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In Ceiling Speakers with Enclosures for Whole Home Audio System

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I am building a new home and plan to have a distributed sound system in all rooms. I am looking to install the best quality speakers that my budget will support, with enclosures sold by the speaker manufacturers to ensure the best sound.

I will have a total of 12 rooms (yeah it's a big house), with a total of 14 pair of speakers. I would like to spend up to $300/pair, if possible, including the enclosures. If there is a great speaker/enclosure combination that is a little more, ok, but as it is, this house is costing me more than expected, so I don't want to get too crazy on this. I plan to install a Nuvo Essentia system with an expander amplifier, that will power up to 12 rooms.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, as there doesn't appear to be a lot of high quality speakers in this price range with associated enclosures.
post #2 of 27

Your title states in ceiling.

 

Do as your called to do, that said....  here's my experience.

 

My neighbor has an approximatly 12K sq/ft home.  In their living room, the ceilings are probably 15' high.  It's a very nice home.  Heck, even some of the doors are something like 10 or 12 feet tall...

 

Regardless, I was over there one evening and his wife comes to me "hurry in here, you really need to hear our surround system"

 

To cut to the chase, it was (in my view) an epic fail.

 

They had all ceiling speakers, ceiling was something like 15' high.  Happened that the news was playing and it was like hearing God tell me the weather forecast for tomorrow...

 

Now, if you want "Muzak" or a Doctor's office type experience, there's nothing wrong with that at all.

 

If instead, you want more than just background noise filler, I personally, would go a different route.

 

Heck...  what if instead, you put a killer HT system in and if you are playing pool 10 rooms away, you can just turn it up??

 

I'm honestly not trying to be negative....  just want you to know one opinion.  I realize the "HT" that I heard might be nothing like you are attempting to build so discount my comments accordingly.

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your feedback on this. The ceiling height in my house will mostly be 10-12 feet. I don't know anything about your neighbor's system, but part of the problem may be the 15 foot ceilings.

We would like to enjoy music throughout our house, not just in the home theater, which will be on the second floor.

I have been researching this topic on the internet, and there seems to be a lot of people who have installed quality in ceiling speakers and are enjoying the experience.

I do know that it will be important to have enclosures behind the speakers, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of companies that sell speakers with enclosures.
post #4 of 27

There are many companies that sell enclosures or back boxes for their speakers.  Your budget is a little tight for many of the brands.  Paradigm, Episode, Proficient, and Speakercraft off the top of my head that would have models that fit your price range with back boxes.  There are many others too.

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Does anyone else have any suggestions for in ceiling speakers that come with enclosures? This is not an easy thing to find.
post #6 of 27

With enclosures or in the commercial world aka integrated back boxes or back cans: Triad, Episode, Deftech, Tannoy, JBL, TOA, Atlas Sound, QSC, Behringer and many more.  With separate back boxes/ cans the ones already mentioned here and in the previous post.  There are more companies that make separate back boxes/cans and some companies make both.  If you are doing new construction either will work fine and sometimes the separate enclosure (back box/can) are easier to install.  If you are doing retrofit construction and the ceiling is already installed the integrated enclosures are typically easier  to install.

 

 Many of the commercial models are for constant voltage speaker system like 25, 70 or 100 volt.  These speakers have 'Taps' that have to be selected or wired a certain way.  Constant voltage systems are typically used in commercial spaces and are wired differently than home systems.  However, many of these constant voltage speaker models also have a tap setting that states 8 or 16 ohm (also called a low impedance setting/mode) that can used with home systems.

 

 Whether you use home or commercial speakers, your budget of $300 per speaker is tight for models with enclosures or back boxes/cans.  There are some basic models out there in your price range and some better models that might be discounted in your price range.

post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRW2 View Post

Does anyone else have any suggestions for in ceiling speakers that come with enclosures? This is not an easy thing to find.

There is a reason why it is not common.... it's because it is not necessary (unless you are worried about sound bleeding into a room/floor above).

The best architectural speakers (in-ceiling/in-wall) on the market that I have been able to find are made by BG Radia. They are engineered to work WITHOUT a back box for optimal performance.

If you need an enclosure for the speaker dynamat makes boxes called "dynabox" that are easy to customize for the individual speaker. Doing this, though, is not recommended for speakers, like BG, that are designed to work best without an enclosure unless - as stated above - you need to keep sound from transferring above.

