Best InWall Speakers - AudioStance

The 6 Best In-Wall Speakers

In-wall speakers offer a discreet and effective audio solution for homes and businesses. They are a particularly good option for creating a comprehensive home theatre environment. Choosing the best in-wall speakers for your setup isn’t difficult, and you’ll find a handy buyer’s guide at the end of this article that will help you understand which type of in-wall speaker is best for you to buy.

Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker

Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker

With exceptional sound quality, plenty of volume, and an elegant design, the Klipsch R-5502-W is our top pick.

Our Recommendations

Yamaha NS-IW760 2-Way In-Wall Speaker System

Best Budget In-Wall Speaker

Yamaha NS-IW760

  • 2x 6.5″ woofers & 1x 1″ tweeter
  • 5.1 lbs in weight
  • 130W @ 6 Ohms power handling
  • 88 dB/2.83 V/1 m sensitivity

The Yamaha NS-IW760 is the best in-wall speaker on a budget. It is versatile in its mounting and can be used as an LCR speaker in both vertical and horizontal mounting. It features dual 6.5″ low-frequency drivers along with a single centered 1″ tweeter.

Polk Audio RC85i 2-way In-Wall Speakers

Best For Outdoor Use

Polk Audio RC85i

  • 1x 8″ woofer & 1x 1″ tweeter
  • 5.25 lbs in weight
  • 100W @ 8 Ohms power handling
  • 90 dB/2.83 V/1 m sensitivity

The Polk Audio RC85i is the best in-wall speaker for outdoor and moist rooms such as bathrooms and saunas. This 2-way speaker features an adjustable tweeter and a large 8″ low-frequency woofer. This vertically mounted speaker also sounds impressive in most regards.

Polk Audio 265RT 3-Way In-Wall Speaker

Best Design

Polk Audio 265RT

  • 2 x 6.5” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
  • 8.1 lbs in weight
  • 10W – 200W @ 8 Ohms power handling
  • 91 dB/2.83 V/1 m sensitivity

The Polk Audio 265RT has the best design, in our opinion. When installed, the speaker looks incredibly clean and discreet and even better with the grille removed. The Polk 265RT features a 3-way design with a woofer, midrange, and tweeter.

1. Klipsch R-5502-W II75W – 300WVertical & Horizontal
2. Polk Audio RC85i20W – 100WVertical
3. Polk Audio 265RT10W – 200WVertical
4. Bose Virtually Invisible 89110W – 100WVertical
5. Yamaha NS-IW76040W – 130WVertical & Horizontal
6. Micca M-8S100WVertical

In-wall speakers separate themselves from traditional speakers in a few distinct ways. They take up less room than floor-standing and bookshelf-style alternatives and are more discreet, especially with cabling. Since they are fitted within the wall, they tend to be less prone to accidents, especially around children.

In-wall speakers need to be installed with careful consideration about their position and how they will influence your listening experience (something we cover in more depth below). Ensuring the speakers are installed at the correct height and in the best position is essential.

Another reason why in-wall speakers are popular for home entertainment purposes is their ability to be paired with additional speakers to create a comprehensive listening experience with excellent soundstage, resulting in a more immersive experience.

Read Also: The Best In-Ceiling Speakers

The 10 Best In-Wall Speakers

1. Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker

Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker

Mounting Orientation
Vertical & Horizontal

Speaker Drivers:2 x 5¼” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Power Handling:75W RMS – 300W Peak
Recommended Amplification:130W @ 8 Ohms
Size:17.75” x 8”
Mounting Depth:3.5”
Weight:6.5 lbs

Klipsch is arguably the best speaker manufacturer when it comes to high-end consumer audio products. They have an extensive range of products with everything from bookshelf speakers to floor-standing speakers as well as in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. The R-5502-W II in-wall speaker is part of the Klipsch architectural range which includes in-wall and in-ceiling speakers in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Sound & Technical Features

The Klipsch R-5502-W II features dual 5¼” low-frequency drivers top and bottom with a single 1” tweeter in the center. The speaker’s power handling is between 75W and 300W. This is significant power , especially if you use the R-5502-W II for your left, right, and center speakers. You’re looking at a really powerful system.

