Why do people hate in-wall speakers so much? (they should not) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Why do people hate in-wall speakers so much? (they should not)

I think this is one of the worst and most ignorant things I see on the forums.

Acoustically speaking in wall speakers, and speakers mounted flush with a wall have a lot of acoustical benefits, and they are also easy to hide or make look great, and also help save precious space in the room.

I don't have the time or inclination to try to comment or correct everything I read that is totally wrong about in wall speakers, but it's sad that the myths and dogma continues to be spread by so many ignorant posters.

ok.

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post #2 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 12:26 PM
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I like my In-Wall speakers (Klipsch KL-7800-THX/ KS-7800-THX).

I love the practicality/ small form factor... They helped me fit my 'bar' row into the theater room, while using an AT Screen. I sound proofed my room, so, they are mounted on the Front Wall and inside my 4 1/2" deep columns. It definitely let me get the most out of my square footage.

I think they sound good, but I am certainly not an Audiophile.
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post #3 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 12:32 PM
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Whew! I'm glad this post came to fruitation lol. I just pulled the trigger on a bunch-o- Polk Audio in walls and in ceilings for my build. Big question now to start this off.... If you have access to your studs/ rafters, how do you predict the size of a backer box for each to maximize good sound? I realize standard depth is given ( 3 1/2" ) for most walls. Do you model a backer box to the length / width of similar " on walls" ? Hope this creates some new fire here. Thanks for this thread start Mfusick.
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post #4 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 12:48 PM
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Maybe this opinion comes from people's experience with older in wall speakers. I know I use to hold this same opinion. Within the last four years that opinion has changed.

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post #5 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Maybe this opinion comes from people's experience with older in wall speakers. I know I use to hold this same opinion. Within the last four years that opinion has changed.
Yeah I certainly think that like with any other kind of speaker there is high end and low end in walls and that perhaps most of the opinions are formed off the low end ones.

High end ones can be all kinds of awesome, and most of the time speakers are about application so if an in wall speaker with a great design fits an application very well there is little to fear about using it.

I'm certainly not trying to suggest that all in wall speakers are awesome, or appropriate either. Just simply the idea that some of them could be sometimes.
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post #6 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 01:19 PM
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post #7 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 01:30 PM
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Cool

No hate here!

Have always been very old school with boxes on the floor, but when I built my dedicated theater I had some space constraints that made it difficult to bring my screen off the front wall. The plan was originally to build a false wall, but after realizing the screen would be in the laps of whoever was sitting in the front row, I decided to go into the wall. I went with three MartinLogan Edge speakers behind the screen, and haven't looked back. In fact in some ways I prefer them to the towers that are upstairs.

The hard part, is that not all of the Dealers out there are demoing the in-wall stuff. As consumers, we sometimes have to take a leap of faith when buying in-walls, with little idea of what they are going to sound like until we cut holes in our walls. Reviewers rarely review them, because of the fact that it takes a lot of work to get them set up for a critical review. When we cant listen to a product we often depend on reviews to help us make decisions.

So on the enthusiast side of things, we have some major drawbacks to in-walls:
-Old School mentality.
-Lack of audition-ability.
-No reviews to guide us.

As a result, Many of the buyers are non-enthusiasts that work with the Dealers and trust their expertise. They are having all the fun, and because they aren't hobbyists, we don't hear about it, so we just stick with what we know.

Anyways, i'm a believer
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post #8 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 01:34 PM
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Most in-walls are a solution to low grade audio with a seamless design. I don't trust an infinite baffle design, as each application for installation will be different and few fully open. That probably throws out 90+% of in-walls, so I understand the reluctance to move to an in-wall setup, especially for the mains.

Many of the dedicated rooms are also using speakers with much more capability than what could fit in a normal sized wall cavity.
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post #9 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 02:03 PM
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There are still hundreds of misconceptions floating around the internet:

AT screens look like crap, ported boxes are boomy and sealed boxes are more musical, Receiver a is warm and inviting while receiver B is cold and clinical, speaker wire A provides more airy music, and a slew of other misnomers.

The message boards can spread poor information just as fast as good.

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post #10 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scraejtp View Post
Most in-walls are a solution to low grade audio with a seamless design. I don't trust an infinite baffle design, as each application for installation will be differentT and few fully open. That probably throws out 90+% of in-walls, so I understand the reluctance to move to an in-wall setup, especially for the mains.

Many of the dedicated rooms are also using speakers with much more capability than what could fit in a normal sized wall cavity.
There are many in walls with back boxes which have the same specs as their boxed brethren. They are more money, but you get what you pay for.
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post #11 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 03:07 PM
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There are many in walls with back boxes which have the same specs as their boxed brethren. They are more money, but you get what you pay for.
I know, I own some and utilize them in my media room.

With the DIY crowd here I would hope to see some custom boxes fitted inside the framing of some high end rooms.
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post #12 of 55 Unread 01-22-2016, 10:18 PM
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My surrounds are Episode 500's and they sound great. The nice thing is the small foot print in a small theater.
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post #13 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 03:34 AM
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Instead of thinking of them as in wall think of them as speakers mounted in an extensive baffle wall system.
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post #14 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 04:07 AM
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Nothing wrong with in wall speakers at all.

