5.1.2 vs 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos Speaker: Buying and Set-Up Guide

5.1.2 vs 5.1.4 theater system, which is better? Well, you can build a 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 on small to medium sized rooms. Since the main difference is in Atmos speakers, it will vary from user to user. Movie freaks will prefer 5.1.4 with independent height speakers for prominent and quality overhead effects. In that case you can check Klipsch or Elac home theater systems and you also need high budget.

Few models like Monoprice 5.1.4 home theater system is affordable and despite its low cost, you will get high-quality and satisfactory sound. If you have space limitation and don’t want multiple speakers scattered in the room, Sony HT-A5000 theater system is best for you. It is a smart soundbar as well with the support of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Ceiling height and material matters a lot for Atmos speakers. So, make sure you have a flat and ideal ceiling height for the sound to bounce off accurately. There are several ways you can create a 5.1.4 system so simply choose the best one for your criteria. Make sure you understand whether the home theater system will need an AV receiver/amp or not.

Technical differences between 5.1.2 vs 5.1.4 theater system:

Comparing 5.1.2 vs 5.1.4 theater systems, the main difference lies in number of overhead or Atmos speakers. You can use these in small rooms because the theater systems depend more on room layout rather than room size. In some cases, setting up in-ceiling speakers save time. You can also install two ceiling speakers on the front and two on the back.

Table: Comparison table of 5.1.2 vs 5.1.4 theater system

 5.1.25.1.4
No. of speakers810
Rear speakers22
Atmos/overhead speakers2 or 5.1.2 soundbar4
Front speaker2 front and 1 center speaker,
or 1 soundbar
2 front and 1 center speaker,
or 1 soundbar
Ideal forSmall to medium roomsSmall to medium rooms

Some users rely on in-ceiling speakers with tiltable tweeters so that sound is directed to the user. The reason we include ‘soundbar’ is because there are brands that manufacture 5.1.2 soundbar or all channels built-in into the soundbar. In that case you won’t have dedicated speakers for front, rear/surround or center.

These soundbars even have overhead or up-firing speakers. However, it is often a concern, whether a 5.1.2 soundbar or 5.1.2 home theater system is better. With dedicated speakers, a 5.1.2 home theater is supposedly much better. We have selected some of the best 5.1.2 and 5.1.4 home theater systems at different price point. Let’s have a look.

5.1.2 vs 5.1.4 theater system: Product analysis

After hours of research we have listed best 3 5.1.2 home theater systems.

Best 5.1.2 theater system:

Table: Comparing the best 3 5.1.2 theater systems

Feature
LG SK9Y
Focal SIB
Sony HT- A5000
No of speakers
1 soundbar, 1 subwoofer
3 satellite & 2 Dolby Atmos speakers, 1 sub
1 soundbar
Power
Soundbar RMS:301 Subwoofer RMS:200
Amp power needed: 25-200W
RMS power: 450W
Ports
HDMI in/out:1/1 Bluetooth 4.0 Wi-Fi
Connect via amp
Optical in, HDMI
Best for
Movies
Overall
Overall
Feature
LG SK9Y
No of speakers
1 soundbar, 1 subwoofer
Power
Soundbar RMS:301 Subwoofer RMS:200
Ports
HDMI in/out:1/1 Bluetooth 4.0 Wi-Fi
Best for
Movies
Feature
Focal SIB
No of speakers
3 satellite & 2 Dolby Atmos speakers, 1 sub
Power
Amp power needed: 25-200W
Ports
Connect via amp
Best for
Overall
Feature
Sony HT- A5000
No of speakers
1 soundbar
Power
RMS power: 450W
Ports
Optical in, HDMI
Best for
Overall

LG SK9Y 5.1.2-Channel Hi-Res Audio Soundbar w/Dolby Atmos Review:

Specs:

  • 24-bit Upsampling
  • High Resolution Audio: 24bit/192kHz
  • 4k passthrough
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Wall mount bracket included

Review:

LG SK9Y soundbar is one of the best compact 5.1.2 home theater system. It is best for small rooms and for users who don’t want to get involved in complicated installations. The reason we say this is, you only get a soundbar and a wireless subwoofer. So, the hassle of wiring, plugging is largely reduced. In the soundbar you will find front, surround, center, and overhead channels.

