Atmos ceiling

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Dolby Atmos has moved the whole surround sound experience to another level. Rather than the traditional flat soundstage that came before, Dolby Atmos adds height to the surround sound equation through the installation of dedicated ceiling speakers.

Overhead sounds from a movie soundtrack, like a helicopter flyby, for example, can now exist independently from the channel mix, creating a level of realism unheard until now.

To take advantage of this, you’ll need to get a set of the Best Ceiling Speakers For Dolby Atmos, which will allow you to appreciate this latest innovation. To help you along the way, we decided to compile this list to make your decision a whole lot easier.

So, let’s go through them and find the perfect Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speakers for you, starting with our…

Best Ceiling Speakers For Dolby Atmos

Top 9 Best Ceiling Speakers For Dolby Atmos To Purchase In 2021 Reviews

Micca M-8C – Easiest to Install Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speaker

We start with the Micca M-8C. It’s one of the cheaper ceiling speakers on this list. However, it only comes as a single unit, and you’ll need two to get the best out of a Dolby Atmos surround system. Being a single speaker, Micca has designed it to emit stereo sound from the solo unit. You’ll definitely want to use the M-8C together with other speakers to achieve the ideal tonal range.

A 1-inch tweeter and 8-inch woofer produce a punchy and lively sound. There’s plenty of subtlety in the higher range that mixes in well with a quite powerful lower end.

Plenty of bass…

Furthermore, considering the low price, there is a startling amount of bass produced by the M-8C. If you weren’t using them as a part of a surround setup, they almost pack enough bass to get away without buying a separate subwoofer.

Distortion-free sound quality is the name of the game here, even when cranked up to higher volumes. Also, directional sound capabilities are provided by the 1-inch tweeter, which can pivot to project the audio.

Style and simplicity…

Design-wise, the Micca M-8C has a pretty minimalist look. A detachable grille can be removed if you prefer to see your drivers in action. The Grille can also be painted if you want it to blend in naturally with the color of your ceiling.

Installation is a breeze. Once the correct size hole has been made, all you need is a screwdriver to attach the speaker via the simple mounting tabs.

Superb soundscape…

Bought as part of a 5.1.2 system (the most common setup for Dolby Atmos home cinema), these speakers will do a nice job of providing that extra layer of height that Atmos creates. They offer a good soundscape at a very reasonable price and deserve consideration as one of the best.

Pros

  • Top-notch value for money.
  • The audio quality of a more expensive speaker.
  • No installation worries.

Cons

  • The detachable grille comes loose occasionally.

Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Ceiling Speaker – Most Versatile Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speakers

The second item on our list is this awesome little pair of ceiling speakers from Polk Audio. The RC80i 2-way speakers come equipped with an 8-inch dynamic woofer and a 1-inch ring radiator tweeter. Both are capable of delivering a beautifully balanced frequency range. Additionally, the tweeter is mounted on a pivot that can swivel 15 degrees in your preferred direction.

Whether as part of your surround sound home theatre system or to appreciate your music using Dolby Atmos, the versatility of these speakers will meet any requirements.

Versatile and discrete…

Built using durable, moisture-resistant materials, the Polk RC80i can be used in a variety of environments. Living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, saunas, and outdoor patios that are shielded from the elements are all potential places of use.

Polk has opted for a refined and unflashy design that will mold into the décor of any home seamlessly. They’re about as inconspicuous as 8-inch ceiling speakers could be. You’ll hardly notice them, especially if you paint the detachable grille a similar color to the ceiling.

Quick and easy…

Installation is made as straightforward as possible. Once you’ve cut the correct sized hole, all you have to do is connect the wiring and fix the speaker in position. Rotating cams lock the unit firmly in position. It couldn’t be simpler. You don’t even need a screwdriver!

The audio quality of the Polk RC80i is impressive enough. Trebles have an intense clarity that sparkles well, and the mid ranges are positioned well. Vocals and lead instrumentation are delivered well when listening to music, classical in particular. Bass has some heft to it without knocking you off your feet.

The perfect accompaniment…

As you’ll likely be using these as part of a surround setup, they’ll handle any overhead projected sound with no problems whatsoever. All in all, they provide a nicely rounded sound stage that will compliment your Dolby Atmos-enabled system very well.

Pros

  • Balanced sound stage.
  • Moisture resistant.
  • Good value.
  • Ease of installation.
  • Unobtrusive design.

Cons

  • Lacking in bass extension.

Polk Audio 70-RT 3-Way Ceiling Speaker – Best Value for Your Money Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speaker

Stepping up the price ladder, we have the 70-RT 3-way speaker, again from Polk Audio. They come as a single unit, so you’ll want to buy two of these to fully appreciate what Dolby Atmos can bring to a surround sound home theatre system.

Impressive soundstage…

With the increase in price comes a definite step up in audio quality. The 70-RT has a very sweet and smooth mid-range. This is down to the fact that, unlike most ceiling speakers of this size, it has three drivers. Specifically with one for the mid-range. As a result, it doesn’t have to compromise mid-range for bass response.

Good tight bass is also delivered. It’s not huge, but it’s most definitely present, which is all you can really ask from a small ceiling speaker. Coupled with detailed highs that are never harsh and you have a very pleasant sound profile.

Furthermore, response to reflectivity is something you should think about when buying ceiling speakers. Reflective surfaces and bright colors can distort the higher frequencies. The Polk 70-RT has a button that reduces the tweeter levels in such a situation. A nice touch indeed.

Installation made easy…

Screw down clamps fix things in place once the correct hole is cut. Bear in mind that the 70-RT is deeper and heavier than most ceiling speakers, so you’ll need to make sure there’s enough room in your ceiling space.

A slick all-black design means you could install these with the grille off; they look that good. Alternatively, the magnetically-attached grille can be painted to blend in with the ceiling.

All of this makes the Polk Audio 70-RT one of the best Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers currently available.

Pros

  • Smooth mid-range.
  • 3-way drivers
  • Reflective setting.
  • Classy design.

Cons

  • Needs more ceiling space.

Klipsch CDT-5800-C II Ceiling Speaker – Most Durable Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speakers

The second most expensive speaker on our list is the Klipsch CDT-5800-C II. Expensive it is, but certainly not overpriced. It’s crammed full of the latest technology and is capable of a beautifully textured sound.

A ceramic and metal 8-inch woofer produces an impressive bass that packs quite the punch for its size. So much so that you could actually use these in tandem and get away with the need for an external sub-woofer. A 15 degree pivoting ability in all directions also adds another layer of audio ability.

The ultimate in adjustment…

The 1-inch horn-loaded titanium tweeter uses ‘controlled dispersion technology,’ which helps spread the sound to the far reaches of any room. Swivel mounting also enhances the tweeter’s directional capabilities. Mid-range and treble also have adjustability thanks to attenuation switches. This model stands alone in that respect.

All this high-end technology comes together to create an expansive soundstage by itself. Added to a Dolby Atmos set-up, and they come into their own. The Klipsch CDT-5800-C II also holds up exceptionally well at high volume with no distortion detected.

Expertly constructed…

Using high-grade materials, you should expect a longer lifespan from these top-notch speakers. Installation is a piece of cake, and the slim profile guarantees placement in most locations with no problems.

It’s rare we can’t find anything to criticize in a speaker, but the Klipsch CDT-5650-C II has no obvious failings. Cheap it isn’t, but a sound this sexy earns its price tag.

Pros

  • Impressive soundstage.
  • Innovative audio technology.
  • Customizable sound.
  • High quality build.