I think one of the issues that prevent installing in wall is that there is no room for error in placement.
Most installs I have seen ignore a 30 deg angle and if they did and the seating was moved back or forward then the 30 deg would be void.
They cant be positioned as per the ITU spec (in an arc) where free standing speakers have flexibility of positioning.

Where in wall gain of course is with SBIR which is a big advantage and a very clean look to a theatre.
So it is a matter of personal taste and how OCD you are on positioning as per the sound engineers layout.
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post #15 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scraejtp View Post
I know, I own some and utilize them in my media room.

With the DIY crowd here I would hope to see some custom boxes fitted inside the framing of some high end rooms.
I don't have a high end room by any stretch of the imagination but I am currently finishing up another speaker upgrade where I am doing something similar. I have a fairly narrow room at 10' 8", and I upgraded to (8) Volt 10's to match my SEOS15's. In order to fit them in my narrow columns I had to build custom boxes that I inset into my side and back wall.

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post #16 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 10:13 AM
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Normal speakers that are just designed to be in a wall are often quite decent, no worse than speakers not designed for being in a wall. But then there's the ones that are designed for a local café that have no enclosure and sound s***. We hate the s*** speakers. Not an entire category of speakers in which there are good speakers. I however, shy away from speakers that can't be angled, that just happens to be in-wall speakers. Not because they suck but because I want my angles right so that the entire seating arrangement has a good sound.
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post #17 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 10:36 AM
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So I'm really new to this hobby so I cant speak to the audio differences, but I like the way (many) speakers look. Some audio equipment really is visual art. When you stick a speaker in a wall, you remove a potential aesthetic benefit. I think it'll be interesting to see if the in-wall speakers take off as the median property values in populated areas continue to go up and the median income doesn't (to the same degree). Expensive audio systems really are a luxury to most, but a mid-range in wall system may be more affordable than another fifteen square feet of real estate. I think a lot of people will choose to go that way in the future.
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post #18 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 11:04 AM
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To be really clear, your inwall speakers should also have back boxes. Whether fabricated by the manufacturer or DIY'ed.
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post #19 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 04:45 PM
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To be really clear, your inwall speakers should also have back boxes. Whether fabricated by the manufacturer or DIY'ed.
Depends. My Volts for Atmos won't as they are designed around an IB setup.

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post #20 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 05:28 PM
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To be really clear, your inwall speakers should also have back boxes. Whether fabricated by the manufacturer or DIY'ed.
Depends. My Volts for Atmos won't as they are designed around an IB setup.
First, why would you need an IB for an Atmos speaker? Second, if you are sound isolating, an IB setup is difficult to manage.
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post #21 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 05:37 PM
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They are expensive but the Aerial 7LCR in wall/or on wall speakers are the best I ever heard. Cost however is $4500 ea.
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post #22 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 11:04 PM
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First, why would you need an IB for an Atmos speaker? Second, if you are sound isolating, an IB setup is difficult to manage.
Why wouldn't I? The volt 10 performs admirably in an ib setup when crossed at 80hz. I have a 2 tiered sofit and this allowed me to not have a speaker box hanging from the ceiling, while also not having to sacrifice sound containment.
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post #23 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bass addict View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraMikeBravo View Post
First, why would you need an IB for an Atmos speaker? Second, if you are sound isolating, an IB setup is difficult to manage.
Why wouldn't I? The volt 10 performs admirably in an ib setup when crossed at 80hz. I have a 2 tiered sofit and this allowed me to not have a speaker box hanging from the ceiling, while also not having to sacrifice sound containment.
Okie dokie. .
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post #24 of 55 Unread 01-23-2016, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraMikeBravo View Post
To be really clear, your inwall speakers should also have back boxes. Whether fabricated by the manufacturer or DIY'ed.

That's quite the definitive statement.


I have heard some Martin Logan Edge in-walls, which didn't have back boxes, sound phenomenal. It's my understanding that ML advocates creating a cavity of fiberglass insulation around each speaker. I can only assume the ones I heard were mounted this way, and they really did sound nice.


My biggest drawback with in-walls is the commitment. If they don't, for whatever reason, sound great where/how you have mounted them, you have a much bigger project looming in your future. Plus, as someone else pointed out, I like to tinker with angles from time to time. In-walls don't give me that luxury.


On-walls I haven't had much luck with. I recently purchased three Martin Logan SLM-XL on walls, and while they did sound VERY nice up top (I love that ribbon tweeter), they seriously lacked bass. I mean, to the point where your crossovers need to be set to ~120hz, which means your subs should be as nearby as possible and taking up more floor space than my overall better sounding CM9's....so what's the point then of mounting a bassless speaker on the wall if I just have to have a sub sitting underneath it? Besides that obvious drawback is HUGE disadvantage, to my ears, in that now you have a 4 inch driver lobing 2 passive radiators trying to reproduce similar frequencies just on the other side of the pass curve as my 500 watt sealed 12. Odd sounding would be an understatement. SVS SB2000's are pretty capable subs, but they sound a bit out of their element crossed that high...I shouldn't be hearing chicks singing out of my subs. I returned two of the SLM's, and am hanging onto the third because I do LOVE it as a center channel. Speech intelligibility is top notch, and being able to mount it right under my screen is a huge benefit as well.

