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Good in ceiling speakers to match my M&K setup

william149

Active Member
I'm looking to buy 4 in ceiling speakers for Atmos duties.
I have M&K front & rears & 2 KK subs & been on the look out for 4 SW85's for ages with no joy, i saw some on Ebay a week ago but looked a little rough, so left them.
Whilst i don't want to skimp on them, as they are for Atmos duties i can't justify the cost of 4 new MK Sound IW85's either
What would be a good match to partner my existing M&K with.
I've been offered some Origin Acoustics, but there seems very little info / feedback on this brand & these aren't cheap either.
Any advice would be gratefully received.
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
I'd be looking at the Kef CI range if I were considering ceiling speakers to go with my M&K's. Kefs are relatively neutral sounding and the UniQ driver has a wide dispersion pattern. If you have EQ then that will also help out with any potential tonal mismatch.

KEF In-Ceiling Speakers - Ci Series - United Kingdom

Another option would be to go for a Front and Rear Height setup and then use a set of M&K bookshelfs/monitors. Plenty of those to choose from. :)
 
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william149

Active Member
Yeah i'm thinking either Kef or B&W, but still unsure.
I have a decent 5.2 system & i still can't decide whether to take the plunge for an Atmos based system as every time i watch a film i have doubts as to whether more speakers will just drown the rest of the system & muddy the enjoyment (if that makes sense).
It will also mean investing in more speakers, a new processor & an additional power amp, the more i think about the extra outlay the more i'm talking myself out of it...
Next i'll have to upgrade my BD player & then my pj for 4k
Has anyone who has upgraded regret spending the money or is it really a worthwhile upgrade?
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I only ended up with Atmos speakers because I got a cracking deal on some better LCR speakers (MP300), so I recycled my LCR (MP150 and bought one extra speaker as I could buy them in singles) to the Atmos channels. It has taken my system up a level, not so much because of the Atmos channels, but more because I've now got some really good LCR speakers (I would have to spend considerably more to get something that I feel would be an improvement rather than a sideways step, so that's never going to happen this side of a lottery win).

I still sometimes listen in straight 5.1, so I'm not forced to use the extra speakers, though I can imagine a certain 'I've paid for them, I'm damn well going to hear them ALL the time' mentality from some people. I dug out some multichannel SACDs today and enjoyed listening to them in straight 5.1.

Upmixing from 5.1/7.1 sources can work very well, though personally I prefer Dolby Surround to Neural:X (DTS' version of upmixing) as I feel that it negatively impacts on the more important (IMHO) LCR channel sound and makes the heights too prominent. A lot of time on TV sources the sound just mostly comes from the centre, so I'm glad I invested on the LCR because I benefit on all sources having those MP300 across the front. I suspect that if someone unplugged the height speakers when I'm watching TV I wouldn't even notice.

Native Atmos and DST:X discs do create a very good sound 'bubble' and I often hear sounds/effects that seem to be well outside of the room, so that is where the benefit is most obvious. However I wouldn't have spent a lot of money on the height channels if it meant I couldn't afford to upgrade the LCR first.

I suppose I don't regret spending the money, but only because it improved the most important channels, the Atmos part was merely a by product.
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
For me it was worth the upgrade but you don't necessarily need a new Blu ray Player or 4K display to take advantage of the Atmos/DTS:X tracks. There are a fair few Blu rays with Atmos or DTS:X mixes (although some UHD releases do seem to be getting those instead of the Blu rays). You can also use the AVR/Processor to upmix standard tracks.
 

william149

Active Member
Hmm, that's thrown the cat amongst the pidgeons somewhat :)
I'm quite happy with my system, it's just i'm thinking of upgrading my processor as it's getting on somewhat now, even though i still feel relatively happy with it.
I may just upgrade the processor & forget the in ceiling speakers altogether, i really can't decide which way to go..
 

william149

Active Member
For me it was worth the upgrade but you don't necessarily need a new Blu ray Player or 4K display to take advantage of the height channels. There are a fair few Blu rays with Atmos or DTS:X tracks (although some UHD releases do seem to be getting those instead of the Blu rays). You can also use the AVR/Processor to upmix standard tracks.
Yeah i realise that, i was more thinking a little further down the road.
I was under the impression that most Atmos tracks are now only being included on the new UHD format?
 

