Atmos 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 thoughts.

phoenix_rising

Active Member
Hi guys, I've been storing a set of 7.1 KEF TDM speakers for a few years now (2 x 23f, 1 x 23c, 4 x 34ds dipoles, 1 x Kef 45b 300w) I was also thinking of adding 2 x KEF Ci160QR ceiling speakers for Atmos as i thought theyd be a respectable tonal match. The surrounds are obviously dipoles and i am currently in 1st fix with my living room and chasing in cables.

The general consensus seems to be no to dipoles for object based codecs like atmos etc.. And i have 4 of them.

I suppose the question is where should i go from?

Option 1. Add 2 x ci160qr's for Atmos heights, fit all 7.1 and call it a day.
Option 2. Keep the front stage and sub (2 x 23f, 1 x 23c, 1 x45b sub) and add new surrounds and 2 x ci160qr's for Atmos heights
Option 3. Get rid of the lot and replace with new.

Option 3 would obviously be lovely but i've been out of work for over a year and have no disposable other than a few hundred quid to be able to make many changes.

What sort of cash would i be putting down to replace the whole set with a worthy 7.1.2 or 5.1.2 set to rival their sound? What sort of brands and models shoud i be considering. Happy to go 2nd hand.
 

phoenix_rising

Active Member
I've also heard that:

"When sofa's are against the rear wall then the use of bipole or dipole speakers would be best."

"And you don't need rear surrounds. You only run those if you have about 1m or more behind you. If Sofa is against the back wall you just need surrounds."

So feel i'm leaning into a hybrid sort of situation of wanting Atmos, but needing to re-use my dipoles for good surround and or rear fill channels? :D

Can anyone point me in the direction of our native KEF experts :D
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Looking at what you've got and going on what many say on here, using two subs would be a good starting point as this will make more difference to your cinema than all the other things you are looking at

As for using di-poles for Atmos, many people do and one of the consensus is if you can switch them between bi-pole or di-pole (which you like me cannot due to the Kefs inability to do so), so if your sat on the back wall, then where you place your Atmos in-ceiling could also need looking at as you will be sat a long way back and ideally they need to be set around the outer edge of the main listening positioning just in front of your knees as is usually shown by Dolby

The front can be placed as it should be according to Dolby and you'll be fine, but the rear of the room could need a little more common sense

Regarding the Atmos speakers, don't get stuck on the brand as with Atmos speakers and pay more attention to size of the driver as you'll struggle to hear the differences between them whereas looking at an 8" over a smaller 6.5" or 6" driver will make more of a difference

As you have said, I feel you are looking at what you have called a hybrid solution, but if you enjoy the sound that is brought, then who really cares plus if you cannot position a pair of speaker correctly due to the room layout, that may make the room worse, so, don't feel you are short changing yourself as its really about making a system which suits your ear whilst making it workable and reading what you have said, paying more attention to the rear of the room plus adding another subwoofer should really bring your system to life in ways you might not thought possible
 

phoenix_rising

Active Member
@ShanePJ - Thanks for your input, all good points. I have a diagram of here of my proposed lounge installation, i live in an end of terraced house so volume isnt critical for me as i dont have a dedicated room for this to be honest, ive listed my speaker brands and proposed positions in the diagram. and have a link here of a very quick room tour.

Room Tour:
What do you think?
shane.png


1. The last third of the room has a dropped ceiling of around 20cm lower (220cm) than the rest of the room, so in essence i've simply made a virtual square with the speaker placements around the sitting positions to avoid having to deal with the dropped portion of the room as there will be no seating areas in that third of the room.

2. After a conversation with KEF, I've swapped the rear left and rear right over (34DS) to put them out of phase as discussed and shown in the diagram.

3. The atmos speakers, (although not on the same axis path with the surrounds or fronts) I've aligned centrally with the rears and in ear shot of all the seating positions.

4. The sub is set to the right of the TV in this picture as that's where the plugs are, the left of the door dosnt as easily have access to sockets. But I may still move the sub over to the left front speaker by the door as that's easily done later down the line.

