Creating the perfect home entertainment system involves many components, but one of the most important is ensuring that all the content you consume is being heard the way the creators intended. For some that means a sound bar, for others it’s a series of satellite speakers; but, what do you do when you don’t have the room for a sound bar or want the mess of cables associated with satellite speakers?
In-wall speakers are not only a great solution to hide the clutter of all your cables draped around your room, but they’re made to be discreetly hidden to create a truly immersive surround sound experience. Some of the best surround sound setups start at a 5.1 system — meaning five speakers with one subwoofer — but the more you add the sweeter the sound; a 7.1 is next level while a 9.1 is out of this world.
The common configuration is having three speakers in front of you (a front-left, -right, and -center), two on either side of you (left and right), and for those of you looking to get the most advanced experience why not two behind and two above? Throw a subwoofer in the front corner (maybe a second in the other corner), and you’ve just created your 5.1 through 9.2 systems. Now imagine if you had to run cables all the way behind and above you? It would be an aesthetic nightmare!
We’ve put together a list of five superb in-wall speakers from some of the best brands on the market. If you’re already familiar with top-of-the-line audio gear then you’ll be pleased to see Monoprice, JBL Professional, Klipsch, and Polk Audio have all made the cut. Once you’ve browsed through our picks, we’ll go over some considerations to keep in mind when you’re ready to commit to the in-wall speaker lifestyle.
|Maximum Input Power:||120 watts|
|Tweeter:||1” silk dome|
|Frequency Response:||80Hz ～ 120Hz|
Monoprice has designed these carbon fiber, in-wall speakers that are lighter than previous design styles but prove to be stiffer, allowing bass to flow more easily so that you get the great deep sounds you need. The silk dome tweeters are incredibly sensitive as well which means you’re able to get impressive volume without sucking lots of energy. Who doesn’t love energy efficiency? These are perfect for your front left and rights, sides, and rears.
|Maximum Input Power:||125 watts|
|Tweeter:||1” pure-titanium dome|
|Frequency Response:||38 Hz ～ 20 kHz|
If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, you’ll want to take a look at this in-wall speaker model from JBL. Designed with their proprietary diffraction-horn loading technology, these have a wider and even throw meaning you can fill the same amount of space with fewer total speakers. If you’re only looking to get a more solid sound than your TV is capable of, throw two of these into the wall on either side of the TV and it’ll fill your whole room.
|Maximum Input Power:||100 watts|
|Tweeter:||1” titanium compression drivers|
|Frequency Response:||60Hz ～ 23KHz|
This is an older one, sure, but Klipsch brought its A-game with this in-wall speaker. While it is a little bigger than others on this list, it’s still nearly flush with your wall and what sets it apart is its two vertically stacked Tractrix Horn-loaded tweeters which were designed to create an effective immersive sound without having to toe in the speaker itself. Ideal for your rears — or even sides — as they fill in the space around you, unlike other models that direct sound straight out. These in-wall speakers will envelop you in all the right ways.
|Maximum Input Power:||125 watts|
|Tweeter:||1” Silk/Polymer Composite Dome|
|Frequency Response:||50 Hz ～ 25KHz|
These in-wall speakers from Polk Audio are perfect if hiding your speakers are of great importance to you. These only protrude 7mm from the wall and you can paint the grille to match your room! There’s a reason they call it the “Vanishing Series”. With Polk Audio’s own PowerPort design, you get incredibly little sound distortion as the bass breathes beautifully for a more efficient performance. We’ve picked these ones because they’re superb as fronts, sides, and rears, and they can be paired with the following list item so that you can look no further to create the best sound for your room.
|Maximum Input Power:||150 watts|
|Tweeter:||1” Silk Polymer Composite Dome|
|Frequency Response:||30 Hz ～ 27KHz|
As mentioned above, we highly recommend you pair this with the previous list item. This in-wall speaker is designed specifically for the front-center speaker (which sits just below the TV itself). As a center channel speaker, it is designed to perfectly amplify and present dialogue audio in the TV, movies, news, and sports you watch, and allows the other speakers around you to worry about the ambience, music, etc., so you don’t miss a word because you're not compromising on the full soundscape.
Audio equipment can be finicky and tricky tech to work with. With other home entertainment devices you can mix and match brands, like a Sony TV with a Samsung Blu-Ray player and a Roku TV Stick, but it’s not recommended you do the same for all your sound gear. Speakers, subwoofers, sound bars, and whatever else you can conceive of in the world of audio are all very delicate and precisely designed pieces of technology. Experts will tell you that if you buy Polk Audio in-wall speakers, you should definitely only buy Polk Audio subwoofers, in-ceiling speakers, etc. Why? Power is one reason. Not all speakers can handle the same power inputs, and giving one too much power can very easily render it useless — similar to how a power surge can fry your laptop.
So how should you decide what will work for you? Truthfully and honestly, the best way to know is to listen to the differences yourself and pick the brand you enjoy the most. The absolute worst case scenario is you buy seven in-wall speakers, cut into your walls, run all your cables, turn everything on, and then realize you hate them. Pro Tip: Not all in-wall speakers are the same size or shape. That could be a lot of drywall to replace!
In-ceiling speakers often come up when you search for in-wall speakers and the easiest way to tell them apart is that In-ceilings are typically round while in-walls are typically rectangular. But the differences don’t just end there. While the circular designs may be a little more subtle in your wall, in-ceiling speakers are typically quite basic in performance. They send sound down. That’s about it — for the sake of differentiating.
Using the Klipsch R-5650-S II as an example — that speaker is designed to fill sound around and out. Oftentimes in the content you’re watching sound is engineered to go around, but not really up. By using an in-wall speaker in your ceiling, you can create very confusing sound scenarios.
As an example, if there’s a car chase scene in the movie you’re watching do you want the screeching brakes off-screen to be coming from the sky or the road “behind” you? Hopefully you agree that the latter is preferred. Similarly, using an in-ceiling speaker in your walls can have a flattening effect — little depth and movement as the sound moves around your room. If you’re investing in a great surround sound setup, why would you want to undercut its power with the wrong kind of speakers?
In-wall speakers are a great way to create an incredible immersive surround sound experience for your home entertainment system that is hidden from view so you only can focus on what matters. Whether you’re creating a 2.1 through 9.2 system, any of the in-wall speakers we’ve chosen are a great first step on your journey to the best sound for your needs.
We're always looking for more feedback! If you own one of these items and would like to share your experience, please comment below!