Dolby Atmos is very famous among home theater enthusiasts, that’s why many newbies are going for it and many intermediate theater owners want to upgrade their system to Atmos. That’s why I prepared this research-based guide. But How much does Dolby Atmos cost?
It will cost you USD 5000 at the lower end and USD 13000 at the higher end to experience true Dolby Atmos at home. This cost excludes home theater furniture and soundproofing.
This is the approximate cost of a Dolby Atmos-based home theater. Keep reading because I am going to break down this cost step by step for you in detail.
Low-end & High-end budget concepts brief explanation
I will break down the budget for you later.
But first, let’s take a selfie. LoL kidding. But first, we should discuss the low-end and high-end budget concepts of this guide.
What is a Lower end Atmos Setup?
In this setup, you will get a setup that will be good for a small room, such as a size of 120X144 or 144X216.
In this setup, the speakers will be small and will have a driver of at least 2 inches. The receiver will have enough power to power up such speakers. You will not require introducing an amplifier to the system.
The in-ceiling speakers will not cost more than $50 per pair and will be powerful enough to fill a small room with sound. The subwoofer will also be small, and you will use a single sub in this setup.
What is a Higher end Atmos Setup?
This setup is best for medium to large rooms, such as a size 192X240 or 264X336. If you want to use this setup in a small room, then it will sound better than the Low-end setup.
Here, this setup is opposite to what you read in the low-end explanation. The speakers and receiver are larger and for a better experience, you might use an additional amplifier too. Here you will need two subwoofers to better fill up the room. Read my this guide to know. Single Vs Dual subwoofers. Which is better?
Let’s deep dive into the budget breakdown.
Dolby Atmos Home Theater Setup Cost Breakdown
|Product||Low-end Cost||High-end Cost|
|Blu-ray 4K player||$200||$1500|
|Streaming Service Subscription||$14-20||$14-20|
|Four In-ceiling Speakers||$88||$492|
|4K TV (65 inches)||$600-1000||$600-1000|
|Two HDMI Cables||$30||$30|
|14 gauge speaker wire (100 ft)||$25||$25|
|Total Cost of Atmo setup||Total = 4988||Total = $12922|
Keep reading because below are more unique tips for you.
In this section, I will break down the cost for you. You will know exactly why there are two costs at the low-end and high-end Atmos setup.
Cost Of Atmos-Enabled AV Receiver
I am talking about all the receivers that provide support for a 9.2 setup. Here you will set up 5.2 speakers and 4 speakers for the Atmos effects.
The reason I recommend 4 and not 2 speakers are that you need to feel the sound transition. The airplane should be felt like it is flying from the front to the back of the room. This effect can’t be achieved just by two Atmos speakers, but by 4 speakers.
This receiver at the low end is enough to power the small speakers in 5.1 and 4 small ceiling speakers for the Atmos. The low-end will cost you up to USD 1300.
But at the high end, the receiver should have the power to run bigger speakers. In some cases where you are using tower speakers for the front and a high-end center speaker. Then you will need an additional amplifier that will run the front speakers and the receiver will take good care of all other speakers.
This receiver will cost you up to USD 3000 and an amplifier that will power the front speakers will cost you up to $1500.
Cost Of Atmos-Encoded content & media source
An Atmos-encoded movie Disc can be rented for as low as $3 or can be bought for $12-19. If you want to show off your Atmos setup to guests and friends, then you would like to buy the disc. You will also need to get a Blu-ray player that is 4K and support HDR and Dolby vision. Such a player will cost you at least $200.
If you don’t want to keep discs in your theater room. Then you might like to buy a subscription service for online streaming services. These streaming services will cost from $14 to $22.
Many modern projectors and TVs provide access to these streaming services but if your display source doesn’t provide access. In this case, you will have to buy a streaming device such as Roku or Amazon fire stick. The device will cost you from $30 to $50.
But not every streaming service has Atmos content. Read my list to know. Streaming services that have Atmos content.
