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Hiding speakers in a rock wall ????

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
We are renovating our house. We want to put a rock faced wall in our great room. The wall will also have a 60" LED TV and a linear fireplace.

How do I hide speakers (left, right and center) in this wall ?

The best solution I have come up with so far is to put a small soundbar below the TV.

What I would really like to do is use the Pioneer Andrew Jones designed bookshelf and center speakers.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-BS22-LR
http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-C22

How can I hide or integrate these speakers in the rock wall ?

Thanks
post #2 of 58
These speakers have a rear port, I would not suggest incorporating them into the wall in any way. Are you against mounting them on the wall, they aren't an extremely large speaker.
Edited by cbehr1 - 10/17/13 at 8:01am
post #3 of 58
Thread Starter 
They are not very attractive speakers. I'd like to hide them as much as possible.

The wall houses a fireplace and has a volume of 9 x 9 x 3 feet behind it. I don't see that putting speakers behind the wall would impact their sound quality.
post #4 of 58
What is your definition of "hide" here? Do you want them to be invisible or just physically integrated into the wall? There are actual "rock speakers" that are made to resemble.....rocks - but they almost certainly wouldn't match the color & appearance of the wall rock you've chosen. Another thought, depending on your artistic skills would be to do some form of faux finish on acoustically transparent material and set the speakers behind this. Given any speaker you choose will be placed against/into the wall, you need to look at in-wall designs, not free-standing models. As it sounds like your TV will be prominent anyway, a decent sound bar placed underneath, like you mentioned, might be the best way to go - maybe supplemented by a discretely located sub-woofer.
post #5 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DGF View Post

What is your definition of "hide" here? Do you want them to be invisible or just physically integrated into the wall?
Either, but preferably nearly invisible.
Quote:
There are actual "rock speakers" that are made to resemble.....rocks - but they almost certainly wouldn't match the color & appearance of the wall rock you've chosen.

Agreed.
Quote:
Another thought, depending on your artistic skills would be to do some form of faux finish on acoustically transparent material and set the speakers behind this. Given any speaker you choose will be placed against/into the wall, you need to look at in-wall designs, not free-standing models.
I suspect the free standing Pioneers would dramatically out perform any in wall speaker one might install. Furthermore, they aren't any larger than an in wall speaker, they just need to be integrated.
Quote:
As it sounds like your TV will be prominent anyway, a decent sound bar placed underneath, like you mentioned, might be the best way to go - maybe supplemented by a discretely located sub-woofer.
That is the conclusion I am coming to as well.
post #6 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmerfudII View Post

.....I suspect the free standing Pioneers would dramatically out perform any in wall speaker one might install. Furthermore, they aren't any larger than an in wall speaker, they just need to be integrated.......

Depending on your budget, there are some brilliant in-walls available that would just blow the Pioneers out of the water. But for a 60" screen and casual TV watching, the Pioneers are probably more than adequate and unquestionably significantly better than any integrated TV speakers.
post #7 of 58
Simplest cleanest way would be to put the TV in another room and hang a family portrait over the fireplace.. Sorry, just not a fan of a TV over a nice stone fireplace.. sort of takes away from the fireplace..

To integrate into the wall you would need in wall speakers and sufficient room in the wall cavity in the proper location. To "HIDE" the speakers I agree with the previous poster that some white AT fabric attached to an inset frame and then professionally painted to look like the surrounding rock would be the only real way to "HIDE" them.
post #8 of 58
Whatever route you end up taking, don't forget to run every wire that you can possibly imagine using, before you seal things up.

What about source equipment to drive the TV? You didn't mention the flat-screen model you have, but it probably won't have enough output to power passive speakers, so now you have to think about adding a separate amplifier/reciever.... Once you start to add extra boxes (cable/satellite DVR, game console, DVD/BR player, etc.) to a rack or alcove, hiding the speakers becomes less of a pressing issue.

Depending on how the TV is positioned relative to your ceiling, you might also consider in-ceiling speakers. There are many 'stealth' options that can be installed very discretely - if ceiling angle and/or viewing position are issues, you could look at something similar to a range by KEF that are motorized drop-down ceiling models.
post #9 of 58
Thread Starter 
I purchased a Pioneer SP-SB23W soundbar for $350.

The SB23W seems like the least visually impacting way to get decent sound from the TV. Visually, it takes up 4" below the TV and no more.

If we decide we want 5.1 sound in this room, I'll use the SB23W (with its sub) as the center channel and supplement the system with more Andrew Jones Pioneer speakers. A tower on each side of the room for left and right, the system sub and 2 bookshelves for surrounds. It won't have a low visual impact anymore, but it will sound really good.

