Having audio throughout the home is now a reality, with a range of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers that can provide background music when entertaining, or a surround sound experience to complement your home entertainment system. While freestanding or wall mounted speakers do tend to dominate rooms with their bulk, in-wall speakers are a low profile alternative that are typically installed in a wall cavity, with no need to worry about messy cabling and stands. While many new homes are often pre-fitted and wired for sound the option to retrofit is also there, an option that should ideally be left in the hands of a professional installer. The hipages spoke to Peter Curley - Managing Director of the Home Theatre Group (HTG) for his advice on integrating in-wall speakers into your home...
“People are looking for unobtrusive solutions for their audio needs – so they are moving away from box speakers that typically sit on the floor or on their entertainment units. There is also a move toward people pre-wiring their homes, which is also aimed at reducing cable clutter and emphasising clean, slick interiors.”
“A regular speaker is enclosed in a housing or cabinet – which is typically a wooden box. An in-wall differs in that the wall acts as the housing or cabinet for the speaker.”
“Besides the obvious space saving potential, they also reduce the messy spectacle of having thousands of cables littering your home. They also allow you to have audio in practically every location in the home, as well as outdoors.”
“The most important aspect of any speaker is its sound quality. One should be looking for a product that delivers clean, crisp sound – preferably at low volumes. For in-wall speakers having directional control allows one to directed audio toward a particular area of the room, which gives you that extra flexibility.”
“Frequency response refers to the range of sounds a speaker can reproduce, from low deep bass to high more delicate sounds - the greater frequency response the better the sound quality. The power of a speaker also needs to be matched to your amplifier (expressed in watts); while higher sensitivity ratings (expressed in dB) indicate a more efficient speaker at higher volumes.”
“Room size will ultimately determine which speakers you choose, but get that advice from a professional.”
“Speaker placement is critical, and should be made in conjunction with seating configuration and positioning. Swivelling woofers and tweeters can also help to direct the sound more accurately. There is also new laser technology which will further refine speaker positioning and direction.”
“Absolutely, you would be looking at a very different speaker set up depending on your needs. A surround sound installation has very different requirements to someone looking to simply have background music playing in the kitchen.”
“The living or home entertainment room is obviously first on the list, but the kitchen and bathroom are increasingly popular locations for sound. People are also having audio fitted throughout the home.”
“You are looking at anywhere from $300 - $3000 a pair, with sound quality obviously increasing with price.”
“This is one installation that definitely will benefit from a professional home audio installer. This is especially relevant when it comes to getting cabling into wall cavities.”
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