How Can I Upgrade to Atmos Without Running Wires for Additional Speakers?

Q I have a 7.1 setup and am interested in upgrading my receiver/processor to one that supports Dolby Atmos. My situation won’t allow me to easily run new wires. Is there a good wireless speaker option for adding channels from a receiver/processor? Or would I be better off trying to retrofit/hide new wire runs? —Mason Guy / via e-mail

A Along with buying a new receiver, upgrading your system for Dolby Atmos will entail one of two things: adding in-ceiling height speakers, or adding Atmos-enabled speakers to the front and rear of your current system. A wireless speaker solution might sound good in theory, but the reality is that there aren’t any good options available for Atmos setups. Also, wireless speakers still require a power cable, which essentially defeats the whole wireless notion.

Since you can’t easily run new wires, I’d recommend going the Atmos-enabled speaker route. Atmos-enabled speaker modules, which are available from companies like Def Tech, Atlantic Technology, Pioneer, and Onkyo, are designed with angled drivers that bounce sound off the ceiling to convey overhead effects in Atmos-encoded soundtracks. Such modules can either be placed on top of or near your current speakers. And you don’t have to worry about compromised performance since Dolby strongly recommends this solution for those who, like yourself, are unable or unwilling to retrofit their home theater with in-ceiling speakers.

Philt56's picture

Don't you need additional wires to connect to the atmos modules to route the atmos channels from the receiver? Or do you somehow have connections from the front speakers to the add-on modules and the add-ones are able to extract the atmos channels? Are the front speakers also playing the atmos channels?

I was at Axpona and I thought the demo they had with triad speakers had an addition pair of wires to each add-on atmos speaker?

icedog_16's picture

Yes, you need to run additional wires to Dolby Atmos add-ons. Some good info here:

Philt56's picture

That's what I thought. The original answer seemed to imply that the OP could get away with no new wires using the ATMOS modules. I wanted to make sure the the original question was answered correctly for the OP.