thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

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Go Blue 99
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thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Go Blue 99 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:31 pm

We are building a house with a tract builder, and need to decide on pre-wiring before drywall goes up. I love having 5.1 surround sound, and want to install that set-up in the family room. Due to room layout and WAF (wife acceptance factor), in-ceiling speakers are going to be my only option. Even the builder's audio guy recommended in-ceiling speakers due to the clean appearance.

I've looked around on AVSforums and other message boards. People seem to say using in-ceiling is acceptable for the 2 rear surround speakers, but is not recommended for the front/center/left speakers. But I'm wondering if that is just the hardcore audiophile point of view. While I want some good quality surround sound for movies, games, and TV, I'm definitely not an audio expert.

So does anyone here use in-ceiling for home theater? If so, do you have any brand or model recommendations? I am pretty flexible on price. Thanks.

Gronnie
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Gronnie » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:11 pm

I wouldn't do them for the fronts, it wouldn't sound right in my opinion.

You could do in-wall speakers for the fronts if you want.

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FraggleRock
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by FraggleRock » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:15 pm

We have them in:
Office
Living room
Master bedroom
Master bath
Basement media/family room
Outdoors

If we could go back in time, we would add:
Both minor bedrooms
Kitchen/dining

We listen to music all the time.

samsmith
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by samsmith » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:31 pm

I have in-ceiling speakers for the two rears.
The two fronts and centers sit on shelves by the tv.

WolfgangPauli
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by WolfgangPauli » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:40 pm

I am not a big fan for two reasons:

1) You almost lock yourself into old technology. Wireless speakers are getting incredibly good and you can move them. Also, 5.1 soundbars that will change based on the acoustics of your room are incredible. Both are far more adaptable than permanently putting speakers in the ceiling.

2) it is not natural sound. For example, 5.1 is built to give you an immersion feeling.. why would you want the sound to be above you? Does not seem natural.
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pileitup
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by pileitup » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:59 pm

We only use our Sonos speakers now (have three so far) . Ceiling speakers not hooked up to anything anymore.
Simplify.

happy77
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by happy77 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:09 pm

WolfgangPauli wrote:I am not a big fan for two reasons:

1) You almost lock yourself into old technology. Wireless speakers are getting incredibly good and you can move them. Also, 5.1 soundbars that will change based on the acoustics of your room are incredible. Both are far more adaptable than permanently putting speakers in the ceiling.

2) it is not natural sound. For example, 5.1 is built to give you an immersion feeling.. why would you want the sound to be above you? Does not seem natural.


True.
We were in the market for a house 2 years back, found a nice one which was not old (built in 2004) except for the fact that the previous owner had setup speakers all over the house in walls and ceilings. Those speakers were a big eyesore and quite outdated. Replacing them with similar sized speakers was a big expense, so didn't look at that house again :)

ragabnh
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by ragabnh » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:38 pm

I installed in our family room ceiling 2 front speakers and two rear surround speakers, I have the center speaker on shelf on top of TV and Sub-woofer on the floor behind a table. I used Polk Audio ceiling speakers and I did not save there to get the best sound quality possible. The system sounds great and speakers are concealed out of site, wife is happy.

iamlucky13
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by iamlucky13 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 12:47 am

The builder's audio guy's known criteria are a clean install (and upsells for the builder, like pre-wiring for sound). Your criteria is decent surround sound. His input addresses your wife's concern, but not yours.

From what I've read (not personal experience), the sound coming from the wrong direction is not very noticeable for the rear surrounds, but is more so for the front left and right (main) channels, which the bulk of your non-center sounds come from, so having the mains in the ceiling much more significantly reduces the immersion compared to the rears.

In-ceiling speakers also limit the model options, and are not going to have optimized cabinets. Again, more of an issue with the mains the rears. However, the mains being up front near the TV seems naturally less obtrusive in a room than the rears.

All together, I would think in-ceiling rears and conventional fronts is a very reasonable compromise to pitch to the wife.

In-wall fronts might be another option as mentioned. There's still some compromise in the reduced options available and the sub-optimal cabinet design, but I'd still expect good in-wall speakers to be roughly on par with good sound bars.

GuyInFL
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by GuyInFL » Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:03 am

I've got angled speakers like these and have been very happy.
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=4929
They also have in-wall rated speaker wire and in-wall HDMI cables priced very reasonably.
I use an AV Receiver as a switch for all my video sources with one HDMI cable to the TV. Very clean.

