New Developments in the In-Wall and In-Ceiling Speaker Category
KEF’s search for the definitive discreet Ci speaker has culminated in new Ultra Thin Bezel designs with Uni-Q technology for uniform, wide off-axis response.
The in-wall speaker has come a long way from the early days of custom installation when 12-volt car stereo speakers were mounted to plywood and installed in the wall. Pivoting tweeters, shallowdepth designs, frameless magnetic grilles, and even the evolution of the “invisible” speaker concept have made the category more exciting than ever for the CEDIA channel and its clients. Here’s a sampling of some of the most noteworthy new developments in in-wall and in-ceiling speakers from some of the industry’s top manufacturers.
At CES, KEF showcased seven new round inwall/ in-ceiling speakers that have been added to the company’s range of custom installation (Ci) products. KEF’s search for the definitive discreet Ci speaker has culminated in new Ultra Thin Bezel designs. Featuring the company’s Uni-Q technology, the Ci speakers can be positioned wherever the customer wants, with uniform wide off-axis response making placement installerfriendly. Another feature of the new range is “dual stereo” as found on model Ci160CRds. This recreates stereo, and is ideal for locations where there is only room for one speaker.
NuVo’s seven-inch Single Point In-Wall Stereo Speaker employs acoustic sloping and a computer-optimized three-way crossover design to deliver a full room of sound from a single component.
Late last year, NuVo Technologies started shipping its new seven-inch Single Point In- Wall Stereo Speaker, which employs acoustic sloping and a computer-optimized threeway crossover design to deliver a full room of sound from a single component. The speaker utilizes two 2.5- inch midranges, two 0.75- inch inverted-dome tweeters, and a seven-inch woven fiberglass woofer. Its overall size makes it a perfect fit into a single stud bay for a quick and easy installation, and the speaker’s paintable, microperf magnetic grill blends in easily for the aesthetically conscious homeowner.
At only 3.5 inches deep, Monitor Audio’s new Soundframe can be hung on the wall or recessed into standard cavity wall construction with the included installation hardware.
At only 3.5 inches deep, Monitor Audio’s new Soundframe can be hung on the wall or recessed into standard cavity wall construction with the included installation hardware. The result is a flush visual appearance, providing the perfect high-performance audio partner for ultra slim TV screens or distributed music. It utilizes an 18-degree pivoting IDC (Inverted Dual-Concentric) driver and Monitor Audio’s C-CAM (Ceramic-Coated, Aluminium Magnesium) with RST (Rigid, Surface Technology) along with its acclaimed C-CAM gold-dome tweeter. The cabinet’s connecting cable runs in the wall cavity, enters from the back and is connected to the front five-way binding posts for a seamless wire-free look. With their high-gloss white or black lacquered finishes, or a matte frame for custom painting, the line also includes an exclusive range of custom printed grille cloth designs.
ADAM’s AD77 offers the ability to create a horizontal configuration by turning the midrange/tweetersection 90 degrees.
First used in its professional monitors, ADAM’s transducer technology is now being incorporated into its AD5 passive twoway in-wall speaker. The AD5 uses one ART (Accelerating Ribbon Technology) tweeter and one five-inch woofer consisting of a sandwich construction of carbon fiber and Rohacell. Its three-way AD77 system features one ART tweeter, one four-inch midrange driver, and two seveninch Rohacell/carbon fiber woofers. It is designed to perform at higher volume with more accuracy due to the additional midrange driver and a more powerful bass section, the company says. Another feature of the AD77 is the ability to create a horizontal configuration by turning the midrange/tweeter-section 90 degrees. As a result, the AD77 can be used in an LCR multi-channel system with timbre matching.
Amina Technologies’ AIW3X/S200 is a special, narrow version of its AIW3X invisible loudspeaker
Amina Technologies’ AIW3X/ S200 is a special, narrow version of its AIW3X invisible loudspeaker designed to be used where wall joist spacing is too small for the standard speaker. Its 200mm width allows it to be used in older homes where inconsistent and narrow joist spacing is common. The installation process is the same as the standard AIWX Series loudspeakers: the AIW3X/ S200 mounts to the plasterboard using the supplied fixing kit. Once skimmed over with a 2mm thick coat of finishing plaster, the AIW3X/S200 provides the same power handling and efficiency as the AIW3X. Its width results in slightly less low-frequency extension compared to the standard AIW3X.
ELAN’s ELIOS ES71C seven-inch in-ceiling speaker was engineered to work well in reduced depth and space with simple installation.
Developed from the ground up in response to international dealer and electronics systems contractor requests, ELAN’s ELIOS ES71C seven-inch inceiling speaker was engineered to work well in reduced depth and space with simple installation, and unsurpassed fit, performance, sonic focus and longterm durability. Both speakers are among the industry’s first to address the MDU construction market and the specific construction and installation requirements commonly found in Europe and in the U.S. retrofit market. ELAN engineers developed an all-new mount and baffle for a working depth of only 2.56 inches, to fit in a quarter of the space available in normal U.S. installations, perfect for MDUs, European construction, and U.S. retrofit installations. The new tooling supports a rugged seven-inch woofer that is built to last and produces more bass at up to 50 watts. A steel baffle provides sound isolation, preventing sound migration to rooms above through the ceiling.