5. I do definitely have an issue around surround speaker height placement due to the surround right speaker mounting to the side of the boiler cupboard and obscuring the window by an uncomfortable amount (due to the depth of the 34ds speaker protruding from the wall so much!)

shane1.png


Ideally, it needs to be under the window cill height or above the top of the window. It fits nicely at the top of the window. Picture below shows what i mean.

shane2.png



The compromise is that I feel this is going to really mess with the Atmos speaker placement, especially with having 4 dipoles at near the top of the ceiling height in a room of this size.

6. Do you think I need any sort of enclosure for the Atmos speakers in the ceiling? fire/acoustic hood of sorts? Or would the ci160CR's be ok without? I noticed that KEF so some metal brackets, but in my instance they seem to cost more than the speakers I have coming.

7. As i'm at 1st fix stage of this room, do you think it would be worth running cable for a 2nd set of atmos speakers, voice of god channel or anything else, as it's easy to do now and near on impossible later?
 

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ShanePJ

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AVForums Sponsor
The first thing I've not heard is what Kef have mentioned, but as they are labelled left and right, they may have something in it due to the way they are designed and if it doesn't sound right, then its a simple process of changing the speakers

The compromise is that I feel this is going to really mess with the Atmos speaker placement, especially with having 4 dipoles at near the top of the ceiling height in a room of this size.

Yeah, its not going to work, You're using for speakers which throw sound out in a 180 degree pan and trying to use downward firing speakers to fight them will indeed be a messy experience. The only issue with running them low is the window which will create a horrible soundwave for the amp to control and I doubt it will ever get control of it (sadly a compromise you will have to live with)

As for running a second pair of Atmos, I really don't feel it will be worth it unless you are going to change the seating arrangement and if that is the case, then it will never hurt

As for a hoody, that's up to you, it may help the sound a little, but more important is that you are still looking at using a smaller speakers for Atmos, I would really recommend jumping up in size to the 8" driver versions as this will help with sound as they're easier to drive and will have more ability to compete with the DS speakers. Also note you do not need to stay with the same brand as it just doesn't matter with Atmos speakers and it more a self conscious thing

Having a second subwoofer in the room isn't all about volume and more about balancing the room out with bass allowing for a more controlled sound without having to increase the volume in the room to create the boom, so it actually works the opposite way

As for the Atmos speaker locations, I would move them more to where the knees will be situated on the sofa as this is where they will give you the best performance for the main listening position. Yes it won't work for people sat on the side wall, but the system won't work for them anyway

The front left and right speakers may need tweaking when you have the room setup as I feel they are spread a little far apart, but I see you have a door on one side. So maybe toeing them in might help if you are unable to place them in the idea position
 

phoenix_rising

Active Member
@ShanePJ
The first thing I've not heard is what Kef have mentioned, but as they are labelled left and right, they may have something in it due to the way they are designed and if it doesn't sound right, then its a simple process of changing the speakers

Yup. Aparantly due to them being dipole by nature if running 4 (2 rear, 2 surround) the rears would need to be out of phase to work harmoniously. Might not be something i have to worry about if i only go 5.1 :(

Yeah, its not going to work, You're using for speakers which throw sound out in a 180 degree pan and trying to use downward firing speakers to fight them will indeed be a messy experience. The only issue with running them low is the window which will create a horrible soundwave for the amp to control and I doubt it will ever get control of it (sadly a compromise you will have to live with)

So running 4 high isnt an option then? I noticed that KEF's recommendation for them was to run them at 2m high, my room is 2.45m high so i'd only be moving them up around around 30cm to allow for coving. Do you think its just too many speakers in a small space or would you lean to doing it and forgoing the atmos speakers?

As for running a second pair of Atmos, I really don't feel it will be worth it unless you are going to change the seating arrangement and if that is the case, then it will never hurt
Yeah no option to bring the sofa forward the room just wont allow it. So i'll stick with 2 potentially.

