Is this Dolby Atmos upfiring speakers placement okay? (see pictures)

Best position for Atmos upfiring speakers

  • Position 1

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • Position 2

    Votes: 2 66.7%

  • Total voters
    3

BlueNinja0

Novice Member
I'm upgrading my 5.1 setup to a 5.1.2 in part because I need a new amp with eARC, so I might as well upgrade my number of channels to include Atmos speakers.
I thought about installing ceiling speakers, but I decided going with upward firing speakers because of the easier installation and practicality in case I change my room layout in the future.
I'm thinking about getting a pair of Dali Alteco C-1 as they seem to be cheap around here (€169) and don't seem to be too bad for Atmos effects. Correct me if I'm wrong though.
The rest of my setup is composed of Wharfedale Diamond 220 for fronts and 210 for surround. The amp I'm looking to get is a Denon X1600H.

But I have doubts about my upfiring speaker placement. The front of my room looks like this:

IMG_20210724_175905 edit.jpg


IMG_20210724_175937 edit.jpg


Where would you place my upfiring speakers?
I think position 2 would make the sound bounce back from the cabinet that's above the TV, which would ruin the height effect, so I was more inclined to use position 1.
I believe position 1 would be more beneficial, but Dolby recommends:
Avoid placing the Dolby Atmos enabled speakers higher than one-half the height of your wall.
Note: For some Dolby Atmos enabled in-wall speakers, if the placement is above one-half the height of your wall, you may need to adjust the vertical angle

Position 1 is definitely higher than one-half the height of my wall so I'm afraid that might ruin the effect. Or do you believe placing them in position 1 and adjusting their angle a bit so that the ceiling reflection hits the listening position is good enough to have a nice Atmos height effect?

EDIT: Don't mind my current center speaker position. I'm planning on changing it to the area immediately below the TV.
 
Last edited:

gibbsy

Moderator
Welcome to the Forum.

Neither position is going to work for you as long as you have your centre speaker where it currently is. Dialogue and Atmos effects will basically be in the same plane and coming from above you. For Atmos to work the base 5.1 speakers should all be at a seated head height. Atmos works when there is a good separation of audio from the base level to the Atmos domain.

An option would be to use a pseudo centre and run as a 4.1.2.
 

BlueNinja0

Novice Member
Thanks for the welcome!

Neither position is going to work for you as long as you have your centre speaker where it currently is.
Oh, I forgot to mention my center speaker is going to be moved to the area directly below the TV. I've edited my post.

What's your opinion on my question about Position 1 vs Position 2?
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Thanks for the welcome!


Oh, I forgot to mention my center speaker is going to be moved to the area directly below the TV. I've edited my post.

What's your opinion on my question about Position 1 vs Position 2?
Now you've clarified the centres position, personally I'd go with the atmos speakers in position 1.

Edit: I favour the higher position as I have Dali Alteco C1's - which can be mounted either at ceiling height (on wall) or placed on top of the fronts. I've tried both positions in my setup and much prefer wall mounted high.
 
Last edited:

gibbsy

Moderator
Moving your centre is certainly going to improve things for you immensely, even in a base 5.1. As you have the Dali speakers for Atmos then mount them as high as you can possibly get and in line with the front left and right. With the centre moved then that's what I would recommend.
 

BlueNinja0

Novice Member
Now you've clarified the centres position, personally I'd go with the atmos speakers in position 1.

Edit: I favour the higher position as I have Dali Alteco C1's - which can be mounted either at ceiling height (on wall) or placed on top of the fronts. I've tried both positions in my setup and much prefer wall mounted high.

Moving your centre is certainly going to improve things for you immensely, even in a base 5.1. As you have the Dali speakers for Atmos then mount them as high as you can possibly get and in line with the front left and right. With the centre moved then that's what I would recommend.

