in-ceiling speakers advice (inexpensive or expensive?) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-03-2012, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok guys and gals...

I'm looking for an unbiased and honest opinion/answer to this question.

What am I really paying for when choosing something like Paradigm vs something like Monoprice?

Is it warranty?

Is it more quality components? If so, how much more quality are they? If so, are they worth $200-1000 more per speaker?

I'm obviously not an audiophile by any means but I do want quality sound. Will I really hear the difference...really?


Thanks for your opinions all.
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-03-2012, 12:36 PM
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http://www.cepro.com/article/how_to_prevent_audio_loss_with_in_wall_speaker_systems/D1/

Lombardi said it:
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

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post #3 of 11 Old 09-03-2012, 03:44 PM
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This article is very accurate in the real world. I have first hand experience with enclosed speakers and open baffle speakers, and if you care about audio quality and bleed over into other rooms, buy an enclosed speaker.

What is the size of your room OP, and what is your budget?
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-03-2012, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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the media room is in an open basement the media viweing area is 24' long 15' wide. The bar area is to the left and is 15' x 15'.


Budget is somewhat flexible...the speaker will be in-ceiling (boxed-in joists). So, regardless of whether that's the best option or not...that's the way I did it for a clean look. The major application will be movies, TV, and gaming

With that said, again, what are you really getting from a Paradigm class speaker vs the value priced monoprice option?
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-03-2012, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffdogg View Post

the media room is in an open basement the media viweing area is 24' long 15' wide. The bar area is to the left and is 15' x 15'.
Budget is somewhat flexible...the speaker will be in-ceiling (boxed-in joists). So, regardless of whether that's the best option or not...that's the way I did it for a clean look. The major application will be movies, TV, and gaming
With that said, again, what are you really getting from a Paradigm class speaker vs the value priced monoprice option?

When selecting in-ceiling speakers in a basement that are used for home theater, there are some speaker design characteristics to look for. Consider that most in-ceiling speakers will be directing the sound from the woofer (and often the tweeter) downward, you end up missing many of those audio dynamics and you get poor imaging from the main seating position. Often the sound sounds like it is coming from above you instead of at you from the front. Some speaker companies offer angled woofers of around 15-20 degrees and pivoting tweeters, but in my experience, it is still lacking. I recommend looking at in-ceiling speakers that have a 45 degree angle or better. This typically gives you much better sound quality and much better imaging. Accounting for the article Craig referenced above, you also want an in-ceiling speaker that has an enclosure. It is much easier to buy a speaker with an engineered enclosure as the manufacturer has determine the correct volume that the enclosure needs to be, the enclosure is properly sealed and constructed, and it is easier to install.

Some examples of speakers that meet the above design attributes would be:
http://www.definitivetech.com/Products/products.aspx?path=In-wall/In-Ceiling_Speakers&productid=UIW_RCS_III
http://www.episodespeakers.com/product/49/Episode-700-Series-Home-Theater-In-Ceiling-LCR-Speaker
http://www.triadspeakers.com/products/icb8lcr.html
http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/Speakers/Custom_Installation/CI_Series/CCM7.3.html
http://totemacoustic.com/en/hi-fi/in-wall-in-ceiling/tribe-in-ceiling/?series=in-wall-in-ceiling-series

The Definitive's will typically run you about $1000-1200 for three, the other companies will be higher. Triad being what I consider to be the best of the above.

I would focus most of my speaker budget on those three main speakers and then spend less on the surrounds. Some companies will sell you a separate enclosure for their in-ceiling speakers, but you are most likely still going to have to deal with poor imaging from lack of enough angle on the woofer and tweeter.

If there is a chance to demo the above near you, I would encourage it. Compare with your ears smile.gif

As far as what sets more expensive speakers apart from cheaper speakers it is mainly the quality of the components (woofer, tweeter, crossover, enclosure, etc). Most cheaper in-ceiling speakers will not have an enclosure and will be open baffle. They will not have a well designed design to accommodate for proper imaging (meaning the woofer/tweeter may not offer little, if any angling to direct sound).

It comes down to what trade-offs you are willing to make based on your budget and whether or not you care if sound bleeds into upper rooms or if it bothers you with some audio quality trade-offs.

No matter what you will want a decent dedicated subwoofer since many in-ceiling speakers lack bass, and well, you want one regardless for home theater since most movies are mixed taking into account you will be using a dedicated subwoofer.
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-04-2012, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

