Are Upfiring Speakers Worth It? Find Out Now!

While you want an awesome speaker setup, whether to use upfiring speakers is confusing you. We know it can be a difficult choice. 

So you want to know are upfiring speakers worth it?

No, upfiring speakers are not worth it if you prefer the perfect overhead sound for a three-dimensional experience. It won’t be able to provide excellent sound quality. You’ll also need the perfect room to use them. But if you prefer an easy speaker setup, then it’s a good choice. The setup will also cost less.

But knowing this much won’t be enough. So, let’s go for a detailed discussion!

Key Takeaways

  • Upfiring speakers are worth it if the room is not too big.
  • Ceiling speakers are better

Upfiring Speakers: Reasons Why They Are Not Worth it

Like the name, the concept of up-firing speakers is quite intriguing. Upfiring speakers have quite a good sound quality. Although not as much as the ceiling-mounted speakers.

Upfiring speakers placement
Source: Reddit

But it has its own unique advantage. It’s effortless to set up. Unlike its alternative, it is unnecessary to drill or mount it on the wall. Rather than just simply putting it on your speakers and connecting them. 

Upfiring speakers are mainly used in households for a theater-like setup. But in comparison, they are a little pricey to afford. 

So, unless your budget is well above $700, it’s a little pricey for you. 

Then again, it is quite easy to maintain these speakers. Since they are just above your main speakers, you can clean them quite easily. It won’t cause you much of a hassle. 

So, depending on your preference, they might be quite a catch.  

Upfiring Speakers: 4 Reasons Why They Are Worth It!

Let’s move forward with a detailed analysis. Let’s first discuss why they are such a good deal. 

Reason 1: Overhead Sound

Like with any speaker, the first thing to discuss is its sound. The up-firing speaker’s main function is to create overhead sound. So, firstly, what is overhead sound? 

It’s mainly the sound projected from your overhead speakers. They are meant to bounce back from the ceiling and reach your ears. Thus, they are called overhead sounds.

Surround sound of upfiring Dolby speakers
Source: arstechnica

In this process, the listener gets a feeling that the sound is coming from above. 

With this, you can get the feeling of an automated hemisphere. A hemisphere is constantly coordinating and creating sound waves from all sides. 

This gives you a much better experience. 

Here we have enlisted some speakers that produce quality overhead sound:

Reason 2: Height Virtualization

The second amazing feature that makes upfiring speakers so awesome is height virtualization. So, what is height virtualization? 

It is a digital signal processing system. It helps your upfiring speaker understand your audio perception. The goal here is to create the sensation of overhead sound.

Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
Source: Facebook

These speakers use height filters to create this fake sensation. That the sound is coming from above. 

With this feature at work, you can enhance the sound of your entertainment room or game room. Because it’ll give you the sensation that everything you are hearing is actually happening around you. 

Reason 3: Setup Simplicity

Next comes the setup. So, how can I set up my upfiring speakers? 

You can set it up using the stands provided with the speakers. Try to place them evenly in the room. Unlike ceiling-mounted speakers, they don’t have to be drilled into your wall. Or mounted to it. 

That makes so much of the labor go away. Also, it saves you from permanently changing your room. 

However, it would be advised to use these speakers if your ceiling is 8-12 feet high. If it’s any more than that, the sound won’t be able to come back properly. 

Reason 4: Minimal Setup Cost

The good thing about upfiring speakers is that it reduces the setup cost significantly.
To add up-firing speakers to your setup, the only thing you will need is speaker cables. Here you should know if you can double up the speaker cable. You don’t have to mount the speakers to the wall or drill them for cable management. Thus, it saves you a lot of money.

Upfiring speaker setup
Source: Klipsch

Here, simply put the two upfiring speakers on your left and right main speakers. Connect them with speaker cables and they are done. 

There is also another option. Some main speakers already come with an upfiring feature. 

Here, you can check out these upfiring speakers that would be friendly to your pocket:

ProductsFeaturesPrice
Klipsch R-41SA Powerful Detailed Home Speaker4″ spun-copper woofer
1″ Aluminum lets tweeter mated to a 90×90 square Tractrix Horn
100 watt power handling
Check Price on Amazon
Sony SSCSE Dolby Atmos Enabled SpeakersRobust 5.1.2 home theater setup
4” mica reinforced cellular woofer 
Check Price on Amazon
Monitor Audio Bronze AMS Atmos Enabled Speaker BlackC-CAM Gold Dome Tweeter with the new Uniform Dispersion
Hive II rear port tuned for ease of positioning
Check Price on Amazon

Upfiring Speaker Drawbacks

Like anything else in this world, upfiring speakers also have their own disadvantages. Now, let’s get to know what these drawbacks are and how they might affect you.

Drawback 1: Lower Sound Quality

One drawback of up-firing speakers is the lower sound quality. The speakers are set up on the towers. And the idea is to send the sound to the ceiling and then bounce it back to your couch. 

But in this process, it loses quite a few decibels. 

The sound you are supposed to hear from over your head is created by the speakers properly. For example, the chirping of birds or the sound of the wind. If you go near the speaker, you can hear it perfectly. 