In your price range the BG RT-6CJ would be what I would recommend. http://bgcorp.com/PDFs/RT-series-literature.pdf

NOTE: The reason why commercial speakers have a back can is not for sound quality. In fact, for sound quality many of them recommend removing the back can because the small enclosure cuts the nuts off of the bass response. The reason commercial speakers have enclosures is for the fire code rating most commerical buildings need to have for anything in the ceiling.
post #8 of 27

 Unfortunately, your PlexMulti your information is partially incorrect.  You are correct that many of the commercial speakers have enclosure for fire rating purposes and you will have more options if you don't need enclosures.  But, they are also designed for that enclosure and many commercial models actually have measurement data available.  That is difficult to find with residential speakers.  Some local codes do require enclosures for residential.  I'm not sure the reason you are looking for speakers with enclosure, because of code or to help with the bleed through of sound.  But, if you don't have those restrictions and just looking for decent general music listening and open back speaker will be fine.

 

 However, ANY speaker changes its tonal character depending on the size cavity it is placed.  The better speaker companies that make in-wall/ in-ceiling speakers for residential use enclosures to ensure the sound is consistent.  And some of these back boxes are quite large as bigger boxes have bigger bass but it still needs to match the rest of the frequency range.  There is no way to predict what size cavity these in-wall/ in-ceiling speakers are going to be placed and their sound will be different.   That's why you don't see open back free standing speakers, if it was a good idea all speakers would be made that way.

post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobL View Post

 Unfortunately, your PlexMulti your information is partially incorrect.  You are correct that many of the commercial speakers have enclosure for fire rating purposes and you will have more options if you don't need enclosures.  But, they are also designed for that enclosure and many commercial models actually have measurement data available.  That is difficult to find with residential speakers.  Some local codes do require enclosures for residential.  I'm not sure the reason you are looking for speakers with enclosure, because of code or to help with the bleed through of sound.  But, if you don't have those restrictions and just looking for decent general music listening and open back speaker will be fine.

 However, ANY speaker changes its tonal character depending on the size cavity it is placed.  The better speaker companies that make in-wall/ in-ceiling speakers for residential use enclosures to ensure the sound is consistent.  And some of these back boxes are quite large as bigger boxes have bigger bass but it still needs to match the rest of the frequency range.  There is no way to predict what size cavity these in-wall/ in-ceiling speakers are going to be placed and their sound will be different.   That's why you don't see open back free standing speakers, if it was a good idea all speakers would be made that way.

Good points, absolutely! A few of my own....

- There are LOTS of ways to engineer a great speaker. There are few absolutes and you will find exceptions to every rule.

- Infinite baffle speakers and subs have been around for a long time both in room and in-wall.

- Off the top of my head, Jamo had a model, the R909 as well as a smaller version, that was an open back design. http://www.jamo.com/speaker-types/floorstanding/?sku=R909

- As far as "better speaker companies use back boxes", this is a myth that circles this forum. Lots of companies, better or not, have back boxes/cans available for their speakers. Having a box does not automatically make a speaker better or worse than another. Some manufacturers will tell you that they engineered the open backed speaker to be used in an open cavity (like an attic space). Some will tell you that the engineered their speakers to be used in a box that is 16" on center and 8' tall as well as how to prep that space or spaces that are larger inside.

Being in the industry for 15 years has afforded me a lot of time in front of a lot of manufacturers and their products. I have had hours and hours of discussions with manufacturers on this subject. We use in-ceiling and in-wall speakers on 75% or higher of our projects and I have been as well as currently am a dealer of a lot of lines - some of which have back boxes (RBH, TRIAD, KEF, and others). BG Radia (open back) outperform those from top to bottom and at any price point and it's not even close. We bring in product every year and (nearly) every month to compare only to find time and time again that there is no comparison. In fairness, on a lot of the models BG offers back boxes. However, if you ask them, they will tell you that the box kills low frequency response so if you want to cut things off at 80hz for a movie... perfect. Looking for full range music? BG will tell you to let the speaker work within the wall enclosure and to stuff it with a certain amount of insulation.

