Table of Contents
- What Are the Upsides and Downsides of In-wall Speakers?
- Best In-Wall Speakers – Comparison Table
- In-wall VS Free-standing (Regular) Speakers
- 1. Micca M-8S 8 Inch 2-Way In-Wall Speaker with Pivoting 1″ Silk Dome Tweeter (Each, White)
- 2. Polk Audio RC80i 2-Way In-Ceiling/In-Wall Speakers (Pair, White)
- 3. Silver Ticket In-Wall In-Ceiling Speaker with Pivoting Tweeter (8 Inch in-wall)
- 4. Polk Audio RC85i 2-Way In-Wall Speakers (Pair, White)
- 5. Pyle PDIW65 In-Wall / In-Ceiling 6.5-Inch Stereo Speakers, 2-Way, Flush Mount, White (Pair)
- 6. Polk Audio 265RT (Ea) 3-way In-wall Speaker
- 7. Yamaha NS-IW760 6.5″ 2-Way In-Wall Speaker System (White)
- 8. Micca M-CS Center Channel In-Wall Speaker with Dual 5.25 Inch Woofers and Pivoting 1″ Silk Dome Tweeter (Each, White)
- 9. Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker – White (Each)
- 10. Klipsch R-5650-W II In-Wall Speaker – White (Each)
- 11. Yamaha NS-IW470WH 3-Way Speaker (White, Pair)
- 12. JBL SP6II In-Wall/In-Ceiling Home Theater Surround Sound Loudspeaker
- 13. Monoprice Caliber In-Wall Speakers 8 Inch Fiber 3-Way (pair)
- 14. Legrand – V1 1000 Series In-Wall Speakers (Pair)
- 15. Acoustic Audio HD-6c Dual 6.5-Inch Kevlar Center Channel Speaker (White)
- SPECIAL MENTION
- 16. Earthquake Sound EWS-LA63 Edgeless Line Array In-Wall LCR Speaker (Black)
- 17. Definitive Technology In-Wall RLS II In-Wall Speaker (Single, White)
- In-wall Speakers with and Without Enclosures
- Step-by-step Guide on How to Buy In-wall Speakers
If you are tired of all those cables lying on the floor and speakers getting in your way wherever you go, the best thing you can do is to buy in-wall speakers. In-wall speakers are the most elegant and space-efficient solution and our article on 15 best in-wall speakers is the best place to start your search. You can find out everything you need to know about in-wall speakers in this article – we are going to talk about their upsides and downsides, things you should consider before buying in-wall speakers, we are going to explain all of all those confusing technical characteristics, give you some installation suggestions, etc. We have also made a selection of 15 best in-wall speakers so you don’t even have to go to some other place and search for suggestions – check out the list, find the speakers you like, read our reviews, try the speakers in a local audio store if you have the opportunity, and make the purchase.
What Are the Upsides and Downsides of In-wall Speakers?
First of all, in-wall speakers are space-efficient. How many times have you walked into your floor stand or knocked the speaker over because it’s in the middle of the room? If you are sick of that, in-wall speakers are the best way to go. Also, if you have kids running around all the time, in-wall speakers might be a much better option than regular speakers. They will be nicely and securely tucked inside your walls and they won’t stand in your way. On top of that, your room will be free of cables since you have to run them through your walls and you won’t trip over a speaker cable ever again (at least not in your house).
They are inconspicuous and really look elegant in any environment. Most of these speakers have paintable grilles so you can match the color of the grille to the color of your walls.
In terms of sound quality, they are not better nor worse than regular speakers. You can find a great pair of in-wall speakers for less than $100. They are usually not too expensive but there are also some really pricey models offering exceptional performance and great reproduction and you can find some of those on our list, too.
In-wall speakers are a great option if you need surround or rear speakers. Surround speakers are more intrusive than any other type of speakers in a home theater speaker system (front left, front right and center speakers are usually placed right next to the wall and all the cables are hidden behind the TV stand). Surround speakers are usually placed on floor stands next to your listening position and they get knocked over quite often. In-wall speakers work great as surrounds and most of those on the list are, in fact, meant to be used as surround speakers. Some manufacturers went even further and made in-wall speakers that can be used as center speakers or front left and right speakers. You will find some of those on our list of 15 best in-wall speakers, too.
The most obvious and greatest downside of in-wall speakers is the installation process. All the other downsides are closely related to the installation process and to the fact that these speakers are in your walls. Installing only one in-wall speaker is much more complicated and time-consuming than wiring a whole regular 5.1 system – you have to cut a hole in your wall and you have to do it precisely, then you have to run the wires through your wall (which is more of a fishing and can be quite frustrating), connect everything, attach the speaker (which is actually the easy part since most of today’s in-wall speakers have clips that you can use to attach them), paint the speaker’s grille in order to match it to your walls and then repeat all that for each speaker. The installation takes quite some time and it’s complicated so if you are not a DIY expert, you should probably ask for professional help. You are probably guessing what’s the next downside. Since you have to call a professional audio equipment installer, you have to pay him and the installation could cost you even more than speakers (especially if you bought some cheaper model).
Upgrading in-wall speakers is also a difficult job because you have to buy the speakers of the same size and shape or bigger and you have to bare this detail in mind all the time if you are looking for replacement speakers or for an upgrade.
They are also impossible to relocate. Once you cut a hole, that’s it. Well, we’ve been a little bit too dramatic – it’s not like you can’t repair the wall, but that’s another unwanted expense. You have to calibrate everything precisely and then check multiple times before drilling a hole in your wall.
If you decide to use them as surround speakers, you should know that they will be placed farther from you than regular surrounds and because of that, they won’t be as loud as regular ones. Luckily, you can solve this easily by increasing the volume.
Best In-Wall Speakers – Comparison Table
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In-wall VS Free-standing (Regular) Speakers
In the end, it’s all up to you. If you don’t mind having all those big boxes standing in your way and all the cables on the floor, regular speakers are a perfectly good option – they cost pretty much the same, the installation is much simpler and you won’t need any professional assistance (no additional costs). If you want to eliminate all the cables and boxes and get more space, there is no better solution than in-wall speakers – they are not visually intrusive and your room will look much cleaner. One thing you have to take in consideration when buying in-wall speakers is the installation – it takes more time than the installation of regular speakers and if you hire a professional installer, you will have one additional cost.
1. Micca M-8S 8 Inch 2-Way In-Wall Speaker with Pivoting 1″ Silk Dome Tweeter (Each, White)
Micca is an electronics manufacturer. They make media players and home audio equipment. Micca’s products are usually affordable and offer excellent price/quality ratio. If you are on a budget, you really can’t go wrong with Micca speakers. We are presenting to your Micca M-8S in-wall speaker. It can be used as a center or front channel but it’s probably best to use it as a surround speaker. Read our review and find out everything about this great and affordable speaker.
What’s in the box
The speaker comes in a simple box along with a cutout template, removable grille, protective piece of plastic that you are supposed to put over the drivers if you want to paint the frame, user manual, and 1-year warranty. These Micca speakers don’t come in pairs. A pair of M-8S speakers would cost you less than $100 which is a good deal considering the performance.
The speaker’s frame is rectangular and it’s completely white. The frame is 10 inches wide and 14.13 inches high. The speaker is 3.6 inches deep. Cutout template is smaller than the frame and that’s normal, so you don’t have to panic. You will need to cut a hole that’s 8.75 inches wide and 12.75 inches high. If the hole in your wall is too big, the speaker will be loose and you will ruin a perfectly good wall.
This is an open-back speaker (no enclosure) so you shouldn’t expect perfect bass and clarity. The speaker features two drivers – 8-inch woofer and 1-inch pivoting tweeter. Crossover slope is set at 12dB/octave.
Speaker’s impedance is 8Ω and maximum power input (peak power input) is 100W. Sensitivity is 90dB and frequency response spans from 40Hz to 20kHz. You can read about our impressions in the next two sections.
Things we like
In terms of design, there is nothing special about this speaker – it’s simple and clean and that’s exactly what you should expect from an in-wall speaker. Ordinary rectangular frame with a semi-transparent removable aluminum grille. Both frame and grille are paintable so if you want to match the color of your wall to the color of the speaker, you can paint them. In our opinion, you don’t really have to since they don’t stand out too much even if the colors don’t match. It’s all up to you.
The speaker is made of plastic but there are some aluminum parts, too. The woofer features cone made of polypropylene with a butyl rubber surround (it’s not the best material out there but it’s not the worst, either), and tweeter has a silk dome with a ferrofluid cooling system.
As you already know, the wiring is the hardest thing and we are going to repeat multiple times that you should pay for a professional installation if you are not sure that you can do everything on your own. You can install this speaker in your wall or in the ceiling. People use it as a center speaker, front speaker, surround, and ceiling speaker. Our opinion is that M-8S is more suitable for use as a surround speaker or a ceiling Atmos speaker and that you should use something with clearer sound and better voice reproduction as a center channel, and something with better highs as front speakers. You won’t be disappointed even if you install 5 of these speakers in your walls (2 front channels, 1 center channel, 2 surrounds) and add a subwoofer to that combo (the subwoofer is really necessary) but if you want perfectly clear voice reproduction, you should find a better center channel, and if you want great reproduction across wide range of frequencies when playing music, you should buy some nice bookshelf speakers and use them as your front speakers.