But the problem here is that these sounds are originally a little dim. So, when they have to travel this much before getting to your ear, it gets dimmer. 

To the point that you aren’t getting that effect while sitting on your couch. That is even with an eight feet ceiling. 

So, what should be the volume of my upfiring speakers?  

To get somewhat of the effect, you absolutely have to increase the volume of your speakers to the fullest. Maximize the speaker volume to get a better experience.

So, even after bouncing, you get the pitch and loudness you were expecting. 

Although it still wouldn’t be good enough like a ceiling-mounted speaker. Sound traveling directly to your ear will always have much more effect than bouncing. 

You can experience the difference firsthand even if you mount your upfiring speakers on the wall. In this case, the angle will ensure that the sound reaches you directly. Some of it might also bounce. And it will give you a much richer effect.

However, you need to have a dedicated room for this. If your room has sound absorption material, then you won’t be able to get quality sound from your speakers. You can use these in-ceiling speakers as an alternative

ProductsFeaturesPrice
Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker1” Titanium Tweeter6.5″ Pivoting Cerametallic WooferHorn-loaded technologyCheck Price on Amazon
Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8″ Round SpeakersSeamless Audio QualityBalanced and life-like soundCheck Price on Amazon

Pro Tips: Don’t place the speakers too far from your couch or the TV.

Drawback 2: Less Immersive Experience

The next drawback is that it fails to create an immersive sound experience. Upfiring speakers are used to adding the upper dimension of sound to your room. With the upfiring speakers providing sound from above, you should have a wholesome effect. 

But, sadly, that is not the case. While bouncing off the wall, the sound decreases dramatically. Thus, that feeling of hearing sounds from above can’t be enjoyed very well.

Upfiring speaker immersion
Source: boomspeaker

And if your roof is more than eight feet high, then the sound quality gets lower. To the point that it doesn’t even feel like you are hearing it from above. That’s why some even convert their upfiring speakers to ceiling ones-

Since we are talking about the listener experience, let’s hear some reviews. Some users say that even with an eight feet ceiling, it doesn’t give the right vibe. 

Some users say if you have the option of installing ceiling-mounted speakers, you should avoid upfiring speakers.

Nevertheless, some users who can’t use ceiling speakers are quite satisfied with upfiring speakers. Even if it can’t provide the same feeling, it works as a good alternative. 

Pro Tip: It’s better to experience the sound of upfiring and ceiling speakers before you purchase them. That way you’ll know which one you prefer.

Drawback 3: Not Feasible for Regular Households

The last drawback is that it’s not always good for regular households. Let’s explain this properly. 

Though Atmos states that their upfiring speakers work even if your roof is 12 feet high. The approximation they give is that it works with 8-12 feet ceilings. But actually, a more than 8 feet high ceiling doesn’t go well with upfiring speakers. 

So, if your ceiling is more than eight feet high, it isn’t a good fit for you.

And even with these factors, there is a fact about sound absorption. In cinemas and auditoriums, sound absorption materials are used. 

What this explanation goes to state is that your walls must be reflective for upfiring speakers to work. Because if your walls act even somewhat like sound absorption materials, it won’t work. 

That’s because the walls will suck in the sound waves, and they won’t be able to bounce back. Especially if your wall is relatively softer or supports more air inside, it’ll absorb more. 

So, it’s clear that you can not just install it if you want to. If your room is not compatible with the speakers, it’d be a waste to install them. And having to ensure such a dedicated room is, of course, a hassle. 

But the story doesn’t end there. There is another type of speaker that piques our interest, the height speakers. Let’s have a look at the comparison between the three types.

In-ceiling Speakers vs Upfiring Speakers Vs Height Speakers: Quick Comparison

Now let’s discuss a detailed comparison of these speakers. They are built for almost the same purposes. By reviewing them, you’ll be able to pick which one you actually need. 

So, without further ado, let’s get into it. 

Aspect In-Ceiling SpeakerUpfiring SpeakersHeight Speakers
Sound QualityBestAverageGood 
Setup ComplexityHardestEasyHard
Setup Cost$190 to $350Below $199$200 to $500
FeasibilityHighLowHigh

Sound Quality:

First, let’s discuss sound quality. As for in-ceiling and height speakers, they are both good quality speakers. Since both of them are mounted to the wall, they can deliver the sound directly. 

Thus both of them are adept at creating three-dimensional volume. That is by creating the overhead sound.

Ceiling speakers
Source: avsforum

But even so, ceiling-mounted speakers are still at the top of the game. Especially if the ceiling is high (more than 8 feet). The great thing about ceiling speakers is they can create the surrounding effect quite beautifully. It adds the overhead sound more vividly. 

On the other hand, height speakers don’t perform as well as ceiling-mounted speakers. That is even though they are mounted on the wall. They are even angled to provide the best direct music experience. 

But they still aren’t as vivid according to users.

Summary: choosing solely on sound quality, the best choice would be to purchase the in-ceiling speakers.

Setup Complexity:

Since ceiling speakers are attached to the wall, obviously, it’s a bit of a hassle. So, how to set up ceiling speakers? 

