Best InWall Speakers - AudioStance

The 10 Best In-Wall Speakers of 2019

If you’re looking to install new speakers in your home, office, restaurant or another place of business, then you’ve arrived at the right place. In this article, we look at the 10 Best In-Wall Speakers of 2019 breaking each product down to help you decide which is the right option for you. We have included options based on size, budget, indoor/outdoor and application. All of these options are easy to install, perfect if you’re looking for in-wall speakers for a DIY audio project.

What Are In-Wall Speakers?

In-wall speakers are speakers without an enclosure which can be mounted inside the wall. The speakers sound and behave exactly like regular speakers but are tuned to operate inside the wall.

The low-frequency driver in an in-wall speaker is typically mounted in a rubber surround. This rubber surround prevents bass vibrations from entering your walls which have a negative effect on your audio experience. Most in-wall speakers’ tweeter is mounted on a swivel so you can angle the “sweet spot” to your desired position in the room.

Before You Install Your In-Wall Speakers

Before you order your in-wall speakers, make sure you are well prepared for this DIY project. If there is anything you might need, you can purchase this online when you order your new in-wall speakers.

Tools For Installing In-Wall Speakers

Installing in-wall speakers is relatively easy with minimal tools required. Here is a list of the tools you should have on hand:

  • Drywall Cutter – Just about every home has a drywall cutter lying around somewhere. This is an essential tool for in-wall speaker installations as you need to cut a hole to mount your speaker in.
  • Screwdriver – As screw-heads can vary, it’s best to have a screwdriver multi-tool so you’re covered. This is another essential tool for screwing the speaker in place.
  • Carpenter’s Pencil – To mark out your speaker hole before cutting, you’ll need a pencil. The correct pencil to use is a Carpenter’s Pencil but you can use any pencil for this job. Make sure it’s a pencil which can be erased if you decide to move the hole. A Sharpie or pen is harder to remove if you make a mistake.
  • Drill – You’ll need a drill to make a pilot hole to use your drywall cutter. A drill will also come in handy if you have to drill through studs in the wall to run cable. Make sure you have a long drill bit in case the stud is out of reach for a regular drill bit.
  • Spirit Level – Even though in-wall speakers come with a template, you still need to ensure your speaker is level. For this, a spirit level is essential.
  • Wire Coat Hanger – A wire hanger is important before you start cutting. I explain why in the next section.

Before You Cut Into The Drywall

Do not make the mistake so many people make when cutting drywall. Cutting before fully inspecting the speaker position. While you can get expensive stud finders, there is an easy, much cheaper option – using a wire coat hanger. You can also use a 14 gauge solid piece of wire which won’t bend easily. Here’s what you do:

  1. Straighten your wire hanger and bend one end so that it’s 2 inches longer than half the dimension of the speaker. This will be either be the height or the width.
  2. Now use your template to measure out your desired position for the speaker.
  3. Once measured, use a drill bit that’s slightly thicker than your wire hanger and make a hole in the center of the speaker position. Obviously, if you hit a stud here you know to move straight away.
  4. Put your bent hanger into the hole and poke holes in all directions to see if you hit a stud or other obstruction. If you do hit something, then you know not to place your speaker in this position.

1. MartinLogan ML65i In-wall Speaker

MartinLogan ML65i In-wall Speaker

If you’re looking for audiophile quality, then you’ll want to check out the Installer Series from MartinLogan. These in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are manufactured using premium grade parts and designed to produce exceptional audio quality. The ML65i is the smallest of three in-wall speakers from the MartinLogan Installer series.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
2 x 6.5” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Power Handling:
15W – 90W
Recommended Amplification:
60W @ 8 Ohms
Size:
11.2” x 8.2”
Mounting Depth:
3.4”
Weight:
4.85 lbs

 

Sound & Technical Features

The MartinLogan ML65i features a 6.5” low-frequency driver and 1” tweeter with a power handling of 15 – 80W. The ML65i has an excellent low-frequency response with defined bass sound. The detail and clarity in the mid-range and highs are exceptional. Watching movies or playing games through the ML65i is especially exciting.

