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A Guide to Dolby Atmos in the Home

cezarL

Member
Out of curiousity:
Has anyone tried a combination of front upfiring and rear heights?
If yes, does it work properly (as in, do the Atmos effects sound "right")?


And what follows is a long post, sorry about that :)

I'm expecting delivery of two pairs of Dali Altecos some time next week and got to find some way to pass the time, so... looking at positioning options, of course! :)

Here is a drawing of the room with the placement of the 7 "standard" speakers. The surround backs are on bookshelves at 105cm height (ear-level for MLP). Sides are wall-mounted at the same 105cm height. Ceiling is flat at 255cm, plain painted concrete no plaster or other materials.

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I now have a pair of Tannoy VRs upfiring on top of the fronts and I get the "Atmos bubble" but obviously not the overhead panning of sound.

I tried a 5+4 setup with the surround backs set as upfiring (still on the bookshelves, at 120cm and 160cm height) but didn't sound good at all - the Atmos effects were clearly coming from behind at roughly ear-level not above/overhead. My guess is the AVR (Denon X4500H) expects surround upfiring to be placed on top of the sides, not so far behind the MLP. There's no way to indicate they are in the rear, unfortunately.
Granted, I didn't run a room calibration on the AVR with this config; dunno if that would have made any difference.

Now, for the new Dali speakers:
The sides are again Tannoy VRs which are quite shallow (13cm) so I won't be able to place anything on top of them.

The one option where I don't have to drill new holes in the walls would be to place one pair upfiring on top of the fronts, and the second as rear heights on top of the bookshelves in the back of the room: either on top of a bookshelf at 210cm, or pushed further up until they reach the ceiling so about 230-240cm).
It would be nice if the AVR would be smart enough to properly combine front upfiring and rear heights, hence the question above.

If that won't work then I guess I'll have to go down the hole-drilling route...
Trouble is, I don't see how I might do tests for speaker placement on walls without actually drilling the holes, and I can't really get a bunch of bolts in the walls.... have to nail this (pun intended) in one go.
I don't believe front height + rear height would work properly because the fronts would be bolted 1m behind the front speakers and would sit behind thick curtains (the wall behind the TV is mostly windows).
Don't want to drill holes in the ceiling either, so that pretty much leaves only two options:
a) Both pairs of Dali on the side walls, in front and behind the MLP configured as top front and top rear
But at what distance relative to MLP? Would 50-60cm either way suffice, or further away?
b) One pair on the side walls and one pair on bookshelves at the rear. But then, where do I place the side pair: in front of MLP as top front (how far away?) or on the same level with MLP as top middle?


Edit - Now reading through the Dolby guide. Interestingly enough, they advise placing rear upfiring on top of the surround backs (rears) not on top of the sides. I wonder if the Denon will give me this option (upfiring over rears) if I configure it with 7 standard speakers instead of just 5.
 
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bandyka

Well-known Member
From my experience (trialed heaps) up-firing will always be directional so you will hear them mostly from where they are positioned unless they are way above you eyes/ear sight and at the right distance from your MLP. I have a good mate who makes his own speakers and they are damn good, he has made a setup with the up-firing on top of his mains which were about 1.6m tall that was quite convincing but never as good as overhead.
They way I got around drilling holes etc is using a steel black frame around the whole room which holds essentially everything, the screen, the overhead speakers and cables etc. all nicely hidden from view this will eventually also hold the fake ceiling with stars. This mate of mine adapted this approach too and works very well. I can post some photos later if interested.
 
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cezarL

Member
From my experience (trialed heaps) up-firing will always be directional so you will hear them mostly from where they are positioned unless they are way above you eyes/ear sight and at the right distance from your MLP. I have a good mate who makes his own speakers and they are damn good, he has made a setup with the up-firing on top of his mains which were about 1.6m tall that was quite convincing but never as good as overhead.
I may have gotten lucky with the current setup: one set of up-firing on top of the fronts.
After fiddling around a bit with their angle (and setting the crossover to 110Hz), I can no longer detect the sound as coming from in front, just from above. Or maybe it's just my brain getting accustomed to the idea? :)
My floorstanders aren't that tall but the chairs are pretty low so the up-firing speakers are some 30cm above ear-level. Not a great deal of difference in height but still...
Now, I checked out the settings on the Denon and indeed when the "standard" speakers are in a 7.1 configuration, it will allow to choose whether the second pair of up-firing will be at the sides or at the rear - doesn't give this option with a 5.1 config.
Now just need to wait for those Altecos to be delivered so I can test them as rear up-firing. Maybe I'll place them higher up than the front pair, but can't go too high either due to Dolby recommendations for spacing vs the ceiling.
We shall see...

