:
  • Receiver: 500 CAD
  • Ceiling mounted Atmos speakers : 2 x 50 CAD
  • Front (L,R,Center) speakers: use existing Yamaha NS-P20 speakers. Future upgrade budget: 3 x 150 CAD ??
  • Surround speakers: use existing Yamaha NS-P20 speakers. Future upgrade budget: 2 x 100 CAD ??
  • Sub-woofer: use existing 100W sub. Future upgrade budget: 300 CAD??
Total: 600 - 1500 CAD (initial - future)
 

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IMHO, the best thing you can do with this budget is three identical in=wall speakers behind an AT (Acoustically-Transparent) screen. Visions has some inexpensive Klipsch in-walls on sale right now: Klipsch 6.5" 140 Watts Peak at 8 Ohms In-Wall Speaker with Aluminum Grille - Single - White (R1650W)
I have no idea how these sound, but they are likely the best you can get with your budget for your front three. You can certainly use your existing Yamaha speakers for the surround channels.
These Polk speakers are the absolute minimum I would suggest for in-ceiling Atmos channels: Polk Audio MC Series 6.5" In-Ceiling Speaker (POLKMC60)
And you REALLY need to increase your subwoofer budget. Up here, $300 buys you a one-note fart box that will not play clean deep bass. They tend to have a huge peak in volume around a single note, and that dwowns out all other frequencies.
Klipsch Black Label 10" Powered Subwoofer (SUB100B) and
are the minimum I would suggest up here, and that's not sqying much. You would need a pair of them in your room to provide any amount of "OOMPH" in movies.
 

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I could go for 4 Atmos, but I don't know if there would be that much benefit, or would it?
2 height speakers will let you hear left-vs-right movement overhead. 4 height speakers will let you hear left-vs-right AND front-vs-back movement overhead. Big difference, and easily noticeable.
The listening distance will be about 10' from the front wall.
You will get smoother frequency response (fewer/smaller peaks & dips) if you place the listeners' ears 2/3 room length (9') from the front wall.
I need to make the holes for the in-ceiling Atmos speakers. Where should I make the holes?
If doing only 2 height speakers, then put them a couple feet forward of the listeners. If doing 4 height speakers, then 4-5 feet forward & rearward of the listeners (45 degrees elevation in front and behind).
How should I layout the rest of the speakers? I'm thinking the center one can be below the 16" line from the floor, but given I'll be only about 3.5' from the rear wall, I am not sure how to place the surround speakers.
ALL speakers in the base layer should be around ear height. If that's not possible, get as close as you can. If doing a single pair of surrounds, they should be 20-30 degrees behind the listeners (2-3 feet back in your room).
What speakers should I prioritize upgrading?
For the moment, just get the in-ceiling speakers and a receiver. You already have 5.1 speakers for the base layer. Get everything set up and running. Enjoy the Atmos experience for a while. Start upgrading with the L/C/R speakers, then the sub (budget for 2, for smoother bass), finally the surrounds.

Further down the road, consider upgrading to a 7.1.4 receiver. With your seating away from the back wall, you're an ideal candidate for 7 speakers in the base layer. 4 surrounds will give you side-vs-rear separation AND wrap-around envelopment in the surround field that is not possible with only 2 surrounds.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you both for the replies.

Let's start with the priorities, which as @sdurani points out are the receiver and Atmos speakers.

Looking at Gibbys, I also found the Denon AVR-S740H which is much cheaper and compared to the suggested AVR-S750H only seems to lack HDCP 2.3, Atmos Height Virtualization, and Bluetooth Headphone support. I won't need the headphones and I don't think I'll need the other two either. What do I lose by having only HDCP 2.2?

I could use the savings towards better sub or speakers...

For the Atmos speakers, do I really get a big benefit going with more expensive speakers? Say if I would up the budged to 100 CAD? Would a Klipsch R1650C be better (also on sale at BB)? or would I have to something like a Kef CI160ER?

Regarding the speaker placement, I can definitely move the listeners' ears 2/3 of the room length (9') from the front wall.