The dual 5¼” speaker drivers have an exceptional low-end response for their size. Having said that, you will still want a subwoofer for a fully immersive audio experience, especially to extend that bass response into the lower frequency range. Out of the box, the R-5502-W II sounds punchy in the low end, with the most presence in the mid-bass. The detail and clarity from the 1” tweeter make this speaker perfect for everything from movies to games or even watching the news.

Installing The Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker

The Klipsch R-5502-W II is a versatile speaker with the ability to be mounted horizontally or vertically. Being able to double as a very reasonable center channel speaker, too. This is, of course, assuming you have walls front, left, and right of your viewing area.

The R-5502-W II comes with a cardboard stencil so you can trace the correct measurement of the speaker before cutting. Klipsch provides full written instructions for this in the user manual as well as a video guide on their YouTube channel. A magnetic paint protector is also provided so you can paint around the speaker, even if the R-5502-W II is already installed.

For drywall installation, the speaker enclosure includes dog legs that slide into place when you tighten the screws. So no need to drill holes for screw placement.

Cabling & Amplification

For the R-5502-W II, Klipsch recommends a receiver or amplifier with an output of 130W @ 8 ohms. If you intend to install the R-5502-W II for a 5.1 surround sound system, then a good option to go with is the Sony STRDH550 or Denon AVR-S540BT. Both of these quality receivers will drive the R-5502-W II effectively and efficiently.

For your sub-bass, include the Klipsch R-10SWi. This powered subwoofer delivers 300W of power with the option of running it via a cable or wirelessly via the supplied transmitter.

For speaker cable, don’t go lower than 18-gauge for runs less than 20 feet, with 16 or 14-gauge recommended for longer cable runs.

What’s in the Box?

  • R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker
  • Paint protector
  • Speaker stencil

Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker Conclusion

If you’re looking for the very best in-wall speakers, then Klipsch should always be one of the top options on your list of considerations. The R-5502-W II is part of a wide range of Klipsch Architectural in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, which means you can find the right speaker for every position in the room. The sound quality is exceptional, with the R-5502-W II capable of producing a rich, full-range sound. As Klipsch in-wall speakers are the best, expect the prices to be more expensive. The R-5502-W II retails for upwards of $300 for a single speaker, but there are often sales on Amazon.


  • It can be installed horizontally for an effective center channel purposes
  • Rich sound with deep bass, considering the driver size
  • It can get impressively loud


  • No swivel feature on the tweeter

2. Polk Audio RC85i 2-way In-Wall Speakers

Polk Audio RC85i 2-way In-Wall Speakers

Mounting Orientation

Speaker Drivers:1 x 8” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Power Handling:20W – 100W RMS
Recommended Amplification:100W @ 8 Ohms
Size:12.75″ x 8.68”
Mounting Depth:2.87”
Weight:5.25 lbs

From Polk Audio, the RC85i is more of a party in-wall speaker as opposed to a home theater in-wall speaker like many featured in this article. The RC85i is an indoor/outdoor in-wall speaker making it perfect for installation in any room in the house or outside.

Sound & Technical Features

The Polk Audio RC85i features an 8” low-frequency driver with a 1” tweeter capable of producing 100W RMS. The RC85i is sold as a pair so effectively, you’ll be buying a 200W RMS in-wall sound system.

The 8-inch driver produces an exceptional bass, resulting in a lot of speaker cone movement, especially at high volumes. To avoid any movement or vibration in the wall itself, the 8-inch driver is mounted in a rubber surround.

The swivel mount tweeter allows you to focus the high-frequency driver toward your listening area. This ensures you experience the best listening experience and clarity, especially for home theater applications.

Installing The Polk Audio RC85i 2-way In-Wall Speakers

The RC85i is a vertical mount speaker which can only be mounted in one upright position. Like the 265RT mentioned above, the RC85i is part of the Polk Audio architectural range, including the horizontal speaker 255C-RT. If needed, the 255C-RT can be used with the RC85i for a center speaker placement.

While the RC85i can be used as a home theater system, the best application would be for a general sound system indoors or outdoors. The RC85i has some serious power and throw, with the 8” driver capable of producing a decent amount of bass. Perfect as a party speaker in the bar or out on the deck. If you install these speakers outside, ensure the RC85i is fully covered by the roof where no direct rain or water can reach them. These speakers are resistant to moisture but not protected against direct contact with water.

