In-wall speakers are the stealth fighters of the sound world. Hiding in walls, camouflaged in ceiling tiles, lurking behind priceless pieces of art, these nifty little additions to your custom home theater fade into the décor and out of sight.
There is a reason for the increasing popularity of such sneaky little audio systems—they do their work faithfully without announcing their presence, and that can make all the difference for people who want to enjoy killer sound while keeping their entertainment rooms looking tidy, antiseptic, and livable.
Dispelling the Dirty Rumors
Over the years, quite a few sound lovers have snubbed their noses at in-walls, maligning them as cheap alternatives for consumers who care more about the look of their home theater systems than about sound of their speakers.
It’s an unfair charge. A dirty little rumor.
While many believe they produce inferior sound quality, the truth is that hidden speakers have gotten a bum rap because, once upon a time, the market was flooded with second-rate units. Of course, cheap speakers create cheap sound, whether they are in-walls or in-rooms. Comparing a substandard in-wall speaker to a top-of-the-line freestanding speaker is like comparing ninjas and cowboys.
In-Wall or In-Room: Choosing the Right Speaker
Thankfully, things have changed. Nowadays, there are plenty of high-end units that can match the best freestanding speaker, soundwave for soundwave. Clandestine speakers also have some hidden powers of their own. Here are four cool features that set in-walls apart from their grounded cousins.
#1. They’re Stealthy
The first advantage of in-wall speakers is their main selling point: They’re hidden. Invisible, but hardly silent. For many people, it’s a make-or-break feature.
After all, you spend a good deal of time designing your home, particularly your living or entertainment room. It’s where you sit every night with your family, where you bring your friends, and where you entertain your boss. Every item of furniture is carefully selected. Every color, pillow, drape, and piece of art is painstakingly chosen.
Then you haul in those jumbo speakers and wires, and they stand out like sore thumbs in an otherwise perfectly planned room.
In-wall speakers were conceived specifically for such a scenario. Some units are designed to sit flush against the wall; others protrude ever so slightly. Either way, you get the most unobtrusive set of speakers imaginable.
#2. They’re Camouflaged
Add camouflage to that stealth power, and you have a wickedly sly little sound system. With a little custom home theater installation, you can plaster and paint over your speakers so they disappear without a trace.
You can also fit them into ceiling tiles, place them behind pieces of art, or cover them up with wall fabric. Nowadays, you can even buy speakers that double as LED lights.
With such a variety of disguises, it’s easier than ever to find sound systems that blend seamlessly into the surrounding décor.
#3. They Sound Better
Given the reputation of in-wall speakers, you’d hardly think better sound quality was a major selling point, but you would be (at least partially) wrong. Not only can high-end in-walls compete with their freestanding rivals, but they also bring some acoustic benefits of their own.
By installing a speaker directly into the wall, you eliminate one more surface off of which soundwaves can bounce. Reducing the reflection can help cut down on those annoying peaks and dips. Some audiophiles have even noticed that in-wall speakers up the gain in the bass frequencies.
Of course, each speaker has its upsides and downsides. In the end, you have to choose the unit that sounds best in your home.
#4. They’re Space-Savers
Between your oversized sofa, your colossal bookshelf, and your giant entertainment center, trying to squeeze a few extra inches out of an already tight space can prove challenging.
Enter the in-wall speakers. Being able to install a system directly into the wall or ceiling is critical if you have a small or odd-shaped room.
It’s also a plus if you want surround sound but don’t have the right setup. Let’s say you have a spacious living room but no wall behind your couch. You could set up a few freestanding speakers, if you don’t mind an accident waiting to happen. Of course, between Junior’s indoor soccer game and your beer-drenched Super Bowl party, there are plenty of reasons to tuck your speakers safely away.
The Whole Picture
All in all, in-wall speakers are a great pick for those with specific needs. Anyone who puts a premium on style, space, and safety would do well to consider these ninja sound systems. For the right person and the right living arrangement, they offer the perfect balance between aesthetics and sound quality.