Dolby Atmos is an amazing audio atmosphere to experience. That’s why every newbie wants to have this object-based audio in their home theater, and many more want to upgrade their theater to Dolby. But the speakers’ setup for it is a little tricky. Like, how high should Atmos speakers be?
As a general rule of thumb, for the best Dolby Atmos experience, the speakers should be as high as 5-6ft off the audience’s head at their seating position, but the speakers should not be higher than 8ft and lower than 4ft.
Keep reading to know the reason behind this statement. Also, I will answer the most frequently asked related questions to this topic. Don’t forget to read the poll stats at the bottom of this article. You will know what others are doing. I have conducted this poll in a Facebook group.
What speaker’s height is right for Atmos?
|5 feet above the audience’s head||Recommended and perfect|
|6 feet above the audience’s head||Good|
|8 feet above the audience’s head||Ok|
|Greater than 8 feet above the audience’s head||Bad & Ugly|
Why is 5 feet height recommended for Atmos speakers?
The 5 feet is the best because at this height. The receiver has to play their role without any burden. The speakers don’t have to apply a lot of force to create overhead effects, and also the effects sound natural.
Fortunately, American household rooms are at least 9 feet in height. When you watch the home theater, you have probably consumed the 4 feet already. Now, the rest of the 5 feet are left to be used for the overhead sound effects.
Here, the household is helping you out in your enjoyment.
But if your ceiling is higher then you can install the in-ceiling speakers at 6 feet and that is good too. At this height, the speaker will not overpower itself and the 8 feet is ok too. At 8 feet, the speakers will push themselves a little more which will shorten their lifespan but still, the side effects will not be huge.
Know how high to mount each speaker in surround sound. You will know the heat for mountable surround speakers.
Why is above 8 feet height disastrous for Atmos speakers?
Here it can be explained by keeping two cases in our mind. In both cases, this height is not right.
First Case. You have not calibrated the speakers with the optimization mic that comes with almost all new receivers.
In this case, the overhead effects will be so low in volume that they can’t be synced with the video visuals of the movie. At this stage, you will probably hate your speakers or the Dolby Atmos. But it is not their fault of Dolby Atmos, but of the excessive height at which they are installed.
Second Case. You have calibrated the audio with the help of the optimization mic that comes with the AV receiver.
In this case, the receiver will play the Atmos speakers with higher dB so the sound reach of them matches all other speakers in the surround sound. As a result, they will play with the power they are not made for. This will shorten their lifespan drastically and if the speakers’ build quality is cheap then you may experience distortion too.
It will consume more energy and the receiver will send more power. This will increase unnecessary energy consumption.
Know how to optimize the home theater audio. I have provided you with 9 simple steps.
What to do if the height of the ceiling is too high?
In this case, you can do two things. First, you can install another ceiling or some other thing like Plaster-Of-Paris. Talk to a contractor and they will sort out this issue.
Another thing that you can do is install on-ceiling speakers with a long base.
The best-recommended height is 5 feet, and it should not be higher than 8 feet. The reason it should not be lower than 4 feet is that at this height the overhead effects will sound exaggerated. You want them to sound life-like and natural, but low heights like 2 feet or 3 feet will make them sound more than what the producers want you to hear.
The audio will sound out of sync with the video visuals. And you don’t want to ruin the Atmos experience for yourself.
Keep reading to know what others are doing.
Know how to increase the home theater bass in 9 steps. I have included only proven steps.
At what height your Atmos speakers are? (FB Poll)
|At 5-6ft off of my head||79%|
|At 6-8ft off of my head||21%|
Can any ceiling speaker be used for Atmos?
Any ceiling speaker can be used for the Atmos as long as it is a 2-way speaker. The 2-way speaker has a tweeter and a woofer. This type of speaker can hit that frequency range which can produce better Atmos effects.
The 2-way is the basic qualification required for Atmos. Because after that you can use it for Atmos effects.
Can atmos speakers be behind you?
The Atmos speakers should be at a front height and should be behind you at a height. In this way, you can experience the Atmos effect transitioning from the front to your back. You will feel the plane flight accurately in this way.
That’s why I recommend having at least 4 speakers for Atmos if your audience is in just one row. Because after that you can feel the plane flying from the front and crossing you.
Should Atmos speakers be directly overhead?
It should not be overhead. In this position, the Atmos effects will sound exaggerated. Of Course, the auto-optimization mic can calibrate these speakers for you but remember no auto-optimization technology is perfect and you should make it easier for it too.
You need to help with the auto-optimization technologies too. For that, you should install these speakers at least 5 feet above your head.
Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More
- This was my opinion, read more about it from this AudioAdvice detailed guide. (Resource for the second answer)