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Kenkat
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Kenkat » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:32 am

ragabnh wrote:I installed in our family room ceiling 2 front speakers and two rear surround speakers, I have the center speaker on shelf on top of TV and Sub-woofer on the floor behind a table. I used Polk Audio ceiling speakers and I did not save there to get the best sound quality possible. The system sounds great and speakers are concealed out of site, wife is happy.


I have a similar setup to this and get great sound. I did in wall speakers vs. in ceiling and they blend in fine. I used Paradigm in wall speakers in the four corners of the room, a Klipsch center channel speaker located directly under the TV and a Sony sub located behind the TV. I recently replaced my receiver which was solid but unfortunately becoming technically obsolete with a Yamaha receiver which has a microphone you can hook up and it will adjust speaker outputs to the room acoustics.

I installed the in walls in 1998 when we built the house and ran the wiring myself.

SleepKing
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by SleepKing » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:50 am

Similar situation with us Go Blue 99. Finished the basement and wife said I could do WHATEVER I wanted...as long as she SAW NO SPEAKERS OR AUDIO COMPONENTS EVER AGAIN!!! lol!

In the main basement area area, we have a typical flat screen TV with all speakers in ceiling. They are Klipsch models. R/C/L front and R&L rear. We built the sub into a spot underneath the stairway, cut a hole and put a vent grate on it. Can't even tell it's there and sounds amazing. Our only miscalculation is that we slightly adjusted the couch/seating and now the R rear is directly over the couch....we may need to move it. Overall the sound is great. People comment all the time how fantastic it is and cannot believe the speakers are in the ceiling. Obviously, not 'audiophile' performance...but darn good!

We also did in ceiling for master bath and bed upstairs. All the speakers are run into an AV tower placed in our basement storage area, sonos enabled in all zones. Wife see's nothing and love's it. Actually, wife did allow a soundbar for the upstairs/kitchen-family area TV. But it literally looks like part of the TV and we hid the corresponding sub, so as far as she is concerned it doesn't exist :)

If your wife has laid out the terms, proceed knowing you can have great results...not audiophile results...but great results with in ceiling speakers!

Have fun with the project!

Sleepy

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Go Blue 99
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Go Blue 99 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:14 pm

SleepKing wrote:Similar situation with us Go Blue 99. Finished the basement and wife said I could do WHATEVER I wanted...as long as she SAW NO SPEAKERS OR AUDIO COMPONENTS EVER AGAIN!!! lol!

In the main basement area area, we have a typical flat screen TV with all speakers in ceiling. They are Klipsch models. R/C/L front and R&L rear. We built the sub into a spot underneath the stairway, cut a hole and put a vent grate on it. Can't even tell it's there and sounds amazing. Our only miscalculation is that we slightly adjusted the couch/seating and now the R rear is directly over the couch....we may need to move it. Overall the sound is great. People comment all the time how fantastic it is and cannot believe the speakers are in the ceiling. Obviously, not 'audiophile' performance...but darn good!


Thanks! Do you mind sharing the Klipsch model numbers? I know they have a bunch of different models for in-ceiling.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by JaneyLH » Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:54 pm

SleepKing wrote:Finished the basement and wife said I could do WHATEVER I wanted...as long as she SAW NO SPEAKERS OR AUDIO COMPONENTS EVER AGAIN!!! lol!


Well, I'm the wife and I want great sound! I've wanted electrostatic speakers ever since I worked at my college radio station and somebody donated one of these fabulous speakers to the station. Forty years later, my hubby indulged me and we pulled together a Martin Logan 5.1 system from used components. Heaven! We were very careful to size the front speakers so the sweet spot was exactly where our ears would be when seated at the primary location when using the system.

I also had all in-ceiling speakers after purchasing a house pre-installed. Yes, the placement of the sound was weird... imagine watching a thriller movie and hearing footsteps on the ceiling! :shock:

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by whodidntante » Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:59 pm

Speakers deteriorate and need to be replaced from time to time, not to mention becoming obsolete. I have some 16" woofers in my basement that would now be considered outlandish, but were once easy to find. And those old woofers did not really do the job better than my current 12" powered sub, but they can push a higher SPL and reproduce lower frequencies. Those properties are only useful if you wish to be issued a noise citation.

