Built-in speakers. 14 models for ceiling installation.
Of all types of speaker systems, built-in is the most inconspicuous, therefore it is doomed to popularity in the age of designer interiors, “multiroom” and multichannel home theaters. Customers today value style and comfort more than delivering ultimate audio quality. But even for audiophiles in the class of expensive built-in, there are models that are in no way inferior in reproduction quality to cabinet acoustics of a similar class and cost..
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The installation is very diverse, offering solutions not only for ordinary home installations, but also for more difficult cases such as bathroom, swimming pool, sundeck or sailing yacht. We discussed the advantages and categories of built-in acoustics in detail in the article “Built-in acoustics in modern architectural projects”, so we will not repeat ourselves. Let’s just note that the built-in acoustics are divided into two large groups according to the place of installation – in the wall or in the ceiling.
The advantage of a ceiling installation is that a suspended ceiling is enough for installation, and for installation in a wall, you either need to make a niche in the main wall, or build a false wall, which will, albeit slightly, but reduce the useful area of the room. In addition to its practicality, the ceiling mount is also very functional, ideal for background sound, surround back or overhead channels of a home theater. And models with directional radiators can replace speakers of a stereo system or even the main channels of a home theater.
In this review, we will try to tell, using the example of specific models, what a modern ceiling installation is like. Due to the huge variety of the installation market, our review does not pretend to cover all possible options, but we will provide several solutions for typical tasks of ceiling installation.
The first task of the ceiling installation is the background sounding of the premises; inexpensive, compact models are usually chosen for it, a large coverage area is desirable (wide directivity diagram), and at the same time, less stringent requirements are imposed on acoustics for the reproduction quality. Background sound can also be required at home – in the hallway, kitchen, bathroom, loggia – and in commercial projects, for example, in the sales area. Many models in this category can be used in multichannel audio systems for surround back or height channels.
An installation for background sounding often has to work in conditions of high humidity, whether it be a bathroom or an open veranda, so the acoustics often have some kind of all-weather properties. For example, the most compact and inexpensive model in this review, the Magnat Interior ICP 52, has a waterproof design, and the KEF Ci160.2CR generally deserves a “marine class” protection and can be installed on yachts. The Monitor Audio C180-T2 model also has an all-weather design, but its key feature is different – the built-in alone can reproduce stereo, having two tweeters and a mid / low frequency driver with a dual voice coil.
The Artison ARCHT-6-SSTT model has a similar function, but the cost of this installation goes a class higher, claiming the status of “background Hi-Fi”.
Scoring a country house.
Another feasible task of a ceiling installation is to work in stereos and on home theater channels, including the main ones. For such an installation, the issue of radiation directivity must be resolved without fail, improved speakers are used in the design of the speakers, the bass driver is increased to give more low frequencies. Manufacturers solve the directivity problem in different ways, someone unfolds the emitters or uses rotary mechanisms, others, like the above-mentioned KEF or DALI company, expand the directivity pattern. As a rule, such an installation additionally has advanced tonal balance adjustments.
Naturally, it is impossible to draw a sharp line between the “background” ceiling installation and universal models that can cope with both tasks. Rather, it is a matter of expediency. In our review, we can single out several universal models from the middle price group: for example, all-weather OSD Black R62SM, all-weather and ultra-thin Monitor Audio CSS230, with a minimum installation depth of only 50 mm. The DALI Phantom E-60 models are particularly distinguished by the directivity settings: in a stereo system, the sound can be focused, and for background sound or surround DK channels, on the contrary, to expand the coverage area.
The DALI Phantom H-60 is an example of a square recessed installation that can be installed equally well in a wall or in a ceiling. And the Lithe Audio plug-in offers a unique wireless interface and Wi-Fi control. Lithe Audio’s built-in media server supports audio streaming and multi-room.
Ceiling installation in the children’s room.
In a more expensive set-up, one can rarely see any fundamentally new technologies, but there is still a difference – it is contained in the quality of components and, accordingly, in the quality of sound. Such acoustics usually belong to older built-in series and boast a good power reserve, natural reproduction and deep bass. In our review, the Sonance VP66R, Artison ARCHT-6 and Monitor Audio CP-CT380 models can be attributed to the “guard” of the ceiling installation. The JAMO IC 608 LCR FG II model is worth looking at as an example of a dedicated ceiling mount for home theater LCR channels.
Made in the image and likeness of the branded mini-monitors, the M&K Sound IW5 models have a verified tonal balance of reproduction and can be used in very serious systems, for example, on the overhead channels of a Dolby Atmos home theater.
Magnat Interior ICP 52.
affordable cost; compact size; moisture resistant design; adjustment of the directivity and sound level of the tweeter; simplified installation.