You should at least demo them to give them a try. That won't hurt anything, right? If you can't find a dealer near you I will send you (or the OP) some to try if you promise to send them back.
post #10 of 27

I have been in the industry a bit longer and I'm the calibrator for our company and I have an engineering degree. I've also designed speakers as a hobby.   Now something that has an open back is not necessarily an open baffle design.  Because there is a big difference on where it is placed.  Open baffle designs often lack efficiency and bass output compared to the same drivers in a box or cavity.  If we were to use an open back in-ceiling as a design there is an easily measurable difference if the speaker is placed in a back box, between studs that has a floor above it, and between studs that is open above it like an attic.  The latter would be closer to a true open baffle, the other two are inside cavities.  That same speaker is going to sound different in each one of those spaces, there is no way around physics.  A speaker designer has to choose which size space he is going to design the crossover to get the desired response.  If it is used in a different sized space then designed it is not going to have the same response.  Many speaker designers optimize their response for when it is used with their back box although not all.

 

I never said BG was bad or mentioned them at all.  If you send me some I'll show the measurements in different locationswink.gif  They are a respected brand but I have little experience with them except at trade shows.  A lot of times because of my professional relationships I avoid giving specific model recommendations or use one as an example.  I may give brands that have models with the features desired.  The OP is looking for enclosed speakers so I don't recommend ones that aren't.  I did state if he can use an open back design there would be a LOT more options in his price range.  I'll take a guess that if BG has back boxes/cans available for the models you mentioned it may be over his budget.

 

  BTW, it is becoming more common for residential construction to require enclosed speakers for an in wall/ceiling installations.  We have one community locally that does and that community also requires all new residential construction to have sprinklers.  That may seem overkill to some but statistically there has never been a fatality in a house fire that has working sprinklers.  I'm not sure if code is the reason the OP desires enclosed speakers.

post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlexMulti View Post

Good points, absolutely! A few of my own....

- There are LOTS of ways to engineer a great speaker. There are few absolutes and you will find exceptions to every rule.

- Infinite baffle speakers and subs have been around for a long time both in room and in-wall.

- Off the top of my head, Jamo had a model, the R909 as well as a smaller version, that was an open back design. http://www.jamo.com/speaker-types/floorstanding/?sku=R909

- As far as "better speaker companies use back boxes", this is a myth that circles this forum. Lots of companies, better or not, have back boxes/cans available for their speakers. Having a box does not automatically make a speaker better or worse than another. Some manufacturers will tell you that they engineered the open backed speaker to be used in an open cavity (like an attic space). Some will tell you that the engineered their speakers to be used in a box that is 16" on center and 8' tall as well as how to prep that space or spaces that are larger inside.

Being in the industry for 15 years has afforded me a lot of time in front of a lot of manufacturers and their products. I have had hours and hours of discussions with manufacturers on this subject. We use in-ceiling and in-wall speakers on 75% or higher of our projects and I have been as well as currently am a dealer of a lot of lines - some of which have back boxes (RBH, TRIAD, KEF, and others). BG Radia (open back) outperform those from top to bottom and at any price point and it's not even close. We bring in product every year and (nearly) every month to compare only to find time and time again that there is no comparison. In fairness, on a lot of the models BG offers back boxes. However, if you ask them, they will tell you that the box kills low frequency response so if you want to cut things off at 80hz for a movie... perfect. Looking for full range music? BG will tell you to let the speaker work within the wall enclosure and to stuff it with a certain amount of insulation.

You should at least demo them to give them a try. That won't hurt anything, right? If you can't find a dealer near you I will send you (or the OP) some to try if you promise to send them back.


Thanks for the very informed response. I am still on my quest to find the best in-ceiling speakers for my home and am intrigued by your comments about BG Radia open back speakers. Do you think that these speakers sound great regardless of the room (first floor ceiling below 2nd floor, second floor ceiling below attic), or do I need to consider different speakers for different rooms / locations in my home?
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRW2 View Post

Thanks for the very informed response. I am still on my quest to find the best in-ceiling speakers for my home and am intrigued by your comments about BG Radia open back speakers. Do you think that these speakers sound great regardless of the room (first floor ceiling below 2nd floor, second floor ceiling below attic), or do I need to consider different speakers for different rooms / locations in my home?
Actually, the "informed" response is the one right after that from BobL. Drywall is not a good enclosure for a speaker. A proper speaker baffle is impervious to sound. Drywall is porous to sound. Add to that the unpredictable and inconsistent size of the "cabinet," and the variable internal dampening, (insulated vs. uninsulated), and you have a recipe for inconsistent results. I would be willing to bet that no two installations of those BG Radia speakers sound the same. I'm sure the planar ribbons sound great, but the response from the low midrange through the bass will be totally influenced by the drywall "cabinet."

