Current trends reveal that consumers are enjoying the aesthetics and room-saving attributes of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers as much as interior designers always have. Fortunately, integrators have many models to choose from that span all budgets and needs. Here, we look at a few recent additions to the product category.
Focal 300 ICA6 In-Ceiling Speaker
Inspired by the 1000 ICA6 loudspeaker from the high-end 1000 Series range, the 300 ICA6 joins the 300 Series, incorporating all the features that made it successful: meticulous French manufacturing in Focal’s workshops in Saint-Étienne, with an aluminum/magnesium inverted dome tweeter and Flax cone, exclusive technologies for high-quality precision, and sonic coherence with the brand’s classic loudspeaker lines Aria and Kanta. In addition, the ready-to-paint magnetic grilles supplied with the product ensure a completely unobtrusive installation.
The 300 ICA6 has a 6.5-inch speaker driver and is angled at 35 degrees to counteract the “shower effect” experienced with other loudspeakers. The angle also means that it can be positioned in several ways in the ceiling, including in corners for fully discreet sound delivery. The Easy Quick Install patented technology guarantees tool-free installation.
JBL Stage 2 Architectural Series loudspeakers
Featuring eight models in various configurations for both in-wall and in-ceiling installations, Harman Luxury Audio Group‘s JBL Stage 2 Architectural Series loudspeakers are crafted to be visually discreet, while their high-performance design elements ensure the delivery of clear and accurate sound.
At the heart of each JBL Stage 2 Architectural Series loudspeaker is a one-inch/25-millimeter aluminum tweeter with an acoustic lens and waveguide that delivers crystal-clear high frequencies. Polycellulose cone woofers, premium air-core inductors, and mylar cap capacitor crossover network components ensure that sound remains dynamic at all listening levels. A rigid baffle design with acoustic smoothing provides improved transducer integration, while Harman’s target curve acoustic performance delivers smooth, accurate sound over a large listening area.
The dual 5.25-inch Stage 250WL, 6.5-inch Stage 260W, and eight-inch Stage 280W in-wall models include larger waveguides with JBL’s patented High-Definition Imaging (HDI) geometry for smooth dispersion and low distortion. In-ceiling models include the 6.5-inch Stage 260C, eight-inch Stage 280C, and the dual 6.5-inch Stage 260CDT. Offering a unique solution for a variety of applications, two Ceiling Square Angled (CSA) models—the 6.5-inch Stage 260CSA and 8-inch Stage 280CSA—feature a contemporary square footprint and a baffle with the transducers positioned at a 15-degree angle, allowing them to focus the sound at the listening position.
Snap One Triad PDX Speaker Line
Coined “PDX” in homage to the Portland Airport — the city in which each speaker is custom-designed and engineered — the Snap One Triad PDX Speaker series includes 13 speakers and 19 accessories, including optional custom-colored grilles, rear enclosures, and pre-construction brackets.
Triad PDX uses high-performance materials and components like carbon fiber, Kevlar, Teteron, dual voice coils, chemically etched metal components, and more. The infusion of Kevlar into carbon fiber for the woofer, to create a premium audio experience, is unique to Triad PDX, according to Snap One.
To make installation a breeze for Partners, Triad PDX uses Push Lock, an exclusive toolless mounting solution specifically designed for Snap One. The proprietary installation technology — which is employed in Signature by Episode speakers — allows for an upgrade path to a more premium product by securing the speaker with the simple press of a button for fast and secure installation.
The series also includes helpful accessories like construction brackets that offer flexibility during a new build or install process, rear enclosures for all models that can control air volume and sound propagation to adjacent rooms, and replacement grilles for all models that can be painted and custom-ordered to match the project aesthetics.
James Loudspeaker Small Aperture Ceiling/In-Wall Speaker
The James Loudspeaker Small Aperture ceiling/in-wall speaker features an 8.5-inch-round or 7- x 7-inch-square sound aperture, yet packs a full 3-way system experience for deep bass and wide frequency response. A seamless edge detail keeps it looking smart and modern, yet discreet. The SA853Q-9 includes a mini 8-inch PowerPipe subwoofer, 5.25-inch midrange, and 3/4-inch dome tweeter in quad array for wide 30 Hz to 20 kHz response.
The all-aircraft-grade aluminum construction and modular design provide for long life, easy service, and high reliability. The SA853Q-9 is bi-amped and has a small footprint with a 9-inch depth, best suited for in-ceiling mounting. Order woofer enclosure, mid-range module, and grille kits separately. Custom and wood trim kits are available and quoted individually.
KEF Ci Reference Series – THX Certified Architectural Speakers
The latest additions to KEF’s architectural speaker range are the Ci5160REFM-THX and the Ci3160REFM-THX. The Ci5160REFM-THX is the first THX Certified Dominus speaker from KEF, and the Ci3160REFM-THX is THX Certified Ultra for high-impact cinema sound.
The new Ci-Reference speakers have been upgraded with the latest technological advances, including the 12th generation Uni-Q driver array and KEF’s Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT). The bass drivers have been optimized for in-wall use, and the aluminum baffle eliminates vibration.
The Ci5160REFM-THX is KEF’s first in-wall speaker to be THX Certified Dominus. The Ci5160REFM-THX delivers the might and magic of pure, accurate sound in the comfort of one’s own home. Wielding great audio power, THX Certified Dominus KEF speakers are optimal for rooms up to 6500 square feet with a viewing distance of up to 20 feet.
