Architectural loudspeakers have made some impressive strides in recent years and it is no longer a question if they are good enough to replace bookshelf or floor standing loudspeakers in 2-channel, home theater, or multi-room systems.
Brands like KEF, Paradigm, Focal, and Theory Audio Design have taken in-wall and in-ceiling loudspeakers to a level bordering reference quality playback and their products can be found in some of the most expensive media rooms and dedicated home theater spaces in the world.
Theory Audio Design might not have the name brand recognition of the other aforementioned companies, but make no mistake — they are the ones playing catch-up with Paul Hales.
It’s definitely worth your time to read our review of the Theory Audio Design 5.2.2 home theater system to get a better feel for their design philosophy and my interview with Paul to understand his perspective on why current loudspeakers are actually holding back what movies should sound like in your home.
In-ceiling loudspeakers have always been very popular with interior decorators and custom integrators because they are invisible and an easy sell when doing retrofits or new home construction.
Most people who buy them don’t want to see audiophile racks of equipment in their homes or long runs of cables.
A quick poll of my network of non-audiophile friends (childhood and local) revealed some rather interesting answers.
70% of the 20 people I polled revealed that they either owned homes with in-ceiling or in-wall loudspeakers and that they added them because they were inexpensive and easy to use with an AVR or multi-room amplifier.
I’m not sure which result shocked me more; that 70% owned architectural speakers or that they knew what a multi-room/channel amplifier was.
None of them answered that they bought them because of the “sound quality.”
That has always been my biggest reservation when it comes to adding in-ceiling loudspeakers to my own home because I’ve never really been blown away by anything that I’ve heard so far.
The Theory Audio Design ic6 In-ceiling Loudspeakers aim to fix that problem and they’ve even come up with a pendant solution that has me quite intrigued as a kitchen, outdoor patio (probably enclosed) or commercial office solution.
The new category Includes the ic6 high-output in-ceiling loudspeakers, pendant housings, and pre-construction brackets. The new custom installation solutions provide dealers, integrators, architects, and designers with a premium audio option for virtually any residential or commercial installation.
Theory’s product ecosystem is unique in that offers many of the advantages of professional audio products – effortless dynamics, high efficiency, and rugged durability – but with the sonic delicacy, detail, and resolution of the best high-end high-fidelity loudspeakers.
Add Theory’s intelligent full-system design approach with automatically tailored DSP and you get startling performance at a tremendous value.
As the first in-ceiling loudspeaker in the Theory product line, the ic6 provides installation flexibility. A discreet and highly capable solution, the Theory Audio Design ic6 are ideal for residential or commercial installations, surround sound or distributed audio, and even outdoors when paired with Theory’s optional all-weather grille.
The ic6 can also be installed in open-ceiling and exposed environments when integrated into one of Theory’s pendant housings. Available in a paintable matte white or matte black (available with matching black grille) and gloss black (avaialble soon), Theory’s pendant housings allow the ic6 to seamlessly blend into any décor.
Theory’s new in-ceiling loudspeakers offer a maximum output of 112dB thanks to the advanced polymer compression drivers and 6-inch carbon fiber woofer.
For large, distributed installs, the ic6 includes a switch-selectable 70V/100v transformer that can be driven direct by Theory’s forthcoming DLC-250.4 4-channel loudspeaker controllers. For commercial installations, the ic6 is UL-certified for fire signaling and for use in air-handling spaces.
The ic6 is available now for $675/each US MSRP. The ic6 Pendant Housings are $85/each (matte white) and $95/each (matte black with black ic6 grille), and the ic6 Pre-Construction Bracket is $62/pair.
For more information: theoryaudiodesign.com