Although it might not be a question that you thought you’d ask yourself when embarking on a multi-room audio system, giving some thought to how you want your audio to ‘look’ is an important consideration. The way that loudspeakers work hasn’t changed greatly over many years. But advances in design processes, manufacturing methods and construction materials mean there are options to suit any environment and budget.
Visible vs Invisible
One of the first decisions that you need to make when specifying a multi-room audio system will be in which rooms around the house the technology would be a benefit. You can then spend time thinking about how you’ll use each space, considering different loudspeaker aesthetics and planning how best to allocate your budget. You should ensure you have the better performing systems in the rooms you intend to spend more time in, those might also be rooms where the aesthetics are more critical. You need wit work closely with your design team to ensure technologies have as little impact on aesthetics as possible, with the speaker options described in this blog all being potential options.
Visible | Cabinet
For best possible audio performance ‘traditional’ cabinet loudspeakers, such as those designed to sit on a bookshelf or be floor standing, are a great option. They should still be high on your list of considerations for any space where you expect to spend time enjoying music.
Manufacturers are creating loudspeakers that can complement room aesthetics, with luxurious wooden cabinets, piano gloss finishes and even custom colour options. Bowers & Wilkins, Martin Logan, Meridian and PMC are just some of our favoured brands.
Visible | In-wall & in-ceiling
For spaces where you don’t need the audio performance to be as high, and where budget might be a priority, ‘conventional’ custom installation loudspeakers could be used. You will have likely seen these loudspeakers before, typically behind mesh grilles and installed flush into walls and ceilings.
The performance and price for these loudspeakers can vary greatly, to suit different applications and budgets, these are some of the most popular items we install for multi-room audio use.
Visible | Small aperture
A newer product in the ceiling speaker sector is the small aperture solutions such as those from James Loudspeakers, which give you all the benefits of large in-ceiling speakers but with less impact on room aesthetics. They work by having a larger speaker within a hidden enclosure in the ceiling void, with the audio ported through a small aperture in the ceiling. That small opening can be finished with a mesh grille, like a conventional ceiling speaker, or customised to match other materials such as wood.
Visible | Micro-array
There are on-wall loudspeakers that can deliver a high level of performance discreetly. These can be as small as 37mm in height and 22mm wide and finished in colours to match the room décor. When coupled with subwoofers, these tiny loudspeakers can deliver a level of audio performance that is difficult to comprehend. We favour the K-array products in this sector.
Invisible | Plaster-In
If good audio performance is required, but aesthetic compromises aren’t an option then there are truly invisible solutions available. Sonance manufacture a range of loudspeakers that can be mounted in walls or ceilings and then finished over with the surrounding surface, such as plaster. These have the incredible ability to fill rooms with sound, leaving you guessing as to where it is coming from.
Custom DSP processing
Some of the loudspeakers mentioned above need to be protected, or their performance improved by means of digital signal processing and matched amplification. Where budget allows, we would suggest using amplifiers that offer this level of configurability, as they allow our engineers to ‘tune’ the sound to each room. Room dimensions, furnishings and construction materials all play a part in affecting how your music will sound. We can effectively eliminate any audio issues caused by the room, giving you consistency of sound and faithful music reproduction.
If you need help with your home audio equipment, get in touch with our expert design team today firstname.lastname@example.org