Jase

Distinguished Member
Yeah i realise that, i was more thinking a little further down the road.
I was under the impression that most Atmos tracks are now only being included on the new UHD format?
Ah, I see.

Atmos tracks aren't always on the UHD's. Sometimes they are, sometimes they're on both the UHD and Blu ray and sometimes neither get them! It's a bit of a mess to be honest.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I may just upgrade the processor & forget the in ceiling speakers altogether, i really can't decide which way to go..
You need to decide what you feel is more important to you: Better stereo/front soundstage performance or adding the extra channels while possibly not changing the SQ for the main channels much if not at all. What processor do you have and what do you fancy upgrading to?

I'm surprised how many rental discs have had Atmos tracks on them. Since I mostly watch from Lovefilm I kind of expected to just get the standard 5.1/7.1 track.

I won't rush to buy a UHD player just to get the Atmos track though, especially as I would have to then upgrade my entire video chain (Lumagen included) to be able to properly display 4K sources.
 

Zakblue

Member
to the OP: i'd be interested to hear how you go. I used to own a full Kef R series 5.1 setup (r500s, r600c and r100 rears) and have slowly moved to an MK setup (S300s LCR and X12 Sub so far and using some JBL 305s for rear duties)
I've noticed that the S300s are much less fatiguing than the Kefs and behave better at higher volumes. I figure this to be because of the soft dome tweeters vs the aluminum concentric kefs which I used to love.
I found that the KEFS made my ears tired after a long listening session, I don’t seem to get this from the S300s (or JBL monitors for that matter)

The other thing is that because the KEFs are so different to the MKs I think you’d run into a sound blend issue. I once put in some Q Acoustics Concept 20 speakers into my all KEF setup as sides for 7.1 and they stuck out like a sore thumb (post calibration too)
 

william149

Active Member
You need to decide what you feel is more important to you: Better stereo/front soundstage performance or adding the extra channels while possibly not changing the SQ for the main channels much if not at all. What processor do you have and what do you fancy upgrading to?

I'm surprised how many rental discs have had Atmos tracks on them. Since I mostly watch from Lovefilm I kind of expected to just get the standard 5.1/7.1 track.

I won't rush to buy a UHD player just to get the Atmos track though, especially as I would have to then upgrade my entire video chain (Lumagen included) to be able to properly display 4K sources.
I have the original M&K 2510 active speakers with 2 KK 2012 subs & some SW95 in walls for the rear duties, my processor is an Onkyo 5509, i drive the rears with an old Parasound 2205A.

Like i said, i'm quite happy with my sound as it is & i feel i'd have to spend considerably more (on the speaker front) to better what i have.

I'm considering either the Arcam or Anthem processor, i can't decide on that either :(
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I get where you're coming from as the 2510 are a really good speakers as are the KK2012 subs.

I would go and have a proper demo of some Atmos set ups to see if it is something that impresses you. I have to admit that the first few demos I heard I was pretty underwhelmed after all the hype. I still don't think it's the big deal that some have made out, though I've ended up with this set up almost by default. NOTE: I used to have my surrounds very high up, so I'm not particularly 'wowed' just because sounds come from above me...

What I would say is that with such decent LCR speakers I wouldn't think that putting some very cheap ceiling speakers will add anything much at all. The demos I heard with these kind of set ups were the more underwhelming ones IMHO.

I can't help on the processor front either; while I own an AVR390 I can't see (apart from balanced outputs) much advantage to the AV860 over it. I use my AVR390 as a processor and don't have any issues about noise, so any claim of better power supplies reducing noise, etc seem moot to me. You could get more variance to the sound due to different Dirac calibrations/target curve settings I reckon. However, since the bass management has been found to be in the wrong place in the signal chain I would hesitate to recommend the Arcam right now. While ARC perhaps isn't as good as Dirac at least Anthem put the bass management in the right place.
 

william149

Active Member
I get where you're coming from as the 2510 are a really good speakers as are the KK2012 subs.