Polk Audio supplies a template to measure the correct hole size before cutting. The speaker grilles are paintable, so you can match paint or decor.

Cabling & Amplification

If you plan to install the RC85i as a stereo sound system, then the best receiver to power these speakers is the Yamaha R-S202BL. The receiver has 4 x RCA inputs and Bluetooth, so you’re able to connect several devices. The R-S202BL has two 100W outputs at 8 ohms which match the power handling of the RC85i. The Yamaha RX-V385 5.1-Channel Receiver with Bluetooth is better suited for home theater installations.

For speaker cables, Polk Audio recommends using nothing less than 18-gauge wire. We recommend following the Polk Audio 265RT cable lengths:

Gauge vs. Length

Lengths up to 25ft18 or 16 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 25ft but less than 50ft16 or 14 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 50ft but less than 75ft14 or 12 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 75ft12 gauge cable

What’s in the Box?

  • 2 x Polk Audio RC85i
  • 2 x Paintable speaker grilles
  • 1 x Cardboard cutout template

Polk Audio RC85i 2-way In-Wall Speakers Conclusion

The Polk Audio RC85i is a great pair of speakers for a general sound system or for your front left/right in a home theater system. Having said that, I would prefer the 265RT over the RC85i for home theater installations. The RC85i is better suited for entertainment areas, covered patios, or even damp installations like bathrooms or saunas. At under $150, the RC85i offers exceptional value for a pair of in-wall speakers.


  • Good sounding midrange and treble
  • Resistant to moisture
  • Adjustable tweeter


  • Mounting clips can break easily
  • Limited maximum volume
  • Lacks deep bass

3. Polk Audio 265RT 3-Way In-Wall Speaker

Polk Audio 265RT 3-Way In-Wall Speaker

Mounting Orientation

Speaker Drivers:2 x 6.5” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Power Handling:10W – 200W
Recommended Amplification:10W – 200W @ 8 Ohms
Size:20.87″ x 8.87”
Mounting Depth:3.75”
Weight:8.1 lbs

Polk Audio is an industry leader when it comes to budget home audio equipment. They offer a massive range of audio products, including in-ceiling and in-wall speakers. The Polk Audio 265RT is a high-quality in-wall speaker at an affordable price. This in-wall speaker delivers excellent sound quality, not far off the likes of JBL, Bose, and other slightly more premium brands.

Sound & Technical Features

Polk Audio 265RT features dual 6.5” low-frequency drivers with a single 1” tweeter mounted in the middle. At the bottom of the 265RT is a bass port, which adds to the low-end response of the speaker. The power handling of the 265RT is 10-200W, which means this speaker can be really powerful if paired with the correct amplifier or receiver.

The low-frequency drivers are mounted using rubber surrounds to ensure minimal vibration and reverberance through the wall when operated at high volumes. Furthermore, there are two acoustic settings for the 265RT.

The first is the ‘Tweeter’ switch, in which attenuation is applied to the tweeter when set to Filter. Engaging this setting is best if you have lots of hard surfaces in the room (glass, hardwood, tile floors, etc.), which can reflect high frequencies, causing the sound to appear harsh.

The second switch is ‘Wall Dist’ which helps with low-end acoustic interference. Often, in-wall speakers can become “boomy” depending on the distance between the back of the speaker and the wall. The Wall Distance switch allows you to compensate for the interference.

Installing The Polk Audio 265RT 3-Way In-Wall Speaker

The 265RT can only be mounted in one vertical position. This means you cannot use the 265RT as a center speaker. The 265RT is part of the Polk Audio architectural range, which includes the horizontal speaker 255C-RT.

Polk Audio includes a speaker cutout mounting template so you can measure the right size hole before cutting. Polk Audio also provides a port plug for the bass port, which is to be used for installations where the speaker is mounted in an area larger than a standard open stud bay. This will ensure the 265RT still produces a good bass response.

The speaker grille for the 265RT is paintable to match your wall or decor. Painting must be done using spray paint and not a brush or roller. The speaker grille is magnetic, so moving and removing is easy and does not require any tools.

