Sonos has been pretty busy of late. They’re bolstering their streaming music portfolio with additional products. Last year, they released a more affordable TV sound bar, and recently they updated with their Amp. Now, they have announced branded architectural speakers.
Sonos architectural speakers
Sonos is already great when used with architectural speakers. People get great sounding streaming music, and the speakers don’t visually impact a room. Architectural speakers are passive speakers (they need a separate amplifier) that are installed in ceilings and walls, so there is no need to have regular bookshelf or floor standing speakers in the room. This is great not only for current modern home aesthetics, but they also save valuable floor space. Sonos has announced three speakers: in-ceiling, in-wall and outdoor speakers. Sonos partnered with Sonance, a respectable speaker brand, for these speakers. These ‘matched’ speakers make it easier for consumers to understand and select architectural speakers if they’re the DIY types. The Amp also enables Sonos’s Trueplay which allows for easy speaker sound optimization. Other speaker brands will continue to sound great with the Sonos Amp, but these will help make architectural speakers more mainstream.
Sonos has more to come
Sonos recently also showed off some product prototypes that they have partnered wth Ikea for. The intent is to make Sonos compatible speakers more affordable and widely available. Sonos also quietly stoped selling their Play:3 speaker, so we suspect an updated version may be on the horizon. While we’re fans of Sonos, they’re not the only great streaming music solution out there. These recent updates are great as it pushes all brands forward and provides more great streaming music options available for consumers.
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.