If you want consistent results, you need to use speakers with integral enclosures. Here is a speaker that is right at your price point and includes an integral enclosure:



http://www.triadspeakers.com/products/icmsr.html
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Drywall is not a good enclosure for a speaker. A proper speaker baffle is impervious to sound. Drywall is porous to sound.
Drywall is no more porous to sound than traditional speaker enclosure materials. Properly braced it could make a very good speaker, were it not for the durability aspect. The problem is that studs on 16 inch centers don't make for a properly braced enclosure, let alone a well tuned enclosure.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRW2 View Post

Thanks for the very informed response. I am still on my quest to find the best in-ceiling speakers for my home and am intrigued by your comments about BG Radia open back speakers. Do you think that these speakers sound great regardless of the room (first floor ceiling below 2nd floor, second floor ceiling below attic), or do I need to consider different speakers for different rooms / locations in my home?


A few things:

- Yes, these will sound great regardless of the room or cavity they are in for most applications. The absolute best in-ceiling speakers I have ever heard are the BG Radia PD-6Ci or PD-8Ci (6" & 8"). These are pricey, however, at around $695 a pair MSRP. The models below that, the RT-6C & RT-6CJ are much more budget friendly at $425, & $350 a pair.

- HOWEVER, open backed speakers can bleed into spaces above them. Especially bass. This is an issue if you listen really loud, or have very bass heavy material. This is where an enclosure can be useful. Or, rather than go with a speaker with a built in enclosure, use a dampening material to create a box in the joist.

- Keep in mind the application of whole house audio. You will NEVER achieve optimal anything. That is not to say you can't get killer sound, because you definitely can! The nature of a (typical) whole house audio system with in-ceiling speakers is to provide pleasant, clear music or television sounds at low to moderate listening volumes while living your life around the house. Making activities more enjoyable, like cooking, cleaning, reading, garden work (outdoor speakers), the holidays, parties & entertaining, etc.

Since you will be moving about the room (or rooms) in the home, your sound quality with just about any in-ceiling design will always be a variable. Things like mid-bass will be non-existent in certain positions in the room and lower bass notes will be stronger near the speaker than further away. Imaging of instruments will change as well.

- When asked about their open backed speaker designs and why they offer a separate back box one manufacturer (TRUAudio) told me that their speakers are designed to be used open-back for the best performance and bass response and that the back can is going to cut-off bass because it makes the airspace for the drivers too constricted. The back box is for people who are worried about sound bleed. Other manufacturers say the same thing.

- What to look for in an in-ceiling speaker (typical home owner):

#1: Clarity at low to medium volumes
#2: Bass that is present and pleasant at low volumes, getting stronger through medium.
#3: Installation issue problem solving: Will these fit in the space, do I need to dampen the bass to keep it from the floor above, etc.
#4: Aesthetics. Will these look good in my ceiling?

Worrying about silly things like "porous drywall" when you won't be near the speaker enough to even come close to hearing any alleged sound leakage is silly. Even standing directly underneath an in-ceiling speaker in an 8' high ceiling this is a non-issue. The music will be either so soft that the drywall contains it or loud enough to make any sort of "drywall cabinet distortion" inaudible unless there are issues with the floor above, but the solutions to this are simple and cost effective.

In the interest of full disclosure I will say that I am a BG Radia dealer. HOWEVER...... I am or have been a dealer of a lot of different speaker lines over the years. Triad, James Loudspeakers, RBH, KEF, Sonance, JAMO, Canton, Phase Technology, Revel, JBL, JBL Synthesis, LEON, JLAudio, TRUAudio, and a heck of a lot more. People like CraigJohn like to point this out as if it should be some sort of negative. I look at it as a positive. I have tried, owned, and installed all of those lines and a ton more. I am speaking from a position of experience. I am also NOT trying to sell you anything. It's adorable that people think that just because I am an industry professional the only reason I would be on here giving advice is to make money. I don't use my company name on purpose so that I can be honest and not receive admonishment on the business end from manufacturers.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Actually, the "informed" response is the one right after that from BobL. Drywall is not a good enclosure for a speaker. A proper speaker baffle is impervious to sound. Drywall is porous to sound. Add to that the unpredictable and inconsistent size of the "cabinet," and the variable internal dampening, (insulated vs. uninsulated), and you have a recipe for inconsistent results. I would be willing to bet that no two installations of those BG Radia speakers sound the same. I'm sure the planar ribbons sound great, but the response from the low midrange through the bass will be totally influenced by the drywall "cabinet."

