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Advice for best Surround Speaker Setup for a Harmony: Ceiling/Hight ?

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kawo
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kawo posted on Mon, Jun 1 2020 12:20 PM

In the next couple of days I will install my new Harmony and took the opportunity to read the "Technical Sound Guide" on the B&O website. Quite an interesting read! On Page 13 it talks about the multichannel setup.

As I have Beolab 5's as Front left and right no need for a subwoofer and if you take off the center as well from the count you are left with 5 channels. According to the sound guide on top of the usual "Left and right Surround" and "Left and right Back"

- 180 Degree Centre Back

- Left and right Surround Hight

- Ceiling (looks like one center speaker on top of the listening position)

- Centre Front Hight

- Left and right Fron hight

I have 2 pairs of Beolab 3, 1 pair of Belob4 and one 7-4 I can play with.

I guess you need at least 2 channels for the back channels on ear level, but what is the best choice for the remaining 3 channels based on B&O's TrueImage processing ? Any experience with the extra channels?

 

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beojeff
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I, too, have been interested in adding height channels. I'm interested in hearing what other people have done with height channels.

I'm currently using a BeoLab 4000 for "center front height" and a BeoLab 4000 for "ceiling." I really don't seem to detect much of a height effect.

Mikipidia
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I would use what I did, take both sets of 3’s. One for rears and one set of 3’s hang em high up pointing down at roughly 100 degrees of sitting straight forward to the tv and set them to height surround. It’s mind blowingly good in my set up and i love itBig Smile

We still freak out every so often not knowing where the sound is coming from as it seems too real Stick out tongue

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beojeff
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Miki-

Could you please clarify if you’re using the rear speakers as height speakers? Or are your only height speakers the left front height and right front height?
Mikipidia
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No so i have the harmony and 50’s up front.

Then i have the 17’s basically up on the wall at the ceiling height, more or less 8”/20cm behind my head.

And then i have 18’s as rear speakers.

The 50’s are left/right and harmony set to center.

The 17’s are set to height surround.

The 18’s are set to left/right back.

The 17’s in this position where a late addition and i though the gains would be marginal but fun. But in reallity it transformed the whole sound emersion and soundstage. It’s not so much the loudness that has changed but the possitioning of where the sound is coming from. You can pin point if the sound is coming from the left front, left or left rear or left height for instance and vice versa. It’s increadible and i love it. The 17’s get a mixed signal for height and surround and the trueimage processor does it’s magic beyond beliefBig Smile it’s silly accurate and very often we swing our heads around because it’s so accurate and it sounds way too life like and also where the sound originates fromStick out tongue a film with rain makes it feel like you’re sitting in the rain or a film where let’s say an upstairs neighbour in the film is stomping on the floor to quiet down the subject actually sounds like our upstairs neighbours are trying to do that to us in real life and we can’t tell the difference from the movie to real life lol

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kawo
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kawo replied on Mon, Jun 1 2020 8:07 PM

that sounds very promising! Hope I can test the suggested setup by end of the week.

beojeff
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Mikipidia:
No so i have the harmony and 50’s up front.

 

Then i have the 17’s basically up on the wall at the ceiling height, more or less 8”/20cm behind my head.

 

And then i have 18’s as rear speakers.

 

 

The 50’s are left/right and harmony set to center.

 

The 17’s are set to height surround.

 

The 18’s are set to left/right back.

 

 

The 17’s in this position where a late addition and i though the gains would be marginal but fun. But in reallity it transformed the whole sound emersion and soundstage. It’s not so much the loudness that has changed but the possitioning of where the sound is coming from. You can pin point if the sound is coming from the left front, left or left rear or left height for instance and vice versa. It’s increadible and i love it. The 17’s get a mixed signal for height and surround and the trueimage processor does it’s magic beyond beliefBig Smile it’s silly accurate and very often we swing our heads around because it’s so accurate and it sounds way too life like and also where the sound originates fromStick out tongue a film with rain makes it feel like you’re sitting in the rain or a film where let’s say an upstairs neighbour in the film is stomping on the floor to quiet down the subject actually sounds like our upstairs neighbours are trying to do that to us in real life and we can’t tell the difference from the movie to real life lol

So maybe my problem is hoping that there would be a remarkable effect along the front-back axis. Whereas, you went with the left-right axis. I did notice some pretty amazing sound watching "Top Gun" and "Air Force One." This was after I very recently replaced my BeoSound 1s with BeoLab 9s as front left and right and moved my BeoSound 1s to left surround and right surround. The BeoSound 1s truly do make a nice improvement (over the former Beolab 8000s) for the surround left and right speakers! I'm hoping to add two more channels for height to have front height left and front height right along with surround height left and surround height right -- instead of the current "center height" and "ceiling" roles that I currently have. However, I first need to either get a special cable to isolate the powerlink to only send one channel to the BeoLab 10 center channel speaker or to completely remove the Beolab 2 subwoofer to free up some available speaker connections. I'm still not certain about the debate of whether a BeoLab 2 is needed when one has BeoLab 9 speakers.