Ceiling model ICP 52 is a representative of the junior series from the family of architectural acoustics of the German company Magnat, and, moreover, one of the most compact built-in models in its category. The diameter of the outer frame of the ICP 52 is only 202 mm, the mounting hole is only 168 mm and the installation depth is 81 mm. Really, the acoustics will occupy the minimum space on the ceiling, requiring a very shallow niche.
For quick and easy installation, the ICP 52 is equipped with four Dogleg type brackets.
The design feature of the ICP 52 is the body with a wide outer flange in white, while the grill fits into the inner diameter of the body frame and is mechanically held. This is the only speaker in the review that does not have a magnetic grill, but it is also the most affordable. The radiators on the ICP 52 façade are arranged in a way that is natural for ceiling acoustics – coaxial. The total range is divided into two bands with a 4 kHz section.
The crossover is assembled from high-quality radio elements, the acoustic terminals are gold-plated. The ICP 52 mid-woofer is equipped with a 130 mm polypropylene cone. Semicircular rubber surround contributes to increased diffuser travel. The tweeter is equipped with a 19 mm PET thermoplastic dome.
The swivel joint of the tweeter allows it to be rotated in any direction, tilting at an angle of up to 35º from the normal. The high-frequency sound level can be adjusted using the switch, choosing one of three positions + 2/0 / -2 dB. True, the adjustment will have to be done before final installation, since the switch is located on the back of the acoustics.
Polymer emitters ICP 52 allow you to build the model in wet rooms, for example, in a bathroom.
Note that, with good functionality, the Magnat Interior ICP 52 ceiling installation has a very favorable cost: it is, as they say, practical and productive in German..
affordable price; wide and uniform directional pattern of sound; all-weather design; shallow installation depth; simplified installation; body with a minimum bezel; magnetic grill; rear box option.
The British brand KEF needs no special introduction – it is one of the largest and most technologically advanced speaker manufacturers in the world. KEF has been engaged in built-in acoustics for a long time, having achieved considerable success in its development and promotion. And in this matter, the company was greatly helped by their proprietary Uni-Q technology, which perfectly fit into the philosophy of the installation. We have written several times about the features and advantages of Uni-Q, which has been defining the face and sound of KEF acoustics for many years.
But, in short, in technical terms, Uni-Q is fundamentally different from the common type of emitter arrangement – coaxial. It simply saves space, and Uni-Q, in addition to the small size of the module itself, combines the acoustic centers of the drivers, achieving perfect phase matching with a wide and uniform radiation directivity. The radiation cone is limited only by the profile of the low-frequency cone, which serves as a horn for the tweeter.
Ceiling installation model KEF Ci160.2CR belongs to the C series. By the way, until recently, the C-series speakers were hardly the only home (non-commercial) KEF installation where Uni-Q technology was not used, but the next line update eliminated this omission. This particular model is equipped with a Uni-Q module with a 160mm mid-woofer and a 16mm aluminum tweeter. The radiator bands are divided at a frequency of 2.8 kHz. The tweeter is housed in a proprietary Tangerine waveguide that protects the dome and improves angular uniformity of the tweeter sound.
With the Tangerine waveguide, the cone of uniform high-frequency radiation expands to 120º. Otherwise, the KEF Ci160.2CR has a fairly high sensitivity (89 dB) and sounds the frequency range 52 – 20k Hz (± 6 dB).
The column case is made of ABS plastic and has a diameter of 235 mm. The facade with an attached magnetic grill has a very narrow and inconspicuous outer frame (UTB – Ultra-Thin Bezel). Both the facade frame and the grill are paintable. The metal grill has a special anti-rust coating.
Grilling is just one part of the KEF’s Marine Grade inset manufacturing strategy: body and radiator materials are selected to protect the acoustics from moisture, UV, salt and temperature extremes. The water protection in the KEF Ci160.2CR complies with the IP64 standard. Thus, the model can be used in bathrooms, by the pools or installed on marine yachts..
The installation depth of the KEF Ci160.2CR does not exceed 85 mm. The reverse side of the acoustics is covered with a plastic screen, which makes the case structurally stronger and protects the elements of the crossover. Three Dogleg type mounts are used to mount the column.
As an option for the KEF Ci160.2CR model, the manufacturer offers a pre-installation frame and a rear box.
Monitor Audio C180-T2.
affordable price; stereo in one speaker; adjustable directivity of HF emitters; all-weather design; magnetic grill; simplified installation; option for square grill and mounting boxes; lifetime warranty.
By now the British company Monitor Audio has developed into one of the leading manufacturers of built-in acoustics with a huge range of products in this category. The Monitor Audio C180-T2 is part of the core Core family, offering affordable yet quality solutions for typical architectural projects..
