In the age of 4k TVs and VR slowly coming to fruition, one aspect of the home entertainment system that often gets lost in the fray is advancements in surround sound – and with good reason.
After all, how much has surround sound really changed in the past 20 years? Sure speakers are now mostly wireless, have a slightly smaller form factor, and different connection ports. But one of the coolest advancements in recent years has to do with Dolby Atmos.
For those of you who aren’t aware (and sorry if this sounds redundant for those who do), Atmos speakers add a whole other dimension to the movie watching experience.
With their upward facing design, an Atmos enabled surround sound system is truly out of this world.
Giving you a fully immersive 3D experience that you can’t even get at your local theater, adding a set of Atmos speakers is by and far one of the best investments you can make in order to “move the needle” when it comes to enhancing your home theater.
But, before we jump into the details on what makes a top-rated Atmos speaker head and heels above the rest, we wanted to give you a sneak peek of our findings:
|Title||KEF R50 Dolby Atmos-Enabled Speakers||Klipsch RP-140SA Dolby Atmos Speaker||NHT Atmos Mini Add-On Speaker for Dolby Atmos||ONKYO D-309H Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers||Atlantic Technology 44-DA-P-BLK Dolby Atmos||Pioneer SP-T22A-LR Add-on Speaker||ELAC A4 Debut Series 4″ Concentric Dolby Atmos Speakers||Onkyo SKH-410 Dolby Atmos-Enabled Speaker System|
|Product Detail Page||See Price||See Price||See Price||See Price||See Price||See Price||See Price||See Price|
|Dimensions||22 x 20 x 15 inches||11.2 x 6 x 7 inches||5 x 5.5 x 4.5 inches||9.4 x 5.6 x 5.4 inches||9.5 x 5.5 x 8.38 in||11.8 x 12.4 x 10.2 inches||8.75 x 7.87 x 4.83 in||5.9 x 4.8 x 5.6 inches|
|Item Weight||9.9lbs||7.6lbs||2.1lbs||4.8lbs||20 lbs||3.3lbs||4.2lbs||1.5lbs|
|Peer Review Rating|
|Learn More||Read review||Read review||Read review||Read review||Read review||Read review||Read review||Read review|
Instead of mounting speakers on to the ceiling of living room, Atmos speakers work a bit differently.
Their smaller footprint allows them to be placed upon the top of your rear or front speakers of your existing surround sound system.
This will make for an incredibly short installation time as you won’t need brackets, harnesses, or any other hardware.
The upward pointing direction of Dolby Atmos speakers rely on bouncing the sound waves from the speaker to the ceiling in order to achieve the same results as a set of proper ceiling speakers (sans clumsy installation process).
In this diagram by Pioneer, you can clearly see how the Dolby Atmos technology works:
Many audiophiles are on the fence when it comes to deciding whether or not they should upgrade their sound system to one that is capable of handling an additional set of Dolby Atmos speakers.
After all, the investment in an additional receiver that can accommodate two additional channels is nothing to sneeze at.
But those who have upgraded, well, let’s just say that they haven’t turned back…
As lauded by those in the /r/audiophile subreddit, you can see some folks exclaiming the following:
But beyond casual sites like Reddit, you even see enthusiasts over at AVS Forum singing the same tune:
Dolby Atmos is an innovative technology that delivers quality sound from all around you, emulating the sound you hear every day. Films become more immersive with the introduction of Atmos technology, and with speakers such as the KEF-R50, you too can harness this superior sound quality in your own home. The KEF-R90 is a Dolby Atmos enabled sound speaker system that gives you the same quality you hear in theaters. With just seven of these speakers, you can experience movies as though you were right there in the middle of the action. Now, if they only produced virtual reality movies with this technology.
The KEF-R90 comes in a sleek, piano finish that looks elegant in any home. This product is shelf mounted, and comes with a precisely angled speaker that beams sound towards the ceiling where it then bounces off to you. However, while this particular model does come in pairs, it is not the cheapest alternative to get that Dolby Atmos sound in your living room. If you want all around sound, buying seven of these is a bit lucrative.
Surround sound has never been easier with the introduction of Dolby Atmos. It has been used in theaters since 2012 to create an all-immersive experience for viewers, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could use that sound in your own home? The Klipsch RP-140SA speaker is Atmos enabled, giving you a considerable boost to your current sound systems for complete immersion. It works with your current speakers, so you do not have to go out and purchase compatible speakers to use this product. Alternatively, these speakers can be used by themselves. Put it on your existing floor speakers or bookshelf to experience the best in professional sound.
The Klipsch RP features a 1” linear titanium tweeter and two 4” spun copper woofers giving you the best sound for high and low range frequencies. The grille is removable for easy cleaning, and the whole unit is finished with a clean, black varnish that goes well in any room. As an added bonus, these speakers can also be hung on the wall to further project sound or to save valuable space on under the television.