  • Firstly, unplug the amplifier. Because keeping it plugged in will sort everything out.
  • Now, before attaching the speaker, we’ve to ensure there are no joists, holes, or pipes. That is where we want to mount the speaker. Here, we can use a tool named Wallabot. Connect it to your phone and scan the wall for joists.
  • Once you have got a good blank spot just above your couch, attach the template with tape. Don’t forget to tag the spot in the middle of the template with long screws. 
  • Now, get on your roof. Drop your speaker wires through the hole where the amp is set. Now locate the screws and measure the 8-inch space between the screws. Split the speaker wires. 
  • Coming down from the ceiling, draw out the circle of the template. Then cut that circle of the drywall with a sharp drywall knife. From above the wall, take out the two wires you left. Connect them to the speakers accordingly.
  • Now push in the speaker. Be sure to turn the wing nuts inward. Now, screw in the screws of the outer rings of the speaker. Don’t over-tighten it though. And, be sure to aim the tweeter of the speaker in your direction. Then, push on the grill.
  • Finally, connect the speaker wires to the amp and plug them in. 

With that, you should be done setting up your ceiling speakers. You should also know how to set up ceiling speakers in new construction.

Now, let’s come to the height of the speakers. So, how to set up height speakers? 

  • Place the lip/flange on the back of the speaker. There is a hole in both the speakers and the flange. Just screw it in there with the smaller screw. 
  • Then take the wall bracket they provide. Install the bracket into the wall by screwing it in. While you’re at it, be sure to leave enough space around the bracket for the speaker to sit. In fact, they’ll give you how much space you should leave.
  • Then simply place the speaker on the wall bracket. Pull it a little to see if it is sturdy enough. And obviously, don’t forget to connect the speakers with speaker wires. 

With this, your speaker should be perfectly installed. However, the placement might not be quite accurate still. So, you might be wondering. “how to place my height speakers properly?” 

While setting up high speaker channels, place them in the upper left and right corners. Be sure to place it around eight feet high. Also, place it in a way that ensures a 40-45 degree angle. Here, a downward tilt will be the best. Because it will reduce the ceiling bounce reflection and send the waves directly.

Height speakers placement
Source: Hookaudio

This way, the speaker’s mid/ high frequency is also increased. So, be sure to place the speakers accordingly. 

So, as we can see here, both speakers are somewhat labor-intensive to set up. While ceiling speakers require the most effort, height speakers are easier. And the upfiring speakers are the easiest to install as I’ve mentioned previously. 

Summary:  if you want a speaker that is easy to set up, go for the upfiring speakers. 

Setup Cost:

After the setup process, let’s discuss the cost. As the upfiring speaker setup cost was previously mentioned, let’s move forward. 

As we can see from the setup process, in-ceiling speakers are more complicated. It needs more speaker wire since the connection comes from above. You need way more materials just to get it installed. 

On the other hand, height speakers only need a wall bracket to be installed. The use of speaker wire is also less than with ceiling speakers. That is because it is installed on the side walls. 

Thus, the setup cost is quite low. 

So, depending on costs, the speakers are comparatively cheaper to set up. Although not as much as the upfiring speakers. 

Summary: If you prefer an easy and cheap setup, go for the upfiring speakers. 

Feasibility:

Finally, let’s compare which one is the right choice specifically for your room.

So, what should be considered before installing ceiling speakers?

For the ceiling speaker, there’s a lot of drilling you need to do. You’ll also need to cut the wall. This becomes significantly more difficult if it’s not drywall. You might also live in a rented house. In that case, it’s also a matter of fact to consider the owner’s permission. 

The other thing is that you might not be too good at these complex DIY projects. In that case, you have to hire a professional. Which will also cost you more. 

Even though height speakers also need some drilling, it’s not so complicated. Any normal person can do it if they want to. It’s a pretty simple process. 

Also, since the sound is delivered directly, you don’t have to be concerned about the room. That is unlike the upfiring speakers. 

So, if you want the safest and most convenient option, go for the height speakers. 

With this, we hope you have grasped the whole picture. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where to place up-firing Atmos speakers?

According to Dolby’s own recommendations, up-firing speakers should be positioned at or above ear level. We’ve even discovered that putting them below ear level virtually always eliminates the effect. So, while placing them on your main speakers, be sure they are above your ear level.

How to activate Dolby Atmos?

First, go to settings and tap on the sounds and vibration. Scroll down to find the sound quality and effects options. From there, tap on Dolby Atmos. Next, tap the sound quality and effects options. This will let you customize the specific levels. Here, 4 options are available. Select the default or change it.

How does an upfiring speaker work?

Upfiring speakers are intended to be placed in front of your setup. That is above your front left and right speakers. They are used to simulate ceiling-mounted speakers by blasting sound upward and toward the ceiling. It then bounces back down to your couch, giving you the feeling of an overhead sound. 

Conclusion

Now we would like to hear from you. 

Did we answer all your desired queries related to are upfiring speakers worth it?

For sticking with us till the end, here is an extra tip. For good sound quality, you should at least use a 5.1.2 setup.

If you want to know anything else, be sure to comment down below.

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