Keep in mind MartinLogan Installer Series speakers require a 72-hour break-in at 90dB before they settle and take on the speaker’s true characteristics.

Installing The MartinLogan ML65i In-wall Speaker

While the MartinLogan ML65i can be used for stereo or entertainment sound systems, home theater installations is where you’ll get the most out of these in-wall speakers. The ML65i is great for the front left/right and rear left/right positions while the ML66i is designed specifically for the center speaker position. For the bottom end, you can go with either the MartinLogan Dynamo 600 (10-inch 240W) or Dynamo 400 (8-inch 150W) powered subwoofer.

MartinLogan provides detailed installation instructions with scenarios for different room sizes and speaker positions. The speaker grille fits over the speaker frame completely so nothing but the grille is exposed. The space between the wall and the ML65i grille is less than 5mm giving an exceptional low-profile, clean aesthetic. The speaker grille is paintable so you can match your wall or decor.

Cabling & Amplification

Pairing a receiver with your MartinLogan in-wall speakers is critical to maximizing performance and efficiency. High-end speakers require a high-end receiver. For home theater installations, we recommend the Marantz NR1609-50W AV Receiver. This high-performance slimline home theater amplifier has many premium features but most importantly, will driver both the ML65i and ML66i MartinLogan in-wall speakers. For stereo installations, the Marantz Hi-Fi Integrated Amplifier is an excellent match MartinLogan ML65i.

MartinLogan doesn’t specify any cable gauge vs length recommendation but based on the specs we recommend as follows:

Gauge vs Length

  • Lengths up to 25′ – 18 or 16 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 25′ but less than 50′ – 16 or 14 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 50′ but less than 75′ – 14 or 12 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 75′ – 12 gauge cable

MartinLogan ML65i In-wall Speaker Conclusion

If you want the best in-wall speakers and are willing to spend some money, then the MartinLogan ML65i is as good as it gets. Keep in mind the Installer Series is the “budget” range from MartinLogan and still outclasses any other brand on the market. One thing that’s very important when purchasing an in-wall speaker like the MartinLogan ML65i, is matching the speaker to an appropriate receiver or amplifier. With a budget receiver, you won’t get the optimum efficiency or performance out of your ML65i. You also run the risk of damaging the speakers with a cheap amplifier.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the MartinLogan ML65i In-wall Speaker:

  • MartinLogan ML65i
  • Speaker grille
  • Cut out template

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

Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker

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, 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 size and shapes.

At a Glance

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

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 to 300W. This is a significant amount of 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 which means you can get a significant amount of bass without the use of a subwoofer. Having said that, you will still want a subwoofer for a fully immersive audio experience. The detail and clarity from the 1” tweeter makes 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. This means you could effectively purchase five of these speakers for your entire 5.1 home theater system. 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 which 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 installing 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 AVRS530BT. Both of these quality receivers will driver 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?

Included with the Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker:

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

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.

3. JBL Arena 8IW Premium In-Wall Loudspeaker

JBL Arena 8IW Premium In-Wall Loudspeaker

JBL an industry leader when it comes to both consumer and professional audio products. You can find JBL speakers at the biggest music festivals as well as homes around the world. The Arena range from JBL includes floor standing, bookshelf, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. This range allows you to build a premium audio installation, throughout your house, with the right speaker for every application. JBL Arena 8IW is an 8-inch in-wall speaker and the largest in the in-wall/in-ceiling range.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 8” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Power Handling:
100W
Recommended Amplification:
100W @ 8 Ohms
Size:
13″ x 10”
Mounting Depth:
3.8”
Weight:
7 lbs

Sound & Technical Features

The JBL Arena 8IW features an 8” low-frequency driver and a single 1” tweeter with a power handling of 100W. The 8” low-frequency driver has an exceptional punchy bass response. You could easily get away with only installing the Arena 8IW without a subwoofer and have sufficient bass. Of course, for home theater installs, a subwoofer is always going to make things sound more fun.