Traditionally, the main information about it is encrypted in the name of the Monitor Audio model. The first letter – “C” – denotes belonging to the group of ceiling speakers. The next “1” after it defines the class of the speaker system – the first, basic technological step in the Monitor Audio hierarchy. According to it, the speaker is equipped with a C-CAM metal-ceramic tweeter with a proprietary “golden” dome and a midrange / bass driver made using MMP II technology – a polypropylene cone reinforced with metal particles. The number “80” defines the caliber of the bass driver, in this case 8 inches or 203 mm.
Finally, a design feature of the speaker system is indicated through a hyphen: “T2” is a double tweeter with stereo function in one speaker. In other words, Monitor Audio C180-T2 will serve where there is not enough space, for example, in the kitchen or hallway, creating a sense of surround stereo sound through only one speaker. High-quality plastic (ABS with reinforcing mineral impregnation) and metal diffusers are not afraid of high humidity, temperature changes and ultraviolet radiation, so the column is suitable for outdoor installations or in the bathroom.
Both tweeters are grouped in the center of the bezel, with minimal stereo imaging, but with independent pivoting mechanisms. The sensitivity of the high-frequency radiators can be adjusted with a switch on the facade, choosing one of three values: +3, 0, -3 dB. Equipped with a dual voice coil, the mid / bass driver features an oversized, vented motor and is capable of reproducing bass from 50 Hz.
The façade of the acoustics is covered with a metal grill 285 mm in diameter. The grill has a minimum frame size and does not stand out against the background of the ceiling after installation. The installation depth of the speaker is 122 mm. Like virtually all Monitor Audio units, the C180-T2 is equipped with the patented Tri-Grip mount system, which greatly saves installation time.
The Tri-Grip principle is similar to common Dogleg mounts: the clips roll inward when the face screws are loosened, and swing outward to grip the back of the wall when the screws are tightened. Without the need for optional mounting boxes, Tri-Grip mounts can be used to mount speakers in ceilings up to 45mm thick. The manufacturer offers a number of useful accessories for the C180-T2: an auxiliary (pre-installation) frame, a square grill and two versions of mounting boxes designed for installation in concrete or suspended ceilings.
The manufacturer gives a lifetime warranty for the built-in Monitor Audio C180-T2 model..
stereo in one speaker; deep bass in a compact size; frameless magnetic grill; simplified installation; hidden location of mounting screws on the front panel; square grill option.
The ARCHT-6-SSTT model in terms of dimensions and technology is a twin of the ARCHT-6 ceiling mount, which is also presented in our review. However, the ARCHT-6-SSTT has a different purpose – stereo in one speaker. A number of design changes have been made to the column to meet its objectives. The tweeters with soft domes made of synthetic fabric, protected by meshes and slightly spaced from the central axis, are one size smaller – their diameter is 19 mm.
The Kevlar diffuser of the midrange / bass driver retained the caliber of 165 mm, but its inner part was occupied by a fabric “accordion”, like a usual centering washer in the speaker. Perhaps this is what this design is. Of course, the speaker is ready to receive a stereo signal, having received two sets of gold-plated speaker connectors and a mid-woofer motor with two voice coils.
By the way, the design changes did not affect the bass performance of the ARCHT-6-SSTT, just like the regular version, this model is capable of reproducing bass from 45 Hz (± 3dB).
Other features of the installation include a magnet grill with an inconspicuous frameless design and a square grill option. We emphasize the small installation depth of 90 mm and the ease of installation using Dogleg type fasteners. Let’s also pay attention to the façade of the speaker system, on which the mounting screws are hidden.
Only this time, due to the lack of tone compensation switches, there are no slots in the removable diffraction ring at all, and the column facade looks completely monolithic.
DALI Phantom E-60.
improved directional control; simplified installation; shallow installation depth; waterproof design; magnetic grill; square grill and rear basket options.
This model is part of the Phantom E series of ceiling fittings manufactured by the renowned Danish company DALI (Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries). If desired, the Phantom E-60 model can be installed not only in the ceiling, but also in the wall, the compact body with a depth of only 95 mm does not require much space, at the same time, the speaker system is equipped with a 165 mm mid / bass driver capable of reproducing bass from 52 Hz. Therefore, the Phantom E-60 model can be used in various projects, whether it be background sounding or a stereo system in small and medium-sized rooms..
The thin metal grill with magnetic mounts has a minimal frame and is almost invisible after installation, allowing it to be painted to match the color of the installation surface. The Phantom E-60 is fixed to the ceiling or wall using four Dogleg mounts for easy and secure installation. By rearranging the clamps on the mounts, the speakers can be mounted in walls up to 7 cm thick. For optimal performance of the DALI Phantom E-60, the manufacturer recommends a mounting niche volume of 5 to 50 liters.
Optionally, the Phantom E-60 can be equipped with a square grill and a closed rear basket made of metal.
The Phantom E-60 features a 2-way crossover configuration with a 3.3 kHz crossover frequency. The speaker crossover is assembled on a separate board from selected radio elements designed for audio applications. The proprietary PTC system protects the speakers from overheating and damage when playing sound at too high volume.
