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Basic Questions on Ceiling Speakers and Amps

RocknPop

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,412
Just bought a house that was prewired with ceiling speakers (yes!). That's the good news.

The other news is that I think that some of the ceiling speakers are not of the greatest quality. They sound OK, but they lack bass and power. The amp that I'm using is a Dayton Audio MA1240a, which should be OK, right?

So my questions -
1. what approach would you recommend following to test and upgrade the system, acknowledging that I do not feel comfortable doing the work to remove the speakers from the ceiling myself (all I could do is a) swap out the amp b) add something between the amp and the speakers or c) something that only requires a ladder and no complex changes)
2. does anyone have recommendations for outdoor speakers? I have a pair of Bose 151 outside. They sound OK, but could be better.
 

Tahitijack

Member
Messages
4,381
I'd try adding a subwoofer to the room where your amp is located. If you want more bass in more rooms I would put SONOS subwoofer in those areas. I live near the coast and while it's a Mediterranean climate, we have rain and a marine environment. Over the years I have Bose and Yamaha outdoor speakers. I like Yamaha better. They have survived out there over 10 years.
 

Funky54

Member
Messages
4,970
This is what I do for a living. I engineered, design, install integration solutions in homes. (High end smart homes)

First, I think the speakers you have would benefit by a better amp… but that aside, source is also critical. If you’re using a Bluetooth in or a phone with a bunch of mp3 compressed songs.. any speaker or amp are doomed.

Now to the speakers… The most bang for your buck are Episode speakers. The 8” (if they fit) do provide some nice base, but the standard 6.5” sound pretty good. A added sub is nice, but your amp is limited in utilizing one. Sonos is expensive and poor quality for what it is. Whats great about sonos is not sound quality. What’s great is their app is nice. Monitor audio also makes nice in-ceiling speakers.

You need to either have someone look at your system to determine what you have for speakers or remove one to tell us.
 

guitarplayer1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
415
In-ceiling speakers are a compromise since there is no real "cabinet", although some brands offer some version of a cabinet that can be installed with the in-ceiling speaker.

Changing the power amp probably won't help much .... adding a sub into the equation will. It's a simple trade-off for the design aesthetic of in-ceiling speakers ... it' nice to not have clutter and they provide a decent ambient sound but for serious audiophiles ... they simply can't deliver.

I have them throughout my house and even stepped up to a very nice pair of Sonnance speakers to see how much difference it actually made ... the difference between the midline sonnance and the high end pair I put in the bedroom is negligible. Once again ... due to the physics involved.

As far as the outdoor system ... I installed a Sonnance outdoor system with satellites and subwoofers ... it sounds great and I can't recommend it enough. Their newest version is the "Garden" system. It's not cheap but if you really want decent sound outdoors ... it works well.

Just my $.02
 
Messages
26
I had 6 zones prewired when I built my home. Due to cable distances, I chose all high efficiency, 8 ohm 2-way Klipsch speakers with 8” bass drivers and separate tweeters. Indoors, I installed 4 pairs of in-ceiling speakers and 2 pairs of outdoor speakers hung under the eves.

The rotory volume controllers in each zone are higher end Niles units. The 6 zone amp has 60 watts per channel x 12. They’re connected to a vintage 3002 Tandberg processor, Tandberg 3011 FM tuner, and Onyko CD player.

A lightening strike damaged one of Niles rotory volume controllers. I tried a cheaper model that instantly sounded very poor. I promptly replaced it with a original higher end Niles volume controller and every zone sounds great.

If your subwoofers have high speaker level connectors, they can be connected directly to Niles rotary volume controllers (along with the speakers connections) to best match the signal going to your speakers.
 
Last edited:

boyce89976

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,722
In-ceiling speakers are rarely designed to support bass below 70-100hz due to their inherent size and mounting options. That's what your fronts, center, side surrounds, rear speakers and sub(s) are for. Before doing anything you need to see what you have. If they are repurposed 6x9 Craig car audio speakers, nothing you do will help. If they are actually decent speakers, then you can determine what the best next steps are.
 

peterdjp

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,117
I agree with adding ap sub for in ceiling. We built a house recently and did a pair of subs suspended under the floor with discrete grills hidden in a step.
For outdoor check out coastal source. Some good options that come with in ground sub. Great sound!
 

amigo30

Member
Messages
8,066
Funky 54 knows what he's talking about.

Amp isn't great - you don't know speaker quality yet (need to pull one to find out what they put in).
 

RocknPop

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,412
This is what I do for a living. I engineered, design, install integration solutions in homes. (High end smart homes)

First, I think the speakers you have would benefit by a better amp… but that aside, source is also critical. If you’re using a Bluetooth in or a phone with a bunch of mp3 compressed songs.. any speaker or amp are doomed.

Now to the speakers… The most bang for your buck are Episode speakers. The 8” (if they fit) do provide some nice base, but the standard 6.5” sound pretty good. A added sub is nice, but your amp is limited in utilizing one. Sonos is expensive and poor quality for what it is. Whats great about sonos is not sound quality. What’s great is their app is nice. Monitor audio also makes nice in-ceiling speakers.

You need to either have someone look at your system to determine what you have for speakers or remove one to tell us.

thanks for the input - what multi zone amplifier do you recommend? I need connections for at least12 speakers, ideally 16.
 

Funky54

Member
Messages
4,970
thanks for the input - what multi zone amplifier do you recommend? I need connections for at least12 speakers, ideally 16.
I realize you’re hoping I toss a model number your way of an amp… but that’s a loaded question.

I almost always use a smart home processor and matrix amp (Episode Response /Control4) or Triad.
Your at the point that the questions are about “how” you want to use it? Do you want to be able to have independent source and independent volume in each audio zone (two channels) or are you ok with one source shared through all zones? Do you want to be able to choose songs, playlists, independent volume and control through a phone app… or are you willing to go to the unit and physically turn up or down each zone volume?

The use of a matrix switch is the question? That determines what amp.
 
Messages
288
Just bought a house that was prewired with ceiling speakers (yes!). That's the good news.

The other news is that I think that some of the ceiling speakers are not of the greatest quality. They sound OK, but they lack bass and power. The amp that I'm using is a Dayton Audio MA1240a, which should be OK, right?

So my questions -
1. what approach would you recommend following to test and upgrade the system, acknowledging that I do not feel comfortable doing the work to remove the speakers from the ceiling myself (all I could do is a) swap out the amp b) add something between the amp and the speakers or c) something that only requires a ladder and no complex changes)
2. does anyone have recommendations for outdoor speakers? I have a pair of Bose 151 outside. They sound OK, but could be better.
The ceiling speakers that I liked the best were JBL.
You want the biggest woofer...
It's not a big deal to use a drywall saw to make the cut out larger.

Of course you want a subwoofer.

If you can put an EQ between the preamp and power amp, go for it.

I like to build systems with an active crossover and separate power amps for highs mids lows...variable crossover points.But this may be a little to elaborate for the average person.
It has the advantage of tuning the speaker to the room acoustics. Big difference.

I do not like those speakers with remote class D amplifiers....to me, that's not Hi Fi.
 




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