Help with speakers in cabinets....


Thomas B
Unregistered guest
I am looking for front and center channel speakers for a new home theater setup. My problem is that all of these speakers will be installed in cabinets. I have been looking for bookshelf speakers for the fronts and plan to purchase a sub as well. I have auditioned the B&W 805's, KEF XQ1, Revel M22 and so far my favorite is the M22's - although they cost more than the $2500 that I hoped to spend on the fronts and center.

As I was looking for more info on the web, I saw much good press on the Von Schweikert VR-1 / LCR-15, the Usher X-718 and the JMLabs Electra 906. I am looking for the pair that will sound the best in my cabinets - also at a good price. I am also trying to locate "local" dealers (Minnesota) for the Von Schweikert, Usher and JMLabs so I can hear them personally.

Several of these speakers are rear ported which I have read may be a problem in a cabinet. The VR-1 is not ported and the 906's are front ported. The M22 has a "switch" on the back that can be set for either stand mounting or close to a wall.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated...

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 326
Registered: Jan-05
Considering the amount you're planning to spend on small bookshelf speakers that you plan to shove and hide in cabinets.............

May I suggest sticking with headphones?

You might as well get nothing. Why waste money on good speakers if you plan to shove them into a box?? You might as well buy 'just anything'.

Bronze Member
Username: Dmwiley

Post Number: 90
Registered: Feb-05
I'm with Paul. Glad you have money to burn.

Thomas B
Unregistered guest
There are certainly many others out there who put speakers in cabinets. I have seen many home theater setups with that configuration.

Is there someone else out there that has some "useful" comments regarding placing speakers in cabinets?


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

By placing an already enclosed speaker into another enclosure you are very likely to loose much of what you have paid for in the designs you're considering. Speakers such as these operate best when they are placed in an open environment where there are no obstructions to their sound. To spend the amount of money on such speakers and then compromise their performance is not in keeping with what some people would consider common sense. It might be compared to buying a Corvette and then using $20 tires. It is, of course, your money to spend and no one should tell you how to spend it.

There are other sonic benefits to the speakers you are considering such as tonal balance and lack of distortion. If these are good enough reasons to buy a speaker, then it is certainly your perogative to buy what you like.

Might I ask if the dealer(s) where you've auditioned these speakers has any comment on placing them inside of a cabinet?


Silver Member
Username: Cheapskate

Post Number: 111
Registered: Mar-04
putting speakers in a second box will definately alter their mentioned tonal balance as you will be adding a second box for soundwaves to resonate in. if you bought, say, rear ported speakers, a box in a box approach would probably become annoyingly boomy.

if you're having a custom installation done, why not take the "kit" approach and have the cabinets become speaker enclosures themselves.

that's pretty DIY though.

whatever you do... don't get rear ported speakers. i'd also suggest acoustical foam lining or stuffing the cabinets to minimize their air space resonances.

i'd also suggest going with speakers that have extra treble extension like B&W or paradigm metal domed speakers as i imagine you intend to put a grill cloth in front of whatever speakers you go with.

decent treble extension will help counter the veiling effect of whatever cloth you put in front of your speakers.

speakers definately image better out in the open and naked as already mentioned, but it's your house and your aesthitics that matter.

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 339
Registered: Jan-05
Well said J. and Budget.


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

I have to disagree with BM's suggestion of choosing a speaker with extra treble extension. The idea of extra treble extension and extra treble quantity are not synonomous and can be confusing to some people. Bright and extended are not the same thing and should not be accepted as such. If the writer has expressed a preferrence for the Revel, suggesting a brighter speaker is not in keeping with the stated preferrence in tonal balance.

Secondly, a speaker placed behind an additional layer of grill cloth should not have its frequency response altered significantly assuming the grill cloth is chosen for its function and not just its appearance. Certainly placing a speaker well off axis (high or low in a cabinet) will have more affect on the perceived frequency balance than an extra layer of grill cloth.

Finally, the placement of a speaker within a cabinet can be accomplished with minimal effect on the performance of the design if an infinite baffle approach is taken to designing and building the cabinet. When done properly the resonance of the system should not be affected. The help of a good dealer is critical to this end. That is why a good dealer gets the additional money over the on line seller; the brick and mortar retailer will offer help with problems that arise. Since each of the speakers chosen so far have different ideas on how they accomplish their sound quality, I would still like to hear the suggestions the dealers have made about placement.


