Ceiling Speakers - Audiostance

The 10 Best Ceiling Speakers of 2018

One of the downsides to having a sound system in your home, outside on the deck or patio is they can look unsightly. Often the speakers don’t match your decor and you have to paint them but the bulky speaker still doesn’t quite fit in. You compromise your decor for the sound. Ceiling speakers are the answer to this issue. They can be installed to be very low profile, mostly hidden from sight. In this article, we look at the best ceiling speakers on the market at the moment.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing Ceiling Speakers

There are a few points to consider before choosing your ceiling speakers. At the end of this article, we offer our 6 Tips for installing ceiling speakers. Make sure to check these out as they apply to some of the points below.

Speaker Depth

If you are able to get a look in your ceiling, check if there are any low hanging beams or obstacles which need to be taken into consideration. Some ceilings have very little clearance between the ceiling boards and roof. In some cases, you may even have an extra layer of insulation above the ceiling.

Speaker Weight

It’s important to check whether or not your ceiling boards can take the added weight of a speaker. Most ceilings won’t have any issue but for thinner ceiling boards you may need to double check the load rating.

Amplification

Ceiling speakers are generally not powered which means they need amplification from a receiver or amplifier. Make sure you have budgeted for this if you don’t already have one. Throughout this article, we make recommendations for each speaker. We also offer some tips at the end of this article to help you decide which amplifier or receiver to choose.

Cables

You’ll need to connect your speakers to an amplifier or receiver. Getting into the ceiling requires longer cable runs than your average home theater installation. Make sure you measure your cable runs accurately. Take into account length to the wall, up the wall, around any obstacles and to the speaker in the ceiling. Check out our Top Tips section at the end of this article for cable recommendations.

Tools

Installing the ceiling speakers we recommend in this article is relatively simple, however, you will still need some tools. Here is a list of tools you’ll need and what you need them.

  • Pencil – mark out speaker holes and placement before cutting. Have a soft eraser on hand to clear any lines you don’t need. A soft eraser won’t leave any smudges or marks.
  • Screwdriver – You’ll need to tighten screws to fix the speakers in place. Usually, a Philips #2 will do, however, having a multi-head screwdriver will be handy to tackle any screw head.
  • Carpenter’s Level – This isn’t too important for ceiling speakers but if you plan to install ceiling and in-wall speakers at the same time, then a level will be necessary for the wall speakers.
  • Measuring Tape – A measuring tape will ensure your speaker placement is accurate. You don’t want a mismatched or uneven speaker placement!
  • Utility Knife – Best tool for stripping speaker cable and opening packaging.
  • Diagonal Pliers – Diagonal pliers come in handy when cutting speaker cable. These can also be used for stripping cable.
  • Jab Saw – A jab saw is the best tool for cutting ceiling board, drywall or sheetrock.
  • Drill – Before using the jab saw, use a drill to get your pilot hole.

1. Bose Virtually Invisible 791 Series II in-Ceiling Speaker

Bose Virtually Invisible 791 Series II in-Ceiling Speaker

The Bose Virtually Invisible 791 Series II In-Ceiling Speaker is sold as a pair and designed for fast installation. The speaker grilles are white which can be painted to match your ceiling or decor.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 7” driver with 2 x 1” tweeter
Recommended Amplification:
10-100W at 4-8 Ohms
Size:
10″ Diameter, 4.4″ Height
Weight:
4.8 lbs each

 

Sound & Technical Features

The Bose Virtually Invisible 791 Series II features a 7” woofer with two 1” tweeters to deliver a near full-range response. Each speaker is compatible with an amplifier or receiver rated between 10-100W at 4-8 Ohms. The speakers themselves are rated at 6 Ohms and can deliver 50W IEC continuous power handling. This is more than enough power for a pair of Bose Virtually Invisible 791 Series II In-Ceiling Speakers to fill an average sized living space.

A pair of Invisible 791 Series II features Bose Stereo Everywhere speaker performance which allows you to hear a stereo sound image no matter where you are in the room. This is in part due to the way Bose have arrayed the tweeters to fire in opposite directions at 45° from the center of the speaker.

Installing the Bose Virtually Invisible 791 Series II in-Ceiling Speaker

The Invisible 791 Series II comes with a template so you can easily stencil out the right size of the hole before cutting. The wires are connected as easily as matching the positive and negative to each terminal on the back of the speaker. Mounting is as easy as pushing the speaker through the hole and tightening the clamp screws. The Invisible 791 Series II uses standard dogleg clamps so it’s as easy as tightening the screws to clamp in place. The speaker grille is magnetic so you just line it up and it attaches as soon as you place it.

Bose has made the installation easy. Even if you’re a DIY newbie this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. Full step by step instructions is provided in the manual.