I would go and have a proper demo of some Atmos set ups to see if it is something that impresses you. I have to admit that the first few demos I heard I was pretty underwhelmed after all the hype. I still don't think it's the big deal that some have made out, though I've ended up with this set up almost by default. NOTE: I used to have my surrounds very high up, so I'm not particularly 'wowed' just because sounds come from above me...

What I would say is that with such decent LCR speakers I wouldn't think that putting some very cheap ceiling speakers will add anything much at all. The demos I heard with these kind of set ups were the more underwhelming ones IMHO.

I can't help on the processor front either; while I own an AVR390 I can't see (apart from balanced outputs) much advantage to the AV860 over it. I use my AVR390 as a processor and don't have any issues about noise, so any claim of better power supplies reducing noise, etc seem moot to me. You could get more variance to the sound due to different Dirac calibrations/target curve settings I reckon. However, since the bass management has been found to be in the wrong place in the signal chain I would hesitate to recommend the Arcam right now. While ARC perhaps isn't as good as Dirac at least Anthem put the bass management in the right place.
Many thanks for taking the time to reply with an honest detailed answer.
I think i'll abandon the in ceiling speaker plans for now, the wiring is in place should i decide to add some later.
I guess my next decision then is which processor / receiver to go for.
The reason i am leaning towards a processor is the simple fact i have no need for extra amplification, plus the fact that i'm led to believe a processor runs cooler than an amp / receiver, something i have to take in to account due to limited space where it has to go.
I've read both the Arcam & the Anthem posts & feel the Anthem has less issues associated with it, neither are cheap & now you've got me thinking should i just opt for a cheaper receiver (Anthem or Arcam) rather than the processor variant, i guess it may come in handy if i decide to go for in ceilings as that could then power them also..
I sometimes hate this AV game...
Another thing i've thought about & perhaps someone with some experience could advise, would keeping my current processor (Onkyo 5509) & adding something like the Dirac Live processor enhance my set up, or is the Onkyo a bit long in the tooth now?
Would an up to date processor / receiver be the best route.
I'm not overly unhappy with my processor, i guess like most people when something new comes out & gets rave reviews, all of a sudden you feel like you're missing out..
Thanks in advance.
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
We supply the following in ceiling speakers: MK, Paradigm, Procella, Triad, Origin, Sonace, KEF and Truaudio.

I would say the IW85's are the best way forward if you are going to install Atmos. I also think it's best to stick to voice matched speakers all round if possible.

Re processors/Receivers the Anthem is a great product especially with ARC room correction and would be our choice for your system although we supply many other makes including Arcam, Trinnov, Storm, Lyngdorf, AudioControl, Denon and Marantz.

A processor can run fairly warm too due to the HDMI boards.
 

william149

Active Member
We supply the following in ceiling speakers: MK, Paradigm, Procella, Triad, Origin, Sonace, KEF and Truaudio.

I would say the IW85's are the best way forward if you are going to install Atmos. I also think it's best to stick to voice matched speakers all round if possible.

Re processors/Receivers the Anthem is a great product especially with ARC room correction and would be our choice for your system although we supply many other makes including Arcam, Trinnov, Storm, Lyngdorf, AudioControl, Denon and Marantz.

A processor can run fairly warm too due to the HDMI boards.
Thanks for your input, i think for now i'm going to put the ceiling speakers on hold as i'm not convinced the extra outlay is worth it, i guess later on down the line i may change my mind.
I think i'm going to go the Anthem route but can't decide now on the processor or just buy perhaps the 520 or 720 receiver & just use it as a processor?
I'm guessing if i use it this way it shouldn't get too warm anyway?
Other than the balanced outputs on the AVM60, is there any real difference?
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Atmos does make a big difference to the listening experience as do the new upmixers. Well worth getting a demo.