I think I'll pass the in-wall speakers because those are external walls (front & back) and there isn't much clearance. I was also going for painting the wall for projection rather than using a screen. This complicates things with the center speaker as well, but I might go for a slightly smaller image and maybe find a more narrow center speaker in the future

The sub(s) seem like an easier choice. Would it be better to have two cheaper subs, or a more expensive one?


For the 5.2.2 vs 7.2.4 configuration, I think I need to make a long term choice now because from what I see, the ceiling speakers positioning depends on the configuration. So I'd need to make new holes and patch the old ones. I think I'll stick to the 5.2.2 and potentially a 7.2.2. Though would a 7 surround system really make a noticeable difference in such a small room? I think I would also have to move the listeners further front.
 

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Great space! The only thing I envision in that space is PSA speakers or JBL with a couple of SVS subs........good lord that would be a wild ride.

Best of luck on your build.
 

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5.2.4 will be far more impressive in a room like that, versus 7.2.2. In fact, as I recall, Dolby published a white paper saying just that: if you have to choose, choose 5 base layer and 4 overhead, to get the most accurate rendering of an ATMOS soundtrack (versus losing two of the overhead speakers).

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Honestly, you have almost all the audio gear for a home theater right now. I would build out the room, spend your money on nice seating, and acoustic treatments, and use your existing gear.....and then decide on what the weak points are, and upgrade those. You may decide another sub is more important than new speakers, or new speakers matter more than a new receiver and ATMOS, for now, etc. But from reading your options, I'm guessing that acoustic treatment is going to make a bigger difference than several other options you have.

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But yes, run wiring to where four ATMOS speakers should be, about a 45 degree angle in front and behind your seating.....so your seating should be at least 3 feet off the back wall if at all possible.
 

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I was also going for painting the wall for projection rather than using a screen.
In that case, I would move the screen as high up as possible so that the centre speaker can be closer to ear height. Will make for a small difference visually (7 degrees) but a huge difference audio wise. BTW, the dark colour on the left side wall should also be across the ceiling and right side wall (at least the part forward of the door) so that you minimize reflections that will wash out the picture.
Would it be better to have two cheaper subs, or a more expensive one?
A single sub will create peaks & nulls in the bass response across the seating area that will be different in each seat. The peaks & nulls of the second sub can compensate for those problems by filling in the first sub's peaks & nulls, resulting in much smoother bass response AND greater seat-to-seat consistency. One sub, no matter how good, cannot do that (fill in its own peaks & nulls).
For the 5.2.2 vs 7.2.4 configuration, I think I need to make a long term choice now because from what I see, the ceiling speakers positioning depends on the configuration.
Split the difference between those two choices and do a 5.1.4 configuration. Invest in a 9-channel receiver and 4 height speakers even if it means delaying the other upgrades.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
5.2.4 will be far more impressive in a room like that, versus 7.2.2. In fact, as I recall, Dolby published a white paper saying just that: if you have to choose, choose 5 base layer and 4 overhead, to get the most accurate rendering of an ATMOS soundtrack (versus losing two of the overhead speakers).

---

Honestly, you have almost all the audio gear for a home theater right now. I would build out the room, spend your money on nice seating, and acoustic treatments, and use your existing gear.....and then decide on what the weak points are, and upgrade those. You may decide another sub is more important than new speakers, or new speakers matter more than a new receiver and ATMOS, for now, etc. But from reading your options, I'm guessing that acoustic treatment is going to make a bigger difference than several other options you have.

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But yes, run wiring to where four ATMOS speakers should be, about a 45 degree angle in front and behind your seating.....so your seating should be at least 3 feet off the back wall if at all possible.
Thanks Nathan for the feedback.

My initial intent was to do just that: reuse most of my existing equipment and see later. The only real limitation right now is the receiver: it does not do 4k / HDMI 2.0 (and no Atmos). The Denon AVR-S740H seems like a good deal for 350 CAD (all-in), and I want to paint the room anyway, so I'll run the ceiling wires regardless. Not sure how good of a deal this is and I don't currently have much 4k, HDR, Atmos content anyway (I'd need to update my Netflix subscription as well).