Similar to THX Certified Dominus, THX Certified Ultra ensures the Ci3160REFM-THX has undergone hundreds of performance and quality assurance tests, from output levels, frequency response, listening window, distortion, and bass management to ensure it is capable of re-creating high-impact cinema sound and best-in-class audio fidelity. THX Certified Ultra products bring the cinematic experience to large home theaters, up to 3000 cubic feet in size, with a viewing distance of ~12 feet from the screen.
SoundTube CM In-Ceiling Speakers
SoundTube Entertainment offers flangeless grilles for many of the SoundTube CM in-ceiling speakers. The flangeless magnetic attachment makes it simple to install and remove the grille while proving a modern streamlined look. With an additional clip-on safety harness, the grilles maintain UL approval. The flangeless magnetic grilles are now standard on the new CM-BGM-II Series and are available as an option on the CMi Series.
The CM speakers are designed specifically for low and suspended ceilings. SpeedWing constant-tension mounting ensures rapid installation. Using BroadBeam technology, CMi and CM-BGM-II speakers expand the coverage area, providing full-frequency dispersion that requires fewer speakers.
CMi Series speakers have an adjustable output using a low-insertion-loss transformer for use in 25V, 70.7V, and 100V systems. Tile bridge, magnetic grille, euro-blocks, and paint masks are included with each speaker. CMi speakers are designed to sonically match SoundTube’s RSi and SMi speakers for applications requiring a combination of hanging and mounted speakers.
Monitor Audio Creator Series C2L Speakers
Monitor Audio’s Creator Series features 19 models — 14 in-ceiling and five in-wall — arranged in three clearly defined tiers. Through Monitor Audio’s Partner Programme (MAPP), extensive feedback from a wide network of experienced installers has been collected and analyzed. As a result, Creator Series is a more simplified range and accessory, ensuring performance levels are clearly defined, according to the company.
A standout innovation within the series is the use of the patent-pending Quik-Link terminal. Quik-Link allows the installer to remove the terminal block from the physical speaker and pre-terminate the speaker cables to it. Once the speaker is ready to be fitted within its cut-out, the Quik-Link can be offered to the connection point on the speaker and magnetically snapped and locked into place.
Other features include Tri-Grip II, an evolution of the dog-leg mechanism that is considerably stronger and more reliable than the previous generation, making both speaker placement and extraction even simpler.
Lithe Audio Wireless Ceiling Speaker
Lithe Audio’s in-ceiling speakers feature woven glass-fiber woofer cones, titanium tweeters, and Class D amplifiers pre-tuned for in-ceiling use, while Alexa and Google support provides convenient voice control. The company’s Bluetooth 5.0 Ceiling Speaker offers a single-room solution for streaming music in kitchens, bathrooms, and hotel rooms, while its Wi-Fi Multiroom Ceiling Speaker adds built-in support for Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast for the creation of distributed audio systems in the home. The speaker is available with drivers for integration into Control4 and FIBARO control systems, with support for additional manufacturers coming soon.
At the top of Lithe Audio’s ceiling speaker line is the Pro Series Wi-Fi Multi-Room Ceiling Speaker for residential installations. The Pro Series offers all the same features as the Wi-Fi speaker while adding support for full high-resolution audio at 192 kHz, 24 bits; an optical input; and two Ethernet ports — one for a hard-wired network connection and one for daisy-chaining another speaker. For additional functionality, the Pro Series is available with PoE++ and WiSA bolt-on modules. The PoE++ Bolt-On adds PoE capabilities that deliver up to 70 watts to each speaker, while the WiSA Bolt-On allows integrators to incorporate the speaker into wireless Dolby 5.1, Dolby 7.1, and Dolby Atmos surround-sound home theater systems. To add extra bass, the 70-watt Wi-Fi Multi-Room Micro Subwoofer — small enough to fit on a bookcase, under a bed, or behind a couch — can be wirelessly connected to Lithe Audio’s Wi-Fi ceiling speakers.
Theory Audio Design ic6 In-Ceiling Speaker
As the first in-ceiling loudspeaker in the Theory product line, the ic6 provides installation flexibility. A discreet and highly capable solution, the ic6 is ideal for residential or commercial installations, surround sound, or distributed audio — and even outdoors when paired with Theory’s optional all-weather grille. The ic6 can also be installed in open-ceiling and exposed environments when integrated into one of Theory’s pendant housings. Available in a paintable matte white or matte black (available with matching black grille) and gloss black (avaialble soon), Theory’s pendant housings allow the ic6 to seamlessly blend into any décor. The new in-ceiling loudspeakers offer a maximum output of 112 dB thanks to the advanced polymer compression drivers and 6-inch carbon-fiber woofer.
Paradigm CI Elite E5 LCR v2
The Paradigm CI Elite Series is made in Canada and has all the technology advantages of its CI PRO Series, as well as additional features, including Aluminum Magnesium Ceramic (AL-MAC) tweeter with exclusive Perforated Phase-Aligning (PPA) tweeter Lens. AL-MAC is Paradigm’s blend of Aluminum, Magnesium, and Ceramic materials, each of which contribute to the end goal of greater accuracy and realism. The final product is not only strong and lightweight, but embodies a natural anti-resonance.
The CI Elite Series also includes Aluminum Magnesium (AL-MAG) cones, which were conceived to bring the same elevated level of performance to the area where our ears are the most sensitive. In addition, AL-MAG combines a high stiffness-to-mass ratio with superior internal damping for greater accuracy.
Another feature is the Advanced Shock-Mount System that mechanically decouples the die-cast aluminum baskets from the specially formulated CARBON-X ingrained baffles, reducing performance-robbing vibrations and resonance between the chassis and the acoustic platform. Without these resonances, all drivers are left free to deliver pure, unaltered sound with no audible distortion.