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Dolby Atmos

soapsuds

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Hello everyone

My last significant Hi-Fi purchase was over 15 years ago when I bought an Arcam CD player, A90 amplifier and Monitor Audio RS-6 Silver floor-standing speakers. I no longer use the CD player and stream all my music and TV audio from an Apple TV 4K connected to a Sony Bravia TV. The audio goes to the amplifier by means of optical out on the TV via a Topping E30 DAC. Back then, the surround sound options within my budget were rubbish IMO. I’m very happy with this stereo setup, and it has given me lots of pleasure over the years.

Apple and others are starting to push music mastered with Dolby Atmos as a way of delivering an enhanced listening experience, and I’m considering getting some sort of surround sound equipment to enjoy it and maybe enhance my experience of movies.

Is there any way to do this without lots of wires and conspicuous large speakers? I’ve tried a couple of soundbars and have been underwhelmed by the audio from those. I’d be interested in something in the surround sound arena that is of similar quality to my existing stereo equipment. I know I could get some AirPods Max headphones, but I want speakers.

My room is 6m x 4m. The TV and existing speakers are positioned along one of the short walls, and I sit opposite to watch and listen.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.
 

abdo123

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I recommend using powered subwoofers and powered surround speakers and run them wireless using the SVS Tri-Band Wireless Adapter

You would need a pair (transmitter+reciever) for each pair of speakers or subwoofers.

But obviously you would need an AVP/AVR with pre-outs for this.

How is the experience with Dolby Atmos downmixed to Stereo over optical by the TV? I'm considering doing the same before i transition to an AVR myself.
 

voodooless

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How is the experience with Dolby Atmos downmixed to Stereo over optical by the TV? I'm considering doing the same before i transition to an AVR myself.
If I remember correctly, AppleTV will not feed you the Atmos track if the receiving end cannot do the decoding. So you get an alternative track that is possibly downmixed to stereo as well.

BTW, I've had a bad experience with wireless transmitter/receiver, in my case from Monitor Audio. It won't even bridge 3m properly, there is a lot of noise, and you'll need a shitload of gain to overcome it. It also clicked and popped regularly. What a waste of money :facepalm: Possibly the SVS product is better?
 

conqueeftador

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Each speaker will need a cable. Even wireless will need power and gubbins behind it.

What budget have you got for this? Denon 3/4/6700H if you need 120hz 4k. You could go used, cheaper, older and arguably better if you don't need 120hz. You could also feed the front preouts into the A90 and use that to power the front speakers meaning the denon doesn't need to be on for stereo use.

I had a set of RS6s recently, good speakers. Fortunately you can buy used center and RS1/2/RSFX for rears fairly cost effective from ebay. They aren't rare so you won't struggle to complete a set. If the RS1 is too big, you could look at the radius series for heights.

If your seating position is on the back wall, you'll likely not want to fit rear surrounds, so you'll be looking at a 5.X.4 setup. X being the subs and 4 being heights. A pair in each top corner.
 

abdo123

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If I remember correctly, AppleTV will not feed you the Atmos track if the receiving end cannot do the decoding. So you get an alternative track that is possibly downmixed to stereo as well.
All modern TVs have Dolby Atmos Renderers for their stupid built-in speakers. I know mine does.

Even if you only have basic Dolby Digital+ support (this is almost as ancient as the DVD at this point) this will give you 7.1 audio or 5.1 audio as Atmos is backward compatible.
 

voodooless

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Each speaker will need a cable. Even wireless will need power and gubbins behind it.
Sure, but those only need one, going to a nearby mains socket. That's a whole different story to cabling your whole living room to your AVR.

All modern TVs have Dolby Atmos Renderers for their stupid built-in speakers. I know mine does.
My TV must not be modern enough then :facepalm:.
 

abdo123

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My TV must not be modern enough then :facepalm:.
Apple even released an Apple music app for most modern TVs.

Unfortunately it doesn't support Atmos or Lossless which makes me want to pull my hair out. The Apple TV 4K (2nd gen) is still early in its production cycle though so it's worth the purchase i guess if you're thinking about it.
 

conqueeftador

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Sure, but those only need one, going to a nearby mains socket. That's a whole different story to cabling your whole living room to your AVR.
A speaker cable is only 1 pair, 4x8mm in my case. Most of my power cables are 8mm + diameter. Wireless needs power from the nearest power socket, RCA from transmitter to a power amplifier and speaker cable from power amp to speaker.

I can imagine this makes sense if you have active speakers.
 
OP
S

soapsuds

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How is the experience with Dolby Atmos downmixed to Stereo over optical by the TV?
You can notice differences between the masters of the same track, but they are just minor differences rather than a leap up in quality. Where I do really notice a difference is on my MacBook Air speakers. In fact it is that experience that got me interested in this in the first place. I'm not sure if it is always a better sound or not, but it is certainly very different and I'm curious to hear it on some better speakers.
 

kongwee

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Dolby Atmos music mix is different. By practice, do not need to pull on limiter like stereo mix. Allow higher DR or lower LUFS. That of course, the mix is 7.1.4 to begin with and stereo being secondary. Straight stereo wave into Atmos music, is a no no for me.
 
