8 Best In-Ceiling Speakers for Surround Sound and Buying Guide

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Types of Ceiling Speakers

There are various ways to divide ceiling speakers into types, however, there are some types that are most common and these are presented below. It is important to choose the right type of ceiling speakers for your needs. You will need to consider the main purpose, the location, the room type and size, and more.

Aimable Tweeters

Most new ceiling speakers have this feature. Aimable tweeters enable you to direct (aim) the sound into the preferable direction. If you are an individual who wants to get the most out of the in-ceiling speakers for surround sound, you should make sure your in-ceiling speakers have that feature.

Moisture Resistant Ceiling Speakers

Moisture-resistant ceiling speakers are a special kind of ceiling speaker that is important to consider if you plan on installing in-ceiling speakers for surround sound in the bathroom. The levels of moisture increase significantly when we shower or taking a bath, thus it is important to get moisture-resistant ceiling speakers.

Enclosure Ceiling Speakers

If you want ceiling speakers with strong subwoofers, you will need to go with the enclosure ceiling speakers. Unlike standard ceiling speakers that take up only a few inches of depth, the enclosure ceiling speakers tend to require 8 to 9 inches. So make sure to consider these dimensions in advance.

What to Consider Before Purchasing Ceiling Speakers?

If you are not sure whether or not you want in-ceiling speakers for surround sound, this section will provide you with some useful tips and pointer, which will help you make up your mind.

Why You Might Want In-Ceiling Speakers

The main advantages of getting in-ceiling speakers are as follows:

  • They’re conceivable – if you are one of those people, who don’t like how the speakers look, getting in-ceiling speakers for surround sound might be a great idea since they will be hidden in your ceiling.
  • Great for surround sound – in-ceiling speakers are great for creating that perfect surround sound experience. They enable you to position them basically anywhere you want and provide that rich from-above sound.
  • High level of flexibility – regular and in-wall speakers do not provide you with such a level of flexibility as the in-ceiling speakers for surround sound do. You can place them anywhere in the ceiling you need and they will not be in the way.
  • Immersive experience – this aspect depends on your sound preferences, however, many users claim that in-ceiling speakers for surround sound offer the most immersive experience thanks to the sound coming from above.

How Many Ceiling Speakers Do You Need In One Room?

You must always consider the size of your room and the experience you are after. Also, are you using only in-ceiling speakers or combining them with other types of the speaker. That said, for most rooms, 4 speakers should keep your cover, however, if you have a particularly large room on your hands, you may want to go with 6 speakers. Make sure to keep the balance. And keep in mind that it is better to have too many speakers than too few.

What Size Ceiling Speakers Should You Get?

The most common sizes are 6.5” and 8” in-ceiling speakers for surround sound. Going with bigger ones, you’ll need fewer speakers in a room of the same size. However, as a rule of thumb, if your room is smaller rather go with smaller speakers and more of them. However, if your room is larger, then consider 8” speakers.

Where Should You Place Your Ceiling Speakers?

There are specific guidelines to be followed. It is important to consider your seating area, furniture placement, and place speakers in a way to prevent any ‘sound gaps.’ For the best stereo separation effect, you want to position the ceiling speakers at an equal distance apart from each wall, along the length of the room, and at least 6 feet apart.

Peak Power Handling – How Much Do You Need?

You need to consider your taste in sound loudness. For most users, 50W speakers (a pair combined) tend to be all they need for smaller rooms. If the room is larger and the ceiling is taller, you will need to consider more powerful options. Luckily there are many choices ranging from 15W to 200W per speaker.

8 Best Ceiling Speakers

This is the section that most of you’ve been waiting for, right? Herein you will learn about 8 best ceiling speakers. We will take a closer look at each of them, which should enable you to determine if any of these models is right for you.

1. Yamaha NSIC800WH – Ceiling Speakers

The Yamaha NSIC800WH are powerful two-way speakers. They pack 140W of power and offer a 3.50kHz crossover frequency. They come with dome-type drivers, which provide impressive output. Moreover, these speakers are quite easy to install.

They offer a low-profile design, which makes the speakers very conceivable. The white color also helps with the blending-in process too. The Yamaha NSIC800WH is also suitable for in-wall installations.

Yamaha NSIC800WH Ceiling Speakers

These speakers are non-directed since they provide a natural and neutral dispersion of sound, which is achieved by the unique acoustic baffle design that features a spiral pattern.

The speakers also incorporate excellent moisture resistance and are as such also a great choice for the bathroom.

Sound-wise, the NSIC800WH speakers offer impressive midrange and decent low-end detail, which makes them highly suitable for home theatres and gaming. The speakers also pack a fluid-cooled swivel tweeter that takes care of the improved precision in the higher register. As such, clarity of the sound is ensured.