Each channel consumes 43W with a total power of 500W. The build quality is very good with sturdy metal-finish body and mesh grille. Basic controls like volume, input change, play/pause, skip are available on the soundbar. There is a display that shows input type, volume level and sound mode. With 47.2” length, the soundbar is ideal for 55” or higher TV screen size.

In terms of audio format, it has Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital, Dolby Atmos, Digital Plus and Surround. It has broad and wide soundstage. The wireless active subwoofer has bass-reflex cabinet, front-firing 7” driver. The low ends are boosted with a rear port. Up-firing speakers emit audio that bounces off the ceiling and as a result you get an illusion of overhead effects.

It can deliver object-oriented sound, and the loudness is average. It is best for movies as the dialogues are clear, surround sound is prominent, and bass is decent. In case you want to activate Surround sound, press the Auto Vol button on the remote for 2s. If you want rear speakers, then you can easily connect the LG’s SPK8-S optional wireless surround speakers with the soundbar.

Connection to TV can be done in several ways, HDMI or optical. You can choose from different sound modes: Standard, Movie, ASC, Bass Blast and Music. LG SK9Y is also a 5.1.2 smart soundbar that supports Google Assistant and LG Wi-Fi speaker mobile app. The remote control is handy with large but few buttons. Streaming is easy with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Along with these it has built-in Chromecast and other connection options like Aux in and optical input. If you are using LG TV, then the LG TV Sound Sync will help the soundbar sync perfectly with contents playing on the TV. However, it doesn’t have HDR 10+ nor does it support HDMI eARC. In terms of placement, you can install it in two different orientations, flat or against the wall.

The sound will adjust automatically. Additional features will help you under different circumstances, like Auto Volume Leveler will keep the volume stable instead of being too loud or low. Night mode is usable for nighttime movie watching.

Focal SIB Evo 5.1.2 Home Cinema System Review:

Specs:

For satellite speakers:

  • sensitivity: 90 dB
  • impedance: 6 ohms
  • frequency response: 70-25,000 Hz (±3dB)

For sub:

  • RCA line level/LFE (low frequency effects) input
  • frequency response: 35-150 Hz (±3dB)

Review

If you want to purchase this Focal Sib Evo 5.1.2 theater system, you need an AV receiver.  Simply match the power and go for a 7 channel or 9 receiver that support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. While setting up the amplifier or receiver, make sure to set all Sib speakers to small and cut-off frequency at 80Hz. The speakers are compact in size.

You can place one in the center by placing it vertically and the logo will rotate. The 3 satellite speakers have 3/4″ soft dome tweeter and 5″ Polyflex woofer. They have a bass-port on the back. Dolby Atmos speakers also have a 4” full-range driver on the top. Cub Evo subwoofer has down-firing 8 1/4″ Polyflex woofer and a streamlined port on its front side for boosted low end.

It sits on anti-vibrational legs and has a sturdy build quality with MDF enclosure.  It has built-in 200W Class D amplifier. The subwoofer delivers punchier bass and can get as low as 35Hz. The following image will give you an idea of 5.1.2 speaker placement. This 5.1.2 theater system is ideal for 100ft2 to 540ft2 room sizes.This 5.1.2 theater system is ideal for 100ft2 to 540ft2 room sizes.

This Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 speaker package is capable of delivering powerful immersive sound. Sound gets reflected from the Focal Dolby Atmos speakers to the ceiling through the top-firing drivers, but it varies from ceiling to ceiling (flatter ceiling preferrable). These Atmos speakers will be front left and right and they sit on hard rubber stand that you can adjust and angle. For installation, you can easily place them on tabletops or mount them on wall.

