In-Wall VS In-Ceiling speakers?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by jwbstrd, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. jwbstrd

    jwbstrd Auditioning

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    I am currently having a new home built and it will come pre-wired with four speakers and a sub in the living room.(I'll add the center channel myself) The living room is part of a "great room" which combined with the kitchen and dining area. So there is only two true walls to the living area. (front and left wall) Back side is kitchen and dining and to the right wall is walk way to the master and laundry.
    So my question(s) is. What speaker location would suit my room better. In-ceiling, In-Wall (at top of wall near ceiling) or a combination of the two. ie...in wall front speaker and in ceiling rears (like in picture)? Also what is the rule of thumb for the mounting height of a LCD for optimum viewing. Mine is 52". I also have 37" for another room.
    I'm meeting with the superintendent this Friday and would like to give him proper location of the wiring before drywall. So any insight would be greatly appreciated. I'm attaching couple of pics of the model home with the same layout.
    Thanks in advance!!
    Sean
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/image/id/88262/width/1000/height/500">
     
  2. jwbstrd

    jwbstrd Auditioning

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    anybody?? bump..
     
  3. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    The center of the TV should be just above eye-level from the primary viewing position. (Just as a painting should be hung with the center-line just above eye-level for an average sized person standing a reasonable distance away.)

    Similarly the speakers should be just above ear-level from the primary listening position. This rules out in-ceiling speakers, which are one of those interior decorator ideas that achieve form (by "hiding" the electronics) by totally destroying function. Ever been in a theater that used in-ceiling speakers to play soundtracks? No, you haven't. Where do you find such speakers, and what is their primary function? You find them in airports, warehouses, supermarkets and the like, and their primary function is "public address system." They may also be used to pump "music" into a space, in between announcements. Ever go to a supermarket to groove to some tunes? Didn't think so.

    You're building a home theater, not a Sam's Club, and you want an audio system suited to enjoying movies and music - not to announcing a flight delay or a special on canned peaches.

    In wall speakers can be a good idea, properly placed.

    But stay away from in-ceiling.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  4. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    That is the key and the big problem with in-walls. Once they are in the wall, you are pretty much stuck with them as they were installed. If this is your only option, then it beats in-ceiling or that cute little BOSE junk. Just make sure you get it right the first time.
    Check this guide from Dolby: http://www.dolby.com/consumer/setup/speaker-setup-guide/index.html
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Yeah. You can't exactly rearrange the furniture every couple of years if the speakers are built-in.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  6. jwbstrd

    jwbstrd Auditioning

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    Thanks for the responses!

    This room is not going to be my main theater setup because of the way the room is layed out. This room will be used more as an entertaining room for when guests are over. I figured I would just take advantage of the prewiring so I could have a little something to fill the room with some descent sound. But thanks to this site I am getting some great ideas for the bonus room I planned on using as the main theater room. What do you guys think of HTD? I'm not looking at breaking the bank.
     
  7. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I have in-ceiling speakers in my bedroom theater and they are fantastic. I also have my rears in my main theater very near the ceiling. I think in-ceiling rears are fantastic. If you ever go to a real theater the rear speakers are usually very high on the walls in the back of the theater. Good in-ceiling speakers can make for a very nice surround experience. Recommended.
     
  8. CB750

    CB750 Screenwriter

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    Free standing speakers will give you the most flexibility,
    1. Easy to change room and furniture layout.
    2. Easy to upgrade to better speakers.
    3. Easy to take with you if you move.


    In looking at your model home pictures. You can tell this layout was put together by a interior designer who had no idea as to how to assemble a HT everything is wrong. Although we don't see the rest of the room It will present many challenges to put together a 5.1 system. Since this will not be your primary HT, you might want to go with a good sound bar at this location, keep it simple and invest the rest of your budget in your primary HT.
     
  9. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Chances are the ceilings in your bedroom are substantially lower than those in most dedicated home theater rooms, the room itself is smaller and you have carpet rather than a hard reflective surfce for a floor. All of these thing will help minimize the usual bad effects of in-ceiling speakers. In short, you can get away with them in some rooms if you're lucky, but I stand by everything I've said against them in this and other threads for 90% of HT applications.

    Well, in fairness to the interior designer, not everything is wrong. He/she did manage to resist the temptation to put the TV above the fireplace, which shows remarkable restraint given that's the first thing that most of the breed think of when presented with a flat-panel television. Everything else is wrong.
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  10. aaronmielke

    aaronmielke Auditioning

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    I agree with everything Joe said when comparing speaker performance in a dedicated theater setting. However, in this application I have to disagree.

    The OPs room is not a dedicated home theater. In this environment, obviously form comes before function. In that case, we have to design the optimal system for this particular room.

    It's not my first recommendation, but I've designed and installed multiple HTs in great room-type areas using in-ceiling speakers for the entire system because the end-user's needs are the most important factor, and they performed rather well!

    In this particular room, I would recommend an inwall speaker for the front channels. However, depending on your seating position, and installation location of the speakers, a directional in-ceiling speaker for the front 3 channels (like the new Neat! series from Speakercraft) could be a pretty good performing option. For the rear channels, look for an in-ceiling speaker like this that will diffuse the sound information producing a more enveloping surround sound experience.

    As designers, enthusiasts, and integrators we are *all* looking for the perfect setup, in the perfect room, with perfect conditions. When faced with an environment like this one, we are presented with challenges in which our biases need to be put aside and put forth the best design and application of today's technology to give the end user the best experience possible.
     
  11. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    Aaron,

    What you say is correct in that compromises have to be made. However, this is an enthusiast forum whose members' goals are to produce the best experiences possible. In this light, in-ceiling speakers are some of the worst setups you can have. In wall speakers are a comprise as well. We all have to make do with what we have, but to get the BEST experience, we also have to make compromises (no WAF possible). The OP is having the home built. Why compromise from the start? Do it right the first time and you won't have to do it again later.

    I understand, Aaron. The customer is always right. But we are not the customer here.
     
  12. jwbstrd

    jwbstrd Auditioning

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    Thanks again for your insight! If it were up to me and not the decorator (the wife) I would of gone with free standing speakers for the this room. But she does know that the bonus room is free game for me to do what I want. Fair trade!!

    Here's a picture of the floor plan so you guys can have a better idea of the layout.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. BestTVOptions

    BestTVOptions Auditioning

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    Hi Sean,
    I imagine you have already completed your project but if not I'll jump in and give you my opinion. I would recommend going with in-wall for the front left and right speakers and depending on what the wife likes go with either the center channel located below the TV or in the ceiling and due to your room design I'd most definitely go with in-ceiling speakers for the rear surrounds. Here are also a couple guides that may help you as well:
    Speaker placement and general audio information
    In-Ceiling Installation
     
    Erik
     
  14. BestTVOptions

    BestTVOptions Auditioning

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    Hi Sean,
    I imagine you have already completed your project but if not I'll jump in and give you my opinion. I would recommend going with in-wall for the front left and right speakers and depending on what the wife likes go with either the center channel located below the TV or in the ceiling and due to your room design I'd most definitely go with in-ceiling speakers for the rear surrounds. Here are also a couple guides that may help you as well:
    Speaker placement and general audio information
    In-Ceiling Installation
     
    Erik
     
  15. deweys2

    deweys2 Auditioning

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    Reminds me of my EX..... the above all-knowing-eye pix. ( not your wife,sir)

    I'm having the same issue you are but on a smaller scale. My home is complete and now I GET to crawl in the attic, drill holes and fish about 100 feet of cables.
     

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