Help deciding atmos ceiling speaker placement

T

Tom Pot

Enthusiast
Hi all,

I'm trying to decide how to go about setting up an atmos system in my family room. It's not a dedicated theater space, so I'm certainly not expecting perfection. But I still think I can do something great with the space I have.

I'm aiming for either a 5.2.2 or 5.2.4 system.

My main question regards the ceiling speakers. My ceilings are 10 feet high. There are currently two in-ceiling speakers in place, and they are essentially in perfect place for top middles. (I didn't install them, they were already there).

If I want to add 2 more ceiling speakers, would it be reasonable to add them in the top front position? Or should I aim for the front height position (still using in ceiling speakers).

Of note, my surround speakers are 5 ft high and a couple feet behind MLP. I set them that way because my Google research somewhat led me astray. Technically, they are in great position for a standard 5.1 system. At any rate, I'm fine keeping them there. Would having the surrounds a bit higher perhaps help with the panning aspect of the height speakers, given that I'm not planning on using top rears?

I appreciate any advice. Let me know if I can offer any clarification.
 
Last edited:
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
Have you followed the Dolby guide

 
T

Tom Pot

Enthusiast
Yes and no.

I scanned it pretty quickly but did not read too much into the surround speaker placement. Long story short, I relied on outdated knowledge and Google to decide on surround speaker placement without realizing that the bed layer for atmos is slightly different. I just assumed it wouldn't have changed.

I read more in depth about in ceiling speakers placement from that manual. My current ceiling speakers would work fine as top middles based on that.

I guess I'm just looking for real world experiences to see what options there are if I wanted to add two more speakers to my current set up. If it's pointless, then just let me know :)
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
With atmos keeping good separation between the bed layer and the height layer is important.

I don't run atmos in my system so I can't offer real world experience. But others here are knowledgeable about speaker placement.

What would be helpful would be a few pictures if you could post.
 
T

Tom Pot

Enthusiast
Yeah, I can do that.

My surrounds are 5 feet high, and the in ceilings are 10 feet. According to the manual and what I've read on forums, that is essentially the upper range of what may be allowed for atmos setup. I'm hoping that would be enough separation..
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
I was always under the impression that your side surrounds should be no more than half of the ceiling height. So you should be fine
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
I was always under the impression that your side surrounds should be no more than half of the ceiling height. So you should be fine
Just a tidbit.
The actual guideline says that surround height(s2) should be at mains tweeter height(h1) times 1.25. So say, h1=39” then s2 should be 48.75”. And h3(atmos height) should equal h1 times 2 or 3. So 78-117” high. So at 10’ ceiling height he’d be just fine.
Another thing is, raising h2 to clear seat backs and other viewers heads. I think my side surrounds ended up at h1x1.55. Have to remeasure. But there is definitely wiggle room. Atmos is pretty forgiving.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Audioholic General
Yeah, I can do that.

My surrounds are 5 feet high, and the in ceilings are 10 feet. According to the manual and what I've read on forums, that is essentially the upper range of what may be allowed for atmos setup. I'm hoping that would be enough separation..
When you set up Atmos in the home there will have to be some compromises, it won't be optimal. However, the goal is to take the step beyond 5.1 by adding height information.
 
T

Tom Pot

Enthusiast
Thanks for the responses so far.

So it seems my surround speaker set up will be fine.

My question then is to determine whether adding a second set of in ceiling speakers would be appropriate given my current layout. Are there any opinions on whether I would be able to use top middle speakers with top fronts?
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
Well you could add the top fronts, and call the old ones top rear.(you cant add as TF/TM, or TM/TR. there has to be a “space” between them. This is a tough one for me, because I would personally try and go with TF and TR and either cover the existing holes, or leave them installed, and buy a flagship AVR to use TF/TM/TR.
iirc the original question was if adding two more, use the TF or FH location. Imo, you’d probably not benefit much from adding either. I think the imaging, and “bubble” would be shifted forward, and the TF/FH might just get lost during playback. I guess as I think about this while clicking away. It seem like I’d just leave the ones already installed and try it out. Where is the couch? Is it up against the back wall etc...? This is important to know. If you have some room behind it, you could possibly back it up and get the IC speakers a couple feet in front of the couch. That would be closer to spec anyway. And no, I wouldn’t use IC speakers for FH locations. That would make them much too far off axis.
 
