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speakers of the house

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jul 15, 2012 01:04 AM
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by bubba of the bubbles (noreply@blogger.com) last modified Jul 14, 2012



 

 

Been scatting my head over speakers. We have plans for a number of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. The question is: What kind to get?

First off, we want to make sure to match impedance between speakers and amplifiers. In short, it's not good to not (somewhat) match your impedances. So since we've decided to go with Sonos for sound amplification and distribution, let's check out the specs on those babies:
  • 55 watts per channel
  • 8 ohms
  • 22 hz to 20 khz

For the surround sound/stereo system, we already have a Panasonic SA-XR57:



  • 100 watts per channel
  • 6 to 8 ohms
  • 4 hz to 88 khz

So we need 8-ohm speakers that ideally cover 22 Hz to 20 kHz (anything more would be a waste of money for the Sonos). Sonos amps also have the ability to push a signal to a powered subwoofer if needed, but we don't anticipate doing that.

As far as speakers go, I've learned the following:

  • In-wall speakers that are closed-in (like in it's own box, something called a "back box") have better sound quality. They are also much (much) more expensive.
  • It's good for built-in speakers to have good dampening between the speaker and the wall or ceiling.
  • Speakers with adjustable tweeters where you can direct the tweeter towards the desired sweet spot are desirable.
  • Speakers come in two-way and three-way get-ups. Two-ways use tweeters and woofers to make sound while three-ways add a mid-range speaker.
  • Sensitivity is more important than power in a relationship (Sorry: I mean "...in a speaker"). Sensitivity, measured in db, is a measure of the ability of a speaker to turn power into sound. Anything 90 or higher is considered good with most speakers between 87 and 93.
  • It's good to match the amp RMA (root mean average) wattage to speaker RMS (root mean squared) wattage. One source suggests that it's ideal to have the amp at 10 percent higher wattage than the speakers. Lower is fine.
  • Speakers from the same manufacture are more likely to be timbre matched. It's good to have speakers that are timbre matched.
For the patios and the master bathroom, I'm thinking these speakers sold by outdoorspeakerdepot.com (I wonder what they sell...) are the choice:

Made of a bunch of materials that end in -ene as well as aluminum, these speakers sport the following specs:
  • 8 inch
  • 8 ohm
  • sensitivity = 90
  • 75 watts a speaker
  • 38 Hz to 21 kHz
  • adjustable tweeter
  • not enclosed
and run $100 a pair.

For grins, let's see what outdoor has for indoor speakers for $120 a pair:

  • 8 inch
  • 8 ohm
  • sensitivity = 92
  • 75 watts a speaker
  • 32 Hz to 22 kHz
  • adjustable tweeter
  • not enclosed







  • 9 inch
  • 8 ohm
  • sensitivity = 92
  • 10 to 125 watts a speaker
  • 30 Hz to 27 kHz
  • non-adjustable tweeter
  • enclosed
  • gold plated posts

  • So for $680 bucks more, you get a broader frequency range (although the Sonos amps wouldn't be able to handle the higher end) and gold plated posts (although audiophiles will tell you that the numbers I'm looking at don't begin to tell the full audio story of speakers; ultimately, you have to go listen to 'em).

    Polk also makes some cheapies ($130 a pair on the street) for the 99ers:



  • 9 inch
  • 8 ohm
  • sensitivity = 90
  • 50 watts a speaker
  • 35 Hz to 20 kHz
  • non-adjustable tweeter

  • For indoors, outside of the bathroom, we need speakers for the built-in surround sound and the rest of the house (kitchen and master bedroom). To match timbre in the surround sound system, the speakers should really come from the same manufacturer. In fact, they should come from the same family of speakers from the same manufacturer.

    Along those lines, I'm thinking of going with lower-end Polks (625-RT) which run about 100 bucks a piece for side speakers:



  • 14 inches by 9 inches
  • 8 ohm
  • sensitivity = 89
  • 20 to 100 watts a channel
  • 35 Hz to 25 kHz
  • non-adjustable tweeter
  • timbre matched to RTi speaker series
  • "Vanishing" series; small bevel


  • There are not a lot of reviews out there of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers (and I don't trust "user" reviews anymore; many seemed staged...). But I did find a review of these Polks here.

    A slightly higher end Polk would be the 265RTs:



  • 20 7/8 inches by 8 7/8 inches
  • 8 ohm
  • sensitivity = 89
  • 10 to 200 watts a channel
  • 30 Hz to 27 kHz
  • non-adjustable tweeter
  • timbre matched to RTi speaker series
  • "Vanishing" series; small bevel


  • They list at $350 a piece but can be found on the street for $200.

    Sources:

     

     

     
     
     

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