Do both of you mean mounting them up high on the wall as front height speakers?
In the case that's not possible, would you still go with position 1 in upfiring mode?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Do both of you mean mounting them up high on the wall as front height speakers?
In the case that's not possible, would you still go with position 1 in upfiring mode?
Position 1 for upfiring is too high. For upfiring speakers to work, I have been running a pair for six years now, they must be no higher than 50% of the height of the ceiling. The recommendation is to have them on, or as near as possible, to the front left and right speaker. Your problem with position 2 is that they may not have a clear line of sight to the ceiling because of the shelf above.

The Dalis are certainly smaller than my upfiring KEFs and if you position them as far forward as you can to give a clear line of sight. Your problem then becomes the position of your listening seating in that the reflected audio which is needed may be falling behind your position.

Under normal circumstances your ceiling is perfect for reflected sound. Your best position for upfiring is 1, on top of the front speakers, taking care to give them a clear line of sight to the ceiling.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Do both of you mean mounting them up high on the wall as front height speakers?
In the case that's not possible, would you still go with position 1 in upfiring mode?
I've amended your picture with green crosses where I position them:

IMG_20210724_175905 edit.jpg


Position 1 for upfiring is too high. For upfiring speakers to work, I have been running a pair for six years now, they must be no higher than 50% of the height of the ceiling. The recommendation is to have them on, or as near as possible, to the front left and right speaker.
Whilst this is true for most upfiring modules. The Alteco's are slightly different as they have a switch under the grille that allows you to change them to downfiring - the mode I use mine in.

Even the manual and blurb show they can be positioned as heights near the ceiling:

dali-alteco-height-speaker-in-5_1_2.jpg


dl-altecoc1n-lifestyle2.jpg

Very versatile speakers are the Alteco's. Incidentally I agree with @gibbsy thoughts re position 1. It's also worth mentioning that you'd set the switch.on the Dali's to upfiring in position 1.

Edit: if setting in position 2, you need to set the speakers up as "front heights" in your receivers amp assign menu not Dolby Atmos Enabled (this is the setting for position 2).
 
Last edited:

BlueNinja0

Novice Member
@Jester1066 @gibbsy Thanks for the tips, gents.
I guess I'll try all 3 possible positions with some test material while angling the speakers so that the reflected sound hits perfectly on the listening positions and decide based on that.

Even the manual and blurb show they can be positioned as heights near the ceiling:
I was under the impression height speakers are not as good for Atmos as overhead or upfiring speakers. The Dolby Atmos documentation seems to always emphasize the overhead or upfiring speakers with the front height speakers almost as a footnote.
Isn't the effect from height speakers quite different from overhead/upfiring speakers?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
@Jester1066 @gibbsy Thanks for the tips, gents.
I guess I'll try all 3 possible positions with some test material while angling the speakers so that the reflected sound hits perfectly on the listening positions and decide based on that.


I was under the impression height speakers are not as good for Atmos as overhead or upfiring speakers. The Dolby Atmos documentation seems to always emphasize the overhead or upfiring speakers with the front height speakers almost as a footnote.
Isn't the effect from height speakers quite different from overhead/upfiring speakers?

Most Alteco C-1 owners feel they sound lot better when used as front heights over upfiring if you do some digging of old threads.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
I was under the impression height speakers are not as good for Atmos as overhead or upfiring speakers. The Dolby Atmos documentation seems to always emphasize the overhead or upfiring speakers with the front height speakers almost as a footnote.
Isn't the effect from height speakers quite different from overhead/upfiring speakers?
I guess personally I would rate the effectiveness of the various layouts as follows (most effective first):

1. In ceiling (overhead) - correctly positioned
2. On ceiling (overhead) - correctly positioned
=3rd Upfiring (Dolby Enabled Modules) - if the ceiling height and type fall within Dolby guidelines.
Heights (Near Ceiling angled down) - like I have my Dali's with the switch in the downfiring position.

ideally I'd of course do option 1 or 2 (overhead). But as I said previously I rent, so I can't. The Heights option is - to me - therefore, a very acceptable compromise.