Cabling & Amplification

If you are unsure of which amplifier or receiver to use, Bose recommends the Bose SoundTouch SA-5 Amplifier. The SoundTouch SA-5 features 2 x RCA inputs, 1 x ⅛ inch input, Bluetooth and WiFi for streaming music from apps like Pandora, Spotify etc. The amplifier also works with Alexa. Bose recommends the following speaker cable when connecting from the amplifier to the speakers:

  • 18 Gauge – up to 20ft
  • 16 Gauge – up to 30ft
  • 14 Gauge – up to 50ft
  • 12 Gauge – up to 90ft

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Bose Virtually Invisible 791 Series II In-Ceiling Speaker:

  • 2 x Bose Virtually Invisible 791 Series II Speakers
  • 2 x white speaker grilles
  • Template to stencil holes

Recommended extra accessory is the Bose 791 In-Ceiling Speakers Rough-in kit for even easier installation.

Bose Virtually Invisible 791 Series II In-Ceiling Speaker Conclusion

The Virtually Invisible 791 Series II is perfect for most living spaces. The easy installation means these speakers shouldn’t be a challenge to install for seasoned DIY enthusiasts. The Virtually Invisible 791 Series II is great for TV, music, and movies. Bose Stereo Everywhere means no matter where you sit in the room you can enjoy a stereo sound.

2. JBL SP8CII In-Ceiling Speaker

JBL SP8CII In-Ceiling Speaker

JBL is one of the most trusted and widely used brands when it comes to professional audio. They also produce some exceptional consumer audio products such as the JBL SP8CII In-Ceiling Speaker.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 8” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Recommended Amplification:
Unspecified
Size:
10.82″ Diameter, 4.25″ Height
Weight:
5.6 lbs each

 

Sound & Technical Features

Each JBL SP8CII In-Ceiling Speaker features an 8” subwoofer with single 1” tweeter. Each speaker can be powered by a 25-100W amplifier or receiver at 8 Ohms. The SP8CII are rated at 8 Ohms nominal with a peak power out of 100W. More than sufficient for most living areas.

The JBL SP8CII features a titanium-laminate woofer cone for improved rigidity and reduced distortion. The tweeter has a similar titanium-laminate for durability at high volumes. A great feature is the tweeter’s swivel mount allowing you to direct high frequencies exactly where you need them.

Installing the JBL SP8CII In-Ceiling Speaker

The JBL SP8CII comes with two speaker templates, one for each speaker, so you can stencil the holes for mounting accurately. JBL recommends placing each speaker an equal distance from the focal point such as TV or HiFi. This will give the most accurate stereo image. Tweeters should be angled at head height for optimum audio clarity. For surround placement, place the speakers behind the listing position with the tweeters firing over head height.

The JBL SP8CII feature dog-ear brackets which make it possible to retrofit into existing holes. If you have cut a new hole, simply screw the speaker in and fit the grille. Locking tabs will swivel into place fastening the speaker in the ceiling.

The template included with the SP8CII doubles as a paint shield which you are recommended to use before applying a paint finish. Details can be found in the owner’s manual.

Cabling & Amplification

JBL doesn’t recommend a specific model of amplifier or receiver other than the output must produce 25-100W at 8 Ohms. A good receiver option would be the Onkyo TX-RZ610 7.2 Receiver. This receiver would be a great option as you could have full surround sound. If you only require amplification, the Bose SoundTouch SA-5 Amplifier would be a good option.

JBL recommends the following speaker cable when connecting from the amplifier to the speakers.

  • 16 Gauge – up to 20ft
  • 12 Gauge – up to 30ft
  • 10 Gauge – greater than 30ft

What’s in the Box?

Included with the JBL SP8CII In-Ceiling Speaker:

  • 2 x JBL SP8CII
  • 2 x speaker grille
  • 2 x template/paint shield

JBL SP8CII In-Ceiling Speaker Conclusion

The JBL SP8CII In-Ceiling Speaker is an excellent choice for music, TV and even games. The 8” subwoofer produces a decent amount of bass. With the SP8CII swivel mount tweeters, the speakers could be used for a home theater surround sound system for the front left/right and rear left/right. The speakers can be mounted in either the ceiling or walls so you can create an awesome surround sound experience without loads of speakers scattered around the living area.

3. Polk Audio RC80i In-Ceiling/In-Wall Speakers

Polk Audio RC80i In-Ceiling-In-Wall Speakers

The Polk Audio Polk Audio RC80i is one of Amazon’s best selling in-ceiling speakers. The RC80i is both affordable and easy to explore which is the main reason for its popularity. You also have the option of several speaker variations in the Polk RC range which means you can find the right speaker for a complete sound system.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 8” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Recommended Amplification:
20-100W at 8 Ohms
Size:
9.37″ Diameter, 3.25″ Height
Weight:
4.3 lbs each

 

Sound & Technical Features

The Polk Audio RC80i features an 8” woofer with single 1” tweeter. Each speaker can be powered by a 20-100W amplifier channel at 8 Ohms.

The 1” tweeter is mounted on a swivel mount so you can direct the high frequencies towards your desired listing position.

