Originally Posted by JRW2
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.