ATC On Wall speakers for home theater

Hi…

Looking to upgrade my home theater (approx 12’x10’). Currently using Lexicon RV6 feeding Sonus Faber Venere 2.5’s and Venere Center. Rear speakers are generic in-wall’s. Sumiko Subwoofer as well. The sound is boring, unremarkable, lacking dynamics and attack. It’s time for a change.

I’m thinking of upgrading to the ATC HTS11 on wall speakers for the front 3 channels and HTS7’s for the rear channels. I like the clean look of the on wall speakers and I’ve already got NACA5 in the walls… wiring them will be easy.

There’s no opportunity to demo these speakers. I’m seeking opinions and those who have heard them. Thanks!

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You rarely see a serious home theatre on the forum so you might not get a hit.

I’m also looking to build a full cinema setup and have been looking at these. I’ve been looking at a fairly broad price range and the ATCs are about in the middle. For additional food for thought, you might also consider PMC Wafer2 which cost more. Or KEF T-series which cost much less. Dali do a similar on wall speaker with a rotateable tweeter.

One other spanner in the works is whether to divide a budget into 5.1, 7.1, 9.1 or an ATMOS setup. My dealer and I don’t quite see eye to eye here. They are of the opinion that better 5.1 will always be better than 7.1 or 9.1. So if you’re blowing $20k on AV speakers, always blow it on better 5.1. Makes sense up to a point but you can up your budget to $40k to get the same speakers in 9.1 or spend $40k on even better 5.1. We all know that even realky good stereo is better than mediocre surround. So by their logic, you’re better off spending your entire AV budget on stereo. I’ve set my mind to no less than 7.1.

NHK and Dolby Labs did research that found once you get beyond a certain minmum fidelity threshold, the number of channels becomes far more important to supporting visual cues on screen. NHK have a flagship 22.4 proprietary format.

Circling back on topic, the ATC are probably great if you have suitable amps and source material is Blu-Ray rather than streaming. But the same budget might do 7.1 with KEF or 9.1 with something like Qacoustics (wall brackets for standmount speakers).

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I took an interest in these ATC on wall speakers a while back for my stereo system.
After some helpful conversations with a few dealers who have them on demo - they said sound exactly like their free standing box versions but with an added bit of weight due to boundary reinforcement.
The smallest ones may well be ideal for an average space.
The 40s would be awesome given the right aspect and room/wall I would imagine.

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Thanks for the responses. I was curious if anyone had heard the ATC’s in person? I spoke with the US distributer and he recommended the 11’s for my theater. The 40s are too big for my room, but I bet they sound great.

My other option is to go with ProAc center and a pair of their floor standers. I love ProAc and I’m sure that combo would sound great. But I do like the idea of on-wall speakers to open up the room.

It’s not clear to me if the Lexicon RV6 has enough power to run 5 ATC’s… I may have to consider a separate 5 channel amp (Emotiva for example.)

Lastly, it’s a shame Naim never updated the AV2, I’d love to have a Naim processor and amps that did 5.1 sound. Even a one-box solution would have been cool. I get that home theater is dead market.

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I ordered 3 x HTS11’s and 2 x HTS7’s. Considering a 5 channel Emotiva amp that makes 350w per channel as I don’t think the Lexicon’s internal amp will be up to the task.

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Hey Chris,

I have HTS7 and use them primarily for music. They are fantastic- better than the stand mount 7s - and a real bargain at their price point. They definitely like being driven with power. The tweeter is superb. They also generate more bass than you would expect. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them. I haven’t heard the HTS11. Let us know what you think.

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What amp are you using?

I started out with 32.5/hicap/250 which was a great match. Now using CB 62/140. It’s slightly underpowered but adding a hicap in front of the 140 makes it just right.

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I am looking at using HTS11 with a Nova. I currently have the SCM11 with the Nova.
Looking at the installation instructions, it is suggested to have 1.5m between speakers and side walls. I only have 0.9m on each side. would this be a problem?

The PMC Ci and ATC HTS are all excellent products. One important point to remember with surround is that directivity and coverage are incredibly important. I have been very impressed by the latest Focal and B&W in-ceiling products that allow a flush-mount loudspeaker that can be aimed directly at the listening position. From personal experience of surround layout for domestic use (and the practicalities of accommodating it), I’d start with 5.1 then add immersive 5.1.2 (2 ceiling channels), or 5.1.4 (four ceiling channels) before thinking about 7.1.4 and 9.1.4/9.1.6 beyond that. There’s much discussion about ‘wide’ channels in a 9.1.6 array in the immersive mixing community since few domestic setups have these installed and therefore whether to pan objects into these channels or not. For Atmos theatrical (cinema) mixes, often these channels frequently carry content, but home ent/music mixing there’s more of a debate on whether to drop it in or not. Hope some of this is helpful!

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A problem though is that good on ceiling speakers are extremely expensive. At least when comparing for similar cost on wall speakers. The equation dramatically changes for domestic surround versus auditorium surround.

Most tests I’ve read where an identical budget was distributed between 5.1.4 and 7.1 or 9.1 in the home found that 7.1 and 9.1 consistently outperformed 5.1.4 unles the speaker budget was getting into serious money of the $50k+ mark.

Home ATMOS processors have very sophisticated processing and can steer ATMOS into whatever you’ve got available. So regardless of the fact there are very few 7.1 or 9.1 audio tracks available, an ATMOS processor will mix 5.1.4 into 9.1 (or whatever you’ve got) very effectively. Remember, 5.1.4 isn’t really a thing. ATMOS works by having mrta data and many many tracks where the metadata describes the position of a sound in a 3D space. Pro ATMOS uses up to 64 channels with metadata. Home ATMOS uses a small number that fits into 7.1 space and groups the sounds with simpler metadata.

Not to mention, dealing with holes in the wall in one thing. Dealing with holes on the ceiling, well that’s quite another.

5.1.4 is a valid configuration and I think provides a good cost/performance/complexity balance if you are inclined towards an immersive setup.

The left speaker in my pair of HTS7 is only about 1.5 feet from the wall. It’s not a problem but then again it’s a small room. Not sure if it would be a problem in a bigger room.

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