As I said previously (and @Gasp3621 has above). I've tried the C1's in both Dolby Enabled upfiring (on top on my mains) and as heights. I find the latter position gives a far more immersive overhead effect than upfiring. Ymmv of course so trying all 3 positions is a good idea. 👍🏼
 

BlueNinja0

Novice Member
@Jester1066 I'm a bit confused. You say that you prefer having your speakers as heights as it gives you more immersion, but in your list above you put heights as the least preferred position, even after upfiring.
Am I reading that correctly?
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Nope I put heights as the equal 3rd best option. Specifically with the C1's - I preferred the sound with these set as heights rather the Dolby upfiring. You may feel differently.

If I could have either in or on ceiling speakers I would choose this option (even over the Dali's as heights). But in/on ceiling isn't an option for me personally as I rent my house and am no allowed to cut holes in the ceiling etc.

So although it's not the best option for a true Atmos configuration it is for me the best of the 4 options available.

In summary my 2 options for atmos are:

1. Dolby Enabled upfiring
2. Heights (angled down to listening position in downfiring mode)

I've tried the Dali's in both of these positions and personally prefer number 2. The beauty of the C1's is you can try both and see which you prefer. Hope this clarifies what I mean 😊
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Speakers mounted on the front wall and firing at the MLP will be effective and have the effect of object based movement coming from above the listener. Depending on how you can fix those speakers they may not give a good performance with the audio staying close to the ceiling because of that projection. This is where I believe four wall mounted speakers would be far better than just the two as they would be better at giving the bubble of sound that Atmos does.

Upfiring will give a more diffused effect as all the audio is being reflected off and diffused by the projection of the audio signal from below. Again four will be better than two.

There are two problems with upfiring, the first is the height of the ceiling, your's looks fine. The second is having the speakers set at the correct height. The tweeters should be at such a height that the calibration mic doesn't pick up the audio coming directly from the speaker but just the reflected audio. When your in the seated position then the Atmos speaker should be just above your ear level. Get the position spot on and it can, and does, give a good immersive audio performance.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Speakers mounted on the front wall and firing at the MLP will be effective and have the effect of object based movement coming from above the listener. Depending on how you can fix those speakers they may not give a good performance with the audio staying close to the ceiling because of that projection. This is where I believe four wall mounted speakers would be far better than just the two as they would be better at giving the bubble of sound that Atmos does.
To clarify further still. I do have 4x C1's mounted as @gibbsy describes above, angled down, with the switch set to "downfiring mode". The C1's also have a wide dispersion which adds tothe bubble effect described. As I say, they offer a very immersive experience for me personally.
 

BlueNinja0

Novice Member
@Jester1066 I understood it clearly now. Thanks! :)

@gibbsy I understand 4 speakers would definitely be better than 2, but right now that's not a possibility for me, so I'll focus on the best position for my soon to be 5.1.2 system.

You mention that it's important the calibration mic picks just the reflected sound and not the sound coming directly from the speaker and that's why I believed the position 1 in upfiring mode in my pictures would be a good suitable position as the speakers would be way above ear level.
Of course, I will need to adjust their angle so that the reflection hits right in the MLP.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I believed the position 1
Too high. Speakers must be set no higher than 50% of the height of the wall. You will not get the diffusion required placing them at that height. That's why the height of the ceiling is important as Dolby state between 2.3m and 4.2m. Too low or too high the effects will not work. Placing your speakers that high will put you in the 2.3m bracket.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Placement height For optimal effect and to minimize direct radiating audio at listener level, place Dolby Atmos enabled speakers at or slightly above the height of your ears when seated. Avoid placing the Dolby Atmos enabled speakers higher than one-half the height of your wall. Note: For some Dolby Atmos enabled in-wall speakers, if the placement is above one-half the height of your wall, you may need to adjust the vertical angle, if the manufacturer implements this feature. Please consult the manufacturer’s user manual for guidance.

