From what I read, Atmos or DTS:X is not recommended for a vaulted ceiling room. Is DTS Virtual X what I should be looking for for a large room with a vaulted ceiling? Soundbar recommendations are welcome. Thanks!
If I were you I wouldn't worry about your vaulted ceilings and I would still get an Atmos/DTS-X capable system because they are simply the best tech and sound out there right now. Anything without this tech is going to be an inferior product. You will still get the overhead sounds they may just be a little different. When I was hearing demos at Best Buy the ceiling was super high. Higher than any house and I could still hear the overhead sounds coming from the Samsung Q90R which is the sound bar I highly recommend you buy if you can still find one. That is Samsung's flagship model from last year and it's a great system. I love mine and it kills anything from Bose IMHO. I am not a fan of Bose and their 20+ year old tech.
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I came across this nadechworld.com thread because I'm currently searching for information on Dolby Atmos and DTS:X solutions for ceilings that aren't 100% flat.
Not soundbars, but ceiling-mounted speakers, wall-mounted height speakers, and upward-firing speakers. First, just because something has Dolby Atmos or DTS:X doesn't automatically make it a great product. There are other factors to consider. Second, you said that during your demonstration at Best Buy of the soundbar that you mentioned, overhead audio sounded like it was coming from the soundbar. If the sounds that were supposed to sound like they were coming from overhead, instead sounded like they were coming from the soundbar in front of you, then I'd say that the demonstration at Best Buy failed. I don't know whether that's due to the virtualization algorithm, the design of the soundbar, the acoustics of the room, or some combination, but ideally, the sound shouldn't sound like it is coming from the soundbar; it should sound like it is coming from all around you. I have a hunch that the acoustics of the room had a lot to do with the failure. I don't expect great acoustics in any Best Buy room, not even if it's one of the Magnolia rooms. It's even worse if the product that you're listening to is not in a Magnolia room and is instead out on the open floor.
I don't know what upward-firing speakers sound like in a room that has a vaulted ceiling. If I were the OP, I would research this issue before buying anything. I just started reading through this thread.