Speaker positioning - flush?

Has anyone mounted their speakers in the wall, front baffle flush with the wall (sometimes referred to as soffit mounted)?

It has intrigued me for some time, and I am considering for my next listening room. The first link below goes into speaker positioning generally, and describes the advantages of this approach. The second, though a manual for a particular speaker, from the bottom of page 3 discusses the detail of such installation as well as the advantages.

Other than a need to build angled walls with the necessary internal ‘hole’, the only disadvantage as far as I can see Is a probable need for DSP to reduce boosted low frequency uplift if the speaker isn’t designed for this positioning (i.e. most hifi speakers) - but far flatter response (and much less DSP needed that attempting to flatten In-room response with other positioning). With a room longer than necessary, common in larger British lounges, losing a bit from the end might be small price to pay for improved response.

If you go to the Totem acoustics web site, they have a new range of in-wall speakers.

Take a look at the PMC site they are doing an exhibition in November with the rolling stones at the groninger museum, netherlands for an immersive dolby atmos experience with their flush mounted speakers.

Hi Mike,
Interesting, though not what I’m thinking (no idea if I like their character, but they don’t appear to go very deep). I’m more thinking of the generality of installing in-wall for improved sound quality, and whether anyone has any experience - which of course could be domestic or professional.

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Thanks Gazza - interesting, though at 24 channels that is not quite what I had in mind! (It would be interesting to go for interest, but apart from anything else COVID prevents). I’m aware of PMC’s studio speakers commonly being mounted in-wall in studios for the sound quality reasons that interest me - I believe also is common with ATC speakers. PMC’s and ATC’s upper levels of domestic speaker are essentially the same as the studio versions other than external finishing.

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https://community.naimaudio.com/u/xcentric recently posted in the Now for the running in thread where his music room has been created to take advantage of flush mounted and floor standing speakers.

Saw the notification - thanks o.o

I have always run 2 different systems for AV and hi-fi - partly because they have sometimes been in different rooms, partly because the logistics of getting stereo speakers to work with AV amps and not have a forest of remote controls and setup settings is hard, and early because I find that a different tonal quality is needed - voice and bass extension for dialogue/explosions, versus good all-round music reproduction. I used to run a 5.1 with and additional 4 height speakers, plus my stereo kit, all floorstanders or standpoints, except the heights which were wall mounted. So with those and my hi-fi, we looked more like a poorly laid out shop than a living room…

Recently decided to upgrade stereo speakers (see other threads, as it morphed into a new system altogether), and through a convoluted process, also decided we’d change AV system as had been contemplating the move towards proper Dolby Atmos - then found some liquidated stock - so ended up buying various bits of kit to move the AV stuff to in-wall.

Hifi has been recent priority, so the install of the in-wall speakers has had to be done, but not the setup, so I can report later what it sounds like. However, some thoughts:

  • in-wall speakers are designed to be used in-wall - some are open-backed to make use of the cavity resonance, some are close-backed to give specific volumes of air movement. Quite how well a standard speaker would fare in-wall would be hard to tell - I would worry slightly about being able to fix it rigidly enough. The designed in-walls have some nifty flying approaches that clamp all round onto the plasterboard, to hold them securely and easily

  • the finished effect is excellent - soothing and minimalistic. They disappear into the decor, and we are finishing off parts of the room by getting photographs printed onto acoustically transparent material so that they are behind pictures

  • running the cables took a long time. Maybe getting an electrician to do it makes sense as they do it every day - but even with an ok sized cavity (albeit in an older house) there were a lot of issues, and a lot of patches to make afterwards

  • tip - leave some of your pulling strings in place when finished. You are bound to need other stuff through there later - e,g. whilst I pulled extra ethernet etc, I now know I need a cable for an IR blaster across to the opposite corner, which I’d not put in - but which should be easier now

  • the positioning of the speakers takes some thought, as you need to identify the joists on both sides of the room before you position them - one I had perfectly on the left where I wanted it, between 2 joists, but when I came to do the right one, it was bang in the middle of one - so both had to move. By then I’d cut one hole…

  • it’s worth knowing where your hifi speakers will go if you’re having both as they may end up directly in front of the in-walls, especially if you run a projector too

Was it worth it? Absolutely - it’s a room of minimal calm for listening to music in, or we can blow the house up with movie effects. Aesthetically it’s excellent, and there should be few sonic compromises.

So I’d recommend it, bu would steer people towards speakers designed for in-wall use. And have enough spare time to be able to rip the room apart to do it!

Thanks for observations, Xcentric.

For the sake of clarity it is stereo hifi speakers (large full range) I am thinking of flush mounting, not an AV system. (though AV system will be in the same room, and if I can get an acoustically transparent screen the hifi speakers might double as main speakers, though I don’t do that at present.).

Yes Totem have been making these type of speakers for years.

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understood. I’d want a serious chat to the manufacturer about enclosing the cabinets in the walls as you might get some very strange resonances, as you’re putting them into effectively another cabinet too (the wall). I’d suspect unported will be better than ported. But hifi speakers designed for it would be fine (my av system uses US-made GTL SoundLabs as the main speakers, which can be used for hi-fi too though are not designed for that).

Acoustically transparent screens are readily available, but you need to budget more as they are more expensive. It’s also possible to buy the material direct from the US and make one up yourself for much less.

B&W also have dedicated speakers for this, as do Monitor Audio

As long as front ported reason for that to be a limitation at all - PMCs transmission line speakers and ATC’s ported monitors are commonly installed this way in studios.

If I do it, it will be with PMCs.

Indeed, though I think more targeted at ‘lifestyle’ than for sound quality reasons. However MA’s best is not full range, and B&W’s tgey say is equivalent only to the 804 D3. If I were going with B&W I’d want 802 at least (though when I auditioned a few years ago I rejected them).

I suspect these ranges may have something to suit the regular demand for close-to-wall speakers, in tge wall being better if the wall can accomodate!

The following rough sketches give an idea as to the layout I’m considering - the near position probably ultimately best sound quality, the further one demanding more in the way of rear reflection control, but more accommodating for several people to listen, While the smoother response from flush speakers would increase liustening position flexibility.

Atc do wall mounted scm11’s

Indeed, as do a number of other manufacturers, but wall mount is different from flush flush mounting.

I see. At least they are not as ugly as the larger normal B&W. I would reject them on this basis alone …

I don”t find them ugly, though I’m not sure what my wife would have though if I had come home from that auditioning trip with a pair of daleks… However I do like the appearance of the Nautilus (the actual one, not the range pinching the name)

I’ve never really listened to the larger ones, but didn’t like the sound of the smaller floorstanders. However there will soonish come the time for better speakers and I already dread the possibility that I might like their sound, because for some reason I find their looks unbearably oppressive.

Both PMC and ATC do custom installation/studio in wall speakers. Some look very full range and expensive.