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With only 14.5 of depth in the room, I really don't want to sacrifice space with an AT screen to hide speakers behind. I love the look of a clean theatre without floor standing speakers. I am looking at Klipsch reference level of price/quality... is it possible to get to that level of quality with in wall speakers? Any other creative ideas that I should be thinking about for audio?
 

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I think you might have enough room to put the speakers behind the screen if you want. Go to a home theater store and check out something with a similar screen size and see how you feel about a shorter viewing distance. You can use the thickness of the wall to recess the speakers. Remove the drywall from the theater side to gain more depth from speakers. Of course that means you will loose insulation from the wall which is going to allow sound to transmit though it. So it might not be worth it unless you need those last few inches.
 

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Remove the drywall from the theater side to gain more depth from speakers. Of course that means you will loose insulation from the wall which is going to allow sound to transmit though it. So it might not be worth it unless you need those last few inches.
This.

I did this in my room to the extreme (see build in my signature). The door to the room is only a few inches from the corner of the room, but I removed the wall panels and I'm using the previous window wells and wall furnace hole for speaker depth.

I haven't measured, but I'd bet removing the drywall and insulation and replacing it with strips of drywall placed between the affected studs and Green Glue in between would give you about the same level of sound isolation as a typical wall & insulation.
 

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Like you, I was fighting for space and didn't have the luxury of losing a couple of feet behind an AT screen. With some compromises, I was still able to hide the speakers behind the screen while still maintaining sufficient distance between screen and front row.

I only have 10" from my screen surface to the drywall behind my screen. In that space, I managed to cram 2" of acoustic treatments, in-wall speakers (mounted on-wall to keep them proud of the acoustic treatments), and the framing for the false wall. I opted to stick the sub in the back of the room instead of building a bump out below the screen, but you could do that if you wanted.

Here is a link showing the acoustic treatments and speakers. You could do something similar with a nice pair of Triads.

And a link showing the false wall.

It didn't leave me a ton of room, but I even had room to put in some speaker uplights.
 

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You could also custom build a set of speakers with a thin cabinet, but that is a lot of work and takes research to do a good job. If you desire a wide screen and you don't want to put the speakers to the side you could run them horizontal just below the screen in a custom built cabinet that would protrude from the wall. It's not the best for acoustics since typically you want the speakers at ear level, but you could point them up so they are directed towards your ear when seated.
 
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