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2 vs 4 Atmos Speakers (1 Viewer)

JohnRice

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In regard to what @Josh Steinberg shared about Atmos being pretty rare... for this reason, I was thinking of not going top-of-the-line with the in-ceiling speakers.

I just ordered an SVS Ultra Tower Speaker Surround System. Any recommendations on in-ceiling speakers for Atmos? Again, I don't want to break the bank, just add some overhead sound for those killer movie scenes that have Atmos channels.

I was looking at the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 for a projector. Its native aspect ratio is 16:9, but does that mean it can't project in 2:40:1? My guess is it's 50/50 between 16x9 and 2.40:1. Thanks!
That just means it has a 16:9 panel. Other aspects just won’t use all the pixels and will have a smaller total image area.
 

DaveF

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Thanks @DaveF. Here's where it gets tricky. I'd love to go 120" on the screen, but if I go bigger than 110", the AudioAdvice tool says that I'm too close to the screen for an optimal viewing experience. So I could fix that by moving the couch back, but then I'm too far back for 4 Atmos speakers (and getting dangerously close to the back wall, which would give some unwanted audio reflections, right?).

Any input on this?
What @Josh Steinberg said: Get the projector before the screen, try out image sizes and viewing distances, see what you enjoy.
 

DaveF

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I'm going to encourage balance, which seems to be where you have been going.

I can't count the times I've seen people start only with the image, and make it as huge as physically possible, then move the seating back to compensate (which makes ZERO sense) and/or decide to severely hamper the audio because there's no room for speakers.

I'm with you... I'm more into audio than most people. That's why I'm not willing to compromise sound quality in the setup. I've been suffering with decent gear in a terrible room for the past 4 years. Setting up this dedicated HT room is my chance to optimize a space for audio, while also having a bigger screen than the TV in our living room. Thanks for the input!

Balance of options is what I’m recommending be examined. Here in 2023, at a 110” screen, it’s now worth considering going smaller to a 100“ or 90“ direct view screen to get better, easier, cheaper than a projector. That might also allow the seating to be pulled closer to the screen and enable a better speaker and Atmos setup overall.

Let me put it this way: if you’re audio first and if noise floor is a big deal to you and you’re looking at projectors, you need to consider seriously fan noise.

Or, if you ask @Sam Posten, I’m pretty sure he’d take a 77” OLED with 2000 nit marvelous HDR over a 130” screen and a 100 nit projector faking HDR.

I’ve got a projector room and I love it. But this is very much a transition period, and strange shopping time, between projectors and direct displays. Depending on Your budget and priorities, I recommend anyone to give this a serious look between the options to find the right balance.
 

Colin

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Balance of options is what I’m recommending be examined. Here in 2023, at a 110” screen, it’s now worth considering going smaller to a 100“ or 90“ direct view screen to get better, easier, cheaper than a projector. That might also allow the seating to be pulled closer to the screen and enable a better speaker and Atmos setup overall.

Let me put it this way: if you’re audio first and if noise floor is a big deal to you and you’re looking at projectors, you need to consider seriously fan noise.

Or, if you ask @Sam Posten, I’m pretty sure he’d take a 77” OLED with 2000 nit marvelous HDR over a 130” screen and a 100 nit projector faking HDR.

I’ve got a projector room and I love it. But this is very much a transition period, and strange shopping time, between projectors and direct displays. Depending on Your budget and priorities, I recommend anyone to give this a serious look between the options to find the right balance.
Thanks @DaveF, I've considered that and I'm still open to input. But as @Josh Steinberg pointed out, a giant screen is a big part of the theater experience. And with a video budget of ~$5k, I can't find anything close to 100" for that price. Maybe in 3 years we'll be there. But for $5k I can get something like the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 at 110-120" screen size. The room is dark, so colors should be good. And the fan is rated at 22-30dbs. So in a 9' ceiling, I don't think it'll be a problem?

