10 Speakers to Be Heard, Not Seen
These hidden speakers fulfill your home's surround sound needs - without upsetting the spouse.
hidden speakers
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April 25, 2008 by Ben Hardy

6. Speaker Project #1: C&S Builder’s Colonial Village in Rutland, MA. (View image)
In this hidden speaker scenario, designer and company president Rick Ford of Wachusett AV, was tasked with designing home entertainment solutions for eight luxury homes within the Colonial Village project in Rutland, MA. Ford split the project into two phases: Phase One dealt with wiring and speaker rough-ins, and Phase Two saw installation of the speakers, TV, and A/V equipment. 

“The builder required a high-quality speaker for his client at a fair price,” says Ford. “We were able to provide some very high quality, low cost speakers in the NXG and OEM brands that met his budget expectations.”

Specifically, Ford used the NXG NX-PRO803I’s for in-wall speakers, a NXG NX-PRO552I for the center channel, and an OEM SE-10SW as the in-wall subwoofer. “The only challenge posed was the additional wood trim that was added to the surface of the drywall,” says Ford. “This made installing the speakers difficult because the speaker tabs could not clear the rough-in kits. We overcame this issue by removing the plastic rough-in kits which minimized the required depth.” 

7. TIC WRS010 Outdoor Wireless Rock Speakers (View image)
To call the outdoor rock speaker a novelty is to do it great injustice. Manufacturers of outdoor hidden speakers have gone to great lengths to balance design, weather-resistance, and audio quality in a product that has to fill the great outdoors (or backyard) with tunes. TIC Corporation has taken things one step farther, implementing wireless technology in the WRS010 , a pair of outdoor wireless rock speakers. Using 2.4 gHz technology, these 9V or 6x AA battery-powered speakers can be place 300 feet from the broadcast unit, and come with an 80-ft. remote that can individually balance each channel. Each rock contains a 5-in. injection molded PP cone woofer and a 1-in. stamped aluminum tweeter.

8. Acoustic Research SAT510
Acoustic Research is one company that has combined a quality speaker with a number of speaker covers designed to truly blend in with a room’s décor. In-wall and in-ceiling speakers can be covered with light wallpaper or painted, but often they are still detectable. Acoustic Research completely hides their speakers within tasteful accent pieces like trunks, candle holders, and vases. Customers can piece together a speaker with a cover, or select a comprehensive speaker cover package. Décor speakers include the HD510, a 5.1 surround sound home theatre package, the SAT510, a satellite speaker, and the SUB510, the décor 5.1 sub-woofer.

The SAT510 features a 3.5-in. magnetically shielded woofer and a 1-in. Teteron tweeter. The extruded aluminum finish looks nice, but it’s not going to be seen once you’ve picked out a matching speaker cover from among the long list available. 

9. DNA Sonic Décor (View image)
Donald North Audio set out to design a slender concealed speaker that, like our televisions, could hang neatly on the walls of our homes. Their DNA Sonic Décor line was the achievement, and the product has been receiving accolades since its release. With over 80 color combinations available for the speaker’s cabinet, grille, and trim panel, the 4.25”-deep unit is sure to blend in with the aesthetics in any room. 

The Model 100 left/right pair of speakers employ a 5.75-in. Peerless nomex paper cone woofer and a 1-in. Vifa textile dome tweeter, both offset for a smoother frequency response. The wood cabinets are rigidly braced and made of damped wood. A specifically tuned crossover, hand-wired with high quality audiophile components help make these speakers acoustically tuned for on-wall or near-wall placement. 

10. Décor Audio SoundUnseen (View image)
One issue that has always faced hidden speakers is sacrificing sound quality for concealment. A completely covered, truly hidden speaker just isn’t going to sound as good. Décor Audio’s SoundUnseen line of speakers claims to preserve audio quality in a product that, once installed, cannot be distinguished from the rest of the wall. Sound quality is maintained by using an aerospace-grade material for the speaker panels, which consists of a multi-layer resin core sealed with a durable brown coating. The coating bonds with the drywall compound that is applied once the speaker is installed. Once the compound dries, it is painted to match the rest of the wall. The panel is driven by a proprietary LEAR™ (linear exciter array) transducer and mounted on a high-strength, anodized aluminum sub-frame to isolate panel vibrations. The finished product is a completely invisible, quality in-wall speaker system.

Check out this related slideshow: 40 Outdoor Speakers.

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Ben Hardy - Contributing Writer
Between watching re-runs of the The Jetsons and convincing his Insteon and Z-Wave controls to get along, Ben Hardy is immersed in the world of home automation, home control, and home networking.

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