The midrange / woofer diffuser, made of polypropylene, and the 28-mm soft dome with a special coating can work in an environment with high humidity, so models can be installed on open verandas, in bathrooms, pools, etc..
A façade with a slightly tilted midrange / woofer and a slightly off-axis tweeter allowed the engineers to achieve a special directionality from the Phantom E-60. The manufacturer recommends to deploy the acoustics so that the tweeter module is located closer to the listening area. In order not to be mistaken, a kind of “compass” with deflection angles is applied along the perimeter of the front panel: the correct acoustic axis is where 0º.
However, the Danish engineers did not limit themselves to a simple directionality, equipping the models with two radiation dispersion switches. Of the two Focus / Distrib switch positions, the first is used in a situation where the listening area falls within a 25-degree deviation of the “compass”, otherwise, for example, if you want a larger listening area, the directional pattern of the speakers can be expanded by selecting the second position of the switch. For particularly challenging situations where the speakers are far apart and it is not possible to get into the favorable radiation cones, the Phantom E-60 has a Normal / HF Tilt switch.
Moving the switch to the “HF Tilt” position by 3 dB increases the level of high frequencies, objectively expanding the directivity of the high-frequency component of the sound.
DALI Phantom H-60.
improved playback quality; facade from MDF; magnetic grill; simplified installation; shallow installation depth; overhead cable security option.
DALI loudspeakers have a square façade with a side of 300 mm and a depth of 95 mm. Although the speakers are not positioned coaxially, which is typical for wall mounting, the Phantom H-60 models are also suitable for ceiling mounting. They even have a safety loop, with which the acoustics can be tied with a steel cable, for example, to a ceiling beam, additionally protecting it from falling out (such insurance will not be superfluous in seismically hazardous regions).
The speakers are equipped with a thin metal grill with an inconspicuous frame of the minimum size, so after installing the Phantom H-60 they will become almost invisible. The grill allows dyeing in any desired color. To install the Phantom H-60, convenient Dogleg type mounts (8 pieces) are used, which ensure ease and reliability of installation.
The mounting clips can be turned over, making it possible to mount the speakers in walls up to 7 cm thick.For optimal performance of the DALI Phantom H-60, the manufacturer recommends the volume of the installation niche from 10 to 35 liters.
The Phantom H-60’s design effortlessly pursues a focus on improved performance. For background scoring, they can be used, but too wasteful. They are more suited to a stereo project in a small or medium-sized room.
Speakers and technologies are directly inherited from the advanced DALI home speaker lines. Treble frequencies from 1.9 kHz are reproduced by a high-quality 28 mm soft-dome tweeter. The low frequencies are voiced by a 165-mm proprietary driver, the brownish cone of which is made from a mixture of cellulose pulp and long wood fibers. The bass mid-woofer takes from 51 Hz. The speakers on the facade are brought together for better phase matching.
The directional pattern of the speakers is not adjustable, but follows the proprietary ideology of DALI, which is followed by all the company’s acoustic products. The configuration of the emitters and crossover filters is selected in such a way as to obtain the widest possible radiation pattern. For many years, Danish home acoustics have been recommended to be put in parallel, and not directed at the listener, as other manufacturers advise to do.
Therefore, for the installation of the Phantom H-60, nothing fundamentally changes: in the wall or ceiling, the speakers will be directed just parallel, you just need to take care that they are not too far apart from each other..
The facade of the Phantom H-60 has a hybrid design: a thin and narrow perimeter that overlaps the wall is made of plastic, but the front panel itself is made of MDF in the tradition of high-fi. The weighted facade has an increasing thickness towards the edges in order to better resist resonances and absorb vibrations. Selected audiophile elements are used in the crossover circuit. Even such a trifle was taken into account – to shorten the signal path, the acoustic terminals and the crossover filter are located on one board.
And by the way, the foam rubber mat, put on the magnet of the mid-woofer, is a constructive part of the acoustics (it does not need to be removed during installation). Foam not only protects the speaker from dust and dirt, but also serves as an effective acoustic damper.
OSD Black R62SM.
all-weather design; shallow installation depth; adjustable directivity of the tweeter; adjustable RF level; magnetic grill; simplified installation; option of a mask on the body and a square grill.
In the Black family, the American company OSD Audio produces premium products, using improved design, materials and technologies, you can even say that OSD Black has become a subsidiary brand. There are many models in the OSD Black line of architectural acoustics and, in order not to get confused, they were divided into three technological ranks (Acoustic, Performance and Reference) and into groups according to the mid-woofer caliber. This rule can be clearly seen in the name of the ceiling model R62SM. The first letter “R” denotes that the column is round, the number “6” indicates the use of a 6.5-inch driver (165 mm), followed by “two” – about belonging to the middle Performance series, and the suffix SM – that we have Shallow Mount (with a shallow mounting depth, which for this model is 69 mm).
