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42 Architectural Speakers for Theater, Multiroom and Commercial Audio

For the past several years architectural speakers and their manufacturers have been dishing out heaping servings of humble pie to the stuck-in-the-past audiophile crowd.

For years the audiophile community would crow loudly their opinion that in-wall and in-ceiling loudspeakers were compromise solutions that fell short of their performance expectations. That was then and this is now however, and today architectural speakers either match or outperform their in-room counterparts.

Validating the performance of modern in-wall and in-ceiling loudspeakers is a growing number of recording and post-production studios employing architectural speakers. Moreover, other commercial markets are successfully using in-wall and in-ceiling speakers to address everything from emergency notifications to entertainment in business that include retail locations and restaurants.

Getting back to residential environments, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers have grown increasingly popular driven by the evolution of surround sound and immersive audio, and the accessibility of streaming audio content.

As a result of the higher levels of demand for architectural speakers and the many ways these products can be used in the home or even commercial environments, the performance of these products is better than ever.  Manufacturers in both the home and commercial audio markets are spending substantial capital on research and development (R&D) to push their products to performance levels that not long ago were never thought to be achievable.

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Today’s architectural speaker category provides users with a choice of products with a range of Features. These features could span everything from multiple tweeters to reproduce stereo content from a single speaker enclosure to advanced designs that includes sealed enclosures that incorporate angled baffles to disperse sound in a specific way for applications such as the height channels in an immersive audio system.

Other technology options available in modern architectural speakers include 70-volt/100-volt transformers for use in large, distributed audio systems and audio-over-IP connections for use in digital audio systems that utilize formats such as Dante.

Here is a closer look at some of the latest architectural speakers available for residential and commercial applications.

A Quick List of Some of the Top Architectural Speakers

Artison Speakers (Savant) EDG-4 SAT-S-00

Ascendo Immersive Audio 6 Pro Passive Ceiling Speaker

Atlantic Technology IW-155 LCR

AtlasIED Isoflare 4-Inch Blind Mount In-Ceiling Speaker (FC-4T)

Beale Street Audio (Vanco) IC8-MB

Bowers & Wilkins CT7.5 LCRS

Crestron Audio-over-IP Saros Speaker

DALI Phantom H-80

Definitive Technology Dymension DC-65 Pro SI

Dynaudio S4-W65

Episode Speakers Signature 3 Series (Snap One)

Focal 100IWLCR5

GoldenEar Technology Invisa HTR 8000

Grimani Systems Rixos-XL

James Loudspeaker QX806BE

JBL Synthesis SSW-1 Passive Subwoofer

K-array Domino-KF26

KEF Ci5160REFM THX

Klipsch PRO-800SW

L-Acoustics Soka In-Wall

Leon Speakers Axis AxV60

MartinLogan 5XW

McIntosh WS500

Meridian Audio DSP320.2

Meyer Sound Ultra Reflex

Monitor Audio C1M

Origin Acoustics Director Series D107

OSD Audio R53

Paradigm CI Pro P80 A v2

PMC ci45

Pro Audio Technology (PRO) SR-12ai

PSB C-LCR

Revel W126Be

Sonance VP46R

Sonos by Sonance

Sonus faber Arena 30

SoundTube IPD-CM82-BGM-II IP Addressable Speaker

SpeakerCraft DX-GC6-LCR

Steinway Lyngdorf Model M L/R

SVS Sound 3000 In-Wall Subwoofer

Totem Acoustic KIN Architectural AIC

Wisdom Audio L100i

Artison Speakers (Savant) EDG-4 SAT-S-00

Artison Speakers Architectural Speakers (photo courtesy of Artison)

This smart-home friendly in-ceiling speaker is offered with a choice of paintable round or square perforated grilles that are compliant with USAI lighting fixtures. Artison adds the IP-based speaker also includes an internal amplifier, integrated electronics with PoE and passive speaker connections.

Ascendo Immersive Audio 6 Pro Passive Ceiling Speaker

Ascendo Immersive Audio Architectural Speakers (photo courtesy of Ascendo Immersive Audio)

Available in the U.S. from Sutherland AV Marketing, 6 Pro Passive Ceiling Speaker is a time-coherent, point source product for use in whole-house audio and home theater applications. The 87dB sensitive, 4-ohm speaker includes a 6.5-inch carbon woofer and 1.1-inch tweeter that helps the speaker produce 120-degrees of dispersion.

