• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Question How to add Atmos to 5.1

Russ_64

Well-known Member
Everyone seems to be jumping onto the Dolby Atmos wagon but from my reading here I gather the only way to get it is to add a pair of proper up-firing DA speakers (or in-ceiling speakers).

I live in a rented flat so in-ceiling is a no go and as I have limited space, I do not have floor standers but rather smaller book-shelf 5.1 speakers (LCR and RL/RR). My fronts are located on top shelf of TV stand and I am happy with the sound in movies (Dolby Surround and DTS:X).

The only affordable options I can find are Onkyo SKH-410. I gather that these need to be positioned above ground level (I have no space on TV stand) so will I have to put them on stands?

Can these be positioned behind the TV or should they be level with my LCR speakers?

Last question - is Atmos worth this hassle or would I be better off adding two bigger L and R speakers to go from 5.1 to 7.1 (I feel like I am not fully using my AVR)?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The ideal position for any upfiring speaker is on top of or as near as possible to the front left and right speakers (see my set up 001 copy.jpg). Onkyo are your entry level modules and for a little over £100 more Eltax make a superior unit. Top of the range are the KEF R50s. The other consideration is the ceiling, beteeen 8 and 14 feet high and flat.

Getting a good 5.1 sound is all important, however when upgrading the fronts consideration should also be given to matching the centre. The front should be from the same model range to give the correct balance and timbre to the front sound stage. This is not so important for surrounds so you could use your existing speakers for surround and rear surrounds in a 7.1 base set up.

As for Atmos, even with just two modules, I would always pick a 5.1.2 over 7.1. Far more immersive.
 

Russ_64

Well-known Member
Thanks, I am leaning towards 5.1.2 as I am only buying UHD BR now and most have Atmos.

My ceiling is 9 feet high so should I put them on stands to get them higher than the LCR?
Will consider Eltax as 410's seem to be harder to find now (Amazon and RS have limited stock).
 

Atomicus

Active Member
Are there that many of the upwards facing speakers available? I don't seem to see many other than those entry level Onkyos or the expensive KEFs. Are we likely to see more options available?
 

Russ_64

Well-known Member
No - seems the choice is limited. Audioholics say that the cheaper ones are not worth buying so I am left to wonder if it worth the cost. A decent pair of PSB Imagine XA is about what I paid for my 5.1 package. The only others are Elac Debut A4 or KEF R50.
 

varkanoid

Active Member
I a little in the same boat as my 6.1 system is a mish mash of speakers and I've been looking at the Onkyo SKSHT588 5.1.2 speaker package where the Atmos speakers are part of the L/R speakers.
I read a review in What Hifi I think it was and they gave them 5*. I've also thought about the Onkyo budget ones and done some research and people have said they are amazing but these will possibly not be audio snobs that post the comments. I also read somewhere that a guy bought these to add to his 5.1 setup and were pretty good too. I have very limited space to place speakers even though our lounge is a good size to avoid nagging wife syndrome !
 

Russ_64

Well-known Member
Well, I decided to pull the trigger and get the Onkyo SKH-410's from RS. I have no other option if I want Atmos - in-ceiling and height (fixed to wall) are no-go for me. Will be setting up tomorrow when my stands arrive - Mission Stancette in Silver. Will calibrate and test then report back.

The reviews are so mixed but decided to try, I do not need huge sound as I live in a flat and my upstairs neighbors will start complaining........ lol
 

varkanoid

Active Member
Let me know how you get on with them.
 

avanzato

Active Member
Is it ACTUALLY worth it? Interested to hear user experiences.
Hmm. It works as advertised so it's not technically bad but it can be a huge faff to install. In my case doubled the number of speaker cables I have to deal with and cutting more holes in the ceiling. Without going full 7.1.4 you miss out on some of the effect, though that effect is fairly subtle on the movies I've watched so...
Also as you noticed there aren't a huge choice of the upfiring models which might suggest how well Atmos is doing commercially or that most people go in ceiling. My guess is the former. As even if it is effectively now default on most amps how many actually get extra speakers set up.
I suppose I'd say it's nice to have but not something to spend a lot of the budget on.
 

Atomicus

Active Member
Hmm. It works as advertised so it's not technically bad but it can be a huge faff to install. In my case doubled the number of speaker cables I have to deal with and cutting more holes in the ceiling. Without going full 7.1.4 you miss out on some of the effect, though that effect is fairly subtle on the movies I've watched so...
Also as you noticed there aren't a huge choice of the upfiring models which might suggest how well Atmos is doing commercially or that most people go in ceiling. My guess is the former. As even if it is effectively now default on most amps how many actually get extra speakers set up.
I suppose I'd say it's nice to have but not something to spend a lot of the budget on.


Yeah that makes sense... I can imagine it works best with ceiling speakers, but it's going to be a small-ish number of people able or willing to do that I'd imagine.
 

Russ_64

Well-known Member
Well I got the DAE 410's installed and watched Mad Max: Fury Road UHD yesterday.
Overall the surround sound seems to be fuller / richer but did not really notice any real overhead wow sounds - maybe have to watch a few more Atmos movies with flying objects. I am still tweaking the speaker levels on my 3300 - have the DAE's at 0db and crossover at 200Hz as set by Audyssey. My other speakers are at 120Hz.
 

avanzato

Active Member
That's how Fury Road is, mostly ambience.
Terminator Genisys has some more active stuff like missiles, helicopters etc. flying around and panning overhead.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I've been very pleased with what my pair of KEF R50s are doing. Most Atmos titles tend to fill out the soundstage in certain scenes, take the storm in Everest it's all around and above you but you really cannot isolate the ceiling created sounds, awesome. You can hear and follow the object based sounds but just as in real life they are few and far between on the majority of titles I own.

It's the pseudo sounds that tend to impress either in DDS or Neural:X. Last night I watched Jawbone with a 5.1 DTS MA track. Ten minutes into the film the main character stands under a metal roof in heavy rain, right above my head. Made the scene so realistic even though it lasted for a couple of seconds.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Guardians of the Galaxy Xmas Special, Strange World, Bones and All, and Cabinet of Dr Caligari in 4K
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom