Is Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Worth It? (Experiment)

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Many people will not like to drill holes in their ceiling to install Atmos speakers, or they might be living in an apartment. Another reason might be that they are comfortable with few front speakers or a soundbar. People like them will be asking, is Dolby Atmos height virtualization worth it?

At A Glance: As proven from experience, The height virtualization is good when you have not listened to the real Dolby Atmos with overhead speakers. But, if you have experienced real Dolby Atmos then you will not like it.

Keep reading, as we will be comparing it to up-firing speakers and Dolby Atmos. We will also give them ratings based on my experience to understand each one better. Don’t forget to read the results of the 3 experiments I have conducted.

Experiment To Know The Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Little Better

I invited a few of my neighbors to my home theater. They are new to speakers and theater stuff.

I let them know that every time someone notices the sound coming from overhead, he or she has to raise their hand.

I played Mad Max to pump Dolby Atmos’ effects into the room. Furthermore, I switched all the overhead and height-elevated speakers and just kept the front speakers on. The front speakers were on-ear level.

I turned on the height virtualization feature and played the movie. During the first 10 minutes of the experience, I saw all of them raising their hands.

I interviewed them afterward. Everyone was telling me about what they had experienced. 

This opinion was popular among them that I felt like the bad guys were yelling at me from above.

Stay tuned as we will be discussing the next experiment.

Read my this 5 steps guide to perfect the home theater audio. You will be shocked after applying these steps.

Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Vs Up-firing Speakers Effect (Experiment)

I repeated the same experiment, this time with Up-firing speakers. 

I interviewed them afterward.

According to them. They felt more effects than in the previous experiment. The Waterfall in the movie felt like it was falling from above right in front of us. This scene was not felt the same way in the height virtualization experiment.

At this stage, the up-firing speakers’ effects were having the upper hand on the height virtualization.

The height virtualization to them was a window to Dolby Atmos, and the up-firing speakers felt like a door to Dolby.

Read my this guide about it, is worth getting Dolby Atmos speakers. Drilling holes is worth it or not. You will know it after reading this post.

Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Vs Dolby Atmos (Experiment)

Here, in this experiment, I turn on the height elevated and ceiling speakers. Rewind the movie and play it again.

This time I was observing their faces. Almost everyone was stunned at this time. Their eyes were wide open.

I interviewed them afterward. They were saying that in the Atmos height virtualization, we were feeling that the bad guys at the front were yelling at us but in the complete speakers, they were experiencing the whole gang of the bad guys yelling at us.

According to them. The entire scenario of the movie was felt around them. The satellite in the sky at one point in the movie really felt like it was in the sky. The same scene effects were felt neither in the height virtualization nor in the up-firing speakers.

There were many more dimensions of the sound that were open to them in this stage.

Know from my this guide how to mount speakers for the best experience.

Final Conclusion & Ratings

Sound TechnologyRatings
Height Virtualization10/3
Up-firing Speakers effects10/5.5
Real Dolby Atmos (with complete speakers setup)10/10
Rating is based on the results of the experiments conducted

I told them to give me the final ratings for their experience.

They told me that we were stunned at first by the height of virtualization and thought that this was magic. They told me, “We would definitely go for the height of virtualization if we were unaware of the experience of up-firing and real Dolby Atmos.”

Afterward, they noticed the up-firing speakers’ effects. They immediately started unliking the height virtualization effects and loved the up-firing speakers.

But at last, when they were introduced to the real Dolby Atmos, they were stunned by it. And it was a no going back experience for them.

They were not falling for Virtual and up-firing speakers.

Did you get something out of this Atmos guide? Hold On We Have Something Exciting To Share.

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Is Dolby Atmos worth it without height speakers?

It is worth it if you are unaware of what experience they bring. But when you listen to Dolby Atmos audio with height speakers, then you will never settle for a Dolby Atmos without height speakers.

It can be worth it if you are used to and comfortable with the soundbars. They can give you virtual Dolby Atmos and you will love it. But don’t go for height speakers because after that there will be no going back.

The Dolby Atmos without height speakers will feel like a stupid thing at this stage.

Is Virtual Dolby Atmos worth it?

It is worth it if you don’t want to drill holes in your ceiling or don’t want to spend cash on Dolby Atmos speakers.

But if you fall into these situations above, then the virtual Dolby Atmos isn’t worth it.

There is a huge difference between real and virtual Dolby Atmos. There are many more effects felt in the real Dolby that will have no presence in the virtual Dolby Atmos.

Is 7.1 better than Atmos?

The 7.1 can never match the beauty and magic of the complete Atmos setup. The 7.1 just surrounds you on the ground. You will feel like you are a soldier that is surrounded by all the soldiers on the battlefield, but when you have Dolby Atmos then you will also feel the bullets and planes going overhead you. At this stage, you will feel the complete sound bubble of the battlefield.

Are Atmos soundbars worth it?

It is worth it due to their convenience, but it can’t come close to what a complete Dolby Atmos speakers setup can bring. If you have not experienced Dolby Atmos audio with complete speakers in the setup then soundbar Atmos is worth it, otherwise, it feels like a third-class Atmos.

Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More

  1. This was my opinion read more from this discussion on AVsforum. (Resource for the first answer)
  2. This was my opinion, read about each sound format here on DigitalTrends Blog. (Resource for the third answer)
  3. Sorry, but this was my honest opinion and based on my experience. Read my this guide about LCR speakers Vs Soundbar. Don’t forget to read the rating table. (Resource for the fourth answer)

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Ayaan Khan
Ayaan Khan

I'm Ayaan khan, a freelancer and a Computer Science degree holder from P.E.S. College. After my degree, I started an internship with my father in his home theater showroom. After working for a month I realized that this is the best job in the world for me and it could be turned into a passion. Fast forward to when my internship ended, I joined my father as a full-time home theater equipment tester. I test new equipment and approve it before it can be installed in the customer's house. I love to test equipment and sometimes love to install it by myself in the customer's theater room. I have the right experience and knowledge to learn from my articles. In my Free time I write & answer questions here on AVSFORUM. Every Article on Homelytainment is curated according to Homelytainment's Editorial Policy and Sponsorship Policy. If you have any questions for me. Reach out to my email (Support(AT)

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