Hi. We start an extension on the house in a few months and just looking at options to try to make the room as de-cluttered as possible, whilst still being able to enjoy the Hi-Fi.
Anyone used or have experience of on-wall speakers purely for 2 channel? I have seen options from ATC, PMC, Dali plus others - it seems that some solutions are in-wall designs with a dedicated on-wall box or mount.
Just wondering how much of a compromise they are. Ideally I would like to run speakers cables through trunking even if I don’t go with on-wall speakers.
It really depends on exactly what you are trying to achieve. If your aim is to achieve as clutter-free an environment as possible and the music is essentially just background then I would be seriously looking at in-ceiling speakers. As you are at the building stage all the wiring could easily be incorporated and hidden away.
If you want something more serious to listen to then I would forget all about it and just install a small-ish set of bookshelf speakers either on stands or wall-brackets or on a convenient piece of furniture. Or else put a Muso 2 in there.
You can’t really have it both ways. If the objective is minimalism then I would go with in-ceiling speakers myself.
I’m very happy with my ATC HTS 7’s & 11’s. In-wall speakers were not an option as there’s plumbing behind the wall. The ATC’s benefited greatly from a new 200w per channel amp (AudioControl G4) as they are not very sensitive. I also replaced my Lexicon (Arcam) AV receiver with a new Emotiva MC1 processor… I am surprised how much better the “home theater experience” is now. Vocals are rich and detailed and while Batman is not my first choice it is fun to watch & listen to. The ATC’s can play scary loud.
Being designed for on- or in- wall, by manufacturers who know their business, I would expect both PMC’s and ATC’s models (maybe also Dali, but I am unfamiliar with the brand) to perform well, at least, that is, within the limitations of their sizes.
There is another gamut of in-wall mounting, albeit less well known in hifi circles, known in professional studio world as soffit-mounting. Both ATC and PMC full size pro-range speakers can commonly be found used that way in monitoring/mastering studios.
ATC’s entry level range, which includes the wall-mounted HTS series are closed box designs, which reduces some of the the compromises of wall placement. However, I wouldn’t go down the wall-mount route for conventional stereo myself if I didn’t have to. For one thing, it reduces opportunities for moving the speakers around. I have never had a set of new set of stand mounts or floorstanders in the house without wanting to optimise performance by playing around with positioning. My current floorstanders are now in a completely different place from how I had them originally installed.
If on a budget, KEF T-Series is on-wall dedicated (no in-wall variant) and very well received. Audiovector do a similar on-wall dedicated R-wall speaker. The Dali is also dedicated.
The PMC and ATC dual purpose speakers are, by most accounts superb and not much of compromise. But they do protrude out quite a bit. The KEFs are ultra thin.
If you are doing an extension or new build, I’d opt for in-wall. In both scenarios you are making holes in the wall for cabling. I’m currently building a new home with ATMOS 7.2.4 and using entry level Qacoustics in-wall for everything except the subs.
If money wasn’t an obstacle, I’d definitely do ATC or PMC on/in-wall.
I’m not quite sure what the OP’s intent is. Stereo, or surround.
I recently assisted a friend who was new to hifi and needed something his wife would allow into a system comprising of a Nova driving a pair of PMC Wafer 2 on-wall in white. To say he was thrilled with the result was an understatement.
I would 100% look at a home-demo if using solely for 2-channel.
I had some Monitor Audio on-wall speakers about 7-years ago (pre NAIM) and whilst they were good for 5.1 duties the sound was poor for stereo.
Look at the FOCAL 301 / 302 range as they’re pretty discreet and would look lovely alongside a 55” / 65” TV.
One thing to note - if you’re thinking of adding a projector at a later date make sure you get an “acoustically transparent” screen as the sound will flow through the screen meaning you can have the screen in front of the speakers.
I’ve got Focal 300 Series (IWLCR6) in my lounge, 2 channel only driven by an Atom.
I’ve got a decent sized space and a modest amp pushing them and they’re plenty considering their size.
They do an on wall 300 Series as well using same drivers.
I looked at the 1000 in wall’s as well also from Focal, but lacked the space to go that route without compromising the visuals. Having heard both I was happy I wasn’t going to be missing much with the 300’s anyway.
I had PMC Wafer’s at an old house some years back, their current range of custom installs I liked but size/space was challenging this time round.
Having gone through all this myself not that long ago, I’d certainly work out what will fit (size/shape varies a lot between brands) and what the space is likely to need up front.
In terms of budget I’m not going scrimp on a solution; but it does seem that you pay a premium for something that I imagine would sound comparable to a ‘normal’ speaker; certainly in the PMC Ci series anyhow.
ATC HTS40 is a comparable in price to its floor standing sibling but looks brutish! Need to go and listen to a pair though if I can find a dealer that has them in store.
I have little wall-mounted Neat Iotas in my small office, fed by an Atom. The speakers have fixing points for attaching to brackets, which is what I use. But I reckon the Iotas, at 3kg, are near the limit of what the brackets can support without tilting. I also found it impossible to use my NACA5 with them as the cable stiffness kept twisting the speakers round. Have to admit that once I’d solved all these problems, they did sound good.