Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speakers

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LuvMyQuad

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I personally think you are putting too much importance on the distance between mains and the Front Top speakers. I don’t believe these Home Theater Speaker Guides from Dolby are intended to “implicitly” set up a distance from the mains. These guidelines have a good bit of variance between them as well, 22 to 30 degrees on the mains and also with the diagrams that @ar surround posted above. I believe they are more concerned with the relationship of the Top speakers to the listeners position. The AVR will correct the timing/distances during setup.
Just IMHO!
The guide certainly has some variance built in to allow for variation in systems, no doubt, but it isn't infinite. By ignoring the guide for main distance from the MLP, you could conceivably be sitting 25 feet or more from the mains and have the front heights only 4 feet in front of you. You could even assume the mains to be 100 feet from the MLP, and the ceiling height positions still wouldn't change because the MLP to mains distance never comes into play. I'd have to look at my current system to verify the range, but the distances and the difference in distances are not infinite. If I remember correctly it takes the speaker furthest away from the MLP and gives it a delay of zero. All others get a delay time that corresponds with their distance from the MLP. But it isn't unlimited. Neither are the relative levels. I think the adjustment on mine is 10dB from the lowest to the loudest.
 

Sal1950

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To get more distance, can you push them out further to the right and left?
On the rears?
Not on the left, it's against the left wall already. There's really very little changes I can make to the RearS or RearH as far as positioning

Using a laser and protractor, I get the angle from my ears at the MLP, to the middle of the grill on Front Heights of right at 30 deg. I could pull the FH's closer to me to get a more Atmos correct number (40?) but for now I'm going to listen to this config and see how it sounds.
Unless someone believes this is a badly conceived arrangement?
 

Hamilton59

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The guide certainly has some variance built in to allow for variation in systems, no doubt, but it isn't infinite. By ignoring the guide for main distance from the MLP, you could conceivably be sitting 25 feet or more from the mains and have the front heights only 4 feet in front of you. You could even assume the mains to be 100 feet from the MLP, and the ceiling height positions still wouldn't change because the MLP to mains distance never comes into play. I'd have to look at my current system to verify the range, but the distances and the difference in distances are not infinite. If I remember correctly it takes the speaker furthest away from the MLP and gives it a delay of zero. All others get a delay time that corresponds with their distance from the MLP. But it isn't unlimited. Neither are the relative levels. I think the adjustment on mine is 10dB from the lowest to the loudest.
Ok, so where is this “guide” for main distance from the MLP? I don’t recall ever seeing one. What would be the problem with your example of 25’ feet from mains and the Top heights just 4‘ in front of you. Is it that you don’t think the amp can do the delay/volume corrections? The amp is already adjusting for distances further away for the surrounds and the rear speakers.
 

Sal1950

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The amp is already adjusting for distances further away for the surrounds and the rear speakers.
So are you of the belief that Audyssey or whatever is going to correct distances and make the physical relationship between distances of the base level and height level speakers and angles automatically correct?
I don't think it works that way but I'm confused and old.
 
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Hamilton59

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So are you of the belief that Audyssey or whatever is going to correct distances and make the physical relationship between distances of the base level and height level speakers and angles automatically correct?
I don't think it works that way but I'm confused and old.
No. I believe that Audyssey will correct the timing and volume of each speaker compared to the MLP (within the amp’s capabilities). I don’t believe it will correct the angles for the height speakers. I believe you need that 4 speaker “box” above your head as close to the angles that Dolby recommends. I don’t think it matters if that overhead box is 4 ft or 20 ft from your main speakers, just that it is above your MLP and apparently inline with your mains. I believe that you also have to match the real speaker physical setup with the amp’s speaker setup positions. Once this is done and amp is configured, the amp should be able to accurately position the ATMOS sounds when it decodes them.

Again, just IMHO!
 

LuvMyQuad

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Ok, so where is this “guide” for main distance from the MLP? I don’t recall ever seeing one. What would be the problem with your example of 25’ feet from mains and the Top heights just 4‘ in front of you. Is it that you don’t think the amp can do the delay/volume corrections? The amp is already adjusting for distances further away for the surrounds and the rear speakers.
This is the guide. It gives angles. You have to do the trig and you will get distances. The spacing can be large or small, it makes no difference. Its the ratios that matter. Do you see how the triangle formed between the LF, RF, MLP is pretty much an equilateral triangle with all sides equal, or nearly so. The range in the angles given reflects Dolby's suggested allowed variation. The distances change considerably with relatively small changes in angle. Note there is no numerical information pertaining to the height channels here. No angles, no distances, just general locations, but I would assume its all to scale.
1641079520960.png

In your example the system would need to correct for 21 feet of distance. I cant say for sure what the distance offset limit is on different gear, but Ill bet that's at the high side of it. And keep in mind, the distance between the front speakers would be near 25 ft as well. The footprint on such a system would be large.
 