If you want consistent results, you need to use speakers with integral enclosures. Here is a speaker that is right at your price point and includes an integral enclosure:



http://www.triadspeakers.com/products/icmsr.html

Craig,

You're right, the bass from that enclosed speaker you listed will be consistent..... As in, consistently non-existent. Are you kidding? a 4" driver in a little bitty enclosure and you're talking about bass? It's rated down to a whopping 95hz .
Edited by PlexMulti - 7/21/13 at 12:16pm
post #16 of 27
There are a lot of differing opinions in in-ceiling speaker design. I have spoken with various designers like Lars Worre from Dali, Jeremy Burkhardt when he was with Speakercraft and someone from Triad.
Just for clarification, Triad makes their Round series in both sealed and open backed versions. And the OpenRounds go about 20 Hz lower than their enclosed counterparts.

In my opinion, enclosures help with mostly sound isolation. Keeping the sound from getting into other parts of the house.
In a typical house, there is enough separation and insulation that using an open backed speaker won't impact anything. If you need help, try finding a friend near you to listen to what they have for distributed music speakers.
If you live in an area that needs a vapor barrier, I have used recessed lighting vapor barriers to great effect.

My opinion differs when dealing with an in-ceiling surround system.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by coytee View Post

Your title states in ceiling.

Do as your called to do, that said....  here's my experience.

My neighbor has an approximatly 12K sq/ft home.  In their living room, the ceilings are probably 15' high.  It's a very nice home.  Heck, even some of the doors are something like 10 or 12 feet tall...

Regardless, I was over there one evening and his wife comes to me "hurry in here, you really need to hear our surround system"

To cut to the chase, it was (in my view) an epic fail.

They had all ceiling speakers, ceiling was something like 15' high.  Happened that the news was playing and it was like hearing God tell me the weather forecast for tomorrow...

Now, if you want "Muzak" or a Doctor's office type experience, there's nothing wrong with that at all.

If instead, you want more than just background noise filler, I personally, would go a different route.

Heck...  what if instead, you put a killer HT system in and if you are playing pool 10 rooms away, you can just turn it up??

I'm honestly not trying to be negative....  just want you to know one opinion.  I realize the "HT" that I heard might be nothing like you are attempting to build so discount my comments accordingly.

Turning it up works fine, if all the people listening are in that same distant room, but most of the time that is not the case.
Reply
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post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by coytee View Post

Your title states in ceiling.

Do as your called to do, that said....  here's my experience.

My neighbor has an approximatly 12K sq/ft home.  In their living room, the ceilings are probably 15' high.  It's a very nice home.  Heck, even some of the doors are something like 10 or 12 feet tall...

Regardless, I was over there one evening and his wife comes to me "hurry in here, you really need to hear our surround system"

To cut to the chase, it was (in my view) an epic fail.

They had all ceiling speakers, ceiling was something like 15' high.  Happened that the news was playing and it was like hearing God tell me the weather forecast for tomorrow...

Now, if you want "Muzak" or a Doctor's office type experience, there's nothing wrong with that at all.

If instead, you want more than just background noise filler, I personally, would go a different route.

Heck...  what if instead, you put a killer HT system in and if you are playing pool 10 rooms away, you can just turn it up??

I'm honestly not trying to be negative....  just want you to know one opinion.  I realize the "HT" that I heard might be nothing like you are attempting to build so discount my comments accordingly.

I don't think you realize the OP wasn't talking about a surround system, but distributed music.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifor View Post

I don't think you realize the OP wasn't talking about a surround system, but distributed music.
I'd say he covered that when he said:

Now, if you want "Muzak" or a Doctor's office type experience, there's nothing wrong with that at all.
If instead, you want more than just background noise filler, I personally, would go a different route.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlexMulti View Post

A few things:

- Yes, these will sound great regardless of the room or cavity they are in for most applications. The absolute best in-ceiling speakers I have ever heard are the BG Radia PD-6Ci or PD-8Ci (6" & 8"). These are pricey, however, at around $695 a pair MSRP. The models below that, the RT-6C & RT-6CJ are much more budget friendly at $425, & $350 a pair.