When selecting in-ceiling speakers in a basement that are used for home theater, there are some speaker design characteristics to look for. Consider that most in-ceiling speakers will be directing the sound from the woofer (and often the tweeter) downward, you end up missing many of those audio dynamics and you get poor imaging from the main seating position. Often the sound sounds like it is coming from above you instead of at you from the front. Some speaker companies offer angled woofers of around 15-20 degrees and pivoting tweeters, but in my experience, it is still lacking. I recommend looking at in-ceiling speakers that have a 45 degree angle or better. This typically gives you much better sound quality and much better imaging. Accounting for the article Craig referenced above, you also want an in-ceiling speaker that has an enclosure. It is much easier to buy a speaker with an engineered enclosure as the manufacturer has determine the correct volume that the enclosure needs to be, the enclosure is properly sealed and constructed, and it is easier to install.
Some examples of speakers that meet the above design attributes would be:
http://www.definitivetech.com/Products/products.aspx?path=In-wall/In-Ceiling_Speakers&productid=UIW_RCS_III
http://www.episodespeakers.com/product/49/Episode-700-Series-Home-Theater-In-Ceiling-LCR-Speaker
http://www.triadspeakers.com/products/icb8lcr.html
http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/Speakers/Custom_Installation/CI_Series/CCM7.3.html
http://totemacoustic.com/en/hi-fi/in-wall-in-ceiling/tribe-in-ceiling/?series=in-wall-in-ceiling-series
The Definitive's will typically run you about $1000-1200 for three, the other companies will be higher. Triad being what I consider to be the best of the above.
I would focus most of my speaker budget on those three main speakers and then spend less on the surrounds. Some companies will sell you a separate enclosure for their in-ceiling speakers, but you are most likely still going to have to deal with poor imaging from lack of enough angle on the woofer and tweeter.
If there is a chance to demo the above near you, I would encourage it. Compare with your ears smile.gif
As far as what sets more expensive speakers apart from cheaper speakers it is mainly the quality of the components (woofer, tweeter, crossover, enclosure, etc). Most cheaper in-ceiling speakers will not have an enclosure and will be open baffle. They will not have a well designed design to accommodate for proper imaging (meaning the woofer/tweeter may not offer little, if any angling to direct sound).
It comes down to what trade-offs you are willing to make based on your budget and whether or not you care if sound bleeds into upper rooms or if it bothers you with some audio quality trade-offs.
No matter what you will want a decent dedicated subwoofer since many in-ceiling speakers lack bass, and well, you want one regardless for home theater since most movies are mixed taking into account you will be using a dedicated subwoofer.

Excellent post! I agree that the Triad in-ceiling is the best. The entire driver array is angled to face towards the listener. Also, with the tweeter offset and the two midwoofers so close together, there should be no lobing as there would be in a standard MTM horizontal array:



To address the OP's question regarding the Paradigms vs. the Monoprice, I personally would not consider either of these companies' in-ceiling speakers, as they don't have integral enclosures. If in-walls are an option, Paradigm makes an in-wall speaker that uses a backbox. In fact Paradigm states this about their in-wall enclosure:
Quote:
Why a Backbox is an Integral Part of the In-Wall Design?

Installing the high-end SA-LCR 3 into its backbox serves a number of purposes:

• Required support for the speaker mounting frame and baffle assembly;

• In concert with the IMS/SHOCK-MOUNT™ system removes opportunity for unwanted resonances or standing waves to color output;

• Ensures optimum volume—improving overall sound quality, promoting deep, clear and concise bass response while helping to reduce distortion to inaudible levels;

• Reduces acoustic bleed-through to adjacent rooms.
http://www.paradigm.com/products/products-by-category/in-wall-in-ceiling/paradigm-reference/sa-series/sa-lcr-3

So... Paradigm *knows* this, yet none of their other architectural speakers use a backbox??? I don't get it. rolleyes.gif

Craig

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post #7 of 11 Old 09-04-2012, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

To address the OP's question regarding the Paradigms vs. the Monoprice, I personally would not consider either of these companies' in-ceiling speakers, as they don't have integral enclosures. If in-walls are an option, Paradigm makes an in-wall speaker that uses a backbox. In fact Paradigm states this about their in-wall enclosure:
http://www.paradigm.com/products/products-by-category/in-wall-in-ceiling/paradigm-reference/sa-series/sa-lcr-3
So... Paradigm *knows* this, yet none of their other architectural speakers use a backbox??? I don't get it. rolleyes.gif
Craig

Craig,

I asked the same exact question to an RBH (another solid speaker company) employee and he stated the same thing, that backboxes and enclosed speakers are clearly superior in audio quality and that the reason many companies only sell open baffle with, if your lucky a backbox option, is due to cost.

I also think there is not enough education out there and consumers are simply not demanding it, so speaker manufacturers just sell them without the backbox and it puts more money in their pocket.
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-04-2012, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Craig,
I asked the same exact question to an RBH (another solid speaker company) employee and he stated the same thing, that backboxes and enclosed speakers are clearly superior in audio quality and that the reason many companies only sell open baffle with, if your lucky a backbox option, is due to cost.
I also think there is not enough education out there and consumers are simply not demanding it, so speaker manufacturers just sell them without the backbox and it puts more money in their pocket.
Most in-ceiling speakers are used in distributed audio systems that are used for background music at limited volumes. In that application an unenclosed in-ceiling is probably fine if there are no concerns about bleed-through to adjacent spaces. For SQ at lower volumes they're fine. However, for HT applications, where dynamics and higher volumes come into play, in-ceilings are very limiting for multiple reasons, as depicted by the article I linked. In addition, the overhead imaging can result in "The Voice Of GOD" syndrome. I would never use in-ceilings for an HT application unless all other alignments had been ruled out. Then, I would only use the Triad in-ceilings or something similar. I suspect you feel the same way.

Craig

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post #9 of 11 Old 09-04-2012, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Great info. Just what I needed.
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-04-2012, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Buffdogg View Post

Thanks guys. Great info. Just what I needed.

Let us know what you end up doing and report back. Cheers
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post #11 of 11 Old 09-04-2012, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Let us know what you end up doing and report back. Cheers
Agreed, and good luck with whatever path you end up taking. smile.gif

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