They way I got around drilling holes etc is using a steel black frame around the whole room which holds essentially everything, the screen, the overhead speakers and cables etc. all nicely hidden from view this will eventually also hold the fake ceiling with stars. This mate of mine adapted this approach too and works very well. I can post some photos later if interested.
That sounds nifty but, in my case at least, a bit too over-the-top seeing as how I rent the apartment. I'd definitely consider something like that for when I'll move to my own place. Who knows, might even be this year.
Still, I think posting some photos would be good, they could be useful to others as well.
 

cezarL

Member
Any recommendations on movies with good immersive Atmos tracks, that are more about overall immersion rather than explosions and helicopters and such?
Guess it would also help if the movies weren't too silly on their own :)
Thinking along the lines of Everest and Gravity, rather than Transformers and Godzilla and whatnot.

Thanks!

PS- Might be a good idea to come up with a longer list in a single post that we can refer others to, in the future. The last 30-40 pages of this thread were a loooong read trying to hunt down titles (but okay, useful too in terms of technical info).
 

bandyka

Well-known Member
Any recommendations on movies with good immersive Atmos tracks, that are more about overall immersion rather than explosions and helicopters and such?
Guess it would also help if the movies weren't too silly on their own :)
Thinking along the lines of Everest and Gravity, rather than Transformers and Godzilla and whatnot.

Thanks!

PS- Might be a good idea to come up with a longer list in a single post that we can refer others to, in the future. The last 30-40 pages of this thread were a loooong read trying to hunt down titles (but okay, useful too in terms of technical info).
There was a dedicated thread for this specifically on here a couple of years ago I recall... The Matrix UHD titles are outstanding IMO.
 

simoneaz1

Member
The presence of Atmos metadata will be acknowledge by an AV receiver if that receiver is correctly configured for the portrayal of Atmos if accessing Atmos via a streaming service. There's no difference as to how an AV receiver deals with Atmos accessed via such services as there would be when dealing with Atmos accessed via any other source. The associated metadata will be packaged with DD+ though and it should also be noted that only the Jack Ryam series includes Atmos on Amazon.

The speaker layout has to be at least 5.1.2 in nature (in the absence of any height virtualisation onboard the AV receiver) in order for your receiver to acknowledge Atmos metadata if and when present and to then process the incoming signal as Atmos. If the layout is only 5.1 or 7.1 in nature then the Atmos metadata will be ignored and the receiver would only acknowledge the formatted audio format the metadata is being streamed with. This would be DD+ in the case of Netflix and or via Amazon Video.



You do not list any additional height, ceiling or upward firing speakers within your 5.1 setup so you'd not have the minimium 5.1.2 setup required to access and portray Atmos using your AV receiver.
Hi, what you say is extremely interesting, as I've been scratching my head over a similar issue. I have a 5.1 setup with speakers connected to a Denon AVX4500 receiver (no height speakers whatsoever). I use an LG 77inch W9 and an Apple TV4k. Both the LG and the Denon support eARC.

If I understand correctly your explanation, my Denon receiver should NEVER acknolwedge Atmos, as I only have a 5.1 setup.

Nevertheless, if (1) I plug my Apple TV4k straight into the Denon receiver (rather than the tv) and I play Atmos content from the Apple TV, the Denon receiver shows "DOLBY ATMOS" on the display (!!!). If, however (2) the Apple TV4k is connected directly to the LG W9 TV (and the TV is then connected to the Denon receiver via eARC), then the very same Atmos content is only showed as "DD +" on the Denon receiver.