Pyle Pro PWRC82 Ceiling Speaker – Best Bluetooth Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speakers

These 8-inch, 2-way ceiling speakers from Pyle can be bought as a pair or a set of four. They’re right near the lower end of our price scale. Yet, they are versatile and sound pretty good considering the low cost. Interestingly, they also offer Bluetooth streaming, a useful feature in our highly connected world.

High powered…

The audio performance, although clean, doesn’t have a lot of bass response going on from the 8-inch woofer. They have the least amount of ‘oomph’ of all the speakers on this list. They may not have a lot of grunt, but they can certainly get pretty loud, pushing out an impressive 400W of distortion-free sound.

Treble and mids are reproduced with a good level of detail through ½ inch dual tweeters that are mounted on directional swivels. Paired up with a decent subwoofer as they’ll be in a Dolby Atmos arrangement, they’ll do the job just fine.

Where you want, how you want…

As with all the speakers featured here, installation shouldn’t present any problems. Clamp mounts secure the unit once in place. A magnetic and paintable grille makes it very easy to adjust the directional tweeters if you need to. They’ll blend in well with your décor as well.

Oh, and did we mention that they can also be used outdoors or in a humid environment as they are classed as weather-proof.

Superb value…

The Pyle Pro PWRC82 is one of the cheaper models on our list, and whilst exceptionally good value, you’re getting the audio chops the price merits with Bluetooth thrown in.

Pros

  • Bargain price.
  • Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Subtle design.
  • Weatherproof.

Goldwood Acoustic Audio R191 Ceiling Speakers – Best Budget Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speakers

Another ultra-budget option is the Goldwood Acoustic Audio R191 speaker, which comes in a pack of five for the same price as some of the mid-priced single speakers on this list.

A 5.25-inch woofer constructed from a rigid polypropylene cone produces a solid enough bass for its size. A 12mm dome tweeter handles the high frequencies accurately and cleanly enough, although beware of a little distortion when the volume starts getting near the 200W maximum output.

You won’t even notice they are there…

Installation is going to require a little more work with this number of speakers, but once the holes are cut out, a simple clamping mount keeps everything in place effectively. Paintable grilles ensure a subtle and unobtrusive finish that won’t spoil your living room.

There’s not a lot more to say about the Acoustic Audio R191. If you’re on a really tight budget, they are completely acceptable speakers to compliment your Home theatre system. As for being the absolute best ceiling speakers for Dolby Atmos, though, they are not.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly.
  • Good value.

Cons

  • Lifeless sound.
  • Lengthy installation.

Klipsch R-1650-C Ceiling Speaker – Best Entry Level Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speaker

The Klipsch R-1650-C is a low-end ceiling speaker, coming in at a fraction of the price of its technologically advanced stablemate, the CDT-5800-C II.

140 watts of power are driven by a 6.5-inch polymer cone woofer, and a 1-inch tweeter coaxially mounted to distribute the sound over as wide an area as possible. Audio quality is very much on par with the cheaper models on our list.

Great for the low-mids…

The bass and mid-range are handled by the woofer, with the focus certainly more on the lower mid-range delivery than the bass. Although the bass is present, it has very little punch worth talking about. The trebles are probably the best part of the sound profile. They’re clean and detailed, without any distortion, even with the volume cranked right up.

You wouldn’t want to rely on these speakers to deliver a satisfying experience independently. However, as part of a Dolby Atmos surround cinema set-up, they are capable enough to do what’s required of them.

Come rain, come shine…

Paintable grilles and a simple mounting system make the Klipsch R-1650-C as easy to install and as well camouflaged as most ceiling speakers. They are also moisture-proof in case you are planning to install these in a humid setting.

You’re getting what you pay for with this speaker, no-frills functionality with an acceptable if unexciting sound profile.

Pros

  • Durable build.
  • Good treble reproduction.

Cons

  • Lack of any real bass.
  • Similarly priced competition sounds better.

Polk Audio 265-RT 3-way Ceiling Speaker – Best Sound Performance Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speaker

Now for something a little bit different. The Polk Audio 265-RT is a 3-way ceiling speaker with a much larger rectangular design housing the three driver set-up. With a 21-inch height, 9-inch width, and 4-inch depth, you’ll need a lot more space to accommodate this speaker. As usual, the magnetically detachable grille can be painted to subtly blend into the surroundings.

Low-end boost…

Two 6.5-inch drivers handle the bass and mid-range frequencies, and a single 1-inch tweeter takes care of the treble. A bass port helps boost the low-end response significantly. The 265-RT can handle up to 200W of power. That means things can get very loud if paired with a suitable amplifier.

Polk has included a couple of smart acoustic settings. First is the same reflective attenuation switch featured in their 70-RT model. The tweeter level can be adjusted for rooms with lots of reflective surfaces (glass, tiles, etc.).

Second, is a switch allows for bass adjustment. The size of the recess behind the speaker can make things sound boomy, and this switch will help compensate for that.

Nicely balanced…

The 3-way driver set-up delivers a very well balanced sound profile. There’s plenty of punchy bass on offer here, complemented by defined and detailed mids and treble.

We’re not sure you need quite this much power when using these as surround speakers in a Dolby Atmos set-up. Either way, they’re over-equipped to handle whatever gets thrown at them in this situation and will perform admirably.

Pros

  • High-quality audio.
  • Actual bass.
  • Acoustic settings.

Cons

  • Quite expensive for a single speaker.
  • Large for a ceiling speaker.

Bose Virtually Invisible 791-II – Best Premium Dolby Atmos Ceiling Speakers

Right at the top of the price range and more than twice as expensive as any other speaker featured in this review is the Bose Virtually Invisible 791-II. It comes as a pair that goes some way to help you deal with the pounding your wallet has taken. Bose has a reputation for over-inflating the price of their products, and that is certainly the case here.

However, if we ignore the large price tag, it’s hard to make a case against such a well-finished product. They get the name ‘virtually invisible’ due to the thin profile. Measuring just 4.4-inches in depth, they will fit in almost any ceiling space comfortably. A paintable grille helps disguise their presence.

A signature sound…

Sound quality is up there with the best on this list. The 7-inch woofer is accompanied by two 1-inch tweeters that are nicely positioned to extend the sound to the far reaches of any room. Bose’s signature sound profile is well employed, presenting a rich and detailed tonality and precision across the ranges.

It’s a sophisticated sound. However, we have to say that the Klipsch CDT-5800-C II, with its extra bass, has the preferable overall profile to our ears, and you’ll still be saving money even when buying two.

Quality comes at a cost…

To spend this sort of money on speakers that will be used as part of a Dolby Atmos surround set-up seems extravagant. But if you have the dough, the Bose Virtually Invisible certainly won’t disappoint. There’s just much better value and arguably sound to be had elsewhere.

Pros

  • A textured and precise sound profile.
  • Slick design.
  • Two tweeters provide great projection.

Cons

  • Excessively priced.
  • Paying a premium for the Bose name.

Best Ceiling Speakers For Dolby Atmos Buying Guide

Best Ceiling Speakers For Dolby Atmos Buying Guide

Before parting with your hard-earned cash on some high quality Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers, here are a few things to consider.

Installation…

Ceiling speaker installation is relatively straightforward, and most DIY enthusiasts should be able to manage it without help. If, however, your basic electronics skills are lacking, then you’ll need professional help. This will significantly raise the overall cost of the project.

Adjustability…

Make sure the ceiling speakers you buy have a degree of directional adjustability. Look for pivoted tweeters and, better still, the ability to angle the bass driver. Without this, the sound is likely to reflect off the floor, dampening the whole effect in the process.

