Can Any Speakers Be Used for Dolby Atmos?

You don’t have to be a certified audiophile to be familiar with Dolby Atmos and how it produces rich virtual 3D surround sound. If you are in the process of upgrading your home theater system and you think it’s time to add an Atmos to it, you might be wondering if your existing system is enough or if you need fancier and higher-end speakers.

Can Any Speakers Be Used for Dolby Atmos?

Can any speakers be used for Dolby Atmos, then?

Well, here’s good news for you. Unlike common belief, specialized speakers are not really required so you can experience the immersion of Dolby Atmos surround sound. This means that although Dolly speakers offer the best experience, any speaker can be used for it, too, including the regular ones.

How Dolby Atmos Works

Unlike regular surround sound which uses a particular number of channels, Dolby Atmos gives sound engineers a chance to work with spatial coordinates. The sounds are being treated as objects and can be represented by one speaker or a group of speakers distributed all over the room.

The setup creates a more immersive experience once the speakers light up while a helicopter on the screen, for example, is shown flying from left to right. Rather than all the speakers on the right side lighting up simultaneously, each speaker fires up sequentially to let you immerse in the scene completely.

Atmos has also launched their overhead speakers in which the speakers at the ceiling reproduce the sounds and you hear explosions firing off above or rain coming down from above to the surround speakers on the right and left.

Dolby also launched a new kind of channel naming for convenience when they released overhead sound. Although channels are not used, people are mostly used to the usual naming, making it easier to understand.

For example, if your setup has a 5.1 home theater system with two ceiling speakers on the right and left. Based on the naming convention, you will have a 5.1.2 setup. Similarly, if you are lucky enough to have a 7.1 home theater system with 4 ceiling speakers, you would have a 7.1.4 system.

You Don’t Need Fancy New Speakers for Dolby Atmos

Again, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to buy fancy new speakers for your Dolby Atmos. While Dolby Atmos speakers not only sound better but also offer a richer experience, the gain wouldn’t probably be enough to justify the cost.

However, even though you might not need speakers for the right, left, and front channels and your subwoofer, you might still need upward-firing speakers or ceiling speakers to make the most out of your Dolby Atmos.

You can opt for upward-firing speakers that are convenient enough and can be placed on your regular bookshelf speakers. The speakers have drivers pointed upwards to reflect off the sound from the ceiling and produce an immersive overhead effect.

You can go the other route as well and install some ceiling speakers for the two additional top channels. If your existing ceiling speakers are already installed, you can use them, too.

Are Integrated Speakers Good Alternatives for Dolby Atmos?

If you are also in the market shopping for a brand-new surround sound system, integrated speakers are also good alternatives. These speakers were developed thanks to Dolby Atmos. Integrated speakers feature one speaker cabinet with several drivers.

These also have an upward-firing speaker and a front-firing speaker. These are then combined to create a single unit that forms a cleaner look. These are worthy to consider if you have limited space in your room or if aesthetics are your top priority.

Do You Need Upward-Firing or In-Ceiling Speakers for Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is a scalable technology working everywhere from large commercial theaters down to simple earpads. Every time you listen to Dolby Atmos content using your headphones, it uses excellent digital signal processing and psychoacoustics to fake multi-directional sounds and evokes a 3D surround sound environment.

If you are not keen on buying upward-firing or in-ceiling speakers, you can use the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization in your home theater system. This is the unique technology that produces the overhead sound sensation with your existing speaker set. It uses height cue filters for using overhead audio components for representing the sound.

Although it might not overtake the real thing, it can still help you save more money that could have otherwise gone into buying a new Atmos Receiver.

Do You Need a Dolby Atmos Receiver?

You need to buy a Dolby Atmos-enabled Receiver if you like to enjoy your home theater setup’s Dolby Atmos to the fullest. You cannot skip the receiver even if you have lots of workarounds for your speakers. There is simply no other solution for it.

Since its launch in 2012, many receivers introduced by manufacturers already come with Dolby Atmos. While you can try to go for something cheaper on your height speakers, you can never do the same with your receiver. The good news is that you can still find a lot of budget-friendly options out there.

Although the placement of the speaker is essential, the receiver serves as the soul and heart of any Dolby Atmos setup. Your Atmos relies on its receiver and the signal processing chips to identify the placement of the speaker and how to accurately represent the sound objects through them.

The Bottom Line

Dolby Atmos is one of the most excellent technologies right now that can improve your home entertainment system and take it to the next level. It makes you feel like you are a part of every TV show and movie you watch and all the songs you listen to.

To make things even better, yes, you can use any speakers for Dolby Atmos because there are no strict requirements for buying expensive and new equipment. This technology is also more accessible that allows every Dolby Atmos user to bask in the amazing magic that virtual surround sound has to offer.