Is this only a glitch?? How can Denon show DOLBY ATMOS when connected to the ATV4k in a 5.1 setup? And then why the difference if the same content is played when the receiver is connected directly to the TV via eARC?

Thanks in advance for any feedback - I find this quite confusing.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
You'd need at least a 5.1.2 speaker setup for the AVRX4500 to acknowledge the presence of Atmos metadata. If only a 5.1 setup then the receiver will ignore the metadata and just process the base DD+ or TrueHD formatted audio the metadata was packaged with.

More recent models include virtual height speaker capabilities, but your receiver predates this so will need height, ceiling or upward firing speakers yo be present in order to portray Atmos.

The Apple TV uses Dolby MAT to convey Atmos in conjunction with multichannel PCM. THe receiver would therefore indicate that Atmos is being receiveed along with multiti channel (PCM) audio. Again, your receiver will only indicate multichannel PCM if you've no heights within your setup.

eARC should be able to passthrough multichannel PCM with the inclusion of Atmos metadata.
 
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simoneaz1

Member
You'd need at least a 5.1.2 speaker setup for the AVRX4500 to acknowledge the presence of Atmos metadata. If only a 5.1 setup then the receiver will ignore the metadata and just process the base DD+ or TrueHD formatted audio the metadata was packaged with.

More recent models include virtual height speaker capabilities, but your receiver predates this so will need height, ceiling or upward firing speakers yo be present in order to portray Atmos.

The Apple TV uses Dolby MAT to convey Atmos in conjunction with multichannel PCM. THe receiver would therefore indicate that Atmos is being receiveed along with multiti channel (PCM) audio. Again, your receiver will only indicate multichannel PCM if you've no heights within your setup.

eARC should be able to passthrough multichannel PCM with the inclusion of Atmos metadata.
Thanks for the speedy reply! What you say makes perfect sense to me!

That's why I can not understand why the Denon receiver says "DOLBY ATMOS" if connected to the Apple TV... I can only assume it is a compatibility glitch with AppleTV/Denon, as I don't have heights, and the system is set up as a 5.1.

Isn't it weird?
 

cezarL

Member
Thanks for the speedy reply! What you say makes perfect sense to me!

That's why I can not understand why the Denon receiver says "DOLBY ATMOS" if connected to the Apple TV... I can only assume it is a compatibility glitch with AppleTV/Denon, as I don't have heights, and the system is set up as a 5.1.

Isn't it weird?
Is the AVR set to display the input or output mode?
Maybe it shows the input (which is still Atmos) but outputs only DD.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the speedy reply! What you say makes perfect sense to me!

That's why I can not understand why the Denon receiver says "DOLBY ATMOS" if connected to the Apple TV... I can only assume it is a compatibility glitch with AppleTV/Denon, as I don't have heights, and the system is set up as a 5.1.

Isn't it weird?

I've seen other people report the same. I can only assume it has something to do with Dolby MAT and the way in which Atmos metadata is conveyed to the AV receiver along with multichannel PCM?
 

simoneaz1

Member
Thanks! Yes, that could be.

Still wonder why this does not happen when the audio is passed through by the LG TV (rather than from Apple TV).

Can it be because the LG TV uses a different format to convey Atmos metadata compared to an Apple TV?
Thanks!!
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Thanks! Yes, that could be.

Still wonder why this does not happen when the audio is passed through by the LG TV (rather than from Apple TV).

Can it be because the LG TV uses a different format to convey Atmos metadata compared to an Apple TV?
Thanks!!
If accessing Atmos via the TV's apps then it will be conveyed in assciation with Dolby Digital + as opposed to multichannel PCM. Only the Apple TV and Microsoft utilise Dolby MAT and streaming services use DD+.
 

Davekale86

Well-known Member
I've a 5.1 configuration based on focal chorus drivers, where the two surrounds are in in ceiling speakers. In particular i've Focal Chorus 826v on the Front, focal chorus 800c central, two IC706v for the surround. Due to successive modifications to the furniture in the living room, the two in ceiling speakers are now just over the head of the viewer sitting on the sofa. Do you think those speakers could be useful for a basic atmos experience?