However, the OSD Black R62SM has another important feature – it is all-weather acoustics, the case and speakers of which are protected from high humidity, ultraviolet radiation, salt and temperature extremes. Therefore, the column can be used in installations in bathrooms, swimming pools, open verandas or on yachts..
The front of the column is covered with a magnetic grill, which has a design with a minimal frame and can be painted. The in-line mid / bass driver is equipped with a polypropylene cone and the swivel tweeter is equipped with a 25 mm polyetherimide (PEI) dome. The loudspeakers sound the frequency range from 75 Hz to 20 kHz, have a sensitivity of 86 dB and an 8-ohm impedance.
High frequency tonal balance can be adjusted using a switch on the front panel (+ 3/0 / -3 dB).
The crossover circuit of the speakers is assembled from custom-made radio elements and marked with the inscription OSD Black. The filters use high-temperature ceramic resistors, air-core copper-wire inductors, and Mylar decoupling capacitors. The entire back of the column is protected by a transparent plastic screen, in which windows are left for air ventilation. The ubiquitous Dogleg mounts are used for the installation of the inserts, however, due to the all-weather resistance in the R62SM, the mounts were modified, having received stainless steel screws and brass bushings.
The leg supports in the mountings are equipped with rubber pads. OSD Black recessed mounts are designed to allow more insertion and removal cycles than conventional Dogleg mounts.
If, for interior reasons, a rectangular shape is more suitable for the installation, the manufacturer offers the option of a square mask adapter and the same grill.
Lithe Audio Multi-Room Ceiling Speakers (Master 01561 / Passive 01556)
wireless Wi-Fi embedding with integrated amplifier and media player; support for “multiroom” and streaming services; control application for gadgets and computers; setting the high frequency sound level; shallow installation depth; magnetic grill; simplified installation; optional rear fireproof and damping covers.
Wireless technologies have long and firmly established themselves in the home audio industry, they are supported by various players, processors, desktop and floor acoustics, even individual high-end class components today are able to receive sound wirelessly. And then the creators of the young but rapidly developing company Lithe Audio came up with a question: why is wireless sound supported everywhere, except for built-in acoustics, and why not correct this oversight? Today, under the Lithe Audio brand, both conventional passive inserts and original wireless inserts using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi are produced.
We will tell you about the most advanced version of a stereo system – built-in with Wi-Fi and an additional passive speaker.
The main speaker in the kit is the master speaker – model with index 01561 – equipped with a built-in 60-watt (2x 30 W) D-class amplifier and a Wi-Fi network server. The speaker requires power from the mains, for which a constant voltage adapter (24 V) is used. The column can communicate via Wi-Fi with 30 other “masters”, uniting in “multi-room” zones or creating a common “party” area. The speaker supports streaming audio from Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Tune In, vTuner, or local NAS. In addition, the speaker is left with the possibility of wired connection with any analog source with a line-level output.
For communication with other network equipment, Wi-Fi, Airplay, DLNA and UPnP protocols are used. You can control the audio system from a special application for Apple iOS, Android and Windows operating systems. The connection to the slave passive speaker is still carried out by wires, but as a result, much less cable footage is required than in the case of a traditional installation.
Surprisingly, with all the equipment with additional electronics, the master speaker retained the dimensions of a conventional installation: the outer diameter of the facade is 230 mm, the mounting diameter is 210 mm, and the installation depth is 95 mm. The given dimensions are not knocked out of the total mass of the ceiling acoustics. The façade is completely enclosed by a metal grill with magnetic attachments.
On the front panel, in addition to the LED indicator and the reset button of the built-in media server, there is also a switch for the treble level (+3, 0, -3 dB). The speaker tweeter, equipped with a 19mm titanium dome, is suspended by a separate module on beautifully curved spokes. The mid-woofer, equipped with a yellow 165 mm Kevlar cone, is recessed into a special waveguide with a raised profile. The speaker has a sensitivity of 90 dB, and covers a frequency range from 65 Hz to 20 kHz.
Convenient and reliable Dogleg mounts are used to fix the speaker in the ceiling.
The passive built-in model Lithe Audio paired with the master speaker is index 01556. The passive speaker looks not so solid and will be a little more compact in size. Its installation depth is 87 mm, in addition, it has a simple coaxial design without any wrap-around “spokes” and a raised waveguide in the “bowl” of the mid-woofer.
However, the passive model is equipped with the same drivers as the “master”, therefore it has the same acoustic characteristics..
As an option, Lithe Audio offers rear covers for installation with fireproofing and acoustic damping functions. For bathrooms and other wet places, the company offers a Wi-Fi built-in kit of a similar functionality, protected from water according to the IP44 standard..