Cabling & Amplification

The Polk Audio 265RT has a power handling of between 10-200W. We recommend a receiver between 100-200W to get the most out of this in-wall speaker. For a surround sound setup, the Denon AVR-S540BT would be a great match for the 265RT. This receiver is also good for driving the 255C-RT center speaker.

When it comes to speaker wire selection, Polk Audio includes specific instructions for the length of cable runs vs. the gauge of cable required. These are as follows:

Gauge vs. Length

Lengths up to 25ft18 or 16 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 25ft but less than 50ft16 or 14 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 50ft but less than 75ft14 or 12 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 75ft12 gauge cable

What’s in the Box?

  • Polk Audio 265RT 3-Way In-Wall Speaker
  • Speaker cutout mounting template
  • Speaker grille
  • Bass port plug

Polk Audio 265RT 3-Way In-Wall Speaker Conclusion

If you’re looking for an affordable but high-quality in-wall speaker, then the Polk Audio 265RT will be a good option to consider. The 265RT is powerful, with an excellent frequency response for a rich audio experience. The architectural range is extensive, so you can find other Polk Audio speakers for the center, surrounds, and even in-ceiling speakers if necessary. You can also pair the architectural speakers with the Polk Audio RTiA range, which includes floor-standing, bookshelf, and home theater, speakers. The 265RT is sold as a single speaker, so if you require a pair, make sure you purchase two.


  • 3-way design excels at dynamic performance
  • Easy installation
  • Detailed and bright highs


  • The midrange lacks warmth

4. Bose Virtually Invisible 891 In-Wall Speaker

Bose Virtually Invisible 891 In-Wall Speaker

Mounting Orientation

Speaker Drivers:1 x 7” driver with 2 x 1” tweeter
Power Handling:10W – 100W RMS
Recommended Amplification:100W @ 8 Ohms
Size:11.4″ (H) x 7.75” (W)
Mounting Depth:3.55”
Weight:5.25 lbs

The Bose Virtually Invisible series features in-wall and in-ceiling speakers for a range of installation applications. The speakers are designed to sit almost flush with the wall, hence the name -Virtually Invisible. The Virtually Invisible 891 In-Wall Speaker takes things up a notch in terms of audio quality and power. The Virtually Invisible 891 is a little more expensive than other in-wall speakers, but, like the Klipsch, you’re paying for a premium audio experience.

Sound & Technical Features

The Bose Virtually Invisible 891 features a 7” low-frequency driver with two 1” tweeters positioned in an array. The array gives the Virtually Invisible 891 a wider horizontal dispersion which means you’ll experience the same audio image no matter where you are in the room. The performance of the highs is particularly impressive with these speakers, the dual tweeter design is able to add extra layers of depth in the upper frequencies. The woofer produces a clean midrange and a decent bass response, though only extends down to 45Hz, so there is still merit to pairing these speakers with a dedicated subwoofer for home theatre purposes.

The Virtually Invisible 891 has 10-100W power handling per speaker, which is more than enough power to fill most living spaces.

Installing The Bose Virtually Invisible 891 In-Wall Speakers

The Virtually Invisible 891 is designed for only one vertical mounting position. The speaker is best for general sound system applications in living or entertainment areas. With its wide dispersion, the Virtually Invisible 891 would make a good rear surround speaker, but I wouldn’t install these as my front/left-right for a home theater system.

The speaker grilles are paintable to match the walls or decor. The grilles fix to the Virtually Invisible 891 using magnets, making it easy to remove and replace for painting.

Bose includes a cutout template to ensure you get the correct hole dimensions before cutting.

Cabling & Amplification

The Bose Virtually Invisible 891 is best paired with the Bose SoundTouch SA-5 Amplifier. You can actually purchase the Virtually Invisible 891 with the SoundTouch SA-5 together. The SoundTouch SA-5 connects to the internet via WiFi, allowing you to stream music from your favorite music streaming services. There are also 2 x RCA, 1 x ⅛-inch audio inputs, and Bluetooth. The SoundTouch SA-5 can run a single Virtually Invisible 891 per channel or a pair of Virtually Invisible 891 per channel.