Installing the Polk Audio RC80i In-Ceiling/In-Wall Speakers

The Polk Audio RC80i feature a protective moisture and heat resistant coating which means these speakers can be installed indoors, on the patio, under your roof’s eves, in a bathroom or sauna. This is great if you want to install one brand of speaker throughout the property. As Polk Audio is one of the more affordable brands on the market, this is great news for expenditure.

The speakers come with a template so stenciling the holes is quick and easy. Connect your wires, push the speaker through the hole and tighten the screws to install. The screws have a dog-ear locking tabs which swivel in place when you tighten the screw making the RC80i quick and easy to install.

Speaker grilles can be painted to match paint and decor.

Cabling & Amplification

Polk Audio doesn’t recommend a specific model of amplifier or receiver other than the output must produce 20-100W at 8 Ohms. A receiver we recommend is the Onkyo TX-RZ610 7.2 Receiver. This receiver would be a great option as you could have full surround sound. If you only require amplification, the Bose SoundTouch SA-5 Amplifier would be a good option.

Polk Audio doesn’t specify exact speaker gauge per distance other than the minimum of 18 gauge. We would recommend anything over 30ft should be a 12 gauge for the RC80i.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Polk Audio RC80i In-Ceiling/In-Wall Speakers:

  • 2 x Polk Audio RC80i
  • 2 x speaker grilles
  • 2 x templates/paint masks

Polk Audio RC80i In-Ceiling/In-Wall Speakers Conclusion

The Polk Audio RC80i is an excellent choice if you plan to install a speaker system throughout the house. The Polk Audio RC range includes in-ceiling and in-wall speakers of all sizes so you can find the right speaker for each position in the room. The moisture resistant coating is a big plus for bathrooms and outdoor installations. For home theater surround sound, you can purchase the RC80i/PSW505 subwoofer combo for some added bottom end.

4. Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker

Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker

Klipsch is arguably one of the industry leaders when it comes to consumer audio. More specifically their incredible range of high-quality speakers. The CDT-5650-C II live up to all that you’d expect from Klipsch with incredible design features and exceptional audio quality.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 6.5” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Recommended Amplification:
50-100W at 8 Ohms
Size:
9.5″ Diameter, 4.5″ Height
Weight:
7.0 lbs each

 

Sound & Technical Features

The Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker features a 6.5” speaker driver with a 1” titanium tweeter coupled with a swiveling 100-degree Tractrix® Horn. Unlike other in-ceiling speaker brands, the CDT-5650-C II woofer can also shift 15 degrees in any direction. This is Klipsch’s Controlled Dispersion Technology™ which directs both highs and lows to the preferred listening area.

There are also treble and midbass attenuation switches so you can fine-tune the sound depending on the room or installation. For both treble and midbass, you have the option of 0db or a -3db attenuation. The switches are located on the front of the speaker so you can make adjustments even when the speaker is installed.

Installing the Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker

The Klipsch CDT-5650-C II in-ceiling speaker is extremely simple to install. The speakers come with a template so you can stencil the exact shape before cutting. You can also find detailed install instructions on the Klipsch website in case you lose the template.

With the hole cut, installing the CDT-5650-C II is as easy as positioning the speaker and tightening the screws till the dogs lock in place. Once fitted, you can angle the tweeter and speaker driver to your desired listening position.

Additionally, you can purchase the IK-650-C install kit designed for the CDT-5650-C II. The kit features parts which make the CDT-5650-C II easy to install as well as straps to attach to a beam above the speaker for improved safety.

The speaker grilles on the CDT-5650-C II can be painted to match the ceiling or decor.

Cabling & Amplification

Klipsch doesn’t recommend a specific model of amplifier or receiver other than the output must produce 50-100W at 8 Ohms. We recommend is the Onkyo TX-RZ610 7.2 Receiver or Yamaha R-S202BL Stereo Receiver. The Onkyo is great for surround sound with multiple speakers, while the Yamaha is better for a stereo system. You don’t want to use a speaker cable less than 18 gauge or 12 gauge for installs longer than 30ft.

What’s in the Box?

Included in with the Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker:

  • 1 x Klipsch CDT-5650-C
  • 1 x speaker grille
  • 1 x template

Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker Conclusion

When it comes to sound quality, the Klipsch CDT-5650 is going to be your best option. The Klipsch sound is high quality with good low-end definition and clear highs. Klipsch offers a wide range of in-ceiling and in-wall speakers so you can create a complete home theater system or distributed speaker system throughout the house.

If you plan to install the Klipsch CDT-5650-C II as part of a home theater system, consider adding the Klipsch R-12SW Subwoofer to thicken up the bottom end.