When it comes to sound quality, there is nothing really bad about M-8S but they are not perfect. Low-end reproduction is maybe the weakest link and you should definitely add a subwoofer to your speaker system to improve bass response. Mids and highs are pretty clear and detailed. Highs are just a little bit harsh at high volumes. For the price it’s impossible to beat this speaker – you will definitely get a great value for your money.
Things we don’t like
Be careful with the grille – once you put it on the speaker it’s really difficult to take it off.
We can’t really complain that much about the sound quality although there are some imperfections – highs are a little bit harsh and the bass is not impressive. Still, this is a budget speaker and it delivers outstanding performance for the price.
2. Polk Audio RC80i 2-Way In-Ceiling/In-Wall Speakers (Pair, White)
Polk is well-known audio company and it’s one of the most frequent choices when it comes to home audio. The speakers we are presenting to you are from RC series and they offer decent value for the money. They are a great choice if you are looking for surround speakers or in-ceiling (Atmos) speakers but we don’t recommend using them as front speakers because of some noticeable performance-related flaws (weak bass response and smeared highs at high volumes). There is also one additional purpose – they can be installed in your bathroom (because they are moisture resistant) or any other room and used for some quiet relaxing background music. If you want to fill your room with music and play it loud, these are not the best choice and you won’t be perfectly happy with their performance.
What’s in the box
Polk RC80i speakers come in pairs. They come in a simple and not so heavy box (4.3 pounds). Inside the box, you will find 2 speakers with 2 grilles, 2 cutout templates, user manual, and a warranty card. You won’t get any speaker wire and you should buy some CL2 or CL3-rated speaker wire (not a regular wire) which is more suitable for in-wall (in-ceiling) installations.
The speaker is circular and has a diameter of 9.6 inches. You will get a template with 9.4in diameter but you are probably going to need slightly larger hole (cut a hole using the template and then try to expand it evenly if necessary). You are going to need 3.25in of free space inside the wall (mounting depth). Since there is no enclosure, you should probably fill the space behind the speaker (inside the wall) with some kind of insulation.
Inside the speaker, there are two coaxial drivers – 8-inch woofer made of polypropylene with a rubber suspension and 1-inch soft dome tweeter.
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 35Hz to 20kHz (this info seems impressive but they are not perfect), sensitivity is 90dB, their impedance is 8Ω and their peak power input is rated at 100W (20W is minimum power input and RMS is somewhere in between).
Things we like
When it comes to design, you usually get to choose between circle-shaped, square-shaped, or rectangular and there is nothing special about in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. Most of them don’t have enclosures or any controls on them. The frame is white just like the grille. They are paintable so you can match the color of the speakers to the color of your walls (ceiling) if you want to. They are made to be inconspicuous and that part of the job is well done.
The speaker is mostly made of plastic but there are some aluminum parts, too. Drivers are made of moisture-resistant materials so you can install the speakers in your bathroom or kitchen (or even outdoors – under your porch, for example).
The installation is always the most difficult part but if you have enough patience and skill, you can do it on your own. You are probably going to need a hole that’s slightly larger than the template. Wiring is the hardest part and you can read our installation tips at the end of the article if you don’t know how to do it. Since this is an open-back speaker, you might want to put some insulation inside the hole and prevent sound from reflecting. You will also improve the bass response that way. You can also use those back boxes for open back speakers but have in mind that those cheap plastic back boxes could make the sound even worse. So, if you don’t have enough money for some good boxes, you should probably avoid buying cheap ones.
A pair of RC80i speakers cost $20-$30 more than previously mentioned Micca speakers but, to be honest, they don’t really offer much better performance. They have similar flaws. RC80i speakers also have weak bass that lacks impact and highs are getting distorted at high volumes. Mids are dynamic and detailed and highs are sparkling at low to medium volumes. They are a great choice if you need some quiet background music but if you really want to listen to music and fill the room with sound, you won’t be perfectly happy. Because of these flaws, RC80i speakers are the best choice if you need in-wall surround or rear speakers or in-ceiling Atmos speakers.
Things we don’t like
You already know all the things we don’t like about the sound – poor bass (can be slightly improved with insulation or back box) and muddy highs at high volumes.
Some people also had difficulties removing the grille but that wasn’t the case with our speakers. Polk recommends using a dental pick to remove it.
3. Silver Ticket In-Wall In-Ceiling Speaker with Pivoting Tweeter (8 Inch in-wall)
Here’s another budget speaker and it’s one of the cheapest. If $100 is too much for you, you can get a pair of these for less than $80. If you want something decent, you can’t really go much cheaper. This Silver Ticket speaker looks pretty much the same as Micca M-8S (the one we’ve talked about). We have decided to go with a larger version with 8-inch woofer but if you want something smaller, there’s a version with a 6.5-inch woofer. If you want, you can make a complete home theater system with Silver Ticket speakers (they also offer in-ceiling speakers and in-wall center speaker) but we don’t really recommend using those in-wall 8-inch and 6.5-inch in-wall speakers as front speakers. On the other side, they are a great choice if you need surround or rear speakers.
What’s in the box
These speakers don’t come in pairs, so you will have to order two. Inside the 7-pound packaging, you will find your Silver Ticket speaker, white paintable grille, cutout template, paint masks (in case you want to paint the grille and frame), user manual, and 1-year warranty card.
Speaker’s frame is 14 inches high and 10 inches wide. The speaker is 4 inches deep and you will need at least 3.5 inches of clearance inside the wall (behind the speaker). You will have to cut a hole using the template (8.63 inches wide and 12.75 inches high). The speaker doesn’t have an enclosure (it’s an open-back speaker) and if you want to get a better reproduction of low-end frequencies you should put some insulation around the drivers (in the wall) or buy some good quality back box.
This is a two-way speaker. It features 8-inch woofer made of polypropylene with a rubber surround and 1-inch tweeter with a silk dome. You can pivot the tweeter (15 degrees in any direction) and direct it toward your sitting/listening position. Drivers and speaker are made of moisture-resistant materials so you can install it in your bathroom, kitchen, or any other room.
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 51Hz to 20kHz, its impedance is 8Ω, sensitivity is rated at 89dB (+/- 2dB), it can handle 60W of power continuously (RMS power) while the peak power input is 120W. Crossover slope is set at 12/octave but you also have 0/-3/-6 dB switch if you want to change the slope.
Things we like
Silver Ticket looks basically the same as Micca M-8S. It’s rectangular, with a white paintable frame and white aluminum grille (also paintable). Simple, minimalistic, and inconspicuous design is what you should expect when buying in-wall or in-ceiling speaker and this Silver Ticket speaker is a great example of that kind of design.
The speaker is well-made. All the materials the speaker and drivers are made from are moist-resistant which gives you the opportunity to install it in your bathroom if you like.
The installation is always the hardest part when it comes to in-wall speakers. The usual recommendation is to put some insulation inside your wall (behind and around the drivers) or to buy some back box if it can fit your wall (don’t buy thin plastic boxes, they are usually useless). That way, you will improve the bass response and prevent sound from reflecting. Also, you should use some CL2 or CL3-rated speaker wire for in-wall wiring (not a regular speaker wire).
This speaker doesn’t deliver exceptional sound quality. Low-end reproduction is the worst thing about it. Mids and highs are clear and accurate. Highs tend to be a little bit harsh and unpleasant at high volumes. This is not a speaker that should be used as a front channel in a home theater system but it delivers decent performance when used as surround sound speaker. You can also use it for non-critical listening to music (background music). All in all, this is a good speaker for the price (for the price is the most important part of the sentence). Nobody expects mind-blowing sound from a $40 speaker, but you will be amazed by this little thing and you will be happy with the sound if you are not an audiophile.
Things we don’t like
We have already mentioned all the bad things about the sound. Maybe we’ve been too critical but the idea was to tell you what to expect. You can’t expect well-bodied and punchy bass for that kind of money. Bass response can be improved with some insulation or back box, but you will never get a head-bumping bass.
Speakers have spring clips and that’s not so strange when you are dealing with budget speakers. You should be careful with those wall brackets, too. They are made of thin plastic and they are fragile.
4. Polk Audio RC85i 2-Way In-Wall Speakers (Pair, White)
This is another Polk speaker and it comes from the same RC series like the previous one so you can even combine them together and use those circular (RC80i) as in-ceiling Atmos speakers and use these as in-wall surround speakers. You can also buy Polk Audio in-wall center speaker from the same series. This is just a suggestion and you don’t really have to do that. Some people prefer using those circular speakers as surround and rear speakers, and some people use these RC85i rectangular speakers as front speakers (or even as a center channel). RC85i speakers come in pairs and they are a little bit pricier than previously mentioned Micca and Silver Ticket speakers. You can have a pair of these speakers for about $150. If this speaker is too large for your room, you have two smaller models that look the same (5.25-inch woofer and 6.5-inch woofer).
What’s in the box
Speakers come in a medium sized box. Along with 2 speakers, you will get 2 paintable grilles, 2 cutout templates, user manual, and a warranty card.
Each speaker weighs 5.5 pounds. The speaker’s frame is 14.1 inches high and 10.1 inches wide. As you probably know, the cutout template is smaller than the overall dimensions of the frame. The hole in your wall should be 12.75 inches high and 8.62 inches wide. You will need 2.93 inches of clearance behind the drywall. The speaker doesn’t have an enclosure (it’s an open-back speaker).
