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post #1 of 26 Old 04-06-2018, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
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In wall Speaker enclosure / Backer box?

Quick question I wasn't able to search for -

I am using in wall speakers, and wondering if i'll see a benefit from building backing back / enclosure for the speakers -

I don't much care about sound going into other rooms as much as I care about how things sound in the theater. Two of my walls are exterior walls, with just concrete backing - but they are 6" walls (because of plumbing runs) so i'll have a significant cavity behind these 3.5" deep speakers.

I was thinking of just building some simple MDF enclosures, sealing them to the drywall for an airtight fit.

I'm looking at using Polk 265RTs for my LR, and 255c-RT for the Center.

and the rears that are also external will be Polk RC65i's.

If it's a good idea to build these, how big should they be? I'm used to Car subwoofers telling you their ideal enclosure size, but I haven't been able to find that information for these speakers.

Thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 26 Old 04-07-2018, 10:50 AM
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A good build thread for this to check is @BrolicBeast . Here it is.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...unleashed.html

I would think you would want a backer box for an in-wall to get the best sound out of them. Not sure on size though.

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post #3 of 26 Old 04-07-2018, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladeback View Post
A good build thread for this to check is @BrolicBeast . Here it is.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...unleashed.html

I would think you would want a backer box for an in-wall to get the best sound out of them. Not sure on size though.
Thanks - that dude is insane. I wonder if there are any less crazy ones out there that use the boxes.
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post #4 of 26 Old 04-07-2018, 05:34 PM
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I can't say what boxes will do for you in terms of sound quality but I can say that when I've run through my receivers calibration tones, the ones that are the loudest are the ceiling speakers as there's nothing stopping the sound coming through the floor. I really need to look into a solution for that in a finished ceiling.

If I were you, I'd definitely build sealed boxes with fill while your walls are open. It certainly can't hurt.
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post #5 of 26 Old 04-07-2018, 05:58 PM
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The internal size of any speaker backer box is dictated by the performance characteristics of the woofers in the speaker. For open back inwall speakers there is a minimum size recomended by the speaker designer. When you go smaller usually you will restrict the low end frequency response, which may not be an issure if your system has crossovers set at a higher frequency. The gold standard for in wall speaker installations would be those with totally sealed backs. Quality speakers of that design tend to be more pricey than the Polks.
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post #6 of 26 Old 04-07-2018, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodgieroo View Post
I can't say what boxes will do for you in terms of sound quality but I can say that when I've run through my receivers calibration tones, the ones that are the loudest are the ceiling speakers as there's nothing stopping the sound coming through the floor. I really need to look into a solution for that in a finished ceiling.

If I were you, I'd definitely build sealed boxes with fill while your walls are open. It certainly can't hurt.
I really think i'm going to do it. Built many many sub boxes out of MDF for cars over the years, so it's 2nd nature. I can't imagine it WON'T help.

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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
The internal size of any speaker backer box is dictated by the performance characteristics of the woofers in the speaker. For open back inwall speakers there is a minimum size recomended by the speaker designer. When you go smaller usually you will restrict the low end frequency response, which may not be an issure if your system has crossovers set at a higher frequency. The gold standard for in wall speaker installations would be those with totally sealed backs. Quality speakers of that design tend to be more pricey than the Polks.
Where would a person go to find these specs? For car subwoofers (my background, new to HT audio) it's a listed stat right along with everything else. I haven't seen this information on any of the speakers I considered.

Thanks!
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post #7 of 26 Old 04-07-2018, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Someone told me that the speakers want between 1.0 and 1.2 cu/ft ideal enclosure. Not sure if that's right, no email back from polk yet.

Anyways, if it WAS correct, i'd look about like this: (height in wall is not correct for the room, fyi)

35" tall, 3.5" deep, 14.5" wide = 1776.25 Cu/Inches = 1.03 Cu/ft.