That's where these trade offs are tough. To me, a smaller screen takes away from the HT experience. But our 65" OLED in the living room is great color, no noise, good features. But from our viewing distance, movies are very far from the theater experience.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I think there’s a lot of wisdom in what Dave is saying - prices for flat panels are coming down all the time, the sizes keep getting bigger, and they do HDR significantly better than projectors.

In my mind, there are two main reasons to choose a projector over a flat panel, and it’s really more about preferences than any absolute rule:

-Size. Projectors can still go bigger than flat panels, but as Dave so eloquently noted, you can get bigger flat panels now than the smaller sizes some people use on projection screens. If the size is close, the flat panel is certainly easier to install and maintain.

-The intangible quality of projected light vs direct view. This is the big one for me. I grew up on seeing movies projected on film. I love the look of light hitting a screen, the indescribable and unquantifiable magic that it creates. Having absolute perfect sharpness and the wider range of colors and brightness that a 4K HDR flat panel offers just aren’t priorities for me. The movies I revisit the most and the kinds of programming I most enjoy were all created before 4K HDR was a blip on the radar. When I watch something on my projector, I’m not looking for an experience like my TV, only larger. I’m looking to simulate or recreate the experience of going to a theater and seeing a 35mm print (or modern DCP) projected on a screen. That’s an aesthetic I’m in love with and that I treasure. It’s a valid personal preference and choice. But if you’re someone who wants bigger but doesn’t see a difference between a TV and a projector, don’t care about the difference or like the look of a TV’s direct view screen better, there are now viable options for large screen TVs to use in a theater room.

From everything you’re saying, I think you will be happy with a projector. But Dave raises some great existential questions.
 

DaveF

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Thanks @DaveF, I've considered that and I'm still open to input. But as @Josh Steinberg pointed out, a giant screen is a big part of the theater experience. And with a video budget of ~$5k, I can't find anything close to 100" for that price. Maybe in 3 years we'll be there. But for $5k I can get something like the Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 at 110-120" screen size. The room is dark, so colors should be good. And the fan is rated at 22-30dbs. So in a 9' ceiling, I don't think it'll be a problem?

That's where these trade offs are tough. To me, a smaller screen takes away from the HT experience. But our 65" OLED in the living room is great color, no noise, good features. But from our viewing distance, movies are very far from the theater experience.
Not trying to talk you out of a projector. :) I love mine and value screen size over HDR brightness.

The LS12000 is fairly quiet projector in low to medium brightness. It should be whispery for quiet scenes and inaudible during loud scenes. (My Sony 40ES was similar or quieter and I easily forgot about it running in low lamp. My NX7 in bright mode for HDR is loud and just have to accept it.)
 

JohnRice

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-The intangible quality of projected light vs direct view. This is the big one for me. I grew up on seeing movies projected on film. I love the look of light hitting a screen, the indescribable and unquantifiable magic that it creates. Having absolute perfect sharpness and the wider range of colors and brightness that a 4K HDR flat panel offers just aren’t priorities for me. The movies I revisit the most and the kinds of programming I most enjoy were all created before 4K HDR was a blip on the radar. When I watch something on my projector, I’m not looking for an experience like my TV, only larger. I’m looking to simulate or recreate the experience of going to a theater and seeing a 35mm print (or modern DCP) projected on a screen. That’s an aesthetic I’m in love with and that I treasure. It’s a valid personal preference and choice. But if you’re someone who wants bigger but doesn’t see a difference between a TV and a projector, don’t care about the difference or like the look of a TV’s direct view screen better, there are now viable options for large screen TVs to use in a theater room.

From everything you’re saying, I think you will be happy with a projector. But Dave raises some great existential questions.
We've had this conversation many times, and this is why both options are available. I prefer the benefits of direct view, plus greater ease of use.
 

Josh Steinberg

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We've had this conversation many times, and this is why both options are available.

Agreed - I hope both options remain available for the foreseeable future. I’m happy my house has both a TV and a projector. It’s nice to have one area in home theater visuals that isn’t solely about catering to the widest possible audience. So many of the other niche things have been killed off by manufacturers and I’m glad this isn’t one of them.
 