You might think this part of the Atmos cost less, but not really. Because you will not buy one disc for your life, or will just pay a one-time Netflix subscription fee. The payment is monthly based.
Cost Of Atmos Speakers Setup
I don’t recommend up-firing or height-elevated speakers for the Atmos experience. That’s why I talk only about ceiling speakers. This is because I have experimented. You can read the experiment results here. Atmos height virtualization. Is it worth it?
That’s why you should consider ceiling speakers in your budget. The ceiling speakers need an installation hustle, but they are cheaper than the up-firing and height-elevated speakers. At low-end, these ceiling speakers will cost $50 for a pair and at high-end, they can cost up to $220.
Apart from this, you will need a traditional surround sound setup of speakers on the ground.
At the low end, you will need a 5.1 setup and for the high end, it can be 7.2 or 9.2 according to your taste.
At low-end it will cost you $567 and at high-end it will cost you $2500 if you want a 5.1 but can cost you $4000 if you want 9.2 setups.
In the low-end, you will need one subwoofer, but a good one. A good subwoofer will cost you up to $200 and at the high-end, you will need to install two of these subwoofers.
Cost of a display source for Atmos home theater
To have the best out of your Atmos setup, accompany it with a superb display source.
Because along with the audio you must feel the magic of video too. The audio and visuals should match each other in quality.
That’s why if you want to have a projector-based home theater, then you must go only with True and Native projectors. True or Native 4K projectors give you 8.3 million pixels and not 4.2 million. Also, skip those projectors that provide only pixel shifting of 1080p to 4K. You will get this detail in their product description if the brand is reputable.
This kind of projector at low-end will cost you up to $2600 and stay away from cheap and brandless projectors. At high-end they will cost you $5000, but they will have better black levels and sharper image quality.
If you want a TV, then you can get any 4K TV from a reputable brand. Choosing a TV is not difficult, you just have to pick a TV from a reputable brand. The TV must not be lower than 65 inches in size and has a good amount of positive reviews.
Read my this TV vs Projector comparison guide. Don’t forget to read the quick data from the table.
Cost of HDMI cable & speaker wires for Atmos home theater
When choosing HDMI cables for your setup. Choose those HDMI cables that have at least 48 Gbps of bandwidth. These cables can carry the Atmos signals. This cable will cost you $14 to $20 and stay away from overpriced HDMI cables. You can read more about it from this guide. Cheap Vs expensive HDMI cables. I have compared them and revealed the truth no one is talking about.
Choose pure copper wires and stay away from silver or gold-plated wires. Choose 14 gauge pure copper wire for the speakers. You can read more about it from this guide. The best wire material. I have compared them all in the conductivity and budget areas.
Sound calibration cost of Atmos home theater
When you want to rely on the calibration mic that comes with the receiver. Then you can do it for free by yourself.
But if you want each speaker to hit you with 75 dB in your seating area, then you will need to calibrate it with an SPL meter. You can learn from this guide how to calibrate your home theater with an SPL meter. I have also reviewed the top 3 in this guide. Best SPL meter for home theater.
The SPL meter will cost you anywhere from $50 to $100.
Is Dolby Atmos a one-time purchase in a home theater?
The speakers’ setup for Dolby Atmos is a one-time purchase, but you will have to pay $14-19 per month to have a subscription to streaming services such as Amazon Prime or Netflix because these streaming services have a tonne of Atmos content.
The receiver, projector, and speakers setup is a one-time purchase, but you will have to get Atmos-encoded content for the setup. This content will cost you monthly if you want a streaming service, but if you want discs of the movies then you can rent those for $3 or buy them for $12-19.
Know more about subscription based streaming services from this Youtube video.
Is Dolby Atmos worth the money?
The Dolby Atmos is worth it because it brings the battle scene to your room. All the action on the screen can be felt right in your theater room. The Atmos is so immersive that you will feel like you are in Normandy with the Troops.
The Dolby Atmos is immersive and if you want to be there in the action then it is all worth your money.
This was my opinion, read more about it from this Reddit Discussion.