In wall speakers vs floor standers

I have a clear upgrade path for my current system which is NAP250 followed by swapping uniti atom for NSC222, speakers are a debate, my budget is circa £7k and the question is if inwall speakers may be a good option i could use KEF CI5160 vs box speakers e.g KEF Reference 1 meta (with my existing subs ) or R7 meta (and a lower budget). Does anyone have any recommendations?

I suspect a difficulty may be that few people here are likely to have compared in wall with floor standers, let alone those specific ones. (If you haven’t already I suggest you do also ask on other fora - is there a KEF one?)

In-wall, with front baffle flush with the wall surface, avoids any comb filtering due to reflections from behind the speakers, which is good. Mounting in wall can be whole speaker boxes, the same or similar to those used freestanding (purpose-built ones usually shallower front to back to fit in typical walls. The other type are open backed and use the wall internal volume, or a room or cupboard behing, as the rear enclosure. If the void behind is huge, they effectively become true “infinite” baffles, otherwise the void volume will have an influence on the bass response. I’ve had a very quick look at those in-wall speakers and see they are the latter type, though I did not look to see what they recommend re void volume.

incidentally, if people make recommendations do bear in mind that speakers are so different and affect the sound character so much, but different everyone’s taste is personal, so while people can recommend possibilities, you do have to hear for yourself.


In-walls are a rarity. I know of a couple people with similar priced in-walls but not those. The key here was that they found a dealer who specialised in custom install and had an in-wall speaker demo room for the brand they stocked (PMC if I’m not mistaken).

If that’s not available to you with KEF, maybe another is. PMC, KEF, Focal, and Dali all do high end in-wall of you can track down a custom install dealer.

May we ask the reason? Have floorstanders become a non option? Are you building a house?

From personal experience, even when building a house, in-wall is difficult. I’d had in-wall speakers specified for over a year prior to completing a new home only to be told at the eleventh hour that an in-wall speaker could not be used because the depth was too much for the wall or the studs prevented symmetrical placement and had to compromise with just doing in-wall cable trunking and on-wall speakers.

1 Like

The room in question is wide and shallow 6.5m x 3.6mtrs, internal doors, bay windows and french doors at either end means only option is across narrow side. Most enclosed speakers recommend 300-600 +mm from wall which puts front of speakers circa 700-1000mm into room, with seating position head to cone centre line is 2.4 - 2mtrs. The wall is an exterior wall and the boss wants recessed alcoves, (shelves) with downlighters so in goes 150mm deep false wall with 18mm mdf contruction, with alcoves for speakers or a loss of another 150mm (may as well use headphone at to keep equilateral triangle they would be 2mtrs apart on a 6.5mtr wall) if i use inwalls then i get circa 3.3mtrs which i think means better overall listening experience (especially with multiple listeners). In summary i am looking at acwider soundstage…i think

But very variable, and room specific - some speakers said to be best some way away from the wall work extremely well backed up against it. And of course there are speakers designed for against the wall placement, though limited in number.

Meanwhile one question to ponder if you are considering open back in-wall speakers like those KEFs is wall internal space (volume), and wall construction - e.g. if timber frame with plasterboard surface, is volume between timber members suitable, and will is the plasterboard well damped or will it become a resonant panel affecting behaviour? Alternatively would it tge speaker penetrating through the room into a cupboard or room behind, using that as its rear “cabinet”?

Found that picture. I have never seen such gigantic in wall speakers.
I presume that there is little chance to have a WAF or PAF factor here.

1 Like

You have a knack sir for finding these gems :smiling_face:

I’d be ok having those!

1 Like

I have Focal 300 Series in wall speakers in my lounge, driven today by an Atom.

I would add that working with an installer that has experience with custom installations makes a big difference. I did that and we tried out a lot of options before I committed to the one I had built and installed.

A decent AV company will be able to setup and show you what you are considering without you ripping your house apart or spending money on kit you end up not liking.

Except despite their two dimensional size they are extremely unobtrusive - if they had grille cloths you wouldn’t even notice them, especially if beige or grey in that room.


One of the best systems for me in the local hifi show was Perlisten S7ir. (Usd 8000 each)
Would be in the short list if I was in the market for an in wall speaker. Beryllium tweeter.

They need a sub for the full experience. In room response is typical below 40Hz.

1 Like

Most in wall speakers have paintable grilles or, if you use wall cloth instead of wallpaper you can seamlessly cloth over then. You can see that type of install on the PMC site. Basically the whole wall is just covered in a grille of your colour preference.

I’m never sure what “approval factor” means now. In the 90s I thought I did. But people have such different tastes that nothing is guaranteed approval or rejection. I have 13 speakers with grilles off in the living room. 11 of those on-wall but Mrs. FZ was sort of going for a sort of backstage/studio feel so it fits with her ideal. I’m the one that wanted more of a classic look.

You shouldn’t swear in church…:sunglasses:

It’s much easier to swap box speakers than in-wall speakers. If you don’t like the way they sound after the speakers are installed, you need to break the walls and redo to fit in-walls with different dimensions.

1 Like

This is absolutely true. Though some in-wall speakers have on-wall back boxes you can buy so that you can hang them instead. But it is still an awful job. Trust me, I’ve done it and never want to do it again. It’s really for the no fear DIY expert or for someone with enough money to make this a tradies problem.

I was neither so it was really an ordeal.

1 Like

I found In Roof speakers. Do you have to be lying on the floor to listen ? :thinking:

FR, I see AI has been busy again.


Yes, that image does not appear real. Not only the fake ceiling speakers, but the solitary floorstander - especialy the join between its two ‘halves’!

1 Like

I love how the only seating position faces away from the TV.

1 Like

Totem Acoustic also makes in-wall loudspeakers and subwoofers in many sizes and configurations.

If you do decide to go with floor standers, I would consider getting deep acoustic panels (150mm minimum) and placing the speakers as close to the panel as possible without touching of course.

If the panel absorbs the sound coming out of the back of the speaker then you won’t have nulls in the room. When I started adding panels, I got so much more bass in my tiny room. Personally I am not convinced that front facing, downward facing or rear facing makes much difference.

All these depends on finding suitably attractive panels to please SWMBO