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5.1 to 5.1.2 using existing in-ceiling speakers? (4 Viewers)

PsiPhiDan

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Dan Sourile
Okay, so I've had a 5.1 setup for about a decade. I finally updated my equipment so I'm able to do 7.1 or 5.1.2 (which is what I'm planning on) and lossless audio via 4K BD player. Here's my question: what's the best way to do that?

My current setup is this:

Sony STR-DN1080 receiver (capable of Atmos 5.1.2)
Polk RTi A3 bookshelf speakers about 4 ft up
Polk CSi A4 center channel under TV
Polk CS60i 6" in-ceiling speakers installed DIRECTLY ABOVE my couch, spaced about 6-8' apart.

The last part is my complication, from what I'm reading about Dolby Atmos. Here are my main thoughts for the most likely option:

Keep the current in-ceiling speakers as is and use them as surrounds. Install another pair of in-ceiling speakers above my bookshelf speakers (about 8' high) to mirror the rears. Use those as the "Atmos enabled" speakers. I could potentially place them halfway between the fronts and surrounds even (in the ceiling still) for "middle heights".

Thoughts/Questions:
-Is it a problem that the surrounds are at the same height as the Atmos enabled? Or is the sound separation mostly just needed between the fronts and the Atmos ones? Does sound height separation matter between surrounds and Atmos since so little sound comes from the surrounds anyway?

-Is the separation from 4' to 8' enough?

-Do the Atmos ceiling speakers need to be more hefty and expensive than my surrounds (CS60i)? Should I go for the 8" ones?

I know in an ideal world, I'd have surrounds at ear height and use the ceiling ones as Atmos... But my wife really doesn't seem keen on these stands, which I get. This is in a family room, not a dedicated theater. But I want to do this right so that I'll actually notice a difference.

Do you all have any input on this? I'd appreciate it greatly! I like to plan, research, and talk to people before doing anything. Thanks in advance!
 

SteveMilam

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Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
2
Okay, so I've had a 5.1 setup for about a decade. I finally updated my equipment so I'm able to do 7.1 or 5.1.2 (which is what I'm planning on) and lossless audio via 4K BD player. Here's my question: what's the best way to do that?

My current setup is this:

Sony STR-DN1080 receiver (capable of Atmos 5.1.2)
Polk RTi A3 bookshelf speakers about 4 ft up
Polk CSi A4 center channel under TV
Polk CS60i 6" in-ceiling speakers installed DIRECTLY ABOVE my couch, spaced about 6-8' apart.

The last part is my complication, from what I'm reading about Dolby Atmos. Here are my main thoughts for the most likely option:

Keep the current in-ceiling speakers as is and use them as surrounds. Install another pair of in-ceiling speakers above my bookshelf speakers (about 8' high) to mirror the rears. Use those as the "Atmos enabled" speakers. I could potentially place them halfway between the fronts and surrounds even (in the ceiling still) for "middle heights".

Thoughts/Questions:
-Is it a problem that the surrounds are at the same height as the Atmos enabled? Or is the sound separation mostly just needed between the fronts and the Atmos ones? Does sound height separation matter between surrounds and Atmos since so little sound comes from the surrounds anyway?

-Is the separation from 4' to 8' enough?

-Do the Atmos ceiling speakers need to be more hefty and expensive than my surrounds (CS60i)? Should I go for the 8" ones?

I know in an ideal world, I'd have surrounds at ear height and use the ceiling ones as Atmos... But my wife really doesn't seem keen on these stands, which I get. This is in a family room, not a dedicated theater. But I want to do this right so that I'll actually notice a difference.

Do you all have any input on this? I'd appreciate it greatly! I like to plan, research, and talk to people before doing anything. Thanks in advance!
I also have a 1080 with a 4 ceiling speaker set up in a 9’ ceiling. I used the original 7.1 set up and just re-assigned speakers to the 5.1.2.
My surrounds currently are about 2’ behind my listening position and the height speakers are about 4’ in front of me. The main and center are roughly 7’ past the height speakers.
In theory it may not be the perfect placement but it still sounds awesome. Atmos soundtracks definitely make a difference!
 

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PsiPhiDan

Auditioning
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
Messages
2
Real Name
Dan Sourile
I also have a 1080 with a 4 ceiling speaker set up in a 9’ ceiling. I used the original 7.1 set up and just re-assigned speakers to the 5.1.2.
My surrounds currently are about 2’ behind my listening position and the height speakers are about 4’ in front of me. The main and center are roughly 7’ past the height speakers.
In theory it may not be the perfect placement but it still sounds awesome. Atmos soundtracks definitely make a difference!
This is so nice to hear from someone with actual experience with this comment... Thank you so much! And thanks for the visual. I think I can pull this off... Very excited now, thank you!!

Side note: how the heck did you run that 7.1?
 

John Dirk

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Hello and welcome to HTF:

Thoughts/Questions:
-Is it a problem that the surrounds are at the same height as the Atmos enabled? Or is the sound separation mostly just needed between the fronts and the Atmos ones? Does sound height separation matter between surrounds and Atmos since so little sound comes from the surrounds anyway?


It is not optimal and will not produce the effect intended by the filmmakers but, as you alluded, we all have to make compromises.

-Is the separation from 4' to 8' enough?

Not sure what you mean by this.

-Do the Atmos ceiling speakers need to be more hefty and expensive than my surrounds (CS60i)? Should I go for the 8" ones?

No. Where Atmos speakers are concerned, placement is everything. Good quality speakers are always a plus but if they are not properly placed it won't make much difference.

I know in an ideal world, I'd have surrounds at ear height and use the ceiling ones as Atmos... But my wife really doesn't seem keen on these stands, which I get. This is in a family room, not a dedicated theater. But I want to do this right so that I'll actually notice a difference.

For this reason I would strongly recommend against installing any additional speakers in your ceiling. Your space is simply not suitable for true Atmos without properly placed floor standing speakers to complete the layout. Atmos-enabled tracks will still sound great as they are generally mixed better than their non-Atmos counterparts. You just won't get the same feeling of moving objects or realism in certain scenes.
 

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