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In-ceiling speaker enclosure

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
How necessary are the in-ceiling enclosures?? I plan on getting speakercraft AIM8 three for front right and front left, AIM3 three LCR for center, and AIM7 three for rears. The only enclosures I could find were the ones from speakercraft for like 120 bucks each. Are there cheaper enclosures out there? Do I really need an inclosure?
post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 
Surely some people will have a response...
post #3 of 20
post #4 of 20
We specifically recommend the DynaBox http://dynamat.com/products_architectural_dynabox.html to our clients. I highly recommend the product, it's well worth the expense when not purchasing an enclosed back speaker to begin with.
post #5 of 20
Specifically, for Speakercraft speakers. I believe the only enclosures they offer are for NEW construction installations......nothing for retrofit, correct? Not a Speakercraft dealer here obviously.

Here is an alternative to Speakercraft. Look into Triad Speakers Conextion line
http://www.triadspeakers.com/conextion/conextion.html#
post #6 of 20
This thread is worth reviving.

It seems that a lot of money is spent on in-ceiling and in-wall speakers yet there appears to be no strong consensus on whether it makes sense to build enclosures for them.

One of the above postings refers to the following technical article:
http://www.cepro.com/article/how_to_...peaker_systems

This article points that out that wall cavities are extremely leaky. This can be even more true of ceiling speakers. Yet, wouldn't in-wall / in-ceiling speakers be engineered with this in mind? It seems that whatever enclosure you build around such a speaker (even $100 dynamats!) would be too small for such a speaker.

Has anyone really demonstrated that it helps to build speaker enclosures around in-wall or in-ceiling speakers?

Note: My in-ceiling speakers will have an attic above them from where I can install any enclosure that I like. If an enclosure would really help, why not simply use a large styrofoam box with or without a plywood bottom and with or without insulation inside?
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobPond View Post

This thread is worth reviving.

It seems that a lot of money is spent on in-ceiling and in-wall speakers yet there appears to be no strong consensus on whether it makes sense to build enclosures for them.

One of the above postings refers to the following technical article:
http://www.cepro.com/article/how_to_...peaker_systems

This article points that out that wall cavities are extremely leaky. This can be even more true of ceiling speakers. Yet, wouldn't in-wall / in-ceiling speakers be engineered with this in mind? It seems that whatever enclosure you build around such a speaker (even $100 dynamats!) would be too small for such a speaker.

Has anyone really demonstrated that it helps to build speaker enclosures around in-wall or in-ceiling speakers?

Note: My in-ceiling speakers will have an attic above them from where I can install any enclosure that I like. If an enclosure would really help, why not simply use a large styrofoam box with or without a plywood bottom and with or without insulation inside?

To avoid most of the problems with in-ceiling/wall speakers, you can surround them with large amount of sound suppressing material (the same sort used in acoustic panels). If you use enough of it to almost completely absorb sound waves in surrounding cavity, the only thing you will have to worry is vibration.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobPond View Post

This thread is worth reviving.

It seems that a lot of money is spent on in-ceiling and in-wall speakers yet there appears to be no strong consensus on whether it makes sense to build enclosures for them.

One of the above postings refers to the following technical article:
http://www.cepro.com/article/how_to_...peaker_systems

This article points that out that wall cavities are extremely leaky. This can be even more true of ceiling speakers. Yet, wouldn't in-wall / in-ceiling speakers be engineered with this in mind? It seems that whatever enclosure you build around such a speaker (even $100 dynamats!) would be too small for such a speaker.

Has anyone really demonstrated that it helps to build speaker enclosures around in-wall or in-ceiling speakers?

Note: My in-ceiling speakers will have an attic above them from where I can install any enclosure that I like. If an enclosure would really help, why not simply use a large styrofoam box with or without a plywood bottom and with or without insulation inside?

Bob, I think the biggest challenge with open baffle is there is simply no way to engineer an open baffle for each and every room. There are too many unknowns with regards to the wall itself, such as, taller or shorter walls (did they build the open baffle to accommodate 7' ceilings, 8', 10', etc?) What about walls or ceilings that have ductwork, pipes, etc running through them? How much insulation is factored in for the open baffle design, and for what R value? As the article mentions you also have speaker bleedthrough to the tune of 20db. For some people this may be a concern if you have a room beside or above the area where the open baffle speaker is installed.

