We all love cinema, do we? But having a cinematic experience at home is a unique experience. That’s why I made a list of the best in-wall speakers that money can buy.
Many of these companies produce in-wall speakers for years, so whichever you choose should justify the investment.
With having in mind things like sound quality, value for money, and build quality, our official pick for the best in-wall speaker is the UIW RSS II from Definitive Technology. Some in-wall speakers offer a better build quality like MartinLogan Edge, for example, but are three times more expensive.
UIW RSS II Reference is a bipolar speaker, which means Bipolar arrays spread surround effects evenly over a broad area. It is relatively pricey but the quality is solid, and the overall soundstage is excellent.
The 10 Best In-Wall Speakers:
Although RSS II is our main pick, let’s have a look at the rest of the 10 best in-wall speakers currently on the market.
1. JBL SP8II
|Frequency response||30 Hz – 20 kHz|
|Dimensions||10-1/8″ x 13-1/8″|
|Power rating||10 – 100 W|
The sound design is a two-way system that concentrates on high and low frequencies. This can sometimes mean the mids are ignored but not in this case. The mids are clear and not crowded out.
Driving the sound is an 8-inch woofer with a titanium laminate dome. It is set in a rubber surround to help reduce any potential distortion. Rubber surrounds also make the speaker durable and prolongs its use.
High frequencies are handled by the one-inch tweeter, which is also titanium laminate; it has been designed with a built-in swivel. This lets you change the direction of the sound.
The frequency range is good at 30 Hz to 20000 Hz. Both speakers have crossovers built-in, which are set at 2800 Hz. The cutout you need is 11.81 by 8.86 inches, and the mounting depth is 4 inches.
2. Bose Virtually Invisible 891
|Frequency response||30 Hz – 20 kHz|
|Dimensions||13.1″ x 9.4″ x 3.9″|
|Power rating||Up to 100 W per channel|
Bose designed speakers system you can actually hide. It is an easy adjustment as the grilles are magnetically attached. Each speaker measures 13 by 9.4 inches, quite a size for an in-wall speaker.
These will require a depth of at least 3.5 inches, but the whole to be cut for fitting is 7.75 by 11.5 inches. The fitting needs to be carefully performed, as each speaker weighs 5.22 lbs.
The sound output is 200 watts, with Bose themselves recommending an average of 100 watts for continuous use. To drive the sound, they have a 7-inch woofer that is constructed from a metal-based composite material. Bose uses this design as it produces excellent quality and keeps distortion to a minimum.
It has double tweeters angled in different directions with an idea to spread high frequencies sounds around the room to get an impression that there are more than two speakers.
3. Klipsch R-5650-W 2
|Frequency response||52 Hz to 23 kHz|
|Dimensions||14.30″ x 9.30″|
|Power rating||100 W|
Klipsch needs little introduction as manufacturers of high-quality speaker systems, and this in-wall speaker is a worthy addition to their range. It has a 6.54-inch woofer that provides a big bottom end and comfortable mids in the 1-inch titanium dome tweeter. Both parts produce a powerful, clear sound.
The tweeter is movable and can be pivoted up to 15 degrees. This allows you to direct the sound to most parts of the room to give you the best sound experience possible.
There are treble and mid-bass controls for the sound. It weighs just over 7 lbs, and it is also quite a large unit at 14.3 by 9.3 inches. This means you will need a card out the size of 13 by 8 with a depth of at least 3.3 inches. This speaker has an impressive frequency range of 40 Hz to 23000 Hz and can handle the 200 watts peak.
4. Polk Audio 255c-RT
|Frequency response||30 Hz to 27 kHz|
|Dimensions||9.8” x 14.81” x 9.31”|
|Power rating||Up to 150 W|
This is a model seemingly designed for the whole movie experience. The sound that delivers is undoubtedly going to enhance any existing cinema or music system. It provides a top-of-the-range sound.
The 255c is quite large measuring 14.8 inches by 9.8 by 9.3 inches and weighs 6.5 pounds. To fit, you will need to make a filling whole of 13.1 by 7.6 inches. Ideally, it needs to be placed at the center of your room.
It is designed with the Polk power port and dynamic balance sound systems. This two-way speaker will be suitable for most surround sound systems.
The dual bend design bass port delivers a smooth low-frequency response. The 255c has a decent frequency response 30 Hz to 27000 Hz, and they have a power rating of 150 Watts at peak.
Considering the content, the speaker is very cost-effective and must be regarded as one of the best in-wall center channel speakers.
