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What’s New in In-Wall Speakers

Whether you need their space-saving capabilities or are looking for an invisible system, the next wave of in-wall speakers deliver.

If the recent CEDIA Expo was any indication, demand for in-wall speakers will not be diminishing anytime soon. Here we take a look at some recent introductions in the category (along with some matched in-ceiling models).

JBL and Stealth Acoustics Conceal Series
The JBL Conceal Series loudspeakers combine patented Stealth Acoustics invisible loudspeaker innovations with JBL acoustic design to deliver the high-performance invisible loudspeakers.

The JBL Conceal Series loudspeakers utilize Stealth’s patented transducer implementation into a rigid compression molded baffle that is skinned with seventh-generation Fidelity Glass acoustic panels. They feature JBL premium acoustic crossover networks and spring-loaded connections, as well as an integrated back box enclosure. The design results in a loudspeaker that installs like a drywall patch. The surface can be painted to match the wall, or custom finished for blending into any creative decor.

KLH Maxwell and Faraday
Named after physicists James Clerk Maxwell and Michael Faraday, whose names appear on buildings at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where original KLH co-founder Henry Kloss attended, the architectural models consist of four in-ceiling, three in-wall, and an outdoor model.

The Maxwell 2-way and 3-way in-wall speakers incorporate 6.5-inch Kevlar-coated fiberglass drivers, one-inch silk dome tweeters, tapered array crossovers, tuned and sealed 3/4-inch MDF enclosures and gold-plated 5-way spring-loaded binding posts. These designs allow for high-output and power-handling to 350-watts. The Maxwell 2-way (M-8600) and 3-way (M-8650) MSRP for $499 and $649 per speaker.

The Maxwell 2-way in-ceiling speaker incorporates a 1-inch silk dome tweeter mounted directly into the voice coil of a 6.5-inch Kevlar-coated fiberglass driver.  An extra-large voice coil and sealed tuned enclosure with integrated back cans contribute to clean, high output. The Maxwell M-8602 can handle 175-watts each. MSRP $349 each.

The Faraday series feature Injection Molded Graphite woofers, soft dome tweeters, magnetic bezel-less paintable microperf grilles, and gold-plated, spring-loaded binding posts which make for a quick and secure connection. MSRP for the 6.5-inch driver-equipped Faraday F-6600-W in-wall is $149 per speaker. For in-ceiling applications, available are the 6.5-driver-equipped Faraday F-6600-C at $149 MSRP and 8-inch driver F-6800-C at $175 (all each). For more demanding ceiling applications, the Faraday F-6600-DVC is comprised of an 8-inch woofer, two 1-inch tweeters, and dual-voice coil at $299 MSRP each.

Finally, the 2-way 6.5-inch driver Faraday F-6600-AW all-weather outdoor speakers utilize a 6.5-inch polypropylene woofer and 1-inch titanium tweeter in a sealed enclosure. MSRP is $449 per pair.

MartinLogan Masterpiece CI Series
MartinLogan’s Masterpiece CI Series of custom installation speakers includes the flagship Statement 40XW line source in-wall speaker, three in-wall speakers, and an in-ceiling speaker. The Statement 40XW in-wall speaker features 40 drivers in a line source configuration; Folded Motion XT Obsidian tweeters; mid-frequency and bass drivers featuring unidirectional carbon fiber multi-section cones with a Nomex backer; proprietary Vojtko crossover networks that feature audiophile-grade components; Phenolic baffles (except for Sistine 4XC); and sealed back box enclosures.

Meridian DSP320.2 In-Wall/In-Ceiling
The Meridian Audio DSP320.2 in-ceiling/in-wall loudspeaker features wide-dispersion capabilities that make it ideal for delivering high-quality music discreetly in any listening environment.

For a speaker of its size (100mm/4-inch mounting depth), this solution is suitable for multiple high-performance applications, including home theater and premium 2-channel in-ceiling and in-wall applications, producing at least four times the bass performance of a passive in-ceiling speaker with similar cabinet volume. The timbre is matched to Meridian’s DSP520.2 and DSP640.2, and integrates the latest audio enhancing technologies from the company, including Enhanced Bass Alignment (EBA), Fifo Buffering, DSP Upsampling, Apodising Filters, MHR, and L+R mode.

OSD Audio ACE600ST 70V Trimless In-Ceiling Speaker
OSD Audio has released the ACE600ST 70V Trimless In-Ceiling Speaker for commercial venues. Resembling the look of a high-end residential in-ceiling speaker, the ACE600ST is trimless, making it ideal for higher-end commercial spaces.

With power handling up to 100W, the ACE600T includes a 6.5-inch polypropylene cone woofer for rich mid- and low-range frequencies, a 1/2-inch polyetherimide (PEI) tweeter, as well as a rubber surround. Capable of broadcasting sound at long distances with very little power loss and sound degradation, the ACE600T is designed for adding background music in restaurants, malls, museums, and other visually-sensitive spaces and can also be used with PA systems. This low-profile in-ceiling speaker includes 20W/20W/5W/2.5W and 8 ohm transformer settings that can be individually set for the wattage that each speaker receives, an important feature in commercial applications where multiple speakers are run on a single amplifier.

PMC ci Series
The first two models of PMC’s custom installation loudspeakers, the ci140 and ci140sub, were unveiled at the 2019 CEDIA Expo, with the ci30, ci45, ci90slim, and ci65 following in Q1 2020.