Once installed, allow the speaker to go through break-in period of 20 hours at moderate volume. This 5.1.2 theater system audio performance is noteworthy. The audio is detailed with powerful soundstage and room-filling surround sound. Overhead effects are prominent as well. It has a balanced sound profile, and you can enjoy movies with crisp and clear vocals.

Focal Sib 5.1.2 is quite powerful, has reasonable price vs performance and there are cases where consumer got so impressed, they upgraded 7.1.2. With the purchase of Atmos satellite speakers for rear surrounds, the home theater experience will be dynamic and impactful. It is best for movies, music, or any other content type. With same sized drivers and brand, the integration of front speakers with surround and subwoofer is seamless.

Sony HT-A5000 5.1.2ch Review:

Specs:

  • 1210 X 67 X 140mm
  • S-Master HX Digital amplifier
  • Optical-audio input, USB typeA, HDMI in 1 and out 1
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 8k HDMI Video Pass-through Resolution

Review:

Sony soundbar HT-A5000 is another best 5.1.2 home theater system under $1000, after the LG SK9Y. the soundbar has two 0.625″ Dome tweeters, five 1.8125″x2.25″ Cone midrange driver and two 1.8125″x4.375″ Cone woofer drivers. Subwoofer is built-in into the soundbar and is best if you don’t want several speakers throughout the room. The drivers inside the soundbar are X-balanced speakers that excel in dialogue while reducing distortion.

Simply place the soundbar beneath the TV and enjoy immersive 5.1.2 audio. There is no hassle of even wiring the subwoofer. It supports Google Assistant and AirPlay 2 along with Chromecast. You can include wireless speakers as well. While the standalone soundbar is powerful for most cases, you can include SA-RS5 or SA-RS3S optional rear speakers and SA-SW3 or SA-SW5 optional subwoofer.

While using optional speakers, you don’t have to worry too much about speaker position. The soundbar has built-in microphone to adjust sound by analyzing speaker location. When connected to Sony Bravia TV, the Acoustic Center Sync will deliver enhanced audio playback. It is one of the best versatile 5.1.2 theater system because all features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect are available in it.

This is in terms of controlling the bar as well. Use the Sony Music Center App, Remote control or voice assistants to control the bar from your seat. With remote control you can choose Night and Voice mode, and other basic controls. While the bass is decent, for a bit larger spaces you can always include a subwoofer.

To improve audio quality, you can select from Sound mode (Standard, Sound Filed), Sound effect (Night Mode, Voice Mode, Immersive Audio Enhancement) or from Virtual Surround Technology (S-Force PRO, Vertical Surround Engine, Dolby Speaker Virtual, Dolby Surround, Neutral:X). You can pair this soundbar with 55” or 65” TVs.

Sony HT-A5000 5.1.2 theater system is best for games, movies, or music, you name it. It exceptionally handles all type of content naturally and at ease. Beam tweeters deliver sound sideways that reflect and create immersive surround sound. 360 Reality Audio uses 360 Spatial sound technology that delivers sound in spherical sound field.

With this, music feels like indoor live performances. A sense of space and airiness is added to it. Front and center channels ensure dialogue clarity for movies. With Dolby Vision, image quality is exceptional and detailed as well. Clear and neutral audio profile is satisfactory in most cases. You can also check VIZIO M-Series 5.1.2 M512a-H6   or  Samsung HW-Q850T/ZA 5.1.2ch  5.1.2 theater systems.

Best 5.1.4 theater system:

Let’s have a look at the best three 5.1.4 home theater system.