Monitor Audio CSS230.
minimum installation depth; rear case with a choice of acoustic design (closed / bass reflex); all-weather design; magnetic grill; simplified installation; option of premium (designer) or square grill; lifetime warranty.
The Monitor Audio CSS230 is part of the Super Slim range – a very trendy ultra-slim fitment that can be installed in openings only 50 mm deep. However, with flat design, the benefits of CSS230 don’t stop there. The build can be made thin, but what about the bass performance?
Monitor Audio’s engineers solved the problem by equipping the CSS230 with three 76mm mid-woofers. Here, the quantity compensates for the size, three small mid-woofers in terms of the total radiation area correspond to one 165-mm driver with the same final speaker diameter. But in terms of the depth of the case, the gain of CSS230 turns out to be very significant – the acoustics will go where another high-quality built-in cannot fit..
In addition to the trio of mid-woofers, the CSS230 recessed speaker comes with a 19mm tweeter. The membranes of all emitters are made of proprietary cermet C-CAM (an alloy of aluminum and magnesium coated with ceramics). The tweeter sounds frequencies up to 30 kHz, mid-woofers work out the lower frequencies, depending on the acoustic design of the cabinet chosen by the owner.
And this is where we come to a unique feature of the CSS230 models – the hybrid rear case. By default, the case is closed, but when the rubber plug is removed, it changes the design to half-open. In the latter case, you can improve the response at low frequencies, bringing the lower limit of reproduction from 100 to 85 Hz.
Proprietary Monitor Audio metal drivers are not afraid of adverse environmental conditions, so the CSS230 can be used in “all-weather” installations.
The Monitor Audio CSS230 speaker case is made of ABS plastic. The front panel is closed by a magnetic grill with a diameter of 250 mm. The grill is paintable and has a minimum outer frame thickness, making the installation virtually invisible after installation. Without assembling a special mounting frame, the acoustic systems can be installed in suspended or plasterboard ceilings up to 15 mm thick.
The installation process will be simple and convenient thanks to the proprietary Tri-Grip fastening system. On request, the set of acoustics can be expanded with an auxiliary frame, a square grill or a premium version of a round grill PG6-R (for the design of the cabinet acoustics of the Silver line).
Monitor Audio CSS230 comes with a lifetime warranty.
improved playback quality; deep bass; directional control of all emitters; magnetic grill; simplified installation; mounting box options; square adapter and grill.
The California-based company Sonance is considered the pioneer of the field of built-in acoustics, having begun research and experiments in the field of architectural audio almost before anyone else – in the 80s of the last century. After 30 years, Sonance remains faithful to the chosen path: the company is a world leader, producing more than a dozen lines of architectural acoustics and a huge range of installation.
The Visual Performance family has a special place in the Sonance lineup – it is a large and global line that includes a variety of types of built-in speakers for any task and any wallet size. The family is so large that it is inevitably divided into several series and sub-series. To simplify the client’s problem of choice, the manufacturer encrypts several important parameters in the model names, such as the caliber of the bass driver and the technological rank of the loudspeaker performance..
What does the name of the Sonance VP66R model promise us? The first letters hint at the model belonging to the Visual Performance family. The following number “6” indicates the use of a 6-inch (165 mm) mid / bass driver – for the family this is an average value between compact 4-inch and large 8-inch drivers. The second number “6” symbolizes the rank of the speaker system: the bigger it is, the better. The Visual Performance family ranks in even numbers from 0 to 8. The lowest rank is the simplest technologies: polypropylene woofers and fabric tweeters.
The highest grade 8 acoustics use carbon fiber woofers laminated with Rohacell composite and ceramic tweeters. The Sonance VP66R is ranked 6, just one step below the elite. The speaker tweeter is equipped with a 25mm powder-coated aluminum dome. The tweeter uses ferrofluid cooling of the voice coil and a rear damping chamber. The midrange / woofer diffuser is woven from Kevlar and reinforced with a layer of nomex.
Advanced acoustic design gives Sonance VP66R strong performance: 43 Hz – 20 kHz (± 3 dB) operating range, 90 dB high sensitivity. At the same time, the column is very unpretentious to the power input, it will be satisfied with values from 5 to 140 W.
Interestingly, both Sonance VP66R drivers are equipped with swivel mechanisms to adjust the directionality of the sound. We emphasize this point, because the use of rotary tweeters in an in-built installation is not uncommon, but a guided and adjustable mid-woofer is quite rare..
The Sonance VP66R case is made of durable plastic: the outer diameter is 248 mm, the depth is 121 mm. The façade is covered with a paintable magnetic grill with a minimum bezel. Like all round models of the Visual Performance family, the built-in has the option of a surface adapter that extends the body to a square, respectively, a grill of the desired shape is attached to the adapter.