Ceiling space…

It’s vital to ensure that your ceiling has the space to house your desired ceiling speaker. Pay particular attention to the speaker’s depth.

Old houses that utilize big wooden joists will have around 9-10-inches to play with, more than enough for any of the speakers featured here. Newer constructions don’t usually have as much room to play with. Make sure you’ve checked what you have to work with before buying.

Speaker Size…

Ceiling speaker driver sizes vary from 4-8 inches. It’s fair to say that larger drivers deliver superior sound quality, especially in the bass department. If your main priority is to hide the speakers in the ceiling, then the smaller, the better. If you want the best audio available, then big equals best.

Build Quality…

Not something you want to overlook. Higher quality construction materials will improve not only the speaker performance but also its durability. A flexible surround and high woofer cone sensitivity are both important. High-temperature resistance is also a must.

Sound Quality…

So you’ve found a set of ceiling speakers that tick all the boxes, but how do they sound? Even if they are just going to be used as part of a Dolby Atmos surround set-up, sound quality is not something that should be overlooked.

Also, if only installing one speaker, ensure that it’s capable of producing stereo sound independently. Otherwise, speakers that come as a pair are usually mono and together will provide you with the stereo sound you require.

Now you’re fully equipped with the factors you need to know and have a selection of the best ceiling speakers currently available; it’s time to get shopping and start enjoying the truly immersive experience of Dolby Atmos full surround sound at home.

Looking for Something Else?

Finding the perfect set of speakers has never been easier. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best 7.1 Home Theater System, the Best Floor Standing Speakers, the Best Powered Speakers, the Best Sonos Speaker, and the Best Wireless TV Speakers you can buy in 2021.

Also, take a look at our reviews of the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $500, the Best Computer Speakers Under $100, the Best Home Theater Speakers, the Best Alexa Speakers, and the Best Tailgate Speakers currently on the market.

What are the Best Ceiling Speakers For Dolby Atmos?

Taking all factors into consideration, we’d have to say that the best quality ceiling speakers for Dolby Atmos are the…

Polk Audio 70-RT 3-Way Speakers

The triple driver set up allows for great separation of the frequency ranges and results in a well-rounded sound profile that’s head and shoulders above the similarly priced competition. Yes, the Klipsch CDT-5800-C II has superior overall sound quality, but it’s not worth paying over twice the price for.

Throw in a sleek design, a very simple installation process, and some impressive technology to counter treble reflectivity, and you have a speaker that will make the perfect addition to your Dolby Atmos surround sound set-up.

Until next time, happy listening.

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How to install Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers

Dolby Atmos is the latest and greatest surround sound format for the home. If you’re reading this, and you’re currently contemplating installing ceiling speakers, we probably don’t need to tell you much about Atmos — you’re ready to get going, so go ahead and skip to “Are you sure about ceiling speakers?”

For those of you who need the low-down, you can check the links at the left for a comprehensive catch-up.

Are you sure about ceiling speakers?

Before we begin in earnest, let’s just double-check something. Are you sure ceiling speakers are the right choice for your Dolby Atmos home theater setup? Installing ceiling speakers can be tricky. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a messed up ceiling, wires hanging all over the place, a partner who now sees you as the person who ruined their favorite room, and … no Atmos.

Don’t forget, there are other alternatives, like Dolby Atmos soundbars, and Dolby Atmos module speakers that are no more difficult to install than your original 5.1 or 7.1 speakers. Now that we’ve done our due diligence, let’s get at it.

Plan, plan, plan

How to install Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers

The key to any successful installation is having a well thought out plan. You may need to deviate from that plan if unexpected things happen, but always start with a plan. In this case, your plan needs to include:

Tools:

    Stud finder
    Pencil
    Tape measure
    Drywall
    Saw
    Screwdriver or power driver
    Fishing tape
    Cable fishing rod

How many speakers do you want?

Some Atmos receivers support up to four “height” (ceiling) speakers, but you can also choose to do just two. If so, you need to decide if they’re going to be placed near the sitting/viewing area, which is optimal, or, near the front/screen. Perhaps you want to install four speakers in case you want to add more later, even though your receiver can only support two? Decide now.

Speaker placement

Dolby Labs has a series of PDF brochures you can use to figure out the best spot for each ceiling speaker, relative to where you’ll be sitting, and to your existing surround speakers. Keep in mind, depending on the location of your ceiling joists, you may have to alter the final placement, but you should know before you start whether or not things like recessed lighting, or HVAC/plumbing bulkheads are going to make this a non-starter.

Your wiring path

How are you going to connect these new ceiling speakers back to the receiver? If you’re fortunate enough to be working with an unfinished ceiling, or your room is below your attic, this will be a lot easier to figure out. If your ceiling is finished, you’ll have to make some educated guesses, with the help of a few tricks we’ll discuss below.

Your comfort level

This might be the most important part of the plan. Are you comfortable taking on all aspects of the job? If you’re installing speakers in a finished ceiling, with finished walls, you’ll be cutting drywall, running wire through cavities that may have obstructions, and using tools like fish tape. There’s a good chance you’ll need to drill holes in wooden obstacles like fire-blocks. If you end up making an “oops,” you may need to do a small drywall repair, then prime and paint.

You don’t need to be a licensed contractor to do this, but if you’re not the patient sort, or don’t think your handiwork will impress, now’s the time to decide where your limits are.

Select your speakers

Speaker size matters | How to install Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers

Before the cutting, wiring (and cursing) begins, you should have all of your materials on-hand. This includes the speakers themselves. Although your ceiling speakers should be an acoustic match for the rest of your home theater speakers, this isn’t critical. You also don’t need to worry about finding a set with a ton of low-end bass: Your subwoofer will take care of that. What you should look for is a model that features wide sound dispersion. As Dave Napoleone of Toronto-based Cloud 9 AV said, “ … the idea is to create a ‘dome’ of sound above you.” Ceiling speakers that are highly directional may not be as effective at this.

How much you spend on these speakers will be a function of your budget as well as your existing gear. If your home theater receiver and/or your amp is a budget model, there’s little to be gained from buying expensive ceiling speakers. If you’ve got high-end equipment, however, you’ll just be cheating yourself by installing cheap speakers.

Size matters

Your ceiling speakers will be anywhere from 6 to 12-inches in diameter, which likely won’t be a problem given that most ceiling joists are 16 inches apart (on center), with a 14-inch gap between them. The height/depth of the speakers, on the other hand, could present a problem. In really old homes, builders used massive wooden joists that are nine inches tall or more. Modern homes will have decidedly less space to play with. Before you settle on a ceiling speaker, make sure your ceiling can accommodate it. Most will only need three to four inches of clearance, but there are some that need eight or nine.

If you’ve got an open attic above your drywall, you’ve got no worries. If you’re working in a finished basement, check to see if there are any unfinished areas where you can look up and see the exposed joists. If all else fails, make a tiny hole in your ceiling, and, using an unfolded wire coat hanger, see how far you can push it into the cavity. Mark the spot on the hanger, and measure once you pull it back out.

Find a spot

Figuring out your final speaker placement will be a combination of following Dolby’s recommendations, and working within the constraints of your ceiling. Your joists will be the biggest obstacle, literally, so you’ll have to figure out where they’re located. Most of the time, a stud finder will do the trick, but be warned: Unlike walls, ceiling drywall is often not in direct contact with the joists.

This creates two challenges. First, a stud sensor won’t always read the changes in material density that tell it a joist is present. Second, the metal straps that do connect directly to the ceiling in this case are very thin, making them unlikely to register either.