Bose recommends using nothing smaller than 18-gauge cable for the Virtually Invisible 891. Additional guidelines for specific cable runs are as follows:

Gauge vs. Length

Lengths up to 20ft18 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 20ft but less than 30ft16 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 30ft but less than 50ft14 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 50ft12 gauge cable

What’s in the Box?

  • 2 x Bose Virtually Invisible 891
  • 2 x Magnetic speaker grilles
  • 2 x Cut out templates

Bose Virtually Invisible 891 In-Wall Speaker Conclusion

If you’re looking for a high-quality in-wall speaker, both in audio and aesthetics, then the Virtually Invisible 891 is definitely one to consider. This high-end in-wall speaker is best suited for entertainment and living areas over a home theater installation. With premium quality comes a higher price, so expect to pay more for the Virtually Invisible 891. Sold as a pair for just under $600 or with the SoundTouch SA-5 amplifier as a combo for just over $1000.


  • Clean, discrete aesthetic
  • Fairly deep bass response
  • Warm and clean midrange


  • Expensive

5. Yamaha NS-IW760 2-Way In-Wall Speaker System

Yamaha NS-IW760 2-Way In-Wall Speaker System

Mounting Orientation
Vertical & Horizontal

Speaker Drivers:2 x 6.5” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Power Handling:40W – 130W
Recommended Amplification:130W @ 6 Ohms
Size:11.4″ x 7.68”
Mounting Depth:3.0”
Weight:5.1 lbs

The Yamaha NS Series is a massive range of consumer audio speakers, including bookshelf, wall mount, floor standing, in-ceiling, in-wall speakers, and subwoofers. This allows you to fill your home with various compatible speakers for every application from just one brand. This is great if you want a home theater system integrated with a distributed home speaker and entertainment system.

Sound & Technical Features

The Yamaha NS-IW760 features dual 6.5” low-frequency drivers with a single 1” tweeter mounted in the center. The speaker has a power handling of 40-130W, with a pair going you a peak of 260W, which is powerful enough to fill most rooms.

The NS-IW760 has the ability to get loud with minimal distortion and offers good dynamic performance for its price point. The speaker’s intelligibility is excellent, making the NS-IW760 great for home theater applications and music.

The NS-IW760 tweeter is swivel-mounted, which means you can direct the high-frequency driver to your listening position. This is especially useful for aiming your rear surrounds towards your ears.

Installing Yamaha NS-IW760 2-Way In-Wall Speaker System

The NS-IW760 can be mounted vertically or horizontally, making it possible to have a full 5.1 surround sound system with just this speaker alone, as you can use it as a center channel speaker. For a subwoofer, you can include the Yamaha NS-SW100BL 10″ 100W powered subwoofer to complete your 5.1 system.

The NS-IW760 comes with paintable grilles and a paint protector should you wish to paint your speaker bracket to match your wall or decor.

Cabling & Amplification

What’s nice about purchasing Yamaha products is you have the option to purchase every component of your sound system from one manufacturer. If you plan to install the NS-IW760 as a stereo pair, the best option is the Yamaha R-S202BL stereo receiver.

For home theater installs, the Yamaha RX-V385 is perfectly suited for the NS-IW760, especially if you decide to use the NS-IW760 for each speaker in the system. The RX-V385 has a 130W output at 6 ohms, which perfectly matches the NS-IW760. This will ensure you get the most out of your NS-IW760 speakers. A subwoofer-out can go to your Yamaha NS-SW100BL powered subwoofer for a complete Yamaha surround sound system.

While Yamaha doesn’t include cable gauge specifications, I recommend sticking to the same specs as the Bose Virtually Invisible 891. These are as follows:

Gauge vs. Length

Lengths up to 20ft18 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 20ft but less than 30ft16 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 30ft but less than 50ft14 gauge cable
Lengths greater than 50ft12 gauge cable

What’s in the Box?

  • Yamaha NS-IW760
  • Speaker grille
  • Cut out template
  • Paint protector
  • Glue strip for template

Yamaha NS-IW760 2-Way In-Wall Speaker System Conclusion

If you’re looking for one speaker for a full surround system installation, then the Yamaha NS-IW760 is definitely one to consider. The NS-IW760 delivers excellent sound quality and intelligibility, making it perfect for all listening applications. The ability to match a Yamaha subwoofer and receiver means you can get everything you need from one brand. At under $100 per speaker, the NS-IW760 is one of the most affordable premium in-wall speaker options.


