Using QS8 for Atmos rears

Posted by: KungFuJoe

Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/02/19 03:22 AM

Spoke to someone from Axiom today regarding trading my QS8ís for M3 in walls to get 5.1.4 going. She said there was no need...to keep my QS8ís and that they would work just as well as direct firing rears.

I did end up getting four M3ís for my heights. But Iím concerned about the rears. It goes against what Dolby says regarding proper speakers for Atmos.

Will using the QS8ís be a less optimal setup?

Also my back wall is maybe four feet from the listening area. Is that too close to put the QS8ís at ear level?
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/02/19 08:24 AM

I've tried QS8, QS10, M3, M5, two different pairs of Sonys and Totem Dreamcatchers for rears. I could never hear a difference in 7.1 vs. 5.1 so I'm sticking with 5.1.

I'm in a 4,200 cu.ft. space. The fronts and center are 13' and 14' away from my MLP, the sides are 11' and the rears we're 10'.
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/02/19 11:54 AM

Originally Posted By KungFuJoe
Spoke to someone from Axiom today regarding trading my QS8ís for M3 in walls to get 5.1.4 going. She said there was no need...to keep my QS8ís and that they would work just as well as direct firing rears.

I did end up getting four M3ís for my heights. But Iím concerned about the rears. It goes against what Dolby says regarding proper speakers for Atmos.

Will using the QS8ís be a less optimal setup?

Also my back wall is maybe four feet from the listening area. Is that too close to put the QS8ís at ear level?


Will they work? Sure, but you're correct about Dolby guidelines. Using QS8's won't allow for sound 'objects' to be placed as accurately in the room, as the QS8's will fire sound in 4 different directions.

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/can-i-use-dipole-speakers-714-atmos-setup

If you're going through the trouble and expense of going 5.1.4, you're probably best to follow the guidelines as closely as possible. Having the rears 4ft behind is a bit on the close side, but shouldn't be an issue. For Atmos, you'd want them to be at about the same height as the rest of your listener-level speaker, but you can go up to 1.25x the height of your fronts.

Full disclosure, I've never heard QS8's, but I did just put in a full 7.1.4 setup (entirely in-wall, minus the center channel and subs).

And finally, if you're really agonizing over this, Axiom is incredibly flexible in terms of letting you demo their stuff. You could order the M3 rears, and test them out against the QS8's.
Posted by: TDIPablo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/03/19 10:23 AM

Originally Posted By bman84
Will they work? Sure, but you're correct about Dolby guidelines. Using QS8's won't allow for sound 'objects' to be placed as accurately in the room, as the QS8's will fire sound in 4 different directions.


Well, that depends on how close the QS8's are located to the listening positions. If the QS8 is less than 4ft away, yes, the soundfield may not be accurately portraying the object placement of ATMOS. More than 4ft away, I doubt you will notice much difference between the QS8 vs an M3, especially in rear placement as very little content is actually sent to rears, even in the best ATMOS coded sources I've had the pleasure listening too.

In my experience, L-C-R still dominates the soundstage in ATMOS and you will notice more the ceiling speakers as you don't expect sound coming from there. Unless you have money to burn, keep the QS8s for now and experience it for yourself.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/03/19 06:49 PM

Wow. I can't believe that someone at Axiom said that.

As someone who spent the time and money to have 4 QS8 surrounds and 4 M3 onwalls for surrounds while having 4 M3 onwalls on my ceiling, and able to switch between the QS8s and M3s for surround duty in an Atmos setup within a few minutes (plan was to return the surround M3s within 30 days if need be), the difference was clearly noticeable.

The monopole speaker design is what "immersive" sound formats like Atmos and DTS:X were designed around, not di/bi-pole and certainly not quad-pole with their more "old school" or "traditional" 5.1 or 7.1 uses where they do great.

One way to think of it, as explained by Dolby themselves a CEDIA back in 2014 I believe, is that the speakers should be treated like lasers. In order to get laser accurate sound placement within a room, you need very precise control over the direction and amplitude of the sound coming from each source. Monopole speakers give the most directional sound out of the speaker designs and using that direction, in combination with the direction and amplitude of the other speakers in the room, allow sound formats like Atmos and DTS:X to be able to very accurately put the sound where it was intended to be.

Using anything di/bi-pole takes away from that accuracy, and using the massively diffused quad-pole setup of the QS speakers (which is a HUGE selling point for regular 5.1 or 7.1 setups, although I argue that the best 7.1 setup in my room was side QS8s and rear M3s) really is not wanted for Atmos/DTS:X.

Can it "work"? Sure. The ceiling speakers will add a level of elevation to your sound stage, but since you want a good amount of separation between the overhead speakers and the base layer (front LCR and surrounds), spraying sound up at the ceiling is counter productive, as is spraying it along walls or at the floor.