For larger rooms, you may use these speakers in a combination of 4 or 6 speakers. The speakers are 9” in diameter.

PROS

  • Boosted mid sounds
  • Slim profile
  • Loud and clear audio
  • Suitable for ceiling and wall mounting

CONS

  • Oomph in the bass department could be stronger

2. Micca M-8C – Ceiling Speakers

Micca M-8C is an affordable 8” speaker that offers a natural sound and just the right amount of bass. The speaker outer diameter is 10.7” and its mounting depth of 3.5”.

This is a stereo (two-way) speaker, which means a single speaker offers an amazing sound solution. It offers a frequency response range of 40Hz to 20kHz, which is quite impressive. This also allows better bass definition and adds richness and detail.

Micca M-8C Ceiling Speakers

The speaker also offers 90dB sensitivity, which is more than enough at this price range.

The rounded design offers easier installation. The speaker’s color may be a bit bright but, luckily, you can paint it over to blend with your décor better.

You can expect natural vocals, smooth transitions, and sufficient clarity to be delivered by the Micca M-8C.

PROS

  • Relatively affordable single speaker
  • Solid low-frequency response
  • Natural and clear vocal midrange
  • Pivoting tweeter allows proper aiming

CONS

  • Cracking may be heard at very high volume levels

3. Pyle PWRC65-BT – Ceiling Speakers

The Pyle PWRC65-BTare 6.5-inch ceiling speakers that come at a relatively affordable price. They offer a decent level of versatility and solid sound. Their extra feature includes Bluetooth streaming that enables connection to any of your devices, which is a highly appreciated addition.

Pyle PWRC65-BT Ceiling Speakers

The sound is good, though it does lack bass. So if you want a powerful base, the Pyle PWRC65-BT is not for you. However, the lack in the bass is made up for in the volume department – the speakers deliver an impressive 300W of power.

The speakers offer nicely reproduced treble and mid-range frequency ranges with fine replication of nuance and detail. And you can always pair them up with a powerful subwoofer.

The installation is very simple. Cutting the proper-sized holed and connecting the wires is part of the standard installation process of the best in-ceiling speakers for surround sound. The speakers come with clamp mounts that will hold the speakers in place. Speakers also come with a magnetic grille, which is a great touch as it also allows easy access to the adjustable 0.5-inch tweeter for increased directional control of the sound.

The Pyle PWRC65-BT speakers are highly conceivable. To perfectly fit your décor, you can also paint the grille.

Keep in mind that the speakers are not suitable for a moist environment.

PROS

  • Affordable price
  • Simple to install
  • Bluetooth connectivity enabled
  • Subtle design

CONS

  • Relatively average sound quality
  • Not moisture resistant
  • Bass response is weak

4. Polk Audio RC80i – Ceiling Speakers

The Polk RC80i 8” speakers represent a standard design and a superior build quality. On top speakers offer multiple layers of protection, which makes them highly suitable not only for indoor use but also for the outdoor environment.

Polk Audio RC80i Ceiling Speakers

The RC80i may be your best bet if you are looking for durable speakers for any environment. Dimensions-wise, each speaker has a mounting depth of 3-1/8” and a cut-out diameter of 9-3/8”.

The extended frequency response range of 35Hz to 20kHz is something to point out. This enables enough bass definition to deliver full-range audio performance. It also compensates for low to average performance tower speakers.

The 90db sensitivity is very decent, however, some cracking or distortion at higher volume levels may be heard. The overall audio quality is highly satisfying.

Both the tweeter and woofer on these speakers are dynamic. Also, the tweeter has a swiveling design, which promotes an omnidirectional dispersal pattern.

PROS

  • Extended low-frequency response
  • 90db sensitivity
  • Swiveling tweeter
  • Spring-loaded clips for easy installation
  • Suitable for moist rooms and outdoor use

CONS

  • Not great standalone speakers

5. Polk Audio RC60i – Ceiling Speakers

These are Polk Audio RC80i’s smaller brothers. They offer very similar specs with a less bulky design. They pack 6.5-inch dynamic balance woofers, which take good care of the lower frequencies. The rest of the range is handled by a 1-inch directional dome tweeter.

Polk Audio RC60i Ceiling Speakers

The speakers offer a nicely balanced frequency range, but at lower power (mainly due to their size). However, it is the smaller size that offers a high level of versatility of placement options.

The Polk Audio RC60i are excellent kitchen or bathroom speakers since they come with the rubber backed components that offer moisture resistance. Any smaller room will sound great with a pair of these speakers.

We must point out that each speaker has its own stereo capabilities, thus single speaker placement is also an option for all ultra-small spaces. This will offer a great experience for average listeners, however, probably won’t please the more sophisticated audience.

