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In-Wall Speakers vs Cabinet - help a newbie (1 Viewer)

Gregory G

Sep 26, 2004
I have been told that using an acoustically transparent screen over in wall speakers is a better option than placing cabinet speakers above or below and to the sides of the screen. (apparently sound will appear to come from rather than where the action and dialog take place rather than from speakers) Any oppionions. I have 2,000 budgeted for speakers 7.1 setup(not including sub) and am looking also for in-wall speaker suggestions/ opinions for front and center speakers.

Dave Milne

Supporting Actor
Jul 2, 2001

Yes, there are some that feel the speakers should be behind the screen. In my experience, speakers directly to the sides and below the screen work just fine. I do not notice any localization problems. I think you'll find that 95% of high-end home theaters do it this way.

Microperf screens aren't really acoustically "transparent" and they don't peform as well for video as a regular screen. So, if they mess up the audio, mess up the video, and cost more...

Oh, and I'm not a big fan of in-wall speakers. There are some good ones out there: Snell, Triad, Thiel, B&W. However, they are quite expensive. I think you get better performance-per-dollar with good "conventional" speakers. Placing the mains a little away from the front wall tends to improve imaging anyway.


Second Unit
Jan 22, 2004
Well, I think it's a compromise either way you go. There are 'pre-amps' that go with acoustic-transparent screens that compensate for any loss, and are specific to the screen. However this begs the question, if they were truly acoustically transparent, why do I need to compensate?!?!! Inwalls benefit you in one major way - they give you a clean looking installation. For some owners this is a priority (no boxes sitting around the room - gotta keep thngs neat). A custom HT buddy of mine is trying to sell me on the idea of ceilng mount my LCR channels, which I'm having a hard time swallowing.

I don't know about 95% of HT's setting up this way - where's that # from Dave? If you consider how a commercial theater would set it up, the good ones (IMO) mount the front speaker arrays behind the screen, not to the side and top/bottom. But we are talking about completely different set of components that are going in, and probably a different sized room and screen than what you are putting in! Obviously it also depends on how wide your screen is, since you want to maintain enough distance between the LCR channels to create an appropriate sound stage. If your screen is wider than 10' diagonal, I'd still consider mounting behind the screen. Sometimes space is an issue and you don't have room to put the speakers to the side of the screen. Is that true in your location?

If you are still looking at in-wall's do also consider RBH Sound, which has been a major player in this arena for a long time, so they know their stuff, and it sounds quite good. However, I think that you give up a little in relative performance going with inwalls. Again, this goes back to how important is it to you not have a box or tower in the room.

I'm currently working on assembling a large format HT myself, and would be interested in how you will proceed. Please let us know!


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