RC85i is a two-way speaker. It features 8-inch woofer made of polypropylene and 1-inch silk dome tweeter. You can pivot the tweeter (15 degrees in any direction) and direct it toward your sitting/listening position.
RC85i has 8Ω impedance, its sensitivity is 90dB, frequency response spans from 32Hz to 20kHz, and it can handle up to 100W of power (that’s peak power input and minimum power input is 20W).
Things we like
The speaker has a rectangular shape, it’s simple and unobtrusive. Just the thing you need from an in-wall speaker. The grille and frame can be painted if you want to match the color of the speaker to the color of your wall (you are supposed to use sprays and not brush – that’s Polk’s recommendation). Since it’s really hard to find just the right color, it’s probably smart to leave them the way they are.
The speaker looks sturdy and durable. There is a lot of aluminum parts and the frame is made of plastic. Every part is moist-resistant which gives you the opportunity to install the speaker in your bathroom (in case you spend a lot of time there).
Installation of in-wall speakers is always harder than the installation of regular (free-standing) speakers and you should be prepared for that. Patience is the key, especially when it comes to wiring. And try not to make a too large hole. Like always, we have two tips for you – use CL2 or CL3-rated speaker wire instead of regular speaker wire and put some insulation around the drivers (inside the wall) or use back box if you want to improve the bass.
Sound quality is satisfying but we have expected just a little bit more considering the price, especially in the bass department. It simply lacks some serious impact. The situation gets better with a back box, but not much better. Mids are detailed and highs are sparkling, nothing wrong about that. Having in mind all that we have said about this speaker, the best thing you can do with it is to use it as a surround speaker but it won’t be completely useless if you decide to use it as your front left/right speaker.
Things we don’t like
It doesn’t deliver great bass and that’s the biggest issue.
The speaker features spring clips which is surprising considering the price. We have expected some better-quality connectors (something less fragile).
5. Pyle PDIW65 In-Wall / In-Ceiling 6.5-Inch Stereo Speakers, 2-Way, Flush Mount, White (Pair)
If you really have to save some money here’s a really cheap pair of speakers made by Pyle. You can have a pair of these for less than $50 and this is definitely the cheapest model on the list. Be aware that with that kind of price comes the performance that matches the price. So, don’t expect anything impressive. We have decided to include these only because we want to offer something for everyone and if you need something really cheap but functional, this is the model for you. If you can spend at least $50 more, our advice would be to buy Micca’s or Silver Ticket’s speakers instead of Pyle PDIW65. These speakers come in 2 sizes (models with 5.25-inch woofer and 6.5-inch woofer) and 3 colors (black, white, and gray). They are suitable for use as surround or rear speakers (or even in-ceiling Atmos speakers) or for non-critical listening and background music. For the price, Pyle PDIW65 speaker offers decent performance and nothing more than that.
What’s in the box
Inside a 7-pound box, you will find 2 PDIW65 speakers (they are already assembled and you will have to disassemble everything before installing them), cutout templates, user manual with installation instructions, and 1-year warranty card. Speaker wire is not included and we recommend using CL2 or CL3-rated speaker wire instead of regular speaker wire.
PDIW65 is a two-way speaker with one 6.5-inch woofer and one 0.5-inch tweeter. You can’t move the tweeter and direct it toward your sitting/listening position (you can pivot tweeters on Micca’s and Silver Ticket’s speakers). The speaker’s frame is 8.25 inches wide and 12.5 inches high. The overall depth of the speaker is 2.9 inches. Cutout template is 7.25 inches wide and 11.4 inches high. Measure everything twice before cutting the hole in your wall.
Speaker’s impedance is rated at 4-8Ω, peak power input is rated at 200W, and frequency response spans from 70Hz to 20kHz. There is no info on speaker’s sensitivity or efficiency but based on our experience, they are not too loud and sensitivity is not higher than 85-88dB.
Things we like
In terms of design, this speaker is not different than any other in-wall speaker. You have a simple and inconspicuous white frame and white aluminum grille (you can’t see the drivers through the grille if that’s important information to you). Both grille and frame are paintable and you should use spray paint (not brush) if you want to paint them.
When it comes to construction quality, we can’t say we were happy with this speaker. The plastic frame really seems thin and fragile as well as mounting brackets, so try to be careful. If this were $100 speakers, we would consider this a bad thing, but since they are really cheap we weren’t surprised by the build quality. The manufacturer doesn’t claim that PDIW65 is moist-resistant, so it’s probably smart not to install these in your bathroom (they will definitely work at first but we are not optimistic about driver’s durability).
The installation is not that easy as you might like it to be. First, you have to disassemble the whole speaker (remove the grille, separate the speaker from the frame with mounting brackets). After you cut the holes and run all the wires, you have to mount the frame, connect the speakers (it features spring clip terminals and they look fragile) and then attach them to the frame, and put the grille on.
The best way to describe the sound quality is to say that you get what you paid for. The speaker lacks bass and using an additional subwoofer with these speakers is highly recommended. Midrange frequencies sound articulate but not too detailed and really high frequencies are kind of lifeless. The sound gets distorted at high volumes and we recommend listening to the music at low to moderate volumes.
Things we don’t like
The installation is more difficult than the installation of some other in-wall speakers because you have to disassemble everything in order to mount the speaker.
The whole speaker looks kind of cheap, mounting brackets and frame are weak and fragile but we can’t say that this is a surprise considering the price.
The bass is thin and unimpressive, the sound gets distorted at high volumes.
6. Polk Audio 265RT (Ea) 3-way In-wall Speaker
This speaker is a bit different than all the previous models on the list. Unlike all those 2-way speakers, this one is a 3-way (2 woofers, 1 tweeter), it’s also larger, and it can be used as a center speaker (installed horizontally), as a front left/right speaker (installed vertically), but you can also use it as a surround speaker or you can install it in your kitchen or in your bathroom. Polk recommends vertical installation which means that you shouldn’t be using it as a center speaker but we don’t see any reason why. Polk 265RT is more expensive than any previously mentioned speaker, the package includes only one speaker, and you will have to pay more than $150 for it (around $500 for three speakers). For that kind of price, you will get a great build and sound quality and the only real flaw is the lack of bass (you will have to pair it with some nice subwoofer to get the best possible listening experience).
What’s in the box
Inside the packaging, you will find your Polk Audio 265RT speaker, white aluminum grille (it’s paintable), cutout template, user manual, and warranty card. There is no speaker wire and you should buy some CL2 or CL3-rated speaker wire which is more suitable for in-wall installations than a regular wire.
The grille that protects the drivers is 20.9 inches high and 8.9 inches wide (you don’t really have to use it – speaker looks quite stylish without the grille). The overall depth of the speaker is 3.75 inches and if you have a regular 0.5-inch drywall, you will need 3.25 inches of clearance behind the wall to install the speaker. You will need to cut a rectangular hole in your drywall. The hole should be 19.81 inches high and 7.25 inches wide.
Speaker features three drivers – two 6.5-inch woofers made of composite polymer and one 1-inch silk dome tweeter. The tweeter can be directed toward the listening position (15-degree pivot).
Speaker’s impedance is rated at 8Ω, its sensitivity is 91dB, peak power input is 200W, and frequency response spans from 30Hz to 27kHz.
Things we like
Just like any in-wall speaker, Polk Audio 265RT is simple and unobtrusive and it sticks out less than previously mentioned speakers – there is no speaker frame. The grille is magnetic and it’s paintable so you can paint it (spray paint is recommended) to match the color of the speaker to the color of your walls. Speaker really looks nice even without the grille.
265RT are very well built. Everything looks and feels sturdy and durable. We are pretty sure that these speakers are made to last. There were practically no complaints regarding durability and construction quality in the past.
Installation is always the hardest part with in-wall speakers. You will have to cut a large hole so you should measure the space around your TV and check if there is enough space for these speakers before making the purchase. The speakers feature gold-plated push connectors (not those cheap spring clips) which is a plus. Use CL2 or CL3 speaker wire for in-wall wiring.
265RT delivers pretty impressive sound quality. Mids are detailed and dynamic and highs are nice and clear. The only problem is the low-end reproduction. It’s not like there is no bass at all but it could be better. All in all, this speaker offers pretty impressive performance. Price could be slightly lower but we can’t really say that it is overpriced. If you combine 2 of these speakers with some Polk in-wall center channel, Polk in-wall surrounds, and some nice sub, you will get a pretty good home theater speaker system.
Things we don’t like
Our only complaint is related to the bass response – there is not enough of it and you should pair these speakers with a subwoofer if you want perfect listening experience.
7. Yamaha NS-IW760 6.5″ 2-Way In-Wall Speaker System (White)
Yamaha is one of the synonyms for good-quality home audio equipment and their products rarely disappoint us. The speaker we’ve chosen for you is NS-IW760. It’s similar to Polk Audio 265RT – it offers similar performance and it’s significantly cheaper. So, if $150 is too much for you, you can have this Yamaha speaker for less than $80.
NS-IW760 is an affordable 3-way in-wall speaker that can be used as a center speaker or as a front left/right speaker. You can also use it as your surround or rear speaker. This is another product on this list with a great price/quality ratio. Still, you should know that it has its downsides and low-end reproduction is the most important. You should definitely consider buying a subwoofer and combining it with these speakers.