As for a hoody, that's up to you, it may help the sound a little, but more important is that you are still looking at using a smaller speakers for Atmos, I would really recommend jumping up in size to the 8" driver versions as this will help with sound as they're easier to drive and will have more ability to compete with the DS speakers. Also note you do not need to stay with the same brand as it just doesn't matter with Atmos speakers and it more a self conscious thing

Do the hoodys do a good job at taming acoustic leak to the upstairs or is it more to conforming with fire regs? What other brands would you look at or speaker models to compliment the 34DS's and TDM 23f/23c front end?

Having a second subwoofer in the room isn't all about volume and more about balancing the room out with bass allowing for a more controlled sound without having to increase the volume in the room to create the boom, so it actually works the opposite way
Totally fair point, i think the issue for me is with the room being the size it is, and the KEF 45B being a bit beastly. 2 of them is just hard to fathom in a room this size. I think as an upgrade path maybe i look out for swapping them with 2 newer, more compact 12's in the future?


As for the Atmos speaker locations, I would move them more to where the knees will be situated on the sofa as this is where they will give you the best performance for the main listening position. Yes it won't work for people sat on the side wall, but the system won't work for them anyway
Yeah i've wondered this. Do you not feel that they will only be 1m or so away from the rears if i bring them in closer?

The front left and right speakers may need tweaking when you have the room setup as I feel they are spread a little far apart, but I see you have a door on one side. So maybe toeing them in might help if you are unable to place them in the idea position
Definetely. I plan on playing with them when it all goes in. It's runny i looked at the spec of the X5200W and it seemed a little weedy with all channels driven for the TDM's 200w power figures, i hope it dosnt come out a little underpowered. Not that i plan on running it crazy loud. I want coverage really. Hence why ive been reluctant to ditch the surround rears and have to suffice with just rears :( What do you think?
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
So running 4 high isnt an option then? I noticed that KEF's recommendation for them was to run them at 2m high, my room is 2.45m high so i'd only be moving them up around around 30cm to allow for coving. Do you think its just too many speakers in a small space or would you lean to doing it and forgoing the atmos speakers?
I wouldn't say so as you will be fighting the Atmos speakers here
Do the hoodys do a good job at taming acoustic leak to the upstairs or is it more to conforming with fire regs? What other brands would you look at or speaker models to compliment the 34DS's and TDM 23f/23c front end?
I guess they will give a little, but that its not really their propose of them, so I would say you shouldn't rely on them if its important
I think as an upgrade path maybe i look out for swapping them with 2 newer, more compact 12's in the future?
You will find that this will make the best upgrade especially if you use something like a mini DSP/ REW software/mic to iron out any unwanted curves in the room
Yeah i've wondered this. Do you not feel that they will only be 1m or so away from the rears if i bring them in closer?
This is not really the way you need to think about it, yes there is going to be lot going on in the rear of the room, but if the Atmos speakers are to far forward, you will loose some of the effects pushing to sound to far forward. If you was using front highs, the sound would at some point as they are moving towards you and if you understand this you will see what Dolby recommend placing the speakers where they do you experience the wave effect of the speaker as it ought to be
I plan on playing with them when it all goes in. It's runny i looked at the spec of the X5200W and it seemed a little weedy with all channels driven for the TDM's 200w power figures, i hope it dosnt come out a little underpowered. Not that i plan on running it crazy loud. I want coverage really. Hence why ive been reluctant to ditch the surround rears and have to suffice with just rears :( What do you think?
If you listen to music you could go a different way in place of using a power amp to drive the rear's, you could look at adding an integrated stereo amp which has HT-Bypass (something like the AudioLab as an idea). This would then work as a power amp for the front left and right when watching cinema and when using it for music, you could just use the integrated amp on its own thus creating a dedicated stereo system.

I would look at the setting to ensure you can assign all the speakers in this configuration so you can use the fronts in this manner and assign outputs not being used to the remaining speakers. If not, you may have to look at a power amp to drive the rears (its been a long time since I've seen this amp hence why I'm asking you to check before).
 

phoenix_rising

Active Member
@ShanePJ - Thanks for the advice. I was speaking to Kef and the product support advised me to go down the 5.1.2 route with my room setup. However i was advised to go for FCR and 2 x rear fill channels as opposed to 2 x surround channels, which really surprised me...