5. Polk Audio RC85i
|Frequency response||30 Hz to 20 kHz|
|Dimensions||10.16″ x 15.31″ x 3.43″|
|Power rating||20 to 100 W|
Polk does not only produce the standard bookshelf and freestanding ranges. as a company, they are also well respected for the other areas such as outdoor, marine, and automobile speakers.
These are a pair of speakers that deliver high-quality sound reproduction. They can be positioned anywhere in the room but are best suited to a plasterboard or drywall.
They use the space in the wall to generate rich, warm sound. Featuring an 8-inch woofer with Polk’s dynamic balance system and a one-inch tweeter.
They have been given rubber seals that prevent any moisture problems and can be used outside but must be in a covered space. They are 10 inches by 14 inches and require a cutout of approximately 8.5 by 12.75 inches.
Considering the cost, they are great for putting your music into an extra room or just adding to the sound potentials for a home cinema system.
6. MartinLogan Edge High Performance
|Frequency response||42 Hz to 25 kHz|
|Dimensions||27.8″ x 8.3″ x 3.9″|
|Power rating||20-300 W per channel|
The low profile magnetic grille allows this speaker to literally disappear when mounted. With a total of 5 drivers, it offers exceptional dynamic expression and a rich, realistic soundstage.
It features two woofers, two mid-range drivers, and one folded motion driver. It can be mounted both horizontally and vertically.
When installed with a grid cover in place, it is approximately ⅛ of an inch of the wall, making this design very discrete. Dimensions of the speaker are 27.8 x 8.3 x 3.9 inches with a weight of 19 lbs.
It has a frequency response from 42 Hz to 25kHz. It features a secure hanging lock system and can be painted to blend any further. It produces minimal distortion.
Everything is protected with cloth, plastic, or cardboard in the right places.
7. Definitive Technology UIW RSS II Reference
|Frequency response||22Hz – 30kHz|
|Dimensions||8.13″ x 29.75″ x 3.88″|
|Power rating||10 – 200 W per channel|
RSS II Reference are angled within the housing in such a way that a single unit can provide unexpectedly immersive audio in your listening environment. If you decide to expand, complementary units will sound great together.
It offers an excellent dynamic response, a wide frequency range, and a robust and detailed low end. Covers are easy to paint and install.
What I like the most about these speakers is the bipolar direction such that you hear the sound, but it appears to come all around and not specifically from one place.
This model uses 2 x 4.5-inch drivers and 2x 4.5-inch passive radiators. They provide a very crisp and clear sound. I found the performance overwhelming.
You must add some framing in the ceiling or wall so that these large speakers can be secured.
8. Focal LCR6 3 Way
|Frequency response||33Hz – 28kHz|
|Dimensions||16″ x 8″ x 4″|
|Power rating||50 – 150 W|
When you place this speaker in your home theatre or stereo system, your reward will be a comprehensive frequency response with crystalline highs and deep, pleasing lows.
Mid-range sounds enjoy precise articulation. It features a toll-free setup, a magnetic grille that pops up quickly, and a rotatable treble plate.
It comes with two woofers and a mid and tweeter placed on the rotatable plate that you can rotate if you want to use the speaker horizontally.
It uses a high-end Flex technology, which is basically a mix of eco textile and glass fiber. That gives us better agility and improves lightness and damping.
Regarding additional features, the Focal LCR6 has two tumblers for fine adjustments of highs and mids. These are used in bright rooms when you want to cut these frequencies to get a better sound.
9. Elac Debut IW D61-W Custom
|Frequency response||45 to 20 kHz|
|Dimensions||12.69” x 8.48” x 4.04”|
|Power rating||30 to 120 W per channel|
It offers expensive sound in a simple package, designed by renowned audio engineer Andrew Jones.
This unit is liable to work wonders for nearly any space. It is capable of handling high power and features a woven aramid fiber woofer. It reproduces mid-tones very well.
The frequency range this speaker covers is 45 to 20,000 Hz.
It comes with one 1-inch soft-dome woofer and one 6.5-inch aramid-fiber cone tweeter. They sound great, but I need to point out the obvious. There is no mid-range speaker that would enhance the character of sound overall.
Depending on your preference, you might need to team up these speakers with a woofer.
This speaker will provide a great sound overall for home theatres, but you might get disappointed if you think big for this amount of money.