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I agree with all of the OP. As I stated - I'm a big screen guy and my comments were about the charts that show size and distance. In no way was I recommending that as your best choice.
As Josh said - find the size and delivery system that works best for your desires and go with it. Failure to do this could result in disappointment every time you view and doing it the way you really want it will result in joy with every watch.

Happy viewing and Cheers
 

Colin

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Thanks y'all!

Going back to the 4 Atmos... any advice on which receiver capabilities would I need for it to run 5 channels + 4 height Atmos speakers? The SVS subs will be on their own amplifier. I was looking at Denon (like the AVR-X2700h or the AVR-X2800h), but getting confused on which ones could handle 5 channels + 4 Atmos.
 

Josh Dial

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A few things I would add about Atmos content, building on what my fellow Josh (of the council of Joshes) posted above.

While native Atmos and DTS:X content doesn't reach that far back in time, pretty much every new movie released on UHD comes with an Atmos (or DTS:X) track. Also, the Dolby Surround and DTS Neural X upscalers are actually...good! These past few years I've been re-watching every episode of Start Trek starting with the Original Series. One episode a week. I'm up to season 5 of Voyager. I've watched every episode with my receiver's Dolby Surround upscaler and the height speakers actually sound like they should sound. When ships fly by the matrixing actually places the "whoosh" above you. Same with the "atmospheric" engineering sounds. I have been legitimately impressed with the upscaling.

So what I'm getting at is if you have height speakers you will be able to enjoy them on a lot of content.
 

DaveF

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Thanks y'all!

Going back to the 4 Atmos... any advice on which receiver capabilities would I need for it to run 5 channels + 4 height Atmos speakers? The SVS subs will be on their own amplifier. I was looking at Denon (like the AVR-X2700h or the AVR-X2800h), but getting confused on which ones could handle 5 channels + 4 Atmos.
I think any current receiver or processor that supports at least 9 channels (plus two sub outputs) will work for a 5.2.4 system. Everything supports Atmos.

I’m pretty sure even my Denon 760H will do 5.1.2 if I had the Atmos speakers for it.
 

JohnRice

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Thanks y'all!

Going back to the 4 Atmos... any advice on which receiver capabilities would I need for it to run 5 channels + 4 height Atmos speakers? The SVS subs will be on their own amplifier. I was looking at Denon (like the AVR-X2700h or the AVR-X2800h), but getting confused on which ones could handle 5 channels + 4 Atmos.
You need a nine channel (9.2) receiver. The 2700/2800 are 7.2. You need at least the 3xxx series. That will do either 5.2.4 or 7.2.2.
 

JohnRice

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In fact, if you're OK going back a generation, which means a receiver that only has one hdmi 2.1 (8K, VRR, 4K 120) input, rather than all of them, the Denon 4700H can still be found for $1499.

It powers 9 channels, but processes 11, so you can go to 7.2.4 in the future by adding an external amp.
 

sinisanav

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Hello, I know you mentioned you family likes to sit together, I would still think for audio using narrower wall for screen would be more beneficial and you can probably get comfy 5 seater sofa in 15 ft wide space.
As for screen sizes, I had in my first HT 120” 2.35:1 screen with Panamorph lens for CIH ( constant image height), seating was about 12-13 feet away and was immersive but not overwhelming. All projectors are 16:9, you will just have extra bars on top and bottom with 2.4:1 movies ( like on TV), If projector has option for CIH then with the extra lens all 16:9 movies will be transferred to CinemaScope. I am now 8.5” away from 106”screen (16:9), and I like it, for my wife, she thinks its too immersive.
My speakers are now about 20 years old, and not at all interested in upgrading. 4 surrounds in my HT are also bipolar design very similar to what you just ordered, I would tell you get two more for back wall for back surrounds so you complete 7.1 base layer setup, which answers your question about receiver, I would advise you to go and look for something that is somewhat future proof ( 5-10 years) and go for 11.2 capable receiver.
Bipole design nicely disperses sound so even if somewhat close to your ears ( and looking at your rooms setup you would have at least 3-4 feet to back wall) it will bring more enveloping immersion without being able to localize it.
I am just now adding 4 Atmos speakers after 8 years of 7.2.… but on ceiling as my room is finished and I dont want to break the walls… so can’t help with with in ceiling choices but choose something taht is similar to specs of SVS package and especially those surrounds.
 