What’s in the box
Inside nice Yamaha packaging, you’ll find your in-wall speaker, white (paintable) aluminum grille, cutout template, protective plastic cover (you can use it if you want to paint the frame), user manual, and 2-year warranty card. Speaker wire is not included and you have to buy it separately. You should use CL2 or CL3 speaker wire for in-wall installation, not a regular speaker wire.
NS-IW760 speaker is 5.1 pounds heavy. The speaker’s frame is 23.43 inches wide (because of this dimension you might find it hard to install the speaker but we’ll talk later about this issue) and 7.69 inches high. Overall speaker depth is 2.75 inches which means that you are going to need 2.25 inches of clearance behind your 0.5 inches thick drywall. Cutout template is 22.47 inches wide and 6.72 inches high.
Inside the speaker, you have three drivers – two 6.5-inch woofers and one 1-inch silk dome tweeter.
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 50Hz to 24kHz (crossover frequency is set at 6.5kHz), sensitivity is 88dB, impedance is 6Ω, peak power input is 140W (RMS power input is rated at 40W).
Things we like
When it comes to the design, there is nothing special about this speaker. Like all the others on the list, it has a simple rectangular paintable frame and paintable aluminum grille. It’s visually unobtrusive but still looks really stylish once you install it.
It’s mostly made of plastic but it looks sturdy enough so it won’t break during the installation. Yamaha offers 2-year warranty which is another plus.
As always, the installation process is the hardest thing when it comes to in-wall speakers and this speaker is extra hard to install especially if you want to use it as a center channel (horizontal installation). Vertical installation is much easier. Once you are done with all the wiring, connecting and installing, you will be very happy with the results.
NS-IW760 delivers pretty good sound quality with nice reproduction across wide range of frequencies. Mids and highs are particularly pleasant while there’s a problem with lows and low mids. They simply sound thin at low volumes and a little bit muddy at high volumes. This speaker is a great choice if you need decent and affordable center or front channel. Really great value for money.
Things we don’t like
The installation issues are the most annoying thing about NS-IW760. If you want to install the speaker horizontally, you should know that you need to cut 22.5 inches wide hole. The usual distance between studs in most homes is 16 inches which means that you will have to cut through studs to install the speaker and that’s not a good thing. If you don’t have enough experience, you should definitely hire a professional installer to do the job. Cutting studs weakens your walls and you shouldn’t do this without consulting a professional installer.
The biggest issue regarding the sound is the bass response.
8. Micca M-CS Center Channel In-Wall Speaker with Dual 5.25 Inch Woofers and Pivoting 1″ Silk Dome Tweeter (Each, White)
The next speaker on the list is another Micca speaker. This one is designed to be used as a center channel and it comes from the same series as previously mentioned M-8S. You can combine these Micca in-wall speakers (1 M-CS and 4 M-8S, for example), add a subwoofer to the combination, and get a nice and cheap 5.1 home theater system.
If Yamaha’s NS-760 is too expensive for you or if you don’t want to cut through wall studs, M-CS is the next best choice. NS-760 offers better performance but M-CS is not much worse. It’s really affordable (even cheap) and it offers great performance for the price.
What’s in the box
M-CS comes in a simple box along with aluminum grille, cutout template, user manual, and 1-year warranty card.
The speaker’s frame is rectangular and it is 15.4 inches wide and 8.25 inches high. You will need to cut a hole that’s 14.1 inches wide (which means that you can cut between two studs and not through studs) and 7 inches high. You will also need 3.25 inches of clearance (in your wall) to install the speaker.
Inside the speaker, there are two 6.5-inch woofers made of polypropylene with rubber surrounds and one 1-inch silk dome tweeter with ferrofluid cooling system.
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 60Hz to 20kHz, impedance is 8Ω, sensitivity is 90dB, and peak power input is rated at 120W.
Things we like
This speaker looks the same as previously mentioned M-8S, it’s just a little bit larger. In-wall speakers are supposed to be visually unobtrusive and this one is not an exception. Nothing special – simple rectangular look, white frame, and white grille. No redundant details.
The frame is made of thick plastic, the grille is made of aluminum, and mounting brackets look strong. All in all, it looks more durable than the price implies.
Installation of this speaker is much easier than the installation of Yamaha’s NS-IW760 (you don’t have to cut through studs). Wiring and cutting holes is always a difficult task when it comes to in-wall speakers but with a little bit of patience, you will do the job in a few hours or faster. If you have a prewired home, the installation is much easier. Our usual installation tips can be applied here, too – use CL2 or CL3 speaker wire for in-wall wiring and put some insulation behind and around the drivers (inside the wall) or buy some nice back box to improve the bass response, protect the drivers, and prevent sound from reflecting.
M-CS speaker is not as great as Yamaha NS-IW760, it doesn’t offer equally good separation and such a wide soundstage but they deliver great performance for the price. Low-frequency reproduction is not the greatest and some male voices might sound a little bit muffled but the rest of the mid frequencies sound pretty clear and detailed. Really high frequencies are not sparkling but you can’t expect flat frequency response from such a cheap speaker.
Things we don’t like
The only complaint we have is related to the reproduction of low and low-mid frequencies – they sound muffled. this is a really good speaker for the price.
9. Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker – White (Each)
This is something completely different from all those previous models, mainly because it’s the first high-end in-wall speaker and it’s made by one of the most popular speaker manufacturers – Klipsch. It has recognizable copper colored drivers, it looks very elegant, it’s made of high-quality materials and it offers exceptional performance. The only thing that could discourage you is the price. One Klipsch R-5502W II in-wall speaker costs almost $300. You can install it horizontally or vertically and use it as a center speaker or front left/right speaker. You can use them as surround speakers but you don’t really need that kind of high-quality speakers for surround sound and you can save some money by purchasing some cheaper Polk or even Micca in-wall surround speakers. If you need high quality at a reasonable price, Klipsch speakers are the way to go.
What’s in the box
Inside a premium Klipsch box, you will find your Klipsch R-5502W II in-wall speaker (each speaker is sold individually), white aluminum grille (it’s paintable), cutout template, user manual, and 5-year warranty card. Speaker wire is not included. We recommend using CL2 or CL3 speaker wire for in-wall installation.
The speaker weighs 6.5 pounds. The speaker’s frame is 17.75 inches high and 8 inches wide. As you probably know, the hole you have to cut is smaller than the outer dimensions of the speaker. That hole should be 16.5 inches high and 6.5 inches wide. Mounting depth is 3.5 inches.
Speaker’s frame and most of the other parts are made of ABS. Just like all the previous in-wall speakers, R-5502W II is an open-back speaker. Inside the speaker, there are two 5.25-inch woofers with Cerametallic cones and 1-inch tweeter with a titanium diaphragm. The tweeter can be directed toward the listening position (it can pivot).
The speaker’s frequency response spans from 46Hz to 20kHz (+/-3dB), sensitivity is 92dB, impedance is 8Ω, R-5502W II can handle 300W of power (RMS power input is rated at 75W), recommended amp power is 175W, and crossovers are set at 1300hz and 2200Hz.
Things we like
In terms of design, R-5502W II is not different from other speakers when the grille is on but you can immediately tell that this one is made by Klipsch when you take off the grille (because of the trademark bronze color of the drivers) and some people prefer the look without the grille. This is the matter of taste and we leave the choice to you.
The first thing where you can tell the difference between these and cheap in-wall speakers is the build quality. The frame and most parts are made of ABS, the grille is made of aluminum, woofers are made of Klipsch’s trademark material called Cerametallic, and titanium diaphragms are used for tweeters. We can conclude that R-5502W II is well-made and durable speaker. On top of that, you get 5-year which is something you will never get with those cheap speakers.
The installation is always the most difficult part. With Klipsch R-5502W II it can be even harder, especially if you want to install it horizontally and use it as your center speaker since you have to make a 16.5-inch wide hole and the distance between two studs is usually 16 inches (which means that you will have to cut through at least one stud). If you want to install it vertically, cutting is much easier. In-wall wiring is always difficult and if you are not sure how to do it, you should hire a professional audio equipment installer.
Sound quality is another department where this speaker excels. It’s probably not fair to compare R-5502W II speaker with cheaper in-wall models but you can really tell the difference. R-5502W II offers much fuller, more detailed, and crispier sound than any previously mentioned model. If you are going to use it as a center channel, you should know that all the vocals sound perfectly clear, even those deep male voices. Even if you want to use R-5502W II as your front left/right channel, you will be perfectly happy with detailed mids and sparkling highs. The only issue is the low-end reproduction but if you add some nice 10 or 12-inch Klipsch subwoofer, you’ll be amazed.
Things we don’t like
You may encounter a problem if you try to install the speaker horizontally – hole has to be 16.5 inches wide and the usual distance between two studs is 16 inches.
The bass is not the best but, to be honest, it’s much better than the bass on previously mentioned affordable speakers. You can put the insulation around the drivers (inside your wall) or buy some back box (if there is enough space inside the wall) to improve the bass response.
10. Klipsch R-5650-W II In-Wall Speaker – White (Each)
If you liked the previous Klipsch’s R-5502W II and you want to make a home theater speaker system, one of the best options is to combine three Klipsch R-5502W II (one center and two front speakers) with 2, 4, or even 8 R-5650W II speakers (2 surround speakers, 2 rear speakers, and 2 or 4 in-ceiling speakers). Add a 10 or 12-inch Klipsch subwoofer (in-wall or free-standing) to this combo, and you will have an amazing home theater system. Our estimation is that you can make a great 5.1 home theater system for about $1,800. It’s a significant amount of money but if you are an audiophile looking for a high-end in-wall speaker system, you can’t go cheaper than that.