Fortunately, there’s a very reliable hack: Get a set of rare earth fridge magnets, and glide one across the surface of the ceiling in a growing spiral pattern, starting at the center of where you want to put a speaker. Go slow, and keep gentle yet constant pressure on the magnet. Eventually, you’ll feel it tug — that’s the head of a drywall screw, and it’s a reliable indicator of the presence of a joist or a metal strap. Leave it in place and do the same thing with a few more magnets. Usually, joists run across the width of house, so you’ll find the next screw by slowly moving across the ceiling in a straight line toward a wall. You should now have a line of magnets that show you where one joist is.

To find the next joist, measure perpendicularly from your magnet line, approximately 16 inches. Start your next magnet sweep here, this time keeping your path parallel to the first line of magnets. If you’re lucky, the drywaller will have put screws in roughly the same spots.

A stack of rare-earth fridge magnets made out of neodymium

Now that you’ve got a good idea where the joists are, confirm your speaker placements. Your speaker hopefully came with a circular template, that will let you trace the precise size of the opening you need to cut. If not, got to the manufacturer’s website and see if there’s one you can download and print, making sure you’re set to “100 percent” ratio for the size.

With some double sided tape, tack the templates to your ceiling. Measuring carefully, double check distances to make sure the templates are placed symmetrically, and in accordance with Dolby’s recommendations (or as close as you can get). You’ll want to give yourself at least an inch or two of breathing room between the template’s edge, and the nearest joist; the speaker needs room for the locking tabs that swing out further than the circle. If you’re too close to a joist, those tabs won’t be able to engage.

Choosing speaker cable

Rather than standard speaker wire, a ceiling installation requires fire-rated in-wall speaker cable, which adds a heavy duty layer of insulation around both wires. Running any kind of wiring through a wall or ceiling can put the wire in contact with splintered wood, exposed metal strapping and other hazards that can damage the protective wrapping of standard speaker cable, causing a short, or worse.

More on Dolby Atmos

Average home speaker cable comes in 16AWG or 14AWG gauge, which determines the thickness of the two copper wires. The smaller the number, the thicker the wire. “A thicker speaker wire will carry the full frequency and current better,” said Napoleone, “but this is only a factor for long runs or high-power/high-current applications.”

Napoleone uses 16 gauge for most of Cloud9’s installs, saying that “for small in-ceiling speakers, I don’t believe you will hear a difference.” If you’re dealing with a really long cable run, or if you’ve got a premium home theater receiver paired to a set of premium speakers, 14 gauge cable could make sense.

How much cable?

How much cable | How to install Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers

Professional AV installers avoid this question altogether, by using large spools of speaker cable — much more than they could conceivably need. If you don’t mind buying your speaker cable in bulk, this is a good way to go. If not, you’ll have to measure carefully, as you don’t want to run short — splicing speaker cable is not recommended, especially if that splice ends up in the ceiling or wall, where it could get damaged.

If you’re confident that you’ll be able to pass the speaker cable in a direct line from your speaker and receiver — maybe you’ve got open ceilings and walls — measure that distance by running your tape measure as if it were the actual speaker cable. If the cable will need to pass around a bulkhead, your tape measure needs to do the same. Take your final measurement, and add 10 feet. You may not need this extra length, but if you do, you’ll be super happy it’s there. If you don’t have the luxury of an open ceiling, assume the worst, and measure the longest possible route, again adding 10 feet.

Make your holes

Once you’re feeling good about where they’re located, take a pencil and trace the template’s circle, then remove the template. Using a drywall knife, plunge the blade into the middle of the circle, and make a cut out to the perimeter. Try to stay as close to the circle’s line as possible. You can always make the circle bigger, but you can’t make it smaller. Before removing the entire piece of drywall, you may want to remove one quarter — this should be enough to stick your hand, or your coat hanger, into the cavity to double check that you haven’t accidentally ended up too close to a joist or other obstacle. If everything’s good, finish your cut. If you run into a metal strap, you’ll have to cut this too, using a small hacksaw. If you hit a joist, you’ll have to reposition your template and begin a new hole. A drywall repair is way easier than trying to cut away part of a joist — not to mention it weakens the joist!

Finding the right spot | How to install Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers
dolby atmos ceiling installing speakers guide 5729

Grab one of your speakers (without the grille), and try it out for size by lifting it into the hole. It should slide in with little or no resistance, and you shouldn’t have any visible gaps between the edge of your hole and the leading edge of the speaker. If it won’t go in all the way, gradually enlarge the hole by running the drywall knife along the perimeter, removing small amounts of material as you go. It’s important to do this evenly. Eventually, your speaker should fit perfectly.

Run those cables

Choosing the right cable | How to install Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers

Before you begin fishing cable through, mark each cable according to the speaker it will be connected to (e.g., “Atmos Right,” or “Ceiling Right”). If possible, write on the actual cable itself, instead of using an adhesive label, which could get ripped off when you run the cable.

Because there are almost as many installation techniques as there are home theaters, we can’t offer you step-by-step instructions for your specific room.

What we can do is point you to some excellent resources on the web, that cover a wide variety of room types, and installation techniques.

Wayne Pflughaupt over at Home Theater Shack, has assembled a five-part guide to in-wall wiring that’s as useful for general wiring as it is for speaker cables. He covers several scenarios, including open-attic ceilings, drilling through fire blocks and top plates, and has some excellent tips for the first-timer, like how to use a pull-chain and a magnet to make your life way easier.

As good as Wayne’s guide is, it doesn’t have any video. Sometimes you just need to see exactly how this stuff is done. Here are a few helpful videos, including How To Fish Cables Through The Wall, a ceiling speaker install walk-through, a video using an ingenious tool called a Magnepull, and how to deal with tricky insulated walls, and walls with fire blocks.

We’re also going to discuss two specific tools that we think are essential to running cable in walls and ceilings: Fish tape, and a fishing rod.

Fish tape

A spool of fish tape | How to install Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers

Fish tape is a flexible, but very strong spool of spring steel. It’s perfect for pulling cables through conduits, or walls, or any other location that is fully enclosed, but with few or no obstacles. It’s rigid enough that you can guide it simply by pushing it, yet flexible enough to get around gentle bends or very narrow openings. As long as nothing blocks its path, you can push a fish tape very long distances. To use fish tape, you start from your destination.

For instance, if you’re running cable from the top of a wall to the bottom of a wall, you insert the fish tape at the bottom of the wall and run it up, so that the end of the fish tape emerges at the top. Once you’ve got some length exposed, securely attach your cable to the end of the fish tape with electrical tape.

Start by wrapping the tape around the fish tape, and then around the cable too, so that you’ve created a sock of tape around the end of the cable — this will prevent it from snagging on the drywall or any other objects. Wrap the tape as tightly as possible; you want the cable securely connected to the fish tape, but you also want to minimize the thickness created by the cable.

Once secured, gently guide the cable an inch or two back into the hole at the top of the wall, until the taped portion is no longer visible. Now you can return to the bottom of the wall and start pulling the fish tape out. Make sure there is nothing preventing your cable from freely feeding into the top hole; you may want to ask someone to help with that task. If you encounter anything more than gentle resistance while pulling, stop. Push the fish tape back a few inches and try again. You may need to do this several times, and combine it with a twisting motion. Be patient, and don’t give up — if the fish tape made the first journey, it should be able to make it back.

