Quality sound is paramount for any music system or media room. When building or renovating, there are options for great sound without sacrificing your home’s style and aesthetics. In-wall & in-ceiling speakers, invisible speakers and hiding traditional speakers are great ways to minimize speaker visibility in a room. They’re great solutions to make everyone from designers to audiophiles happy.
A simple and affordable option is to use in-wall or in-ceiling architectural speakers. Speaker companies like Focal offer options from excellent, low-cost to high-end, audiophile grade architectural speakers. As a guideline, ceiling speakers are great for ambient music and in-wall are for more dedicated music listening or demanding home theatre applications. That said, either installation type can be tweaked to sound great to work around aesthetic or building issues like concrete ceilings in a condo. There are also built in subwoofers available from companies like Triad, so you can even get rid of those big boxes too.
Invisible speakers are similar to in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, but they are actually designed to be part of the wall. After installation, they are plastered and sanded to be part of the wall surface. They can be painted or wallpapered over to completely disappear. Invisible speakers come at a premium price and are not for all situations. They are better for smaller rooms, and care must be taken to not place where a nail could be hammered in (for say a hanging a picture – they are invisible after all!). They provide good sound quality, but have wider dispersion than other speaker types. If you have the right room and want ambient music, then these could work for you.
Another option is to hide away traditional ‘box’ speakers behind sound transparent material. A common version of this is placing home theatre speakers behind a sound transparent projection screen. This can be more involved, as you will need a false wall to house the speakers. It turns out to be pretty slick though as the movie sound comes from the screen like in a commercial movie theatre.
With a bit of creativity and planning, you can have your excellent sound system and clean aesthetics in your living space. There are affordable options that can provide minimal visual impact for most rooms and situations. If you have audiophile tastes or demanding aesthetics to meet, there are also higher end products. Yes, you can have great sound and a great looking home too.