The QS10s would sorta be better in that you at least have a woofer pointing straight into the room like Atmos/DTS:X wants, but you are still having audio spilling out all over the place as well. Again, great for 5.1 and 7.1, just "meh" for Atmos.

So take it from someone who actually tried it with a ton of Axiom speakers in my theater room to do the EXACT test of what you are wondering about. Monopole surrounds will yield the best accuracy and "awesomeness" of Atmos/DTS:X soundtracks. Yes, it is a difference you can actually hear if you are able to test like I did, yes it was worth the cost, to me, to test it out. I am just sharing actual results that I experienced and not speculation.

Side note. What do you do when not playing an Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack? Upmix it to Dolby Surround or DTS Neural:X! I don't listen to straight 5.1 or 7.1 movies as the upmixing into these other formats is THAT GOOD.
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/03/19 07:16 PM

Well said! I couldn't agree more with your thoughts on upmixing. Just finished watching the original Star Wars trilogy in DTS Neural:X, and my Denon did an incredible job of using all of the speakers at its disposal.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/03/19 07:54 PM

Hmmmm...maybe I should think about Atmos. Bman and Nick, what about 2-channel music? Do you listen in Dolby Surround or DTS Neural:X?
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/04/19 08:32 AM

I prefer Dolby Surround to the 'pure' 2-channel mode for music, but haven't tried DTS Neural:X yet. I like to put my 180 to work.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/04/19 11:17 AM

I honestly don't listen to music in my theater room. Usually when I am listening to music, it is elsewhere in the house just casually, or via nice ear buds while working projects, or decent headphones while traveling for work. Sorry. No insight there.
Posted by: rrlev

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/13/19 01:29 PM

I prefer most 2 channel music in stereo ... some things sound great in music surround formats but it's too much to switch modes depending on what is playing ... for back ground music ... some room surround modes do a better job of filling the room. Just MHO.

On the QS8s I'd use them some place where you were not planning on doing Atmos for expense/space reasons. I'm putting in/have/had a few 5.1 and 4.0 spaces in my house.
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 10:48 AM

I watched a bit of Avatar (DTS-HD MA 5.1) last night, with DTS Neural:X enabled, and was blown away. Jungle ambiance, animal noises, and helicopter sounds were perfectly placed in the ceiling channels, and I caught myself grinning in amazement on multiple occasions.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 11:20 AM

Isn't that system of yours about 4 months old now? Time to consider upgrading. smile
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 12:05 PM

Haha, definitely. My next upgrade would be to move to a full separates setup, but I get the feeling that Anthem is due to refresh the AVM60, so I might hold out for a bit.

Aside from that, I'll be grabbing a Vizio Quantum X TV once they're available.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 12:14 PM

They need to refresh it due to parts obsolescence.
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 12:20 PM

Originally Posted By Mojo
They need to refresh it due to parts obsolescence.


Which parts are obsolete?
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 12:28 PM

Anthem hasn't shared parts details but the AVM60 tech is at least 9 years old. That's old for high volume electronics.
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 12:31 PM

Interesting. That turns me off the AVM60 for sure. My Denon/ADA combo is working quite well, so I'm in no rush to upgrade.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 12:37 PM

If they're refreshing it, you have nothing to worry about. The problem with parts going obsolete is that it affects profitability, lead time and innovation by eating away at engineering resources who have to test and approve part substitutions.
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 12:51 PM

At this point, I think refresh = brand new model. The AVM60 was released in late-2015.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 12:54 PM

Makes sense. If the Denon is serving your needs, save up for active M5s. smile
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 12:59 PM

Haha. I think I'd be better served by an active 180 for movies.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 01:09 PM

I think the major benefits of actives are improved stage depth, increased sensitivity and more focused imaging. An active 180 could benefit from increased sensitivity but not the other two. The increased sensitivity may or may not be a benefit depending on the application.
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 02:08 PM

Given that the 180 is already the most sensitive piece in my setup, increased sensitivity is probably overkill (unless sensitivity in this context means something different than SPL per Watt).
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 02:18 PM

You got it right. SPL per Watt (per meter).
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 02:25 PM

Doesn't it piss you off bman, that all these years, you were robbed of a pristine and emotional audio presentation?
Posted by: bman84

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 04:23 PM

Not really, because I'm only now investing in a proper setup. My first setup was a cheap HTIB, and the one after that was a Costco receiver/satellite/tiny sub combo deal.
Posted by: Mojo

Re: Using QS8 for Atmos rears - 04/25/19 04:41 PM

You were so fortunate with your first system! My first system was a crystal radio consisting of 5 parts.