Hamilton59

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Hey @LuvMyQuad

I do see what you are saying, but I don’t think that is the intent of the Dolby Speaker setup guidelines. I also don’t think it’ll matter either way. Your design setup will sound great.

From “Dolby Atmos® Home Theater Installation Guidelines” link below in blue…
“Dolby Atmos is a highly flexible solution, so minor variations from these recommendations are unlikely to materially detract from the immersive Dolby Atmos experience.”

Dolby Atmos® Home Theater Installation Guidelines

I‘ve added this link to Dolby’s more complete guide for ATMOS in case you haven’t had the chance to review it. This guide has 15 pages of information before it gets into the various speaker setup diagrams. This includes info about the overhead speaker characteristics, frequency response, and dispersion/directivity that I’ve seen asked about and discussed many times.

I hope your installation goes easily!
 

tcdriver

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Hey @LuvMyQuad

I do see what you are saying, but I don’t think that is the intent of the Dolby Speaker setup guidelines. I also don’t think it’ll matter either way. Your design setup will sound great.

From “Dolby Atmos® Home Theater Installation Guidelines” link below in blue…
“Dolby Atmos is a highly flexible solution, so minor variations from these recommendations are unlikely to materially detract from the immersive Dolby Atmos experience.”

Dolby Atmos® Home Theater Installation Guidelines

I‘ve added this link to Dolby’s more complete guide for ATMOS in case you haven’t had the chance to review it. This guide has 15 pages of information before it gets into the various speaker setup diagrams. This includes info about the overhead speaker characteristics, frequency response, and dispersion/directivity that I’ve seen asked about and discussed many times.

I hope your installation goes easily!
Thank you for linking the Home Theater Installation Guidelines. (y)

I just re-read it and it seems to cover the questions raised in this thread.
 

LuvMyQuad

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Dolby Atmos® Home Theater Installation Guidelines

I‘ve added this link to Dolby’s more complete guide for ATMOS in case you haven’t had the chance to review it. This guide has 15 pages of information before it gets into the various speaker setup diagrams. This includes info about the overhead speaker characteristics, frequency response, and dispersion/directivity that I’ve seen asked about and discussed many times.
After reading the full document, I think I do understand it more, but in doing so I also think its even more restrictive than I first thought. Here are some of the points I took from it:

There is a recommended ceiling height limitation of 3 x ear level. They assume ear level to be 3.9 feet (47 inches), which they claim is ear level for the average seated listener. So max recommended ceiling height is 11.7 feet (I'm surprised its so low). I am apparently not average. I have a seated ear height (when reclined) of about 41 inches.

The overhead side to side separation on the height speakers should be .5 to .7 x the overall system separation. So the height speaker “box”, should fit inside the lower level layout. Height speakers should be in line with the front mains. The overhead speaker box should be centered over the listener.

Ceiling speakers should have a dispersion pattern of 45degrees or more. Those that can be aimed should be aimed at the listener. This tends to confirm my assumption that it is wrong to assume that just because the speaker is amiable, it can assist in providing some of the needed placement angle. I don't believe that's the case. The Airmotives I bought have an aim-able ribbon tweeter, but its just to reduce the beaming effect common to ribbon tweeters, not to provide additional elevation angle for placement.

If using Atmos enabled speakers (ie: main speaker top firing/top mounts) the AVR setup algorithm needs both the distance from the speaker to ceiling and the distance from ceiling to listener. Maybe someone with enabled designs can answer this, I don't understand how the setup algorithm can actually measure this, so maybe it has to be entered manually?

I didn’t realize there were Atmos systems like 2.1.2 and 3.1.2 where there is no rear surround source as well. For you anti center speaker guys, there is also a 4.1.2 and 4.1.4.

For a setup as compact as mine, I may well have been better off going with 5.1.2 instead of 5.1.4.
 

tcdriver

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... Maybe someone with enabled designs can answer this, I don't understand how the setup algorithm can actually measure this, so maybe it has to be entered manually? ...
Yes, my take is that one will need to manually enter the distance when using ATMOS enabled speakers.

... For a setup as compact as mine, I may well have been better off going with 5.1.2 instead of 5.1.4.
Yes, if the listening space is too small, one may be better off with 5.1.2.
 