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Wardog555

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I'd recommend doing a design on sketchup or other 3d software. and using the protractor for the locations for the speaker placements.
I've compared this tool to my design and it's different.

I also suggest that you start thinking like a home theater over any personal preference reasons that will severly impact your experience.
Screens on shorter walls is often what's best for the audio experience as it allows distance from all speakers to the listeners and ensures that all ceiling speakers are on the ceiling. Sitting too close to back wall will severly impact the experience as a whole. Including the following. Speakers too close to listening position rear atmos wall mounted without any seperation between base layer speakers. Sometimes too far from screen!
Go 2/3 room distance. For optimal bass response.

My angle suggestions are the following.
0 center. 30 degrees front left and right. 110-120 degrees 5.1. Old guidelines was 90-110 for 5.1
For atmos. 45-55 degrees elevation. I'm doing 50 degrees myself personally in my next theater.

I've yet to experience 4 atmos myself and all the feedback on it that ive seen and heard when done correctly it's been overwhelmingly positive feedback and that 4 is better than 2.

What's your proposed distance from the screen? I find 110 inch to be on the small side of things. I'm at 3 meters for a 133 inch myself in the living room for sports!
And all these guidelines you see on suggested distances. It's a more causual experience with lower levels of immersion and viewing angles.
I can suggest the starting point of 45 degrees at least if you want higher levels of screen filling your vision.

I hope this helps.
 

JohnRice

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Colin, I think where you are going with the room is right on. If you want a larger image, you can always try moving the viewing position a bit closer, which is the same real-world result as larger projection. Admitting I come from a higher priority toward audio, the sonic benefits of giving the L&R speakers room to breathe can produce significantly better imaging. That will benefit both movies and music. Plus, it allows the side surrounds to be further away, which also enhances the immersion of your surround sound, as well as smoothing out the levels throughout the viewing area.

If you wanted two rows of viewing, then things would be different, but with one row, and maybe some kids sitting on the floor in front, I genuinely believe you are headed in the best overall direction.
 

Colin

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I'd recommend doing a design on sketchup or other 3d software. and using the protractor for the locations for the speaker placements.
I've compared this tool to my design and it's different.

I also suggest that you start thinking like a home theater over any personal preference reasons that will severly impact your experience.
Screens on shorter walls is often what's best for the audio experience as it allows distance from all speakers to the listeners and ensures that all ceiling speakers are on the ceiling. Sitting too close to back wall will severly impact the experience as a whole. Including the following. Speakers too close to listening position rear atmos wall mounted without any seperation between base layer speakers. Sometimes too far from screen!
Go 2/3 room distance. For optimal bass response.

My angle suggestions are the following.
0 center. 30 degrees front left and right. 110-120 degrees 5.1. Old guidelines was 90-110 for 5.1
For atmos. 45-55 degrees elevation. I'm doing 50 degrees myself personally in my next theater.

I've yet to experience 4 atmos myself and all the feedback on it that ive seen and heard when done correctly it's been overwhelmingly positive feedback and that 4 is better than 2.

What's your proposed distance from the screen? I find 110 inch to be on the small side of things. I'm at 3 meters for a 133 inch myself in the living room for sports!
And all these guidelines you see on suggested distances. It's a more causual experience with lower levels of immersion and viewing angles.
I can suggest the starting point of 45 degrees at least if you want higher levels of screen filling your vision.

I hope this helps.
Yes, this is great! Thanks.
 

Neil Middlemiss

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Late to this thread but I had 4 of these installed overhead for my Atmos set up:

KEF CI160.2CR
 

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