The detail and the clarity that the Arena 8IW delivers is excellent. Unlike most in-wall speakers, the tweeter on the Arena 8IW is fixed and therefore cannot be angled. JBL has however designed the speaker to deliver a wide dispersion expanding the “sweet spot” of the Arena series speakers to cover the entire room.

Installing The JBL Arena 8IW Premium In-Wall Loudspeaker

The JBL Arena 8IW is designed to be used for many applications including home theater, stereo setups, and distributed audio systems. For home theater, the Arena 8IW is best for the front left/right and rear surround speaker positions with the 55IW as a center speaker. Alternatively, you can use the 55IW for center and rear surrounds and position the 8IW front left/right. For the bottom end, you can include the JBL Arena S10 100W Powered Subwoofer.

Both the frame and speaker grille is paintable so you can match your wall or decor. JBL includes a mounting template so you can measure the correct hole size before cutting.

Cabling & Amplification

For stereo installations, the Bose SoundTouch SA-5 Amplifier is going to be the perfect match for your JBL Arena 8IW. This is a premium amplifier which will drive the Arena 8IW efficiently. The SoundTouch SA-5 includes RCA and Bluetooth inputs with the ability to connect to your WiFi to stream directly from your favorite streaming services.

For home theater installations, the premium Marantz SR5012 7.2 Channel Receiver is a perfect match for the Arena 8IW and 55IW speakers. With 7.2 capability, you can build the ultimate home theater system with premium speakers and a great receiver.

JBL have specific instructions when it comes to cabling. These are as follows:

Gauge vs Length

  • For wire lengths of less than 50 ft – use at least 16-gauge speaker wire.
  • For wire lengths between 50 ft and 100 ft – use at least 12-gauge speaker wire.
  • For wire lengths of greater than 100 ft – use at least 10-gauge speaker wire.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the JBL Arena 8IW Premium In-Wall Loudspeaker:

  • JBL Arena 8IW
  • Speaker grille
  • Extra scrim cloth for grille
  • Mounting template

JBL Arena 8IW Premium In-Wall Loudspeaker Conclusion

If you’re already a JBL fan, then the Arena 8IW is a no-brainer. This exceptional speaker delivers in both audio quality and aesthetics. The ability to mix and match with other JBL Arena speakers means you can find the right speaker for every position in your home. Considering this is a high-end in-wall speaker, the Arena 8IW is reasonably priced at just under $170 per speaker.

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

Polk Audio 265RT 3-Way In-Wall Speaker

Polk audio is the 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 which is not far off the likes of JBL, Bose and other high-end premium brands.

At a Glance

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

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 which, when set to Filter, an attenuation is applied to the tweeter. Engaging this setting is best if you have loads 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 AVRS530BT would be a great match for the 265RT. This receiver is also good to drive the 255C-RT center speaker.

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

Gauge vs Length

  • Lengths up to 25′ – 18 or 16 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 25′ but less than 50′ – 16 or 14 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 50′ but less than 75′ – 14 or 12 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 75′ – 12 gauge cable

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Polk Audio 265RT 3-Way In-Wall Speaker:

  • Polk Audio 265RT
  • 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 full, rich audio experience. The architectural range is pretty extensive so you’re sure to 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 a single speaker so, if you require a pair, make sure you purchase two.

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

Polk Audio RC85i 2-way In-Wall Speakers

Also from Polk Audio, the RC85i is more of a party in-wall speaker 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.

At a Glance

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

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 some serious bass which results 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 towards 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 which includes the horizontal speaker 255C-RT. The 255C-RT can be used with the RC85i for a center speaker placement if needed.

