Q&A

Sound & Vision - - CONTENTS - BY AL GRIF­FIN

Atmos speak­ers ex­am­ined. Con­nec­tion op­tions for wall­mounted TVS.

QI’m up­grad­ing my home the­ater for Dolby Atmos and have noted that var­i­ous speak­ers are now be­ing specif­i­cally mar­keted for this pur­pose. For ex­am­ple, I’ve seen com­pact speak­ers with sloped, down­ward-point­ing baf­fles that are de­signed to be wall-mounted near the ceil­ing. Are these as ef­fec­tive in de­liv­er­ing over­head ef­fects as an in-ceil­ing or Atmos En­abled speaker? Also, could an Atmos En­abled speaker be mounted in the same man­ner near the ceil­ing? R. HAT­TON / VIA EMAIL

AThe com­pact speaker that you’re re­fer­ring to sounds like the Prime El­e­va­tion from SVS. As you say, such speak­ers of­fer an al­ter­na­tive to in-ceil­ing speak­ers and Atmos En­abled mod­ules by pro­vid­ing a wall-mounted op­tion that an­gles down to­ward the lis­tener from a po­si­tion near the ceil­ing. Ac­cord­ing to SVS, the Prime El­e­va­tion pro­vides a su­pe­rior op­tion to Atmos En­abled mod­ules since it de­liv­ers full­range out­put di­rected at the lis­ten­ing po­si­tion. The out­put of Atmos En­abled speak­ers, in con­trast, has a “shaped” fre­quency re­sponse that’s meant to en­hance the re­flec­tion of sound off a ceil­ing. Fur­ther­more, Atmos En­abled speak­ers rely on op­ti­mal room con­di­tions— specif­i­cally, a room with a high, flat ceil­ing— for best re­sults. While Sound & Vi­sion hasn’t yet re­viewed a sys­tem with SVS Prime El­e­va­tion speak­ers, the com­pany’s 45-day in-home trial makes it a com­pelling op­tion.

As for mount­ing an Atmos En­abled speaker in the same man­ner near the ceil­ing, that op­tion is a no-go. Atmos En­abled speak­ers are specif­i­cally en­gi­neered to bounce sig­nals off of the ceil­ing. (Some com­pa­nies— Klip­sch, for ex­am­ple—say their Atmos En­abled mod­ules can also be used as sur­rounds.) If your ceil­ing’s shape— a cathe­dral-type, for in­stance— poses a prob­lem for in­stalling in-ceil­ing or Atmos En­abled speak­ers, I’d check out the Prime El­e­va­tion.

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