YoungJediInvestor
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by YoungJediInvestor » Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:25 pm

Speakers are something that don't really diminish like a tv or cellphone. That said, I wired for them in my new house and love them. I wouldn't want to be tied to a specific platform like Sonos and have them all wired to a multi channel matrix amp in a central closet. I have background music in the kitchen, master bedroom and bathroom and have some higher end ceiling speakers in my surround sound setup for 5.1.2.

If you get decent speakers they blend in nicely and you will be spoiled with music or your favorite sports throughout the house.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by YoungJediInvestor » Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:28 pm

Re-read your post and I wonder if it's at all possible to have some slim floor standing speakers and the rest as in-ceiling. I have an in-ceiling for center channel and I don't hate it. I had to do it since it's a tv above the fireplace setup.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Bob B » Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:34 pm

For surround sound, in-ceiling speakers will not work well...too high and facing the wrong direction. In-ceiling speakers are fine for background music, but not much else. Next time you are at the movies, notice where the surround speakers are - on the walls facing in toward the audience. The front speakers are behind the screen. Proper speaker placement should not be left to amateurs (aka the builder.) There are many guides to speaker placement on the Internet or visit a local hi-fi shop (if you can find one :happy )
Regards, | Bob |

RF
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by RF » Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:54 pm

Go Blue 99 wrote:We are building a house with a tract builder, and need to decide on pre-wiring before drywall goes up. I love having 5.1 surround sound, and want to install that set-up in the family room. Due to room layout and WAF (wife acceptance factor), in-ceiling speakers are going to be my only option. Even the builder's audio guy recommended in-ceiling speakers due to the clean appearance.

I've looked around on AVSforums and other message boards. People seem to say using in-ceiling is acceptable for the 2 rear surround speakers, but is not recommended for the front/center/left speakers. But I'm wondering if that is just the hardcore audiophile point of view. While I want some good quality surround sound for movies, games, and TV, I'm definitely not an audio expert.

So does anyone here use in-ceiling for home theater? If so, do you have any brand or model recommendations? I am pretty flexible on price. Thanks.


Hi GoBlue99,
When we build our house back in 2005 we installed in wall as well as ceiling speaker through out the house. For the home theatre, we used B&W front and center in wall speaker and energy ceiling speaker for surround. But I still using conventional subwoofer that i placed in the corner. I have been very happy with B&W (Bowers & Wilkins). They are also available in select best buy store. Our model number is no longer available. I think they are making less expensive line but I would stick with the one with kevlar driver.
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/bowers-wilkins-b-w/b-w-in-wall-in-ceiling-speakers/pcmcat309000050010.c?id=pcmcat309000050010
see if its available at your local best buy and have a listen.
from fellow Wolverines class of 1993! Go Blue

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Just sayin...
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Just sayin... » Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:07 pm

I've got water-resistant speakers in the ceiling of the master bath, driven by a Sonos amp. One of the best investments I've ever made! Not a day goes by where listening to music while I shave or shower doesn't bring a smile to my face. If we ever move, I'll do this in our next residence...

And yes, I do use B&W 8" CCM 683's as my rear surround speakers in our tv loft...they sound great.

http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/Speakers/ ... CM683.html

wallygator
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by wallygator » Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:58 am

http://www.outdoorspeakerdepot.com/70v-speakers.html

Used these with great results and price

Wally

SleepKing
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by SleepKing » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:07 am

JaneyLH wrote:
SleepKing wrote:Finished the basement and wife said I could do WHATEVER I wanted...as long as she SAW NO SPEAKERS OR AUDIO COMPONENTS EVER AGAIN!!! lol!


Well, I'm the wife and I want great sound! I've wanted electrostatic speakers ever since I worked at my college radio station and somebody donated one of these fabulous speakers to the station. Forty years later, my hubby indulged me and we pulled together a Martin Logan 5.1 system from used components. Heaven! We were very careful to size the front speakers so the sweet spot was exactly where our ears would be when seated at the primary location when using the system.

I also had all in-ceiling speakers after purchasing a house pre-installed. Yes, the placement of the sound was weird... imagine watching a thriller movie and hearing footsteps on the ceiling! :shock:


Awesome! Glad you both are into the project. I PMd your DH with our components. Glad you know from experience then in ceilings require sound quality compromise for the 5.1/7.1 layout.