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 do install these speakers outside, make sure 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. For home theater installations, the Yamaha RX-V385 5.1-Channel Receiver with Bluetooth is better suited.

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

Gauge vs Length

  • Lengths up to 25′ – 18 or 16 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 25′ but less than 50′ – 16 or 14 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 50′ but less than 75′ – 14 or 12 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 75′ – 12 gauge cable

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Polk Audio RC85i 2-way In-Wall Speakers:

  • 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 the sauna. At under $150, the RC85i offer exceptional value for a pair of in-wall speakers.

6. Bose Virtually Invisible 891 In-Wall Speaker

Bose Virtually Invisible 891 In-Wall Speaker

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 are a little more expensive than other in-wall speakers but, like the Klipsch, you’re paying for a premium audio experience.

At a Glance

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:
5.22 lbs

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 Virtually Invisible 891 has a 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 Virtually Invisible 891 with the SoundTouch SA-5 together. The SoundTouch SA-5 connects 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 20′ – 18 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 20′ but less than 30′ – 16 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 30′ but less than 50′ – 14 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 50′ – 12 gauge cable

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Bose Virtually Invisible 891 In-Wall Speaker:

  • 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.

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

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

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 obviously allows you to fill your home with a range of compatible speakers for every application from just one brand. This is great if you want to have a home theater system integrated with a distributed home speaker system and entertainment system.

At a Glance

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”
Weight:
5.1 lbs

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 really loud with minimal distortion. The speaker’s intelligibility is excellent, making the NS-IW760 great for home theater applications as well as 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. For a subwoofer, you can include the Yamaha NS-SW100BL 10″ 100W powered subwoofer to complete your 5.1 system.

The NS-IW760 come 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’re planning to install the NS-IW760 as a stereo pair, then 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. There is a subwoofer-out which can go to your Yamaha NS-SW100BL powered subwoofer for a complete Yamaha surround sound system.

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

Gauge vs Length

  • Lengths up to 20′ – 18 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 20′ but less than 30′ – 16 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 30′ but less than 50′ – 14 gauge cable
  • Lengths greater than 50′ – 12 gauge cable

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Yamaha NS-IW760 2-Way In-Wall Speaker System:

  • 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 them 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.

8. JBL SP6II In-Wall Loudspeaker

JBL SP6II In-Wall Loudspeaker

The JBL SP6II In-Wall Loudspeaker is part of the SP series which is an affordable range of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers from JBL. At under $120, you’re getting premium grade speakers at an affordable price.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 6.5” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Power Handling:
10W – 80W
Recommended Amplification:
80W @ 8 Ohms
Size:
9.68″ x 7.12”
Mounting Depth:
3.87”
Weight:
5 lbs

Sound & Technical Features

The JBL SP6II In-Wall Loudspeaker features a 6.5” low-frequency driver with a single tweeter. The tweeter is a swivel mount which enables you to angle the sound image to your desired listening area. The low-frequency driver is mounted in rubber surrounds to prevent any vibration from entering the walls.

As to be expected from JBl, the SP6II delivers exceptional audio quality. The 6.5” low-frequency driver produces a rich punchy bass with the tweeter delivering good intelligibility in the high-end. These speakers are good for home theater systems but would be best suited for a distributed or entertainment sound system.

Installing The JBL SP6II In-Wall Loudspeaker

The SP6II is great for in-ceiling or in-wall installations which means you can purchase one speaker for both positions. JBL has the SP6CII which is the circular version of the same speaker should you prefer round speakers in the ceiling.

While you could use the SP6II or other SP series speakers in a home theater installation, they’re better suited for a distributed or entertainment in-wall/in-ceiling sound system. If you want a JBL in-wall/in-ceiling home theater system, rather consider the JBL Arena range which we also feature in this article. If you want some more power, consider the 8” JBL SP8II which delivers a little more power output and improved bass response over the SP6II.