T

Tom Pot

Enthusiast
Well you could add the top fronts, and call the old ones top rear.(you cant add as TF/TM, or TM/TR. there has to be a “space” between them. This is a tough one for me, because I would personally try and go with TF and TR and either cover the existing holes, or leave them installed, and buy a flagship AVR to use TF/TM/TR.
iirc the original question was if adding two more, use the TF or FH location. Imo, you’d probably not benefit much from adding either. I think the imaging, and “bubble” would be shifted forward, and the TF/FH might just get lost during playback. I guess as I think about this while clicking away. It seem like I’d just leave the ones already installed and try it out. Where is the couch? Is it up against the back wall etc...? This is important to know. If you have some room behind it, you could possibly back it up and get the IC speakers a couple feet in front of the couch. That would be closer to spec anyway. And no, I wouldn’t use IC speakers for FH locations. That would make them much too far off axis.
Thanks for the helpful response. That pretty much answers my question.

Looks like my best bet would be to consider a true atmos installation, which would require patching holes in the ceiling. Otherwise, just keep it simple and keep the top middles.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
Thanks for the helpful response. That pretty much answers my question.

Looks like my best bet would be to consider a true atmos installation, which would require patching holes in the ceiling. Otherwise, just keep it simple and keep the top middles.
I think that’s the simplest solution. If over time you become addicted and have to “elevate” the system I’d readdress it then. Otherwise, they’re already installed so...why not. FWIW, when there’s only one pair installed, they receive the exact same content no matter what they’re labeled.
I do realize that it’s a living room and certainly compromises will be made. But depending on goals and waf etc you can definitely have a great system. I’m pretty fortunate to have 7.3.4 in my own living room. Compromises and all.
So, what’s the rest of the system?
 
T

Tom Pot

Enthusiast
I have Totem Tribe Vs for LCR, Totem Tribe IIIs for surrounds, and 2 Hsu VTF-15 mk2s.

The two existing in ceilings are B&W, but I'm not sure what model they are. Based on my calibration, it seems like they are about 3-4 dB less in sensitivity compared to my other speakers. I'm considering replacing them with a totem product to have matching components.
 
T

Tom Pot

Enthusiast
Also currently have an Anthem MRX 710 but upgrading to a 740 when it comes out.

Parasound A31 for the front 3 channels.
 
T

Tom Pot

Enthusiast
I decided to add 4 in ceiling speakers for atmos.

I'll leave the current in ceilings in place. Might use them separately in a zone 2 set up or future x.x.6 set up.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Hi all,

I'm trying to decide how to go about setting up an atmos system in my family room. It's not a dedicated theater space, so I'm certainly not expecting perfection. But I still think I can do something great with the space I have.

I'm aiming for either a 5.2.2 or 5.2.4 system.

My main question regards the ceiling speakers. My ceilings are 10 feet high. There are currently two in-ceiling speakers in place, and they are essentially in perfect place for top middles. (I didn't install them, they were already there).

If I want to add 2 more ceiling speakers, would it be reasonable to add them in the top front position? Or should I aim for the front height position (still using in ceiling speakers).

Of note, my surround speakers are 5 ft high and a couple feet behind MLP. I set them that way because my Google research somewhat led me astray. Technically, they are in great position for a standard 5.1 system. At any rate, I'm fine keeping them there. Would having the surrounds a bit higher perhaps help with the panning aspect of the height speakers, given that I'm not planning on using top rears?

I appreciate any advice. Let me know if I can offer any clarification.
What is your HT area dimensions?

If you want to add 2 more ceiling speakers, I would add them toward the rear of the room (close to MLP). The reason is because if the 2 new ceiling speakers are too far away from the MLP (in the front), you won’t be able to HEAR them well enough; they will be competing with the 3 main speakers and 2 subwoofers in the front for sound.

The #1 complaint I hear about Atmos/DTSX is that people cannot HEAR the ceiling speakers.
 
T

Tom Pot

Enthusiast
I have an open floor plan. The family room with the theater setup is about 18 ft long and 22 ft wide. Ceiling is 10 ft high. The rear aspect of the family room is in direct communication with the kitchen. The top rear in ceiling speakers would technically be in the kitchen.

MLP is located approximately 13 ft from the front wall. The LCRs are installed onto the front wall with tweeters about 40" high.

My plan would be to install the top fronts about 6.5 ft front of MLP and top rears about 6.5 ft behind MLP.

I think there should be enough separation.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Warlord
I have an open floor plan. The family room with the theater setup is about 18 ft long and 22 ft wide. Ceiling is 10 ft high. The rear aspect of the family room is in direct communication with the kitchen. The top rear in ceiling speakers would technically be in the kitchen.

MLP is located approximately 13 ft from the front wall. The LCRs are installed onto the front wall with tweeters about 40" high.

My plan would be to install the top fronts about 6.5 ft front of MLP and top rears about 6.5 ft behind MLP.

I think there should be enough separation.
That should hit pretty close to 45°. If ever in the future you’d consider .6 Atmos you could spread them a little farther but imo with a shallow(18’) room .4 will be great. It will cost less too, and support for top middles has been very inconsistent. Pics?
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top