I plan to add a couple of rear surround, do you have suggestions on the brand/model to choose?
Probably bit of a late reply if you didn't get any then highly recommended the Cambridge audio minx M12 can be had for around 40 quid each, the swivel brackets are 14 and are really easy to install
 

Davekale86

Well-known Member
Any recommendations on movies with good immersive Atmos tracks, that are more about overall immersion rather than explosions and helicopters and such?
Guess it would also help if the movies weren't too silly on their own :)
Thinking along the lines of Everest and Gravity, rather than Transformers and Godzilla and whatnot.

Thanks!

PS- Might be a good idea to come up with a longer list in a single post that we can refer others to, in the future. The last 30-40 pages of this thread were a loooong read trying to hunt down titles (but okay, useful too in terms of technical info).
If you've got it then Blade Runner and the Sequel are both really good 4k discs, some nice overhead rain scenes, also A Quiet Place is meant to be good on 4k too
 

gibbsy

Moderator
A Quiet Place is meant to be good on 4k too
I picked up the blu ray for £5 which also has the very good Atmos soundtrack. Good PQ as well upscaled to 4K on a 65'' OLED. Save some dosh.
 

Davekale86

Well-known Member
I picked up the blu ray for £5 which also has the very good Atmos soundtrack. Good PQ as well upscaled to 4K on a 65'' OLED. Save some dosh.
Yeah? I've got it on Blu paid 7 quid I think currently on my watch pile which seems to be getting bigger haha, gonna ha e to watch all the films I have again now just for Atmos haha
 

cezarL

Member
If you've got it then Blade Runner and the Sequel are both really good 4k discs, some nice overhead rain scenes, also A Quiet Place is meant to be good on 4k too
Got all three, thanks.
Only tried some scenes from BR2049 after adding the up-firing speakers.
I must say the sound-stage towards the end (at the chase and fight in the water) brought a dumb smile to my face :)
 

bandyka

Well-known Member
BBC Seven Worlds is an Atmos bliss, the rain forest scene in Australia is soo bloody authentic, just like being there. Been there heaps of times I can authenticate the Atmos track :)
 

Davekale86

Well-known Member
Got all three, thanks.
Only tried some scenes from BR2049 after adding the up-firing speakers.
I must say the sound-stage towards the end (at the chase and fight in the water) brought a dumb smile to my face :)
It does sound good in Atmos, my brother came over the other day and has a listen safe to say think he will be getting his own setup soon haha
 

cezarL

Member
Now running 7.2.4 at last!
Set up the Dali Altecos as up-firing fronts and rears and, at least with the Dolby demo clips (haven't yet watched a movie in full), what can I say... it's pretty much awesome :)
Having 4 speakers for Atmos is a considerable improvement over just 2 in front (again, this just from testing with the demos).
I can't detect any overhead sound as coming from ear-level, guess I got lucky with the positioning of the speakers.
I don't really see a reason to test with on-wall placement, I think I'll just stick with them as up-firing... and a 50m roll of unused speaker cable :)

Odd thing is, Audyssey decided to up the levels of the rear ones way above the rest, I had to lower their individual levels by 2db each because the rear sound was overpowering.

I've all 4 with the cross-overs set to 80Hz (the AVR set them at 40) but I've seen a few comments here suggesting they should be set higher, at 120Hz.
Any benefit to be had in increasing the cross-over values?
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
I'd suggest increasing the crossovers associated with the upfiring speakers to no lower than 120Hz and maybe even having them at 150Hz? This is because the audio is being bounced off your ceiling and lower frequencies don't reflect well if at all. You are effectively losing the lower frequencies being sent to the channels associated with the upfiring speakers and would be better off portraying them via the sub.
 

cezarL

Member
I see, thanks for the tip and explanation.
The LFE limit for subs on the Denon is set to 120, I'll increase the crossovers for the up-firers to that value.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I see, thanks for the tip and explanation.
The LFE limit for subs on the Denon is set to 120, I'll increase the crossovers for the up-firers to that value.
I have KEF R50s set to 120hz. I also have the levels +2dB over Audyssey.
 

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