High urgency in-wall sub question from a frustrated forum member.
My wife and I are in the midst of a major remodel. Original notion was that we were going to have one "TV room" with 5.1 through in- or on-walls, but a more substantial home theater room to house an upgrade to my existing B&W system (802s, HTM center, 805 surrounds, ASW800 sub). Budget, time, and available space have conspired to deny me (for the present) my dedicated HT room. Instead, we have an upgraded TV room, utilizing an existing 13' (the wall on which the monitor will be located) by 12' by 10' high room. It is not going to be a full enclosed space. There will be a four or five foot entrance in the back left (as you face the screen) that will NOT have a door. I pretty quickly settled on B&W Signature 8s for front, left, and center (plasma monitor allows this), with B&W in-ceilings for the surrounds.
In the beginning, we were thinking about sticking with a conventional box subwoofer. In the midst of the install, though, the installer suggested an in-wall subwoofer--an idea to which my wife immediately gravitated. I was not so sanguine. To the extent I've ever given a moment's passing thought to an in-wall sub, it would've struck me as kind of a dumb idea. While I have a "firred-out" wall that has been constructed to give me about 8" of clearance from a sheer wall that is behind, I would've assumed that putting a sub in a wall would give you (1) compromised performance and (2) risk rattling the other components into audio or video misperformance. The installer thinks this is all controllable, but I'd probably reject the idea out of hand but for (1) my wife's enthusiasm and (2) the fact that an in-wall sub (if it works) probably makes sense for this particular application, where dedicating a lot of floor space to one or two subs probably doesn't make sense.
Unfortunately, we are only a few days away from dry wall installation, so I need to pull the trigger on the issue quickly. After hammering away at the forum, a few other forums, and Google, I've come up with a number of possible alternatives. My issues--and I'd welcome comments telling me that my priorities are misplaced--are:
1. Performance--I'm more about accuracy that earth-rattling bass.
2. Isolation via the subwoofer cabinet/backbox from the rest of the wall. I am realistic that putting a sub in a wall requires a fair bit of vibration, but I do not want to be rattling my plasma or shaking the Signature 8s (which do have their own backboxes) into poor performance.
3. Flexibility of configuration. I am VERY nervous about the inability to tweak in-wall subs. Obviously, once they are in, they're in--and you're not going to be able to move them to tweak performance.
I would greatly appreciate any thoughts, comments, responses on these options, or on any others you think I should consider:
Atlantic Technology IWTS 8: This is the first thing I saw that interested me--frankly based not on the THX Ultra rating but on the very substantial backboxes and on the highly configurable amp that is used to drive them. My AV supplier, however, is not an Atlantic dealer and fell all over himself dumping on the "lack of musicality" of the Atlantic speakers (although I doubt he has any experience with these subs). Although it would be a royal pain in the backside to integrate the local Atlantic dealer, who of course is eager to put his own fingerprints on the previous designed system--did I mention the B&W Sig 8 backboxes are already installed?--I am still considering this option.
Definitive Technology IW Sub 10/10: This is the choice of my B&W supplier who is, natch, also a Definitive dealer. I know that Definitive has a lot of supporters, but I've never been crazy about their sound, and never thought of them as particularly musical. But I've never listened to their subs--and of course I think this in-wall is a very new product for them anyways. (Dealer doesn't have any installed in his location.) The electronics don't seem very configurable at all. Cheaper option than the Atlantic, obviously--probably $1800 total for two subs plus amp as opposed to $3600. Also worried that the device won't be as sonically contained/isolated as the Atlantic with the big back boxes.
Triad Bronze/6: I know the Triad people post here, and what I've been able to find about the subs has all been very positive. Haven't yet tried to figure out how much hassle it would be to find a San Francisco Bay Area dealer, and whether that dealer is going to want to do their own install or whatever. The electronics look quite good, although they don't seem to offer the equalization/tweaks of the Atlantic. (Not to open the whole equalization can of worms.) I also wonder whether the enclosure is as successful at dampening as the Atlantic backboxes.
Let me close with a pointless rant about the state of mid- to hi-fi retailing and installation. Maybe I'm unusual in this, but I would rather pay a competitive price for the equipment and an hourly rate for consulting time than be forced to pay retail on the equipment on the theory that consulting is built into the retail/lack of a discount. Why? Because the advice that you get as "part of the price" is inherently compromised. There are so many manufacturers out there, and of course each dealer is only going to be able to handle a small fraction of them. And thus you are "paying" for consulting time of someone with a huge conflict-of-interest with regard to the advice he is giving you.
End rant. At least I have the forum to help me.
Thanks in advance,