Which are the best in ceiling & in wall speakers? Can What Hi-fi do a test?

markashwell

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Good afternoon

BEST IN CEILING & OUTDOOR SPEAKERS - Can you test a load of these & also send me a list of the best (as below) :read:

Our family will be installing a lot of hifi & AV kit into our house in devon next year (when it is built), and we need to start selecting and specifying kit now.

We are going to have a really good big tv in the cinema room with proper speakers, amp etc, proper floorstanding & bookshelf speakers in the 3 other key listening rooms (1. living room, 2. library/snug & 3. Conservatory), but we also want to have music all over the house (through Sonos & the computer linked to it). Obviously, we can't have normal speakers in every room, so we are going to fit 2 In-Ceiling speakers in all 4 main bedrooms upstairs, the kitchen & dining room. We are also planning to fit a single stereo speaker in the 4 ensuite bathrooms for the main bedrooms mentioned earlier. In addition we also need to fit some external speakers for use 1. outside on the balcony (for jacuzzi) & 2 pairs in the swimming pool. We therefore need to fit good in ceiling speakers & some good external speakers as we can't have bookshelf speakers or other solutions everywhere.

It seems that What Hi-Fi has not tested any of these speakers in the last few years as they are not even listed in the review section at the back of the magazine.

1. Can you review a whole load of these speakers as I am sure that lots of people use them for both music speakers as we need to above and for cinema rear speakers (which we were considering but decided against in favour of having small wall mounted rears)

2. Please can you give me a list of the best sounding reasonably priced In-ceiling speakers (pairs & single stereo speakers) for <£150? (Ideally we would buy BRITISH speakers and probably prefer to spend <£100/pair/single).

3. Please can you give me a list of the best sounding white/pale/paintable speakers that can be permanently fixed & used outside.

Thanks

Mark

:)
 
I remember asking this to What Hi Fi a year or so ago. The problem is, that they need to be installed in the wall or ceiling. Depending of the type of wall or ceiling, sound can vary greatly. So your experience is likely to vary with What Hi Fi's.
 

Ketan Bharadia

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We've thought long and hard about reviewing in-wall/ in-ceiling, but the problem has always been the practicality of doing so. So far we haven't found an easily repeatable way without wrecking our listening rooms. We're still thinking about it though, because we know there are so many serious products out there.

As for outdoor speakers, the priority for these is being weather-proofed rather than pure sound quality. While we have no problem juggling priorities and coming up with a verdict, this is one case where durability is king - we haven't quite figured out how to simulate the stress of use in varing weather conditions.
 

Clare Newsome

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Hi Mark,

I'd suggest speaking to your local CEDIA dealer, who will be able to specify and supply all these specialist products, plus give you post-purchase advice and support on fitting them.

Even if you're planning on doing a lot of this yourself, it's best to buy from a supplier that understands all the equipment you need,and can supply it complete.These are rarely off-the-shelf products....

Also worth asking for a quote for them to installl some/all of the kit - custom install doesn't have to cost a fortune! They often work with architects to get the very best from new builds such as yours, too.

You can find your local CEDIA dealer here: http://www.cedia.org/find-a-cedia-professional

(And no, I don't work for CEDIA - but we supply products to a lot of CEDIA dealers, plus other retailers with custom install expertise).
 

andyjm

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Performance of in wall / in ceiling speakers is compromised by the lack of control over the enclosure and is generally pretty poor, certainly not recommended for serious listening. OK if you want some background music while splashing in the bath or cutting up the carrots. Quite often the rooms they are used in - bathroom, kitchen just add to the problems with hard surfaces and little absorbtion.

I looked into this long and hard, and to be honest didn't really reach a decent conclusion. If you are using in high humidity areas, it is important to use moisture resistant speakers - plastic cones and coated crossovers (if multi driver). I ended up importing some expensive / multi driver / mylar cone in-ceiling speakers from the US for bathroom speakers, that I drive with an old Naim Nait I had knocking around. To be honest, not a very satisfactory result.

I also looked at replacing the rear speakers in my AV setup with some Martin Logan in-wall speakers. Very expensive, and not a touch on the old NEATs I had been using.

If you aren't too fussed about the level of fidelity, then speakers designed for boats can be used outdoors and in kitchens / bathrooms, and car speakers used around the house.

Should have added: If you don't fit some form of enclosure around the speaker, the sound bleeds thought to the room above. OK for a top floor room, not so great if the kids bedroom is above the kitchen.
 

TheHomeCinemaCentre

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andyjm said:
Performance of in wall / in ceiling speakers is compromised by the lack of control over the enclosure and is generally pretty poor, certainly not recommended for serious listening. OK if you want some background music while splashing in the bath or cutting up the carrots. Quite often the rooms they are used in - bathroom, kitchen just add to the problems with hard surfaces and little absorbtion.

There are plenty of high quality in wall speakers that offer very good levels of performance. PMC Wafer range being one obvious name. There is often a compromise but speaking to a dealer / installer who understands the market should overcome most of this. I have several clients with superb sounding in wall set ups in stereo and surround.

In answer to the OP as Claire suggests I would speak to a local installer for their advice. You may find the brand you choose for the main room have a good range of in-ceiling speakers as well - the majority of the big UK speaker firms do.
 

mikemcspoon

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Nov 19, 2008
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Hi,
I recently installed monitor audio CT 280 idc ceiling speakers in my kitchen running off a sonos connect amp. Really pleased with them, much more than background sound as many suggest. Obviously not up to quality stand speakers but still very good. The sonos kit is very good, don't worry about all the posts about our sound quality, it will do exactly what you want. Easy to set up. Ask our music comes from a qnap nas. We have had no problems with interference or range issues.
 

skippy

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Ketan Bharadia said:
We've thought long and hard about reviewing in-wall/ in-ceiling, but the problem has always been the practicality of doing so. So far we haven't found an easily repeatable way without wrecking our listening rooms. We're still thinking about it though, because we know there are so many serious products out there.

As for outdoor speakers, the priority for these is being weather-proofed rather than pure sound quality. While we have no problem juggling priorities and coming up with a verdict, this is one case where durability is king - we haven't quite figured out how to simulate the stress of use in varing weather conditions.

This could be done by using mobile frames. Basically designed around a 6' x 4' sheet of drywall stood up lengthwise. The back of the frame could be 3/4" ply or MDF sealed to 6" x 2" vertical studs at 16" centres (this would give you you 3 sealed chambers to compare 3 sets of speakers) filled with rockwool insulation.

Feet could be fit to the frames with castors so after the test they could be rolled out of the way. Obviously the drywall would have to be replaced after each test, but this is the easiest way I could see to reproduce some sort of test conditions.
 

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