Atlantic Technology IW-155 LCR

Atlantic Technology IW-155 LCR. (photo courtesy of Atlantic Technology)

The IW-155 LCR is the company’s flagship product. Internally, the LCR employs a pair of 5.125-inch woofers and the company’s 1-inch LRT tweeter. On the IW-155 LCR’s front baffle Atlantic includes a high-frequency level control that allows for the adjustment of the tweeter’s output. The other switch is a boundary control that provides adjustments for upper bass/lower midrange response to control boundary gain.

AtlasIED Isoflare 4-Inch Blind Mount In-Ceiling Speaker (FC-4T)

AtlasIED commercial speakers (photo courtesy of AtlasIED)

The FC-4T part of AtlasIED’s Isoflare series of architectural speakers. The speaker is a wide bandwidth, high-sensitivity solution point-source speaker for commercial environments. The speaker can be used for music and speech reinforcement.

Beale Street Audio (Vanco) IC8-MB

Beale Street Audio (photo courtesy of Vanco)

Beale Street’s line of architectural speakers feature proprietary technologies headlined by the company’s Sonic Vortex technology. The IC8-MB is a 92dB sensitive two-way speaker that features an 8-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter. Beale Street specifies the IC8-MB’s frequency response at 35Hz to 24kHz.

Bowers & Wilkins CT7.5 LCRS

Bowers & Wilkins (photo courtesy of Bowers & Wilkins)

The sealed box, base-reflex loudspeaker incorporates a 1-inch tweeter and a 7-inch Woven Kevlar woofer. The popular U.K.-based manufacturer says the CT7.5 LCR can be used anywhere within a surround sound system and the 92dB sensitive speaker provides a rated frequency response of 55H to 48kHz.

Crestron Audio-over-IP Saros Speaker

Crestron Electronics (photo courtesy of Crestron)

The global electronics company’s new IP-based architectural speakers are designed to complement its state-of-the-art AV over IP system DM NVX. Crestron explains the active Saros IC4A can drive up to three passive IC4P speakers, and the products are protocols that include AES67 and Dante.

DALI Phantom H-80

DALI Speakers (photo courtesy of DALI Speakers)

The Danish company says the H-80 is designed to offer homeowners a dynamic in-ceiling loudspeaker. DALI says the H-80 complements larger rooms and it includes features such as an 8-inch woofer, along with a 1.1-inch tweeter, and the company’s PPTC crossover network. The speaker is engineered to produce a frequency response of 46Hz to 25kHz and a wide soundstage.

Definitive Technology Dymension DC-65 Pro SI

Definitive Technology (photo courtesy of Definitive Technology)

The DC-65 Pro SI offers homeowners and light-commercial businesses a compact stereo speaker solution. The speaker utilizes a 6.5-inch woofer, as well as a pair of ¾-inch tweeters. The speaker meets IP55 specifications, and aesthetically the DC-65 Pro SI employs a border-free industrial design.

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Dynaudio S4-W65

Dynaudio (photo courtesy of Dynaudio)

Part of Dynaudio’s Studio Series of architectural speakers, the S4-W65 is designed for placement in small- to medium-size rooms. The S4-W65 incorporates a 6.6-inch woofer and a 1.1-inch tweeter, and through Dynaudio’s baffle-latch mounting system, the company says the in-wall speaker installs easily.

Episode Speakers Signature 3 Series (Snap One)

Episode Speakers (Courtesy of Snap One)

The Signature 3 Series of architectural speakers includes a choice of 10 models. All the speakers provide 8-ohm impedance ratings, and all the speakers are rated to handle up to 130 watts of power. The line offers a choice of seven in-ceiling speakers and three in-wall models.

Focal 100IWLCR5

Focal (photo courtesy of Focal)

Featuring a D’appolito driver array, the two-way LCR can be used for home theater or whole-house audio. The LCR employs a 1-inch tweeter that offers 360-degrees of rotation and 20-degrees of inclination. Flanking the tweeter are a pair of 5-inch woofers. The speaker also offers a paintable grille and baffle-mounted adjustable tweeter and midrange level controls.