R-5650W II is the speaker we’ve chosen for you, it’s slightly cheaper than some other Klipsch in-wall models so you can even save some money. It’s sold individually, and you can have a pair of these for about $550. They can be used as surround or rear speakers. You can even install them in your ceiling and use them as Atmos speakers but you can also buy some cheaper in-ceiling speakers and save some money. After all, Atmos speakers don’t really have to be perfect. You can use them as your front speakers, too and you won’t be disappointed at all.
What’s in the box
Just like R-5502W II, R-5650W II comes in a premium box. You will get one speaker, one white aluminum grille, cutout template, user manual, specs sheet, and a warranty card.
R5650W II weighs 7.2 pounds. The speaker’s frame is 14.3 inches high and 9.3 inches wide. You will need 3.75 inches of clearance behind the wall in order to install it properly. The hole in the wall should be 13 inches high and 8 inches wide.
This is a 2-way open-back speaker. It features one 6.5-inch woofer with an aluminum cone, and one 1-inch tweeter with titanium dome located inside 6-inch square-shaped Tractrix horn (another Klipsch trademark).
The speaker’s frequency response spans from 52Hz to 20kHz (+/- 3dB) with a crossover at 2,500Hz, sensitivity is 93dB, impedance is 8Ω, and it can handle up to 200W of power (RMS input power is 50W).
Things we like
The speaker looks nice and stylish with that trademark copper-colored driver. When you put the grille on, it looks simple and inconspicuous like any other in-wall speaker but many people prefer the look without the grille.
Just like the previous Klipsch speaker on this list, R5650W II looks sturdy and durable. Even the plastic enclosure (ABS) looks strong but bear in mind that it’s still just plastic and install it carefully. Klipsch is one of the synonyms for great build quality, that’s for sure.
The installation is always the most difficult part when it comes to in-wall speakers but R-5650W is not too large and you won’t have to cut through wall studs (that was the case with R-5502W II). You should use CL2 or CL3 speaker wire (12 gauge is recommended) and put some insulation around the drivers to improve the low-end reproduction.
There’s a real and noticeable difference between this speaker and all those cheap speakers that can be used as surround or rear speakers. This one delivers exceptionally dynamic mid tones and crisp and clear highs even at high volumes. Bass is the weakest link, especially those really low frequencies (up to 100Hz) and you are definitely going to need a subwoofer to fill the gaps and get a mind-blowing sound.
Things we don’t like
The only thing that could be considered a downside is the bass response but nobody should expect this speaker to go that low. That’s simply unrealistic.
The price is high but it’s reasonable considering the performance and build quality. They are not highly overpriced like some other branded speakers and that’s a huge plus for Klipsch.
11. Yamaha NS-IW470WH 3-Way Speaker (White, Pair)
This is another Yamaha in-wall speaker on the list and it’s not a surprise. Yamaha is, along with a few more brands, one of the most popular choices when it comes to in-wall speakers. Their secret is pretty good price/quality ratio. Their speakers (including this one) are not high-end but they deliver decent sound quality at an affordable price.
NS-IW470WH is a relatively small speaker. It’s not the best choice if you need front speakers but they will do a great job as your surround or rear speakers. These speakers come in pairs, and they can be bought for about $250. So, not too expensive but not cheap either. Their mid and high-end reproduction is very good but they lack bass and that’s their biggest downside. There are some installation issues and we will talk about them in the last section of this review.
What’s in the box
The speakers come in Yamaha-branded box. Inside the box, you will find two speakers, two white paintable grilles, one cutout template, two protective covers that you are supposed to put on the speaker instead of grille while painting the frame, user manual, and 2-year warranty card.
The speaker’s frame is 8.9 inches wide and 11.94 inches high. The overall depth of the speaker is 3.56 inches and you are going to need 3.06 inches of clearance behind your wall (mounting depth). The holes you need to cut should be 10.6 inches high and 7.56 inches wide.
NS-IW470WH is a 3-way open-back speaker. It features one 6.5-inch woofer with a paper cone, one 2-inch mid-range woofer with adjustable mid-range level (high-level control knob), and 1-inch tweeter.
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 55Hz to 28kHz with two crossover frequencies at 5kHz and 7kHz, its impedance is 6Ω, sensitivity is 87dB, maximum input power is 120W (RMS power is rated at 40W).
Things we like
The speaker has white frame and grille but you can paint them the way you like or leave them white. The speakers stick out a little bit more than some other in-wall models but they are still a low-profile and they are not visually intrusive. So, they pretty much look the same as any other in-wall speaker when the grille is on. What’s behind the grille is different. They have 3 drivers and a high-level knob, they are all black and look nice even without the grille.
NS-IW470WH looks strong and durable. They come with a 2-year warranty which is reassuring. They are mostly made of plastic and the grille is made of aluminum. The most fragile parts are the mounting clips and you should be really careful when installing the speaker.
The installation is always hard with in-wall speakers. Cutting holes is the easiest part but you have to be precise. Be careful when inserting the speaker and tightening up the screws because of those plastic mounting clips. Wiring is the hardest part if your home is not prewired. You should use CL2 or CL3 speaker wire which is more suitable for in-wall installation (not a regular speaker wire). If you have any doubts, you can read our installation tips, and if you are unsure if you can do everything on your own, hire some professional installer.
The sound quality matches the price. We were not happy with the bass because it lacks impact and the subwoofer is definitely needed. If you are going to use these speakers as your surround or rear speakers, you will be perfectly happy with the performance. Mids are sweet and highs are just perfect. We should also mention that these speakers have the mid-high level knob that you can use to adjust mid-high frequencies volume level (mid-high frequencies are all the frequencies within the range 1kHz-7kHz produced by the mid-range woofer).
Things we don’t like
The only complaint regarding the sound is the poor bass response. You will need a subwoofer if you want more bass in your music.
Mounting brackets are flimsy and fragile and you should be patient and careful during the installation.
12. JBL SP6II In-Wall/In-Ceiling Home Theater Surround Sound Loudspeaker
The next product on the list is made by one of the most popular speaker manufacturers JBL. JBL is famous for its Bluetooth speakers but they make other types of speakers, too and they are pretty good. JBL SP6II is an affordable mid-end speaker. Its price varies a lot – you can find a pair of these for $100 but the official price on JBL website is $300 (for a pair). $300 is simply too much but if you get a good deal (around $100), don’t hesitate. SP6II speakers is a low profile inconspicuous speaker, it delivers pretty good sound for the price (if the price is $100 for a pair, and for $300 you can have Klipsch speakers) and the only issue is the bass but no one expects such a small speaker to produce booming bass, so that’s not a deal breaker. They are a great choice if you need surround or rear speakers (they can be also used as in-ceiling Atmos speakers) but you should probably buy something bigger with a better bass response if you need front speakers. These are not bad at all but if you want to fill the room with music, JBL SP6II speakers are not the best choice. Another thing that you should know about these is that they are a little bit smaller than all the previous in-wall speakers we’ve talked about and if you have a small room, these might be a perfect choice (even if you need front speakers).
What’s in the box
Inside nice little JBL packaging, you will find two speakers, two paintable aluminum grilles, cutout templates, user manual, and 5-year limited warranty.
The speaker is made of plastic and has a white frame. The frame is 8.5 inches wide and 11 inches high. The hole you are supposed to cut is 7.13 inches wide and 9.69 inches high. Mounting depth is 3.9 inches which means that you need 3.9 inches of empty space behind the wall.
This is a 2-way open-back speaker. It features one 6.5-inch woofer with a titanium-laminate cone and rubber surround and one 1-inch tweeter with a titanium-laminate dome.
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 38Hz to 20kHz with a crossover at 2.8kHz, sensitivity is 88dB, impedance is 8Ω, and recommended amplifier’s power output is 80W.
Things we like
There is nothing really special regarding the design but that’s a normal thing for an in-wall speaker. They are supposed to be discrete and visually unobtrusive and SP6II speakers comply with this rule. Both the frame and grille are white, you can paint them (spray paint is recommended) or leave them the way they are. Speakers look fine without the grilles but they are not as beautiful as Klipsch speakers.
Build quality is pretty good. Most of the parts are made of plastic but it’s a thick and strong plastic and it’s made to last. 5-year limited warranty proves that.
The installation is quite simple and you don’t have to worry if they are going to fit between studs because they are small. Wiring is always the ugly part and it will take some time – you just have to be patient. You should use some CL2 or CL3 speaker wire (10, 12, or 16-gauge – you can find instructions on which wire to use in the manual).
The sound quality is quite good for the price. All the mids are clear and detailed, and highs are really sparkling. The only issue is the lack of bass and if you are going to use these as your front speakers, some small 8 or 10-inch subwoofer would be a nice addition.
Things we don’t like
Except for the bass (which is weak), the price might be the only problem. For $300 they are not a good deal (since there are so many great choices at that price) but for $100 or less (for a pair) they are a great buy and you won’t regret it.