Fyi, dolby atmos essentially uses surrounds in ceiling, but those obviously are NOT the same as rear channel sound reproduction when channeling the sounds.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:12 am

samsmith wrote:I have in-ceiling speakers for the two rears.
The two fronts and centers sit on shelves by the tv.


+1. Doing this for the fronts won't detract from the appearance, and will simply wiring to the front speakers. Putting rears in the ceiling is, I think, an acceptable compromise. (My rear speakers are wall-mounted near the ceiling, haven't noticed any discernible problems.)

Classic speaker arrangement advice would be to put the rears at about head level close behind normal sitting position, but I think that's not workable in most "real-world" situations.

Side note: if given the option, before the sheet rock goes up, think hard about wiring every room for Ethernet, perhaps with home runs back to a data closet or even to the garage. If you contemplate some sort of streaming box (Roku, smart TV, whatever), an Ethernet drop at the TV location will come in handy.
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by rgs92 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:09 am

It's 1963 technology. Don't do it. Google the Seeburg background music system.
You will be paying a lot for a bespoke customized system with a level of audio quality far below what you could get for that amount of money.
And you are locked into it.
And maintaining it if there is a loose wire or a bad driver is stupidly expensive.
And it may even hurt property value because people will laugh at it and think they are paying more for your house for something useless and antiquated.
And the buyer may be wary of having some white elephant they would need to maintain.
It's like the audio equivalent of a fancy pool

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Go Blue 99
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Go Blue 99 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:34 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:en the option, before the sheet rock goes up, think hard about wiring every room for Ethernet, perhaps with home runs back to a data closet or even to the garage. If you contemplate some sort of streaming box (Roku, smart TV, whatever), an Ethernet drop at the TV location will come in handy.


We are currently planning CAT5E Ethernet jacks in family room, master bedroom, and home office. We are putting the internet router in the structured wiring box in the basement, then having a Wireless Access Point installed in the upstairs loft. The builder says this is the ideal set-up for making sure the entire house gets a strong Wi-Fi signal. We are also getting a smart tube from attic to the wiring box, for any future wiring.

Do you think we should upgrade the Ethernet jacks to CAT6 to future-proof the house? Or is that overkill? The builder charges $110 for installing a CAT5E jack, and $170 for installing a CAT6 jack.

kmurp
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by kmurp » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:40 am

Our in ceiling speakers stopped working maybe five years after installation. Would never do it again.

Serie1926
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Serie1926 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:08 am

Go Blue 99 wrote:We are building a house with a tract builder, and need to decide on pre-wiring before drywall goes up. I love having 5.1 surround sound, and want to install that set-up in the family room. Due to room layout and WAF (wife acceptance factor), in-ceiling speakers are going to be my only option. Even the builder's audio guy recommended in-ceiling speakers due to the clean appearance.

I've looked around on AVSforums and other message boards. People seem to say using in-ceiling is acceptable for the 2 rear surround speakers, but is not recommended for the front/center/left speakers. But I'm wondering if that is just the hardcore audiophile point of view. While I want some good quality surround sound for movies, games, and TV, I'm definitely not an audio expert.

So does anyone here use in-ceiling for home theater? If so, do you have any brand or model recommendations? I am pretty flexible on price. Thanks.


Go Blue 99, we just installed replacement in ceiling speakers in the home we recently purchased. We replaced the 5 existing Sonos with Klipsch R-5800-W II. The speakers while technically in the ceiling, the ceiling angles down into the wall at a 45 deg angle, where the speakers are mounted. We have 3 speakers in the front and 2 in the rear.

The other components in our new media room are as follows:
Klipsch Reference R-112SW x 2
Denon AVR-X3300W 7.2
Sony XBR-X850D Series 85”

While the 4K from Directv is not really ready for primetime, its a pretty amazing picture.

Good luck with your system!

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by ericmc » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:36 am

We are currently planning CAT5E Ethernet jacks in family room, master bedroom, and home office. We are putting the internet router in the structured wiring box in the basement, then having a Wireless Access Point installed in the upstairs loft. The builder says this is the ideal set-up for making sure the entire house gets a strong Wi-Fi signal. We are also getting a smart tube from attic to the wiring box, for any future wiring.

Do you think we should upgrade the Ethernet jacks to CAT6 to future-proof the house? Or is that overkill? The builder charges $110 for installing a CAT5E jack, and $170 for installing a CAT6 jack.