5. Pyle 8” Flush Mount In-Wall/In-Ceiling Speaker Kit

Pyle 8” Flush Mount In-Wall-In-Ceiling Speaker Kit

If you’re looking for an affordable all-in-one in-ceiling speaker kit then the Pyle 8” In-Wall/In-Ceiling Speaker Kit is just what you’re after. The kit includes 4 speakers, mini amplifier, your choice of a circle or square speaker grilles and 4 lengths of speaker cable.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 8” driver with ½” tweeter (4 x speakers total)
Recommended Amplification:
Mini digital amplifier supplied
Size:
11.2″ Diameter, 3.9″ Height
Weight:
5.12 lbs each

 

Sound & Technical Features

The Pyle 8” Flush Mount In-Wall/In-Ceiling Speaker Kit features a total of four speakers producing a total of 250W peak across all 4 speakers. The four speakers are driven by the 250W 4 channel mini digital amplifier supplied with the kit.

Although Pyle rate this speaker system at 250W, the true output of the whole system isn’t more than 100W peak.

The mini digital amplifier is Bluetooth enabled so essentially you can install everything in the ceiling without the need to drill holes for signal cable. The amplifier features Bluetooth version 4 which is the latest version in 2018.

Installing the Pyle 8” Flush Mount In-Wall/In-Ceiling Speaker Kit

Installing the Pyle 8” In-Wall/In-Ceiling Speaker Kit is extremely simple. With the Bluetooth mini digital amplifier, there is no need to run speaker cable into the ceiling. No need for extra holes or trying to find a way to run cables.

The Bluetooth digital amplifier has a range of 30ft which. If you place the amplifier in the ceiling above your primary playback device like TV or Bluetooth device then 30ft will be more than sufficient to transmit to the amplifier. Make sure when installing to get the amplifier against the ceiling board if possible and away from any electrical components. This will reduce any interference.

If you plan to install the speakers in the wall, then the distance will be greatly reduced. Again make sure you’re clear of any other electrical components to avoid interference.

Pyle supplies you with both circle and square speaker grilles which means you can select the right shape to match any decor. Typically, in-ceiling speakers are circular and in-wall are square.

The speaker grilles are white but Pyle doesn’t specify whether or not the speaker grilles can be painted. You might want to check that with customer service before attempting to paint the speakers.

The speaker kit comes with 4 lengths of speaker cable. Consider purchasing some extra speaker cable should you wish to install these speakers further apart. Keep in mind the mini amplifier isn’t the most powerful so increasing the distance will reduce the amount of power each speaker will receive.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Pyle 8” Flush Mount In-Wall/In-Ceiling Speaker Kit:

  • 4 x 8’’ speakers
  • 4 x Removable round speaker grills
  • 4 x Removable square speaker grills
  • Speaker connection wire
  • Bluetooth control receiver/mini digital amplifier
  • Power supply for the mini digital amplifier

Pyle 8” Flush Mount In-Wall/In-Ceiling Speaker Kit Conclusion

The Pyle 8” In-Wall/In-Ceiling Speaker Kit is perfect for installs where your primary application is background music. This system is going to be great for restaurants, cafes and small retail stores. At home, this system is recommended for some background music but won’t be too impressed with TV or movies. These Bluetooth ceiling speakers eliminate the need for running cables into the ceiling making installing quick and easy.

6. Definitive Technology Di 8R In-Ceiling Speaker

Definitive Technology Di 8R In-Ceiling Speaker

The Di 8R In-Ceiling Speaker is part of Definitive Technology’s Disappearing™ Speaker Series. Disappearing™ Speaker Series features a selection of speakers of all shapes to suit your speaker installation and layout.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 8” driver with 1” tweeter
Recommended Amplification:
10-225W at 8 Ohms
Size:
9.75″ Diameter (with grille), 3.88″ Height
Weight:
4.8 lbs each

 

Sound & Technical Features

The Definitive Technology Di 8R In-Ceiling Speaker features an 8” woofer with 1” tweeter capable of a maximum output of 225W. Our most powerful ceiling speaker featured in this article.

Definitive Technology’s BDSS™ technology delivers maximum efficiency across the entire frequency range for a clear and balanced listening experience while the pivoting 1” tweeter allows you to direct the sound exactly where you need it.

The Di 8R also features an Environmental EQ switch. If your room has a lot of hard surfaces like glass, stone or hardwood, then setting this switch to “- (minus)” will compensate for these reflections. If your room is “dead”, in other words, there are loads of soft surfaces absorbing a lot of sounds, then setting the Environmental EQ to “+ (plus)” offers a treble boost to brighten up your speakers. Try playing with this setting to find the right sound for your room.

Installing the Definitive Technology Di 8R In-Ceiling Speaker

The Definitive Technology Di 8R comes with a template to stencil the hole before cutting.

The Di 8R features a cable clamp on each terminal. Striping a ½” of shield off of the cable is enough to fit through the terminal. Once in place, tightening the screws will enable the tabs to swivel into place and lock the speaker into position.

The Di 8R can be painted however, Definitive Technology provide some strict instructions to follow when painting the grilles so be sure to check out the user manual before attempting to paint.

