But since I live in a townhouse with adjoining walls I am wondering if in wall speakers would be much noisier to the opposite room?
The short answer is yes. I think you would have some very unhappy neighbors if you put in-walls in the common wall between the units. Even a non-common wall might be a problem because sound travels much more efficiently through the solid structure of the building than through the air. It's best for townhouse dwellers to keep the speakers acoustically isolated from the structure.
Almost all inwall speakers are direct descendants of car speakers...open-back plates. The singular advantage is they are inexpensive. The disadvantages are myriad.
Any real loudspeaker needs an enclosure, and not an arbitrary wall space to serve as a baffle. An optional "back box" isn't any better, because it changes the Q of the speaker system, and it's usually flimsy.
Believe me, I've avoided this subject here because Triad is the only company that manufactures a complete line of high end custom speakers that actually have fully engineered and extensively braced enclosures, and I didn't want to crow. The sonic advantages of an enclosure are obvious, but just as important is the fact that an overbuilt, solid cabinet will not allow back waves to bleed through the wall into adjacent rooms. Ask any Triad dealer, and you'll get a bit of a smug smile...
Someone please tell me how open back plate speakers can have predictable results when every wall cavity is different. And when the fully enclosed inwall speaker uses drivers from Seas, scan-speak, Vifa, or Peerless, the results are even better. Triad inwalls start at $700 a pair, and a high-zoot inwall home theater speaker setup can exceed $20,000, and all products are made in batch sizes of one, to order. You can actually integrate high-end sound into a room without big, obtrusive boxes. (Of course, we also make big obtrusive boxes...)
I thought a crowd of enthusiasts would like to see the interior of one of our raw enclosures. This is a $2000 each InRoom Silver Monitor, and we manufacture the enclosure and use assymetrical bracing, foam, and a unique clay filled rubber compound to absorb and diffuse back waves. The two $2200 InWall Silver Monitors use the same drivers and similar bracing. They are designed to flush mount in either a 4" or 6" stud depth, and the hand welded frame and grill can be custom paint matched by Triad. The two 5.25" drivers in this speaker are the same two 5.25" scan-speaks that are used in the $37,500 per pair Krell LAT-1. Our Seas tweeter was four times as much, though...
Triads are real nice enclosed in walls, for sure. However, depending on your budget, they may be out of reach for some. There are other enclosed in walls available, but they have enclosures made out of other materials such as metal, plastic. MTX's new line has plastic backboxes. Posh also has in walls with plastic backboxes. Speakercraft has metal backboxes which are sold separately, and have to be installed during preconstruction. Also, Niles has higher end in walls which come complete with an acoustical in wall treatment called Acoutacell. It actually creates an acoutical cavity inside your wall. But lets face it folks, depending on the SPL you achieve, even the Triads can create problems between you and your neighbors. I had this problem in my previous house (which was also a townhouse) and due to the bad blood that developed with one of the neighbors as a result of this, we moved to an individual home on a dead end street. Now I create excessive SPL's, and no problem ( as long as my family is not home).
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