13. Monoprice Caliber In-Wall Speakers 8 Inch Fiber 3-Way (pair)
This is another in-wall speaker that could be characterized as great for the price. It’s a 3-way open-back in-wall speaker and you can have a pair of these for less than $100 which is a good deal considering the performance. It’s supposed to be used as a surround or in-ceiling Atmos speaker but it can easily be used as a front speaker (especially the 8-inch version we are reviewing). There are three versions of this speaker – the smallest with 5.25-inch woofer, middle with 6.5-inch woofer, and the largest with 8-inch woofer. The price difference is not huge and if you have enough space you should definitely go for that 8-inch version.
What’s in the box
Inside a simple Monoprice box, you will find 2 speakers, 2 aluminum grilles, cutout template, user manual with installation instructions, paint mask (in case you want to paint the grille you should use spray paint and put on this mask), grill removal tool, and glue for the grille.
The speaker’s frame is 14.1 inches high, 10 inches wide and 3.9 inches deep. The holes you have to cut should be 12.8 inches high, 8.7 inches wide, and you will need 3.6 inches of clearance behind your wall in order to install the speaker properly.
Caliber 8-inch in-wall speakers are 3-way speakers (3 drivers). It features one 8-inch woofer made of Kevlar fiber, one 4-inch mid-range woofer (also made of Kevlar), and 1-inch tweeter with a dome made of titanium silk.
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 50Hz to 20kHz (crossover is set at 12dB/octave with a crossover switch with 2 positions: -3dB and -6dB). Nominal impedance of the speaker is 8Ω, sensitivity is 90 dB (+/-2dB), 200W is its peak power input (the user manual claims that RMS is 100W which is kind of surprising – we have expected something like 50W of RMS).
Things we like
When it comes to design, you will get what you expect from an in-wall speaker – simple and clean look with white frame and white grille covering the whole speaker. The grille is paintable so you can match the color of the speaker to the color of your wall. One small detail we have to mention is that you can see those yellowish drivers through the grille. It’s not completely transparent but you can still see the drivers.
Caliber speakers are very strong. The frame and the enclosure (well, not an actual enclosure but that piece of plastic with the drivers on it) are made of thick plastic and it looks really durable. Monoprice offers 1-year warranty with a 30-day money back guarantee which means they believe in their product.
Installation is always the hardest part when dealing with in-wall speakers but there were no unexpected issues. You have to cut a hole, run the wires (we recommend using CL2 or CL3 speaker wire for in-wall installation), connect the speakers (speakers feature spring clips which are not the best option), put them into the holes, and attach them to your wall. You should be done in 2-3 hours.
The sound quality is actually very good considering the price. There are some small bass issues (it’s there but it’s weak) and if you really want to achieve the best possible results, you should add a subwoofer to get that punchy bass you want. If you are not a bass lover, you will be perfectly happy with the sound. Mids are dynamic and sweet and highs are clean and sparkling. We were really satisfied with the sound quality of this affordable speaker.
Things we don’t like
The only issue regarding the installation is the fact that this speaker features small spring clips. These clips look a little bit fragile and flimsy and we would definitely love to see an improved version with some other type of wire terminals.
The bass is weak but it’s there and if you are not a bass-head, you might be happy with the sound. Still, if you need a real punch, some kind of 10 or 12-inch subwoofer is necessary.
14. Legrand – V1 1000 Series In-Wall Speakers (Pair)
Legrand 1000 Series is another affordable in-wall speaker. You can have a pair of Legrand 1000 series speakers for less than $70 and you will get pretty impressive performance for that kind of money. They are suitable for use as surround and rear in-wall speakers. You can use them even as your front left and right speakers but something a little bit larger and with better low and high-end reproduction would be more appropriate. Like all the other affordable speakers, Legrand speakers offer pretty good price/quality ratio but they are not our favorites – if you add just a little bit more money, you can get much better high-end reproduction with some Yamaha, Polk, or even Micca speakers. Bass is always problematic when it comes to in-wall open-back speakers (most of them are open-back) – they don’t have large enough drivers to reproduce low frequencies accurately and they don’t have enclosures which are really important for bass reproduction. You can improve the bass by adding insulation around and behind the drivers but even then, the results won’t be impressive and if you need more oomph, you should buy some subwoofer.
What’s in the box
Legrand 1000 series in-wall speakers come in a nice orange box. You will get a pair of speakers, two white aluminum grilles, 2 cutout templates, user manual with installation instructions, and a warranty card. Speaker wire is not included and you should probably use some CL2 or CL3 speaker wire (more suitable for in-wall installations than a regular speaker wire).
The frame is 12 inches high, 9 inches wide. The speaker is 3.5 inches deep (which means that you are going to need at least 3 inches of clearance behind your 0.5-inch drywall). The hole you have to cut in your drywall should be 10.75 inches high and 7.5 inches wide.
Each Legrand 1000 series speaker features two drivers – 6.5-inch polypropylene woofer and 0.5-inch mylar tweeter (this is the least expensive type of material besides paper because it delivers weak and not very accurate sound; metal or fabric tweeters offer much better sound quality). Thanks to the materials the drivers are made of, speakers from Legrand 1000 series are moisture-resistant and can be installed in bathrooms or even outdoors (under your porch, for example).
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 60Hz to 20kHz, peak power input is rated at 100W (RMS is 50W), efficiency is 90dB, and impedance is 8Ω.
Things we like
When it comes to design, there is no difference between Legrand 1000 series speakers and any other in-wall speaker from this list. They are all supposed to be inconspicuous and simple. You have a black enclosure (not a real enclosure but the plastic piece with drivers and crossover), white frame, and white aluminum grille. Grille and frame are paintable (spray paint is recommended).
Construction quality matches the price. You will never get high-quality materials for that kind of money – frame, enclosure, and mounting brackets are made of plastic, the woofer is made of polypropylene and tweeters are made of mylar. These materials are not the best choice when it comes to sound quality but they allow you to install the speaker in your bathroom or any other humid place.
The installation is pretty much standard. It’s harder than the installation of a regular (free-standing) speaker since you have to cut the hole, run the wires, paint the grille and frame (not necessary), and connect everything. We haven’t experienced any unexpected issues during the installation. Legrand speakers are small enough to fit between two wall studs so you don’t have to cut through studs. Mounting brackets are made of plastic and they are kind of flimsy, so you should be careful when tightening the screws.
When it comes to sound quality, these speakers are not the best out there. They lack bass but that’s expected and adding some kind of subwoofer is always recommended. Mids are the best part – they are articulate, clean, and dynamic. High-end reproduction is what bothered us the most – they are bright and they get harsh at high volumes. These speakers offer decent performance for the price but they are not the best budget speakers on the market. They are suitable for use as surround or rear speakers.
Things we don’t like
We have already discussed the sound, so we won’t repeat the whole story. Overall sound quality is satisfying but Legrand speakers lack bass and their high-end reproduction should be better.
Plastic brackets are fragile and you need to be careful and try not to break them during the installation.
15. Acoustic Audio HD-6c Dual 6.5-Inch Kevlar Center Channel Speaker (White)
Acoustic Audio HD 6c is designed to be used as a center speaker but you can use it as your front left/right speaker or as your surround speaker. They can be installed in the ceiling, too. Just like most of the speakers on this list, this is a budget speaker. It’s sold individually and you can have one for less than $60. You will get surprisingly good performance with plenty of loudness and clarity for that kind of money. When it comes to downsides, you should know that you are probably going to experience some installation issues and we are going to talk about them in the last section of this review. The lack of bass is also noticeable. In all the other aspects, this is a really good in-wall center speaker.
What’s in the box
The speaker comes in a simple box with Acoustic Audio logo on it. The package content is pretty much standard – you get one Acoustic Audio HD-6C in-wall center speaker, one white aluminum grille (it’s kind of transparent and you can see the drivers through it), one cutout template, user manual with installation instructions, and a warranty card.
The speaker’s frame is 20.5 inches wide and 8.75 inches high (pay attention to the width of the frame and of the hole). You should cut a hole using that cutout template. The hole should be 19.25 inches wide and 7.5 inches high.
Inside the speaker, there are three drivers – two 6.5-inch woven fiber woofers with rubber surrounds, and one 0.5-inch tweeter.
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 33Hz to 22kHz with a crossover at 2,200Hz, peak power input is rated at 350W (minimum power needed to drive the speaker is 20W), sensitivity is 98dB (this might be a mistake but that’s the info from the user manual). Speaker’s impedance is 8Ω.
Things we like
The frame and grille are white and paintable. Acoustic Audio HD-6c is a low-profile in-wall speaker – it’s simple and visually unobtrusive just like the most of other in-wall speakers. After all, the main reasons why people buy in-wall speakers are the facts that they don’t take up too much space and look simple and stylish. This center in-wall speaker is just like that. The only noticeable design-related detail you might not like is the grille because it’s kind of transparent and you can see the yellow woofers through it.
Acoustic Audio HD-6c is not the most durable speaker but you usually get what you paid for. The enclosure is made of thick plastic, the grille is made of aluminum, Kevlar is used for woofers. Thanks to Kevlar and other moist-resistant materials you can install these speakers in humid places (like bathrooms, porches, etc.).
The installation is always the hardest part. If you want to install it vertically you won’t experience any issues – you just have to cut a hole, run the wires (speaker wire not included in the package and you should use CL2 and CL3 wire for any in-wall installation). Horizontal installation is more problematic and you can read about it in the next section.