We are building a full on media room with projector in the basement, so we can always go down there if we need a better experience.
post #10 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DGF View Post

Whatever route you end up taking, don't forget to run every wire that you can possibly imagine using, before you seal things up.

I have run conduit throughout the house so that we can rewire with whatever conductor is needed.
Quote:
What about source equipment to drive the TV? You didn't mention the flat-screen model you have, but it probably won't have enough output to power passive speakers, so now you have to think about adding a separate amplifier/reciever....
It will be a Samsung UN60 or UN65F8000. The sound bar has built in amplifiers. However, I'm going to make the TV swing away from the wall on a hinge and hide any audio devices I need behind it. I'll use an IR receiver/transmitter pair to route any signals I need to behind the TV.
Quote:
Once you start to add extra boxes (cable/satellite DVR, game console, DVD/BR player, etc.) to a rack or alcove, hiding the speakers becomes less of a pressing issue.
The house is also set up with a central media closet. Ideally, all the source equipment will be located there.
Quote:
Depending on how the TV is positioned relative to your ceiling, you might also consider in-ceiling speakers. There are many 'stealth' options that can be installed very discretely - if ceiling angle and/or viewing position are issues, you could look at something similar to a range by KEF that are motorized drop-down ceiling models.
There are 2 in ceiling speakers behind the couch that could be used as surrounds as well. They are presently wired into the house sound system, but that can be easily changed.
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmerfudII View Post

I purchased a Pioneer SP-SB23W soundbar for $350.

The SB23W seems like the least visually impacting way to get decent sound from the TV. Visually, it takes up 4" below the TV and no more.

If we decide we want 5.1 sound in this room, I'll use the SB23W (with its sub) as the center channel and supplement the system with more Andrew Jones Pioneer speakers. A tower on each side of the room for left and right, the system sub and 2 bookshelves for surrounds. It won't have a low visual impact anymore, but it will sound really good.

We are building a full on media room with projector in the basement, so we can always go down there if we need a better experience.

To my knowledge, you can't use an active soundbar as a center channel. You would need a passive soundbar to do something like that.
post #12 of 58
For what you want, I would use in-walls. I would also figure out a TV mount that lets the TV slide down over the fireplace at least partially so that you aren't looking up all the time to watch it.
post #13 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctego View Post

To my knowledge, you can't use an active soundbar as a center channel. You would need a passive soundbar to do something like that.

If I send it center channel content, it will be a center channel.
post #14 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

For what you want, I would use in-walls.
There isn't really any drywall on the wall. Its all real stone. Pretty hard to do inwalls in stone, unless you cut the stone where the speakers are, which we are looking to avoid.
Quote:
I would also figure out a TV mount that lets the TV slide down over the fireplace at least partially so that you aren't looking up all the time to watch it.
We mocked up the wall with the fireplace and TV locations and have been using it. The TV is a bit high but its a tradeoff we are willing to accept.
post #15 of 58
How about doing your entire system with NHT Absolute wall speakers in white? They are small and shallow and can be direct mounted. Cold probably paint to a grey/appropriate stone colour as well. KEF T-series is another option.
Edited by lespurgeon - 10/19/13 at 8:55pm
post #16 of 58
Can you post a picture of your wall?
post #17 of 58
Thread Starter 
Here is a picture of the (mostly) completed wall.


The speaker sits back further than it is in the picture.

The hole in the TV cavity is the conduit that runs (eventually) to the media equipment closet in the basement. By eventually, I mean that it runs into the mechanical room below where there is another several conduits that run to the media closet itself. The whole house is " wired" (plumbed actually) this way.

The open low voltage boxes on each side are for free standing speakers should we decide we want them. The wires in them also have a path too the media closet.

There is no problem with high temperatures in the TV cavity. I also installed a 6" found duct in the floor of the fireplace cavity to which a fan can be connected to ventilate the cavity should it get warm. It would dump the warm/hot air into the cold air return for the foor. If we did that, the cool air draw for the into the cavity would be behind the TV, thus drawing cool(er) room air around it.

The cavity is designed to house a Samsung LN60F8000 or an LN65F8000. The room is too bright for a plasma, even Samsung's bright F8500. The cavity was sized to house the rear part of the TV that protrudes outward. The TV frame itself will sit over the rock, hiding the rock edges and the entire cavity itself.

The stone is real stone. It took an experienced, but not expert, installer about 2 full days to install. The tiles are 1"x2". They are mated with a mesh, but its still tedious, time consuming work. It looks much better in real life than in the picture.