Thanks for confirming that 5.2.4 is better than 7.2.2, I was suspecting as much. I might run wires for 4 other ceiling speakers even if I go with only 2 to begin with.


Split the difference between those two choices and do a 5.1.4 configuration. Invest in a 9-channel receiver and 4 height speakers even if it means delaying the other upgrades.
Very tempting suggestion indeed. The 9.2 Atmos receivers start at 1k on sale, which is 3x the cost of the basic 5.2.2. Seems that I have until Thursday to decide if get the AVR-S740H or not.

move the screen as high up as possible so that the centre speaker can be closer to ear height. Will make for a small difference visually (7 degrees) but a huge difference audio wise. BTW, the dark colour on the left side wall should also be across the ceiling and right side wall
That's what I'm thinking of doing, I think I need to keep the image at least 6" from the ceiling. The plan is to paint the ceiling and walls in flat / eggshell gray. That purple wall might get a dark gray though. I'll most likely add "Plush Triple Velvet black" curtains on left and right walls at least up to the door (maybe even a bit on the ceiling. This should take care of any reflections.

Thanks for pointing out the issue with a single sub, I know what you mean (how waves in general work).
 

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Great space! The only thing I envision in that space is PSA speakers or JBL with a couple of SVS subs........good lord that would be a wild ride.

Best of luck on your build.
Dude, look at his budget. Also, we can't get the Harman International (lol, yeah right - International my purple butt) speakers up here because an International company doesn't ship Internationally.
 
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Oh, I’m intentionally completely negating the fact that there is a budget. Simply throwing PSA into his universe. OP may change his mind on budget, you never know.
 

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Using your little Yamaha speakers will be fine for now and easily upgradeable in the future. 5 matching speakers will sound very good and some people have found cheaper matching speakers to sound better than expensive mismatched speakers in their rooms (myself included).
Going 2 Atmos now will be more expensive/more hassle to upgrade later as you have already identified that they will require different holes.
As others have said 4 Atmos is far superior to 2 - I have done direct back-to-back testing in my room and can confirm this 110%. Just think of 2 being comaparble to the Cetnre Channel and 4 being the L&R - would you listen to just a centre without L&R ? No of course not - it will sound like crap. WOuld you listen to L&R without a centre ? Yes of course you would as well positioned L&R will create a phantom centre image and you won't even notice it is not there.
So I would recommend a 5.1.4 setup - again I have done back-to-back testing of 5 vs 7 in my room and the only difference the 7 makes is a more fuller soundfield with slightly more ambience, but discrete sound effects (bullets flying front to back etc) is virtually indistinguishable between the two.
So if you stick with your Yamahas then spend $500USD on 4 RSL c34e angled baffle in-ceiling speakers and look for a 2nd hand 5.1.4 AVR and you will have a good system ready to upgrade the ear level speakers when funds arrive.

Or you could mount 4 of the Yamahas as on-ceiling Atmos speakers. This will allow you to aim them directly at Main Listening Position and will give the best Atmos experience - again I have tested this in my room and can confirm that speakers aimed directly at MLP is far superior to angled in-ceilings which are far far superior to down firing in-ceilings.
Although this option will mean you will have to spend more money on your ear level speakers and you will struggle to get even 3 decent front speakers for around $500 :(
You could maybe buy a pair of good L&R speakers, use the 5th Yamaha for the centre and buy 2 cheap satellite speakers for the surrounds and upgrade as funds come in.

An AT screen is your best choice - do a DIY Spandex screen and make it the width of the room in 2.35:1. Then you can do a Constant Image Height between 16:9 and 21:9. I have mine set this way but I actually project 16:9 the full width so that I don't have to change anything ever. Sure it crops the top and bottom of the image off but no-one has ever mentioned that this is a problem. The only time it is an issue is watching 4:3 images (usually old music videos) where the tops of heads can sometimes get cut off.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
UPDATE:

Found a certified refurbished Onkyo TX-NR787 9.2 in Canada for a really good price and ordered it. So I'll be going with a 5.1.4 / 5.2.4 setup after all.