Cable fishing rod

Cable fishing rod | How to install Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers

Cable fishing rods are actually quite similar to regular fishing rods, in that they’re designed to be straight, rigid poles, that have enough flex that you can guide them from an angle. They come in a variety of lengths, and you can usually connect multiple rods to achieve virtually any total length. Most offer a few screw-on accessories like hooks and eyes. Unlike fish tape, which will naturally curl, a fishing rod stays straight. When running cable through a ceiling, you need to stay above hazards like recessed lighting, and drywall strapping. A fish tape spool makes this very difficult as gravity will constantly pull the tape down, usually right into the obstacles you want to avoid. A fishing rod can be guided to the very top of your ceiling cavity, and as long as you maintain upward pressure on the rod, it will stay there, easily clearing the objects closer to the drywall. For enclosed ceilings, a fishing rod is a must.

Another benefit to a cable fishing rod is you can push as well as pull the cable. You’ll need to decide based on your specific circumstances which technique will work best but here’s a helpful tip: If you decide to push your cable through a cavity and you get stuck, you’ll probably need to pull back on the rod. If there’s any slack on the cable, it could get looped around an obstacle making it impossible to retrieve. We suggest spinning the rod as you push, causing the cable to wrap tightly around it, keeping slack to a minimum.

Installing the speakers

Assuming everything worked out with your cable runs, this is the easy part. Strip the ends of your two copper wires by ¾ of an inch. For each wire, twist the copper strands until they form a tight, single bunch. Making sure you respect the positive and negative wires, connect them to the appropriate terminals on the speaker. Some speaker wires are red and black, while others can be white and black. Always connect the black wire to the negative terminal, so that you don’t get confused on either the speaker or receiver ends.

Gently lift the speaker into the hole, while taking care to keep your excess speaker wire from sitting on top of the speaker housing — this could cause unwanted vibrations. Using a screwdriver, slowly turn the screws for the locking tabs. You’ll hear a click as the tabs swing out from their home position and begin to descend their guide rails. Keep turning until you encounter resistance, and repeat for all four tabs. For your last step, apply some very gentle pressure to each tab screw to make sure the tab is well seated against the drywall. Do not over-tighten these tabs… there’s no need to do so, and if you accidentally snap them they’ll be useless.

Grab your speaker grille and, depending on the kind, either snap it into place or let the built-in magnets do the work for you. Congrats, you’re all done!

Configuring your system

Don’t forget, now that you’ve installed and connected your new Atmos height speakers, you’ll need to tell your home theater receiver that they’re there. Using the settings menu, find the appropriate section for speaker configuration, and follow the on-screen instructions. You may need to repeat the automatic leveling procedure if your receiver came equipped with a room mic. If your receiver lets you set crossover frequencies for each channel, you’ll want to make sure the new Atmos speakers are set according to the manufacturer’s suggestions.

Add the Atmos

Of course, the final step is auditioning your new Atmos speakers with a really good Atmos-enabled movie. You’ll need an Ultra-HD Blu-ray player for this, and a selection of the best Atmos movies. Now, let it rip!

Editors' Recommendations

Sours: https://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/dolby-atmos-ceiling/
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If you’re looking for new speakers or want to add some depth to your existing system, this guide will help you find out the best ceiling speakers for Atmos in the market today.

Atmos is a premium and advanced audio technology that adds quality to your speakers and home theater systems. Atmos also amplifies the material-based and object-based sounds which are important aspects of a film’s score. This adds more value to the scene and reflects the reality of the sequences.

In this guide, we will cover what exactly is the Dolby Atmos technology and what to look for in good ceiling speakers. We will then give you an overview of the features, pros, and cons of the 5 best ceiling speakers for Atmos to help you decide which one is best for your needs.

Looking for speakers that can rock your small room? Here is our list of the best speakers for small rooms in 2021!

Contents

The Best Ceiling Speakers for Atmos – Overview

What Exactly Is Dolby Atmos?

Atmos from Dolby is a surround system technology that was developed in the year 2012. It has the capacity to support 5 to 7 channels at one go, giving a surround sound feel. Many theatres around the world use this technology as part of their immersive cinema experience.

Surround system

Atmos can be found in most sound systems from budget brands to major brands. You can easily set up a home audio system that gives cinema-like surround sound quality, thanks to the height virtualization feature on Atmos sound systems. Height virtualization works by applying height estimating filters to ceiling speakers that adds another dimension to the audio experience.

These filters stimulate the natural senses of the human ears to sound arriving by the overhead speakers. The associate filters have been equalized so that the audio remains natural everywhere in the listening environment.

Naturally, when you are investing in a home theater system, you want to make sure that you get the best ceiling speakers to add value to the experience. Below we’ve mentioned the most important things to consider that can help you get the best ceiling speakers for Atmos.

What Makes A Good Ceiling Speaker for Atmos?

Sound Quality

One of the things that people may often overlook is the sound quality of the ceiling speakers. Shocking, yes, I know. This is because many people would buy a ceiling speaker without giving much thought to how it should add value to the setting it’s installed in.

There are a few things you need to consider in order to truly create cinema-quality audio. The height of the ceiling, area of the room, and the sound output of the speakers in relation to your audio system will all impact the Atmos surround sound experience.

Connectivity

You want to make sure that you have the appropriate connectivity options with your sound system and room setting. For example, if you don’t have a false ceiling, then having ceiling speakers with Bluetooth connectivity would create minimal distractions.

Getting the Right Size

Ceiling speakers come in all shapes and sizes. If you are looking for discreet options, there are speakers that blend with false ceilings and come in color options to match the decor. If you don’t mind a prominent speaker that delivers performances, there are box ceiling speakers as well.

The size of your room and the placement of the speakers are very important. The last thing you want is putting your money in speakers that fail to deliver the Atmos experience you bought them for.

Budget

Ceiling speakers, in general, are usually not an expensive addition to audio and home theater systems. But if you’re looking for quality then you will have to shell out some cash. Ceiling speakers can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. While the high-end speakers will definitely provide a better Atmos sound quality, you can still get great speakers on a budget.

Audio Setup

Your current audio setup will dictate your choice of ceiling speakers. Ideally, you want to have a multi-speaker setup where the ceiling speakers are adding value rather than being the focal point. That way you can get the ultimate Atmos sound experience that immerses you in the media you’re watching and hearing.

If you have a heavy audio setup, then you can consider getting multiple ceiling speakers to add the Atmos surround sound experience. However, with a modest audio setup or an entry-level home theater system, a pair of ceiling speakers would be good enough in a mid-sized room.

Durability

Durability is a major factor when buying any type of speaker. The problem with ceiling speakers is that there are cheaper options available which often compromise on durability. The last thing you want is to remove the speakers and install a new pair which is a hassle.

Loudness

Last but not least is the loudness of the speakers. While ceiling speakers are viewed as supporting audio add-ons, you should still make sure they are loud enough to provide you with the Atmos sound experience. Therefore, you should buy a ceiling speaker that is not only loud, but also matches your audio system and area requirements.

If you’re looking for large speakers that offer sound and durability, check out our guide of the best floor standing speakers in 2021.

The 5 Best Ceiling Speakers for Atmos

Sony Dolby Atmos Enabled Elevation Speakers – Best Budget Option

Sony Dolby Atmos Enabled Elevation Speakers

If you want a great-sounding ceiling speaker which can be installed on your wall too, the Sony Elevation speakers can be a good choice for you. These are one of the best-reviewed ceiling speakers that give a theater-like feel to watching movies and an immersive music experience.

These compact speakers can be installed conveniently on your ceiling or wall. The Mica cones help reduce distortion and the MDF box is built to absorb vibrations for better playback.

The Sony 4” Elevation speakers come with wall and ceiling mountings. You can connect them through a generic audio cable to your existing audio system. The speakers operate at a max of 100W and have 86dB sound output for powerful sound. Known for producing focused sounds, these speakers can compliment most audio setups in small to mid-sized rooms.