Hamilton59

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For a setup as compact as mine, I may well have been better off going with 5.1.2 instead of 5.1.4.
I think if you can get the Top Height speakers behind your head, you should go with the x.x.4 configuration. I believe it takes the 4 overhead speakers to create the 3D space around your MPL.
 

DuncanS

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After reading the full document, I think I do understand it more, but in doing so I also think its even more restrictive than I first thought. Here are some of the points I took from it:

There is a recommended ceiling height limitation of 3 x ear level. They assume ear level to be 3.9 feet (47 inches), which they claim is ear level for the average seated listener. So max recommended ceiling height is 11.7 feet (I'm surprised its so low). I am apparently not average. I have a seated ear height (when reclined) of about 41 inches.

The overhead side to side separation on the height speakers should be .5 to .7 x the overall system separation. So the height speaker “box”, should fit inside the lower level layout. Height speakers should be in line with the front mains. The overhead speaker box should be centered over the listener.

Ceiling speakers should have a dispersion pattern of 45degrees or more. Those that can be aimed should be aimed at the listener. This tends to confirm my assumption that it is wrong to assume that just because the speaker is amiable, it can assist in providing some of the needed placement angle. I don't believe that's the case. The Airmotives I bought have an aim-able ribbon tweeter, but its just to reduce the beaming effect common to ribbon tweeters, not to provide additional elevation angle for placement.

If using Atmos enabled speakers (ie: main speaker top firing/top mounts) the AVR setup algorithm needs both the distance from the speaker to ceiling and the distance from ceiling to listener. Maybe someone with enabled designs can answer this, I don't understand how the setup algorithm can actually measure this, so maybe it has to be entered manually?

I didn’t realize there were Atmos systems like 2.1.2 and 3.1.2 where there is no rear surround source as well. For you anti center speaker guys, there is also a 4.1.2 and 4.1.4.

For a setup as compact as mine, I may well have been better off going with 5.1.2 instead of 5.1.4.
On Boxing Day I drove up to my sister's house, and they have a 5.1.2 (the .2 are at the rear) system and her husband is an Apple fanatic - but they only use it to watch films with their kids. So I said do you have Apple music which he did. We listened to a few Atmos tracks all genres etc., and I wasn't impressed with the Atmos. I said I think you need the 2 front heights, he said he thought so as well as he felt that the Atmos audio on films wasn't that great with just the 2 rear heights - all he has to do is persuade my sister! So my thought is a 5.1.4 system even with small heights is best.

Edit: If I do go Atmos it will be 5.0.4 I don't like LFEs!
 

LuvMyQuad

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I think if you can get the Top Height speakers behind your head, you should go with the x.x.4 configuration. I believe it takes the 4 overhead speakers to create the 3D space around your MPL.
I can, but just barely behind me. I'm going to give it a try and see. I can get a decent angle only because of the side distance.
 

Sal1950

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For a setup as compact as mine, I may well have been better off going with 5.1.2 instead of 5.1.4.
Yes, if the listening space is too small, one may be better off with 5.1.2.
MHO is to disagree with this.
As a simple example, How can you expect an airplane or spaceship flyover to move overhead from front to rear with that layout?
A minor upset of the Dolby layout, moving the FH's a little further forward than recommended, would be a lot less detrimental to the imaging than a 5.1.2 layout.
 

LuvMyQuad

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MHO is to disagree with this.
As a simple example, How can you expect an airplane or spaceship flyover to move overhead from front to rear with that layout?
A minor upset of the Dolby layout, moving the FH's a little further forward than recommended, would be a lot less detrimental to the imaging than a 5.1.2 layout.
Yeah, when they finally release The Wall in Atmos we wouldn't want those helicopters to be out of place, now would we.
 

tcdriver

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MHO is to disagree with this.
As a simple example, How can you expect an airplane or spaceship flyover to move overhead from front to rear with that layout?
A minor upset of the Dolby layout, moving the FH's a little further forward than recommended, would be a lot less detrimental to the imaging than a 5.1.2 layout.
What will work best will depend a lot on ceiling height, room size and seating position. In a small room, it is much more difficult to get the angles right for four Top speakers. A two Top speaker configuration is much easier. Medium to larger rooms make four Top speakers a much easier proposition.
 

LuvMyQuad

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What will work best will depend a lot on ceiling height, room size and seating position. In a small room, it is much more difficult to get the angles right for four Top speakers. A two Top speaker configuration is much easier. Medium to larger rooms make four Top speakers a much easier proposition.
Getting rears to align with the standard when your listening position is near the back wall is near impossible.
 
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