I did some reading regarding the 4 Atmos speakers and I am a bit confused by one article from Dolby: https://professional.dolby.com/siteassets/tv/home/dolby-atmos/dolby-atmos-for-home-theater.pdf

Particularly this section:

When to avoid overhead speakers

There are some rooms in which we don’t recommend using overhead speakers. If your ceiling is low (8 feet or less) or you have to mount your loudspeakers on overhead trusses or brackets, the overhead speakers will be too close to the listening position. The overhead audio may become distracting because you’ll hear exactly which speaker is producing the sound instead of feeling immersed in an atmosphere in which sounds occur naturally overhead.

In this environment, Dolby Atmos enabled speakers may better reproduce the Dolby Atmos sound you would hear in a movie theatre, where the overhead speakers are high in the auditorium, creating a more diffuse experience. Audio experts who have heard Dolby Atmos enabled speakers agree that in certain rooms the sound these speakers produce can be preferable to the sound that overhead speakers produce.


My ceiling is at 8 ft and I understood that it's best to:
... mount 4 of the Yamahas as on-ceiling Atmos speakers. This will allow you to aim them directly at Main Listening Position and will give the best Atmos experience - again I have tested this in my room and can confirm that speakers aimed directly at MLP is far superior to angled in-ceilings which are far far superior to down firing in-ceilings.
I know this means I will need to replace at least my other four speakers, but I want to plan for this option as angled in-celing speakers are way too expensive and I'd rather invest in better front speakers.


So would Atmos-enabled speakers really sound better than the Yamahas as on-ceiling directed Atmos?
 

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Agreed. Keep you Yamahas. Mount them on the ceiling.

Opinions differ about whether to aim that at you or point them down. In part it depends on the angle of their position relative to you. In part it depends on their dispersion. In part it depends on whether you label them Top channels or Height channels. And in part it depends on your person preferences.

Luckily, once you have them on the ceiling, you can experiment and figure out what sounds best in your room, with your angles, with your settings, and with your ears.
 

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Agreed. Keep you Yamahas. Mount them on the ceiling.

Opinions differ about whether to aim that at you or point them down. In part it depends on the angle of their position relative to you. In part it depends on their dispersion. In part it depends on whether you label them Top channels or Height channels. And in part it depends on your person preferences.

Luckily, once you have them on the ceiling, you can experiment and figure out what sounds best in your room, with your angles, with your settings, and with your ears.
Sorry I am going to disagree with this - there is no argument - aim them at your listening positions for the best sound.
Do you aim your L&R or surrounds away from you or at you ? Why would heights be any different ?
 

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Dolby spec says point them down if possible.

The intention is to hear the off axis sound from the overhead speakers if you can install ones with wide dispersion (preferable). This most closely resembles the theatrical experience.

If that is not possible because of narrow dispersion which impacts the consistency of off axis response the second best choice with such narrow dispersion speakers is to position them pointed at the listener.


3069817

3069822


Not knowing the specs of the Yamaha speakers in question nor the limitations in the room I stand by the recommendation to try both ways and choose which works best.
 

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Dolby spec says point them down if possible.

The intention is to hear the off axis sound from the overhead speakers if you can install ones with wide dispersion (preferable). This most closely resembles the theatrical experience.

If that is not possible because of narrow dispersion which impacts the consistency of off axis response the second best choice with such narrow dispersion speakers is to position them pointed at the listener.


View attachment 3069817


Not knowing the specs of the Yamaha speakers in question nor the limitations in the room I stand by the recommendation to try both ways and choose which works best.
That document says "if overhead speakers have a wide dispersion they MAY be mounted pointing straight down. If they are aimable they SHOULD be angled towards the listener"
Told you there was no argument ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks guys. The common consensus here is that I can keep and mount 4 of the Yamahas on the ceiling rather than go for in-ceiling or atmos-enabled speakers (whew :sneaky:). Pointing them or not towards the MLP is something that can be easily changed in the future as I'll be using adjustable mounts anyway.
The specs on the speakers are quite limited in information: NS-P20 - Specs - Yamaha - Other European Countries
There is nothing about the firing angle, but I can assume wide-enough dispersion; these are generic HT speakers. (Amazon reviews are also overwhelmingly positive)
 
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