Can Bookshelf Speakers Be Used As Atmos Speakers?

Atmos speakers are designed to create a more immersive sound experience by bouncing audio off the ceiling. This allows for a more three-dimensional sound that can make movies and games more immersive. However, these small yet powerful speakers can be expensive.

So, can bookshelf speakers be used as Atmos speakers?

Bookshelf speakers can be used as Atmos speakers, but they will not provide the same level of performance as dedicated Atmos speakers. Bookshelf speakers are typically not as powerful as dedicated Atmos speakers, and they may not be able to reproduce the full range of Atmos sound effects.

However, if you are looking for a budget-friendly option, bookshelf speakers can be a good choice. Dedicated Atmos speakers will provide the best possible sound quality, but they are also more expensive. If you are willing to sacrifice some sound quality for a lower price, bookshelf speakers can be a good option.

In this article, we will discuss what Atmos is, how bookshelf speakers can be used as Atmos speakers, and the pros and cons of doing so.

Bookshelf Speakers VS Atmos Speakers – A Basic Understanding

There is a very basic difference between bookshelf speakers and Atmos speakers. Before diving deep into the differences, let’s clear out the basics.

Bookshelf speakers are the type of speakers that need an elevated position to sit on—for example, a shelf or a table (hence the name). 

On the other hand, Atmos speakers are very different from bookshelf speakers. Atmos speakers come from the Dolby Atoms technology that adds another dimension to your sound.

For example, when you have a surround sound system, you are getting the sound from different angles such as a horizontal angle a front angle, and your side angle. When you have Atmos speakers, you experience the sound from above as well for a richer experience.

Therefore, atmos speakers must be mounted on the ceiling or within the ceiling.

For example, if you’re watching a movie and there is a scene involving an asteroid, you will hear the sound from above which will add another dimension to your experience. As the sound will not be monotonous. 

There are two types of Atmos speakers that you can add to your sound setup. For example real Atmos speaker or a virtual Atmos speaker. A real Atmos speaker will involve a speaker that will mount to your ceiling to provide an immersive sound experience.

On the other hand, a virtual Atmos speaker system consists of regular speakers that have additional drivers mounted at the top – The sound bounces off the ceiling for an Atmos effect.

Why use bookshelf speakers for Atmos?

Using bookshelf speakers as Atmos speakers can be a great way to save money, as you won’t need to purchase separate Atmos speakers.

On top of this, you have to put the Dolby speakers INSIDE the ceiling meanwhile the bookshelf speakers can be hung FROM the ceiling. So, if your landlord does not allow you to carve holes in the ceiling or you don’t want to do that yourself – you can use bookshelf speakers for atmos sound effects.

Bookshelf speakers also have a compact frequency. Therefore, they will add a great deal to your sound experience without breaking your bank! 

However, the bookshelf speaker will not provide you with the exact same Dolby sound experience – it will just get the job done. 

How can you use Bookshelf speakers to create the Atmos effect?

There are several ways that you can use Bookshelf speakers in order to create an atmos effect in your sound system.

Here is how you can do it.

Mount bookshelf speakers on the ceiling

One of the ways that you can use Bookshelf speakers to create an atmos effect is by mounting them on the ceiling. This will create a more immersive sound experience as the sound will bounce off the ceiling and give you a more three-dimensional sound.

To do this, you will need to purchase some speaker mounts that are specifically designed for ceiling mounting.

Once you have the mounts, you will need to follow the instructions that come with them in order to properly install the speakers.

However, the positioning of the bookshelf speakers can be a bit tricky.

The ideal position will be to mount them up in front of your sitting position for the best results. For example, if you have a home theater system, mount the speakers right in front of the seating area.

There are various ways of mounting your Bookshelf speakers. You can either opt for the in-ceiling option or attach your bookshelf speakers with a mount high up on a wall. 

The trick is to tilt your bookshelf speakers in a position that they are aimed toward the listener. It is because of the way bookshelf speakers are manufactured. They are designed so that the sound is fired in a forward position. If you point them straight down from the roof, the sound will be sent down to the floor. Therefore, positioning is really important in this case. Try several angles until you find the one that suits you well!

Use an upward angle 

Apart from mounting your bookshelf speakers, there is another way to replicate a virtual Atmos sound.

You will have to angle your bookshelf speakers in an upward position to achieve that.

However, getting the right angle for your speakers will require some effort, all you need to do is go through the process of trial and error and analyze which position works the best for your room. 

The position of your speakers will depend on several things such as the distance of the audience from the speakers and the height of the ceiling.

One mold will not fit all!

Along with these methods, you can also place them on top of your main front speakers. This will create the illusion of sound coming from above, which is what the Atmos effect is meant to simulate.

The last possible way to use Bookshelf speakers to create the Atmos effect is to place them behind your seating area. This will create a sense of surround sound, as the sound will reflect off of the back wall and fill the room. Either way, using Bookshelf speakers to create the Atmos effect can greatly enhance your home theater experience.

When and why you should not use bookshelf speakers as atmos speakers?

There are a few reasons and scenarios why you shouldn’t use bookshelf speakers as atmos speakers.

First, bookshelf speakers generally don’t have the required frequency response to produce good Atmos sound.

Bookshelf speakers are usually not designed to be used in an Atmos setup and therefore may not produce the best possible sound.

If you are not legally allowed by your landlord to mount things up on a wall or ceiling – then you will not be able to replicate the atmos sound. 

Similarly, creating an Atmos sound will require you to hang a few bookshelf speakers up – unless you have a dedicated room for your speakers set up (like a home theatre) – the hanging speakers will not look aesthetically pleasing. 

Sometimes bookshelf speakers instead of doing good can create a lot of diffraction in sound, therefore the sound experience will not be as rich.

The bottom line is – if you can afford to get yourself an atoms speakers setup, get it. Otherwise, the bookshelf speakers will do the job – not as perfect but as they say “something is better than nothing” 


While bookshelf speakers can technically be used as Atmos speakers, they are not necessarily the best choice for this purpose. In general, bookshelf speakers are not as powerful or as accurate as dedicated Atmos speakers, and they may not be able to provide the same level of Immersion in your home theater.

If you are looking for the best possible Atmos experience, we recommend using dedicated Atmos speakers. However, if you are on a budget or are looking for a more versatile speaker option, bookshelf speakers may be a good choice for you.


Can I use satellite speakers for atmos?

You can, but they won’t provide the same immersive experience as height speakers. Satellite speakers are designed to create a wide soundstage, while height speakers are designed to create a sense of verticality.

Can I use regular speakers as Dolby atmos upfiring?

No, you need special Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers or in-ceiling speakers to get the most out of this technology.