Here are the speakers and their roles that I have with my BeoSystem 4:

BeoLab 10: center front

Beolab 9: left front

Beolab 9: right front

Beolab 1: left surround

Beolab 1: right surround

Beolab 6000: left back

Beolab 6000: right back

Beolab 2: subwoofer

Beolab 4000: ceiling

Beolab 4000: center height

Mikipidia
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Personally I would put the bl1's as rears as the corners tend to give the most oompf and then move the 6000's to the surround role. (you have the speakers furthest back set as rears right, as in not set as surround?)

Also important is to get the most out of it is to watch something that is actually recorded in 7.1 or above. as otherwise the trueimage processor is still upmixing. so in the case of a source that is 5.1 the most of channels used are now the bl9's and 6000's, where as if you swapped those arround it would be the 9's and 1's.

In my opinion with your setup the bl2 is fairly useless unless you set it to subwoofer rear.

 

to my knowledge, unless there are some atmos set up this way for recording, there aren't all that many films natively set up to have channels in the height front or height center. I personally feel the height channels on the side give more effects, but if there are center or dedicated height channels they would be mixed to the side height channels anyway. But I could be wrong, all I know is that as I sit for a film at home it's bloody spectacular with how I have it set up and the difference from 5.x to 7.x what I have now was eye opening and jaw dropping. It has exceeded my expectations for adding these speakers by a looooong mile Stick out tongue

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beojeff
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I believe that Mikipidia has the solution for the height channels. Whereas, kawo and I (and likely many others) were misunderstanding the height roles with regard to the TrueImage upmixing.

 

Geoff Martin wrote a blog about TrueImage Upmixing in 2013 and discussed the height channels. The blog can be found here:

 

https://www.tonmeister.ca/wordpress/2013/12/06/bo-tech-trueimage-upmixing/

 

Especially useful are some of the discussions that follow the article. In one response to a question posted, Geoff Martin said the following: “The question of what components from which inputs, get directed to which outputs is one of philosophy in algorithm design. One philosophy (which you describe) is that the front height channels should be used for reproducing uncorrelated (or negatively correlated) signals (measuring correlation using L/R pairs). However, another philosophy is to use the front height channels to help elevate the centre front (typically dialogue) channel so that its perceived location is similar to the height of the video screen. The latter of these two is the choice we made in the TrueImage algorithm.” Geoff went on to recommend that the person instead use the roles “Left Height Surround” and “Right Height Surround” to get the desired effect.

 

Thus, it’s my understanding that the Left Height Front and Right Height Front roles provide more of an improvement of dialog rather than creating the height dimension that the Left Height Surround and Right Height Surround speakers create. Therefore, we might be mistaken in thinking that all of the height channels work together in the same manner in adding the height dimension.

 

I’ve felt that the article by Geoff seems cut off and unfinished. A “part 2” of the article that further explains the PRACTICLAL uses that we should keep in mind when adding height channels and assigning roles would be very useful. For example: if you add just 2 height channels, where should they be and which roles should they be assigned? If you add 4 height channels, where should they be and which roles should they be assigned? And so on.

 

I feel that I’ve been misunderstanding the use of height channels and their roles until now. I still don’t claim to really quite understand them.

 

It would be great to see what these amazing B&O loudspeakers could do in a Dolby Atmos setup. The adoption of Dolby Atmos has come a long way since 2013. I’m seeing it everywhere now --- Apple TV (iTunes), Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus. There is now plenty of content for us to really enjoy proper height speakers in our B&O home theater. Until then, “built it and they will come”?

 

Millemissen
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@beojeff

In rhe article...or rather in the Q&A’s Geoff suggests that you might ‘lie to’ the system by telling that the height speaker, that are placed at the from are surround heights.

(This is what I would do if I was funtanate to havecthe option of 2 height channels at home).

That seems to correspond with the findings of Miki - although his height surrounds aren’t placed at the front, but more at the side.

By the way - the ‘person’ is Henrik Baron Vejrup, who from time to time takes part in the Beotalk podcast.

In his current setup at home he does not use any heights, but I am sure that he will be glad to tell about his impressions from back then. You could contact him in the chat/Beotalk or on his social media mentioned there.

We’ll see, if there will be a ‘part 2’ of the upmixer article some time - would be nice imo.