- HOWEVER, open backed speakers can bleed into spaces above them. Especially bass. This is an issue if you listen really loud, or have very bass heavy material. This is where an enclosure can be useful. Or, rather than go with a speaker with a built in enclosure, use a dampening material to create a box in the joist.

- Keep in mind the application of whole house audio. You will NEVER achieve optimal anything. That is not to say you can't get killer sound, because you definitely can! The nature of a (typical) whole house audio system with in-ceiling speakers is to provide pleasant, clear music or television sounds at low to moderate listening volumes while living your life around the house. Making activities more enjoyable, like cooking, cleaning, reading, garden work (outdoor speakers), the holidays, parties & entertaining, etc.

Since you will be moving about the room (or rooms) in the home, your sound quality with just about any in-ceiling design will always be a variable. Things like mid-bass will be non-existent in certain positions in the room and lower bass notes will be stronger near the speaker than further away. Imaging of instruments will change as well.

- When asked about their open backed speaker designs and why they offer a separate back box one manufacturer (TRUAudio) told me that their speakers are designed to be used open-back for the best performance and bass response and that the back can is going to cut-off bass because it makes the airspace for the drivers too constricted. The back box is for people who are worried about sound bleed. Other manufacturers say the same thing.

- What to look for in an in-ceiling speaker (typical home owner):

#1: Clarity at low to medium volumes
#2: Bass that is present and pleasant at low volumes, getting stronger through medium.
#3: Installation issue problem solving: Will these fit in the space, do I need to dampen the bass to keep it from the floor above, etc.
#4: Aesthetics. Will these look good in my ceiling?

Worrying about silly things like "porous drywall" when you won't be near the speaker enough to even come close to hearing any alleged sound leakage is silly. Even standing directly underneath an in-ceiling speaker in an 8' high ceiling this is a non-issue. The music will be either so soft that the drywall contains it or loud enough to make any sort of "drywall cabinet distortion" inaudible unless there are issues with the floor above, but the solutions to this are simple and cost effective.

In the interest of full disclosure I will say that I am a BG Radia dealer. HOWEVER...... I am or have been a dealer of a lot of different speaker lines over the years. Triad, James Loudspeakers, RBH, KEF, Sonance, JAMO, Canton, Phase Technology, Revel, JBL, JBL Synthesis, LEON, JLAudio, TRUAudio, and a heck of a lot more. People like CraigJohn like to point this out as if it should be some sort of negative. I look at it as a positive. I have tried, owned, and installed all of those lines and a ton more. I am speaking from a position of experience. I am also NOT trying to sell you anything. It's adorable that people think that just because I am an industry professional the only reason I would be on here giving advice is to make money. I don't use my company name on purpose so that I can be honest and not receive admonishment on the business end from manufacturers.

Thanks for the detailed response. How is the quality of the more moderately priced RT models versus the PD models? I will need 14 pairs, so the PD speakers may be too pricey for my budget.
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRW2 View Post

Thanks for the detailed response. How is the quality of the more moderately priced RT models versus the PD models? I will need 14 pairs, so the PD speakers may be too pricey for my budget.

The PD-6Ci at $695 a paid MSRP uses their NEO 3 Planar Magnetic Driver (this is where BG really sets itself apart and wows people) and a Kevlar woofer. It absolutely crushes in the bass department with the Kevlar. If you are on a budget, maybe splurge for a pair of these in your gym or something where perhaps more bass heavy music is being played or where higher volumes are reached on a regular basis and you want substantial bass output but, other than that, it's probably overkill unless used as theater in-ceiling surrounds. I have never heard bass from an in-ceiling anywhere close like what these put out.

That being said....

The model below (the RT-6C) comes in at a substantially lower cost at $425 a pair and uses the same NEO 3 PMD Driver but instead of the Kevlar it uses a poly woofer. It doesn't hit like the Kevlar but, as I mentioned earlier, this is probably not going to be noticeable at typical distributed audio volumes. There is still appreciable bass, no question. The magic is absolutely in the Planar Magnetic Tweeter so you will be getting very similar voicing to the more expensive PMD line.


The entry level RT-6CJ is stunning as well, but it uses their NEO 1 tweeter and the same poly woofer as the RT-6C. Bass will be similar. The highs are crystal clear and leagues better than anything near their $350 a pair price point, but certainly not in the ball park of the models above that use the PMD.

