Pioneer... I have a few comments about their speakers. (Keep in mind that I was a big fan or Pioneer receivers for many years. they have a place, but as I've been able to keep "upping" my receiver and gear, I can't imagine going back to Pioneer except for a true budget system).

1) Pioneer only pushes their Atmos modules for Atmos setups. they offer in-ceiling speakers, but they are mostly (if not all) designs from before Atmos, so they certainly aren't going to make a video about a better method for Atmos when they don't advertise or market anything other than upfiring.

2a) Pioneer is not exactly the leader in speaker quality

2b) Pioneer makes speaker systems designed for low/lower budget consumers (not generally people that actually care a lot about uncompromising sound)

3) At CEDIA 2015 only 1 mid-level or better speaker on display was using upfiring Atmos modules (Triad)

4) At CEDIA 2016 only the lower end systems demo'd upfiring Atmos speakers, everyone else was using overheads

5) Per Pioneer's own engineer in the video, he talks about "being able to use the same 'driver' as your main speakers" when describing Atmos modules. I'm doing that too with my overheads, but instead of being limited to some tiny 4" max sized driver, I have 6.5" and can get a lot more of the frequency range that you just can't get with the tiny speakers in most Atmos modules.

6) Ceiling heights, ceiling angles like vaults, trays, etc (if any), as well as how close or far you are from the Atmos modules impact how precise/diffused the sound is, as well as if the sound simply bounced up and over (past) you, or up and down in front of you, etc. You are locked in with where the modules go since they are on top of your existing speakers, so that means you need to be able to move your seating or those speakers, and even then you are still in for a mess if your ceiling isn't flat.

Atmos modules were, as noted by several companies at CEDIA 2016 (and 2015) as a way to not "freak out" consumers with speakers on their ceilings, plus running wires along walls is generally considered easier for most people than going up into the ceiling. It was done to give people an option who are just getting into the concept, but as time progresses, we are seeing more and more companies actually dropping their Atmos modules from their line-up, or at least pushing them to the back of their recommendation list in favor of overhead speakers.

Now if you have a perfect box of a room that has a flat ceiling and seating that can accommodate a perfect 30* angle from Atmos modules up and then down onto the listening area, then go for it. You will still be limited to only getting down to 120-150Hz depending on the module, and that is far from the recommended "full range" that Dolby says is ideal (even if that limit is still within their own "Atmos module spec."

Even with proper bass management, you are really limited in what sound energy can come out of an Atmos module. If I was doing things over again from scratch and could make my own speakers, I would go with something with a larger 8" or possibly even a 10" woofer for overhead. D+M (Denon/Marantz) had a demo with 10" overheads at CEDIA 2016 and they ran a Transformers demo both with and without bass management/subs. You could still "feel" the sound going overhead in one of the scenes because it was still in the directional frequencies, but low enough to feel the "punch."

Many people elsewhere have equated Atmos enabled speakers to being usable, but not good/great. Some of my favorite quotes from the Atmos thread at AVS in response to Atmos enables speakers are "something that will work, but then again so will a soundbar" or "something that will work, but then again so do Bose cubes."

That being said, don't be afraid to put holes in your ceiling to run speaker wires. My ceiling has clips and hat channel running between my joists, 2 layers of 5/8" drywall with GreenGlue inbetween, and I still was able to fish wires up, repair the holes, and you can not tell at all. Was it fun to do? Nope. Not at all. It was messy, and there were several points where I was really frustrated, but I got it done.

Farewell - June 4, 2020