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post #8 of 26 Old 04-08-2018, 05:40 AM
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did you subtract the thickness of the material in your calculation? At those dimensions if you use 3/4 MDF you end up with about 1/2 cu ft. You can either build a much bigger backerbox or anticipate losing some low end frequency response which as I mentioned earlier may not matter if it is below the cut off frequency of your surround sound set up, usually around 80hz. You can also somewhat compensate for a volume starved speaker with equalization

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post #9 of 26 Old 04-08-2018, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
did you subtract the thickness of the material in your calculation? At those dimensions if you use 3/4 MDF you end up with about 1/2 cu ft. You can either build a much bigger backerbox or anticipate losing some low end frequency response which as I mentioned earlier may not matter if it is below the cut off frequency of your surround sound set up, usually around 80hz. You can also somewhat compensate for a volume starved speaker with equalization
Those are inside dimensions, thickness of the material is irrelevant. My wall cavity is actually 5.5" deep, so the box can protrude back past the 2x4 studs that the wall was built with (for cost saving vs using 2x6 studs)

There was on stupid drain pipe that is 4.5" od running down the exterior wall I had to build around.

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post #10 of 26 Old 04-08-2018, 05:06 PM
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Hope this old thread helps:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...ret-sauce.html
Been there with the Polks. I received my initial help on the actual Polk audio site forum.

Thee Rock n' Roll Theatre-coming soon.
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post #11 of 26 Old 04-08-2018, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 69glamboy View Post
Hope this old thread helps:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...ret-sauce.html
Been there with the Polks. I received my initial help on the actual Polk audio site forum.
Ah yes - When I dug around my self a few nights ago, I found someone mention between 1.0 and 1.2 c/ft - which now that i've heard it twice is reassuring. Jury's still out on whether i'll hear back from Polk email support. Either way, i've got a plan that will put me just above 1.0.

Thank you!
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post #12 of 26 Old 04-09-2018, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt Helander View Post
Ah yes - When I dug around my self a few nights ago, I found someone mention between 1.0 and 1.2 c/ft - which now that i've heard it twice is reassuring. Jury's still out on whether i'll hear back from Polk email support. Either way, i've got a plan that will put me just above 1.0.

Thank you!
Is that 1x the cu ft of the speaker you’re fitting?

Big does it matter if the backer box is bigger than this? Looking at speakers with a sealed back such as MK 150s. @BIG
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post #13 of 26 Old 04-09-2018, 04:57 AM
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no they are designed to function in what amounts to open space, or at least the size of a stud cavity.
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In-wall speakers can function in an infinite baffle...meaning no back box. Is this the best situation? Usually not. But it will work.

I'm a structural engineer, and I have guidelines for how to place loads on structures. Additionally there are typical combinations loads I use. The key here is typical loads. The engineer(s) that designed your Polks are no different. They have to make an assumption of what the typical installation will be. Historically that was been an interior 2X4 stud wall with an 8ft ceiling and 16 inch on center stud spacing. [we can have 24 on center and 9 ft ceiling or more] I have spoken with one particular manufacturers R&D staff and they assume this wall configuration going into the design.

Ergo, 3.5 in x 14.5 inch x 93in = 4,720 in^3 = 2.73 ft^3

The manufacturer I am using for my HT build has a internally developed spreadsheet that you can adjust the back-box/wall cavity size and see what it does to the frequency response. Of little surprise 2.73 cuft matches their default (open) output/curve. If you make it bigger there is little effect. If we reduce the space to 0.5 cuft it flattens the mid bass ( above 120Hz ) but sharpens the roll of in the bass region. If you are using a sub to pick up the low end, not much harm in this. I've attached an image (with manufacturer names removed...) Magenta is default / open / stud wall. Blue is the predicted response with said size.

In the end of my ramble. Use a sub and 1-1.25 cuft should work great.
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post #15 of 26 Old 04-09-2018, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Helander View Post
Quick question I wasn't able to search for -

I am using in wall speakers, and wondering if i'll see a benefit from building backing back / enclosure for the speakers -

I don't much care about sound going into other rooms as much as I care about how things sound in the theater. Two of my walls are exterior walls, with just concrete backing - but they are 6" walls (because of plumbing runs) so i'll have a significant cavity behind these 3.5" deep speakers.

I was thinking of just building some simple MDF enclosures, sealing them to the drywall for an airtight fit.

I'm looking at using Polk 265RTs for my LR, and 255c-RT for the Center.

and the rears that are also external will be Polk RC65i's.