Primary difference between CAT5 and CAT6 is that you can push 10gb over CAT6 vs 1gb over CAT5. Likely this wouldn't pose an issue to you for some time, maybe 10 years. For the difference of $60 / jack, I'd go w/ CAT6. You would be better future proofed, at least for longer.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:41 am

Go Blue 99 wrote:
oldcomputerguy wrote:en the option, before the sheet rock goes up, think hard about wiring every room for Ethernet, perhaps with home runs back to a data closet or even to the garage. If you contemplate some sort of streaming box (Roku, smart TV, whatever), an Ethernet drop at the TV location will come in handy.


We are currently planning CAT5E Ethernet jacks in family room, master bedroom, and home office. We are putting the internet router in the structured wiring box in the basement, then having a Wireless Access Point installed in the upstairs loft. The builder says this is the ideal set-up for making sure the entire house gets a strong Wi-Fi signal. We are also getting a smart tube from attic to the wiring box, for any future wiring.

Do you think we should upgrade the Ethernet jacks to CAT6 to future-proof the house? Or is that overkill? The builder charges $110 for installing a CAT5E jack, and $170 for installing a CAT6 jack.


What grade of ethernet cable will you be using? If you're running 5e cable, it makes no sense to use cat6 jacks.
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by stan1 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:50 am

Our house was built by a previous owner with speakers in the ceilings in 1996 and we are removing them as we repaint the house. We are not audiophiles and frankly I prefer silence to music so I'm probably not well qualified to offer much of an opinion. For us the built in TV speakers are fine. I'd just note that the 20 year old JBL speaker cones are all brittle and cracked. Not sure if they could be re-coned or not.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by stan1 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:59 am

The higher cost for the CAT6 drops should include CAT6 cable but double check with the builder on that (and look at it closely to make sure its right before they put in the drywall). If it was me I would pay for the CAT6 cable (but probably not necessary).

How many square feet is the house? You may need more than one WAP if it is a large house. Do you want wifi in the garage or on the deck/patio?

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by squirm » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:36 am

pileitup wrote:We only use our Sonos speakers now (have three so far) . Ceiling speakers not hooked up to anything anymore.

We have Sonos too, wouldn't go back to anything else. Easy and decent sound quality. In ceiling speakers reminds me of the 80's.

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Just sayin...
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Just sayin... » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:20 am

Have them run a CAT 6a cable drop to every room including the garage, all going back to a central panel or closet...even if you don't plan on connecting anything in said remote locations.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_6_cable

Your cost now vs. future-proofing is inconsequential.

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Just sayin...
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Just sayin... » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:24 am

pileitup wrote:We only use our Sonos speakers now (have three so far) . Ceiling speakers not hooked up to anything anymore.

Why not get a Sonos Amp, and connect your ceiling speakers?

http://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/connectamp.html

It's what I use for my outdoor in-eave speakers and my in-ceiling kitchen and master bath speakers. It's a great solution.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:25 am

One thing I don't hear being discussed is where to put these Sonos and speakers (if doing separate). I don't like clutter. I did in-ceiling for background music due to that. There is absolutely nowhere in my kitchen I can hide a Sonos. I don't want it sitting out on the counter (I put in appliance garages to keep the look clean and eliminate clutter). In other rooms, maybe it is easier to hide them in a corner or behind a chair or sofa or place on a shelf. With flat panel TVs, many people don't have entertainment units anymore. However, where you can hide it is not always where it will give you the best sound. I have a sub woofer sitting behind a chair in the living room and am not even crazy about that, but have accepted it.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:22 am

ericmc wrote:
We are currently planning CAT5E Ethernet jacks in family room, master bedroom, and home office. We are putting the internet router in the structured wiring box in the basement, then having a Wireless Access Point installed in the upstairs loft. The builder says this is the ideal set-up for making sure the entire house gets a strong Wi-Fi signal. We are also getting a smart tube from attic to the wiring box, for any future wiring.

Do you think we should upgrade the Ethernet jacks to CAT6 to future-proof the house? Or is that overkill? The builder charges $110 for installing a CAT5E jack, and $170 for installing a CAT6 jack.


Primary difference between CAT5 and CAT6 is that you can push 10gb over CAT6 vs 1gb over CAT5. Likely this wouldn't pose an issue to you for some time, maybe 10 years. For the difference of $60 / jack, I'd go w/ CAT6. You would be better future proofed, at least for longer.


