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GoldenEar's Invisible Dolby Atmos System Demo at CEDIA 2016

GoldenEars invisible Atmos demo was anchored by a SuperSub X subwoofer and Invisa architectural speakers

GoldenEar's invisible Atmos demo was anchored by a SuperSub X subwoofer and Invisa architectural speakers


  • Product Name: Invisa HTR 7000, Invisa MPX, SuperSat 60C, SuperSub X
  • Manufacturer: GolenEar Technology
  • Review Date: September 21, 2016 00:00
  • MSRP: $6,049 (total system cost)
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

Invisa MPX

  • Frequency Response: 25 Hz - 35 kHz
  • Dimensions: 13-7/8˝ H x 7-1/4˝ W x 3-3/4˝ depth
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Drivers: Four - 4-1/2˝ High-Definition Cast-Basket MVPP™ Mid/Bass Drivers Two - 4˝ x 7˝ Quadratic Planar Low-Frequency Radiators One - HVFR™ High-Velocity Folded Ribbon Tweeter

SuperSat 60C

  • Frequency Response: 50 Hz - 35 kHz
  • Dimensions: 35˝ H (W) x 4-3/4˝ W (H)  x 2-3/4˝ D
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Drivers: One - 7˝ High-Def. Cast-Basket MVPP™ Mid/Bass Driver  HVFR™ High-Velocity Folded Ribbon Tweeter

Invisa HTR 7000

  • Frequency Response: 25 Hz - 35 kHz
  • Dimensions: 10˝ diameter x 5˝ depth
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Drivers: One - 7˝ High-Def. Cast-Basket MVPP™ Mid/Bass Driver  HVFR™ High-Velocity Folded Ribbon Tweeter

SuperSub X

  • Frequency Response: 12 Hz - 250 Hz
  • Dimensions: 14˝ W x 12-3/4˝ H x 13-1/4˝ D
  • Weight: 31 pounds
  • Drivers: Two 8˝ long-throw high-output bass drivers and Two 10-1/2˝ x 9-1/2˝ quadratic planar infrasonic radiators
  • Amplifier: 1400 Watt ForceField digital amplifier
  • LFE input: Unfiltered (no low pass), direct-coupled
  • Line level input (right/left): Variable Low-Pass from 40 Hz – 150 Hz

Immersive audio has been a real game changer in home theater. Once you’ve experienced it, you can’t go back. If you haven’t heard it, you don’t know what you’re missing—it’s awesome. But immersive audio takes a bit more than your typical 5.1 or 7.1 and to do it right, you should have discrete speakers all around instead of the Atmos-enabled bouncy kinds.

Taking full advantage of Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, or Auro-3D you'll need both ear level and in-ceiling speakers. But what do you do when you have a room or (ahem) spouse who just won’t allow you to put floor standing or bookshelf speakers in your room?  GoldenEar has a solution in mind and they demoed it at the 2016 CEDIA Expo show.

GoldenEar SuperSub X CEDIA Teaser

How can I have Atmos and Aesthetics too?

Naturally, the question then remains, can you do an all-architectural Atmos installation? Theoretically the answer should be “yes.”  But, as with any architectural installation, your mileage may vary. 

For years, people have been doing traditional home theater setup with all architectural speakers. At Audioholics, we’ve always recommended in-walls for the mains and surrounds and only in difficult circumstances can you shift your surrounds (not your mains) into the ceiling.  An all in-ceiling approach isn’t ideal at all in a traditional home theater but you should never do it with Dolby Atmos otherwise you'd have no separation between the ear-level and height channels and the resultant  sound would just be a convoluted nightmare.

When it comes to an immersive audio setup like Dolby Atmos, we would strongly advocate that you maintain the two-axis approach and have the ear level speakers located in-wall and maintain the height speakers in-ceiling. 

In case you’re wondering, I personally set-up and tested an all in-ceiling Dolby Atmos setup and it just didn't work out very well.  You’re better sticking with a traditional, two-axis setup.  The bottom line is that there’s no substitute for two distinct height layers (or in the case of Auro-3D three height layers) for your speakers.

At CEDIA, GoldenEar Technology wanted to demonstrate that you can, in fact, have an all-architectural Atmos installation.  While they called it an “invisible” Atmos system, it was simply a setup consisting of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers with a one of their new ultra-compact subs.

GoldenEar Drivers

GoldenEar Drivers

To set up their system at CEDIA, GoldenEar used their Invisa MPX in-wall/in-ceiling loudspeakers for the front and surround channels, which retail for $499/ea. The Invisa has two 5-inchbass/midrange drivers and a High-Velocity Folded Ribbon Tweeter in a woofer-tweeter-woofer arrangement. The same loudspeakers were used for the rear surrounds.

For the center channel, GoldenEar used their SuperSat 60C center wall-mounted speaker above the display arguing that its usually more convenient for people to place a low profile speaker above or below an HDTV display than installing an in-wall speaker. The SuperSat 60C has a frequency response of 50Hz to 35Hz with four 4 1/2-inch cast basket midbass drivers, two 4-inch x 7-inch quadratic planar low frequency radiators and one of GoldenEar’s high velocity folded ribbon tweeters.

For the four height channels, GoldenEar used the Invisa HTR 7000s, which likewise for the same $499/ea.  The HTR 7000 are angled.  You can therefore point the height channels towards the listening position.  When I installed my Dolby Atmos/Auro-3D theater speakers, I similarly used angled speakers for the height channels with spectacular results. The HTR 7000s have a 7-inch cast-basket driver and a HVFR tweeter.

Rounding out the demo was GoldenEar’s just announced ultra-compact subwoofer, the SuperSub X.  All in all, GoldenEar set up this 5.1.4 system taking up pretty much zero floorspace (except for the nearly 12 1/2-inch squared ultra-compact subwoofer) while maintaining the ideal of two levels of speaker placement.  The cost? The total system cost for the speakers was $6,049, not accounting for wiring, installation labor, or electronics. A Marantz AV8802A Atmos/DTS:X Processor powered by dual Parasound Halo A51 5CH amplifiers was utilized to power the speakers and an Oppo BDP-105D Blu-ray was the source device.

First-hand listening impressions

GoldenEar DemoGoldenEar put on quite a great Atmos demo with their 5.1.4  in-wall / in-ceiling speaker system powered by one SuperSub X for bass duties.  During our  listening tests we thought for sure there were at least two of those subs playing but Sandy informed us it was just one.  Impressive, most impressive. GoldenEar demoed an animated movie and Star Wars Battlefront game demo both of which did a nice job showing off the immersive effect the system produced.  Kudos to Goldenear for doing Atmos the right way and not the bouncy house speaker method that we've always found to be far less effective.

Bottom Line

So what's the bottom line? Here at Audioholics, we've always advocated that immersive audio is awesome and a worthwhile upgrade. However, we've also strongly maintained that if you're going to do it, do it right.  Don't use Dolby Atmos upfiring speakers unless it's a completely last resort.  Always use floorstanding speakers and discrete height speakers.  But, if you're forced to maintain aesthetics, then GoldenEar's demo showed us one thing—it's possible if you're committed to doing it the right way.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Theo Nicolakis has been reviewing high end audio, video, home theater, headphone, and portable music products for the past 14 years. His reviews have appeared here on Audioholics as well as Techhive.com, PCWorld.com, MacWorld.com, and more. His reviews span high end two-channel and home theater systems, AVRs and immersive audio processors, headphones, DACs, DAPs, music servers, sound bars, and display technologies.

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