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soapsuds

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Gosh, thank you all so much for your prompt replies!

To explain, it would be the cables going from the AVR to the rear of the room that I would have a problem with. There is no easy way for me to route them under the floor or around all the stuff on the long walls.
 

abdo123

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BTW, I've had a bad experience with wireless transmitter/receiver, in my case from Monitor Audio. It won't even bridge 3m properly, there is a lot of noise, and you'll need a shitload of gain to overcome it. It also clicked and popped regularly. What a waste of money :facepalm: Possibly the SVS product is better?
My experience with the SVS has been quite positive. I live in a 25 story building with thousands of wifi clients and since i bought it (7 months) it has been behaving very well.

However sometime last month it started dropping out and it drived me insane, when there is an extra something in the air a couple of days a year it will misbehave. but it's no worse than any wireless connection in that regard.
 

voodooless

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Are you aware if they sell any recievers to make any active speaker WISA certified?
Sadly no. I would love a simple dongle or even a PCB. Would be a fantastic addition to a Hypex Fusion amp!
 
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soapsuds

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Each speaker will need a cable. Even wireless will need power and gubbins behind it.

What budget have you got for this? Denon 3/4/6700H if you need 120hz 4k. You could go used, cheaper, older and arguably better if you don't need 120hz. You could also feed the front preouts into the A90 and use that to power the front speakers meaning the denon doesn't need to be on for stereo use.

I had a set of RS6s recently, good speakers. Fortunately you can buy used center and RS1/2/RSFX for rears fairly cost effective from ebay. They aren't rare so you won't struggle to complete a set. If the RS1 is too big, you could look at the radius series for heights.

If your seating position is on the back wall, you'll likely not want to fit rear surrounds, so you'll be looking at a 5.X.4 setup. X being the subs and 4 being heights. A pair in each top corner.
Thanks for this, especially the tip about preouts to the A90. I quite like the idea of being able to preserve what I have now.

120hz is only needed for gaming right? If so, that wouldn't be a consideration for me.

My seating position isn't right against the back wall, so I don't think rear speakers would be an issue.

I don't really understand what you mean by 'heights'? Sorry if I'm being thick.

To summarise what I understand from your reply, I could get monitor audio rears and centre that match what I have. Add an AVR and I'm good to go. Is that right, or do I need an RSW-12 sub-woofer too?

One supplementary question, do AVRs tend to provide poorer amplification than stereo amplifiers due to the cost of all the components for the extra channels?
 

abdo123

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Thanks for this, especially the tip about preouts to the A90. I quite like the idea of being able to preserve what I have now.

120hz is only needed for gaming right? If so, that wouldn't be a consideration for me.

My seating position isn't right against the back wall, so I don't think rear speakers would be an issue.

I don't really understand what you mean by 'heights'? Sorry if I'm being thick.

To summarise what I understand from your reply, I could get monitor audio rears and centre that match what I have. Add an AVR and I'm good to go. Is that right, or do I need an RSW-12 sub-woofer too?

One supplementary question, do AVRs tend to provide poorer amplification than stereo amplifiers due to the cost of all the components for the extra channels?
AVR amplification is not worse than average usually but definitely nowhere close to top tier.

Probably the only category of devices that scale pretty well with price.
 

iMickey503

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Pay a Monkey to install the cables. Or DIY. Its Easy. Its not hard. And you can do it.
Wires can be run under carpets. Inside HVAC, and with Flat Cables?

You can even just lay them down on Hardwood. Clear gorilla tape. (or the same stuff they use to fix automotive clear lenses) To match the color? Just print it out by taking a photo of the hardwood floor on a Inkjet. then cut match/ flush the layer that image on the speaker tape. then another clear layer wider then the first tape for doorways and walkways to make it easy. Its strong enough for a Vacuum to go over it and needs very little maintenance and is easy to fix and clean and apply. And its NON PERMANENT. They make this tape if it matches your floor. It goes right over the flat wire. You will never know its there.
5M-Roll-Realistic-Woodgrain-Repair-Adhensive-Duct-Tape-8-Colors-For-Furniture.jpg


Great for people in Apartments.

If you have a house?






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L1Techs

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I know it seems Daunting. But a few tools and you could get your rear speakers running in a day. Make sure to have a vacuum handy with the dry wall.

And A Dollar tree level or square is all you need. Or get a laser Level at Ikea.
I know it SOUNDS hard. But its not if you take your time and Measure twice, and cut once.

Or just put some speakers back there with the flat wire method I described.
Almost anyone can do it with enough patience and attention to detail and you can buy a run-of-the-mill a AVR, and be in Tune town the very same day.
 

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Weeb Labs

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I’m pretty sure you can get your hands on the PCB through shady ways.

But you probably need a background in signal processing to make use of it.

Perhaps a future video idea for @Weeb Labs ? :p
I've been working on a soon-to-be open source wireless audio solution for some time, now. :)

Lithe are also directly selling the Summit WISA boards, so that might be an option for some people. They are relatively expensive.
 
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