  • Versatile design that allows for vertical center channel use
  • Swivel mounted tweeter
  • Wide dispersion


  • Mediocre aesthetics with the grille removed
  • Large size may limit small room installations

6. Micca M-8S 8-Inch 2-Way In-Wall Speaker

JBL SP6II In-Wall Loudspeaker

Mounting Orientation

Speaker Drivers:1 x 8” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Power Handling:100W
Recommended Amplification:100W @ 8 Ohms
Size:14.12″ x 10”
Mounting Depth:3.6”
Weight:5.5 lbs

Micca designs and manufactures a range of affordable consumer audio products. Most popular is their range of bookshelf and in-wall/in-ceiling speakers. The M-8S is one of five in-wall/in-ceiling speakers available from Micca. The entire range is well-priced, making a full surround sound installation affordable for those on a budget.

Sound & Technical Features

The Micca M-8S features an 8-inch low-frequency driver with a single 1” tweeter with a power handling of 100W. The 8” low-frequency driver is mounted in rubber surrounds and produces a decent amount of bass, so you can get away with not purchasing an external subwoofer for home theater installs. The tweeter is mounted on a pivoting mechanism, allowing you to aim the high frequencies to your desired listening position.

The Micca M-8S is the largest of this series, producing a deeper frequency response and increased volume over the Micca M-6S.

Installing The Micca M-8S 8-Inch 2-Way In-Wall Speaker

The Micca M-8S is designed to be mounted in a single vertical position. These can be used for the front left/right and rear left/right speaker positions. The Micca M-CS is a 5.25” horizontal center speaker, allowing you to complete a 5.1 surround sound setup with a single brand. If you feel an 8” speaker is a bit overkill for the rear surrounds, you have the option of the Micca M-6S, which is the 6.5” version of the M-8S. Unfortunately, Micca doesn’t manufacture a subwoofer, but they do pair nicely with the Polk Audio PSW10.

The Micca M8S is great for music-only applications, entertainment areas, or installs around the house.

Both the frame and speaker grille on the M-8S are paintable, so you can match the walls and decor.

Cabling & Amplification

For surround sound installations, the Yamaha RX-V385 is going to be the best option. The RX-V385 allows for 4 x HDMI inputs, as well as various analog inputs and Bluetooth. The receiver delivers 100W per channel at 8 ohms which is perfect for powering all the Micca in-wall/in-ceiling speakers. For stereo installations, the trusty Yamaha R-S202BL Stereo Receiver will be your best option.

Micca provides exact specifications for the cable gauge versus the length of the cable run. These are as follows:

Gauge vs. Length

Lengths 50ft or less16 gauge cable
Lengths 50ft – 80ft14 gauge cable
Lengths 80ft – 120ft12 gauge cable
Lengths 120ft – 200ft10 gauge cable

What’s in the Box?

  • Micca M-8S
  • Speaker grille
  • Cut out template

Micca M-8S 8-Inch 2-Way In-Wall Speaker Conclusion

If you’re looking for an affordable in-wall speaker, then the Micca M-8S is going to be your best option. For under $230, you can install a full 5.1 in-wall surround sound system. This excludes the subwoofer and receiver, of course. At this price, you would expect less-than-average sound quality. However, the Micca range sounds really good. These might be cheap speakers, but they certainly don’t sound cheap.


  • Extremely affordable
  • Pivoting tweeter design
  • Relatively deep bass


  • Treble can be a bit harsh

A Brief Explanation Of How Sound Works

In order to understand how in-wall speakers differ from traditional speakers in their sonic properties, we need to discuss how sound behaves. All sound is simply vibrations being pushed into a particular direction, pushed outwards by the speaker driver. How you perceive that sound as the listener is influenced by how those sound waves travel from the speaker to your ear. These soundwaves are affected by variables such as room size, room shape, objects in the area, and even the height between your floor and ceiling.

There are three primary ways in which soundwaves interact with your room.

When sound interacts with objects in the room, it can undergo diffraction, where the soundwave is essentially disrupted from its linear path and is made to bend around the object it encounters. While diffraction isn’t always noticeable to the average person, it is an important part of the puzzle in creating the perfect audio experience. Reducing diffraction should be a goal in every home theatre setup.

