Ceiling Speakers

In some rooms such as Kitchens and Bathrooms it's just not possible to place a pair of speakers on the side, floor or wall. Installing your speakers in the ceiling is a great way to get your speakers hidden and out of the way from spills and water.


Kitchen and Bathroom Ceiling Speakers

Bathrooms and kitchens are never going to be acoustically perfect because normally the surfaces of the wall and floor are hard.  Tiles or stone reflect sound and bounce it around the room ruining any chance of audio perfection.  But, these arn't the kind of rooms you'll be sitting in to listen to music.  They are rooms that you'll be moving around in, so trying to achieve the perfect sound is almost impossible.

In small areas such as bathrooms where you can't achieve stereo sound try using dual channel speakers.  Feed both left and right audio channels into the speaker and you'll be surprised at how good it sounds.  My bathrooms aren't big, and the stone tiles will only bounce the sound around so I went for the Sonance 6" speaker with dual tweeters and I'm happy to say it works very well.  It had slightly higher specs than the B&W's too. 

I love my B&W ceiling speakers and they get alot of use.  I have installed them in my bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms and as rear speakers in a 5.1 setup in the lounge.  Coupled with a good easy to use multiroom audio solution such as Sonos you can't help but play some tunes whilst having a shower or cooking in the kitchen.  Most ceiling speakers are moisture resistant.  This is essential in areas such as the kitchen or bathroom where they'll always be moisture in the air.  Most in ceiling speakers will cope with day to day damp conditions, but if you want to install a speaker directly above your shower you'll need to spend extra to get a specification good enough to with stand such moisture abuse. 

What to think about when installing Ceiling Speakers

Speaker Position

Position is critical.  Install your ceiling speaker in the wrong place and you'll regret it.  Once you've cut a hole in your ceiling the hassle of filling it in almost out weighs the need to move it.  Think about where you will be standing most of the time in the room and position the speakers so they fire at you as if they were floor standers.  If using 2 speakers be careful not to place them too far apart or too close together.  CyberSelect have a good simple guide here.

Surface Type

The type of surface you are mounting your ceiling speakers on is also critical unless you can compensate with enough insulation and the surface can with stand the constant vibration from the bass.  If you are building the room mount a good solid sheet of ply wood on the ceiling if you can.  This will give you good fixings but it will also make the sound more solid.  It won't take as long to rattle the speak loose either!  You can mount your ceiling speaker on plasterboard as a last resort, but if you use your speakers a lot and loud, you might see it start to vibrate itself out over time.


What ever surface you are mounting your ceiling speaker on, good sound insulation behind the speaker and in the entire ceiling is a must if you want good sound quality and deep bass.  The more insulation the better as it will stop sound leaking upward into your ceiling or roof and give a good solid sound.  Lack of insulation and poor mounting surfaces can lead to a tinny sound.  You'll also find your neighbours will hear every beat!  If you want bass and good mid range, insulate as much as possible!

Some speaker manufacturers also offer back boxes.  These help reduce the sound leakage and throw the sound forward into the room.  But you must use the right speaker for the right box.  If the speaker is designed to run in free air(no box), putting a box around would most probably ruin the sound.  I've seen it done, and I've heard how bad it can sound. However, if the speaker is designed for the back box it should sound good.  It's very similar to fitting a decent car stereo!  

Size and Specification

Size of your ceiling speaker will be limited to how much space you have in your ceiling before it hits the roof or the floor above.  Make sure you check the depth of the speakers.  You need enough room to fit the speaker in, but also need space for a good layer of insulation. If space isn't a problem you need to think about what kind of sound you want.  As a general rule of thumb, if you're after a good big bass sound, bigger is normally better.  But if you're using them as your rear surround speakers you are going to want a tighter sound, so don't go too big.  Look at the specs and check the frequency levels.  

Some bigger speakers may look like they do it all, but if you have a sub-woofer in the room, there really is not much point in going above a 5-6" speaker.  A 5" to 6" speaker will normally give far more punch than it's bigger brothers at 8" or more.  But, if you don't have a sub-woofer and you want that proper low frequency rumble from your ceiling speakers, you really need to be looking at 8" or more.  Make sure you have enough power in your amplifier to power them.  A big under powered speaker sounds terrible!  Make sure you check the frequency specs too.  Some brands will perform much better than others at lower frequencies and other have limited top end range.  It all depends on how fussy you are and what you want to achieve in a certain price range.


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