That's a steep up-charge compared to the difference in material cost and labor, but during construction is by far the easiest time to do this.

I personally hate to skimp on things that go behind the wall and so are difficult to replace, so I'd probably pay it on the assumption that decent cabling has a 30+ year lifespan, but I wouldn't call this critical upgrade. Not only is it unlikely you'll be pushing the 1 Gbps limit any time soon, but even if you do, the new standard for achieving 2.5 Gbps over CAT 5e should be widely implemented.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by lazydavid » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:36 am

The difference in the cost of the jacks themselves is almost negligible, so I would assume most of the additional cost is for the cable itself, as well as additional labor (terminating Cat6 is a colossal pain in the ass due to the incredibly short untwist specs). I could really go either way on this one. I see the argument of future-proofing, but the future in this case is kind of dubious. I can't envision a reasonable future in which 10GE to the desktop is a core requirement. It's only in the past few years that we've started really seeing benefits of 1GE to the desktop over the old 100Mbps, at which point 10GE had already been a staple in the datacenter for over a decade, and 40GE was starting to become common there. Bandwidth requirements just don't escalate nearly as quickly on the endpoint side.

Bottom line, I'd probably spend the extra money in the hopes that better quality materials are used. But given the choice, I'd rather spend the money on a 5e cable plant that's been tested and certified than a 6 plant that wasn't.

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Go Blue 99
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Go Blue 99 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:25 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Go Blue 99 wrote:
oldcomputerguy wrote:en the option, before the sheet rock goes up, think hard about wiring every room for Ethernet, perhaps with home runs back to a data closet or even to the garage. If you contemplate some sort of streaming box (Roku, smart TV, whatever), an Ethernet drop at the TV location will come in handy.


We are currently planning CAT5E Ethernet jacks in family room, master bedroom, and home office. We are putting the internet router in the structured wiring box in the basement, then having a Wireless Access Point installed in the upstairs loft. The builder says this is the ideal set-up for making sure the entire house gets a strong Wi-Fi signal. We are also getting a smart tube from attic to the wiring box, for any future wiring.

Do you think we should upgrade the Ethernet jacks to CAT6 to future-proof the house? Or is that overkill? The builder charges $110 for installing a CAT5E jack, and $170 for installing a CAT6 jack.


What grade of ethernet cable will you be using? If you're running 5e cable, it makes no sense to use cat6 jacks.


I asked the builder and he said it’s a CAT6 cable. He said it’s a “made cable and can reject signal loss”. He added that it’s a worthy investment if I want the best quality cable in the home.

So I guess we’ll go ahead and spend the extra $180 to wire the 3 ethernet ports in the home for CAT6. Assuming there is no downside to doing this.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:01 am

Other than the added cost, no, there should be no downside. Cat 6 can pass lower-speed ethernet connections.
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by hand » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:25 am

lazydavid wrote:The difference in the cost of the jacks themselves is almost negligible, so I would assume most of the additional cost is for the cable itself, as well as additional labor (terminating Cat6 is a colossal pain in the ass due to the incredibly short untwist specs).


I'm sorry, but I just can't stop laughing at the thought of a tract builder adhering to "incredibly short untwist specs."

My guess is that the upcharge comes either from 1) a customization to their standard product, 2) what the market will bear for an easily marketable "upgrade" that few if any buyers understand beyond "6 is greater than 5". I'd take Cat 6 for free, but would have a hard time justifying $60 for anything other than the run to the TV/AV Receiver and perhaps the office.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Nearly A Moose » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:41 am

My experience with in-wall speakers has been with my parents' houses (built 2000 and ~2012). Let's say I've been less than impressed by both the functionality and the sound quality. I'm not an audiophile. I have a 5.1 surround in my living room with a set of $600 small scale speakers (bought 2010) that blow the in-walls away.

Generally, the in-walls don't have the correct "guts" to produce full clean sound. I thought they were okay for surround, but complete dog poop for center and fronts. The sound was way too thin and tinny. They can also be prone to rattling, etc. if they break, you have to mess with the walls. If you want separate controls for the different speakers (i.e. So kitchen doesn't always play the living room tv), you usually end up with ugly and non-intuitive wall controls.

My parents don't use the in-walls very much because my mother can't figure out how to use them and because one of them is always complaining they can't hear the dialogue (i.e. Because the center is not appropriate). And I find it very disorienting to have the dialogue coming down to me like I'm in a supermarket.