For me it makes commonsense to have an engineered enclosure as many of us simply do not know what is buried in our walls and how it may interact with our speakers. As the author of the article researched, gypsum board makes a poor speaker box.

Based on my own personal experience with in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, I have found that the best sounding speakers had engineered enclosures. With my favorites being from Triad, Atlantic Technology, and RBH. The engineered enclosures are designed to a specific volume based on the components and are usually made with the same material that they would build a cabinet speaker with.

This is not to say that open baffle speakers sound bad. I have heard many that sound quite good, but, to me, enclosed speakers are preferred. That said, they tend to cost more
post #9 of 20
Thanks for these replies. For many if not most of those of us who buy in-wall or in- ceiling speakers (I myself bought two pairs of the popular Polk RC80i's - see http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-RC8.../dp/B00006BMQT ) the question remains whether we can improve the performance of these open baffle speakers by building some sort of enclosure behind the wall or ceiling. Apparently, the Dynamat folks are persuading a number of people that it is worthwhile for them to spend $100 per speaker for such enclosures (presumably the vendors of these enclosures promise improved performance regardless of whether the speakers were engineered for enclosures of this size, etc...). If an enclosure will help even for "open baffle speakers" then why not use a cheap styrofoam cooler. I could order a 45 quart one from Lowes for $13 that fits in the space above my ceilings ( which I have access to). Will it be worthwhile for me to install such enclosures? Should I put any fiberglass insulation in? What does the theory suggest?
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobPond View Post

Thanks for these replies. For many if not most of those of us who buy in-wall or in- ceiling speakers (I myself bought two pairs of the popular Polk RC80i's - see http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-RC8.../dp/B00006BMQT ) the question remains whether we can improve the performance of these open baffle speakers by building some sort of enclosure behind the wall or ceiling. Apparently, the Dynamat folks are persuading a number of people that it is worthwhile for them to spend $100 per speaker for such enclosures (presumably the vendors of these enclosures promise improved performance regardless of whether the speakers were engineered for enclosures of this size, etc...). If an enclosure will help even for "open baffle speakers" then why not use a cheap styrofoam cooler. I could order a 45 quart one from Lowes for $13 that fits in the space above my ceilings ( which I have access to). Will it be worthwhile for me to install such enclosures? Should I put any fiberglass insulation in? What does the theory suggest?

Bob, I honestly do not know how styrofoam would sound, but I think you have to ask the question if you have ever seen a speaker cabinet built out of styrofoam before? If it was me, I would do this:
- Call or email Polk Audio and find out what volume the boxes should be built to support. If you build the box too big or small, it could negatively impact sound.
- I would personally build the box out of 3/4 MDF. It is relatively cheap and has been used for a very long time in the building of speaker boxes. If you buy the wood at Lowes or Home Depot they will usually cut the pieces for you to the exact dimensions in the store.
- I would use some acoustic caulk after the box has been built on all the outside edges to ensure a good seal and no air leakage. I would also polyfill instead of insulation inside the box and start with about half fill.

I also think you have to consider the application. If these are inceiling speakers that are open baffle and being used for surround sound music played at moderate to lows levels? I think building boxes is probably overkill. If this is for a dedicated media room where you might play fairly loud and want the best sound? It might make sense to build the boxes as suggested, or just save up for a speaker with an engineered enclosure designed by the manufacturer.
post #11 of 20
Thanks again for the replies. Here is what I have gathered so far from these comments and from what has been posted elsewhere on the web. I hope that you and others can correct, elaborate on and add to any of these points:
1. Hi fidelity speaker drivers are engineered to perform well with speaker enclosures of specific size and other characteristics;
2. The majority of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers on the market are sold without enclosures;
3. This is not to say that these inexpensive in-wall and in-ceiling speakers (e.g. $120 for a pair of Polk RC80i's) are necessarily designed to be completely "open baffle". They might perform best without any enclosure at all (e.g. when placed in a ceiling that has an attic above without any insulation covering the speakers). Or they might be designed to perform best when placed in a compartment of a specific size (e.g. the space in an 8 foot tall wall cavity created by 2x4 studs 16 inches apart). Remarkably, the speaker manufacturer does not specify the type of space in which they perform best. I will, as you suggest, send them an email but I would be surprised if they have a definitive answer to this question;
4. Some manufacturers market in-wall or in-ceiling speaker enclosures (e.g. Dynamat). Remarkably, these manufacturers also do not seem to specify the types of speakers for which these enclosures perform well;
5. This muddled situation persists because most people are happy with what an audiophile would call medium to low audio quality;
6. It is probably overkill to build proper speaker cabinets for such mid-to-low quality speakers and the speaker cabinets may not even be the right size for such speakers;
7. There is still the possibility, however, that the performance of a typical, inexpensive in-wall or in-ceiling speaker might be optimized by using simple techniques such as a) "you can surround them with large amount of sound suppressing material (the same sort used in acoustic panels) [see above comment]"; or b) placing a sheet of plywood over the ceiling joists when the speakers are placed beneath an open attic; or (who knows?) c) creating a large enclosure for $13 by placing a styrofoam cooler over them. The goal of such modifications would be to optimize performance of affordable speakers at minimal cost and with minimal effort. The goal would not be to transform them into hi-fidelity speakers. Optimizing the performance of typical, non-hi-fi in-wall and in-ceiling speakers is still an important goal, however, given the very large numbers of such speakers that are sold including for expensive home theater and whole house audio systems.