Unregistered guest
I think the issue to be dealt with here is that a standard box loudspeaker (as someone above briefly touched on) is designed ( as a rule) to perform in a room, not as part of a cabinet.

The reality for a system designer (my role in life) is to accomodate a client's vision (or, more often the designer's!) and so we need to install loudspeakers in a cabinet.

The budget and the construction of the cabinet decides what we go with; some we use an inwall loudspeaker (usually Triad). When a box is required for esthetics, Tannoy. Once in a while we do a fully custom loudspeaker.

The reasons are simple: when the cabinet detail allows for an installation similar to installing in a wall, Triad speakers are built extremely well and sound great at any price point. Tannoy is the ONLY off the shelf box loudspeaker who's design (dual-concentric design) inherently remains uncoloured by placement on a cabinet.

When we do a fully custom solution, the client experiences 1) the best sound we can build 2) active participation in the design process (usually in voicing only: the interior designer chooses the finish!) and 3) a loonnngggger build time.

Unfortunately, although I have been involved with most of the manufacturers you mention looking at at and many others and would recommend most of them when appropriate, I cannot do so for your application.

So, from my experience, choose the loudspeaker that meets the cabinet design constraints as well as your budget. Remember that all of your options lead to compromise: with the excception of my wife, there is no such thing as perfection.

Good luck.

Bronze Member
Username: Johnnyness

Austin, TX

Post Number: 33
Registered: Dec-03
there are an abundance of bookshelf speakers out there that sound superb, but as they all generally have cabinets around them I think you might be better served to try something else. What about possibly reinforcing the cabinet, stuffing it with acoustic foam and finding a nice "in wall speaker" to put on the front of the cabinet? I have JM Labs Cobalt 806s for rear speakers and sometimes I think about taking them and using them as primary speakers for a system downstairs because they sound so good.

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

There still seems to be a problem of suggesting to the gentleman who wishes to own a Corvette that he buy a Toyota Camry. Though well intentioned, this doesn't appear any more "useful" than previous comments. We haven't heard from the writer lately, maybe he's given up and decided to by some Bose Acoustimass speakers.


There's nothing wrong with speaker cabinets inside of other cabinets that a few thousand dollars worth of speaker cable cannot remedy, right J. Vigne?

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1544
Registered: Aug-04
Just when everything seems to be going along just fine, along comes good ol' Anonymous again, raising his ugly head.

Have you ever thought of adding something helpful to the forum Anon? But then, thought is probably difficult for you eh?

Thomas B
Unregistered guest
Thank you for all the ideas and comments on this subject... One of the questions was about what the dealer's have told me about placing any of these speakers in cabinets - most of them have told me that the speakers will work just fine as long as I packed the cabinets around the speakers with some type of dampening material.

As I have looked around for more info on the subject, I came across another manufacturer that may be a better solution for "in cabinet" speakers. The company is Atlantic Technology and they have a line called C.O.R.E which are designed for this type of application. They have several "adjustments" (via controls on the back of the speakers) that can be made to compensate for the various issues that arise from putting speakers inside cabinets. I am planning to audition the 6200 series (minus the ped woofer) later this week.

Has anyone heard of these speakers and can provide some info? There are several positive reviews on the net for these systems.

Also, as I looked though one of my recent Home Electronic magazines, I noticed that several of the many home theaters that put the speakers in cabinets were using Atlantic Technology speakers. So maybe this is a good indication that these are solid speakers...

New member
Username: Voriand

Post Number: 5
Registered: Feb-05
Take a look at JMLabs Chorus and Colbalt bookshelf speakers. Both have a foward firing port and can be easily put in cabinats with minimal effect on quality.

I actually have my Colbalt 826's set in a built HT wall.

Rantz: iss-Pay off-ay. If you don't like anonymous postings, simply ignore them. But I guess that would jeopardize your hard-earned status as Ecoustics' version of the wrong answer to a question no one ever bothered to ask.

ps, my regards to your mom.

Silver Member
Username: Timn8ter

Seattle, WA USA

Post Number: 179
Registered: Dec-03
"One of the questions was about what the dealer's have told me about placing any of these speakers in cabinets - most of them have told me that the speakers will work just fine as long as I packed the cabinets around the speakers with some type of dampening material."

This is correct but perhaps more involved than "some type" of damping material. It's going to depend on the speaker and the size of the space you're putting it in. Putting felt on the surrounding cabinet edges that will help also. Unless you're willing to go with "trial and error" you may want to contact an acoustical consultant such as Rives.
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