I checked on dolbys recommendations AND kef tdm installation advice and both diagrams show their 5.1 setup utilizing surrounds rather than rears. My concern is that 5.1 mixes may come out distorted if there decoded to rears but expecting surrounds. I've since questioned the advice and havnt yet heard anything back and it's been around 5 days where as the first reply was same day...

What do you think about this?
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
What about opening up the kefs and converting them to bipole?
 

X4100

Active Member
@ShanePJ - Thanks for the advice. I was speaking to Kef and the product support advised me to go down the 5.1.2 route with my room setup. However i was advised to go for FCR and 2 x rear fill channels as opposed to 2 x surround channels, which really surprised me...

I checked on dolbys recommendations AND kef tdm installation advice and both diagrams show their 5.1 setup utilizing surrounds rather than rears. My concern is that 5.1 mixes may come out distorted if there decoded to rears but expecting surrounds. I've since questioned the advice and havnt yet heard anything back and it's been around 5 days where as the first reply was same day...

What do you think about this?
You can always place the l/r surround speakers a little to the sides, and a little behind your MLP. This will still give you the impression of sounds around you. Please don't sweat some of these placements as we all have to make a compromise at some point in our rooms. YMMV but my sound is fantastic and definitely not distorted, but it matches perfectly with what I'm watching on screen. I just finished watching "The Meg" on my 6.1.6 setup
 

X4100

Active Member
It had to do with using speaker arrays so as to have similar results for 3 rows of seating, try putting magnumxl in the search feature and you should see his various threads. If you don't see them on this forum try avsforum.com. He gets negative feedback on this site, but he knows what he's saying!
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
@ShanePJ - Thanks for the advice. I was speaking to Kef and the product support advised me to go down the 5.1.2 route with my room setup. However i was advised to go for FCR and 2 x rear fill channels as opposed to 2 x surround channels, which really surprised me...

I checked on dolbys recommendations AND kef tdm installation advice and both diagrams show their 5.1 setup utilizing surrounds rather than rears. My concern is that 5.1 mixes may come out distorted if there decoded to rears but expecting surrounds. I've since questioned the advice and havnt yet heard anything back and it's been around 5 days where as the first reply was same day...

What do you think about this?
Sorry for the deal in coming back to you, but as I mentioned in my PM, I've had a much needed week off :)

As for whether to go for a 5.1 or 7.1, I once said to someone who's room I felt was to small for a 7.1 and all four speakers at the rear were within four meters and when they dropped the speakers, they commented that yes it was more focused, yet they felt that they had lost something and reverted the system back to a 7.1. Because of this I would say that its important to know who you are creating this system for and if you have always enjoyed a 7.1 and as you are not replacing those rear speakers, you may find that you fall into the same catogory

So if you are used to a 7.1 system, then you may find that going backwards could reduce what you are used to hearing even though it might be more correct. The other side is that as you have most likely had these speakers for many years in a similar type of configuration, remember you are adding extra speakers for Atmos duties and that should regardless of what everyone says will add something more to the system even though it may not be correct

I feel you have a good base line system idea for that room (which we have discussed). OK it isn't ideal, but try not to panic that you have to make it perfect with Dolby. Keep the speakers lower than trying to place them up high as mentioned as this will further assist the Atmos experience and remember that Atmos speakers need be placed somewhere close to where I mentioned above.

But as you are in truth modifying a system which you have most likely experience many times before (even though you maybe moving things around, please don't get to eaten up about the rules as the amp will still send an Atmos signal from the ceiling down to the seating area to create a great effect so long as you don't place the Kef DS speakers to high

I hope this helps you moving forward.
 

phoenix_rising

Active Member
@ShanePJ - Thanks mate, you've been a wealth of knowledge for me on this. And i truly appreciate your detailed replies. If you find the time, i'd love to here your opinion on my recent post.

 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
As has been mentioned, you can use 2.5mm cable which will be ideal. We have our own brand which I know many people on these forums use (Fisual 2.5mm speaker cable), however any good quality 2.5mm copper cable will suffice
 

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