Any thoughts on the above? Thanks.
post #12 of 20
I too have been down this similar path with an unsatisfactory amount of information as a result. I'll probably end up giving the Axiom in walls a shot via a local listen and see if those suit my needs. I'd love to check out all the options over open backed from reputable companies but the logic behind a structured box resonates (pardon the pun) strongly with me, especially because my project will not be new construction. But yes, I'd love to hear more options and thought there would be a somewhat dedicated thread here, but if there is, I have yet to locate it.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobPond View Post

Thanks again for the replies. Here is what I have gathered so far from these comments and from what has been posted elsewhere on the web. I hope that you and others can correct, elaborate on and add to any of these points:
1. Hi fidelity speaker drivers are engineered to perform well with speaker enclosures of specific size and other characteristics;
2. The majority of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers on the market are sold without enclosures;
3. This is not to say that these inexpensive in-wall and in-ceiling speakers (e.g. $120 for a pair of Polk RC80i's) are necessarily designed to be completely "open baffle". They might perform best without any enclosure at all (e.g. when placed in a ceiling that has an attic above without any insulation covering the speakers). Or they might be designed to perform best when placed in a compartment of a specific size (e.g. the space in an 8 foot tall wall cavity created by 2x4 studs 16 inches apart). Remarkably, the speaker manufacturer does not specify the type of space in which they perform best. I will, as you suggest, send them an email but I would be surprised if they have a definitive answer to this question;
4. Some manufacturers market in-wall or in-ceiling speaker enclosures (e.g. Dynamat). Remarkably, these manufacturers also do not seem to specify the types of speakers for which these enclosures perform well;
5. This muddled situation persists because most people are happy with what an audiophile would call medium to low audio quality;
6. It is probably overkill to build proper speaker cabinets for such mid-to-low quality speakers and the speaker cabinets may not even be the right size for such speakers;
7. There is still the possibility, however, that the performance of a typical, inexpensive in-wall or in-ceiling speaker might be optimized by using simple techniques such as a) "you can surround them with large amount of sound suppressing material (the same sort used in acoustic panels) [see above comment]"; or b) placing a sheet of plywood over the ceiling joists when the speakers are placed beneath an open attic; or (who knows?) c) creating a large enclosure for $13 by placing a styrofoam cooler over them. The goal of such modifications would be to optimize performance of affordable speakers at minimal cost and with minimal effort. The goal would not be to transform them into hi-fidelity speakers. Optimizing the performance of typical, non-hi-fi in-wall and in-ceiling speakers is still an important goal, however, given the very large numbers of such speakers that are sold including for expensive home theater and whole house audio systems.

Any thoughts on the above? Thanks.

Bob,

Ok you convinced me that I need to do something as well. I share your thoughts about this apparent gaping hole in the audio experience, i.e. baffles for in-ceiling and in-wall speakers.

I just bought and installed 4 RC80i's. Two are my surrounds and two are my front 'highs'. I had access to the ceiling above the room in which they are installed. I cut the holes between joists which are 10" apart. That left about an inch clearance between joists on each side of the speaker. I bought 4 Styrofoam coolers at Walmart, moved the blown in insulation carefully out of the way, and placed them over each speaker being careful to run the speaker wire. I then placed a 5lb weight on the light cooler to hold it down tight against the ceiling. I then re-ran MCACC calibration on my Pioneer VSX-1121 amp.