Cabling & Amplification

Definitive Technology recommends an amplifier with a maximum of 225W output at 8 Ohms. For home theater installations, I would recommend the Marantz SR5012 7.2 receiver. Although this doesn’t produce 225W, the Marantz operates very efficiently and will deliver enough power to drive the Di 8R effectively.

Definitive Technology recommends you use nothing smaller than an 18 gauge cable when installing the Di 8R.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Definitive Technology Di 8R In-Ceiling Speaker:

  • 1 x Definitive Technology Di 8R
  • 1 x speaker grille
  • 1 x template

Definitive Technology Di 8R In-Ceiling Speaker Conclusion

The Di 8R is a high-end ceiling speaker with exceptional power and sound quality. This ceiling speaker will be great for most applications including music, TV, and movies. If paired with a 200W amplifier, these speakers could produce a serious amount of power if you wish to play loud music or movies.

For home theater surround sound, you have the choice of several speakers from Definitive Technology’s Disappearing™ Speaker Series.

7. Yamaha NS-IC800 In-ceiling Speakers

Yamaha NS-IC800 In-ceiling Speakers

The Yamaha NS-IC800 features one of the most low-profile, flush mount speaker grilles on the market. Once installed, the speaker sits beautifully against the ceiling. The NS-IC range features multiple wattage options from 90W to 140W, great for an in-ceiling surround sound system install.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 8” driver with 1” tweeter
Recommended Amplification:
50-140W at 8 Ohms
Size:
11.14″ Diameter, 4.7″ Height
Weight:
4.2 lbs each

 

Sound & Technical Features

The Yamaha NS-IC800 features a single 8” with 1” tweeter per speaker each producing a maximum power output of 140W. This is a significant amount of power output and a pair of these speakers will give you some serious sound.

The 8” speaker cone is moisture resistant while the sealed back protects against dust and moisture. Effectively, the Yamaha NS-IC800 can be installed in any room in the house. The 1” tweeter is fluid-cooled to deliver optimum performance, even at higher volumes.

The tweeters are fixed to a swivel mount so you can angle the sound to your desired listening area.

Installing the Yamaha NS-IC800 In-Ceiling Speakers

The Yamaha NS-IC800 are simple to install. The speakers come with a template so you can stencil the hole accurately before cutting. The Yamaha NS-IC800 feature a large mounting clamp with non-slip tread to ensure the speakers fit tight against your wall or ceiling.

For an optimum listening experience, install the speakers between 6ft-10ft apart an equal distance from the focal point such as TV or HiFi. For improved clarity, the tweeters can be angled to fire into the desired listening area.

If you plan to install additional speakers for surround sound, then it’s recommended you install the surrounds behind the listening position and at least equal distance apart as the front left/right.

The speaker grilles can be painted to match decor, wall or ceiling color.

Cabling & Amplification

For the NS-IC800 Yamaha recommends an amplifier or receiver capable of producing 50W to 140W at 8 Ohms per speaker. To get the most out of your NS-IC800 in-ceiling speakers, you want an amplifier capable of producing as close to 140W as possible.

For home theater installations, I would recommend the Yamaha RX-V483BL 5.1-Channel. The RX-V483BL features multiple inputs, WiFi, Bluetooth, and Alexa voice control enabled (Alexa device purchased separately). There are other models in this range so you can also choose to upgrade to 7.1.

Yamaha doesn’t specify which gauge of speaker cable to use however, I wouldn’t use anything less than 16 gauge on the NS-IC800 going to a 12 gauge for runs more than 30ft.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Yamaha NS-IC800 In-Ceiling Speakers:

  • 2 x Yamaha NS-IC800
  • 2 x Speaker grilles
  • 1 x Template

Yamaha NS-IC800 In-Ceiling Speakers Conclusion

The Yamaha NS-IC800 are suitable for a variety of applications. Music, TV, and movies will all sound good on these in-ceiling speakers. The NS-IC800 are excellent for home theater installations with a variety of speakers in the range to choose from including box-shaped designs for in-wall installations.

8. Micca M-8C 8” In-Ceiling Speaker

Micca M-8C 8” In-Ceiling Speaker

The Micca M-8C 8” In-Ceiling Speaker is part of the M Series from Micca which features both in-ceiling and in-wall speakers for those wishing to install a full home theater system. Micca speakers are an affordable option and easy to install. Important to note these speakers are sold as singles.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 8” driver with 1” tweeter
Recommended Amplification:
20-100W at 8 Ohms
Size:
10.75″ Diameter, 3.6″ Height
Weight:
4.55 lbs each

 

Sound & Technical Features

The Micca M-8C 8” In-Ceiling Speaker features an 8” woofer with 1” tweeter capable of producing 100W peak, depending on how you choose to amplify the speakers.

The 1” tweeter is fixed to a swivel mount so you’re able to direct the audio to your desired listening position.

Installing the Micca M-8C 8” In-Ceiling Speaker

Micca provides a template so you can stencil the correct size before cutting. Once in position, tightening the screws will swivel the tabs to fasten the M-8C securely into position.

