Ceiling speaker sales across the world increase year on year and it's easy to see why. Due to design developments in recent years ceiling speakers finally sound good enough to satisfy those who care about audio quality, and are also a great solution for customers who don't want to give up the space on their floor to traditional speakers. Our buying guide will look at the things you should consider when choosing your in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. [Shop for ceiling speakers.] [Shop for in-wall speakers.]
How do ceiling & in-wall speakers work: the basics
In-wall speaker work just like a regular speaker, but instead of being built into a cabinet, the speaker is mounted in a frame which is then fixed into your wall. The speaker uses the wall cavity as a large cabinet. This large cabinet gives the advantage of more bass than you might get from a stand-alone speaker of the same size.
A ceiling speaker works essentially the same way, except that it's installed in your ceiling. For the most part, in-wall speakers tend to be rectangular, and ceiling speakers tend to be round or square — but there's no reason you couldn't install a rectangular in-wall speaker in your ceiling, for example, if that's what you preferred. Almost all in-wall and ceiling speakers have paintable grilles, so you can camouflage them in your walls or ceiling to match your existing wall colour.
Using in-wall and in-ceiling speakers
Two of the most important things to think about when shopping for in-wall or ceiling speakers is how you're going to use them and where you want to install them. You would probably buy a different type and number of speakers for surround sound in your home cinema than you would for music in your kitchen. Before you start looking at specific speaker models and features, you should decide how and where you intend to use them. You can find detailed recommendations for a number of different rooms and setups in our in-wall and in-ceiling speaker placement guide.
Deciding between different speakers
Wherever you're installing your in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, there are a few key factors to consider while you shop:
Frequency response (Hz) — The range of human hearing is about 20-20,000 Hz. Frequency response tells you what portion of that range a speaker can reproduce. For example, a speaker with a frequency response of 50-20,000 Hz handles a larger portion of that range than a speaker with a frequency response of 65-20,000 Hz. You'd generally hear deeper bass and more balanced sound from the 50 Hz speaker.
Drive unit size (inches) - Related to the above in that speakers with larger drive units typically can deliver more lower frequencies (bass). Drive units commonly come in 5", 6.5" & 8" driver sizes. For customers who enjoy louder music at we recommend larger drive units for their music listening speakers.
Power handling (watts) — A speaker's recommended power specification usually tells you the maximum amplifier power the speaker can handle; often, its minimum power handling is included as well. This information tells you how much power your amp or receiver should have to safely drive your speakers. For example, a 100-watt RMS receiver would be a good match for a speaker with recommended power of 20-100 watts.
Sensitivity (dB) — A speaker's sensitivity, or efficiency, rating indicates how effectively it uses the power it receives from your amplifier. Speakers with higher sensitivity ratings can be played louder without straining your amp. In fact, a model with a sensitivity rating that's 3 dB higher than another speaker's only needs halfas much power to deliver sound at the same volume.
Here are some other features to consider, depending on where you're installing your speakers, and how you're going to listen to them:
Mounting depth (mm) - This is the depth required by the speaker to give enough clearance for its fitting in the wall or ceiling. This is the distance between the ceiling or walls front that the speaker is fixed to and the rear of the speaker.
Swivelling tweeters — Some in-wall and in-ceiling speakers come with directional tweeters, so you can angle the sound toward a preferred listening spot. For example, in a home cinema setup, you might angle the tweeters in your front channel speakers towards your primary listening position.
High / mid frequency adjustment controls — These controls let you tweak the sound of your speaker to suit your space, even after your speakers are installed.
Moisture-resistance — If you're installing speakers in a potentially wet area, like a sauna, look for moisture-resist models. They'll stand up to humidity better than other speakers.
Stereo single speakers — perfect for small or awkward spaces. A single stereo input speaker plays both the left and right channels of stereo through one woofer and two angled tweeters. They're a great way to add sound to small or awkward spaces, where having two speakers isn't practical. For example, you might install one in a walk-in closet, two in a large bathroom, or three down a long hallway.
What about a subwoofer?
If you're using in-wall or in-ceiling speakers for a home cinema a powered subwoofer is a must. It fills out the low frequencies, giving you a fuller, more realistic sound. Many subwoofers are small enough to tuck behind a sofa or table. We also offer subs that install in your wall, floor or ceiling for an elegant, space-saving solution. [Shop for in-wall subwoofers.]
Keep your home and family safe with in-wall rated speaker cable
When you're installing in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, it's important that you use speaker cable that's approved for in-wall runs. Not only is this cable much easier to work with but its designed to be buried in walls without any risk of damage. If you're going to run cable inside your walls we recommend only using a Low Smoke Zero Halogen cable that, if burning, emits very low amounts of smoke and no halogen gases, unlike other lower quality cables. [shop for install speaker cables]
Ceiling Speakers Installation
To get a good idea of what's involved in installing in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, check out our blog and installation guides for in-wall, in-ceiling, and on-wall speakers. If you're planning on installing your cables and speakers yourself have a read through our free step by step guides.
If you'd prefer not to install your own in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, we may personally cover your area or we can set you up with a certified professional installer in your area. For more information call us today on 01661 538 010.