Seeking Recommendations on Ceiling Speakers for Atmos

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splinter7

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
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Location
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Seeking recommendations from this esteemed group.

I am looking to up-grade my ceiling speakers during a renovation project and would love to hear what most people are running now.
Currently have a Marantz SR5014 / 100 watts per channel, DTech matching mains and center, supercube + two mid-room ceiling speakers. Budget probably keeps me under the $200 per speaker market.

Also Would I be doing myself a disservice if I opt for upgrading to four ceiling speakers now (two front overhead & two rear overhead) even though the SR5014 is only spec'd to 5.1.2?
I would run Atmos with the front ceiling speakers and not connect the rears until I upgrade the receiver in a couple of years.

Appreciate any advice.

Thanks
Greg
 
Seeking recommendations from this esteemed group.

I am looking to up-grade my ceiling speakers during a renovation project and would love to hear what most people are running now.
Currently have a Marantz SR5014 / 100 watts per channel, DTech matching mains and center, supercube + two mid-room ceiling speakers. Budget probably keeps me under the $200 per speaker market.

Also Would I be doing myself a disservice if I opt for upgrading to four ceiling speakers now (two front overhead & two rear overhead) even though the SR5014 is only spec'd to 5.1.2?
I would run Atmos with the front ceiling speakers and not connect the rears until I upgrade the receiver in a couple of years.

Appreciate any advice.

Thanks
Greg
My local hi-fi shop owner recommended the Episode ES-350T-IC-8. I installed & wired four of them while I still had a 5.1.2 AVR, so that they were ready to go once I upgraded almost two years down the road. I'm really happy with them--they sound great and they weren't super-expensive.
 
You want the same speakers you have on the floor so that phantom imaging extends between all speakers. You don't want just whatever for the tops and reduce it to a gimmick. There will be mixes that don't do much with the tops and are kind of gimmicky but we're not here for that!

Similar but smaller versions can work well though. We're also not really looking to install full bass response in the ceiling speakers. (Well, speaking for myself anyway!) Speaker management can take over for any mix including full low end in the height channels. (Like the George Harrison All Things Must Pass mix.) I did just that and went with AR17 for height channels with AR9 on the floor.

I'd go for 7.1.4 as well. This is becoming the default reference array and it's what most of the more accomplished Atmos mixes are being created on. In the spirit of wanting a 1:1 speaker array with what albums are being mixed on, save up for 4 height channels.
 
You want the same speakers you have on the floor so that phantom imaging extends between all speakers. You don't want just whatever for the tops and reduce it to a gimmick. There will be mixes that don't do much with the tops and are kind of gimmicky but we're not here for that!

Similar but smaller versions can work well though. We're also not really looking to install full bass response in the ceiling speakers. (Well, speaking for myself anyway!) Speaker management can take over for any mix including full low end in the height channels. (Like the George Harrison All Things Must Pass mix.) I did just that and went with AR17 for height channels with AR9 on the floor.

I'd go for 7.1.4 as well. This is becoming the default reference array and it's what most of the more accomplished Atmos mixes are being created on. In the spirit of wanting a 1:1 speaker array with what albums are being mixed on, save up for 4 height channels.
Do you actually mount bookshelf speakers on the ceiling?
 
I had an idea: Use a boom mic stand to hold up a small speaker.
 
I had an idea: Use a boom mic stand to hold up a small speaker.
That's exactly what you see with my Lss speaker in that pic. :D
Note the weights.

Sometimes you have to just get things done, right?

My little AR17 speakers weigh only 15 lbs each.
I just helped a friend set up who was using these Dynaudio powered speakers. 7" low drivers I believe. He went with identical speakers all around. Those were 25 lbs each. He has a drop ceiling about a foot lower than mine with the actual ceiling another 5' up. So I was teetering up on a ladder drilling holes and hanging chains over there. Then cutting the drop tiles so the speakers could poke through at the right height.
 
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I am of the opinion that you can get very satisfying results with relatively inexpensive overhead speakers that are not necessarily the same brand as your ear-level speaker array. The speakers I bought were a brand I had never heard of (but with pretty good online reviews) and cost under $50 each on Amazon. I may upgrade them someday but am in no hurry to do so and have never regretted buying them.
 
I am of the opinion that you can get very satisfying results with relatively inexpensive overhead speakers that are not necessarily the same brand as your ear-level speaker array. The speakers I bought were a brand I had never heard of (but with pretty good online reviews) and cost under $50 each on Amazon. I may upgrade them someday but am in no hurry to do so and have never regretted buying them.
Ditto. (FWIW, I think Dolby itself is also of that opinion.)
 
I am of the opinion that you can get very satisfying results with relatively inexpensive overhead speakers that are not necessarily the same brand as your ear-level speaker array. The speakers I bought were a brand I had never heard of (but with pretty good online reviews) and cost under $50 each on Amazon. I may upgrade them someday but am in no hurry to do so and have never regretted buying them.
Ditto. (FWIW, I think Dolby itself is also of that opinion.)
Lest we forget that Bob Clearmountain is using four Sony SSCSE's as heights in his studio :)
 
One can 'brute force' just about any speaker into calibration. Overall frequency profile and level. Happens in live sound all the time!

But imaging is a thing. Being able to hear phantom imaging across a speaker array and not just the point speaker locations is a big deal. That collapses with non similar speakers. I'd argue stereo with matched speakers can be more immersive and audiophile vs surround with a hodge podge speaker array.

So, some Atmos mixes are somewhat faux where the height channels don't have a lot of meaningful content. So, just whatever speakers in the ceiling would be just fine. I'd argue that none of us are here for that or interested in those mixes. We're here for genuine 7.1.4 mixes. Delivered 1:1 by Atmos. Not some bs manipulated by the Atmos system for binaural headphone listening or soundbars.

If you're going to put the effort into adding channels and hanging speakers and the measuring and work involved you don't want the end result to only work as a gimmick. Match your current speaker array and expand that upward. Or wait until you can. Most music mixes are still 4.0 or 5.1. You aren't just missing everything. There are a handful of 12 ch mixes that are good but don't exactly sell the need for adding 6 channels. There ARE a smaller handful that do! So you don't want to miss out on the real ones due to cheapness height speakers. Continue to shop and set up for fidelity first in surround as always.
 
Limited engagement of the height speakers in an Atmos mix might be an artistic decision that you disagree with (I too prefer they get full use), but that doesn't make it "faux".
 
Limited engagement of the height speakers in an Atmos mix might be an artistic decision that you disagree with (I too prefer they get full use), but that doesn't make it "faux".
Of course not! I never said that or meant to suggest anything of the kind! Faux mixes are faux mixes. Upmixed stereo and the like. Crude movie mixes. This stuff is being shoehorned into the Atmos format at the same time as genuine 12 ch mixes. (Atmos IS a copy protection format first and foremost after all. Delivering 12ch mixes to the likes of us is secondary.)

Some examples from the past if that helps:

Re-channeled "stereo" from mono mixes. Dip every other band of a graphic eq on one channel and then the opposite bands on the other channel. Back in the 1960's when stereo was new. Remember those? Faux stereo mixes that sounded awful.

Ever heard one of those quads that were the stereo mix printed front and back? Faux quad mixes.

Moving forward. 5.1 mixes that are 99% stereo with just some reverb in the surrounds and maybe a small hint of a keyboard pad or something.
 
Funny thing. The mixing crutch I'm often hearing isn't limited use of heights. It's more to throw any mix element that is masked or buried into them in a pinch! Don't read any opinion into that. It's all about if a mix itself works or not, mix by mix (case by case).
 
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