The speaker grilles are paintable so you can match your ceiling color or decor.

Cabling & Amplification

The Micca M-8C 8” requires an amplifier or receiver to produce 20-100W at 8 Ohms. We recommend is the Onkyo TX-RZ610 7.2 Receiver for multiple speakers or the Yamaha R-S202BL Stereo Receiver for left/right configurations. The Bose SoundTouch SA-5 Amplifier works great if you only need the Micca M-8C 8” to play music. Use a speaker cable no less than 18 gauge or 12 gauge for installs longer than 30ft.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the M-8C 8” In-Ceiling Speaker:

  • 1 x M-8C 8”
  • 1 x speaker grille
  • 1 x template

Micca M-8C 8” In-Ceiling Speaker Conclusion

The Micca M-8C 8” In-Ceiling Speaker is a great choice for a simple stereo left/right system or, full home theater surround sound system. Part of the M Series range includes box-shaped and circular designs depending on where you wish to position the speaker. Micca has even designed an in-wall center speaker (Micca M-CS).

The Micca M-8C will be great for music, TV, and movies. Consider adding a subwoofer for surround sound systems.

9. Pyle Pro PDIC60T In-Ceiling Speaker

Pyle Pro PDIC60T In-Ceiling Speaker

The PDI range from Pyle features circular and box-shaped speakers which run on 70V amplifier systems. Each speaker comes with a 70V transformer which can be removed to run the speakers on a regular amplifier or receiver.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 6.5” driver with 1” tweeter
Recommended Amplification:
70V amplifier or 20-125W at 8 Ohms
Size:
9″ Diameter, 4.62″ Height
Weight:
6.09 lbs each

 

Sound & Technical Features

The Pyle Pro PDIC60T features a 6.5” woofer with 1” tweeter capable of handling 125W peak at 8 Ohms. This obviously depends on how you choose to amplify the speakers. The 1” tweeter can pivot to point towards your primary listening position.

Installing the Pyle Pro PDIC60T In-Ceiling Speaker

Pyle provides you with a template to accurately measure the right size to cut your holes. Place your PDIC60T and tighten the screws till the tabs swivel into place and secure the speaker.

Cabling & Amplification

If you plan to install the Pyle PDIC60T for music, either as stereo or multiple speakers, then it’s best to use one of Pyle’s 70V amplifiers. The Pyle PCM60A is a great 70V amplifier with three RCA inputs each with its own rotary volume control. You can also adjust the bass and treble. Check the user manual for speaker install and configurations.

For home theater, you can switch the speaker to 8 Ohms and run them on the Onkyo TX-RZ610 7.2 Receiver for multiple speakers or the Yamaha R-S202BL Stereo Receiver for left/right configurations. Use a 16 gauge cable for up to 20ft cable runs. If you’re using the 70V amplifier, go for a 14 gauge up to 100ft and 12 gauge if you need to run anything longer.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Pyle Pro PDIC60T In-Ceiling Speaker:

  • 2 x Pyle Pro PDIC60T
  • 2 x speaker grilles
  • 1 x template

Pyle Pro PDIC60T In-Ceiling Speaker Conclusion

The Pyle PDIC60T is a very versatile speaker. For large installations in a restaurant, office, etc you can use a 70V amplifier and use the speakers for announcements and background music. Consider installing a delay unit for this kind of install.

The Pyle Pro PDIC60T can also be switched to 8 Ohms and used in a home theater installation. There are both circular and boxed speaker shapes in the PDI range so you’ll find the right speaker for each position.

10. Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5″ In-Ceiling Speaker System

Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5 In-Ceiling Speaker System

The Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5” In-Ceiling Speaker is great for most applications. The advanced design enables you to pivot both the speaker driver and tweeter to direct sound to your desired listening area.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 6.5” driver with 2 x ¾” tweeter
Recommended Amplification:
20-100W at 8 Ohms
Size:
10.28″ Diameter, 5″ Height
Weight:
3.37 lbs each

 

Sound & Technical Features

The Yamaha NS-IW280CWH In-Ceiling Speaker features a 6.5” driver with two ¾” tweeters. Yamaha recommends you use a 20-100W amplifier at 8 Ohms to drive each speaker.

Both the driver and tweeters can be pivoted to direct the sound exactly where you want it. There are only two speakers we feature in this article able to pivot both the driver and tweeter.

Installing the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5″ In-Ceiling Speaker System

The Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5” comes with a template so you can stencil your hole before cutting. The once the speaker is positioned you can angle your speaker driver and tweeters to the desired location. The grille clips into place, however, Yamaha provide you with glue strips to ensure a secure fit.

The grille on the NS-IW280CWH is paintable in case you need to match paint or decor.

Cabling & Amplification

The Micca NS-IW280CWH 6.5” requires an amplifier or receiver to produce 20-100W at 8 Ohms. We recommend is the Onkyo TX-RZ610 7.2 Receiver for multiple speakers or the Yamaha R-S202BL Stereo Receiver for left/right configurations.

