Video and Audio Center Blog



Friday, March 18, 2016

HIDING SOUND IN THE WALLS


People love the idea of having music inside their homes, but despair at having to figure out the best place for putting the speakers or which rooms to use. Not to mention all the physical problems associated with having to run wires to/from the speakers. Even the advent of wireless transmissions doesn’t obviate the problems just because streaming is now added to the mix. So the solution would seem to be to find a way to have your speakers without having to turn the house inside out. Or making the speakers the focus of the room (for that, a big screen 4K TV gets the job done). Taking a cue from those living in apartments in New York City where horizontal space is a premium, what about making use of the wall space that doesn't get used for anything more than a picture or three? In-wall speakers are the answer.

IN-WALL SPEAKERS

An in-wall speaker doesn't occupy floor or shelf space, but what is it exactly? At its core, this is a speaker that does not have a cabinet surrounding its audio drivers -- the audio components that generate the sound. That's not to say that there is no enclosure around it, but the enclosure is radically different from a speaker that you'd see standing on the floor or placed on a shelf or on a speaker stand. The enclosure is designed to sit "inside" the wall, with a grillwork or even a totally "invisible" front hiding the speaker within (this exists for in-ceiling speakers just as well, with the only difference from an in-wall speaker being as the name implies).

HIDDEN SOUND

The sound that these now "hidden" speakers put out are also of good quality -- the days of having to compromise between choosing a speaker that sounds good or one that can be put inside a wall placement no longer exists. One great advantage of these type of speakers is that often they can be "aimed" -- the drivers physically able to be manipulated — so that the sound they are emitting can take into account the space/room they are placed in and be directed towards the listener. This can be very important when stereo is the audio result desired, because of the need for the creation of a sound-field that provides a proper spacing between speakers so as to maximize the stereo effect. The same holds true for multichannel audio (a.k.a., surround sound).

SELECT THE NUMBER

Deciding on the number of speakers for a particular space is totally dependent on what kind of sound is wanted. For a kitchen, one speaker could be ideal, while a home theater setup will require a number of them. Fortunately there's no restrictions on the size or frequency response that in-wall speakers have so it's easy to match the type needed against the desired "effect" of the sound for the chosen space. Obviously the speakers must also be matched up with the audio components that will be powering them -- the AV Receiver or Network audio server for example. By matched up, it is meant that the amount of power needed for the speakers need to be within the range being put out by the audio powering systems. This also includes the frequency response; speakers for a home theater requiring a greater frequency response so as to better duplicate the human ear than is needed for a speaker in a bathroom where "singing in the shower" is the order of the day. A subwoofer will also be a valid addition (especially in the case of a home theater audio setup), with the ability to place them inside a wall being as possible as going the (somewhat) more exotic route of placing them into the flooring.

WIRING THE SETUP

What's less open to personal interpretation is the wiring of the speakers to the audio components that will power them (I.e., that AV receiver or network server device). While self powered and wireless speakers can be had, for most practical applications wiring must be done through the wall/ceilings. This forces attention not just on the physical requirements such as using the correct kind of cabling for the speakers and avoiding electrical wiring inside walls, but also on the restrictions placed on homes by the city and state government. This is why a professional installer service, for example Just One Touch, becomes a necessity, and not just because they have the equipment and know how to get the job done. Since the installation must meet the codes and restrictions aforementioned, these companies don’t just know how to proceed, but know exactly how to do so within the required guidelines.

Having in-wall speakers can open up your entire living spaces to music in a way that is unprecedented while also preserving the appearance of the home. What are you waiting for?



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