You can't see it in the picture, but there are ceiling lights on either side of the TV with narrow beam (40 degree) reflector bulbs in them that shine down onto the rock at night. It looks awesome. Putting a speaker in the wall on either side of the TV would have ruined that effect.

I realize this is a very plain wall. Ie flat. My wife, I and a professional designer played with many different designs and actually prototype framed 2 different fireplaces into the space before arriving at this. This is what fit best with the space its in and the rest of the house. My inclination was for a much heavier (darker/bigger) stone on a more substantial fireplace structure. I quickly learned that wouldn't have fit in with the quasi contemporary feel for the rest of the house. However, I still have the basement to play with, so maybe something like that will end up there.

Like I said before, this is our great room, not our media room. For serious viewing we'll have a dedicated media room with projector and a full on sound system in the basement.
Edited by elmerfudII - 10/31/13 at 12:15pm
post #18 of 58
Why wasn't the TV/sound bar placed lower on the wall?
post #19 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by airscapes View Post

Why wasn't the TV/sound bar placed lower on the wall?

That is a great question. Its because the fireplace "box" goes much above the actual fireplace opening. The sound bar sits on a 2x4 that is placed as close to the top of the fireplace box as the combustible material boundaries allow.

This looks like a simple wall with a fireplace in it, but there was a lot of design involved in framing in the fireplace, thermal management, wiring, etc.

This wall had a conventional fireplace in it when we bought the house. The TV was even higher with it than it is now. FYI, this house has 9 foot ceilings.

The new fireplace could have been framed lower, which would have resulted in a lower TV height. However, one of the design goals was to bring more focus to the fireplace and less to the TV. The fireplace is at a great height to enjoy (with the TV off) in the evening with the lights dimmed and a glass of your favorite night cap in your hand. The fireplace has sand, rocks and beach wood in it now as well. Its a Napolean LHD45.
post #20 of 58
Thread Starter 
One other thing you don't see in the picture is that we put floor electrical boxes on either side of the couch that faces this wall and there are ceiling speakers above it as well.

I pulled speaker wire to the floor boxes in case I wanted to use floor standing surround speakers and/or a subwoofer placed by the couch.

One more thing... the stone around the speaker bar is actually an inset into the larger TV cavity. Ie, if we want to remove it or change it, it happens within the TV cavity itself. We don't have to touch any of the framing. I also purchased a lot of extra rock for just such eventualities.

We'll start using our wall with the Pioneer sound bar and see how it goes. We'll augment/change things as we feel is necessary as we learn about what we need.

Like I said before, we'll have a full on media room in the basement for serious viewing and listening.

I hope this thread helps someone facing a similar situation.
post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmerfudII View Post

Here is a picture of the (mostly) completed wall.


The Pioneer speaker sits back further than it is in the picture.

Very cool! I'm going to do something similar with the Pioneer bar mounted flush in a mantle. Can you post some closer pics of the bar?

You should also post this in the Pioneer speaker bar thread.
post #22 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonn B View Post

Very cool! I'm going to do something similar with the Pioneer bar mounted flush in a mantle. Can you post some closer pics of the bar?
I can't at the moment. We just framed the drywall to come right behind the rock and finished the rock over the edge. The speaker bar is then a tight fit in it. I might put some trim on the speaker bar to totally hide the rock edges.
Quote:
You should also post this in the Pioneer speaker bar thread.

See post #400 in that thread.

FYI, we did a sound audition of the bar before committing to it. I thought it sounded pretty good for a speaker bar. It was the best alternative given the parameters of the project.

FYI, the fireplace was framed with twin 2x4s on each side, giving us structure to mount a mantel above or a lower shelf (step or hearth) below the fireplace if we want to later on.
post #23 of 58
Looks really good. We are looking to do something similar to this. How much heat does that fireplace put out? That's actually one that my wife picked out.
post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmerfudII View Post

Here is a picture of the (mostly) completed wall.


The speaker sits back further than it is in the picture.
.

Looks nice and clean. I am curious to know how the sound of this soundbar compares when it's enclosed like that vs out in the open. Could you tell us whether you could discern any appreciable difference, at all volumes.

I am planning something similar, but I am concerned what soundbar to get which would work well in an enclosed niche like that. I know rear ported and side ported may not, neither would some bars with speakers facing to the sides.
post #25 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randall.White View Post

Looks really good. We are looking to do something similar to this. How much heat does that fireplace put out? That's actually one that my wife picked out.