The Bose SoundTouch SA-5 Amplifier is a better option if you plan to use the NS-IW280CWH 6.5” for music only. Use a speaker cable no less than 18 gauge or 12 gauge for installs longer than 30ft.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5″ In-Ceiling Speaker System:

  • 2 x NS-IW280CWH 6.5″
  • 2 x speaker grille
  • 1 x template
  • 1 x paint cover
  • 2 x glue strips for the speaker grille

Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5″ In-Ceiling Speaker System Conclusion

The Yamaha NS-IW280CWH is an excellent choice for music only applications. The speaker comes in a 100W or 120W option and delivers exceptional sound quality and clarity. The NS-IW280CWH is also great for home theater surround sound systems. The ability to angle both the speaker and tweeter means you are able to get the best sound quality to your desired listening position.

Buyers Guide

We’ve put together this brief buyers-guide in case you’re still having trouble selecting the right ceiling speaker:

Cheapest Ceiling Speaker

The cheapest ceiling speaker option is the Micca M-8C 8” In-Ceiling Speaker at under $50 per speaker. Even though these speakers are sold as singles, they still work out cheaper per pair than any of the other ceiling speakers we feature in this article.

Loudest Ceiling Speaker

The loudest ceiling featured in this article is the Definitive Technology Di 8R. The Di 8R is capable of delivering 225W peak with a 90db sensitivity. A pair of these speakers at full volume will shake your ceiling and wake the neighbors for sure.

Best Ceiling Speakers for Music Only

All the speakers on our list are great for music only applications. To get the most power and volume for music, make sure you match the power output to the speaker’s peak. This will enable you to get the most out of the speaker. The Pyle 8” Flush Mount In-Wall/In-Ceiling Speaker Kit is the only system which we would only recommend for background music applications. These speakers aren’t loud enough for big sound. The system is, however, very costs effective so could work well if you have a lot of speakers to install.

Best Ceiling Speakers for Moist Environments

If you plan to install your ceiling speakers in the bathroom, patio or other areas prone to moisture, you’ll need to ensure your speaker is designed to handle these conditions. Most speaker cones are made of a material which closely resembles cardboard, any moisture will dampen the speaker cone causing the cone to perish quicker. Water and electronics is also a very bad combination!

We only have two speaker options which offer protection against moisture. The Polk Audio RC80i or Yamaha NS-IC800. The Polk Audio being the cheaper option of the two while the Yamaha is the better sounding. You can, however, purchase the Yamaha NS-IC600 which will work out slightly cheaper than the Polk Audio just not as powerful as the NS-IC800.

Best Options for Home Theater Surround Sound

If you need ceiling speakers for a surround sound installation then we have a few recommendations. Ceiling speakers are best for rear left/right and effects speaker positions. The high speaker position doesn’t offer the best sound picture for your front left/right or center, however, this can still be done and you’ll achieve some desirable audio results.

Polk Audio RC80i

The Polk Audio RC80i is a great ceiling speaker for home theater surround sound. You have the option of the 8” RC80i or 6.5” RC60i. You can also use the Polk Audio 255C-RT which is a rectangular, box-shaped speaker for in-wall left/right/center positions. You can include the Polk Audio PSW505 powered subwoofer for added bass. Polk Audio is affordable with a decent sound.

Klipsch CDT-5650-C

The Klipsch CDT-5650-C is an excellent premium option for a complete surround sound system. Klipsch has a wide range of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers so you can build your surround sound system to match your exact requirements. Klipsch also has a few choices when it comes to powered subwoofers to complete the full frequency spectrum. Klipsch is a premium speaker brand so only recommend for bigger budgets.

Micca M-8C

The Micca M Series In-Wall/In-Ceiling speaker is the cheapest option available for home theater surround sound. There are box-shaped and circular speaker shapes as well as a specially designed speaker for the center position.

Definitive Technology Di 8R

The Di 8R is another premium option for in-wall/in-ceiling home theater surround sound. The Disappearing™ Speaker Series from Definitive Technology features both circular and box-shaped speakers so you’ll find the speaker to fit each position. You can also include the Definitive Technology ProSub 1000 as a subwoofer. Like Klipsch, Definitive Technology speakers come with a higher price tag.

Tips For Installing Your Ceiling Speakers

Manufacturers make it relatively easy to install ceiling speaker these days however, there are some tips and tricks when taking on this DIY project. Here are Outer Audio’s six Top Tips for installing ceiling speakers.

Tip 1 – Measure Correctly Before Cutting

One of the most important steps to consider is correctly measuring your speaker placement and hole size before cutting. Almost all ceiling speakers come with a template so you can get the right hole diameter. It is extremely important you measure this out before you cut to ensure the speaker fits correctly.

Consider stenciling both speakers (or all speakers if you have multiple speakers) and then sit or stand in your desired listing area. If you have someone to help you, get them to hold the speaker in place and see what the speaker might look like. If your ceiling speaker has a pivot on the driver or tweeter, you can check the angles at the same time.

