When the new home construction bubble went bust, the in-wall speaker category took perhaps the biggest hit of any product in the custom installation channel. That fact, however, did not dampen the innovative spirit of what is still a very competitive landscape of manufacturers in the product category. In-wall speaker veterans like SpeakerCraft and Sonance (technically parent company Dana Innovations) expanded their product depth beyond speakers this year), but they also tweaked their inwall and in-ceilings to offer dealers even better sounding hidden solutions than ever.And those two companies still have a lot of company.Here are some of the latest additions from around the industry.
POLK’S VANISHING ACT
Perhaps the biggest innovation, recently, came from from the Baltimore-based manufacturer’s six Vanishing Series in-ceiling speakers. The speakers’ woofers are mounted to the rear of their enclosures, while the mid- and high-frequency drive units are mounted to the front baffle. Because the smaller, more directional front drivers are dedicated to only reproducing mid- and high range, they inherently offer more even frequency response to listeners sitting on or off axis in a home theater environment. A TA Cassini oval woofer is mounted diagonally to the enclosure, allowing all the active drive units to fit into a smaller cutout size and achieve bass performance equivalent to speakers that are at least one increment size larger in diameter than any Vanishing in-ceiling model while at the same time, taking up less installation space than an equivalent speaker in the same size category. And while most in-ceiling speakers feature perforated metal grilles with hole sizes approximately 0.8mm to 0.9mm in diameter, Polk’s newly designed Sheer-Grille, measures only 0.6mm in diameter.
The Canton InWall 500 (pictured), InWall 650, and InWall 800 are two-way speakers with 5.25-, 6.5-, and 8.25-inch polypropylene woofers. The InWall 500 LCR is a two-way home theater speaker with two 5.25-inch woofers arrayed to provide the wider soundstage preferred for home theater applications. All four models use a Canton high-output one-inch aluminumdome tweeter that can be pivoted for ideal dispersion. A three-position tweeter level control provides for further optimization to individual rooms.
Triad Speakers’ DesignerSeries invisible speakers consist of a powder-coated aluminum frame, a rigid aluminum honeycomb core with paper skin surface, and electro mechanical drive devices. The line consists of three monaural and two stereo versions. The models use either one (small rooms), two (small/medium rooms), or four transducers (large rooms) each per panel providing 95, 99, and 105 dB maximum loudness respectively. All are capable of frequency response from 100Hz - 20 kHz and must be used with dual channel analog 120Hz filters with limiters. For deeper bass response, a Triad InWall Subwoofer may be added.
SPEAKERCRAFT TAKES AIM
The latest addition to its successful series, SpeakerCraft’s AIM 10 features a 10-inch, long-excursion woofer. The speaker’s driver represents a 55-percent increase in surface area over the AIM 8 to offer better bass extension and overall sound pressure level. A Uni- Pivot module, housing a 2.5-inch midrange and a oneinch dome tweeter, complements the woofer. The AIM 10 is available in two models—the One and Five—which are timbre-matched to the models One and Five in the rest of the AIM Series. Front-mounted EQ switches enable bass and treble adjustments on the speaker.
DAYTON DIVES IN
The unique spring-loaded mounting system of Dayton Audio’s Quick Mount Ceiling Speakers allows an installer to mount the ceiling speaker in seconds. A low-profile trim ring also adds a contemporary touch to any office or home environment. These coaxial speakers provide audiophile grade performance and can handle up 40 watts of music power with a 6.5- inch poly mica cone with rubber surround and one-inch voice coil.
LEON VAULTS INTO THE WALL
Leon’s Vault In-Wall speakers can be used as main or timbre-matched rear channels in virtually any installation. These fully sealed and acoustically dampened cabinets have been hand-crafted and equipped with timbre-matched four-, five-, or six-inch drivers and one-inch cloth-dome tweeters, Leon’s in-wall speakers provide a truly integrated sound solution.
TruAudio is offering two new contractor-grade speakers as down-and-dirty solutions to in-wall and in-ceiling applications. The ST-8.2 is an eight-inch in-wall with polypropylene woofer, and the IC60P features contractor-grade speakers and is only sold in environmentally friendly master packs of 10 units. The ST- 8.2 and the IC-60P are solving primary budget concerns with the sound quality for which TruAudio is known.