On the reverse side, the enclosure is equipped with a protective shield covering the crossover circuit and gold-plated terminals. For the installation of acoustics, four convenient Roto-Lock fasteners (Dogleg variation) are used. Each Roto-Lock is actually in two parts, and the bottom of the mount can be removed, increasing the wall thickness suitable for installation.
Assembled Roto-Lock legs allow installation of acoustics in walls up to 32 mm thick, however, dismantling the legs increases the thickness of the permissible walls up to 48 mm.
To improve the quality of the recessed installation, Sonance offers a number of useful accessories: a preframe and several types of installation boxes.
JAMO IC 608 LCR FG II.
3-way emitter configuration; improved playback quality; large bass driver; advanced control of directionality and tonal correction of reproduction; switchable impedance; frameless magnetic grill; simplified installation.
Ceiling model IC 608 LCR FG II belongs to the older 600th series of JAMO fittings, so it uses the best materials and technologies accumulated by Danish engineers over more than half a century of the company’s activity. Moreover, the column cannot be classified as a trivial model, it obviously belongs to the flagship group, using a 3-way configuration of emitters and an 8-inch woofer that reproduces low frequencies from 55 Hz.
The plastic case of the speaker has an outer diameter of 272 mm and an installation depth of 126 mm, the manufacturer’s recommended volume of the mounting niche is 22 liters. Convenient Dogleg mounts are used to install the speakers. From the outside, the front of the column is completely closed by the most invisible magnetic grill without a frame.
If necessary, the protective grille is painted to match the background color, providing additional privacy to the installation.
The IC 608 LCR FG II bass driver features a 203mm Hard Conical Cone woven fiberglass cone, while the midrange driver and tweeter are fitted with 38mm and 25mm silk domes, respectively. The midrange / tweeter speakers are initially directed at a certain angle to the normal, but the exact direction to the listening area can be further adjusted thanks to the individual rotary mechanisms of the emitters. The tweeter module is additionally equipped with the proprietary DTT (Decoupled Tweeter Technology) technology, which protects it from vibrations.
Three switches on the front of the speaker allow you to independently adjust the sensitivity of the tweeter and midrange driver (0 / -3 / -6 dB), as well as select the appropriate impedance (4/8 Ohm). Such serious equipment, coupled with improved directivity control, distinguish the JAMO IC 608 LCR FG II models from the general installation range, turning them into a specialized ceiling mount designed for stereos and LCR channels of home theaters..
improved playback quality; guided tweeter; advanced tonal reproduction capabilities; frameless magnetic grill; simplified installation; hidden location of mounting screws on the front panel; square grill option.
The American company Artison, established in 2003, has established itself as a significant player in the architectural acoustics market, famous for its original solutions in the categories of flat wall speakers, soundbars and built-in installations. The brand was recently taken over (bought) by another prominent American company, Savant, known as the developer of advanced smart home automation systems. The management of Savant decided to expand the scope of its activities, offering its customers complex solutions – the purchase of software, electronics and acoustics from one manufacturer.
Therefore, you can already find Savant ARCHT-6 models on the Internet (they have already been renamed in some stores). However, the box with the acoustics that came to us still bore the inscription “Artison”, and we will be guided by it..
Model ARCHT-6 has a round plastic case of an open type (without back box) with an outer diameter of 214 mm. The front of the column is covered with a thin metal grill with the most inconspicuous frameless design. In accordance with modern standards, the grill is held in place by magnets and can be painted in any desired color.
As an option, it is possible to purchase the same frameless, but square grill with elegantly rounded corners.
The column is equipped with a 25 mm “squeaker” with a soft fabric dome made of synthetic material Tetron (lavsan), which is widely used in modern industry, including the production of sail for sea yachts, while being distinguished by high strength and ability to retain shape under load … To improve the quality
of the music scene, the tweeter is equipped with a swivel mechanism that allows it to be directed towards the listening area. The 165 mm mid-woofer is equipped with a butyl suspension and a powerful motor that allows a large linear amplitude of the Kevlar woven cone. Note the improved capabilities of ARCHT-6 for reproducing bass, which according to the manufacturer is taken from 45 Hz in level (± 3 dB).
And this is with a speaker size of 6.5 inches, not every 8-inch built-in woofer is able to go so deep into low frequencies. The sound of the ARCHT-6 can be additionally adjusted with the switches of the treble and midrange levels, and the sensitivity in the marked areas can be adjusted both upward and downward.
The ARCHT-6 has a shallow installation depth of only 90 mm. The speaker is mounted in the ceiling using four Dogleg brackets. The manufacturer took care of the concealment of the mounting screws on the front panel of the acoustics, hiding them under the diffraction ring surrounding the mid-woofer. During installation, the ring can be easily removed and then put back.
Held by the ring with magnetic inserts.
