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In-wall and/or in-ceiling speakers for new home with direct-vent fireplace


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#1 of 13 HomeTheatre

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Posted December 13 2012 - 02:47 AM

I just bought my first home and plan to mount my television above my direct-vent fireplace. I've been told by an inspector that the walls above a direct-vent fireplace are much like other exterior walls (no special heat considerations). Due to the shape of the room, I'm considering putting a center channel and 2 front speakers in the wall. The rear speakers will be ceiling mounted. http://www.hometheat...e/61/id/171926/ The only places locally that provide in-wall speakers are Best Buy and a couple of boutique home theater stores which are expensive. I figured I'd reach out to the community to get recommendations before trusting a salesman. Here are the questions I have (sorry for so many)... 1. Does anyone have experience contrary to what the inspector told me? Will heat destroy typical in-wall speakers? 2. There are a dozen or so brands of in-wall speakers, most of which I've never heard of. In car audio, there were a few brands that generally were a cut above the rest, but weren't outrageously priced (Alpine, Eclipse, Boston Acoustics, JL for example). Are there similar quality brands I should consider for in-wall speakers? 3. As you can see from the photo above, the windows don't give me much option for mounting the 2 front speakers. They will either be close to the TV or spread pretty far to the outside of the windows. Is it better to be too close or too far? Thanks in advance!

#2 of 13 HomeTheatre

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Posted January 02 2013 - 02:10 AM

ttt

#3 of 13 Jason Charlton

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Posted January 02 2013 - 03:04 AM

Originally Posted by HomeTheatre 

1. Does anyone have experience contrary to what the inspector told me? Will heat destroy typical in-wall speakers?

No experience with in-walls, but I would try to avoid them anyway (mostly due to a general lack of performance compared to everything else).  Besides, the internal framing around a fireplace is likely to be a bit unusual, and by the looks of it, you may not have 16" stud gaps on either side between the fireplace and the windows.  In-wall speakers are designed to use the wall cavity as the "cabinet" of the speaker.  Any compromise there is going to further affect performance.


I would instead, consider three on-wall, slim profile speakers.  Even at a 5"-6" deep, they will still be almost flush with the front of the TV.  You'd have a lot more options available to you (Boston Acoustics makes some smallish wall mount speakers, there are many others) and you'd be able to audition them before you buy (a necessity for speakers).


2. There are a dozen or so brands of in-wall speakers, most of which I've never heard of. In car audio, there were a few brands that generally were a cut above the rest, but weren't outrageously priced (Alpine, Eclipse, Boston Acoustics, JL for example). Are there similar quality brands I should consider for in-wall speakers?

Again, I can't offer input on in-wall speakers, but for wall mountable speakers, there are options from Boston Acoustics, Polk, Definitive Technology, and probably many others.


3. As you can see from the photo above, the windows don't give me much option for mounting the 2 front speakers. They will either be close to the TV or spread pretty far to the outside of the windows. Is it better to be too close or too far?

Really, it depends on the size of the TV.  I would lean towards keeping them inside the windows if possible.  This is another plus for "on wall" rather than "in wall".  You have MUCH more placement flexibility with on-wall than you will ever have with in-wall.  It would suck to pick out and order the speakers only to discover you can't put them where they need to be.


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#4 of 13 Robert_J

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Posted January 02 2013 - 03:13 AM

I just bought my first home and plan to mount my television above my direct-vent fireplace

Probably the worst place to put a TV. It's like looking up for 3 hours when watching a football game.

Due to the shape of the room, I'm considering putting a center channel and 2 front speakers in the wall. The rear speakers will be ceiling mounted.

In-wall speakers are a compromise at best. Have you checked stud location to determine if you can get them placed correctly in the wall? Have you thought about on-wall speakers? Conventional speakers are best. 1. Heat destroys all speakers. But I've also seen inside those types of fireplace installs and there's nothing but a vent and dry-wall. It gets warm but probably not as warm as the inside of a car in summer. Make sure the speaker wires don't touch any part of the fireplace and you will probably be fine. (Local building codes vary so take my advice with the appropriate disclaimers. I am not a builder nor do I play one on TV). 2. I wouldn't even consider those car audio brands a "cut above the rest". Your budget for speakers will determine what we suggest. They rang from $20 a speaker to $2,000 a speaker. The best bang for the buck is usually Dayton. Here's one that can work in all 3 front speaker locations - http://www.parts-exp...tnumber=300-468 3. I don't think you have room on the outside of the far window for anything. By the time you account for the rough-in 2x4s and depending on the wall construction you will only have a few inches of space. Some in-walls require the full 16" on center spacing of studs for mounting as well as proper air space. A tower speaker in front of each window would be perfect.

