In-ceiling suggestions for newbie


New member
Username: Kdub83

Sacramento, CA

Post Number: 2
Registered: Nov-04
Building my first home theater system and am looking for suggestions on in-ceiling speakers I can get on the cheap (about $250 a pair). Am considering the Marantz sr4400 or Denon 1804 receivers. Also, any center channel suggestions would be great. Thanks for the input.

Bronze Member
Username: Shantao

Post Number: 62
Registered: Apr-04
It is hard to make a good recommendation because more data is needed....

Is the whole surround speaker system (i.e., 5.1, 6.1, 7.1) going in the ceiling, or just the surrounds (or just the fronts and rears)....

If you are just putting surrounds in, what are you running for the fronts and center channel?

Are you also going to run a sub?

How big is the room?

How high is the ceiling?

Is the ceiling flat, or cathedral?

We recently moved, and my wife and I redid the living room and while I had my large system in the downstairs (of a bi-level), she insisted no visible speakers and no wall speakers. That didn't leave much!

I ended up intalling an inceiling 6.1 surround system that I installed on a cathedral ceiling. I made sure that the tweeters pivoted so that they could be aimed. I was not sure that I was going to have the center channel in the ceiling or not, but decided to intall it and if I didn't like it, I could still put one on the tv.

I have 6 jbl's in the ceiling (they are 8" woofers with 1" pivoting tweeters. I also have a 10" sub, that sits behind the large oak tv entertainment thingy. The room is relatively medium, 16 x 20, but the ceiling and room is open to the kitchen on the other side of a partial wall, and there is a hallway and stairway adjacent to the room.

The receiver is an HK and the speakers are crossed over at 80hz. It is hard to balance this system because the bass is coming from the floor and the mids/tweets are coming from the ceiling, but music sounds surprisingly good and my wife has the thing on all the time and absolutely loves it. Movies sound good... and better than many of the theaters in my area. The center is clear from the ceiling and I didn't feel the need to use an alternate center channel on the tv.

I have done more than a few in-ceiling installs, and I was surprised at how good this ended up sounding as I was more than a bit dubious when I was installing it (knowing that I would still have my downstairs equipment), but it came out great.

On the other hand, if you are just installing the in-ceilings as surrounds, contact the manufacturer of your center/fronts and find out if they have in-ceilings. Most companies do make them and then they will be timbre matched with your existing speakers and will sound better.

good luck

New member
Username: Kdub83

Sacramento, CA

Post Number: 3
Registered: Nov-04
Thanks for your response Shan. I am going to have a 5.1 with the fronts and rears in the ceiling, the center on the TV, and the sub in the rear of the room. The room is 15' X 19' with 9' flat ceilings. I'm putting this whole system together from scratch on the cheap. Was considering for receivers: HK 230, Onkyo 601, Denon 1804, or the Marantz 4400. I was thinking of the JBL ec35 or JBL S-CenterII for the center. Sub ideas were: JBL E250, Velodyne CHT-10, or Infinity pb10. What JBL speakers do you have in your ceiling?

Bronze Member
Username: Shantao

Post Number: 63
Registered: Apr-04
As for the jbl's, I am thinking they were sp8's but I cannot find the papers from them. I seem to recall they were rated down to 33hz, and had titanium tweeters.

Your room should work well with the size you are working with. If you are running the system square (i.e., not working with the tv in a corner) you might consider an in-wall center channel as well, I know jbl makes them for about 200.00 or so.

The hardest part is getting the speakers in the *right* place. There are a number of sites on the web that can help with that, like (click on the faq link, and they have decent prices on in-ceiling speakers as I recall).

As for receivers, I have both the hk and the onkyo601. I switch them from time to time (my wife feels to annoy her) but either sound great. The HK is better to my ears, but I love my 601 as well. Were I to go shopping again, it would be for the marantz.

Also to make your install pretty, get a 5.1 wall plate (hometech makes them, about 35.00 from best buy) that has six pairs of 5 way binding posts that mounts to an electrical box in the wall. Your wires from the receiver can go in there it gives a nice finished appearance.

Just thoughts rolling,.... what kind of insullation do you have? If fiberglass batting, that is fine, just install them. If it is blown, you may have to "move" a bit of it and set in a small section of 6" fiberglass on top of the speaker. The blown in stuff gets in to the cone and will cause damage..... Make sure you keep the speakers at least a foot from any wall as you install them, it cuts down on really annoying reflections. The speaker's manuals will probably have exact specs in mounting, but a foot from the wall is a minimum.... Don't put the covers on the speakers until you get the tweeters aimed, they are a bear to get off. Be prepared to leave the covers off for a week or so until you get them where you want them.....

Hope that helps
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