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How to Choose the Perfect Ceiling Speakers to Use with Sonos
In this blog, we explain the advantages of ceiling speakers in a Sonos set up and help you understand what’s right for you.
Ceiling speakers are becoming an increasingly popular audio solution as the market is turning away from big, bulky amplifiers and floor-strewn cables that are an eye-sore for most. Not to mention, the cost of these components can be significantly more. The market is demanding a neater solution and so that's why Sonos and ceiling speakers work so well. Stream all of your favourite tracks, podcasts and audiobooks wirelessly to the ceiling speakers using Sonos Connect:Amps - group the music to whichever rooms you like, from anywhere in your home at the tap of a button on your phone. You can even go one step further and add a Sonos One or an Echo device to start music playback on any of your ceiling speakers using your voice for a truly hands-free experience. Now it's just a case of which ceiling speakers to go for.
When it comes to ceiling speakers, customers have the choice of many different brands, sizes, quality and price point. However, all this choice could leave you feeling a little bit lost. How do you know which ceiling speaker is suitable for which room? How do you know how much to spend on your ceiling speaker? How many ceiling speakers is enough for my room? We help bust the jargon and clear the mist when it comes to understanding the right ceiling speakers for you and your room.
What are the benefits of in-ceiling speakers?
Ceiling speakers take the form of being in-set in the ceiling and as a result, come with a number of benefits.
1. Save space, zero clutter. Being installed into the ceiling means they take up no floor space at all. You also don’t have to worry about finding space on a cabinet, shelf, or avoiding paintings and decorations on the wall.
2. Position them anywhere. As they do not use mains power as a traditional speaker, you are free to position them in the perfect spot in the room's ceiling, optimising sound quality.
3. Aesthetic visuals. As the wires are concealed within the ceiling, not only are they nice to look at, there are no exposed wires or cables and therefore, no accidents. Yes, I’m talking to you, parents with little ones!
4. No need to spend a fortune. You don’t have to spend a second mortgage to get a good in-ceiling speaker set up. There are many cost-saving methods to both optimise sound quality while keeping costs low.
5. Small speakers with big sound. Ceiling speakers may be small in size, but not in sound quality. The way ceiling speakers are designed, and the vacuum in the ceiling actually makes a great partnership to produce surprisingly impactful bass and treble.
Choosing a ceiling speaker for your room
You could get very technical with a ceiling speaker, and there is a lot of complicated jargon that doesn't need to be explained, but there are some things you will need to think about before selecting your ceiling speaker for your application. The most important factors to think about are room choice, speaker shape (most common are square and circular), size (6 or 8 inches) speaker type (mono or single stereo), frequency (a bigger range of Hz results in better depth and balance of sound) and impedance (look for 8 ohms to match that of the Sonos Connect:Amp). We cover room size in more detail below.
Room size - Smaller spaces such as a bathroom or small kitchen do well with just one single stereo speaker. This type of speaker has a combined left and right channel for greater stereo separation and being one speaker aesthetically suits smaller rooms. As the above-mentioned rooms can produce a lot of steam, heat or moisture, it’s important your speaker has resistance to these elements! Smart Home Sounds recommends the Sonance C6R SST Single Stereo Speaker or KEF CI160CRDs which both have resistance to these elements.
Install Tip: Even though a single stereo speaker is only one unit, you must wire it with two speaker cables. This is the same as a left and right stereo pair but to the single location of the single stereo speaker. (see attached image)
Slightly larger size rooms such as an office, bedroom or dining room would benefit more from a stereo pair of speakers. A good all-rounder between quality, price and aesthetics would be the KEF CI130.2CRs which are ideal for most medium-sized spaces. Another option would be a pair of Sonance C6R 6 speakers which offer fantastic value for money.
Large rooms such as a living room or an open plan layout such as a kitchen/ diner are suited best to either a pair of larger sized speakers (8 inches) or 2 pairs of medium sized (6 inches). The latter 6inch option is great for homeowners who are trying to evenly distribute their audio in a large space. If you are looking to occasionally use the space as a social gathering, dinner party etc. or are simply looking to achieve the best possible audio; we recommend installing a larger (8inch) speaker. Being a physically larger driver, it can provide deeper bass than a similar 6-inch model.
Can I use in-ceiling speakers as the rear surround sound channels to a PLAYBAR or PLAYBASE?
It’s important to note that if you have a Sonos PLAYBAR or PLAYBASE and SUB in your living room already, it is possible to use ceiling speakers as your rear speakers, however either the PLAYBAR or CONNECT:AMP must be wired directly to your router using an ethernet cable and your CONNECT:AMP must be configured differently. You can find instructions on how to do this on the Sonos community here
What's the correct way to wire my room or house for an in-ceiling speaker set-up?
The three components that are needed are the ceiling speakers themselves, an amplifier to power the ceiling speakers and speaker cable. Luckily, we supply various bundles at the best price with these components in so you don’t need to shop around for multiple components.
Ceiling speakers are generally passive speakers meaning they need an external source of power to fire them up. When it comes to the selection of an amplifier to use in conjunction with in-ceiling speakers, we would whole-heartedly recommend the Sonos CONNECT:AMP. This smart piece of kit is compact, versatile and is human in how it represents how we listen to music today. Wirelessly stream your favourite music from music streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer & many more. If you love radio, it is possible to listen to stations from all over the world with the built-in Tune-In service. When using a CONNECT:AMP, control of your music & in-ceiling speakers is done via the free Sonos app. If you’ve got multiple zones or rooms of ceiling speakers, you can group the music wirelessly together on each room or independently control each room with different music selection.
How many Connect:Amps do I need?
A very common question here at Smart Home Sounds and a very important point. For every room you want independent volume control and music selection, you will need a separate CONNECT:AMP. Each CONNECT:AMP can power up to two pairs of ceiling speakers so, if for example you had a bedroom with ensuite and you didn’t need independent music and volume control between these two areas, you’d only need one CONNECT:AMP. This is where you can cost-save. However, it’s likely that you’ll want independent control between two different bedrooms. So here, you would need two CONNECT:AMPs.
If you’re using multiple CONNECT:AMPs, the most practical solution is to have all your ceiling speakers wired back to a central location where you can store your CONNECT:AMP in a storage cabinet/rack or wall mount them using Flexson’s latest solution. You could choose to pay for an electrician to install the ceiling speakers as they are set into the ceiling with speaker cable running behind the walls and ceilings and into the amplifiers. However, this can easily still be a DIY job, and full instructions are provided with the CONNECT:AMP and ceiling speakers.
To wrap up, ceiling speakers are a very practical, discrete choice to effortlessly stream your music around your home from your phone or tablet. They are compact, neat and the choice of ceiling speakers is large. However, we offer the most popular bundles for most situations, so you’re very likely to find the perfect ceiling speaker for every room and space in your home. If you would like to discuss your requirements further, please get in touch with a member of our team.