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Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 speakers placement for music and movies (1 Viewer)

longard8

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Aug 21, 2020
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Lon Gard
I am just in a process of furnishing the living room in a new apartment. I strive for Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 speaker placement consisted of the following speakers:

Front speakers: Q Acoustics Concept 40
Center: Q Acoustics Concept Centre
Subwoofer: KEF Kube12b
Rear speakers: Q Acoustics Concept 20
Ceiling Atmos speakers: 4x Q Acoustics QI65 Professional
Receiver: Marantz SR6015

I will mainly use the audio system for music, but occasionally also for movies. As you may see from the image, the room is quite small and in addition, the couch is pushed all the way to the rear wall in the corner. This triggers several questions.

1. Obviously, I cannot meet Dolby Atmos Installation guidelines for overhead speakers, so I was wondering what would be the best compromise here? Can I put two ceiling speakers just next to the rear wall, so they would be slightly behind the listener (100-110°)?
But where exactly should I put front ceiling speakers then, should I meet 30-55° specification or rather relatively the same angle to the listener as the rear ceiling speakers, so the angle to the viewer would be symmetrical (70-80°)? Also, how wide apart should they be in my case?
Perhaps I should drop the idea of 4 ceiling speakers and only go for 2? How about the speaker choice, should I pick a different brand?

2. There is also a lack of space for rear surround speakers. It will be hard to have them at the ear level, so should I put them on a higher height and point them downwards? Any specific height recommendation?

3. Another dilemma is a subwoofer placement. I need to choose the TV stand design, so how would the one on the image work? Will it affect the bass if the subwoofer will be covered with a shelf? Do you believe that it could sound better if it was placed on the right side of the TV stand design? If it is impossible to say in advance, then I guess a design without a shelf over subwoofer would be better, so I can place it on the either side accordingly to subwoofer crawl test?

4. The last question is regarding the speaker choice. Do you find it suitable for the given room or would you recommend any other brand/models?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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Rick Ewing

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Mar 20, 1999
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I think there is another solution you haven't considered. This is something that helped me in a similar situation.

Like you, I have a Marantz product (in my case the AV7703) which is capable of four channel height Dolby Atmos. I also have a home theater where the main listening position (MLP) is too close to the back wall in order to comply with Dolby's white paper recommendations for speaker placement.

The first question you are asking is whether modifying the recommendations for rear speakers directly over the MLP will work. Dolby Atmos in the home has to have some matter of flexibility because of the endless possibilities for how a home theater may be designed. But there are some basics that must be followed. For in ceiling speakers, if you use four speakers, you'll see that the first two speakers are in front of the MLP and the rear two speakers are distinctly BEHIND the MLP.

So if you're watching a movie where an object like a helicopter flies over the head of the MLP, the receiver/processor makes the assumption that in order to get a correct pan of the sound that the front two ceiling channels will likely be when the object being viewed on screen is perhaps still in the field of view and the rear speakers will pan to the object completely offscreen and behind you.

If you place the rear speakers over your head, then the panning sound will happen too soon for an accurate portrayal. Also, there might be reflection issues of the sound against the rear wall as you have indicated in your floor plan. I had the same problem. I was able to pull the couch away from the wall by a couple of feet, enough to install some rear surrounds. But my high ceiling (13 ft) didn't give me the proper angles recommended by Dolby to install ceiling speakers behind the head of the MLP.

So someone else on another forum recommended what I eventually did....use front height speakers in combination with two ceiling speakers. Both SVS and Klipsch make such speakers that sit above the TV near the ceiling angled down toward the MLP. Front height speakers were originally a part of the Dolby ProLogic IIz standard before Atmos was a thing. But Dolby knew that some users had installed speakers like this so it was included as a legal configuration for Atmos and your Marantz supports this.

So will you have a ceiling panning speaker behind the MLP? No. But since most of these sound effects are directly in front or above the MLP anyway before the scene cuts to something else, it's not a huge loss and you'll still get a correct panning sound effects as the sound object travels from the center channel and L/R mains to the height speakers and finally the two overheads. I would also recommend not putting the two overhead speakers directly over the MLP since they would be next to the rear wall where there would be reflection issues. Dolby recommends that the best position is overhead and a bit in front of the MLP, which you can see in their white paper.
 
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