If it's a good idea to build these, how big should they be? I'm used to Car subwoofers telling you their ideal enclosure size, but I haven't been able to find that information for these speakers.

Thank you in advance!
Polk used to sell these "Performance Enclosure's" for the 265's just for that purpose, they are sized so that you would get similar performance to the floor standing speakers.

No longer available for purchase but easy enough to DIY. Size for the enclosure are under Specs in the link below.

https://www.adorama.com/pkaenctc265i...discontinued=t

https://pdf.crutchfieldonline.com/Im...107ENLC265.PDF

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post #16 of 26 Old 04-09-2018, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HighModulus View Post
In-wall speakers can function in an infinite baffle...meaning no back box. Is this the best situation? Usually not. But it will work.

I'm a structural engineer, and I have guidelines for how to place loads on structures. Additionally there are typical combinations loads I use. The key here is typical loads. The engineer(s) that designed your Polks are no different. They have to make an assumption of what the typical installation will be. Historically that was been an interior 2X4 stud wall with an 8ft ceiling and 16 inch on center stud spacing. [we can have 24 on center and 9 ft ceiling or more] I have spoken with one particular manufacturers R&D staff and they assume this wall configuration going into the design.

Ergo, 3.5 in x 14.5 inch x 93in = 4,720 in^3 = 2.73 ft^3

The manufacturer I am using for my HT build has a internally developed spreadsheet that you can adjust the back-box/wall cavity size and see what it does to the frequency response. Of little surprise 2.73 cuft matches their default (open) output/curve. If you make it bigger there is little effect. If we reduce the space to 0.5 cuft it flattens the mid bass ( above 120Hz ) but sharpens the roll of in the bass region. If you are using a sub to pick up the low end, not much harm in this. I've attached an image (with manufacturer names removed...) Magenta is default / open / stud wall. Blue is the predicted response with said size.

In the end of my ramble. Use a sub and 1-1.25 cuft should work great.
Interesting. Thank you for your input. The main reason why I'm looking into this, is because how my wall is built - with 2x6 top and bottom plates, but 2x4 studs (there was a pipe requiring 2x6 overall wall) - it would make the speakers open to the whole back wall space, which to me seems like bad idea just for each individual speaker, but then again also for the fact that there would be 3 speakers sharing that space. Not to mention it's an exterior wall, so no drywall tight against the otherside anyways.

I think i should be able to accomplish this with a single sheet of 4x8 3/4 mdf and some sealant.

Wall:
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post #17 of 26 Old 04-09-2018, 10:58 AM
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I have a similar issue where my basement floor is dropped 17 inches for the theater. I will have to run new 10 ft studs that will be 1 inch off the existing walls. Just like you any in-wall I put in would leak / communicate with any other speakers. Not desirable.

So I have picked 3/4" MDF panel from local home improvement store to do exactly what you are. MDF rear and front plate with 2x4 studs. The MDF will be a more solid mounting surface for any in-wall. My 3 LCR in-walls will be behind the screen. So finished looks don't matter for me. But even using acoustically transparent art or cloth can hide in-walls with a full MDF front/back box.

Picture is from local Magnolia room. The B&W speaker has its own back box. But the MDF is a better mounting surface than drywall. They have them covered with artwork (bottom of frame)

good luck
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post #18 of 26 Old 04-09-2018, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighModulus View Post
I have a similar issue where my basement floor is dropped 17 inches for the theater. I will have to run new 10 ft studs that will be 1 inch off the existing walls. Just like you any in-wall I put in would leak / communicate with any other speakers. Not desirable.

So I have picked 3/4" MDF panel from local home improvement store to do exactly what you are. MDF rear and front plate with 2x4 studs. The MDF will be a more solid mounting surface for any in-wall. My 3 LCR in-walls will be behind the screen. So finished looks don't matter for me. But even using acoustically transparent art or cloth can hide in-walls with a full MDF front/back box.

Picture is from local Magnolia room. The B&W speaker has its own back box. But the MDF is a better mounting surface than drywall. They have them covered with artwork (bottom of frame)

good luck
Very interesting. I wasn't planning on doing an MDF front, but maybe I will, and i'll just set things up so that I can still cover it with drywall (as mine will be exposed).

