If you’re looking to set up a home theater with Atmos sound, you may be wondering how far apart your ceiling speakers should be.
The impressive core-shaking home theater sound comes with the right speakers and installation. Bookshelf speakers are worth buying mention, but they are not as efficient as ceiling speakers. Narrowing down the list for ceiling speakers, you will surely come across Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers.
After getting your hands on the Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers, the installation is the next and the most challenging part. The common question in the forums is, how far apart should Atmos ceiling speakers be?
Atmos ceiling speakers should be placed at least 3 feet apart from each other. However, the ideal distance between speakers will vary depending on the size of your room and the positioning. Experiment with different speaker placements to find what sounds best in your particular space.
Besides the distance between the speakers, the listening angle and distance from the listener also matter. This guide will walk you through all the aspects and highlight the step-by-step process for installation.
How to install Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers?
Before proceeding with how to install Dolby Amos ceiling speakers, you should be careful about one thing. Installing ceiling speakers is tricky. Make sure you have expert consultancy. If not, you will mess around with wires hanging around the whole place with several cuts in the roof.
In this section, I’m highlighting the step-by-step guide for how to install Dolby Atmos speakers.
Find the Perfect Spot:
In-ceiling installation, the biggest obstacle is the ceiling joist. Figuring out the location is such a mess. To deal with this, here is the most steadfast hack;
- Use rare earth fridge magnets and slide them in a spiral pattern across the surface.
- Start from the center. Apply gentle pressure on the magnets.
- Once you feel a magnet tugging, it indicates the presence of joists or drywall screws.
- Move in the same line to locate another joist/drywall metal. In general, it will measure around 16 inches apart.
- Do the same here and mark the spot.
- Use the circular template that comes with the speaker to keep the size.
- If not, visit the Dolby website to find the height by entering the model number.
- Use double-sided tape to paste the templates of the ceiling.
After marking the templates on the ceiling, use a pencil to trace them in a circular direction.
- Now use a knife and cut the circles on the drywall. Start cutting from the center, then goes towards the circumference- so you have space to clean the mess.
- At first, cut a small circle. It will help make space if the hole is small. Cutting a large hole will result in a loose-fitting.
- Once you are done, lift one speaker without the grill, and try to fit it in the circle.
- The Dolby Atmos ceiling speaker is effortlessly stuck in the circle if everything is fine. If not, enlarge the size using the same knife.
The installation process might have been effortless if you were installing the speakers on the walls. We are never sure how to run the wire from one end to another in-ceiling installation. Of course, we can’t tear out the whole ceiling to install the wiring.
The best way to deal with this solution is using fishing tape. Fishing tape is idyllic to pull cables in enclosed locations. It’s a flexible yet rigid wire of spring steel. You can also use a cable fish rod if you don’t have the fishing tape.
The cable fishing rod works like the fish tap, yet it has a hook in the front to adjust the cable. If the pathway has several obstacles, you can push and pull the cable fish rod to run the wiring. Here is what you need to do;
- Use adhesive tape and join one end of the wire with one end of the fish tape.
- Mark positive and negative ends accordingly so you won’t mess around while fixing the speakers.
- Insert the fish tape through one hole and slowly run it to the other end.
- Once you have reached the other end, pull the fish tape and cable.
- Cut the wire needed and remove the fish tape.
- Use the same procedure if installing more than two Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers.
Install the Speakers:
Here is the last and the easiest step of Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers installation.
- Strip the copper wire for about ¾ inches and twist it tightly.
- Again, don’t mess around with the negative and positive terminals. For the safe side, black is negative, while red/white is the positive end.
- Gently fit the speaker in the hole and let the excessive wire rest on the speaker’s housing.
- Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws of locking tabs.
- You will hear a clicking sound. It tells the screws are swinging out from their home position. Tight the screws till you feel resistance.
- Lastly, apply light force on the speakers to ensure they are fitted well.
Distance or Angle – Which makes the most difference?
As crucial as the distance is, so is the listening angle. The best stereo sound image comes with the best listening angle.
When talking about distance, here are two factors to consider;
- Distance between speaker
- Distance from the listener
As aforementioned, 3 feet is the least distance to maintain between the Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers. This distance helps surround the sound in the room while minimizing the vibration.
You run the AV receivers correction program in the room to set the distance and trim levels. Here the distance is the time signals take to reach the speakers and deliver audio output in return.
Trim levels ensure every ceiling speaker takes the same time to deliver the sound to the listeners.
Hitches rise when the ceiling speakers are installed close to the sitting position. Never install the speakers near or above the couch. Sit on the sofa and examine which distance and angle work best for you.
If you have distance behind the couch, install the ceiling speakers at an angle of 90 degrees from the sofa. While doing so, ensure the space is the same as the walls for all speakers.
Atmos ceiling speaker placement is not an exact science. The best way to find the right spot is to experiment until you get the sound you want. Start with placing at least 3 feet apart and then experiment from there. Remember, the ideal placement will vary depending on the size and shape of your room.
In addition to placement, keep in mind that the quality of your speakers will also play a big role in how good your Atmos system sounds.