All are designed with a shallow depth for wall mounting and all models, apart from the ci140 and ci140sub, are also designed to be used in-wall. An optional mounting sleeve fits around the cabinets of the ci30, ci45, ci90slim, and ci65 to conceal the in-wall mounting system and create an on-wall model. The use of one product for both in-wall and on-wall reduces the number of models that need to be stocked and gives the installer greater flexibility with mounting options.

The ci30, ci45, ci90slim, and ci65 are fitted with PMC’s Qikfire spring-loaded mounting system, which, with a twist of a screwdriver, mounts the loudspeaker securely and permits post installation micro adjustment. Removal is just as easy as installation, with a twist. The on-wall mounting of each model uses the optional interlocking wall bracket, which is designed to also offer pin-point level adjustment.

Pro Audio Technology SR Series
Pro Audio Technology (PRO) had released three new model additions to its SR series of loudspeakers — SR-25im, SR-6im, and SR-26im — as well as a new pivot bracket that provides installation flexibility.

SR Series invisible mount loudspeakers are built with the same genuine professional-grade speaker components as PRO’s high-end loudspeakers, but in discreet form factors ideal for home theater and multi-room audio environments. The new loudspeakers replace existing PRO models: SR-25im replaces SCRS-25im, SR-6im replaces SCRS-6im, and SR-26im replaces SCRS-26im.

SR-25im employs a 3/4-inch high frequency compression driver mounted on a proprietary waveguide, and dual high-power 5-inch long-throw woofers. The SR-25im has a low-frequency sensitivity of 96 dB/W, high-frequency sensitivity of 109 dB/W, and a frequency range of 80 Hz–18 kHz. It is designed for front and surround or distributed audio applications.

Big brother to the SR-25im, yet able to fit into a 2×4 stud bay, the SR-26im employs a new Ultra-Purity 1-inch high frequency compression driver mounted on a second-generation PRO ellipsi-symmetrical waveguide, and dual high-power 6.5-inch long-throw woofers. The SR-26im has a low-frequency sensitivity of 99 dB/W, high-frequency sensitivity of 108 dB/W, and a frequency range of 54 Hz–23 kHz.

Little brother to the SR-26im, the SR-6im features the same driver components but with a single woofer, providing installers with a lower cost and smaller speaker option. The SR-26im has a low-frequency sensitivity of 93 dB/W, high-frequency sensitivity of 108 dB/W, and a frequency range of 58 Hz–31 kHz.

PRO’s new pivot brackets are designed to make installing SR Series loudspeakers easy. Ideal for Dolby Atmos installations where having the ability to aim the loudspeakers at the listener is essential, PRO’s pivot brackets can be mounted multiple ways and provide up to 50 degrees of rotation.

RBH Sound SI 831R
RBH Sound’s SI‑831R is the newest member of the company’s Signature Series in-wall lineup. The new speaker is designed specifically to be integrated into baffle walls and other custom-finished locations in medium-to-large home theaters and 2-channel listening environments.

A spinoff of the company’s flagship SVTR freestanding tower monitor, the SI 831R features the same speaker components as the SVTR’s top-half SI 831R module. Three 8-inch aluminum cone woofers are used to provide bass and midrange frequencies, and an Aurum Cantus AMT Aero Striction Tweeter is used for upper-midrange and high frequencies extending to 35 kHz, well beyond the capabilities of human hearing. The individual speaker components are arranged in a W-T-W-W line array, allowing the new model to be used for left, center, and right (LCR) effects channels.

For the first time since Vanco’s acquisition of the Beale Street Audio brand in 2017, the company is releasing new speakers featuring Beale Street’s patented Sonic Vortex technology. The IWLCR4-MB and IWLCR4-BB were designed as a complimentary 2-way, full-range, LCR and center channel solution for the rest of the line and feature a small form factor that fits between the studs and a depth of 4 inches. Providing a unique enclosure design, the Sonic Vortex Transmission Line uses multiple ports with fins that produce high levels of bass output (up to a 6 dB increase over standard ports, according to the company).

The IWLCR4-MB features a 4-inch green ribbed injected polypropylene woofer with butyl rubber surround, 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter, and frequency response of 89 Hz to 24 kHz. A step up in performance and driver materials, the IWLCR4-BB features a 4-inch carbon fiber woofer with butyl rubber surround and 1-inch titanium tweeter, offering smoother highs, tighter, more detailed bass, and a frequency response of 86 Hz to 25 kHz. Both models have a nominal impedance of 6 ohms, a sensitivity of 92 dB, and power handling of 5-120 watts. Each speaker also features gold spring push terminals and magnetic bezel-less white paintable grilles.

Wisdom Audio Sage Series ICS3 and Sub1
The Wisdom Audio Sage Series ICS3 and Sub1 in-ceiling loudspeaker system seamlessly blend into the environment, providing high-resolution stereo audio in a living space, media room or kitchen, according to the company.

Behind the high-performance sound of the new ICS3 in-ceiling speaker is a new Wisdom Audio-developed spiral planar magnetic driver (PMD), which plays from 20 kHz down to 900 Hz before crossing over to the mid-woofer. The PMD offers super-wide dispersion that allows the sound energy to be distributed evenly throughout the listening space. The speaker system delivers bass reproduction down to 35 Hz.