Table: Comparing the best 3 5.1.2 theater systems:

Feature
Monoprice 5.1.4
Elac 5.1.4
Klipsch RP-8060FA 5.1.4
No of speakers
4 satellite, 1center, 1 sub
2 floorstanding, 2 bookshelf, 1 center, 1 sub and 4 Atmos speakers
2 floorstanding, 2 Atmos floorstanding, 1 center, 1 sub, 2 Atmos speakers
Power
Amp power: 15-100, 20-100W
Amp power needed: 25-200W
Different for each speaker
Best for
Movies
Overall
Overall
Feature
Monoprice 5.1.4
No of speakers
4 satellite, 1center, 1 sub
Power
Amp power: 15-100, 20-100W
Best for
Movies
Feature
Elac 5.1.4
No of speakers
2 floorstanding, 2 bookshelf, 1 center, 1 sub and 4 Atmos speakers
Power
Amp power needed: 25-200W
Best for
Overall
Feature
Klipsch RP-8060FA 5.1.4
No of speakers
2 floorstanding, 2 Atmos floorstanding, 1 center, 1 sub, 2 Atmos speakers
Power
Different for each speaker
Best for
Overall

Monoprice 133832 Premium 5.1.4 Review:

Specs:

For satellite speakers:

  • Frequency response: 70Hz ~ 20kHz (±3dB)
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 15-100 W
  • Sensitivity: 89dB (2.83V/1m)

For center speaker:

  • Frequency Response: 110Hz ~ 20kHz (±3dB)
  • Crossover Frequency: 3.5kHz
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 20-100W
  • Sensitivity: 88dB

For subwoofer:

  • Frequency Response: 30- 250 Hz (‑10dB)
  • Amplifier Power Output: 300 watts

Review:

Before raising your brows about how can a home theater system under $300 can deliver 5.1.4, lets praise Monoprice and several other brands that produce affordable products. This 5.1.4 Monoprice 133832 home theater system use up-firing speakers and you will often see consumers claim they only produce 5.1 sound.

Or, the Atmos sound is tinny or poor. Well, up-firing speakers are different from dedicated ceiling speakers, but in average living or TV room, the speaker system will shine. The overhead effect audio is adequate in most cases. If you are a general listener and not a professional it will suit you easily. You can use a traditional or Atmos AV receiver with it. Make sure receiver that enough channels to support 5.1.4.

Monoprice 133832 Premium is an example of cheap can be better. There are four satellite speakers that have 3″ polypropylene drivers. Center speaker is a 2‑way full‑range speaker type that has 0.75” aluminium dome Tweeter and 3″ polypropylene mid-range driver. For low-ends you will get a bass-reflex subwoofer that has 8″ reinforced paper cone woofer driver.

All the satellite speakers have up-firing speakers and they deliver multidimensional immersive sound. Movie soundtracks or effects become lively and vivid. Monoprice claims that you don’t need to have dedicated ceiling speakers. The subwoofer can deliver punchier bass, it has variable crossover and phase control on the back.

Monoprice user manual shows a detailed image of speaker position. It suggests a flat ceiling made of acoustically reflective material like drywall, plaster, hardwood. Ceiling height should be within 7 to 12 ft. Measure the distance of seat and the front speakers. Distance between the front speakers should be 2/3 of what you measured.

speakers should be 23 of what you measured.

Keep at least 6 ft distance between L/R front mains and angle them by 30 degree. For sub placement, you can use subwoofer crawl technique. The manual elaborates installation in details. It also suggests playing the theater system for 50-80 hours for break-in. while installation, you can set the subwoofer Low-pass filter frequency as 110Hz and check by playing audio.

Watching movies or playing game is satisfying for general users. It will deliver room filling audio at ease. We feel Monoprice Premium 5.1.4 is underestimated and it performs way better than its price.