Keep in mind, the NEO 3 Planar Magnetic Drivers are used throughout BGs entire line, all the way up into their line arrays that retail at $14,000 a pair. With the utmost confidence I would tell anyone that from a voicing and quality stand point BGs speakers are all designed with the same materials and the same voicing principals. The NEO 3 has been measured and put against some of the finest drivers on the market and is considered to be among few peers. Personally, I have never heard anything like it. I do find BG to be weak in some areas: Mainly heavy heavy death metal & material where the recordings are of poor quality. The NEO 3 is so detailed and clean that bad recordings sound flat out stale.

Here is an interesting article from ZAPH audio where he tested other ribbon tweeters: http://www.zaphaudio.com/nondomes/

A quote about the BG from the end of the article: The B&G and Silver Flute are both planar designs, but they are also polar opposites. The YAG20 is probably one of the worst performers I've ever seen, while the B&G performs on level with the best domes. It's hard to say what went wrong and what went right in their designs.

There is another article I had read where he compared an absolute ton of dome tweeter designs as well and his conclusion was basically that depending on what you valued in building a speaker that he could see someone choosing the NEO 3 or the winner of his dome shootout and that both had their own benefits.
post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlexMulti View Post

The PD-6Ci at $695 a paid MSRP uses their NEO 3 Planar Magnetic Driver (this is where BG really sets itself apart and wows people) and a Kevlar woofer. It absolutely crushes in the bass department with the Kevlar. If you are on a budget, maybe splurge for a pair of these in your gym or something where perhaps more bass heavy music is being played or where higher volumes are reached on a regular basis and you want substantial bass output but, other than that, it's probably overkill unless used as theater in-ceiling surrounds. I have never heard bass from an in-ceiling anywhere close like what these put out.

That being said....

The model below (the RT-6C) comes in at a substantially lower cost at $425 a pair and uses the same NEO 3 PMD Driver but instead of the Kevlar it uses a poly woofer. It doesn't hit like the Kevlar but, as I mentioned earlier, this is probably not going to be noticeable at typical distributed audio volumes. There is still appreciable bass, no question. The magic is absolutely in the Planar Magnetic Tweeter so you will be getting very similar voicing to the more expensive PMD line.


The entry level RT-6CJ is stunning as well, but it uses their NEO 1 tweeter and the same poly woofer as the RT-6C. Bass will be similar. The highs are crystal clear and leagues better than anything near their $350 a pair price point, but certainly not in the ball park of the models above that use the PMD.

Keep in mind, the NEO 3 Planar Magnetic Drivers are used throughout BGs entire line, all the way up into their line arrays that retail at $14,000 a pair. With the utmost confidence I would tell anyone that from a voicing and quality stand point BGs speakers are all designed with the same materials and the same voicing principals. The NEO 3 has been measured and put against some of the finest drivers on the market and is considered to be among few peers. Personally, I have never heard anything like it. I do find BG to be weak in some areas: Mainly heavy heavy death metal & material where the recordings are of poor quality. The NEO 3 is so detailed and clean that bad recordings sound flat out stale.

Here is an interesting article from ZAPH audio where he tested other ribbon tweeters: http://www.zaphaudio.com/nondomes/

A quote about the BG from the end of the article: The B&G and Silver Flute are both planar designs, but they are also polar opposites. The YAG20 is probably one of the worst performers I've ever seen, while the B&G performs on level with the best domes. It's hard to say what went wrong and what went right in their designs.

There is another article I had read where he compared an absolute ton of dome tweeter designs as well and his conclusion was basically that depending on what you valued in building a speaker that he could see someone choosing the NEO 3 or the winner of his dome shootout and that both had their own benefits.

For the larger rooms in my house that I will be using daily (Great Room, Master Bedroom, Kitchen area, Game room, Family room), If I decide to splurge and go with the PD line, do I need to consider the PD-8, or will PD-6 do the trick?

I'd also be interested in hearing your thoughts about moderate priced speakers for a 7.1 theater room; I plan to have built-in wall speakers. Thanks.
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRW2 View Post

For the larger rooms in my house that I will be using daily (Great Room, Master Bedroom, Kitchen area, Game room, Family room), If I decide to splurge and go with the PD line, do I need to consider the PD-8, or will PD-6 do the trick?

I'd also be interested in hearing your thoughts about moderate priced speakers for a 7.1 theater room; I plan to have built-in wall speakers. Thanks.

