Speaker Selection Strategies For Atmos Music

I started a thread on budgeting for BOTH channel based audio as well object based audio. This thread is to help share strategies for budgeting for adding new speakers to an existing system or for starting from scratch.

The BIG misunderstanding I have seen so far is Atmos= cutting holes in your ceiling for ceiling speakers. No, that is only one of many options and I have never tried it (in a 9.3.8 system) so can’t discuss. if a member went the ceiling install route and wants to share some pearls of wisdom, that would be great.

So, let’s break down basic strategy for Atmos Speaker selection.

Strategy 1- Don’t use height channels! Atmos is backward compatible and a 5.1 system will fold the information from the height channels into the bed channels. No muss no fuss.

Strategy 2- Add satellite/monitors to your existing system. Check with your speaker manufacturer or dealer and see what they recommend. Give them your budget, what you already have and believe me, they’ll respond. Tip 1- to the wise, get a 30-60 day return policy just in case. Satellite speakers can be mounted high on the wall as height channels or faced downward and mounted right on the ceiling by purchasing brackets made for this purpose. Tip 2- Do NOT use dipoles/bipoles per dolby guidelines.

Strategy 3- Buy speakers that are made for atmos/height wall mounting. installation. I used JBL Control Now’s in the man cave, SVS makes Prime Elevation speakers, Finally speaker manufacturers have an entire category of atmos speakers, shop til you find what you like. Tip, I like wall mounting because you can angle the tweeters at the sweetspot, ceiling installs often have tweeters aimed at the floor.

Strategy 4- Go active. Active speakers are what they mostly use in the studios, most active speakers are biamped, use active crossovers, and monitors are easily mounted on stands or on sturdy wall mounts.

Strategy 5- If you have budget disregard everything above and just call a good custom installer. CEDIA certifies for this purpose but word of mouth works too.

Re: subwoofers, subwoofers get into a category of bass management which deserves its own thread. My only tip would be to budget for at least two, place them in corners (like front left corner, rear right corner) and use DSP or an equalizer to integrate them (most receivers and processors have this feature built in).



If you are building an Atmos setup from scratch consider ACTIVE speakers and all you need is a processor and some XLR interconnects to get started. Save money and rack space on amps and speaker wire:

Focal 7.2.4 system= $7K

Genelec 7.2.4 System= $20K 

PMC 7.2.4 system- $27K

When you consider that these active speakers are internally biamped you are getting 11 speakers with not 11 channels of amplification, its 22 channels of amplification (plus TWO subs). 



If you just want a system for family fun, that is one and done look what Andrew Robinson says about Sony’s HT A9. Small, convenient, easy to setup, and better than a soundbar.


Post removed 

You take these speakers and slide in a good processor in your own home and its likely (very likely) you will have a stunning system, capable of reference level stereo and Atmos music, with fewer racks, fewer speaker wires, AND possibly fewer needs for future upgrades at a very, very, reasonable cost.

The Focal speakers are $7K and add in $2K for a nice processor and you have money left over for some studio grade Mogami XLR cables to hook everything up.

The PMC speakers are $27K and add in $20K for a SOA processor like Storm Audio, Lyngdorf or Trinnov and you have a TRUE reference level system that will play anything and everything for under $50K.

If you are a two channel purist take the $20K processor budget and split it, $10K (or less) for a flagship processor from Marantz, Anthem, or Mcintosh and $10K for a great 2 channel preamp (tubes, solid state, whatever). There are 2 channel preamps with home theater bypass that will slide right in.

So when you are the only one posting in a thread, the interest is dead. Poor little man. 

Post removed 

When you contrast the process of building a stereo it is complicated. You have to mix and match, carefully curate, spend and upgrade and maybe you still aren’t happy (just look at the threads of people who are lets say, less than thrilled..)

That is NOT the way to properly select speakers for Atmos music UNLESS you are loaded and like to shop (been there, done that, it takes too much time and aggravation).

Selecting speakers for Atmos should be quick, easy, and most importantly "budget worthy". If you can recreate what they heard in the studio or at the concert hall in basically a couple of days, why would you want to take a couple of years while burning a hole in your pocket?

A) Select an active speaker package like one of the examples above (there are plenty of other brands too, ATC, Dynaudio, Bryston, Yamaha, JBL, etc).

B) Get a processor or a processor plus a 2 channel preamp.

c) Install and crack a beer and a smile. Feel like stereo, click, feel like surround, click, feel like atmos, click and you are pretty much done.



Myth= Active speakers don't let me use my amp of choice

Fact= Use active speakers with outboard crossovers like Bryston:


I've never heard a processor that sounds as good as a good 2 channel preamp when listening to 2 channel music.

Post removed 

Yep in a automotive company that will not be in business 18 months from now. Lucid is bleeding cash, low sales and most cannot afford one.