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In-Wall speaker suggestions (1 Viewer)

Toby Flanigan

Apr 16, 1999
I have just bought a new house, and the room I will be using for the home theater is open in the back, requiring me to using in-wall speakers. I am looking for a moderate priced speaker, no more than $150 each. I have heard alot about the name Sonance, which has several models in that range (including 40-50 each). I will be using these as surrounds only. Any suggestions, (other than not using in-wall speakers) would be appreciated.
Thanks, Toby

Aaron H

Supporting Actor
Jun 28, 2001
Way too funny.....I was just about to post almost the exact same question. Rather than start a new, similar thread, I'll give my story and hopefully we can find answers together.
I am buying a new construction house. My HT room will be open in the back, too, to the kitchen. The only way I can feasably have surround speakers is to mount them in the walls, most likely in the ceiling. I will be getting Paradigm Studio 20's or 40's for the front, and know that Paradign makes nice in-wall speakers. I am basically looking for opinions as to whether you can reproduce a nice 5.1 or 6.1 sound with ceiling mounted speakers.
So do you think its do-able, or a waste of $$ on the speakers?
Thanks, Aaron


Nov 20, 1999
In wall and in ceiling speakers, what an interesting topic. Thought I would chime in a bit. Let me say first though that I not only install and consult on audio and video, I sell equipment too. So thusly I might be biased in some manner to a particular brand. I will try to objectively state the ideas and things I have learned however in listening.
A couple things to understand about in wall or in ceiling speakers. In walls are the ones you want in an actual wall, where as an in ceiling is for the ceiling of course. You can change them if you like, but they are designed with those areas in mind. In ceiling speakers are almost always round and in wall are almost square. For a given price point a box speaker hanging on a wall or ceiling of equal price point will always sound better then its' in wall or in ceiling match. It's just a matter of physics and the box and all the design they can do for a box speaker. Another words, $400 pair of B&W is going to sound better then a $400 set of in wall or in ceiling speakers. Second, in my opinion, for a given price point for a set of in wall or in ceiling speakers, as long as it is a acceptable speaker manufacture to you, its going to pretty much sound the same. Another words, $400 pair of Boston in wall speakers is going to pretty much sound the same as a $400 pair of Paradigm in wall speakers. Brands I have personal experience with, and find this fact to be true are Boston, Klipsch, B&W, NHT, Niles, Infinity, SpeakerCraft and many others "high end " brands. Another point about in walls that make it easy spouse acceptance factor is that they can be painted to accurately match whatever wall they go in. I realize your concerned about sound quality, but this fact usually allows you to spend a little more then you might have if you know they will be accepted easily.
With those thoughts about sound quality in mind, you have to ask yourself as a consumer, what separates my choices then. The things I would focus on then are warranty, years in business, and anything design wise that might differentiate the sound of the speaker vs. the competition. Those things being what you want to focus on, I really would suggest you look at a brand called SpeakerCraft. They are made in the usa, owned by the same company sense their begging's, have been making in wall/in ceiling speakers for over 25 years, have a lifetime warranty on any product failure, and some unique designs incorporated to make the sound slightly different. Visit their web site for specific models and their technologies.
The reason I personally prefer to sell them over other brands is two fold. They do have in my opinion a slightly better sound with certain models. Certain models also allow them to better tailor the sound then the competition and to compensate for installation requirements. Second, they have a lifetime warranty on product failure. Do not underestimate the worth of this feature. Your talking about a speaker that sits in your wall or ceiling. Subject to heat, cold, dust, moisture, and other environmental concerns an in wall is far more susceptible to something breaking down then a speaker in box. I have had speakers over eight years old fixed or replaced with no hassle.
As to move on the question about "whether you can reproduce a nice 5.1 or 6.1 sound with ceiling mounted speakers." The answer in my opinion would have to be yes. Will they sound as good as a box speaker that hangs from the ceiling. No they will not. They will do a nice job reproducing ambience and envelopment with you vs. a box speaker. They wont do as well when they have to do something very discrete. That isn't to say they cant do discrete sounds and keep the sound bubble, they just don't do it as well as a the box speaker. We have done hundred of installations with in ceiling speakers. A couple of mounting techniques for getting them to sound as good as they can. You would want to try not to mount them right over your sitting position. If you can get them back some distance then that gives you a little more open sound and as best an approximation of soundstage and space that an in ceiling can give. You also don't want them right up against the rear wall, unless your using a speaker that can overcome this, most can't as such you want to also keep at least say six inches from that rear wall. If you have to have them up against the rear wall, then be sure you get something that can overcome this situation like the "AIM" series. Finally we have found a better sound field from the 5.1. 6.1, etc. if you line the rears up with the main speakers. This assumes you have a decent spread on the main speakers of something like at least six feet already. That being the case you will get a better sound field if you line the rear in ceiling up with the mains, instead of say sitting them far enough apart that they are over the end of the couch or something that is based on aesthetics.
I think that about covers it other then equalizers. Quickly, if you can get it into the system, it is a good addition to in walls speakers. You can get rid if slight dips, reinforce the bass slightly, and more importantly get rid of any peaks. You have to of course realize you have a lot more room, wall, etc interaction with the in wall or in ceiling speaker, as such an equalizer is the only way to get rid of these things. If you have any other questions for me, feel free to email me directly.
All the worlds a stage some of us just have better seats.

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