The speakers offer a simple look to blend into the background easily. The paintable grille also helps achieve almost perfect camouflage if wanted.

Since Polk is a highly reputable brand, the price is not as affordable, however, if you are in need of a moisture-resistant set of speakers with solid sound quality, then these speakers could be a good purchase for you.

PROS

  • Suitable for bathrooms and kitchens
  • Highly versatile location options
  • Basically invisible

CONS

  • Stereo separation could be better
  • Other speakers offer better value for money

6. Klipsch CDT-5800-C II – Ceiling Speakers

The Klipsch CDT-5800-C II is a great individual speaker. It is a highly potent and very loud individual in-ceiling speaker. It provides a maximum output of an impressive 200W. It also incorporates Klipsch patented Horn technology, which allows the speaker to produce louder sounds with high efficiency.

Klipsch CDT-5800-C II Ceiling Speakers

As one can expect from Klipsch, the build quality is very high. The speaker also packs an 8” pivoting cerametallic woofer as well as a 1” titanium tweeter. As such, superior accuracy across the vocal midrange and high frequencies, as well as detailed bass is ensured.

The speaker also offers the CDT or Controlled Dispersion Technology that ensures a proper dispersal pattern with minimal loss of detail. This creates a more realistic and immersive soundstage.

The CDT-5800-C II speaker also has a midbass attenuation switch, which enables you to fine-tune the vocal midrange even further. That way you get to use custom settings for music, gaming, and movies.

The speakers also pride in a high sensitivity of 95db. It also includes a durable ABS enclosure. The premium mounting system makes installation simple and also helps manage vibrations and unwanted resonance.

PROS

  • Very powerful – 200W peak power
  • Wide sound dispersal
  • Rich and a natural sound
  • CDT and Horn technologies

CONS

  • Bass definition could be better
  • Quite pricey

7. AmazonBasics 6.5″ Ceiling Speakers

AmazonBasics are a straightforward set of ceiling speakers. They are one of the most affordable 6.5” ceiling speakers, which makes them a great choice for all budget buyers. They pack a 6.5-inch composite woofer and a 1-inch tweeter ring, which reproduce an ok sound.

AmazonBasics 6.5″ Ceiling Speakers

Despite the fact that performance across the frequency range is a little underwhelming, especially since the mid-ranges were relatively poor, the speakers have what it takes to deliver all that an average user expects.

The speaker is straightforward to install with a simple design that blends in with any décor well as you can paint over the grill.

If you are looking for basic and affordable speakers, the AmazonBasics may be just what you need. However, if you want the above-average sound quality, you should look at some other speakers presented herein.

PROS

  • Highly affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Unobtrusive

CONS

  • Unexciting sound
  • Muddy mid-ranges

8. Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 – Ceiling Speakers

The Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 speakers offer a very broad dispersion pattern. They incorporate a flush-mount design and are available in both, framed and frameless models.

The speakers have a wide frequency response range of 40Hz to 20kHz. You should be noted that they are not optimized for detailed bass. However, they do offer an excellent midrange fidelity and a high peak sensitivity of 95db.

Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 Ceiling Speakers

The three-way passive crossover is also something to look forward to in these speakers. This further improves the sound fidelity. It also adds richness and clarity to the vocal midrange and provides consistent precision for the higher register sounds.

The CS-IC83 speakers come with a quite unique pressure lock system. This helps secure a tight clamp on drywall and enables simpler installation. The speakers offer a mounting depth of 3.7” for the framed model and 4” for the frameless model. Keep in mind that the frameless model is slightly trickier to install, however, it does look good.

The grills can also be painted over so that the speakers match your room décor completely.

PROS

  • Frameless and standard frame design available
  • Full set – five-speaker system
  • 3-way crossover
  • Rugged ABS build
  • High sensitivity (95dB)

CONS

  • Not suitable for amps over 350W

Why You Should Use Ceiling Speakers for Your Surround System

If you are still not sure whether or not you should go with the in-ceiling speakers for surround sound, have a closer look at this section. It will present you with the main advantages of these types of speakers and help you determine if they are the right choice for you.

Space Saving

If you want to save space, then you should definitely consider using in-ceiling speakers for surround sound. That way there will be no speakers taking up space on your shelves or on your floor.

Hiding the Wires

In-ceiling speakers for surround sound come installed in the ceiling, which means that all the wiring is lined inside the ceiling as well. As such, the wires are hidden completely so that your home looks neat.

Visuals of the Room

In-ceiling speakers for surround sound are extremely conceivable. Moreover, most models come with grills that can be painted over to perfectly match your room style. As such, you do not need to worry about your speakers not matching your interior design.

Easier to mount on the ceiling than on the walls

This greatly depends on the type of ceilings and the type of walls you have. However, in general, most homes have ceilings with enough air gap to easily accommodate the in-ceiling speakers for surround sound.