GoldenEar Technology Invisa HTR 8000

GoldenEar Technology (Image courtesy of GoldenEar Technology)

The company developed the in-ceiling LCR (left/center/right) speaker as a high-performance complement to its Triton Reference floorstanding speakers. GoldenEar says the speaker can be used for surround sound and immersive audio applications as a rear surround or height-channel speaker.

Grimani Systems Rixos-XL

Grimani Systems (photo courtesy of Grimani Systems)

The high-performance audio company’s flagship product, the Rixos-XL speaker utilizes a 3.5-way design and a companion 4-channel, 1,200-watt amplifier. Internally the speaker incorporates a 12-inch woofer, two 6.5-inch midrange drivers, and a 1-inch annular driver set in the company’s CSA waveguide.

James Loudspeaker QX806BE

James Loudspeaker (photo courtesy of James Loudspeaker)

According to the company, the QX806BE is a reference-level in-wall speaker. The speaker features a solid-aluminum QX baffle with the company’s signature quad-tweeter array. James Loudspeaker specifies the speaker to offer an amplifier-friendly 96dB sensitivity rating, and the company says the sealed-box design can play down to 45Hz.

JBL Synthesis SSW-1 Passive Subwoofer

JBL Synthesis SSW-1 (photo courtesy of JBL Synthesis)

Drawing from the company’s benchmark engineering expertise and professional audio background, the SSW-1 is a reference-level subwoofer. The passive sub incorporates a pair of 15-inch woofers in a heavily braced, front ported, 1-inch MDF enclosure. The recommended power for the SSW-1 is 2,500 watts RMS per woofer, and JBL Synthesis specifies the sub to play as low as 16Hz -3dB.

K-array Domino-KF26

K-array Domino KF26 (photo courtesy of K-array)

The Italian company says the KF-26 is the smallest model with the Domino line. Providing a depth of just 4.7 inches, and available in a choice of finishes, K-array says the speaker was designed as a passive speaker to allow it to pair with a choice of amplifiers. The Domino-KF26 can deliver peak SPLs of 115dB.

KEF Ci5160REFM THX

KEF Ci5160REFM-THX (photo courtesy of KEF)

Part of the company’s THX line of architectural speakers, the Ci5160REFM-THX meets THX Dominus standards. The high-performance in-wall speaker incorporates KEF’s Uni-Q driver array, along with the company’s MAT technology. Through its THX Dominus status, the speaker can be used for larger home theater installations.

Klipsch PRO-800SW

Klipsch Pro-800SW (photo courtesy of Klipsch)

Designed to deliver low frequencies in non-traditional locations, the PRO-800SW utilizes an 8-inch dual-voice coil woofer that live in an MDF enclosure. Supporting its installation in locations such as in floors or ceilings, the sub is supported by a 4-inch x 10-inch floor vent kit.

L-Acoustics Soka In-Wall

L-Acoustics Soka In-Wall (photo courtesy of L-Acoustics)

Using its extensive experience in the professional audio industry, L-Acoustics’ Soka loudspeaker offers homeowners a shallow, collinear source solution. Inside the space-friendly 3.9-inches deep speaker are nine 3.5-inch midrange drivers and a trio of 1-inch tweeters. The speaker is designed to produce 140-degrees of horizontal coverage and 26 degrees of vertical coverage.

Leon Speakers Axis AxV60

Leon Speakers Axis AxV60 (photo courtesy of Leon Speakers)

The competitively priced speaker is supported by the Mich.-based company with a host of options. Among those options are the choice of round or square grilles, pre-construction mounting brackets, and custom finish options to help the speakers unobtrusively blend into any home environment.

MartinLogan 5XW

MartinLogan Tribute 5XW (photo courtesy of MartinLogan)

Engineered to serve as a high-performance in-wall speaker, the 5XW features a total of five drivers. The driver array includes the company’s Folded Motion XT Obsidian Tweeter, along with a pair of 6.5-inch passive radiators. Controlling the driver array is a MartinLogan Vojtko crossover network, and the 94dB sensitive speaker is rated to produce a frequency response of 71Hz to 25kHz.

McIntosh WS500

McIntosh WS500 (photo courtesy of McIntosh)

Known for its electronics, including tube amplifiers, McIntosh also offers a complete selection of architectural speakers. The N.Y.-based company says the speaker can be used for home theater or stereo audio, and its three-way design includes two 6.5-inch woofers, as well as a pair of 2-inch inverted Titanium-dome midrange drivers, and a single ¾-inch tweeter.