Here is the web page for it.

http://www.napoleonfireplaces.com/products/lhd45-linear-gas-fireplace/

According to the manual, it has a gas input of 24,000 BTU, an efficiency of 72% and a heat output of 17,280 BTU. THis number is based on a very short and direct vent route. My fireplace has 30 feet of stack above it, so its efficiency will be better. (Coaxial stack preheats the incoming air with the exhaust air.)

We added the reflective panels and the fan kit to ours. As well as the driftwood kit, which my wife really likes.

A couple tips about installing it.

- if you ever need to service anything beneath the grate level of the fireplace, you need to go in via the door below the glass. When you sheet out the wall, make a cut in that piece so you can get the front door below the glass off without wrecking the whole wall.

- the fan is variable speed. The control sits in front of the glass below it. If I had to do it over again, I'd mount the fan speed in a wall control as its hard to get at once the glass is hot. In fact, you have to leave a shroud off entirely to get at it.

- Napolean dealers in my area are very hard to work with. They insist they are the only ones that can install the stack and frame the fireplace in. They are very expensive. My dealer put in our stack, but I wish we would have done it ourselves. We framed the fireplace in. We installed the stone. I got a gas fitter to pull a fireplace permit. He hooked up the gas and the stack and tested everything. The building inspector inspected it and deemed it an excellent install. If I had to do it again, I'd buy the fireplace online and handle the whole install myself, except what the gas fitter did.
post #26 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcarfan View Post

Looks nice and clean. I am curious to know how the sound of this soundbar compares when it's enclosed like that vs out in the open. Could you tell us whether you could discern any appreciable difference, at all volumes.

I will.
Quote:
I am planning something similar, but I am concerned what soundbar to get which would work well in an enclosed niche like that. I know rear ported and side ported may not, neither would some bars with speakers facing to the sides.

This enclosure is not ported.
post #27 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmerfudII View Post

Here is the web page for it.

http://www.napoleonfireplaces.com/products/lhd45-linear-gas-fireplace/

According to the manual, it has a gas input of 24,000 BTU, an efficiency of 72% and a heat output of 17,280 BTU. THis number is based on a very short and direct vent route. My fireplace has 30 feet of stack above it, so its efficiency will be better. (Coaxial stack preheats the incoming air with the exhaust air.)

We added the reflective panels and the fan kit to ours. As well as the driftwood kit, which my wife really likes.

A couple tips about installing it.

- if you ever need to service anything beneath the grate level of the fireplace, you need to go in via the door below the glass. When you sheet out the wall, make a cut in that piece so you can get the front door below the glass off without wrecking the whole wall.

- the fan is variable speed. The control sits in front of the glass below it. If I had to do it over again, I'd mount the fan speed in a wall control as its hard to get at once the glass is hot. In fact, you have to leave a shroud off entirely to get at it.

- Napolean dealers in my area are very hard to work with. They insist they are the only ones that can install the stack and frame the fireplace in. They are very expensive. My dealer put in our stack, but I wish we would have done it ourselves. We framed the fireplace in. We installed the stone. I got a gas fitter to pull a fireplace permit. He hooked up the gas and the stack and tested everything. The building inspector inspected it and deemed it an excellent install. If I had to do it again, I'd buy the fireplace online and handle the whole install myself, except what the gas fitter did.

Thanks for the tips.
post #28 of 58
Thread Starter 
So... it turns out that the fan in our LHD45 has started squeaking loudly. I've contacted our local dealer and Napolean themselves. Nobody knows why.

The bad part of the situation is that we either have to tear the fireplace right down to nothing OR open up the wall we just built to get at the fan. Its in the back of the unit, between the firebox and the enclosure itself. You can get at it from the front if you remove the 8" front plate, but we have to remove the stone to do so.

Nobody has stepped up with any sort of support, other than the local dealer saying they will replace the fan if they find it defective.

We framed in the fireplace. A gas fitter hooked it up and tested it. I installed the fan kit. Both the dealer and Napolean itself are pointing fingers that its an installation problem. "Is the fireplace level ?" "Because that could cause a lot of problems."

I'll update this thread as the situation resolves itself, or not.
post #29 of 58
Oh no, hope you find an easy solution. Is there a way you can build a false wall, or hidden door for future problems?
post #30 of 58
Nice work. Looks like you've put a lot of time and effort into the project.

For future reference, you can bury unused cables behind drywall. Install low voltage rings when the time comes to use them (if ever).

Are those 6 dimmers in the wall, to the right of the fireplace? You could consider replacing them with a Lutron Grafik Eye, or a keypad (though it's a little late at this point).
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