GENELEC’S UNCOLORED RESPONSE
Genelec’s AIC25 active inceiling loudspeaker, which is acoustically identical to the company’s in-wall AIW25, was designed to provide precise and uncolored acoustic response and to be easily retrofitted. The AIW25 and AIW26 can be integrated into a room with minimum visual impact, because the speaker cabinet fits into a standard 2x4 wall structure and the grills and mounting frames can be painted to match the wall color. Pre-construction brackets are also available. The new AIWS5041A active in-wall subwoofer, which is equipped with a pair of 6.5-inch drivers and a tuned port, can be mounted in any standard 16-inch stud bay. Using four independent mounting brackets, the enclosure is completely isolated from wall surfaces, eliminating any potential vibration from being transmitted to the walls. A hard cover protects the drivers from potential damage during the construction phase of a project, and the system includes a rack-mountable RAM3 amplifier unit.
SNAP AV’S NEXT EPISODE
SnapAV has combined the strength of KevlarT with the natural damping qualities of paper to make the NCS (Natural Cell Structure) woofer material featured in its new EpisodeR ES-700 Series of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Other notable features include an oblong (catenary curve) tweeter and room compensation adjustments for both tweeter and woofer. Also new from SnapAV is the EpisodeR Dual 8-inch Passive In-Wall Sealed Subwoofer (pictured above), which makes use of two woven fiberglass sandwich cones, Nomex Spiders, a tuned enclosure and an active EQ box that ensures optimal performance regardless of amplifier used.
ACP ADDS TRANSDUCER ANSWER
ACP’s Onsia speaker panels, using NXT transducer technology, come in three models: In- Wall, In-Ceiling, and In-Frame. The In-Wall concealed flat panel speaker is engineered to blend invisibly into any new or existing drywall surface, turning the entire wall into a sound source. The In-Ceiling concealed flat-panel speaker (pictured) is designed to look like an acoustical ceiling. The In-Frame concealed flat-panel speaker transforms artwork into an audio and decorating solution.
MK SOUND GOES FRAMELESS
The invisible look of MK Sound’s architectural speakers is the result of the company’s own frameless design. Magnets attach the paintable white metal grille to the speaker baffle, eliminating the need for a plastic frame around the speaker. All MK Sound inwall speakers employ a specially developed version of the company’s proprietary Phase-Focused crossover to help enable better sonic imaging throughout the room, regardless of the speaker’s location. In MK Sound’s IW-85 Architectural In-Wall Speaker dealers will find the same custom-built drivers and crossovers found in MK Sound’s high-performance cabinet speakers. The IW-95 can serve twochannel or surround applications as front or rear loudspeakers and can be combined with any MK Sound in-wall or stand-alone model for a sonic match. The IW-150 is the in-wall equivalent to the company’s S-150 monitor used in hundreds of professional film and music recording studios.
SONANCE’S CINEMA SERIES
The in-ceiling LCR1S (left/center/right), SUR1S (surround), and LCR.5S (left/center/ right for 5.1 systems) are designed to provide outstanding performance while maintaining a slim ceiling profile. A Cabinet LCR1 model is also available for applications in which in-wall installations are not practical. All Cinema Series speakers are tonally matched so the designer can mix and match In-ceiling, In-wall and Cabinet models without affecting the reference clarity or realism of the sound, even in the largest home theaters. Featuring a micro-trim grille, the LCR1S and LCR.5S incorporate an inverted-V three-way design with a midrange and tweeter that can be directed toward the listening area, and an angled woofer that can be positioned toward the video screen, thus eliminating perceived out-of-sync distortion between picture and sound.
MONITOR TAKES CONTROL
The newest member of Monitor Audio’s CP (Controlled Performance) Series of backbox-enclosed in-ceiling loudspeakers, the CPC-120 is of a “halogensized” mini design to fit into the standard cut-out hole used to house halogen lighting fixtures. The CPC-120 uses a 2.5-inch wide by 3.75-inch deep tapered line enclosure made of die-cast aluminum. This substantial acoustic suspension enclosure enables the two-inch full-range driver to achieve optimal performance in a small package. The aluminum enclosure also addresses issues of rear sound radiation and fire retardancy.
NILES’ DIRECTED SOUNDFIELD
Niles Audio’s seven-inch ceiling-mount lineup include two center-channel and two specialeffects loudspeakers that combine with existing models to provide three high-definition Directed SoundField home theater system combinations at popular price points. Employing voice-matched technologies, the new seven-inch ceiling-mount models feature Niles’ 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. The CM750DSC Center Channel employs an injection-molded TCC (talc, carbon, and ceramic) woofer with butyl rubber surround and a one-inch fluid-cooled Teteron dome tweeter for ultra-wide dispersion and smooth frequencies. Niles’ new CM860 two-way in-ceiling loudspeakers (pictured) feature pivoting tweeters with a distinct feature/performance upgrade path.