 

@Miki

You wrote in the description of your set up:

The 50’s are left/right and harmony set to center. 

The 17’s are set to height surround. 

 The 18’s are set to left/right back’.

Does that mean that you have no speakers set as surround.....which would be the usual layout for 5.1 in the horisontal plane. Rears/backs are mostly used for a 7.1 layout as an addition to the surrounds.

Questions:

Since you always upmix/use the TrueImage upmixer, what are the differences between playing a 5.1 and a 7.1 source (in case you have 7.1 sources at hand/mostly from bluray discs). 

MM

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Geoff Martin
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When I read this thread, it seems to me that there is a blurring of terms and purposes...

There are some questions to ask before setting up such a large-scale system.

1. Why are you doing this?
The best reason for putting in "height" loudspeakers is to take advantage of humans' difficulty in localising sources above us. Sound coming from a position directly above you is hard to localise - which results in it sounding like it's coming from everywhere.

2a. Are you putting the loudspeakers in the correct locations? If not, it won't work.
In a 2-channel system, you will not get a centre image if the two loudspeakers and the listening position are not in the correct three locations... This is also true for a multichannel system. In fact, if you have a multichannel system where all loudspeakers'. audio channels are identical, then the "sweet spot" is smaller than for a 2-channel stereo system. A multichannel system only makes the "sweet spot" bigger if the audio channels are different.*

2b. Are the various loudspeakers' channels correctly configured with respect to Speaker Level and Speaker Distance? If not, then it won't work.
If you have a "ceiling" speaker mounted in the ceiling directly above the listening position, and it's playing a signal that should come from the ceiling - and it's not adequately delayed, then you'll hear that sound first - and any contribution of "spaciousness" (or whatever word you want to use) will be lost.

3. Remember that True Image is an upmixer. So any content that it generates for any channels that are not in the original stream are "derived" for loudspeakers that are additional to loudspeakers in the correct positions. However, if you have a correctly configured system, and you're sitting in the correct location, then upmixing will be a downgrade. A 5-channel upmix of a 2-channel signal is meant to make the overall experience better for people NOT in the "sweet spot" - at the expense of the experience of the person in the sweet spot. If you have one chair and no friends, then the best thing to do is to set up your loudspeakers correctly, turn off upmixing and send the signals to the correct loudspeakers - no more, no less...

4. Don't confuse loudspeaker position with Speaker Role. Sending a "ceiling" signal to a loudspeaker behind you will not give the impression that you have a loudspeaker in the ceiling. This might be obvious - but it's sort of implied by some of what's been written here. The loudspeaker models that you have is not as important as where they are positioned, since the purpose of having more than one loudspeaker is to enhance the SPATIAL effects.

I know this is all very general - but it might help...

Cheers
-geoff

 

 

beojeff
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Geoff:

 

Thank you so much for participating in this discussion. For the end user, it can be difficult to get some answers about multi-channel setups with our Bang & Olufsen systems. BeoCare doesn’t always seem to have the correct answers. (They suggested that I connect my BeoLab 9s to my BeoLab 2 instead of directly to my BeoSystem 4. I find that advice very questionable.) Some of the benefits that I read on the Dolby Atmos site are: “Moves sound all around you.” “Adds an overhead dimension.” “Creates a powerfully moving entertainment experience.” “A new sensation in height immerses you in the action, creating a full audio atmosphere and realistically depicting objects moving overhead.” So while I understand that TrueImage is not the same as Dolby Atmos, some of those descriptions are goals I have in adding height speakers. With that in mind, I’ll pose a few simple questions to you. Also, since you’re here, I’d like to pose a few questions to you about freeing up some BeoSystem 4 powerlink connections to add more speakers.

 

1.     If adding just 2 speakers for height, where would you recommend they be placed and which roles should be assigned to them?

 

2.     If adding 4 speakers for height, where would you recommend they be placed and which roles should be assigned to them?

 

3.     Do you agree with Millipidia’s suggestion that the my BeoLab 1 speakers (currently used for left and right surround speakers) be swapped with my BeoLab 6000 speakers (currently used for rear speakers) – thereby making the BeoLab 1 speakers the rear speakers?

 

4.     Does the BeoLab 10 speaker for center channel need to receive BOTH channels in a Powerlink cable? It’s possible to just assign one channel of a Powerlink socket in the BeoSystem 4 settings. However, the BeoLab 10 will still continue to receive both channels of that Powerlink connection of the BeoSystem 4. Therefore, it seems to waste one of the channels because the BeoLab 10 will receive both channel of the PL socket. The reception of both channels of a Powerlink cable could be solved by creating a special Powerlink cable to isolate for only one channel of a Powerlink cable being received by the BeoLab 10. This is a custom cable I could have Steve at Sounds Heavenly make for me.

