Which Dolby Atmos Speaker System Should I Buy?

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Q I have a home theater system based around a Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-channel receiver and I’m on a quest to pick up new speakers to use for Dolby Atmos. What’s the best speaker match in the $1,000-to-$2,000 range? Also, how would I hook everything up to optimize the system for Atmos? —Ernest Walker / via e-mail

A There are two Atmos speaker options I can think of that fit your price range. The first, less expensive, option is to buy a bookshelf-based 5.1 speaker system and add a pair of in-ceiling speakers for the height channels. The second would be a system that uses tower speakers for the front left/right channels with Atmos Enabled speaker modules situated on top. Systems fitting that bill are available from companies such as Definitive Technology, ELAC, and Klipsch, though with each of those options you’ll be pushing the outer limit of your $2,000 budget.

As for Atmos setup, you’ll need to either install the speakers yourself (see John Sciacca’s “The Connected Life” blog for some pointers) or hire a professional installer if you go the in-ceiling route. For the tower-based option, you simply place the Atmos Enabled modules on top of the main left and right speakers (ELAC, Definitive Technology, and Klipsch) or run an additional speaker wire connection to power the built-in top-firing drivers (select Klipsch models). For your electronics setup, all you’ll need to do is configure the Surround Back/Height speaker output connections for Atmos Height speakers in the Sony receiver’s setup menu.

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