Klipsch RP-8060FA 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos Home Theater System Review:

Specs:

  • Class D Amplifier with 400W RMS (sub)
  • Frequency response: 18-125Hz (sub)

RP-6000F:

  • Frequency response: 34-25kHz +/- 3dB
  • Sensitivity: 97dB @ 2.83V / 1m
  • Power handling (CONT/PEAK): 125W/500W

RP-8060FA

  • Frequency response: 32-25kHz +/- 3dB
  • Sensitivity: 98dB @ 2.83V / 1m
  • Power handling: (CONT/PEAK) 150W / 600W

RP-404C:

  • Frequency response: 59-25kHz +/- 3dB
  • Sensitivity: 97dB @ 2.83V / 1m
  • Power handling (CONT/PEAK): 125W/500W

Review:

Klipsch RP-8060FA has two RP-8060FA Dolby Atmos floorstanding speakers, one RP-404C center channel, two RP-6000F floorstanding speakers, two RP-500SA Atmos Elevation speakers and a SPL-150 subwoofer. The other two Atmos speakers come from Atmos floorstanding speakers. Floorstanding speakers are known to deliver powerful audio compared to bookshelf and other speakers.

Klipsch is a reliable brand and if you are an audiophile, then this is for you. It is one of the best expensive 5.1.4 theater system. RP-8060FA has 1” LTS tweeter and two 8” cone woofer. On the back side it has Tractrix port to enhance the bass. For height drivers, there is 6.5” cerametalic woofer. The sound performance feels ‘gigantic’ and overpowering.

RP-6000F has excellent imaging and soundstage. You can place them either on the front or rear and then place RP-500SA on top of them. These speakers have higher efficiency and easily delivers room-filling and impactful audio. It has 1” tweeter and two 6.5” cerametallic cone woofer. Details in any movie or music tracks are precisely represented.

The center channel has 1” tweeter and four 4” cone woofers. It works mainly with vocal clarity. This speaker ensures dialogues shine and you can clearly hear everything. The build quality of Klipsch speakers ensures longer lifetime. Most of the speakers are made from MDF. Atmos Elevation speakers have 1” tweeter and 5.25” woofer.

These speakers can represent height effects with ease. No information will be lost during movies. You will experience rich and realistic sound from them. Since all speakers and sub are from same brand, the integration between them is perfect. You can place it in medium to large sized rooms. The low-ends aren’t muddy, rather it is powerful and tight. Instead of purchasing Atmos speakers, you can also use two pair of RP-8060FA.

Make sure you follow speaker position rules. Although the cost is higher but you also get 4 floorstanding speakers along with Atmos speakers. With this 5.1.4 theater system you don’t have to spend extra on amplifier or receiver. Klipsch has fixed its ‘bright sound’ so you can move forward and give this high-end home theater a try.

You can also have a look at Samsung HW-K950/ZA  , Vizio 46514  or VIZIO SB36514-G6 36” 5.1.4

Elac Debut 2.0 6 1/2″ 5.1.4 Review:

Specs Bookshelf speaker:

  • Tweeter: 1″ Cloth Dome
  • Woofer: 6-1/2″ Aramid Fiber
  • Sensitivity: 87db @2.83v/1m
  • recommended amp power: up to 120 W

Floorstanding speaker:

  • Sensitivity: 87db @2.83v/1m
  • Tweeter: 1″ Cloth Dome
  • Woofer: Triple 6-1/2″ Aramid Fiber
  • recommended amp power: up to 140 W

Center speaker:

  • Tweeter: 1″ Cloth Dome
  • Woofer: Dual 6-1/2″ Aramid Fiber
  • Sensitivity: 88db @2.83v/1m

Atmos speaker:

  • Tweeter: 1 x 0.5-inch polymer dome
  • Woofer: 1 x 4-inch woven aramid-fiber cone
  • Sensitivity: 85 dB at 2.83 v/1m
  • Recommended amplifier power: 20 to 80 wpc

Subwoofer

  • Woofer: 1 x 10-inch high-excursion doped paper cone
  • Passive radiator: 1 x 10-inch high-excursion doped paper cone
  • Frequency response: 28 to 150 Hz
  • amp power: 200 W RMS

Review:

In case you prefer separate Atmos speakers, check this Elac Debut 2.0 6 ½” 5.1.4 theater system. It consists of two F6.2 Floor Standing Speaker, one C6.2 Center Speaker, two B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers, SUB3010 400W Subwoofer and four A4.2 Dolby Atmos Module. It uses silk dome tweeter that are well-known for broader dispersion of waves.

