What to Know before You Buy a Ceiling Speaker System

For those who want a decent sound system, but might not use it often enough to justify a big setup with floor speakers and an amplifier, there is another option. A ceiling speaker based system lets you enjoy great sound quality without taking up space on your floor, shelves or walls. This type of speakers have been around for a long time, but the quality hasn’t always been there. Now, the name-brand ceiling models have improved enough that you can enjoy great sound without the look of speakers hanging off your walls.

A ceiling speaker is typically round, just like the cone on the speakers you’re used to, and is installed recessed into the ceiling. In a standard speaker, the round indentation is the speaker itself, and the box or other shape that it’s set into is known as the speaker cabinet. When you install a speaker into your ceiling, the empty space above your ceiling essentially becomes the cabinet.

In-wall speakers work on the same principal, using the space between walls as the speaker cabinet. Wall speakers are generally rectangular, but there’s no rule that says you can’t use a rectangular wall model as a ceiling speaker, and vice versa.

One of the biggest considerations before you install speakers inside your ceiling is to make sure you have enough clearance above the ceiling. The speaker itself will take up a few inches of space, so it might not be possible to install it in the ceiling right against the wall if there’s not enough clearance between your ceiling and something like the edge of a sloped roof. Measure carefully before you cut holes to make sure everything will fit.

You can find small ceiling speakers that are designed to be used individually rather than in pairs for small areas like a bathroom or other room where two speakers might not be needed. These are called stereo input speakers, and have both channels in one speaker instead of splitting them between two. Also, look for a few other features to make sure you’re happy with your purchase. Some ceiling speaker models have tweeters that swivel so you can direct the sound where you want. You should also purchase speakers that let you adjust treble and bass easily even after installation so you can get the sound just how you want it.

Obviously, the biggest drawback to choosing a ceiling speaker over something that stands or mounts on the wall is that you can’t just move the speakers at will. For a home theater system that’s going to stay in place for years, these might be a good option. But if you tend to move your speakers or your system from time to time, you might not like how you’re locked into one place if you use a ceiling speaker system.

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