Question Is a living room based Dolby Atmos system really worth it? Sound vs aesthetics

mightynimrod

Well-known Member
Hi all, i hope you're all well and keeping safe.

In previous guises i've had a few decent 5.1 component setups comprising of Kef, Monitor Audio, Denon, Yamaha etc and loved every minute with them.

I moved home and things weren't right with the room to warrant a full system any more so i purchased a Samsung 950 Dolby Atmos soundbar with wireless sub and rears.
When this worked it sounded pretty good with Dolby Atmos but never breathtaking, and issues with the equipment during playback frustrated me like the wireless speakers losing their signals during movies.

I finally got rid of everything and I'm in a new home and i'd like to continue my Dolby surround experience but am at a loss as to figure out if Atmos is worth the clutter of cables and speakers all over the place and settle for a good 5.1 setup.

Are there any better Atmos soundbars that are worth investing in?
I've been looking at reviews looking for something better but it's nagging me that i might be spending good after bad and would be far more suited to us living without Atmos at all.

I'd really appreciate peoples experiences and pictures of their solutions if possible please.

Thanks in advance
 

AmericanAudio

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
Soundbars are always going to be a compromise, unfortunately.

The new Klipsch Cinema 600/800/1200 are getting great reviews, but at the end of the day they are still Soundbar based, so limited in depth and range due to practical sizing.

Personally, Atmos is definately worth it, BUT, you only really notice it when it isnt there tbh.

It is a great 'all around you' experience, when done properly, but it is subtle.
 

AndyC_772

Active Member
I've just had my 5.1 system upgraded to 5.1.2 with a couple of Atmos speakers in the ceiling.

The extra cables are hidden in the ceiling, of course. The installer also took the opportunity to bury my rear speaker cables so they're tucked away inside the walls rather than being visible.

The end result was a system which has less clutter than before, as well as offering a full Atmos experience. It really didn't take that long to install, and if Atmos had been a thing when we moved in, it would certainly have been worth just doing on day one. If you're planning to redecorate anyway, then so much the better.
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
We install many Atmos based systems into living rooms. There quite a few options depending on available budget.
 

NorvernRob

Distinguished Member
Revamped our living room last year. All front cables and speakers are in an MDF floating wall which hides a multitude of sins. The big bonus was we needed to overboard the ceiling to due to crumbly artex, so that enabled me to run cables for in-ceiling speakers for 5.1.2 Atmos. Rears I couldn’t do a lot with due to solid walls, so I went for a pair of discrete MA radius 25’s that match the rest and perform well. All kit is inside AV units.

It’s nothing special budget or spec wise (all low-mid range Monitor Audio speakers mostly picked up as open box specials from AV Online) but I’m super happy with it.

059873FE-AC17-4E99-98B3-D589F9B31ADC.jpeg

12C90B90-3EA9-4F50-92D6-6E429B5ED396.jpeg
4F5A6BE2-DDCF-4586-B8DF-A9756C65342F.jpeg
 

AmericanAudio

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
That looks great, well done.

A great show of what can be done within a budget.

MA radius is supprisingly good kit for its price. Its our go to kit for standard installs.
 

lee1980

Well-known Member
Revamped our living room last year. All front cables and speakers are in an MDF floating wall which hides a multitude of sins. The big bonus was we needed to overboard the ceiling to due to crumbly artex, so that enabled me to run cables for in-ceiling speakers for 5.1.2 Atmos. Rears I couldn’t do a lot with due to solid walls, so I went for a pair of discrete MA radius 25’s that match the rest and perform well. All kit is inside AV units.

It’s nothing special budget or spec wise (all low-mid range Monitor Audio speakers mostly picked up as open box specials from AV Online) but I’m super happy with it.

View attachment 1445340
View attachment 1445343View attachment 1445341

The Floating Mdf wall is a great idea, are they in wall speakers in it?
 

NorvernRob

Distinguished Member
The Floating Mdf wall is a great idea, are they in wall speakers in it?

Yes. Monitor Audio W180 L&R, and W150 LCR centre. If there had been 3 W150’s available I’d have gone for all 3 the same, but I paid under half RRP for all the speakers as they were ‘open box’ warehouse deals from AV Online. None of them had a single noticeable mark!
 