This speaker offers really nice performance. You can’t get a much better speaker for that kind of money. Since this is a center speaker, we were concentrated on upper bass, midrange, and upper midrange (all the male and female voice frequencies are within this range). Our only complaint is the reproduction of those frequencies between 80 and 150Hz (deep male voices) and they can be a little bit muffled. Really low frequencies are not impressive but that’s not the main purpose of a center speaker and you should definitely buy a subwoofer if you want more punch.
Things we don’t like
If you want to install the speaker horizontally and use it as a center speaker, you should be aware that this speaker is 20.5 inches wide and that the hole is supposed to be 19.25 inches wide. The usual distance between wall studs is 16 inches and in order to place 19.25-inch wide speaker inside the hole, you will need to cut through studs and that could be a problem for some people. You should hire some professional installer if you are not sure what to do and how to cut through studs.
The speaker features plastic spring clip connectors. They are flimsy and you should be careful when connecting the wires.
This is the end of our list of 15 best in-wall speakers. Hopefully, you have learned something new and found something interesting that suits your needs but if you want something bigger and premium, you don’t need to go to some other place and see other reviews – we have prepared for you 2 additional in-wall speakers – Earthquake Sound EWS-LA63 and Definitive Technology RLS.
16. Earthquake Sound EWS-LA63 Edgeless Line Array In-Wall LCR Speaker (Black)
This speaker differs from all the others on the list – it’s bigger, stronger, it features 6 woofers, and it’s made of premium materials (no plastic parts on this one). This is a premium speaker and with that kind of premium look comes the adequate price. You can buy one EWS-LA63 speaker for around $400 but the price varies and depending on the seller, the price can go up to $700.
This speaker would be a great choice if you are looking for high-quality center channel but it can be used as front left and right channel, too. It can be a part of your multiroom speaker system or it can be installed in bathrooms and atriums.
EWS-LA63 delivers great mids and highs and the only issue is the low-end reproduction. The speaker doesn’t have large enough woofers and it’s open-back speaker so you can’t expect great bass. If you are going to use it as part of your home theater system, you are going to need a subwoofer.
What’s in the box
The speaker comes in a cardboard box with EWS logo on it and all the important features listed on the back side of the box.
Along with the speaker, you will get white magnetic grille (paintable), cutout template, user manual with installation instructions, and 5-year limited warranty. Speaker wire is not included and Earthquake Sound recommends 12 or 14-gauge wire. It’s probably smart to use CL2 or CL3 wire which is more suitable for in-wall installation.
The speaker weighs 9.1 pounds, it’s 26.5 inches wide and 4.9 inches high. The hole you have to cut should be 25.75 inches wide and 4 inches high. This kind of hole is easy to cut if you want to install the speaker vertically but if you want to install it horizontally, you may experience some issues and we will talk about these issues in the last section of the review. You will need 2.9 inches of clearance behind the wall (mounting depth).
EWS-LA63 features 6 3-inch mid-bass woofers with poly cones arranged in an array and one 1-inch tweeter with a silk dome. Twitter can swivel and you can direct it toward your sitting/listening position.
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 40Hz to 20kHz, its sensitivity is 89dB, impedance is 8Ω, and it can handle maximum input power of 350W (peak power input).
Things we like
EWS-LA63 really looks and feels premium when you take off the grille (it’s heavy, it features high-quality drivers and strong aluminum enclosure). When it’s installed and when the grille is on, it looks inconspicuous just like any other in-wall speaker and the only thing you can notice is that it is larger than other speakers.
When it comes to build quality, this is one of the strongest and most durable in-wall speakers we came across. Most of the in-wall speakers on the list and on the market are made of plastic while this one is made of aluminum. There is one more important thing – you get a 5-year limited warranty which is definitely reassuring.
The installation is always the hardest part when it comes to in-wall speakers. Vertical installation is easier because the speakers can fit between two wall studs. Horizontal installation is much harder because the hole has to be 25.75 inches wide while the usual distance between two studs is 16 inches. This means that you have to cut through at least one wall stud. Once you cut the hole and run the wire, the rest of the job is easy. You just have to connect the speaker (wire terminals are gold plated and also look premium), secure the speaker, and attach the magnetic grille. You can put some insulation into the wall cavity (around and behind the drivers) to prevent sound reflection and improve bass response.
EWS-LA63 offers a great performance especially when it comes to mid and high frequencies. Mids are super detailed and dynamic and highs are clear and sparkling. There is practically no distortion at high volumes. Because of these features, ESW-LA63 would be a great center channel. All the vocals sound clear, even those deep male voices.
Things we don’t like
The only issue (although it’s not a real issue if you are realistic) is the bass. Those really low frequencies lack impact and you need to add a subwoofer to your home theater system if you want more punch.
17. Definitive Technology In-Wall RLS II In-Wall Speaker (Single, White)
In our opinion, Definitive Technology is one of only a few speaker manufacturers that makes in-wall speakers of the highest quality. Everything about Definitive Technology in-wall speakers is premium – design, build quality, sound quality. We are presenting to you their RLS II in-wall speaker which can be used as a center channel in a home theater system (installed horizontally) or as front left or right channel (installed vertically). It can be installed anywhere in your home and it can be used for music, too (not only quiet background music but room-filling loud music). What really makes this speaker special is the bass quality. As you already know, small in-wall open-back speakers don’t really deliver great bass but Definitive Technology did everything to improve the sound in that department. The result of that effort is RLS II in-wall speaker. It features 2 high-quality woofers accompanied by 2 passive bass radiators for an improved bass response. This speaker offers stronger and punchier bass than any other on the list and it’s one of the best on the market. Strong bass is not the only great thing about the speaker. Build quality, design, mid and high-end reproduction are also great. You might experience some difficulties if you try to install it horizontally because it’s really large and you have to cut through one or two wall studs.
What’s in the box
The speaker comes in a premium packaging and it’s sold individually (not in pairs). Along with the speaker, you will get white aluminum grille (the grille is paintable), painting mask, self-adhering gasket, user manual with installation instructions, and a 5-year warranty (on both drivers and cabinet).
The speaker weighs 19 pounds. The grille is 29.75 inches wide and 8.13 inches high. The hole you have to cut in your wall should be 28.5 inches wide and 7 inches high (or vice versa if you are going to install it vertically). Mounting depth is 3.81 inches.
Inside the speaker, there are three drivers – two 6.5-inch woofers with cast baskets, two 6.5-inch passive radiators, and one 1-inch aluminum tweeter.
Speaker’s frequency response spans from 22Hz to 30kHz, sensitivity is 92dB, impedance is 8Ω, and it can handle maximum input power of 350W (you need at least 10W to drive the speakers).
Things we like
You can’t really tell that this speaker is one of the best on the market just by looking at it, especially if there’s a grille covering the drivers. It’s visually unobtrusive and inconspicuous just like any other in-wall speaker. The moment you remove the grille, see the drivers and feel the materials the speaker is made from, you can tell that this is not some cheap in-wall speaker.
RLS II is made from high-quality materials. The cabinet is made of dense wood, woofers’ cones are made of polypropylene and have rubber surround, and the tweeter is made of pure aluminum. These are all moist-resistant materials which means that you can install the speaker in your bathroom or any other humid place. Another great thing is that RLS II comes with a 5-year warranty on drivers and cabinet.
Vertical installation is pretty much standard but you might have to cut through wall studs if you want to install it horizontally. Speaker wire is not included so be sure to buy it before the installation (CL2 or CL3 speaker wire is recommended).
In terms of sound quality, this is the best speaker of all the speakers we’ve reviewed. The only real rivals capable of delivering that kind of high fidelity are RLS II and those two Klipsch speakers but Definitive Technology RLS II is better especially in the bass department. This speaker offers nice and punchy bass, dynamic mids, and crisp highs. The bass is still not perfect but considering the size and type of the speaker, you can’t get much better than that.
Things we don’t like
The only real problem with this speaker is the installation. Horizontal installation, to be precise. The hole has to be 28.5 inches wide and you will probably have to cut through wall studs to install it (the distance between two wall studs is usually 16 inches).
The price of this speaker is a deal breaker for many people but if you want a high-end product, you have to be prepared for that kind of price (approximately $900 for one speaker). If you want to make a home theater speaker system and use only Definitive Technology speakers, you can combine 3 RLS II in-wall speakers (used as center, front left, and front right channels), with Definitive Technology in-wall subwoofer, and two Definitive Technology in-wall surround speakers. This system would cost you $5,200 (speaker wire and installation costs are not included).
In-wall Speakers with and Without Enclosures
Most of those cheap in-wall speakers don’t have enclosures (they are open-back speakers). Open-back speakers perform worse than speakers with enclosures – they have poor bass response and they are not as loud as closed-back speakers. You must bear this in mind when buying in-wall speakers. Open-back speakers are a good choice if you need surround or ceiling speakers but if you need a center speaker or front speakers, you should definitely buy free-standing closed-back speakers or high-end in-wall speakers. Cheap in-wall speakers with enclosures made of thin plastic are not a good choice if you need a center speaker or front speakers but if you need surround speakers or in-ceiling speakers, they are a viable option (just like open-back speakers).
As you already know, the installation of in-wall speakers is really complicated and it takes a few hours even if you are an expert when it comes to DIY projects. If you are not really sure how to do everything on your own and you are thinking ‘’I will figure it out in the process’’, please don’t do anything. Call some custom installer and pay for the installation. One small mistake could cost you much more than the installation. You could even cause a fire or a flood. Or you can get electrocuted. Installing in-wall speakers is not a joke and you shouldn’t do it unless you are absolutely certain that you know what you’re doing.