Meridian Audio DSP320.2

Meridian Audio DSP 320.2 (photo courtesy of Meridian Audio)

Developed for versatility, the DSP320.2 can be used for stereo, home theater, marine or commercial applications. The high-performance British company points out the speaker provides options such as its L+R mode, SPL capabilities as high as 106dB, and low frequencies down to 50Hz. Inside the speaker are a pair of amplifiers deliver 80 watts of power.

Meyer Sound Ultra Reflex

Meyer Sound Ultra Reflex (photo courtesy of Meyer Sound)

The high-performance speaker was developed for professional use in post-production and screening rooms that feature microLED display technologies. The system is paired with the San Francisco-based company’s Galileo GALAXY processors and supported by Meyer Sound consultation and calibration services.

Monitor Audio C1M

Monitor Audio C1M (photo courtesy of Monitor Audio)

Producing one of the most extensive selections of architectural speakers available, the C1M from Monitor Audio is described by the company as a medium Tier 1 solution. The two-way design features the company’s C-CAM midrange driver, along with a C-CAM tweeter, and Monitor Audio’s Tri-Grip II speaker mounting system.

Origin Acoustics Director Series D107

Origin Acoustics Director Series D107 (photo courtesy of Origin Acoustics)

Part of the company’s 10-inch Director Series of architectural speakers, the D107 utilizes a 10-inch Kevlar Woofer, along with its proprietary DSPD Tweeter technology. Origin points out the speaker offers the ability to pivot the midrange and tweeter, and the product features its tool-less installation hardware.

OSD Audio R53

OSD Audio R53 (photo courtesy of OSD Audio)

The flush-mount ceiling speaker from the Calif.-based company incorporates a 5.25-inch woofer and a 1-inch pivoting dome tweeter. Helping to support its integration into a variety of room environments, OSD includes a contour switch into the speaker’s baffle. The R53 is 87dB sensitive and its rated frequency response is 38Hz to 20kHz.

Paradigm CI Pro P80 A v2

Paradigm CI Pro P80 A v2 (photo courtesy of Paradigm)

The reasonably priced in-ceiling speaker from the Canadian company includes its PPA Tweeter Lens, along with its Carbon-X Cone technologies. Helping to protect the P80 A v2 from dust and debris, the speaker also incorporates rear component shielding, and spring-loaded binding posts to accept bare wire or speaker cables with banana plug termination.

PMC ci45

PMC ci45 (photo courtesy of PMC)

PMC is a British audio company that is well known in the pro audio market for its monitors, which can be found in recording studios across the world. The company’s ci45 was developed as an in-wall solution for larger room environments. The 8-ohm, 84dB sensitive speaker is rated to produce a frequency response of 45Hz to 25kHz, and PMC offers options such as on-wall mounting kits in a choice of black or white finishes.

Pro Audio Technology (PRO) SR-12ai

Pro Audio Technology (PRO) SR-12ai (photo courtesy of PRO)

PRO is a popular product line that supports luxury home theater and screening room installations. The multipurpose, shallow-mount speaker features a 12-inch woofer, along with a 1.7-inch compression driver with an advanced polymer diaphragm within an 80-degree x 60-degree elliptical horn. The speaker delivers SPLs as high as 128dB and it is powered by a PRO Amplified Loudspeaker Controller.

PSB C-LCR

PSB Speakers C-LCR (photo courtesy of PSB Speakers)

PSB’s C-LCR can be used for home theater or multipurpose rooms that want unobtrusive surround sound and immersive audio. The in-ceiling speaker’s angled baffle disperses sound into a room’s seating area. The C-LCR’s driver array includes a pair of 5.125-inch midrange units and a 1-inch Titanium dome tweeter, and to enable easy installation the speaker utilizes steel/ABS dog legs and a cable-management channel.

Revel W126Be

Revel 126Be (photo courtesy of Revel)

The two-way, in-wall speaker from the high-performance Harman brand can be used for whole-house audio or home theater. Revel explains the speaker incorporates a 6.5-inch woofer, along with a 1-inch Beryllium-dome tweeter, and the company’s Acoustic Lens waveguide. The 89dB sensitive speaker provides a 55Hz to 40kHz frequency response and SPL levels as high as 105dB.