One drawback of these speakers is that while they are compact, they are wired and have a bulging frame. They will not blend with the environment and may cause distractions if placed on the wall or your ceiling.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 5.75 x 7.13 x 7.13 inches
  • Weight: 6.63 pounds
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Output: 100 W peak performance with 86dB sound output
  • Warranty: 2 years manufacturer warranty on parts

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Ideal for small to mid-sized rooms
  • Mica subwoofer
  • Can be set up on walls and ceilings and takes less space

Cons

  • Not ideal for large rooms
  • Noticeable bulgy form factor despite the size
  • No wireless connectivity

Bowers & Wilkins CI600 – Most Premium Ceiling Speakers for Atmos

Bowers & Wilkins CI600

Bowers & Wilkins is a major brand in the audio industry. The Bowers & Wilkins CI600 stays true to the brand’s values of providing premium quality speakers in terms of build, sound, and durability.

The CI600 is a go-to option for people looking to add some much needed dynamic sounds to their existing audio systems. It is widely regarded as one of the best ceiling speakers that can create a stereo sound with one speaker. It also has the loudness to compliment most home theater systems. It features a 6-inch bass driver with dual voice coils and two soft tweeters for clear cross-spectrum audio.

The CI600 speaker also comes with a white grill for protection. You can also paint the protective grill to match your decor and make the speaker blend in with the ceiling to create a minimal distraction. Though the CI600 is a highly recommended ceiling speaker for Atmos, it doesn’t come for cheap.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 5.2 x 9.5 x 5.2 inches
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Output: 80W
  • Warranty: 5 years manufacturers warranty on product and parts

Pros

  • Stereo sound from just one speaker
  • Loudness
  • Switchable modes from stereo to surround

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Bass quality could be better

Klipsch RP Passive 2-Way Speakers – Ultimate Home Theater Experience

Klipsch RP Passive 2-Way Speakers

Another great option of a ceiling speaker supporting Atmos surround sound feature is the Klipsch Reference Premiere. Klipsch stands for quality and they have not disappointed with these speakers.

The RP Passive is designed so that the sound travels across the ceiling to produce a surround sound that can elevate the experience of watching a movie.

Klipsch Reference Premiere features a 1-inch titanium LTS vented tweeter and 5.25-inch woofer for delivery of high-quality audio with crystal clear details at all frequencies.

It comes in a pair and the best part is that both speakers combine to give a single source sound feeling. As for the power, it produces 300W power and operates at a peak of 75W.

The RP Passive speaker can be placed on the wall with a wall bracket, on the ceiling, or on top of your existing tower speakers.

One drawback of the Klipsch Reference Premiere worth mentioning is the size and design of the speaker. It doesn’t do a great job blending with the ceiling so it can be distracting for some people. That said, these bad boys can be plugged easily into your existing audio system and give you the feeling of a ceiling speaker.

Klipsch RP-140SA Dolby Atmos Speaker | Amazon
Klipsch RP-140SA Dolby Atmos Speaker | Amazon

The Reference Premiere RP-140SA Dolby Atmos enabled elevation speaker effortlessly adds the Dolby Atmos experience to your current floor standing or bookshelf speaker.

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Specifications

  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 6.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Weight: 7.9 pounds
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Output: 75W continuous power and 300W peak power
  • Warranty: 5 years manufacturer warranty on product and parts

Pros

  • 6-inch driver in both speakers for loud audio
  • Two speakers give out audio feeling like a single-source audio
  • Designed to give an elevated audio feeling
  • Titanium vented tweeters for high-quality audio across all frequencies

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some people may find it distracting as they are bigger than most ceiling speakers

SVS Prime Elevation – Best Value for Money

SVS Prime Elevation

The SVS Prime Elevation is one of the best value for money ceiling speakers for Atmos. SVS is a recognized name in the audio industry and has an iconic line of products to appease its fanbase.

The SVS Prime Elevation is a speaker that can be easily added to your audio system to give you room-filling, elevated audio that creates a surround sound feel. It can be mounted on the wall as well as the ceiling.

The SVS Prime Elevation comes in a pair of speakers featuring a 1-inch tweeter with a driver just above 4 inches for clear and concise audio. The tweeter is responsible for the transient response and the defused sound..

The SVS Prime Elevation can be placed at many places in your room. For the best audio results, I would recommend that you place the speakers either on top of your existing tower speakers for a 3D sound effect, or place them on the left and right corners of the ceiling for a great elevated surround sound.

One drawback of the SVS Prime Elevation is that the wall mounting bracket hides the beauty of these well-designed speakers. Because of its size, it may not appeal to people who are looking for a minimal and sleek design in their ceiling speakers. That said, the Elevation speakers make up for it with the rich audio quality.

SVS Prime Elevation Speaker (Pair) | Amazon
SVS Prime Elevation Speaker (Pair) | Amazon

The SVS Prime Elevation takes speaker versatility to new heights as an uncompromised direct radiating height effects speaker for object based surround sound and also as a center, front, LCR, side surround and/or rear surround when ideal placement in a room isn’t possible.

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Specifications

  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Weight: 7.8 pounds
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Output: 83 decibels sensitivity and 75W continuous power with a 300W peak
  • Warranty: 2 years manufacturer warranty on product and parts

Pros

  • Best in class Dolby Atmos sound surround
  • Value for money
  • Hassle-free connectivity options
  • Loud and clear sounds
  • Made with quality materials for durability

Cons

  • Bulging form factor that may not appeal to people who look for aesthetics
  • Larger in size as compared to other ceiling speakers in the market
  • Bass could be better

Micca M-6C 2-Way Speaker – Best Sounding Speakers

Micca M-6C 2-Way Speaker

Another ceiling speaker you could go for is the relatively new Micca M-6C. The M-6C is a 2-way speaker engineered to offer the most dynamic sound for its size. It comes in different sizes ranging from 3.5 inches in diameter to a staggering 8 inches in diameter, obviously at different price ranges as the size goes up.

Mica is known as a reliable and quality brand by audiophiles. It’s not the most renowned brand out there. However, people who love audio and sound know that Mica has been delivering the goods for the past two decades.

The Micca M-6C is a 2-way ceiling speaker with a 6.5-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter. This combination provides a rich sound experience and in addition to the natural vocal and the smooth audio, the clarity and details are great too.

The Micca M-6C is designed for accessibility and power. Its design features are also very impressive and allow it to elevate the aesthetics of the room. Its capability of supporting Atmos makes it the go to ceiling speaker for many audio enthusiasts. But be ready to spend some buck as this arrangement does not come cheap.

The ceiling speakers are easy to install and the grill can be painted to match the existing wall color. It can easily be installed in a ceiling on a wall without causing any distractions while offering a much needed oomph factor to your audio systems.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 9 x 3 inches
  • Weight: 3.15 pounds
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Output: 90 decibels sensitivity and 75W continuous power
  • Warranty: 2 years manufacturer warranty on product and parts

Pros

  • Realistic sound with excellent details on all frequencies
  • Preinstalled crossover network for pairing between woofer and tweeter
  • Hassle-free connection and can be easily paired with your existing audio system
  • Loud and clear sounds
  • Excellent bass response
  • Made with quality materials for durability
  • Comes with different sizes
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Not enough padding at the back of the speaker
  • Sound is not focused

Want to further enhance your movie-watching experience at home? Check out the top 7 channel speakers for dialogue you can buy today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is Atmos from Dolby?