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How To Install Ceiling Speakers in 6 Easy Steps

Unlike regular speakers, which you can simply place on a shelf, in-ceiling speakers require some preparation and planning. However, done properly, the installation is very easy and fast.

Piece of advice: If you are not a handy person, consider hiring a professional or ask a friend to assist you.

Here are 6 easy steps to follow:

  1. Determine where you want your speakers – before you start drilling holes in your ceiling, make sure to determine the exact location of your speakers. Make sure the speakers are evenly distributed and consider the seating area (if applicable). Also consider your ceilings supporting beams, the wiring, and other details.
  2. Drilling a small hole – start with a small hole, then insert a piece of wire to see what is going on inside, make sure to use the length that corresponds to the diameter of the speaker and run it inside. Your goal is to determine that there are no obstructions.
  3. Dust protection – especially if you are dealing with drywall or plaster, there will be a lot of dust. As such, make sure to have a vacuum at hand and properly protect your furniture in advance. Having someone to vacuum hose as you drill is the best and cleanest solution.
  4. Cut the holes – use an electric saw or a jigsaw to cut the holes after you have determined the exact position of the speakers.
  5. Wiring – this is similar to any other wiring. You will probably need to cut another small hole where you will want the wires to come down to the amp or other stereo system. Make sure you have wires that all long enough!
  6. Last adjustments – before placing the speakers in, make sure to apply any adjustments that will later not be possible. Also, adjust the direction of the amiable tweeters.

Note: If you do not have a drywall ceiling, you will need to consider hiring a professional constructor.

What to Look for Before Buying Ceiling Speakers?

This section is here to serve you as in-ceiling speakers for surround sound buyer’s guide. Make sure to use this section especially if you decide to look at speakers not presented in the section above. That way you will ensure that your selection will be proper and that you will end up with the best in-ceiling speakers for surround sound for your needs and wants.

Speaker Depth

Make sure to consider the type of ceiling you are dealing with. The depth should not be greater than your gap in the ceiling.

Speaker Weight

The weight of the speakers should not be an issue since most in-ceiling speakers for surround sound comply with general guidelines and standards and should be able to easily stay in place. However, if you are dealing with a fragile ceiling, make sure to go with as lightweight speakers as possible. The last thing you want is for the speakers to fall down.

Amplification

Ceiling speakers are usually not powered which means they need amplification from a receiver or amplifier. This means that speakers alone won’t serve you. Make sure to consider the cost of the receiver or amplifier in advance.

Cables

For proper and smooth installation, make sure to have long cables at your disposal. The last thing you want is to deal with a too-short cable, trust us. Make accurate measurements in advance. Consider all the possible obstacles and turns. Be precise and add at least one foot extra.

Tools Required

To make the installation as smooth as possible, you need to have a proper toolset. You will need a pencil, a screwdriver, a measuring tape, a utility knife, diagonal pliers, a jab saw, and a drill.

Sound Quality

It is important to consider your taste in music and your sensitivity to sound. Do you have very explicit ears or are you satisfied with the average sound quality? Do you want a strong bass? Make sure to go with the speakers that match your wants and needs properly. Consider sensitivity (90dB is good), frequency spectrum (50Hz – 20kHz is considered normal), and power (can be as low as 15W or up to 200W per speaker).

Décor matching

Before buying ceiling speakers make sure to consider your existing décor. Do you want your speakers to be as concealed as possible? Do you want to be able to paint over the grills? Make sure to account for that.

FAQs

Are ceiling speakers any good?

Yes, ceiling speakers can be a great choice. As with regular speakers, you have models that deliver perfect quality but you also have models that offer poor quality.

When Are Ceiling Speakers A Good Addition?

Ceiling speakers are great on their own or as an addition for a full surround sound experience especially for users looking for the sound coming from the above and for those looking to conceal the speakers.

How do ceiling speakers connect to surround sound?

Most ceiling speakers use wiring and also require a receiver or amplifier.

Can I connect ceiling speakers to the TV?

Yes, but not directly. In most cases, ceiling speakers require a receiver or amplifier.

Can you use voice control with in-ceiling speakers?

Yes. There are Bluetooth enabled ceiling speakers that make this feature very simple to use. Moreover, you can use Alexa or other smart home devices to use your voice command to control the volume of any speakers via a proper amplifier or receiver.

Can in-ceiling speakers be placed outdoors?

Yes, however, in order to be used outside they must be moisture resistant models.

Can you get great bass performance with ceiling speakers?

Yes, there are ceiling speakers that can provide great bass performance, however, the best bass performance is still achieved by standard speakers or in-wall speakers.

Can you paint the ceiling speakers?

Yes, many models come with grills that can be painted over without affecting the speaker’s performance.

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