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lee1980

Well-known Member
Yes. Monitor Audio W180 L&R, and W150 LCR centre. If there had been 3 W150’s available I’d have gone for all 3 the same, but I paid under half RRP for all the speakers as they were ‘open box’ warehouse deals from AV Online. None of them had a single noticeable mark!
Thanks I see yeah, this is certainly an idea when I next replace TV and or speakers, the light behind the board to adds that proper pro cinema effect!
Monitor Audio have even slender ones that are 50mm deep to.
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Some media rooms that we have installed.
D5CB9219-39A3-4A4E-B168-3E9700D31DBF.jpeg
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C62872A9-877D-4D66-BB2A-5F152D4C9B09.jpeg
787AB7FA-D7E7-4D35-B5C3-77EF8A726482.jpeg
 
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Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
All wrong
Whats all wrong? For most TV based installations the TV will be a little higher than ideal but the overall benefit far outweighs this.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
all TVs are well high above eyes level, not yours, i reply to post above you
Every installation in a living room is compromise one way or the other. TV too high or speakers too low. Depends on what's your poison. Speakers too low would be a no go for me. Tweeters are a seated ear level is always going to result in a TV too high unless you have a PJ with an acoustic screen.

I would be more than happy for Rich to come and install in my house.......if only I wasn't a poor pensioner down on his uppers.
 

dts197

Distinguished Member
all TVs are well high above eyes level, not yours, i reply to post above you
And what if that's the position the owner wants/prefers? Who is anyone else to tell them it's wrong? I wasn't aware there were specific rules we must all adhere to.
 
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ladik1983

Member
And what if that's the position the owner wants/prefers? Who is anyone else to them it's wrong? I wasn't aware there were specific rules we must all adhere to.
Let everyone do what they want. But if anyone wants this kind of home theatre setup they prefer the best quality of audiovisual experience. And thats not the case you watching TV at the angle posted above. Just saying.

Btw i don't even know what is you comment for.
 

dts197

Distinguished Member
Let everyone do what they want. But if anyone wants this kind of home theatre setup they prefer the best quality of audiovisual experience. And thats not the case you watching TV at the angle posted above. Just saying.

Btw i don't even know what is you comment for.
You were saying the slightly higher tvs are "all wrong". If that's the position someone enjoys watching at the most, nothing wrong with that.
 

MagnumXL

Active Member
all TVs are well high above eyes level, not yours, i reply to post above you

I have my screen and TVs set to where my head is pointed at them when reclined (i.e. My feet up in recliner). That means they are well above eye level. Otherwise, I'd naturally be looking above the screen in the position most often used and have to crane my neck downward instead.

Most cinemas had the screen well above eye level until stadium seating came along (with seats that typically reclined a certain amount when you sit in them) and even then it depends on where you sit.

This notion that screens should be placed so low that the middle is in line with your eyes when looking straight ahead does not take that into account. I believe the screen should be placed with how you intend to view it in mind. Having the screen a bit higher has other benefits as well such as being able to use full sized identical speakers across the front instead of compromised horizontally placed "center" speakers.
 

jang15000

Active Member

All tastefully done. I really like the clean finish with no wires in sight. As to TV placement none appear to be too high. I've seen setups where screen is above the fireplace which doesn't work for me. However, as long as the owner likes it that way it's all good 👍.

I've got a soundbar in one lounge and full setup in another. Obviously full size speakers sound better than soundbar but not astheticly pleasing. In wall and in ceiling are the way to go which gives you best of both worlds
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
ive generally found screen mounted so bottom of the screen to 1/3rd screen height at eye level seems to work.

as to atmos in living room setups. no problem with 7.1.6 here :)

height speakers are in ceiling and wires all hidden within the ceiling so wouldn't notice anywise ...
 

MagnumXL

Active Member
ive generally found screen mounted so bottom of the screen to 1/3rd screen height at eye level seems to work.

as to atmos in living room setups. no problem with 7.1.6 here :)

height speakers are in ceiling and wires all hidden within the ceiling so wouldn't notice anywise ...
I'd agree with that. My screen is aligned with eye level to the bottom and goes almost to the ceiling, but then I watch almost all movies in the reclined position. The tower speakers sit right up to the bottom of the screen and the equipment racks not much below. My wall-mounted TV upstairs is even higher than that, but it was aligned to the recliners as well and your head points right at the center reclined. Even not reclined, it's not much of a neck or eye movement to see the screen. It's not like you're looking at the ceiling for god's sake.
 

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