Answer: Atmos is basically a sound technology that allows a Dolby Atmos powered speaker to produce a rich, multi-layered audio experience. Think of it as producing a three-dimensional, surround sound audio that fills the room and accentuates everything from guitar riffs on rock songs to helicopters flying amidst explosions in a movie.

Many theatres across the world use Dolby Atmos to immerse you into the experience of watching a movie. Now you can get a surround sound feel at your home with ceiling speakers for Atmos.

Question: Difference Between Dolby Atmos and other audio systems?

Answer: So essentially, Dolby Atmos is not really a sound system but a technology. Most devices or systems feature mono audio like computers, unbranded TVs, and smartphones. Some have stereo sounds and some have multiple channels.

Mono stands for audio coming in from one direction, whereas stereo stands for audio coming in from two directions. Dolby Atmos is a stereo surround sound technology that creates multi-dimensional audio for up to 7 channels.

Question: What makes Dolby Atmos stand out?

Answer: Dolby Atmos allows the user to choose from which direction the sound should come from. This gives the listener a much more immersive audio experience and greater control over the audio output. Dolby Atmos allows you to experience realistic sounds from different directions and angles that can mesmerize your senses.

Question: What is the difference between Dolby Atmos & IMAX?

Answer: IMAX and Dolby technology both offer great audio experiences. However, one major difference between the two is that IMAX can be upgraded to a max of 5.1 whereas Dolby Atmos can be upgraded to 7.1.

Question: Is there a wireless ceiling speaker available supporting Atmos?

Answer: Unfortunately, there are no wireless ceiling speakers for Atmos. Many knock-off speakers have wireless solutions to ceiling speakers supporting Atmos but they are generally pretty terrible in use.

Wired ceiling speakers are known to give quality output without any distortions. It is recommended by audio experts that you go for a wired version of the speakers for best quality surround output.

Conclusion: Which Ceiling Speaker for Atmos Is the Best?

Ceiling speakers can add a much-needed depth to your existing audio systems. They can create surround sound effects that add more value to scenes in movies and TV shows.

All the ceiling speakers for Atmos we have mentioned are highly recommended and rated. So in the end, it comes down to your personal preference. If you were to ask me, I prefer the Bowers & Wilkins CI600 ceiling speakers and they pretty much covered all my needs for a complimentary set of speakers.

A close second for me is the Mica M-6C and for some people, it may tick all the boxes. My only concern is that the sound is not focused so it tends to fizzle out in higher frequencies. For those looking for a budget option, the Sony Elevation speakers deliver performance without breaking the bank.

So when making the choice, always consider your needs, budget, space, and the usability of the speakers.

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Dolby Atmos Speaker Install 5.2.4 Home Theatre Martin Logan Helos 12 \u0026 ElectroMotion IC

Ceiling Speaker for Atmos

When you set up your new home theater, you want to make sure that you pick the right items to make it perfect. And the speakers you choose will be an important feature to consider.

If you want to watch movies and shows that work with Dolby Atmos, it is also important to pick out speakers, including ceiling speakers, that are compatible with this feature.

You can use most ceiling speakers for Atmos. While some of the older models may not have the capability to play this surround sound application, if you are designing your home theater, most of the speaker options, including those for the ceiling, will come equipped to work with Dolby Atmos.

Also, check out my article: Can I Use Bookshelf Speakers for Atmos?

As an affiliate, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

In this article, we will take a look at which speakers work well with atmos, some of the reasons that Atmos is such a great feature to have and use in your home theater, and some of the things you should look for when choosing a ceiling speaker that is compatible with Atmos.

Do All Speakers Work With Atmos?

The first question we need to ask is whether or not all speakers work Dolby Atmos. There are quite a few speakers that can handle this surround sound capability. This gives you many options when you are choosing a ceiling speaker, and you want to use it with Atmos.

However, you need to check whether the speaker works with Atmos or not before purchasing. This is true no matter which type of speaker you add to your system. Most speakers designed in the past few years are compatible with Atmos, but not all.

If you have an older speaker or plan to save money by purchasing used, then this feature may not be found on the speaker. Any ceiling speaker that is compatible with this feature will give you the Dolby Atmos experience.

Why Should I Choose a Speaker That Works With Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is an amazing surround sound option in many modern movies and shows. This one is based on the object-based audio format, which means that it works to attach the sound directly to the objects that are on the screen, instead of to specific channels or speakers.

The benefit of this one is that Atmos helps you to be right in the action. The sound is delivered from each angle, including above, below, and to all sides, as long as you have the right number of speakers to do this.

The Benefits

There are a number of benefits for using this surround sound feature, including:

  • Plenty of content: While there are still limitations, the library of shows and movies that include Dolby Atmos surround sound is growing.
  • Affordable equipment: You can find models out there that cost thousands of dollars. But it isn’t necessary to choose something that expensive. Many receivers and speakers can be quite affordable.
  • Amazing sound: Remember how great a movie sounds in the theater? Dolby Atmos helps to bring that same experience into your home.

Even with these benefits, keep in mind that the content available for Dolby Atmos is still pretty limited. It is also likely that you will need to go through some kind of upgrade on your current system to make this feature work.

And while most modern speakers and television sets work with Atmos already, not all do, and it is possible you may need to get an upgrade to make this work in your home theater.

For more information, read my article “Do I Need a Dolby Atmos TV to Get Dolby Atmos?“

What Should I Look for in a Ceiling Speaker?

Look for in a Ceiling Speaker

When shopping around for a ceiling speaker, there are a few things that you should consider to help you make the best decision. These include:

  • The depth: This lets you know how much space the speaker will take up behind the plaster of your wall or ceiling. The slimmer options will cost more but take up less space while the thicker options take up more space and cost less.
  • Type of speaker: There are many places you can use the ceiling speaker. Consider what room, whether it will be used inside or outside, and any other factors before purchasing.
  • The size: When shopping around, you will notice that most speaker options are either 6.5 inches or 8 inches. This will talk about how big the cone is rather than the size of the speaker. The 8-inch will give better sound because of its size, but the smaller option can do a great job as well.
  • The shape: Most speakers are round or square. Round is the most common, but you can go with whatever one fits your decor or you like better. Both will give the same sound quality.

The Best Ceiling Speakers for Dolby Atmos

If you are in the market for new ceiling speakers for your system, it is definitely worth your time to pick some that work well with Dolby Atmos. This will give you the best surround sound experience no matter what you show or movie you want to watch. Some of the best speakers to enjoy Dolby Atmos on include:

1. Yamaha NS-IW280CWH In-Ceiling Speaker System

Check Price on AmazonYamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5" 3-Way In-Ceiling Speaker System (White, Pair)

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Everything about these speakers is designed to do well with Atmos. The cone in the woofers is stiff while also being lightweight, ensuring that you will get the most detail and accuracy out of your speakers. The input capability maxes out at 100 watts, allowing for amazing bass that other speakers like.

The tweeters are also impressive, providing a good swivel design that provides all the dispersion you need. There is a grill made out of aluminum with a protective cover to give the best sound. You can also tilt the woofer around as much as you want to aim the direction of the sound based on your room.

2. Polk Audio RC80i Round Speakers

Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8" Round Speakers, Set of 2 Perfect for Damp and Humid Indoor/Outdoor Placement - Bath, Kitchen, Covered Porches (White, Paintable Grille)

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If you need a speaker that can handle a beating and is used often, then this option from Polk is a great option. They are designed to work in many different conditions, especially those that are humid and damp, and the seal drivers are rubber. This provides the best response possible while keeping all moisture out of the system.