Thank you for the input!
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post #19 of 26 Old 04-16-2018, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Just to wrap up this thread -

Here is what I ended up doing - I used 1/2 MDF vs 3/4 because I decided to do MDF fronts on the boxes AS WELL as the 1/2" drywall, so i'll have a 1" "wall thickness" for the speakers to clamp to, which should be very secure.

I used wood glue and 2" brads to build the boxes, then used some general purpose sealant on the seams. Got them all mounted and in the correct positions, and now we're ready for drywall.

Thanks everyone who gave input / helped with this!

Building!




All finished:






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post #20 of 26 Old 04-16-2018, 04:41 PM
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Are you making boxes for the ceiling? I get a tan of sound in my kitchen from my ceiling speakers.
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post #21 of 26 Old 04-16-2018, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Are you making boxes for the ceiling? I get a tan of sound in my kitchen from my ceiling speakers.
So, I thought about it. Being that the drywall is already up, and the wiring was already in place (I ran it while the house was being built) all I have to do is cut the hole and mount the speakers. I really can't take down the drywall at this point without cutting it, since the sheets are 12' and most extend through an adjoining wall.

In the end - I figured, i'm doing absolutely no soundproofing in the rest of the room, and the effort required for these just doesn't make sense to me, so I'm going to leave them.

I am already thinking about the version 2.0 plan - where after 5 or so years i'm totally sick of all the sound leaking out, and i rip all the drywall down and completely isolate the room, but this isn't that theater yet, for budgetary and time reasons.
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Hey Matt - just went through this HT build thread. Nice work!

I am part way through my own, and have chosen the exact same Polk in-wall speakers for front/center/rear channels.

I also have them mounted in a wall space which has more volume than a standard wall stud would, and so was interested in your backer box build.

How did that work out? Are you satisfied with the sound you are getting from the Polk's with the backer boxes now that you are done?

Thanks in advance,

Brian.
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post #23 of 26 Old 03-12-2019, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Matt - just went through this HT build thread. Nice work!

I am part way through my own, and have chosen the exact same Polk in-wall speakers for front/center/rear channels.

I also have them mounted in a wall space which has more volume than a standard wall stud would, and so was interested in your backer box build.

How did that work out? Are you satisfied with the sound you are getting from the Polk's with the backer boxes now that you are done?

Thanks in advance,

Brian.
It worked out wonderfully. There is no booming or weird vibrations in the walls or throughout the room. That 3/4" MDF really kills any sounds coming not from the front. I do think it's important to seal the boxes too. I caulked the inside seams as i built, and even filled in the speaker wire hole once the boxes were installed. Also to note, if you build the boxes to the 1.0 cu/ft that Polk recommends, DO NOT add any poly fill or anything to the boxes - it will change the sound and effectively make the box bigger.

I don't have a single complaint about the sound and speakers now that it's done. I was initially a bit bummed because I felt that I was compromising by buying the Polks - I Initially had planned on using Klipsch In-walls, but when I decided to pull the trigger and finish the room last year, I had to make some budget adjustments and that's how I ended up with Polk. Now I can say that I'm extremely happy that I DIDN'T spend the extra money. Not saying the Klipsch wouldn't be better, but the Polks meet all my expectations for my specific situation and are an excellent value for the money.

Thanks!
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post #24 of 26 Old 05-20-2019, 07:07 AM
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Was the box for your Center the same cu ft volume as the L and R? It looks bigger in the pic. Thanks!
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post #25 of 26 Old 05-20-2019, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Was the box for your Center the same cu ft volume as the L and R? It looks bigger in the pic. Thanks!
Yep - Same internal volume. The stud cavity that i needed to cut out to get it centered in the room made it a wider box than the others, so it's not as thick. That was the fun part of making all those - all of them were different based on the stud placement and the depth I had to work with. ALLL THE MATHS! lol
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post #26 of 26 Old 05-20-2019, 10:39 AM
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Thanks! And one more question: it doesn’t like like the opening is centred vertically in the box. Was there any particular reason for this?
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