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post #25 of 55 Unread 01-24-2016, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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IB speakers create a lot of potential problems for sound isolation.

Also an IB design should be designed as IB otherwise you run into anomolies too. Never use a speaker that's designed for something else,
Speakers are about application.
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post #26 of 55 Unread 01-24-2016, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrummingdude View Post
That's quite the definitive statement.


I have heard some Martin Logan Edge in-walls, which didn't have back boxes, sound phenomenal. It's my understanding that ML advocates creating a cavity of fiberglass insulation around each speaker. I can only assume the ones I heard were mounted this way, and they really did sound nice.
A lot of that statement I believe had to do with "containment". If you poke a one foot diameter hole in your drywall and put a speaker there with no backer box, then you will have soundproofing issues. If you are soundproofing a room, any hole you make should have putty, or caulk or a backer box or you will have sound leakage.
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post #27 of 55 Unread 01-24-2016, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrummingdude View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraMikeBravo View Post
To be really clear, your inwall speakers should also have back boxes. Whether fabricated by the manufacturer or DIY'ed.

That's quite the definitive statement.

Yep, and I stand by it. Something you learn after designing hundreds of theaters.
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post #28 of 55 Unread 01-25-2016, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damelon View Post
A lot of that statement I believe had to do with "containment". If you poke a one foot diameter hole in your drywall and put a speaker there with no backer box, then you will have soundproofing issues. If you are soundproofing a room, any hole you make should have putty, or caulk or a backer box or you will have sound leakage.
This is 100% true ^


Think about a motorcycle exhaust, that's a pretty small hole but there is a lot of noise that comes out of it!


(now taking to the community as a group, and not Damelon)


A serious and dedicated theater should be a quiet room, that is shielded from outside noise from entering. Ideally, the sound isolation works in the same way for the other direction, keeping the theater sound inside too.

If you do not have a quiet room then it's basically impossible to get a proper dynamic range or great sound quality. You won't hear the quiet passages of movies like when the actors are whispering, and then once you turn it up so you can hear and then a car explodes you will get yelled at by others in the home or startled.

This is all basic surface level issues I am talking about. There is little need to move much past this part in the debate, but if we wanted we could start to talk about some of the smaller issues too.

For example: A good speaker design considers performance in the intended application, and that includes small things like cabinet resonances, even internal reflections like the rear wave of a driver and what happens there, and a bunch of other small stuff that you can and should most certainly seek to control and can easily measure or observe. That is the difference between a professional level speaker design that includes a backer box, and someone who just mounts a speaker into a a hole in a wall and considers very little past how it looks.

A sealed speaker is sealed because the speaker design seeks to control the rear wave, and past sealing the enclosure up there is also internal bracing and damping/absorb material that also does special things to control the performance. It becomes very difficult to control the rear wave, the speaker performance, or the sound isolation of the room without a sealed type design or a speaker with an enclosure. A hollow cavity in a wall or into another room in your home could be wildy different in many circumstances and is almost certainly not as ideal as a professionally designed speaker that takes into account all the many factors that influence performance.

A speaker with an enclosure that is flush mounted into a wall is superior IMO because that design will lend itself well to many application and allow the control of many factors that influence performance. +

Keep in mind the entire point of putting a speaker into a baffle wall or flush mounting it into a boundary is to reduce and seek to control the negative interactions or effects that happen when sound waves travel backwards and behind the speaker, and ultimately reflect back towards MLP causing cancellation and sound quality problems. The point in a high end residential cinema is to achieve a maximum amount of performance and sound quality, and that is where the baffle wall idea originated. It's just simply convenient that can be achieved in a way that allows it to look great or hide the speakers at the same time.

Keep in mind that any sound wave who's size is larger than the size of the speaker's baffle (front face) will always have the ability to travel omnidirectional- or behind the speaker. What happens when that happens? That needs to be accounted for in an acoustic design if you want great performance. If the baffle of the speaker extends wall to wall and floor to ceiling then it can't happen, problem solved. If the speaker baffle is big enough that the area of concern is gone it's the same effect. But audible bass waves can easily be larger than even the largest rooms and their dimensions.

But if you take something like a baffle wall and the acoustic benefits that come with flush mounting a speaker into a wall and seek to exploit those benefits to your advantage by slapping a basic in wall or IB speaker into your wall that's foolish. You are exchanging one set of problems for another. In a high end residential cinema application there is much more to consider if you want to get it right. If done right, it can be better than speakers within the room. If done wrong, it might not.

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post #29 of 55 Unread 01-25-2016, 08:01 PM
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Good in walls we've been using: Martin Logan Stealth & Electro-Motion series, KEF Extreme Theater series (based off the R series driver platform).
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post #30 of 55 Unread 01-25-2016, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
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Depends. My Volts for Atmos won't as they are designed around an IB setup.
If you put them in an enclosure it will just reduce the LF extension. LF extension normally not a huge deal as you will be running an 80Hz XO most times.

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