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Decision Time: Satellite Speakers Or Dolby Atmos Soundbar


Established Member
I have been to Richer Sounds to test a few systems. I listened to the Q Acoustics 5030, the Q Acoustics 5020, and the Monitor Audio Mass 5.1 Gen 2. To be honest, I couldn't tell the difference in quality between the floorstanding speaker, the bookshelf speaker, and the satellite speaker. As a result, I will be going with satellite speakers.

I have also been to James Morrow. I tested the Sonos Arc and the Monitor Audio Radius system (with Dolby Atmos from ceiling). I thought the monitor system was slightly better, but to be honest, most of the time, I'm not noticing a huge difference.

This thread contains a picture of the area where the speakers will go: Some Questions On Surround Sound, 5.1, and Dolby Atmos. Need Some Advice!

Years ago, when I had a 5.1 system, the rear speakers sat on the back of my bed, so they were really close to me. Personally, I thought this was great. I could hear lots of background noises when I was watching films. It was very immersive. When I went to these demos, the rooms were larger, and the speakers were spaced out (as they are supposed to be) and I didn't like the effect. For me, when the speakers are too far away, I don't get the effect.

Anyway, this is where I am:

OPTION 1: Monitor Audio Mass 5.1 (Gen 2) + 2 Instal Speakers In Ceiling
Mass System: £588
Dali Phantom E60 Instal Speakers: £349
Cables: £47
Pioneer VSX934 AV Amp: £329
Installation of Ceiling Speakers: ?

Total Price: £1313 + Installation of Ceiling Speakers

OPTION 2: Sonos Arc
System: £1856

Total Price: £1856

OPTION 3: Samsung HW Q90R

Total Price: £999

OPTION 4: Sony HT-ST5000

Total Price: £1199

Any thoughts?

1) Can someone give me a rough idea of how much it will cost to instal two speakers in my ceiling? I need to know what I'm dealing with before I proceed.

2) One of my issues with the Mass system is that my current setup (TV on TV unit) isn't ideal for a square satellite centre speaker. There is nowhere for it to go in the unit, and it would be in the way of the TV if I put it on top of the unit. Are there any similar systems with satellite speakers that have a flat centre speaker? Or I could I simply replace the mass centre speaker with another centre speaker? A flat one, obviously.

3) My understanding is that soundbar systems use "upfiring" to achieve dolby atmos, so I couldn't "upgrade" these systems to true atmos with additional speakers in the ceiling. Is this correct?

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