I'd strongly consider at the very least getting a good aound bar to handle the fronts and centers. Or get the house pre-wired for small stylish speakers.

Realistically though, I'd strongly consider a Sonos system. It's basically all wireless, no ugly speakers or controls on the walls, you can put them anywhere (i.e. Behind the couch, behind a decorative basket, etc), and the sound bar is very clean and provides great sound. I got to listen to them at a friends house and was really impressed with the system, both aesthetically and the sound. The center looked great and was very clean wall-mounted under the TV (my friend did it right and had recessed power outlets put in behind the sound bar and tv, so no visible wires). Just have your builder run a good number of appropriately located power outlets and you're set. You could even have recessed wall cutouts build so that the speakers can be put in flush and/or covered with a material that won't dampen the sound.

The cost of a 5.1 is less than $2,000, so likely less than you'd pay for the wiring and installation of an inferior in-wall speaker package.

Try showing your wife some catalogue pictures with the Sonos system. I really feel that something like is the way to go.
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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:07 pm

lazydavid wrote:The difference in the cost of the jacks themselves is almost negligible, so I would assume most of the additional cost is for the cable itself, as well as additional labor (terminating Cat6 is a colossal pain in the ass due to the incredibly short untwist specs).


I haven't bought any in a while, but I recall the difference being maybe $1-2 for the jack. Cable costs are all over the place, but I'd bet he's not buying the $0.50/foot stuff. He's probably buying the same Monoprice stuff our IT guys at my job are buying, at a $0.10/foot premium over Cat 5e, for $5-10 added cost per run.

The spec may be for very short untwisted lengths, but installers aren't consistently doing it. Supposedly Fluke did a study that found something like 80% of installs failing the spec. Presumably, more network administrators than the remaining 20% are seeings successful negotiation at 10 Gbps, and running corroborating load tests, because the spec is intended to give rated performance out to 55m (100m for CAT6a) in most conditions, so it necessarily has some room for error in typical conditions.

Go Blue 99 wrote:I asked the builder and he said it’s a CAT6 cable. He said it’s a “made cable and can reject signal loss”.


I'm guessing he knows as much about what that means as you do. :wink:

No matter. You got the practical details from this thread. Cat5e will probably be fine. Cat6 gives you extra assurance the wire will meet your demand for the foreseeable future. $60 extra each for 3 runs is a high upcharge, but better than deciding to retrofit after the drywall is up.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by bluebolt » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:28 pm

Nearly A Moose wrote:My experience with in-wall speakers has been with my parents' houses (built 2000 and ~2012). Let's say I've been less than impressed by both the functionality and the sound quality. I'm not an audiophile. I have a 5.1 surround in my living room with a set of $600 small scale speakers (bought 2010) that blow the in-walls away.

Generally, the in-walls don't have the correct "guts" to produce full clean sound. I thought they were okay for surround, but complete dog poop for center and fronts. The sound was way too thin and tinny. They can also be prone to rattling, etc. if they break, you have to mess with the walls. If you want separate controls for the different speakers (i.e. So kitchen doesn't always play the living room tv), you usually end up with ugly and non-intuitive wall controls.

My parents don't use the in-walls very much because my mother can't figure out how to use them and because one of them is always complaining they can't hear the dialogue (i.e. Because the center is not appropriate). And I find it very disorienting to have the dialogue coming down to me like I'm in a supermarket.

I'd strongly consider at the very least getting a good aound bar to handle the fronts and centers. Or get the house pre-wired for small stylish speakers.

Realistically though, I'd strongly consider a Sonos system. It's basically all wireless, no ugly speakers or controls on the walls, you can put them anywhere (i.e. Behind the couch, behind a decorative basket, etc), and the sound bar is very clean and provides great sound. I got to listen to them at a friends house and was really impressed with the system, both aesthetically and the sound. The center looked great and was very clean wall-mounted under the TV (my friend did it right and had recessed power outlets put in behind the sound bar and tv, so no visible wires). Just have your builder run a good number of appropriately located power outlets and you're set. You could even have recessed wall cutouts build so that the speakers can be put in flush and/or covered with a material that won't dampen the sound.

The cost of a 5.1 is less than $2,000, so likely less than you'd pay for the wiring and installation of an inferior in-wall speaker package.

Try showing your wife some catalogue pictures with the Sonos system. I really feel that something like is the way to go.