Monitor Audio CP-CT380.
improved playback quality; closed back box design; guided tweeter; advanced playback correction capabilities; all-weather design; magnetic grill; simplified installation; square grill option; lifetime warranty.
The Monitor Audio CP-CT380 ceiling speaker belongs to the Controlled Performance line, in which the British company produces an inset with optimal performance and improved playback quality. And these are not empty words, by the way, the CP-CT380 is equipped with emitters made according to the technologies of the famous “silver” Monitor Audio series. In addition, the CP-CT380 is immediately available with a closed rear box, the volume of which is precisely matched to the optimum performance of the mid-woofer.
At the same time, the housing protects the speaker motors and crossover from dust and dirt, and also muffles unnecessary sound from the back of the mid / bass driver. Like other built-in models of the British company CP-CT380, it has the status of an all-weather acoustics, and here the closed case again came in handy, additionally isolating the internal parts of the speaker from possible adverse factors.
The CP-CT380 front is covered by a round magnetic grill with a diameter of 309 mm. The grill can be stained and has a minimal frame, so it perfectly hides the acoustics against the background of the ceiling, making it almost invisible. The speaker cabinet and back box are made of ABS plastic, reinforced with mineral additives. The tweeter module is coaxially suspended above the mid-woofer by means of three double “spokes” that make up a single whole with the facade. The gold tweeter, equipped with a 25 mm C-CAM metal-ceramic dome, has a swivel mechanism – a hinge that guides it in the desired direction.
The diameter of the mid-woofer is 203 mm, it is equipped with a metal phase “bullet” and a C-CAM cone with a characteristic relief (RST technology) – the membrane surface is covered with different-sized pits that increase the cone’s resistance to resonances. Together, the loudspeaker drivers provide a sound frequency range from 50 Hz to 25 kHz. To adjust the sound of the CP-CT380 to the conditions of a particular room, two toggle switches are used – a three-position treble level switch (+ 3 / 0-3 dB) and a boundary compensation switch (eliminates the rumble of bass that can occur if the acoustics are placed close to a wall or corner of a room. ).
The rear box CP-CT380, for all its usefulness, inevitably increases the dimensions of the acoustics, therefore the installation depth of the model is slightly higher than the average values, reaching 181 mm. For mounting the column, the proprietary Tri-Grip mounting system is used, which has proven itself to be very convenient and reliable. Without accessories, the CP-CT380 can be installed in ceilings up to 45 mm thick.
Optional pre-installation frame and square grill are available for Monitor Audio CP-CT380 installation.
Monitor Audio CP-CT380 comes with a Lifetime Warranty.
M&K Sound IW5.
improved playback quality; all-metal facade; frameless magnetic grill; shallow installation depth.
The legendary American brand M&K Sound, which recently moved to Denmark, since the 70s of the last century is famous for subwoofers, monitors and triphonics – it was this company that at one time convinced the industry of the promise of studio and home audio systems consisting of compact satellite speakers and one or multiple subwoofers. However, today, no company striving for success, regardless of its past achievements, can ignore the built-in speaker market. Therefore, almost all well-known manufacturers, including M&K Sound, have their own line of insertions.
However, in the design of the M&K Sound installation, one can easily guess the solid experience of engineers who are skilled in designing monitor bushes..
The M&K Sound IW5 models – the youngest in the company’s range of built-in loudspeakers – show a clear similarity in size, technology and equipment with the compact M-series shelf units, and more specifically, the M5 models. They are armed with the same neodymium magnet tweeters with a 25mm silk dome, as well as a 102mm mid / bass driver fitted with a polymer-coated paper conical cone. And like all M&K Sound monitors, the built-in IW5 models have a precisely calculated tonal balance.
In addition, they are equipped with Phase-Focused proprietary crossovers to ensure wide and uniform dispersion of sound in the room. The crossover circuit is assembled on a separate board from radio elements intended for audio applications.
The front of the building has rounded corners and impresses with its rigidity and decent weight – well, of course, because it is cut from a solid steel billet! After installation, the enclosure is closed with a round metal grill with a diameter of 224 mm. The grill is magnetically attached and has a frameless design that does not stand out against the white ceiling. If the ceiling is not white, the grill can be painted to match the installation surface.
The installation depth of the M&K Sound IW5 is 103 mm. The acoustics do not have the newfangled Dogleg mounts, which have gained popularity due to their convenience, and are mounted using two brackets tightened to avoid distortions with a rubber cord. Each bracket is associated with a pair of long screws that go through the speaker bezel. On the one hand, the installer will still have to make sure that the screws, when screwed, enter the facade at right angles, ensuring the correct fit of the column (with the Dogleg system this happens automatically).
On the other hand, Dogleg mounts, as a rule, are afraid of overtightening and may fail, and the IW5 mounting system is reliable as a tank – the facade, brackets, screws are made of metal, so you need to fear not for the speaker, but for the ceiling.