Low frequencies (wider wavelengths) are most prone to diffraction, but they can occur across much of the frequency band to some extent. Diffracted waves of audio can cast shadows and degrade audio quality.

Think of how a wave pushes onto the beach. When it encounters a rock, the water will wrap around the rock. While the water will form back into a similar pattern after passing the rock, there will be areas behind the rock where the water force is reduced.

Audio reflections aren’t far removed from the general concept of reflections within the light spectrum. As soundwaves move, they encounter surfaces and subsequently interact with them. In the same way light bounces off the walls and floors of your home, so does your sound.

We don’t look to remove audio reflections within an environment but rather control them; in some cases, you may want to increase your reflections, while in other rooms where reflections are too prominent, it can be beneficial to reduce them. 

Sound exists in a three-dimensional space, and when we consider reflections, we must consider all these dimensions. Your vertical audio reflections are going to be how the soundwaves interact with your floor and ceiling, while your horizontal reflections are those that bounce off your side walls. Additionally, there is also depth to consider (the movement of sound as it is pushed outwards from the speaker).

The goal of audio installation experts is to understand the acoustic properties of your listening area and tailor your installation in a way that will increase the overall audio quality.

audio reflections
The above illustration shows how sound waves can interact with your ceiling and flooring and ultimately affect your audio experience

Sound absorption is the process where sound waves are absorbed and converted into heat energy. This occurs when soundwaves encounter absorbent materials like fabrics and foam. Sound absorption can be both good and bad, depending on how it’s used. One can help reduce unwanted reflections by using sound-absorbing methods, for example. However, the decor in your room can have an unintended impact on your audio through the dampening caused by sound absorption.

If you scream into a pillow, the soundwaves are absorbed by the materials of the pillow and dampen the sound. Sound absorption as an acoustic property of your home works the same way. If your speaker is sitting behind a curtain, it’s going to absorb your audio and degrade your listening quality.

The Sonic Advantages of In-Wall Speakers

In-wall speakers have several sonic advantages over traditional speakers, assuming you have installed them correctly. While all speakers have their performance affected by the acoustics of your room, with in-wall speakers, this requires more careful consideration before installation than with maneuverable options.

In-Wall Speakers Provide An Immersive Listening Experience

One of the biggest strengths in-wall speakers have is their ability to create a truly immersive listening experience with the correct placement. When in-wall speakers are installed properly, they can reduce excessive acoustic reflections as well as provide a better soundstage. These improvements are partly due to both the positioning of in-wall speakers and the nature in which they handle sound dispersion.

It’s true that many of these benefits can also occur with traditional surround sound home theatre speakers, but achieving the same level of optimization is far more challenging. This is especially true when discussing acoustic diffraction and reflection.

Because in-wall speakers can be installed in locations across your room where you couldn’t install traditional speakers, they can provide an improved range of coverage with a more seamless spread of audio.

A feature of some in-wall speakers that also isn’t found in most traditional speakers is the presence of an adjustable tweeter. Adjustable tweeters with a swivel design allow you to fine-tune the direction of your higher frequencies.

Aesthetic & Functional Benefits of In-Wall Speakers

In addition to audio benefits, in-wall speakers also offer several functional and aesthetic improvements over traditional speakers. The first and most noteworthy is the additional space it can free up in your listening area. With traditional speakers, there is a trade-off between sound quality and room space availability. While it’s possible to create great sound with regular speakers, you’re going to need to sacrifice floor space to do it. In-wall speakers can be installed in greater numbers without impacting your available floor space. 

There is less cable clutter when using in-wall speakers, and a good installation will free your room from the undesirable presence of cabling, which is enough to ruin a room’s aesthetic itself.

Speakers that are installed in your walls are also less of a hazard around children. We recommend keeping the grilles on if you have young ones wandering around, though, as a way to protect your drivers. If you have toddlers, the speakers are also typically installed at a greater height than what they can reach. 

In-Wall Speakers For Casual Listening VS. Home Theatre

There are two primary approaches for in-wall speakers. The first is using them in a home theatre setup for a vastly improved movie experience, while for others, installing in-wall speakers is primarily to provide good home coverage for casual listening. For casual listening, you can have a more liberal approach to the installation, and DIY installation becomes more feasible. Affordable 2-way speakers will suffice for many looking at this type of installation.

