The anatomy of home speakers: embedded speakers, my sound is my walls

Today, minimalism and ascetic trends in interior design are gaining more and more popularity. Many do not consider the abundance of objects to be a decoration of the living space. Some even believe that the design of any speaker system, as well as the display of equipment, is bad form and disfigures the room. Some people try to imitate the historical interior of a particular era, in which the number of modern items is deliberately reduced. It also happens that classical acoustics take up too much space and "eat up" the volume of small rooms. Well, there is no dispute about tastes, but the issue of a lack of living space is relevant, therefore, today there is material about built-in speakers.


Such speakers became a real gift for those who wanted to rid the design of the room from the influence of the appearance of the acoustics and save the usable area. As it turned out, many GT readers have questions about the choice of such devices, their correct placement and installation. In this article I will try to answer the readers' questions, as well as put together some useful recommendations from the PULT experts. As an afterword - some jeans with links (thanks in advance for your understanding and tolerant attitude towards our advertising in posts).

A few words about stereotypes


There are widespread stereotypical opinions about the low sound quality of built-in speaker systems, their cost, and other disadvantages.


Stereotype 1. Built-in speakers are cheap speakers for playing background music in shopping facilities.
This opinion was formed when the market did not have a large number of built-in speakers that meet high standards (for example, HI-FI). High quality acoustics of this type were rare, and the most common built-in acoustics were broadcasting systems and loudspeakers for shopping malls. Today the situation is different, but the sediment, as they say, remains.

Stereotype 2. The sound quality in similar speakers is a priori lower than in other types.
Judgments of this kind appear after built-in speakers are mounted without taking into account the acoustic characteristics of the room, in violation of the manufacturers' instructions, and, naturally, sound bad.

Stereotype 3. Built-in speakers with decent (high-quality, good, "divine") sound are prohibitively expensive

We can only partly agree (when it comes to Hi End acoustics), since there are quite a few models of such acoustic systems with decent characteristics that are comparable, and sometimes even cheaper, than classical counterparts.

Classification and application features


Rather conditionally, you can divide the built-in acoustics into wall - In Wall (usually rectangular) and round - ceiling - InCell.

The main feature of the InCell AC is its light weight. As a rule, manufacturers calculate it in such a way that they can be freely mounted on drywall or suspended ceilings.


Built-in acoustics can be open-frame (speakers / speakers + crossover), open type (speakers located on the front panel) and modular - a flat closed box for installation in niches and recreation.

Open-frame embedded loudspeakers have the following advantages:

  • the cost is lower than that of modular boxes;
  • independent choice of the volume of the cavity for placement;
  • high variability in placement.

Like any other speakers, they are not without drawbacks:

  • require a fairly large area of ​​the plane of placement;
  • a minimum volume of air in the rear is required;
  • require strict adherence to the installation rules.


The open type is good because the size of the frontal plane has already been determined by the manufacturer, but is relatively rare.

Cabinet-type built-in loudspeakers differ favorably:

  • ease of installation;
  • acoustically calculated dimensions;
  • the depth of the case, which fully corresponds to the thickness of the skin (60-80 mm).


The disadvantages of this type include:

  • high cost;
  • a small stroke of the speaker cone due to the small overall thickness, the impossibility of using emitters with a powerful magnetic system;
  • the variability of placement is determined by the dimensions of the case, and the acoustic properties of the system cannot be improved by varying the volumes of the acoustic cavities.

It should be borne in mind that the frequency response of the built-in speaker changes depending on the acoustic design. In a flat closed box, the severity of lows is typically reduced, and there is likely to be a hump in the middle and high frequencies, which should be taken into account when choosing a type.

The type and dimensions of such speakers must be reported in advance to the designer entrusted with the creation of the project, as well as notify the contractor who will be engaged in the finishing work about them. Depending on the option chosen and the specific model, the installation depth of such acoustics is in the range from 55 to 110 mm.


I want to note that most built-in speakers, regardless of type, are equipped with detailed installation instructions and special templates for marking. Depending on the design solution, the front parts of the speaker (diffuser grilles, panels, mountings, arcs) can be painted in one color or another.

Design


By design, most built-in speaker models can be divided into:

  • broadband;
  • multiband with separate placement of emitters;
  • two-way - coaxial (MF / LF emitter and tweeter are located in tandem in a single frame).


The choice of speaker system design is determined by their purpose. To create side and center front channels in home theater systems, it is recommended to use multi-way speakers. For ceiling placement, it is advisable to use the coaxial type, as it is the most compact and widespread in InCell design. In cases where the speaker is intended to be used primarily for high-fidelity music reproduction, many experts recommend high-quality wideband and two-way systems.

Installation and placement - 50% of the result


Installation


Installation is especially important for the open-frame type, since everything will depend on its features, except for the characteristics of the emitters themselves. In the case of modular speakers, the simplest recommendations of the manufacturer are enough.


Basic principles of installation of open-frame embedded speakers:

  • the integrity of the panel (the panel should not have breaks, holes, cracks, joints around the installed radiator at a distance of 2 of its diameters;
  • the panel material must comply with the recommendations of the speaker manufacturers (as a rule, it is wood, (fiberboard) MDF, plywood, chipboard, less often drywall, with a thickness of at least 10 mm);
  • the cavity behind the back of the radiators must be at least as recommended in the installation instructions.


It should also be understood that each manufacturer has its own specifications for the placement and installation of built-in acoustics, which are detailed in the product documentation. The instructions for the purchased model must be provided to the projecting designer and craftsmen who will carry out the installation.

Accommodation


When using multi-way (5.1, 7.1,) home theater surround sound systems, speaker placement is important. Experts recommend strictly adhering to those placement schemes indicated by the manufacturer.

For 5.1 and 7.1 systems, the following diagrams are standard.


One way or another, when placing built-in acoustics, you should always remember where the listener is and how they will perceive the stereo panorama. In addition, it has been noticed that when placed overhead, the area of ​​correct perception of the stereo effect is significantly increased.


rice. 1 - stereo effect in standard arrangement, fig. 2 and 3 with a ceiling angular arrangement

(Psychoacoustic studies have established that a person poorly determines the localization of sources in height, while raising the sources upwards significantly expands the stereo effect zone). If the listening position will change regularly, it makes sense to use a ceiling or corner placement.

Amphibious speakers and kitchen systems


For many, built-in speaker equipment is relevant in places with a relatively aggressive climate (high humidity, temperature) and relatively cramped conditions. In a word, where it is difficult and unsafe to place a standard type of system, for example, in a bathroom or kitchen. For such purposes, many manufacturers produce special products . Humidity-resistant acoustics can be installed in walls and ceilings in bathrooms, kitchens, and, if necessary, in a damp basement. Often the cost of such speakers is quite high, which in turn scares off many buyers.



It should be noted that it is difficult to calculate the most optimal acoustic placement for bathrooms with classic tiled cladding due to the extremely low absorbency of ceramic tiles and a large number of reflections. In addition, for people who prefer to listen to Wagner in the shower, experts recommend high pressure acoustics, since the shower creates a noise level of up to 85 -90 dB.


For kitchen speakers, the requirements are lower than for bathrooms, and for such systems, standard options are often used. The abundance of kitchen furniture allows you to conveniently place acoustics directly in it, subject to the installation conditions. If, for some reason, the kitchen speaker must be in close proximity to moisture sources, moisture-resistant speakers should be used.


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