The SP6II comes with a speaker template for measuring the correct hole size. This template also doubles as the paint protector for painting around the speaker. Both the speaker frame and grille are paintable should you wish to match the wall or decor.

Cabling & Amplification

For stereo installations, the Yamaha A-S301BL is best for the JBL SP6II In-Wall Loudspeaker. The A-S301BL has two 60W outputs at 8 ohms. This is perfect for the SP6II 80W power handling. For home theater surround installations, consider the Yamaha RX-V485BL Receiver.

When it comes to cabling, JBL recommends nothing smaller than 16-gauge cable for the SP6II. Exact specifications are as follows:

Gauge vs Length

  • Up to 20 feet – 16 gauge
  • Up to 30 feet – 12 gauge
  • Greater than 30 feet – 10 gauge

What’s in the Box?

Included with the JBL SP6II In-Wall Loudspeaker:

  • 2 x JBL SP6II
  • Cut out template

JBL SP6II In-Wall Loudspeaker Conclusion

If you’re looking for a versatile in-wall/in-ceiling speaker for your entertainment area or a distributed speaker installation, then the JBL SP6II is an excellent choice. The compact size means the speaker will take up a minimal footprint while still delivering enough power. While the SP6II can be used for home theater systems, rather stick to the JBL Arena range for this application. At under $120 for a pair, the SP6II is not only affordable but also comes with JBL quality sound and craftsmanship.

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

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

Micca design and manufacture 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.

At a Glance

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

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 which means you can get away with not purchasing an external subwoofer for home theater installs. The tweeter is mounted on a pivoting mechanism which allows you to aim the high frequencies to your desired listening position.

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 a 6.5” version of the M-8S. Unfortunately, Micca doesn’t manufacture a subwoofer but you could include the Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch powered subwoofer to fill up the bottom end.

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

Both the frame and speaker grille on the M-8S is 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 when for the cable gauge versus the length of the cable run. These are as follows:

Gauge vs Length

  • 50′ or less – 16 Gauge
  • 50′ to 80′ – 14 Gauge
  • 80′ to 120′ – 12 Gauge
  • 120′ to 200′ – 10 Gauge

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Micca M-8S 8-Inch 2-Way In-Wall Speaker:

  • 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 subwoofer and receiver of course. At this price, you would expect less than average sound quality, however, the Micca range actually sounds really good. These might be cheap speakers but they are certainly doesn’t sound cheap.

10. Silver Ticket 652W In-Wall Speaker

652W Silver Ticket In-Wall Speaker

If the Micca range is still out of your budget, then consider the Silver Ticket range of in-wall/in-ceiling speakers. The Silver Ticket range includes a few more speaker options than the Micca range but at between $5-$10 cheaper per speaker. Don’t be fooled by the price, these speakers sound better than you’d think. The 652W Silver Ticket is a versatile 6.5” in-wall speaker which can be used in a surround sound system or as a stereo pair for entertainment areas.

At a Glance

Speaker Drivers:
1 x 6.5” driver with 1 x 1” tweeter
Power Handling:
40 – 80W
Recommended Amplification:
80W @ 8 Ohms
Size:
12″ x 8.6”
Mounting Depth:
3.5”
Weight:
4 lbs

Sound & Technical Features

The 652W features a 6.5” low-frequency driver with a single 1” tweeter. The low-frequency driver is mounted in a rubber surround to dampen any vibration within the wall. Like the premium in-wall speakers, the tweeter is mounted on a swivel so you can angle the audio image towards your listening position.

Installing The 652W Silver Ticket In-Wall Speaker

The 652W allows for a single vertical mounting position. Great for left/right and rear surround positions. Also in the Silver Ticket range is the 5252W in-wall speaker for a center position in a 5.1 set up. If you’re looking for more power in your front left/right speakers, the 82W Silver Ticket is an 8-inch in-wall speaker with a better bass response and more power. For more bottom end, you can include the Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer.

As well as home theater installs, the 652W will be great for entertainment areas and distributed sound systems too.