#5 of 13 HomeTheatre

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Posted January 02 2013 - 04:43 AM

Thanks for the replies. @Jason I've already experienced TVs mounted above fireplaces and find the viewing angle to be fine. In fact, I've never met someone who regretted it, but I have heard plenty of people who haven't done it with a strong opinion not to. When I'm sitting for long periods of times, I tend to slouch down in the chair or couch anyway. I've measured but haven't done any exploratory cutting for studs above the fireplace. I have a 50" plasma TV that is 47.5" wide. That will leave ~21" on either side of the TV before the window edge. I don't trust my stud finder, so I'm going to purchase another and make a couple of small holes to fish a rod into. I'd prefer not to use on-wall speakers. Having a speaker stick 5-6" off the surface of the wall would be an eye-sore and something I'd rather avoid. If I'm going to use on-wall speakers. I'll just mount my existing home-theater-in-a-box. @Robert_J Thank you for input. You're right that there isn't enough space outside of the windows. I've placed my hand on the drywall above my fireplace after using it for at least an hour and the face of the drywall was cool to the touch. I can't imagine the heat inside the wall is much more than a warm summer day. I'm going to purchase the front 3 plus AVR initially and add the sub and rears over the next few months. I'd like to stay under $2500 for the front 3 + AVR.

#6 of 13 Robert_J

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Posted January 02 2013 - 05:58 AM

$2500 for the front 3 + AVR.

You are getting into the prices that you would use in a dedicated listening room not a living room. You can get 90% of the performance with 3 of those Dayton speakers and a $500 Pioneer receiver. With the remainder, you can buy a pair of Dayton in-ceiling speakers and still have $1,500 left for a great sub.

#7 of 13 HomeTheatre

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Posted January 02 2013 - 07:02 AM

Robert, somehow I missed your last comment on your previous post regarding tower speakers in front of the window. The TV will be about 60-62" off the ground. Do you think tower speakers would be a better solution provided the height of the TV? I'd still have to find a solution for the center speaker. My mantle isn't very deep.

#8 of 13 HomeTheatre

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Posted January 02 2013 - 09:58 AM

I just took some measurements. My mantle is 7" deep. Most of the center channels I saw were a bit thicker than 8". If I can build a pocket in my wall to recess the center channel (studs permitting), would I be better served by buying some floor-standing speakers? The mantle is 54" from the floor.

#9 of 13 Robert_J

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Posted January 02 2013 - 10:03 AM

Tweeters on all 3 speakers should be on the same plane but nothing is ever perfect. If you could angle it down, that would be an improvement.

#10 of 13 HomeTheatre

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Posted January 02 2013 - 10:22 AM

If I did something like this... http://www.klipsch.c...-center-speaker With these... http://www.klipsch.c...tanding-speaker There would be about 18" between the tweeters. Many of the typical media centers have the center channel located midway up the L/R speakers. I suppose I'm still within the margin of error according to the marketing materials. :laugh:

#11 of 13 Robert_J

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Posted January 02 2013 - 10:25 AM

A little angle on the center channel so that all 3 speakers are pointing at the same location (your seat) will definitely sound better than 3 in-wall speakers. Have you auditioned the Klipsch speakers? Some find the horn tweeters fatiguing. I'm partial to silk dome tweeters.

#12 of 13 HomeTheatre

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Posted January 02 2013 - 02:04 PM

I haven't listened to them in quite some time. Until today, I thought I was going with in-wall speakers. I just ran to Best Buy but the store was a ghost town. What a shame.... I also purchased a new stud finder. It appears the builder read my mind... the studs are spaced perfectly for in-wall speakers. There is a 16" section directly centered above the fireplace and two 16" sections just inside of the window edges. I'm considering moving the TV to the longer wall in the picture. Moving it there is going to require new furniture on top of new audio equipment. This snowball is picking up steam. :)

#13 of 13 Al.Anderson

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Posted January 02 2013 - 06:04 PM

A bit late to the thread, but I like Axiom speakers and they have both in-wall and on-wall speakers that have a good rep (I only have direct experience with their bookshelves). And their on-walls are not very deep, it's looks like 3.5 inches.




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