If you are short on space and looking for a surround sound speaker, the NHT Mini Atmos add-on speaker is the perfect addition to your home theater. The NHT Mini works with Atmos receivers to deliver high performance from a little box. Simply attach to your existing Dolby Atmos compatible speakers and listen to the difference surround sound makes. The NHT is small, less than 6 inches in any direction, and is wall mountable for a true theater experience. For awkward surfaces, the Mini Atmos comes with little rubber feet to help stabilize and secure the speaker.
These speakers work best for movies that have utilized Dolby Surround Sound. For films that have not, the difference may not be as noticeable, but they are still effective in helping project sound throughout the intended room. They are designed to be shelf or wall mounted, but with some engineering expertise these speakers could also be mounted to your ceiling for enhanced sound distribution. If you are looking for an easy to install Atmos speaker, this is it. The NHT Mini is a plug in and enjoy type of product.
The ONKYO Dolby speakers are a middle of the road speaker system that outputs good sound quality without being too expensive. The 2 way speakers add a layer of depth to the sound output, making it feel as though you are in the film. The woofers are designed to create superior bass performance while the tweeter delivers perfectly clear mid and high range frequencies. These ONKYO speakers fit perfectly on top of paired ONKYO towers, or sitting by themselves on an elevated shelf above your position. The angled speakers direct sound to the ceiling to create a completely immersive experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
The D-309H speakers feature a sleek, shiny finish that adds a layer of class to the product. The speakers sit at about 10 inches long by 5.5 inches in width and height, making them tricky to place. Unfortunately, these speakers are not wall mountable on their own, and must be either installed on a shelf or on top of tower speakers to get the most out of them. It is also inadvisable to mount them on the ceiling as they are designed to project sound to the roof for the optimal surround sound experience. Despite this, they still output great sound quality with little hassle.
Standalone Atmos compatible speakers that don’t take up too much space are hard to come by for a decent price, but the 44-DA-P standalone speakers by Atlantic Technology fit this exact purpose. These speakers are specifically designed to be separate elevation speakers to give you the best in surround sound. They are angled to reflect sound off of the ceiling to give the best sound output, and the 5.25 inch woofer lets you really drop the bass. Superior sound quality from a little box has never been easier.
Atlantic Technology is a trusted brand for immersive audio products. Their aim is to put you in the center of the action with high definition sound service for an affordable price. Founded in 1989, Atlantic Technology put the viewer first in all of their products, and have received multiple accolades in regards to their sound systems. The 44-DA-P is no exception to their high standard of quality, and delivers beautiful Atmos surround sound with compatible films.
Pioneer has been a trusted brand in home electronics for years, so it is unsurprising that when Atmos was developed and available for home entertainment, they jumped on the bandwagon and came out with a speaker system of their own. The Pioneer SP-T22A-LR Speakers are the most versatile set of speaker systems yet, able to be mounted in the ceiling, on the floor, or shelf mounted. They are also one of the bigger models on the market, with dimensions exceeding 10 inches in any direction. This makes them a little problematic to place, as a suitable spot has to allow the speaker to bounce sound off of the ceiling and back to your ears.
The high quality, 4 inch woofer is cone shaped, delivering a more diverse range of sounds compared to other flat surface woofers. In the center of this woofer is a ½ inch tweeter, which boosts high frequency pitches and mid-range tones to balance out the bass and provide a more immersive experience throughout the room. The SP-T22A-LR speaker can play at louder volumes without noticeably distorting the sound, and has a more flexible treble range so the noise does not come out tinny.
The ELAC A4 Concentric Dolby Atmos speakers may not look like much on the outside, but on the inside there lies a whole new way to enjoy your favorite movies. These speakers create an immersive 3-D space right in your living room, putting you in the center of big sound and exceptional quality. They include Dolby Atmos compatible AV receivers and processors, and can be mounted on a shelf or on top of pre-existing tower speakers to boost sound performance in your home theater. These speakers are solid black with a matte finish, so they won’t attract fingerprints like high-gloss speakers do.
ELAC A4 speakers clock in at almost 9 inches deep and 8 inches wide, with 5 inches at their peak to get the best angle to project sound. It is recommended that you install these speakers less than half the width between your floor and your ceiling to get optimal performance. These speakers only work with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Atmos Certified products, so they will not attach to your sound systems from the early 1980s.
If you don’t want to deal with tower speakers, but still want the quality that they give, then the ONKYO SKH-410 box speakers are a product to consider. These speakers are a convenient and affordable way to get theater quality sound into your home while keeping your current setup. You also do not have to install anything extra into your ceiling; these speakers should be installed either on a shelf or entertainment unit, or on top of compatible tower speakers. The 10 foot cord provides a no hassle installation experience so you can simply set up and enjoy right away.
With the speakers being under 6 inches in any direction, they are easy to install wherever you need them. As with all Dolby Atmos products, you get with what you pay for in terms of quality and longevity. Some rooms may have trouble projecting the surround sound effect. To maximize audio output, ensure that you are using Dolby Atmos certified products, because otherwise these speakers will not do what you want them to.