Sonance VP46R

Sonance VP46R (photo courtesy of Sonance)

The round, in-ceiling speaker utilizes a 1-inch pivoting, aluminum-dome tweeter, and a 4.5-inch Kevlar/Nomex laminated midrange driver. The 8-ohm nominal speaker is 90dB sensitive, and the speaker is rated by Sonance to produce a frequency response of 58Hz to 20kHz.

Sonos by Sonance

Sonos by Sonance In-Wall Speakers (photo courtesy of Sonos)

Partnering with Sonance, a company known for its architectural speakers, Sonos by Sonance offers homeowners Sonos’ take on architectural loudspeakers. The in-wall speaker provides homeowners a paintable grilled and the speakers can be mixed-and-matched with other Sonos components to form a complete home theater or whole-house audio system.

Sonus faber Arena 30

Sonus faber Arena 30 (image courtesy of Sonus faber)

The Italian company’s flagship Arena series product, the in-wall features a four-way design that includes a pair of 8-inch woofers, along with a pair of 6.25-inch midrange drivers, and a ¾-inch super tweeter. The 4-ohm, 94dB sensitive speaker produces a frequency response of 40Hz to 32kHz, and it produces SPL levels as high as 122dB.

SoundTube IPD-CM82-BGM-II IP Addressable Speaker

SoundTube IPD-CM82-GBM-II IP Addressable Speaker (photo courtesy of MSE Audio)

The Dante-enabled in-ceiling speaker employs an 8-inch woofer and 1-inch silk-dome tweeter. The speaker also utilizes the company’s BroadBeam Ring technology and a tuned port, which SoundTube says helps the speaker deliver smooth off-axis performance. Power, digital audio, and control are sent to the speaker via category cable, and SoundTube says the speaker can also be powered using 24-volt DC.

SpeakerCraft DX-GC6-LCR

SpeakerCraft DX-GC6-LCR (photo courtesy of SpeakerCraft)

SpeakerCraft explains its DX series speaker incorporates a 6.5-inch woofer and a 1-inch pivoting tweeter. Helping the speaker to blend into a variety of home environments, the company points out the speaker also features a low-profile, thin-bezel, magnetic grille, and SpeakerCraft specifies the 8-ohm speaker to produce a frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz.

Steinway Lyngdorf Model M L/R

Steinway Lyngdorf Model M/LR (photo courtesy of Steinway Lyngdorf)

The versatile speaker can be used as an in-wall, on-wall or semi in-wall speaker. The M L/R employs an AMT Tweeter and quality midrange drivers. Externally, the speaker utilizes an aluminum enclosure with high-gloss piano lacquer, gold accents, and the company can customize the speaker’s finishes.

SVS Sound 3000 In-Wall Subwoofer

SVS 3000 In-Wall Subwoofer (photo courtesy of SVS Sound)

The 3000 In-Wall Subwoofer from the popular audio company is engineered to deliver the same levels of performance as the company’s line of in-room subwoofers. Available in either a single subwoofer or dual architectural speakers, the 3000 In-Wall incorporates dual 9-inch woofers that are powered by the company’s STA-800D2C external amplifier that is rated to produce 800 watts RMS.

Totem Acoustic KIN Architectural AIC

Totem Acoustic KIN Architectural AIC (photo courtesy of Totem Acoustic)

Designed for use in modern home environments that incorporate lighting fixtures and other amenities, the KIN Architectural AIC features an angled baffle that directs sound into listening areas. The 91dB sensitive, 6-ohm speaker includes a 1-inch tweeter, along with two 4-inch midrange drivers, and dual 5-inch passive radiators.

Wisdom Audio L100i

The high-performance, line-source, in-wall loudspeaker is highlighted by a 50-inch planar-magnetic line source that reproduces mid and high frequencies. The hybrid design also employs traditional cone drivers, and together the L100i can produce a frequency response of 40Hz to 20kHz. The planar section is rated as a 4.5-ohm load, while the woofer section is rated as a 4-ohm load. Wisdom Audio also specifies the speaker to be 95dB efficient.

Wisdom Audio L100i (photo courtesy of Wisdom Audio)
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