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In-ceiling speakers are an excellent way to build a home theater system that rumbles and resonates without large physical units getting in the way of space or decor. Sound bars, subwoofers, and satellite speakers are great — and a lot of brands make exceptionally stylish versions — but for many people, the more discreet fit of in-wall speakers make for a cleaner, more organized aesthetic.
As the name suggests, in-ceiling speakers are speakers that are built into your walls or ceilings, with sound that is directed down towards the room. In order to install in-ceiling speakers, you would typically have to call a professional audio company to run the wires, make sure power is evenly distributed, and fine tune the system. With the advent of Bluetooth and WiFi technology, however, those days are nearly gone. If cutting drywall, patching and painting isn’t on your skill list, then by all means call professionals – that is still the best way to get the best system. However, it is significantly easier to install a bigger system without wires these days too.
When building a home theater system with in-ceiling speakers, there are two main factors to pay attention to: how many speakers are needed, and where they go. To design a properly-balanced home theater experience, you’ll want to know not only which speakers to choose based on capabilities, but also how those speakers will work in a given space. A basic rule is that more speakers are better than less. Additionally, good speakers placed correctly can be better than excellent speakers placed incorrectly.
For overall sound coverage, it is important to make sure the listening areas are covered. Making sure that four corners of the listening area are covered will help to ensure that sound is evenly distributed and prevent you from having to crank the volume up too loud. For smaller rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, or home office settings — or any other space that is not big enough for multiple speakers — a stereo input speaker will work wonders. These speakers cover the left and right channels of audio within one speaker, meaning they are great for space efficiency, without giving up sound quality.
The list below provides options that suit most scenarios. Whether you pick up dual stereo speaker pairs or individual speakers with stereo capacity, these speakers are sure to transform any home into a professionally outfitted, multi-room HiFi experience.
1. Polk Audio RC80i
The RC80i incorporates an 8″ dynamic woofer an a 1″ tweeter to deliver well-balanced sound no matter where you’re listening. Sound seemingly radiates around you and throughout the room rather than hitting a single “sweet spot.”
The added rubber seal makes the RC80is perfect for humid environments such as a bathroom or kitchen – add rust resistance and these speakers hit on all levels. Expect solid construction, durable parts, and loud and balanced sound.
PROS: Exceptionally high-quality audio and craftsmanship.
CONS: Some found installation to be a little difficult.
2. Pyle WiFi/Bluetooth Speakers
Pyle’s 5.25″ WiFi/Bluetooth-capable in-ceiling speakers are a wonderful upgrade to a home theater system. Their seamless integration via multiple smartphone and smart home apps mean they are easy to control throughout the house. With “two-way full range stereo” these speakers are great for smaller rooms where multiple independent speakers are not an option. Adding two of these is almost like adding four independent units.
PROS: WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities mean easier install and more on-demand control throughout the house.
CONS: Smaller speaker cone than some peers; it doesn’t stop these speakers from bumping, but for larger spaces these speakers may be less powerful.
3. Pyle Hardwired Speakers
Though hardwiring speakers is a bit more installation-intensive, the peace of mind knowing that WiFi nor Bluetooth strength is a determining factor in the speakers is nice. The 6.5″ reinforced polypropylene cones and 1/2″ high compliance polymer tweeter mean rich and developed stereo sound throughout.
PROS: Great sound quality and construction.
CONS: Independent stereo means that multiple speakers will be necessary for full enjoyment; making sure appropriate space and design is possible will be key.
4. Yamaha 3-Way In-Ceiling Speaker System
This set from Yamaha featured a unique tilted woofer design that spreads sound out more evenly and with more dispersion.
Thanks to Yamaha’s decades of audio engineering, sounds are also more natural sounding and less artificially boosted. It’s great for hearing music through your ceiling speakers, for a more authentic experience. Highs and mids are clear, and bass is punchy, even without a subwoofer.
The set includes two, 6.5″ polypropylene mica cone woofers, a dual 3/4″ dome tweeter and the swivel tweeter. The speakers are also surrounded by a protective cover and an aluminum grille that you can paint over to match your decor scheme.
PROS: Easy to install.
CONS: Works best at low to mid-volume levels, not on full blast.