I think it sounds better, but an A/B comparison is rather hard to accomplish. In the long term the coolers keep the dust and insulation off the back of the speakers. That has to be a good thing. Overall, I cannot see any downside to doing this.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by billt1111 View Post

Bob,

Ok you convinced me that I need to do something as well. I share your thoughts about this apparent gaping hole in the audio experience, i.e. baffles for in-ceiling and in-wall speakers.

I just bought and installed 4 RC80i's. Two are my surrounds and two are my front 'highs'. I had access to the ceiling above the room in which they are installed. I cut the holes between joists which are 10" apart. That left about an inch clearance between joists on each side of the speaker. I bought 4 Styrofoam coolers at Walmart, moved the blown in insulation carefully out of the way, and placed them over each speaker being careful to run the speaker wire. I then placed a 5lb weight on the light cooler to hold it down tight against the ceiling. I then re-ran MCACC calibration on my Pioneer VSX-1121 amp.

I think it sounds better, but an A/B comparison is rather hard to accomplish. In the long term the coolers keep the dust and insulation off the back of the speakers. That has to be a good thing. Overall, I cannot see any downside to doing this.

Bob,

I'm unclear on where you installed your speakers - were they in the ceiling or walls? If walls, were they exterior walls? I'm worried that you no longer have insulation behind the speaker preventing heat and cooling loss. More importantly, did you repair/restructure the vapor barrier behind the speakers?
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout's staff View Post

Bob,

I'm unclear on where you installed your speakers - were they in the ceiling or walls? If walls, were they exterior walls? I'm worried that you no longer have insulation behind the speaker preventing heat and cooling loss. More importantly, did you repair/restructure the vapor barrier behind the speakers?

They are in the ceiling, hence the ease in adding coolers as a baffle. I never had the blown in insulation contacting the back of my Polk ceiling speaker cones. However once the coolers were in place over the back of the speaker I rearranged the blown in insulation around the cooler.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by billt1111 View Post

They are in the ceiling, hence the ease in adding coolers as a baffle. I never had the blown in insulation contacting the back of my Polk ceiling speaker cones. However once the coolers were in place over the back of the speaker I rearranged the blown in insulation around the cooler.

Thanks - didn't want you to have structure issues later due to moisture. I too have in-walls and in-ceiling speakers. I went with Dynaboxes for the in-ceiling speakers to control exterior sound in the scuttle area and hopefully provide a more focused/fuller bass sound from the speakers. I'm happy with them, but I never listened to them without the Dynaboxes to see a difference.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout's staff View Post

Thanks - didn't want you to have structure issues later due to moisture. I too have in-walls and in-ceiling speakers. I went with Dynaboxes for the in-ceiling speakers to control exterior sound in the scuttle area and hopefully provide a more focused/fuller bass sound from the speakers. I'm happy with them, but I never listened to them without the Dynaboxes to see a difference.

I guess that is the point of this thread. The Dynaboxes I see on ebay are $122 each! I am positive that they are fine additions to the system. I spent $2.99 for a weighted down Styrofoam cooler on a ceiling speaker. The question is whether there is a difference discernible to a listener?
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by billt1111 View Post

I guess that is the point of this thread. The Dynaboxes I see on ebay are $122 each! I am positive that they are fine additions to the system. I spent $2.99 for a weighted down Styrofoam cooler on a ceiling speaker. The question is whether there is a difference discernible to a listener?

There probably isnt, but I do like the idea of the speaker back being covered and more protected. I have been thinking about how I was going to do that myself as I have four pairs of these Polks to install in various ares of my house and am wondering how to keep the insulation off of them.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben_r_ View Post

There probably isnt, but I do like the idea of the speaker back being covered and more protected. I have been thinking about how I was going to do that myself as I have four pairs of these Polks to install in various ares of my house and am wondering how to keep the insulation off of them.

Don't forget lots of pink insulation in the cooler and a weight on top of the cooler to keep air leaks to a minimum. I did another mcacc speaker cal after finishing the 'project' and the DIY baffle changed the settings by about 2 db per speaker.
post #20 of 20
I could use some more bass in my ceiling speakers.
Did you get more bass with enclosures?
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