DOLBY ATMOS HOME THEATER INSTALLATION GUIDELINES | 12
 

BlueNinja0

Novice Member
@gibbsy Sure, that quote from the installation guide is the reason why I started this thread.
But the thing is. If Position 1 does not give me enough dispersion, how will placing them at the ceiling level as height speakers give any more dispersion? The distance traveled by the sound will be roughly the same.

And then there's the quote where it says:
"if the placement is above one-half the height of your wall, you may need to adjust the vertical angle"

which made me think the problem with placing them too high as upfiring is more related to the angle than to the dispersion. But I might be wrong.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
how will placing them at the ceiling level as height speakers give any more dispersion? The distance traveled by the sound will be roughly the same.
Because (in the case of the C1's) you'd set the switch to downfiring mode and mount them so the wider top of the wedge shape was near the ceiling . In essence.. in this position they'll be as close to in ceiling speakers that are firing downwards. Without actually being mounted in or on the ceiling.

See the pic of my rear Dali:

20210616_183553.jpg

Note I'm going to reposition them on to the side walls. They're currently mounted on the back wall.
 
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BlueNinja0

Novice Member
Thanks for the input guys.
I guess since the C1s are so versatile I'll just test all 3 possible positions and see what sounds best for me. I'll make sure I'll report back.
Any suggestions for test tracks?
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Any suggestions for test tracks?
Have a look at these links:




I'm sure others will chime in too.😊
 

mikemg

Active Member
@Jester1066 @gibbsy Thanks for the tips, gents.
I guess I'll try all 3 possible positions with some test material while angling the speakers so that the reflected sound hits perfectly on the listening positions and decide based on that.


I was under the impression height speakers are not as good for Atmos as overhead or upfiring speakers. The Dolby Atmos documentation seems to always emphasize the overhead or upfiring speakers with the front height speakers almost as a footnote.
Isn't the effect from height speakers quite different from overhead/upfiring speakers?
I recently had a professional Dirac live installer setup my Atmos system 5.2.2 with an Arcam 550 into L/C/R front actives 2 upfiring passive (setup as heights) with Gallo Divas

He set them to point to the ceiling and get the bounce to reflect in front of my seating position about .5 metre
He explained that as my room was a small area 4.5 m x 4 m
The Dirac live setup will remove most of the wall reflections and sound colouration with any extremely tight bass the sound will be sufficiently immersive
The result has been very good and sufficient immersion from only 2 upfiring speakers which
surprised me
Checked out with Dolby Atmos demo disc only
My subs are B&W PV1 and Totem Acoustic
Back speakers small Focal Domes on stands
 

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BlueNinja0

Novice Member
I recently had a professional Dirac live installer setup my Atmos system 5.2.2 with an Arcam 550 into L/C/R front actives 2 upfiring passive (setup as heights) with Gallo Divas
I'm a bit confused. You say you have front upfiring speakers but have them configured as heights in your receiver?
Is that the correct configuration? Shouldn't they be configured as upfiring?
 

mikemg

Active Member
I'm a bit confused. You say you have front upfiring speakers but have them configured as heights in your receiver?
Is that the correct configuration? Shouldn't they be configured as upfiring?
That’s what the professional installer set them as
He is very experienced at setting up Arcam and Dirac Live and he said with the Arcam the front upfiring speakers should be set as heights , and the result has been exceptional way better than I thought possible
Maybe as I have B&O Beolab 9 speakers which are very powerful 700 watts rms per speaker and with the B&O centre there is close to 2000 watts available and I am only using the Arcam as a preamp with the front speakers
I have to trust his professional knowledge
Try it see if you prefer
He sets up recording studios and specialises in Dirac Live installations
I left it all up to him
Hope that explains
 

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