Tip 2 – Check Your Hole Before Cutting

One of the biggest mistakes people often make when installing ceiling speakers is to measure the holes, get the right positions and then cut. Many forget to check if there are any obstructions before cutting only to discover you aren’t able to install the speaker in the position due to piping, conduits or other obstacles.

The best way to avoid this is to drill a pilot hole in the center of your speaker position. Take a piece of rigid wire (a coat hanger usually works best) and bend it into shape. The bend should be just longer than the radius of your speaker hole so you can check all the way past the edges.

Move the wire around in all directions. If you hit any obstacles, it’s better to choose another position. Try work out what you hit. If it’s just some insulation, this can be moved. If you don’t hit anything, you’re good to go ahead and cut. Check BOTH holes before cutting. You don’t want to cut one only to find you have to move the other slightly backward or forwards.

Tip 3 – Speaker Placement

When you’re installing ceiling speakers, the distance between speakers can have a big impact. This goes for stereo, surround and multiple speaker distribution installations. If you are installing the system for a TV, make sure each speaker is an equal distance from the source as it’s matching speaker.

Stereo Installations

For stereo installations, you must make sure the speakers are between 6ft to 10ft apart. Too close and you’ll most likely hear both speakers without any stereo image. If the speakers are too far apart, you won’t get an accurate stereo sound image and might experience some “dead” spots in the middle of the room. Usually lacking in bass and low mids. Between 6ft and 10ft seems to be the sweet spot for stereo speaker installations.

Surround Sound Installations

For surround sound installations you also want to make sure your front left/right and rear left right are equal distance apart as per stereo installations above. You also want to make sure your front left/right and center speaker are on the same height axis. For example, if you have the left/right in the ceiling, your center speaker needs to be in the ceiling too. If you decide to put the left/right in the ceiling and the center in the wall near the TV, the audio image will sound off.

This is because the sound from the left/right speakers and the center speaker will arrive at your ears at different times. It’s a matter of milliseconds but enough for your ears to register something sounds off. In some advanced high-end home theater receivers, you’re able to set up a delay on the output to correct this. For most receivers, you don’t have this option in which case you need to install all the speakers on the same height axis.

Multiple Speaker Distribution Installations

If you’re installing multiple speakers, you need also need to make sure each speaker is an equal distance apart. In multiple speaker distributions, it’s not necessary to stick to the 6ft to 10ft rule however, you will need to check the speaker dispersion to ensure your distance isn’t going to create any dead spots.

Tip 4 – Amplifier Selection

To ensure you get the most out of your speakers, make sure you select an amplifier which matches as close to your maximum power output as possible. This will ensure your speaker runs efficiently and avoid any damage from overdriving the amplifier to get more out of the speaker.

For example, if your speakers are rated 100W maximum at 8 Ohms choose a receiver or amplifier to match that specification. Slightly under or even above that wattage is okay. In most cases, you can run an 8 Ohm speaker on a 6 Ohm output. Always check your manufacturer’s recommendations or contact their customer support if this isn’t clear.

Tip 5 – Cabling

Cabling is often overlooked when installing your speakers however, this can have a serious effect on the sound quality and volume. If you’re trying to push too much current, the cable will overheat causing damage to the cable or equipment.

Also, if the current can’t pass through your cable effectively and efficiently, then you lose juice along the way resulting in frequency loss.

Here are some distances to consider when selecting your cable gauge. Remember, the cable doesn’t ever take a direct path, up walls, along a ceiling board, round an obstacle, etc to get to your speaker.

Cable Recommendations for 8 Ohm Speakers. For 8 Ohm ceiling speakers, I wouldn’t go lower than 18 gauge.

  • 18 Gauge – Maximum 32ft
  • 16 Gauge – Maximum 48ft
  • 14 Gauge – Maximum 80ft
  • 12 Gauge – Maximum 120ft
  • 10 Gauge – Maximum 200ft

These lengths are a guideline only. Some manufacturers will specify their own recommendations based on the speaker’s limitations.

Tip 6 – Painting Ceiling Speakers

Painting your ceiling speakers seems easy enough, however, there are some things to keep in mind. Firstly, make sure your speakers are actually paintable. Some plastics can’t be painted. The manufacturer will indicate this in the user manual or on the product description when purchasing online.

  • Try painting your speaker grille before installation. It is way easier to paint while on the ground and will avoid any over-spray on the surface or speaker itself.
  • If you have to paint the speaker frame, make sure you cover the speaker properly. The manufacturer will usually provide a paint cover which is basically a piece of paper cut to the diameter of the speaker. Wait for the paint to dry completely before removing the paint cover to avoid any splashes or drips landing on the speaker cone or tweeter.
  • Wrap the rear of the speaker in newspaper when painting. You don’t want to risk over-spray getting into the electronics.
  • Make sure you always clear the holes on the grille of any paint build up. A toothpick works best for clearing any over-spray on the holes.

 

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