In order to not side track the thread away from the in-ceiling suggestions maybe send me a PM with the ceiling heights and the room dimensions. Also... define moderate and describe the theater space? Projector? Etc.
Edited by PlexMulti - 7/22/13 at 7:36pm
post #24 of 27
I am not an engineer, but I have listened to more than two dozen inwall and inceiling speaker brands, some with backboxes and some without, in different locations.

In general I was surprised by the high quality of such speakers vs. my expectations. A lot of top brands make very good "in" speakers.

I've concluded that backboxes are not necessary UNLESS there is a wide variety in the type of walls and ceiling materials in a house. The biggest concerns are sound leakage and consistently good bass response. Backboxes can account for those potential problems. Or maybe you can fill the areas between the studs where you plan to put the speakers with foam insulation to ensure consistency.

That said, all non-backbox speakers are designed to be used with ordinary home materials (walls, insulation). Most mid to higher end brands do a darn good job, especially if you aren't listening critically. The solution is just to put a little more care and money in your main listening room.

I ended up buying Noble Fidelity, a boutique firm that specializes in wall and ceiling speakers. Best price to quality ratio for my money (cheapest pair runs $525 a pair, but most dealers offer 5% to 15% discounts).

I also liked BG Radia, Atlantic Tech, RBH, Totem, Triad and Revel but they were pricier. (Triads would excel in a home theater setup).

Canton, Monitor Audio, KEF, B&W also make excellent "in" speakers.

It really comes down to who sells what in your area. I have ventured into shops from DC to Boston in my travels to check different manufacturers out and listened to speakers owned by friends. It's hard to buy speakers you've never heard.

Of course, that's exactly what I did. The word of mouth on Nobile Fidelities was so good I took the plunge. Very happy that I did.
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffbar View Post

I am not an engineer, but I have listened to more than two dozen inwall and inceiling speaker brands, some with backboxes and some without, in different locations.

In general I was surprised by the high quality of such speakers vs. my expectations. A lot of top brands make very good "in" speakers.

I've concluded that backboxes are not necessary UNLESS there is a wide variety in the type of walls and ceiling materials in a house. The biggest concerns are sound leakage and consistently good bass response. Backboxes can account for those potential problems. Or maybe you can fill the areas between the studs where you plan to put the speakers with foam insulation to ensure consistency.

That said, all non-backbox speakers are designed to be used with ordinary home materials (walls, insulation). Most mid to higher end brands do a darn good job, especially if you aren't listening critically. The solution is just to put a little more care and money in your main listening room.

I ended up buying Noble Fidelity, a boutique firm that specializes in wall and ceiling speakers. Best price to quality ratio for my money (cheapest pair runs $525 a pair, but most dealers offer 5% to 15% discounts).

I also liked BG Radia, Atlantic Tech, RBH, Totem, Triad and Revel but they were pricier. (Triads would excel in a home theater setup).

Canton, Monitor Audio, KEF, B&W also make excellent "in" speakers.

It really comes down to who sells what in your area. I have ventured into shops from DC to Boston in my travels to check different manufacturers out and listened to speakers owned by friends. It's hard to buy speakers you've never heard.

Of course, that's exactly what I did. The word of mouth on Nobile Fidelities was so good I took the plunge. Very happy that I did.

Thanks for the feedback. I am currently leaning towards getting a mix of BG Radia in-ceiling speakers, with larger "PD" series speakers for the larger, main rooms on the first floor, and smaller, more economical "RT" series speakers for the secondary bedrooms and other small rooms. I will also have my audio/video contractor build some simple boxes with sound insulation to go behind the speakers, if necessary.
post #26 of 27
Just be careful if you have boxes built for your speakers by your contractor. Some manufacturers specifically advised me against doing that because it would interfere with the design of speakers meant to have an open back.

Some manufacturers will give you specs for backboxes if you want to build them yourself. Just give them a call or talk to your dealer.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffbar View Post

Just be careful if you have boxes built for your speakers by your contractor. Some manufacturers specifically advised me against doing that because it would interfere with the design of speakers meant to have an open back.

Some manufacturers will give you specs for backboxes if you want to build them yourself. Just give them a call or talk to your dealer.

Yes, thanks. In fact, I contacted BG Radia about this, and asked whether their speakers should have boxes, and below was their response:

"Since it is only the low frequency that the back box will affect, as long as the cubic volume is maintained with plywood or MDF it should work very well. You will also want to make sure to fill the box with a dampening material such as fiber fill (i.e. fiber glass)."
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