10. Yamaha NS-IW660
|Frequency response||50 Hz – 28 kHz|
|Dimensions||8.9” x 3.9” x 11.9″|
|Power rating||50 to 150 W|
This is a three-way in-wall or speaker system that comes as a combination of 2 easy to install in-wall front sets of speakers. The system highlights a customized high-quality crossover network that guarantees maximum sound performance.
The crossover system helps reduce distortion and limit the deterioration of transience as they moved to the system.
The crossover circuit is created to minimize the falsification and prevent transients’ decay as they pass within the network.
The NS IW660 speaker system emphasizes a 6.5 kevlar cone woofer, 1.6-inch aluminum dome mid-range driver, and titanium dome tweeter of 1-inch.
The tweeter and mid-range driver can be rotated to point high frequency sounds towards the primary listening position by slightly pushing on the tweeter’s side to turn the direction of fazes.
The tweeter’s high-frequency level can be adjusted by using a high-level adjuster to satisfy your taste or the installation conditions.
How to Buy In-Wall Speakers
Types of In-Wall Speakers
What you will be able to find these days are mostly 3-5 drivers in-wall speakers. Cheaper series sometimes come without a mid-range driver, so you will lose a lot of character.
Many companies advertise speakers like bipolar, which would mean that sound comes from front and back, which is not the case. They are more dipole, which means will sounds is pushed from one side it is pulled from another.
In-wall vs box speakers
Well, it depends on the purpose. If you don’t want speakers in the room and want to watch movies, go with the in-wall speakers. On the other hand, if you don’t mind having a couple of speakers in the room, and plan to listen to music, go for the box speakers.
The price range goes from $200 up to $2000. $200 speakers can be used in some rooms like kitchen or sauna but for music listening or watching movies you will need a speaker with more low end, maybe even 5.1 system with a separate woofer. Music is made in a stereo mode, so 2 speakers should be more than enough.
I already said that these speakers are suitable for watching movies. In movies, most of the background music is centered, the same as all dialogues. So in the case of the 5.1 system, position the largest speakers like the woofer right in the middle. All the others have the purpose of effect speakers and are there to add a little bit of flavor.
In-Wall Speaker FAQs
Do I need wall speakers?
Before purchase, definitely think of its purpose. In-wall speakers are designed for watching movies more than for listening to music. Other than that, their grid can be painted, so it becomes invisible, and if you don’t like big speakers in your room, then the wall or ceiling speakers are right for you.
Do in-wall speakers sound the same as floor standing speakers?
Yes and no, here is why…
Yes – if you compare, let’s say Bose in-wall speaker and Bose floor-standing speaker.
It is designed by the same audio engineers, it has very similar characteristics, and I will have a similar flavor.
No – you can’t make in-wall speakers sound the same as floor standing. There are a number of reasons. Think of it this way, you take a floor-standing speaker, cut off the back part, and then put it in the wall. It will not sound the same due to a different resonant box.
Here is a pro tip: put some fiberglass behind the wall speaker to dampen the sound.
Can in-wall speakers ever qualify as a high end?
First of all, let’s explain what a high end is. The high-end system creates a soundstage and a feel of live music in the room.
In-wall speakers are perfect for a multi-channel experience, but they don’t do a great job when it comes to two-channel stereo setup. So the answer is no. High-end speakers are placed in the room to have enough space for bread, which is part of their character.
How to install an in-wall speaker?
Here is what tools you are going to need:
- Stud finder
- Torpedo level
- Sheetrock saw
Take a stud finder and check for studs, so you are sure you won’t damage them while mounting the speaker.
Take a pencil and put a checkmark there.
Take the template, place it where you want, then take the torpedo level and ensure it sits straight. When you are confident, take the pencil and circle around the template.
Make sure you are at least two fingers away from the studs.
Now, use the Sheetrock saw to cut out the outside edge.
Place the speaker into the wall; make sure it sits straight.
Use the screwdriver and tight one corner than the diagonal corner.
Use the drill to tighten the screws but go with the lowest number on the clutch.
Paint the grill into whatever color you want and place it on the speaker. That’s it; you’re done.
I hope this article covers all you need to know about in-wall speakers. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. In the end, I wanted to explain how the sound systems in cinema work.
Most of the midrange and tweeter speakers are placed behind the screen. The screen is thin enough, so it doesn’t block the sound. Woofers are always placed on the ground. This way, they resonate less and don’t produce overtones.
The rest of the speakers are placed around the room on the walls, creating a surrounding effect. When movies are edited, only some effects end up in these speakers.
I hope you get a picture of how speakers need to be placed around the room to get the best soundstage.