The MRX 520 isn't Atmos capable so I wouldn't invest in one.

No you won't notice a difference between the 720 and AVM60. The AVM60 can run 4 subs through the XLR's but still treat them as one.

We offer 10% AVF members discount btw.

Regards

[email protected]
 

william149

Active Member
Ok thanks, running the 720 as a processor only then, would the heat be an issue or not?
I'm guessing as i run my front 3 speakers & subs all via XLR they do simple phono adaptors?
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
If you give a couple of inches of clearance you will be fine. The HDMI boards give off most of the heat.

The 720 doesn't have XLR's although you can have adaptors made.
 

william149

Active Member
Ok thanks, final question then i guess i have to chew on it..
Between the AVM60 & the 720 processor, why if the processing side is the same is the processor somewhat more expensive?
Is it purely down to the inclusion of the balanced outputs?
Thanks again for your help / advice.
 

Rock Danger

Distinguished Member
Is it purely down to the inclusion of the balanced outputs?
It's down to marketing. The actual build cost has already been paid for with the R&D money from the last gen as they use the same chassis.

The AVM60 uses some better components, but the sonic benefits of these are going to be inaudible with your room and rest of your system in tow. One might consider using a processor if they had a perfect room and system and only then, is there a slight argument for having a processor.

Also, the second hand value of all processors is horrible with the speed of some of the video standards changing, it's always better to have something you can sell to a bigger audience. This was one of the decisions that led me to use a 720 as a processor instead of the AVM60.

I don't personally think that I've lost out. 99% of heat issues on AVR's are from the chipsets, not the amps - manufacturers are now starting to run into the same problems that PC gamers have been facing for years.
 

william149

Active Member
It's down to marketing. The actual build cost has already been paid for with the R&D money from the last gen as they use the same chassis.

The AVM60 uses some better components, but the sonic benefits of these are going to be inaudible with your room and rest of your system in tow. One might consider using a processor if they had a perfect room and system and only then, is there a slight argument for having a processor.

Also, the second hand value of all processors is horrible with the speed of some of the video standards changing, it's always better to have something you can sell to a bigger audience. This was one of the decisions that led me to use a 720 as a processor instead of the AVM60.

I don't personally think that I've lost out. 99% of heat issues on AVR's are from the chipsets, not the amps - manufacturers are now starting to run into the same problems that PC gamers have been facing for years.
Cheers for the repply, i'm now leaning towards the 720 but i still can't between this or the Arcam 550
I've seen you seem to have a dislike for Arcam, can you elaborate please?
Thanks
 

Rock Danger

Distinguished Member
Cheers for the repply, i'm now leaning towards the 720 but i still can't between this or the Arcam 550
I've seen you seem to have a dislike for Arcam, can you elaborate please?
Thanks
Of course. I used to sell it and repair it back in the day. Arcam about 2 gens ago released the AVR500/600 and 888 processor.

They were nice amps but deeply flawed with thermal issues and poorly designed HDMI - this caused extensive problems and almost ended any further AV development. They also used a £30 PCDVD ROM in the £1,100 blu ray player - btw this was after they had to ditch their current blu ray player as it couldn't play new movies.

So, in short - good power amps rubbish everything else. Fast forward 2 gens later and the amps aren't blowing up and are relatively bug free. Every Arcam demo I've heard with the new Dirac anabled systems has been very safe sounding and a bit boring, which is not unlike Arcams signature sound for the most part over 20 odd years.

All hail the mighty Dirac, right? Well, no not really - most people can't configure it properly and it's bass management or lack thereof requires some clever tweaking. This isn't to say Dirac is a bad EQ, but you do need some smarts to get the best from it.

Anthem is a bit more rock'n'roll and tends to get things right first time with minimal fuss. I've yet to see an argument that supported Dirac over ARC in this price bracket, were one was better than the other. I think the Anthems sound better and have a more user friendly EQ system with good bass management and that's why I have an Anthem, I believe it's a better buy all round and will require much less tweaking.
 

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