Installing process includes drilling and cutting holes in your walls, so you should know what’s behind the wall – you have to be aware where the plumbing pipes and electrical wires go and you must avoid them. If you are not sure where they are, don’t drill the holes on your own. If you know everything about plumbing and electrical installations in your house, you are allowed to drill but calculate everything and check twice before you start. Holes have to be large enough so you can insert the speakers but they shouldn’t be too large. Read the installation manual before cutting and see what the recommended dimensions are. Drilling and cutting holes are the easiest parts of the job. It gets harder, much harder.
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The real hustle is the wiring. You can wire some regular in-room surround speaker in 3 minutes but you are going to need at least an hour (probably two or three) and a lot of patience to run the wire from your amplifier (AV receiver) to the surround in-wall speaker. You can run the wires above your head (through the attic), under your floor (through the basement or through raised foundation), or along your floor (behind the baseboards). The third option seems really simple but there are some additional costs – you will probably have to buy new baseboards. This job requires precision – if you are not careful enough, you could ruin your ceiling or your floor. Again, if you are not that skillful and patient, you should definitely contact some professional installer and pay the man.
One important thing – you shouldn’t use regular speaker wire but only CL2 or CL3-rated speaker wires which are more suitable for in-wall wiring. In-wall speakers usually don’t come with this kind of wire and you will have to buy the wire separately (another additional cost that you have to consider when buying in-wall speakers).
Technical Specs Explained
Before you go to the audio store or visit some web store, you should at least have a basic understanding of some technical terms that you could come across. We have tried to explain the most important terms:
Frequency response – We can hear frequencies within the range 20Hz-20kHz and any speaker that can reproduce most of the frequencies from that range can be considered very good. Now, if you are looking for a surround or ceiling speaker, you don’t really need something with perfect reproduction over such a wide range. Surround speakers (in-wall speakers are often used as surrounds) don’t need to have a precise bass response so even if they have a frequency response that spans from 100Hz (or even 200Hz) to 20kHz (or more) they are a great choice.
Sensitivity – It tells you how loud some speaker can be. Speakers with higher sensitivity will be louder than those with lower sensitivity when driven by the same wattage. This is really important if you have some cheap less powerful receiver. In order to compensate and get the maximum out of your surround sound speaker system, you need speakers with greater sensitivity. You should be looking for speakers with at least 85dB sensitivity, and anything above 90dB can be considered great.
Impedance – It represents speaker’s resistance to the electrical signal and it’s measured in Ohms (Ω). Speakers with low impedance will draw more power from your amplifier so if you have some cheap and not so powerful AV receiver you should buy speakers with 6Ω or 8Ω impedance.
Power ratings – When reading speaker specs, you will come across one or two values expressed in watts. RMS power rating represents the amount of power that speaker can handle continuously while Peak power rating represents the maximum amount of power that speaker can handle for a really short period of time (a few milliseconds). Manufacturers often advertise only that larger value (peak power rating) and you should have that in mind – RMS power rating is usually much lower. People often think that higher power rating means more loudness but that’s not the only factor that determines the loudness of a speaker. You should pay attention to the speaker’s sensitivity (and efficiency), too. High sensitivity combined with high power rating guarantees great loudness.
THD (True Harmonic Distortion) – It describes the effect the speaker has on the output audio signal. Greater THD value means that speaker changes the original audio signal more. Lower THD value is always better and that’s what you should be looking for. If possible, look for the speaker with THD rated at 0.1% or less.
Home theater speaker system (surround sound speaker system) – This is a system of speakers that consists of at least 6 speakers (2 front speakers, center speaker, 2 surround speakers, and a subwoofer). There are speaker systems with less than 6 speakers that actually imitate surround sound but if you want a real deal, you need at least 6 speakers. People usually buy a regular bookshelf or floor standing speakers and use them as front left and right speakers and use regular center speaker and subwoofer. In-wall speakers are most often used as surround speakers or ceiling speakers, but they can also be used as center speakers (there are some really great options on the market but they cost more than regular ones) or even as front speakers. In fact, you can make the whole 5.1 in-wall speaker system (or leave the subwoofer and use 5 in-wall speakers) but that’s probably too much for most people. Most of the speakers on our list of 15 best in-wall speakers are meant to be used as surround speakers or in-ceiling speakers.
Drivers, woofers, and tweeters – Driver is the actual loudspeaker – the part of the speaker that produces sound. It’s usually located inside the enclosure that can be sealed or ported (ported usually deliver better and deeper bass). The majority of in-wall speakers don’t have enclosures (open-back speakers) and they can be used as surrounds, too but they are not as good as those with enclosures.
Depending on the size and purpose, we can divide all the drivers into two groups woofers and tweeters. Woofers are usually larger, and they can be divided into two groups – full-range woofers and mid-range woofers. Full-range woofers are in charge or reproducing all the frequencies and they usually don’t have a great bass response and don’t reproduce accurately high frequencies. Mid-range woofers are in charge of low-mid and mid frequencies. Woofer’s diameter can be as small as 3 or 4 inches but they can be much larger, too (6, 8, or even 15 inches). Large woofers are usually in charge of really low frequencies. Tweeters are much smaller than woofers. They usually have 1-inch diameter (or even smaller) and they reproduce high frequencies. Since one speaker can’t reproduce all the frequencies equally well, many speaker manufacturers combine two or three drivers inside one enclosure and make 2-way and 3-way speakers.
2-way, 3-way speakers – 2-way speaker features two drivers: one woofer (it reproduces lows and mids) and one tweeter (for highs). The 3-way speaker features 3 drivers: one woofer (for lows), one mid-range woofer (for mids), and one tweeter (for highs), or two full-range woofers combined with one tweeter. You might think that three separate drivers (one for each frequency range) are always better than two drivers but the number of drivers is not the only factor that determines the sound quality. You should also pay attention to the materials drivers and enclosures are made of, size and design of the enclosure, and crossovers.
Crossover – This is an electronic component that you can find in any 2-way or 3-way speaker. It’s the part that decides which frequencies are sent to which driver. In a 2-way speaker, there is one crossover point set at a specific frequency. Crossover sends all the frequencies below that point to the woofer and all the frequencies above that point to the tweeter. In a 3-way speaker, there are two crossover points (two crossover frequencies). The first crossover frequency separates lows from mids (lows are sent to the woofer, and mids to mid-range woofer). The second crossover frequency separates mids from highs (mids are sent to the mid-range woofer, and highs are sent to tweeter).
Step-by-step Guide on How to Buy In-wall Speakers
Now that you know all the important characteristics of in-wall speakers, you can start your search and hopefully find the perfect in-wall speaker for your needs. Here’s a short guide on how to buy in-wall speakers.
Define the Purpose of In-wall Speakers
This might sound silly to you but it really isn’t. You will be looking for different type of in-wall speaker and different speaker quality depending on the purpose. If you want to install in-wall center speaker or in-wall front speakers, you will need larger high-quality speakers and you will have to pay more. Center and front speakers have to be really good at reproducing low, mid, and high frequencies (excluding really low frequencies that are usually sent to the subwoofer) and with that kind of performance comes higher price. Most people don’t really go that far, and they use in-wall speakers as surround or ceiling speakers. Surround and ceiling speakers are used for special effects and they don’t have to be perfect, so you don’t really need surround speakers with great low-end reproduction. Mids and highs are much more important. If you can afford some great surround speakers, then go for it but if you are not prepared to spend a few hundred dollars on a set of surround speakers you have many cheaper options. We have tried to cover all the price ranges and all the types of in-wall speakers with our list of 15 best in-wall speakers and you can probably find something you like on this list.
Define Your Budget
Now that you have defined the purpose, we can talk about the budget. If you want an in-wall center speaker or in-wall front speakers and you want a high-quality product, you should be prepared to pay a few hundred at least. In-wall surround speakers are much cheaper and you can find a great pair of speakers for about $100. There are some decent choices for $50 or even less but don’t expect to be fully satisfied. The optimal amount of money you should spend on a pair of surround in-wall speakers is $100-$200.
Read the Reviews and Make a Shortlist
When you establish the purpose and your budget, you can start your search. Explore a few lists of best in-wall speakers, find the models you like, read their reviews (you can read ours but you should also read others, too), and make a shortlist of 5 or more speakers you really like.
Read the Specs and Compare the Speakers from the Shortlist – Find Your Favorites
Read the specs (if you can find them online) and compare the speakers. Compare their specs to their prices and evaluate their price/quality ratio. Select your favorites.
Try the Speakers If You Can
This is really important but it’s not always possible. Visit some audio store (or a few audio stores) and ask the salesman to show you the speakers you’ve selected. It would be nice if you can hear them, too. After all, that’s the ultimate test. If you really like the sound, then your search is over. Which brings us to the last step.
Buy the Speakers
You have picked the speakers you like and the only thing you have to do is to buy them. But don’t be hasty. Check the price of that specific speaker (or speakers) on multiple places. Check the prices on our website, compare them with prices in different stores, and find the best deal. It’s surprising how much money you can save if you make just a little bit more effort.
This is the end of our article on 15 best in-wall speakers. We have tried to help you as much as possible and make your search easy and fast. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed it. Feel free to comment or ask for advice.
Your AudioReputation Team