How to choose the best atmos ceiling speakers for your home cinema

*Updated March 2022*

If you’ve landed here, you might be in the process of designing your very own Dolby Atmos home cinema sound system - a very exciting time!

But as folks are becoming ever more conscious about interior design & the aesthetics of their homes, ceiling speakers are becoming more and more prevalent in home cinema set ups, due to their discrete appearance while still offering an immersive Atmos experience.  

Ceiling speakers are a great addition to any Atmos home cinema system but as you may have already discovered, there’s such a wide choice of them, how do you know where to start?

We’ve compiled a list of our favourite options from brands such as Bowers & Wilkins, Monitor Audio and KEF, each with their own “best for” to help guide your decision. 


But first, there’s a few things we need to understand:

Why are ceiling speakers a great option for an Atmos set up?

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Ceiling speakers in an Atmos home theater systems are mainly used as height channels to add a vertical plane of sound.

As they’re ceiling-mounted, they are well-placed to give immersive effects when the audio is encoded to fire above you. 

A great example might be if a helicopter flew over your head, the ceiling speakers will be activated and bridge the gap between your front speakers and rear surround speakers.

As Dolby Atmos is object based instead of specific channels like Dolby Digital, ceiling speakers will help transition the movement of sound from front to rear in a more balanced and realistic way. 

What makes the perfect Dolby Atmos ceiling speaker?

When searching for the best in-ceiling Atmos speakers, the main characteristic you’re looking for is clarity and detail of sound. Dispersion is a bonus as the higher the dispersion, the more capable the speaker is at filling larger cinema rooms.

Bass is less important in this scenario as that should be handled by a separate subwoofer, so the overall sound quality takes precedence.

Unfortunately, this is hard to know unless you know what each brand’s strong points are, or if you’ve heard those ceiling speakers before. 

From our many years of installing and listening to ceiling speakers, our go-to brand for audio clarity above anything else is Bowers & Wilkins

B&W are a true British heritage brand who have featured in the Abbey Road recording studios - and what better mark of excellence is there than that?

However, there are other great options that we’ve included in this list, which we think will make great  Atmos speakers in-ceiling.

Monitor Audio C265-FX - Best budget-friendly ceiling speaker for Atmos

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£ RRP: £420 per pair (view latest price)

Monitor Audio almost always feature in our ceiling speaker lists for their reliability, build quality and reasonable price.

The C265-FX in particular is ideal for Atmos set ups due to how well they spread the sound and their critically-acclaimed C-CAM Gold Dome Tweeter . They're purpose built for home cinema set ups which is rare-to-find.

The main focus of these speakers is detail which is great for you as your money will be invested where it really matters in a home cinema set up. 

Shop Monitor Audio C265-FX

KEF CI200RR-THX- Best speaker for high-end Atmos set ups: 

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£ RRP: £1058 per pair (view latest price)

More often than you might think, we are asked what’s the best speaker that money can buy for Atmos.

The KEF CI200RR-THX is typically the speaker that comes to mind first.

Although pricey, the CI200RR-THX is a high-performer for those set ups that are built for maximum immersion with no compromises. 

Being THX certified is no mean feat and requires a thorough understanding of sound processing during filmmaking. 

These are made with the highest grade components that can surprisingly rival HiFi separates. If you want to minimise the number of speaker “boxes” in your room, but maximise sound quality and budget is flexible, look no further.


Bowers & Wilkins CCM662 - Our favourite Atmos speaker

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£ RRP: £725 per pair (view latest price)

If you asked us outright what we think is the best ceiling speaker that’s great for Atmos, which is less than £1000 a pair, 9 times out of 10, we’d say the CCM662.

Sitting at the top of the CCM600 range, you benefit from Bowers & Wilkins most focused engineering. The 662s are incredibly precise and detailed thanks to the aramid fibre cone, a material used in aerospace and military applications.

The pivotable tweeter is also a bonus as you can direct the sound to where you want it to focus. Or you might be installing off-axis, where you need to offset the angle of the ceiling back down.

What’s more, they’re the installer’s dream as their simple and unique QuickDogs feature makes installation less than a minute per speaker.

SHOP Bowers & Wilkins CCM662

FAQ: How many ceiling speakers do I need for Dolby Atmos?

Dolby use between 1 and 3 pairs of ceiling speakers in their official configurations. 

The most common set ups utilise 1 pair of ceiling speakers which are used as overhead channels, not to be confused with surround speakers!

However, in more advanced set ups, you could also add a second pair of ceiling speakers to act as the “Voice of the Gods” speakers or satellite speakers. These would be positioned in line with the first pair of ceiling speakers but just behind the seating position.

If we take the example of the helicopter, if 2 pairs of ceiling speakers are used, sound can be heard not only behind you but behind and above you, increasing the distance travelled by the helicopter.

FAQ: Can you use ceiling speakers for Atmos in a Sonos set up?


Following the release of the Dolby Atmos-enabled Sonos Arc soundbar, it is possible to create up to a 5.2.2 Atmos set up consisting of the Arc soundbar itself, up to 2 subwoofers, and a pair of rears to create a full surround sound experience. 

The surround sound rears can consist of either Sonos Ones, One SLs, Fives or a pair of in-ceiling or in-wall speakers powered by the Sonos Amp

However, it is important to note, that Sonos does not currently support separate overhead speakers to be used as Atmos speakers. They must be surrounds. 

As the Arc utilises its own Atmos height channels in the form of upward firing speakers, it is not yet known whether Sonos will let users expand this set up further but we will have to wait and see!


I hope this article has provided some direction for your Atmos ceiling speakers. 

As ceiling speakers are a permanent fixture, it pays dividends to research which options will be best for your particular room and space.

If you would like some personal advice, please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to talk over your options and make your budget go as far as possible.

Alternatively, Dolby has some really helpful guides on their website with positioning advice and how to configure your Atmos system, depending on how many speakers you are having.

Further to this, if you want more information on in-ceiling audio, please have a read through our Ceiling Speaker Buying Guide. We’ve also compiled a useful Ceiling Speaker Video Guide.

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