Aramid-fiber woofer in subwoofer ensures smoother and punchier low ends. MDF cabinets ensure sturdiness and durability.  F6.2 are 3-way bass reflex speaker that delivers powerful audio in a natural way. It has deeper soundstage with precise details. Vocals in songs are clearer and even the bass is powerful. You can place these floorstanding speakers for front and B6.2 speakers for rear.

B6.2 speakers for rear.

You can place these floorstanding

Elac B6.2 2-way bass-reflex bookshelf speakers that can get quite loud. it has excellent dynamics and transparency. It delivers realistic and lifelike audio without any distortion. The speakers have impressive soundstage as well. C6.2 center channel speaker is another piece that excels in quality. It ensures clearer and crystal-clear vocals.

This makes movie effect and overall watching theater-like and engaging. There are two front-firing ports so you can place them against the wall without any issues but it is best to keep a gap of 1’-2’. While installing, it is suggested to set center channel to small and crossover at 80Hz. Lastly the Elac A4.2 Atmos speakers are designed to place on top of B6.2 or F6.2.

The image above shows overhead effects and will work best for room height 7.5’-12’. Angled drivers will disperse audio upwards and they will bounce off from the ceiling to reach the user. Atmos speakers will make movie effects like rusting of leaves or explosions sound realistic and lifelike. The audio will follow the objects on screen as a result, if you are watching helicopter, then you will hear audio above your head.

Sub 3010 is a powered subwoofer that has passive radiator. It can get as low as 20Hz and the low-ends are deep and tight. For setting up the subwoofer use ELAC’s SUB Control 2.0 phone app. you can choose from various EQ modes like Cinema, Night, Music and Flat. Once you install this 5.1.4 theater system, you will realize dramatic improvement in audio but, you need to have the budget also.

Up-firing drivers or ceiling speakers?

In-ceiling speakers can deliver optimum overhead effect. Comparing up-firing drivers vs in-ceiling speakers, the ceiling speakers win in terms of true and immersive sound. however, while everyone seeks for minimalist setup, many manufacturers like Sony claim their up-firing drivers is sufficient and you won’t be need ceiling speakers.

In case you are sensitive about overhead effects, then you can install in-ceiling speakers, or purchase dedicated Atmos speakers and place them above other speakers. If you have the budget, you should spend on dedicated speakers. However, Atmos ‘sound effects’ in movies with be very few. So, if you think it is still worth it to enjoy theater-like audio, you can try them.

Parting words:

This article on 5.1.2 vs 5.1.4 theater system discusses different home theater systems at different price point. You can choose a soundbar, then add rear speakers and height speakers to it. there are standalone soundbars like Sony HT-A5000 which a all-in-one package and you don’t have to worry about connecting any speakers at all.

In case you feel AV receivers are a hassle to you, you can entirely omit it by choosing powered speakers with built-in amp. However, audiophile prefer connecting all speakers and all sources to the receiver and then receive final audio. In that case go through calibration software to improve overall sound. Most receivers come with calibration software.

Comparing 5.1.2 vs 5.1.4 theater system, both will deliver room filling audio with broader soundstage and clearer dialogues. If correct speakers are chosen, 4 Atmos speakers will pinpoint object and deliver accurate height information. Also, with a perfect ceiling, the sound from Atmos speakers can correctly bounce off the ceiling to come back to you.

FAQ

This FAQ is here to solve some of your problems that can arise while walking in the pavement of home theater system.

How to match receiver to home theater systems?

If your home theater supports Atmos, then the receiver should also support Atmos, DTS, etc. Also, the number of channels in a home theater along with the maximum and minimum power needed for the speakers are other factors that should be taken into consideration.

Does room acoustic really matter?

Room acoustics matters more than you think. While building a home theater, you can use auto calibration software by the receivers to improve the overall sound. There are also different ways to include different material to improve acoustics.