That's why I have a 5.1 setup in my home theater and separate in ceiling speakers in that room and other rooms for audio-only.
I have 6 zones (covering 8 rooms) and 3 inputs for the in-ceiling setup and anyone in the house can stream from their device to the room(s) they want.

Works great.

And, if I want, I could hook up a Sonos Connect to one of the inputs and take advantage of my amplifier and high quality in-ceiling speakers with the Sonos interface.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by edge » Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:52 pm

It works for the rear right and left.

I would not do in-ceiling for front r/l. You might get away with it for the front center, given it is positioned correctly and is a high quality unit.

You can do 'in-wall' for the fronts (must be high quality) or a high-end passive soundbar.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by Ozonewanderer » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:54 pm

Speakers that present the high frequency range of sound (tweeters) disperse sound less than 45 degrees off center axis. The sound becomes increasingly "muted" off that center because you lose the high frequencies. So you want the front speakers to be facing you, not shooting down from the ceiling.

It is generally accepted to have the rear surround speakers ceiling mounted because 1) they are over your head and you are not far off their center axis, and 2) the rear surround speakers primarily carry ambient sound to give the listener a 3D perception (like helicopters flying around your head). The front speakers transmit the voice dialogue which is often difficult to understand in the best of circumstances so you want the tweeters to be facing right at you. In fact, aim (toe-in) your front speakers at your head.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by scooterdog » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:22 pm

For our modest living room setup, several years ago went with all-mounted Energy Take 5 Classic speakers.

A year ago replaced the set of five (L/R/C/rears) with Polk Audio in-wall units.

Very high WAF, sound much, much better.

Basement we have a projector system, the rear L/R is mounted in-ceiling due to the large size of the space. It isn't ideal but speakers on stands are just not feasible.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by vesalius » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:15 pm

Depends on what you are willing to spend. You can get a very nice all ceiling setup in 5.1 or more.

I think Triads are outstanding in build quality and sound. They are not cheap though.Triad Speakers

I loved the KEF inwall and inceiling home theater speaker I heard as well. Also not cheap. KEF THX Extreme Home Theatre

Golden Ear inceiling speakers are very well thought of and would make a great sounding HT. Middle ground pricing. GoldenEar Invisa Series

Then there is speakercraft. Speakercraft

Lastly, some one has already mentioned Outdoor speaker depot and they also make angled speakers that can directionally aim the higher frequencies to the listening positions. Outdoor Speaker depot I use these and a an inexpensive Denon receiver to put together a game room area with a large TV in a 7.2 speaker array. The subwoofers are on the floor though. Ithink it sounds great and it's nearly invisible. Will go way louder than I can stand and is very dynamic when my kids play xbox or we watch movies.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by rralex1 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:49 pm

Hi go blue, you're in a great position to design ahead of time. Yes, if you are on AVS and you ask this question you will get much better advice over all than on bogleheads. No dig on BH obviously but I wouldn't go to AVS for financial advice either. AVS as well as other sites helped me design two different rooms in the home, one fully dedicated, as well as our whole home audio configuration. It is more than a hobby...kind of an addiction..

As for front overhead-in ceiling speakers, imagine you speaking to the person in front of you about 12 feet away and hearing their reply from overhead... you will hear them of course but....really? In wall perhaps if required by WAF but even that is a trade off. If you are taking the time and expense to design a hard wired audio/video system, front-in the ceiling overheads are not recommended.. but you will hear the audio..

You may also consider getting in touch with a company specializing in Audio/Video in your area. AVS can also help recommend that (not a Best Buy) and continue research. The system that you use to power your audio and video should also be designed to fit your needs as well. Most do not spec 5.1 any more but can provide it within 7.1 or 9.1 configurations. Wiring ahead of time will allow you to think beyond 5.1 as well. Running the wires ahead of time is a one time shot.. PS Cat6 will negate some if not most of the recommendations given, Cat6 greatly restricts options, and the builders audio guy may have recommended ceiling speakers because the wire runs are generally easier.. ultimately they will do what you want..You are the buyer. Have fun!
Last edited by rralex1 on Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:30 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: thoughts on in-ceiling speakers?

Post by czeckers » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:57 pm

We have in-ceiling speakers throughout the house. Don't use them very much. For TV watching the sound feels like it is coming from the ceilings and not from the action on screen.

Wireless speakers are more flexible.

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