If you’re looking for good coverage for casual listening, it’s worth considering ceiling speakers instead of in-wall speakers. While both are viable, in-ceiling speakers are typically easier to install and a bit more affordable, too. You can get away with left and right-channel in-wall speakers for this purpose without requiring a center-channel speaker or subwoofer, though the latter is recommended if you go with smaller drivers.

For home theatre solutions, we recommend being more prudent with both your installation and product selection process. You can improve the performance in a home theatre solution by adding a dedicated subwoofer (or several) for the low-end while also utilizing a center-channel speaker for better dialogue. If you have the budget for it, we’d recommend getting in acoustic professionals who can tailor your audio setup to the exact details of your living space.

Types of In-Wall Speakers & Their Role

In-wall speakers come in a few unique types. Apart from the variations in the amount of drivers in the design, there are also different types of in-wall speakers for different purposes. There are three primary types of in-wall speakers:

Left and right-channel speakers are the most popular type of in-wall speaker and are closest to a pair of traditional speakers. As the name suggests, they have a speaker for the left channel and a speaker for the right channel. These speakers are installed on either side of your television in home theatre setups and can also be used on the sides and behind the listener. LRC speakers can sometimes be turned horizontally and double as a center channel speaker, as is the case with our top pick, the Klipsch R-5502-W II.

Left and right channel speakers are available in different sizes and types, including smaller 2-way driver configurations and larger 3-way options. They may also feature tweeters that can be angled in a particular direction, such as with the Polk RC85i.

While LRC speakers focus on spatial sound, center channel speakers are intended for dialogue, and their placement differs. Center channel speakers are placed under your television. While center channel speakers aren’t mandatory in every in-wall setup, they do offer significant advantages in creating a truly immersive setup.

Most center channel speakers are made to be wall-mounted rather than installed in the walls. However, some models on the market allow for an in-wall installation. We’ve noted in our list which of these products can be used for center channel purposes.

Subwoofers are speakers that focus on providing a deep, low-frequency response that extends deeper than that provided by traditional speaker drivers. The need for a subwoofer is going to depend on the LRC speakers you’ve chosen. Some left and right channel speakers have large drivers, especially in 3-way configurations, that are capable of producing sufficient low-end response. However, the addition of a subwoofer can add new depth to most setups.

While you don’t need to opt for an in-wall subwoofer, there are a few models on the market that are made to be installed in the wall for those looking for a completely in-wall setup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are in-wall speakers better than traditional speakers?

In-wall speakers hold advantages and disadvantages when compared with traditional speakers. The benefits of in-wall speakers are that they offer incredibly immersive audio. They are also discrete, offering a cleaner aesthetic, while at the same time saving floor space.

Can I use in-wall speakers for home theatre?

Yes, you can! In fact, home theatre applications are where in-wall speakers excel.

What walls can in-wall speakers be installed into?

In-wall speakers can be installed in both brick and dry walling. However, the installation into brick or concrete walls is noteably more difficult.

Where do in-wall speaker cables go?

The cables that run between your amplifier and in-wall speakers will typically be run through the walling, making the installation clean and discrete.

How can I calibrate my in-wall speakers?

There are different levels of calibration. You can do minor calibration by adjusting your frequency levels with your amplifier. You can also optimize the speaker by adjusting the tweeter in cases where the speaker offers maneuverable tweeters. Some audio professionals can also offer additional calibration tools to help you achieve peak performance from your speakers.

Audiostance Author - Matt Hallowes
Written by
Matt Hallowes

Matt is a sound engineer and confessed vinyl junkie! His work as a sound engineer includes live production and venue installations, giving him deep insight into the audio industry, with personal experience with dozens of products. While traveling the world, Matt shares his knowledge and expertise with us!

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    • Thanks for reaching out. The ML65i is a little more versatile than the ML66i as the ML66i is a single dedicated center-channel speaker (left and right woofer and a centered tweeter). If you’re looking for a center channel option, the ML66i is the way to go, but if you’re looking to place them as individual stereo speakers, the ML65i will be what you’re after.