 

5.     If a BeoLab 2 is only being used for the LFE channel and does not have other speakers connected to the BeoLab 2, does it need both channels assigned to it in the BeoSystem 4 settings? Or would it be okay to isolate for only one channel in a Powerlink cable to go to the BeoLab 2 with a special cable as I suggested in #4 above?

 

6.     Should I still use a BeoLab 2 if I have 2 Beolab 9 speakers?

 

I truly do appreciate your insight.

Mikipidia
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Thanks Geoff,

Is B&O ever going to support Atmos natively on the Harmony? Right now i have to do a work around with the aptv4k to have it show up and it makes a huge difference in sound quality from netflix and the like.

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Emil Jensen
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Mikipidia:
Thanks Geoff,

 

 

Is B&O ever going to support Atmos natively on the Harmony? Right now i have to do a work around with the aptv4k to have it show up and it makes a huge difference in sound quality from netflix and the like.

What is the work around?

Beovision Eclipse, Beolab 5, Beolab 17, Beosound 1 Google assist, Beoplay M3, Beoplay H6, Beoplay Earset 

Mikipidia
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Millemissen:

@beojeff

In rhe article...or rather in the Q&A’s Geoff suggests that you might ‘lie to’ the system by telling that the height speaker, that are placed at the from are surround heights.

(This is what I would do if I was funtanate to havecthe option of 2 height channels at home).

That seems to correspond with the findings of Miki - although his height surrounds aren’t placed at the front, but more at the side.

By the way - the ‘ person ’ is Henrik Baron Vejrup, who from time to time takes part in the Beotalk podcast.

In his current setup at home he does not use any heights, but I am sure that he will be glad to tell about his impressions from back then. You could contact him in the chat/Beotalk or on his social media mentioned there.

We’ll see, if there will be a ‘part 2’ of the upmixer article some time - would be nice imo.

@Miki

You wrote in the description of your set up:

’ The 50’s are left/right and harmony set to center.

The 17’s are set to height surround.

The 18’s are set to left/right back ’.

Does that mean that you have no speakers set as surround.....which would be the usual layout for 5.1 in the horisontal plane. Rears/backs are mostly used for a 7.1 layout as an addition to the surrounds.

Questions:

Since you always upmix/use the TrueImage upmixer, what are the differences between playing a 5.1 and a 7.1 source (in case you have 7.1 sources at hand/mostly from bluray discs).

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Henrik is with us 80% of the time, if he doesn’t have to work etc. So feel free to leave any question for him to over on the beotalk thread or email me and we’ll go over it for sure!

@millemissen

I actually have two presets, one is the classic 7.x where the 17’s are normal surround and the other where the 17’s are called “left surround height/right surround height”

The app shows them in two different ways, the first as 7.0.0 and the other as 5.0.2.

My work around for getting atmos signal is that i have connected the aptv to the panel and not to the soundcenter as the soundcenter always defaults the aptv to 5.1 what ever you do. This then gets converted to dolby digital plus when you get atmos signal in(which is 7.1) and the app says in either that it’s actually down mixing for my setup. When it’s a 5.1 source it says it’s upmixing.

When listening to a 5.1 source the 17’s and 18’s sort of work in tandem in either preset and it’s a sort dual rear setup, it still ads to the experience but not it’s not as impressive as listening to a atmos/7.1 signal. There it really shines and the channels feel fully separated and seem to do individual sounds and effects. A lot on netflix is now in atmos, most newer stuff anyway, and it’s great honestly.

Also the aptv work around when atmos shows up, i actually feel you get a higher bitrate of sound as even the front speakers sound way more distinct from one another. Attached to the soundcenter(5.1 default) or attached to the panel(atmos) with the same show i would say that with 5.1 if someone if to the left of center it sounds like the left channel and center channel are both playing, but when you watch the same thing on atmos it sounds like they are truely on the left as it sounds like only my left 50 is playing. The atmos tracks on netflix make it much more accurate to determine where something/someone is spacially where 5.1 can be a little bit vague. It’s all a bit hard to put in to words, i’ll try and make a video about it sometime soon!

But in either case i would highly recommend 7 speakers, i thought the change would be minimal but boy was i wrongStick out tongue

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Mikipedia on YouTube (finally Stick out tongue )

https://www.youtube.com/c/Mikipedia

Old: Beovision Eclipse, Beolab 1's, Beolab 2, Beovision 10-46, Overture 2300, beolab 8000's, Beolab 4000's, Beovision avant 32" etc. etc.

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