SpeakerCraft recently introduced its Profile line of flangeless loudspeakers for both in-wall and in-ceiling applications.
SpeakerCraft recently introduced a line of flangeless loudspeakers for both inwall and in-ceiling applications. The Profile series takes advantage of audio technology made famous in the AIM and CRS series while doing so with a completely fresh aesthetic. Using neodymium magnets to attach the grille, the speakers install just as simply and easily as the current SpeakerCraft product. This also means using a large enough lip to cover mistakes in cutting the drywall. However, once the grille is in place there is no visible flange. This means the installer does not need to adjust to closer tolerances or change his current installation procedure to achieve the new look. The Profile series is featured with nine of SpeakerCraft’s most popular models in both round and rectangular versions. Those models are AIM8 One, AIM7 Two, AIM5 One, CRS8 One, CRS6 One, CRS3, AIM LCR1, and AIM LCR3 Three.
Revel’s new series of 21 architectural loudspeakers feature a patented new mounting mechanism that streamlines integration with a tool-less, one-handed installation design.
At CEDIA EXPO last fall, Revel introduced a new series of 21 architectural loudspeakers featuring a patented new mounting mechanism that streamlines integration with a tool-less, one-handed installation design. Frameless grilles easily attach magnetically and add a sense of modern chic to all in-wall and inceiling models–the latter ship with both round and square grilles. All models also benefit from Revel’s driver technology featuring advanced, low-distortion motor structures, cast frames and tweeter designs from the same engineering team responsible for those in the reference-class Ultima Salon2 flagship speaker.
BG Radia’s SS-202 and SS-303 are all new, planarribbon designs that are manufactured at BG’s Carson City, Nevada, headquarters.
BG Radia’s SS-202 and SS-303 are all new, planar-ribbon designs that are manufactured at BG’s Carson City, Nevada, headquarters. These bipolar speakers are designed to produce a very large, diffuse soundfield, in-wall or in-ceiling, and share their speaker drivers with the rest of BG’s primary speakers, both woofers and planar ribbon midranges and tweeters. By carefully adjusting mounting angles and studying how the adjacent speakers interact as they form a series of coherent sound waves, both models not only have very wide dispersion to fill the room, but also exhibit very linear and smooth frequency response over their entire response area.
Niles’ Directed Soundfield line features pivoting woofer and tweeter technologies, which enables the woofer and tweeter to be pivoted independently up to 15 degrees in any direction.
Niles’ third-generation Directed Soundfield (DS) ceiling-mount loudspeakers feature paintable, low-profile, magnetically-attached grilles in both round and square paintable grille options. The grilles also are also rust-resistant, eliminating service calls for loudspeakers installed in moisture-prone areas. The company’s patent-pending springloaded mounting clamps compensate for number of environmental conditions and also provide tactile feedback during the installation process to indicate when the installer should stop drilling. The complete loudspeaker lineup features the company’s patented Directed Soundfield pivoting woofer and tweeter technologies, which enables the woofer and tweeter to be pivoted independently up to 15 degrees in any direction.
OSD Audio recently introduced the OSDIW850 eight-inch in-wall speaker, which is equipped with an eight-inch Kevlar woofer.
OSD Audio, a Southern California-based manufacturer of whole-house audio products, recently introduced the OSD-IW850 eight-inch in-wall speaker, which is equipped with an eight-inch Kevlar woofer for extended bass response as well as a one-inch aluminum dome tweeter for smooth dialog and precise separation between instruments.
Phase Technology’s CI 1.5 is a round ceiling-mount speaker with a three-inch polypropylene full-range driver with butyl rubber surround.
At CEDIA EXPO 2010, Phase Technology introduced a new line of surface-mount, ceiling-mount and in-wall threeinch speakers. The CI 1.5 is a round ceiling-mount speaker with a three-inch polypropylene full-range driver with butyl rubber surround in a shallow 3.75-inch (95 mm) backcan. The speaker provides rapid fixed-wing installation and a paintable black or white grille. Components are weatherized for durability in indoor or outdoor uses. A 70- 100 volt transformer is included for installation convenience, as well. The CI 15 is a square inwall speaker providing a three-inch polypropylene full-range driver with butyl rubber surround in a 3.75-inch backcan. This unit also offers rapid fixed-wing installation and a square paintable grille in black or white. Finally, the CI-MM3-II is an update to Phase Technology’s three-inch in-wall Spacia speaker. This product fits in a standard double gang box or mud ring.
While most in-ceiling speakers feature perforated metal grilles with hole sizes approximately 0.8mm - 0.9mm in diameter, Polk is taking the “vanishing” concept to the extreme with its newly designed Sheer-Grille, measuring a mere 0.6mm in diameter.
Last fall Polk Audio premiered its Vanishing Series of nearly six invisible in-wall speakers for in-ceiling applications. The line improves off-axis listening with woofers that are mounted to the rear of the enclosures, while the mid- and high-frequency drive units are mounted to the front baffle. Since the smaller, less directional front drivers are dedicated to only reproducing midrange and high range, they inherently offer more even frequency response to listeners sitting on or off axis in a home theater or multi-room environment. While most in-ceiling speakers feature perforated metal grilles with hole sizes approximately 0.8mm - 0.9mm in diameter, Polk is taking the “vanishing” concept to the extreme with its newly designed Sheer-Grille, measuring a mere 0.6mm in diameter.