Can my Nova go inside the wall?

Hi everyone
We’re building a ‘media wall’ in our living room which is basically a fake chimney breast made of timber and plasterboard with a big TV inset above an electric fireplace. My speakers will go either side of the breast as I use them both for music and TV. The breast will be about 40cm deep to accommodate the fireplace so there is plenty of room inside for my Nova, if I wanted to hide it inside the wall. I could ask the carpenter to put in an extra shelf, within the wall, either above or below the fireplace (as it is electric, it is really just a fancy fan heater which only gives out heat to the front). The Nova would sit on the shelf with plaster board in front and a solid wall behind. It would have about 3cm clearance at the front and back (enough room for the Powerline), 10cm above and lots of room either side. If I ever move to 2 boxes in the future, there will be plenty of space on the shelf as the breast will be 150cm wide. The carpenter can create an access hatch on the side of the breast so I can get to the Nova when needed.

I have two questions about this. First, what is the danger that my Nova (or future boxes) would overheat when inside a wall like this? Although it has plenty of clearance, it will be effectively sitting inside a large sealed box. I could fit a small grille in the breast near the Nova to allow some ventilation. Do you think that would be enough? Second, if its OK to put the Nova into the wall, what type of support would be best? I could use a wall-hung platform and ask the carpenter to build the wall around it, or I could ask him to build a wooden shelf inside the wall and then put an isolation platform under the Nova. Or I could just put the Nova on the wooden shelf and see if I notice any difference! Obviously I am more worried about the risk of overheating than I am about the quality of the shelving and isolation!

All advice gratefully received, thanks.

Without adequate air flow both in and out, the chance of overheating is high. And if you live in a warm climate, it’ll happen faster.

The generated heat is radiated from the heatsink and that requires warm air to be replaced with cooler air. At least, you would need ventilation at the botton of this enclosure to draw fresh air in and ventilation at the top to let hot air rise out.

There are a lot of variables in your question so it’s hard to say whether it presents an immediate problem or just in the summer. Either way, I’d not do it.

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Maybe you should put the Nova inside a coffin? It would not overheat and would be discreet.

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I wouldn’t… mine is warm on top of my rack, plus you’ll be putting it in a boomy box

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As long as you allow for ventilation top and bottom then i can’t see it being a problem.

Thanks everyone. I think I can provide for adequate ventilation inside the wall because it is being built in front of the actual chimney cavity (which is on the outside of the house so the internal wall is flat - there was a log burner there which has been removed), so I can leave a hole at the back of the fake wall to vent into the old chimney, as well as a grille on the front or side of the fake wall (which can double as the access hatch) so the air can pass through. Its not ideal, obviously, but the alternative is a separate rack somewhere near the media wall which we are trying to avoid.

Hifi-dog - do you think a boomy box is really a problem given that the Nova itself is not emitting the sound?

I would hope the chimney would be sealed at the top to prevent rain from getting in now it’s not being used ?
But just a small opening at the back off the shelf area, top and bottom should be enough especially if this then goes in the new large space you have formed.
As the heat loss into this much larger area will be more than enough to get rid off any heat the nova is going to give out

All electronics are microphonic to some extent, and I would not put my nova in a box, I like to see it… hence the screen. But it’s your house etc so don’t let me dissuade you at all.

Best take the lid off your’s then as it’s already in a box

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Yes, the chimney will be sealed but I can still vent into that space if needed. I’ve previously had the Nova sitting on wooden shelving inside a sideboard with a slatted door, and currently on a cheap (temporary) TV bench. It still sounds good to me, although I’ve never had it on a dedicated stand to compare. The speakers fronts will be clear of the front of the media wall with 20-30cm clearance to the side so I’m hopeful that will be fine.

HH, your fireplace looks great but my TV needs to be above the fireplace and I can’t stand it being that high on the wall, hence the electric fire that can be fitted much lower down.

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I agree, and we’d never have a TV above the fireplace. It’s too high for comfortable viewing and looks like a pub. You could always put the Nova inside and if it gets too hot move it elsewhere. Do note the depth requirements for a PowerLine though, as I think you won’t be able to use it with the limited depth your envisage. It would be a shame, as it’s a good improvement. With the Nova on the bottom shelf of our table it’s very discreet, and I’ve grown to like it, and being able to see the cover art when it’s playing.

When we were looking at fires we saw some really impressive wide and low models, but I get the feeling they will be a passing fad and people will get tired of them. That’s why we went for something more classic looking, which also looks better when not switched on.

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Privately (as in, out of earshot of Mrs G) I agree with you about the low and wide fireplaces, but I have been overruled. My preference obviously was for a dedicated rack, upgrade to 2 boxes etc under the TV! If I leave a hole into the old chimney for ventilation then the Powerline can protrude into there too if needed, before circling back to the plug socket. This might just work…

If that’s your view, is there not room for compromise? You can get some very attractive media units without resorting to a tech looking stand.

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I’ve found lots of attractive units that she loves. I don’t like the tech look either. The issue is that she really wants a fireplace in the centre of the wall and doesn’t want a separate unit next to it, if at all possible. That’s why I’m exploring the in-wall option. If that doesn’t work then I’m sure we’ll get something like your low table.

I agree about the fireplace in the centre of the wall, as it gives balance. Maybe an answer is to not have the telly in the centre at all, but rather in the corner, where they belong.


Thanks for all the suggestions. That’s how I arranged things in my old place. However, a corner TV wouldn’t work in my current room because of its shape, size, position of radiators etc. Anyway, sometimes we will want to just sit around the fireplace and sometimes we will want to have the TV on. This way, we can do both without having to move ourselves or the furniture.

I assume you have a separate soundbar for your TV? I wanted to avoid that too, so the TV needs to sit between the speakers.

Yes, there is a little £80 sound box thing in the unit. We used to use the stereo for TV and surprisingly it sounded fine. But the sound box is much better for dialogue than the stereo, as it has dialogue settings. For an £80 box it’s surprisingly decent.

I think I’ll give the wall burial method a go. The carpenter is coming in a few weeks so I’ll post on here what it looks during the build.

In case it helps I have kept my amps inside cupboards for the past 25-30 years, without any issues, however in the first instance there was no back panel, and the cupboard stood about 2 cm away from the wall, allowing ventilation. More recently the cupboard has a back panel with a couple of low noise fans fitted into it, thermostatically switched, and the front doors are louvred.

My wife calls my speakers coffins. Putting an amp in would make them active!