Add to this that the hardware is rust-resistant, and the composite driver basket will help to keep everything in alignment, so it works well. The cone is designed to get all the lows of sound no matter what you are watching. The tweeter can move around to suit your needs. No matter where you need to place this speaker, you will find it can stick around and last a long time.

3. AmazonBasics In-Ceiling In-Wall Mounted Speakers

AmazonBasics 8" Round In-Ceiling In-Wall Mounted Speakers, Set of 2

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This actually comes in a set of two with simple installation, so you get the best sound in any part of the room. There isn’t anything that you won’t love about these speakers. They allow for you to easily install them anywhere you would like, they have a 4kHz crossover when you need it most, and they are rated to work at 20 – 100W of power for all your needs.

When you need an affordable speaker that is simple to work with and can give you all the great sound you desire with your home system, then this is the right choice for you.

Conclusion

Many modern speakers work well with Dolby Atmos and can give you the amazing sound you are looking for. Some older speakers will lack this compatibility, though, so it is important to look before purchasing to see if you can expect Atmos or not.

With the right ceiling speaker, you can sit down and enjoy the best surround sound with your favorite movies and shows in your own home theater.

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Ceiling atmos

How to choose the perfect atmos ceiling speakers for your home cinema

If you’ve landed here, you might be in the process of designing your very own Dolby Atmos home cinema sound system - a very exciting time!

But as folks are becoming ever more conscious about interior design & the aesthetics of their homes, ceiling speakers are becoming more and more prevalent in home cinema set ups, due to their discrete appearance while still offering an immersive Atmos experience.  

Ceiling speakers are a great addition to any Atmos home cinema system but as you may have already discovered, there’s such a wide choice of them, how do you know where to start?

We’ve compiled a list of our favourite options from brands such as Bowers & Wilkins, Monitor Audio and KEF, each with their own “best for” to help guide your decision. 

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But first, there’s a few things we need to understand:

Why are ceiling speakers a great option for an Atmos set up?

dolby-atmos-ceiling-speakersdolby-atmos-ceiling-speakers

Ceiling speakers in an Atmos home theater systems are mainly used as height channels to add a vertical plane of sound.

As they’re ceiling-mounted, they are well-placed to give immersive effects when the audio is encoded to fire above you. 

A great example might be if a helicopter flew over your head, the ceiling speakers will be activated and bridge the gap between your front speakers and rear surround speakers.

As Dolby Atmos is object based instead of specific channels like Dolby Digital, ceiling speakers will help transition the movement of sound from front to rear in a more balanced and realistic way. 

What makes the perfect Dolby Atmos ceiling speaker?

When choosing ceiling speakers for your Atmos home cinema set up, the main characteristic you’re looking for is clarity and detail of sound. Dispersion is a bonus as the higher the dispersion, the more capable the speaker is at filling larger cinema rooms.

Bass is less important in this scenario as that should be handled by a separate subwoofer, so the overall sound quality takes precedence.

Unfortunately, this is hard to know unless you know what each brand’s strong points are, or if you’ve heard those ceiling speakers before. 

From our many years of installing and listening to ceiling speakers, our go-to brand for audio clarity above anything else is Bowers & Wilkins

A true British heritage brand who have featured in the Abbey Road recording studios, there’s not many other places in the world that has as much kudos as these studios. 

However, there are other honourable mentions that we’ve included in this list, which we think will make great Atmos ceiling speakers.

Monitor Audio C265-FX - Best budget-friendly ceiling speaker for Atmos

monitor-audio-c265-fxmonitor-audio-c265fx

£ RRP: £420 per pair (view latest price)

Monitor Audio almost always feature in our ceiling speaker lists for their reliability, build quality and reasonable price.

The C265-FX in particular is ideal for Atmos set ups due to how well they spread the sound and their critically-acclaimed C-CAM Gold Dome Tweeter . They're purpose built for home cinema set ups which is rare-to-find.

The main focus of these speakers is detail which is great for you as your money will be invested where it really matters in a home cinema set up. 

Shop Monitor Audio C265-FX

KEF CI200RR-THX- Best speaker for high-end Atmos set ups: 

kef-ci200rr-thxkef-ci200rrthx

£ RRP: £1058 per pair (view latest price)

More often than you might think, we are asked what’s the best speaker that money can buy for Atmos.

The KEF CI200RR-THX is typically the speaker that comes to mind first.

Although pricey, the CI200RR-THX is a high-performer for those set ups that are built for maximum immersion with no compromises. 

Being THX certified is no mean feat and requires a thorough understanding of sound processing during filmmaking. 

These are made with the highest grade components that can surprisingly rival HiFi separates. If you want to minimise the number of speaker “boxes” in your room, but maximise sound quality and budget is flexible, look no further.

Shop KEF CI200RR-THX

Bowers & Wilkins CCM662 - Our favourite Atmos speaker

bowers-and-wilkins-ccm662bowers-wilkins-ccm662

£ RRP: £725 per pair (view latest price)

If you asked us outright what we think is the best ceiling speaker that’s great for Atmos, which is less than £1000 a pair, 9 times out of 10, we’d say the CCM662.

Sitting at the top of the CCM600 range, you benefit from Bowers & Wilkins most focused engineering. The 662s are incredibly precise and detailed thanks to the aramid fibre cone, a material used in aerospace and military applications.

The pivotable tweeter is also a bonus as you can direct the sound to where you want it to focus. Or you might be installing off-axis, where you need to offset the angle of the ceiling back down.

What’s more, they’re the installer’s dream as their simple and unique QuickDogs feature makes installation less than a minute per speaker.

SHOP Bowers & Wilkins CCM662

FAQ: How many ceiling speakers do I need for Dolby Atmos?

Dolby use between 1 and 3 pairs of ceiling speakers in their official configurations. 

The most common set ups utilise 1 pair of ceiling speakers which are used as overhead channels, not to be confused with surround speakers!

However, in more advanced set ups, you could also add a second pair of ceiling speakers to act as the “Voice of the Gods” speakers or satellite speakers. These would be positioned in line with the first pair of ceiling speakers but just behind the seating position.

If we take the example of the helicopter, if 2 pairs of ceiling speakers are used, sound can be heard not only behind you but behind and above you, increasing the distance travelled by the helicopter.

FAQ: Can you use ceiling speakers for Atmos in a Sonos set up?

sonos-arc-5.1.2-with-sub

Following the release of the Dolby Atmos-enabled Sonos Arc soundbar, it is possible to create up to a 5.2.2 Atmos set up consisting of the Arc soundbar itself, up to 2 subwoofers, and a pair of rears to create a full surround sound experience. 

The surround sound rears can consist of either Sonos Ones, One SLs, Fives or a pair of in-ceiling or in-wall speakers powered by the Sonos Amp

However, it is important to note, that Sonos does not currently support separate overhead speakers to be used as Atmos speakers. They must be surrounds. 

As the Arc utilises its own Atmos height channels in the form of upward firing speakers, it is not yet known whether Sonos will let users expand this set up further but we will have to wait and see!

Conclusion

I hope this article has provided some direction for your Atmos ceiling speakers. 

As ceiling speakers are a permanent fixture, it pays dividends to research which options will be best for your particular room and space.

If you would like some personal advice, please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to talk over your options and make your budget go as far as possible.

Alternatively, Dolby have some really helpful guides on their website with positioning advice and how to configure your Atmos system, depending on how many speakers you are having.

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Sours: https://www.smarthomesounds.co.uk/blog/faqs/the-best-ceiling-speakers-for-dolby-atmos-and-why-they-matter
2020 DOLBY ATMOS In-Ceiling Speaker Installation. TDG Audio NFC-63A Angled Kevlar - Titanium Speaker

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