Cabling & Amplification

For home theater installations, the Yamaha RX-V485BL 5.1 Receiver is best to drive the 652W. The RX-V485BL will be good the rest of the Silver Ticket in-wall speakers too. If you just want to run the 652W as a stereo pair, then the Pyle Dual Channel Audio Amplifier is an excellent budget option. The Pyle receiver costs under $50 and features one RCA input with two 75W speaker outputs.

Silver Ticket doesn’t specify exact speaker wire gauge to length range but does recommend using a 14-18 gauge cable. We recommend sticking to these guidelines:

Gauge vs Length

  • 30′ or less – 18 Gauge
  • 30′ to 50′ – 16 Gauge
  • 50’+ – 14 Gauge
  • 100’+ – 12 Gauge

What’s in the Box?

Included with the 652W Silver Ticket In-Wall Speaker:

  • 652W Silver Ticket
  • Speaker grille
  • Cut out template/paint protector

652W Silver Ticket In-Wall Speaker Conclusion

When it comes to the cheapest in-wall speaker, the 652W Silver Ticket is certainly the way to go. This hugely popular speaker is not only well priced but sounds surprisingly good for the money. If I had to choose between the Micca and the Silver Ticket I’d probably go for the Micca however, if your budget is really tight, then going with the Silver Ticket is definitely the better option. For a full 5.1 home theater install, the Silver Ticket in-wall set up will cost less than $180. This is with two 8” 82W Silver Ticket as your front left/right and 652W as rear surrounds. Unbelievable value and cheaper than a single Polk Audio 265RT which is also considered a budget in-wall speaker.

In-Wall Speakers Buyer’s Guide

Still confused about which speaker is right for you? We’ve put together this quick buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision based on your in-wall speaker installation.

Cheapest In-Wall Speakers

If you’re on a tight budget then your best bet is to go for the 652W Silver Ticket in-wall speaker. Even though this speaker is cheap, it certainly isn’t poor quality. While not at the level of JBL, Bose and other premium brands, the 652W Silver Ticket sounds really good and will be great for stereo and home theater installations.

Here are all 10 in-wall speakers ranked in order of price from cheapest to most expensive. Keep in mind this list is compiled per speaker. Where speakers are sold as a pair, we have halved the price.

Under $30652W Silver Ticket
Under $50Micca M-8S
Under $100JBL SP6II
Polk Audio RC85i
Yamaha NS-IW760
Under $200JBL Arena 8IW
Under $250Polk Audio 265RT
Under $300Klipsch R-5502-W
MartinLogan ML65i
Bose Virtually Invisible 891

Best Bass In-Wall Speaker

When it comes to low-frequency response, then the JBL Arena 8IW is the best in-wall speaker for this category. Not only does the Arena 8IW have an excellent bass response, but exceptional detail and clarity in the mids and highs too. The Arena 8IW is very well priced for a premium speaker and definitely one to consider.

Best In-Wall Speaker For Home Theater

While the MartinLogan ML65i is the best in-wall speaker, for home theater is the Klipsch R-5502-W does outperform in one category. This is a very versatile in-wall speaker can be mounted horizontally and vertically making it possible to use a single speaker for every 5.1 surround position. Pairing the R-5502-W with the Klipsch R-10SWi 10″ Wireless Subwoofer completes your 5.1 system with a powerful, clean subwoofer for the low end.

Now, not everyone can afford MartinLogan and Klipsch prices, so for the lower end of the price range, I would go for the Yamaha NS-IW760. Like the Klipsch R-5502-W, the NS-IW760 can be mounted either vertically or horizontally which means you can purchase one speaker for every 5.1 speaker position. The Yamaha NS-SW100BL 10″ 100W powered subwoofer is an excellent addition to complete your 5.1 in-wall surround sound system.

Matt
Written by
Matt

Matt is a sound engineer, event organizer, marketer, and vinyl junkie!

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