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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.
Why use in-ceiling speakers with sonos?
Are you interested in ceiling speakers but not quite sure where to start, or need some extra guidance?
Don't worry, as I will explain all the important information you need to decide on the right ceiling speakers for your home.
However, this blog will contain a lot of information so if you get a bit lost, then please contact one of our specialists via email, online chat or give us a call and we can offer you personal advice.
Why are ceiling speakers popular?
It's no surprise ceiling speakers are becoming an increasingly popular audio solution as the market is turning away from big, bulky amplifiers and cables everywhere. Not to mention, these components can be extremely expensive.
The market is demanding a neater solution and that's why combining Sonos' award-winning multi-room ecosystem and the convenience of ceiling speakers forms a great partnership.
Stream all of your favourite music, podcasts, radio stations and audiobooks wirelessly around your home using the Sonos Amp, the Sonos app and even your voice in some setups.
Alternatively, find out everything you need to know about ceiling speakers in our handy video below.
Benefits of Ceiling Speakers
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 like a traditional speaker, you are free to position them in the perfect spot in the room's ceiling such as directly above a kitchen island, so the sound can be focused where you want it.
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 to a minimum.
5. Small speakers with a 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 makes a great partnership to produce surprisingly impactful bass and treble.
If you already own a Sonos system, ceiling speakers connected to a Sonos Amp will appear in the Sonos app as their room name. This means every aspect of your entire audio set up across your home can be centrally and individually controlled. Music can be started or changed as quickly as possible in each room.
You have the choice of many different brands, sizes, quality and price point of ceiling speakers but here are some frequently asked burning questions:
- How do you know which ceiling speaker is suitable for which room?
- How do you know how much to spend?
- How many would be 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 rooms.
Choosing a ceiling speaker for your room
The most important factors to think about when choosing your ceiling speakers are:
- Room choice (the speaker may require humidity resistance if being installed in a bathroom or kitchen)
- Speaker shape (square or circular)
- Size (3 to 8 inches)
- Speaker type (mono or single stereo)
- Frequency (a bigger range of Hz results in better depth and balance of sound)
- Impedance (look for 8 ohms to match that of the Sonos Amp)
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 bathrooms and kitchens can produce a lot of steam, heat or moisture, it’s important your speaker also has resistance to these elements. Smart Home Sounds recommends the Monitor Audio C180-T2 or Sonance C6R SST which are both steam and moisture resistant.
If you need full waterproof protection, the Monitor Audio AWC265-T2 is IP rated so can get splashed or wet with no problems at all.
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 wiring diagram further down the page)
Slightly larger size rooms such as an office, bedroom or dining room would benefit more from a dedicated stereo pair of speakers. This is because, with two separate speakers, the stereo separation effect is much greater.
Sonos do their own ceiling speakers, named Sonos in-ceiling speakers (£599 per pair), released in February 2019. These have been custom-designed for the Sonos Amp and as the components have been matched, you will be getting the most out of each component.
You'll also unlock the ability to install up to 3 pairs of these speakers on the Sonos Amp instead of 2 pairs (if using other brands to Sonos) as well as TruePlay tuning, meaning you can acoustically optimise your ceiling speakers for the room they're in.
If you did not want to spend this much on your ceiling speakers, a good all-rounder between quality, price and aesthetics would be the Monitor Audio C165 or KEF CI130.2CRs and these are ideal for most medium-sized spaces. Another option would be a pair of Sonance C6R 6 speakers which offer excellent performance per pound.
Large rooms such as a living room or an open plan layout such as a kitchen/diner, are best suited to either a pair of larger sized speakers (8 inches) or 2 pairs of medium-sized (6 inches). The latter 6-inch 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 (8-inch) speaker such as the Monitor Audio C280s. Being a physically larger driver, it can push out more air and thus provide deeper bass than a similar 6-inch model. Do be aware, as they are physically larger they draw more attention than their smaller 6-inch counterparts.
If you only have a very small amount of space in the ceiling void to play with (under 100mm), we also supply slim and ultra-slim ceiling speakers, however, there is a premium for these items as they need to use slimmer components without losing sound quality.
Please feel free to use our ceiling speaker filters and take a look at our handpicked selection of ceiling speakers, recommended by our installers.
Can I use in-ceiling speakers as the rear surround sound channels to a Sonos Arc or Beam
It’s important to note that if you have a Sonos Arc or Sonos Beam in your living room already, it is possible to use ceiling speakers as your rear speakers. If using ceiling speakers, we recommend choosing ones that have angleable tweeters to ensure the sound is pointing towards where you sit.
All Monitor Audio or Sonos' own premium in-ceiling speakers have pivotable tweeters which are ideal for a rear surround pair.
In-wall speakers are also a great alternative to standalone rear speakers as they too sit flush, but instead in the wall.
Configuring surround speakers is simple on the Sonos Amp. The app will ask you how you want to use the Sonos Amp and you would select "surrounds". Sonos Amp will automatically pair itself with your Sonos TV speaker.
If using the older Sonos Connect:Amp, the Connect:Amp and Sonos TV speaker must be wired directly to your router using an ethernet cable. Alternatively, the Connect:Amp and Sonos TV speaker can be connected to each other via ethernet (plus one component also being connected to the router), whichever option is more convenient.
Your Connect:Amp's settings must also be configured slightly differently. You can find instructions on how to do this by checking out the Sonos community article.
What's the correct way to wire my room or house for a Sonos 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. We supply various bundles at the best price with these components included 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 whole-heartedly recommend the Sonos Amp.
This smart piece of kit is compact, versatile and is human in its representation of how we listen to music today. Wirelessly stream your favourite music from music streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and many more.
If you love radio, it is possible to listen to stations from all over the world with the built-in TuneIn service.
As the Sonos Amp uses WiFi and not Bluetooth, you also don't need to worry about dropouts or interruptions from any calls or push notifications coming through your speakers.
How many Sonos 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 Sonos Amp.
Each Sonos Amp can power up to two pairs of mono ceiling speakers (or three pairs if using Sonos in-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 Sonos 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 Sonos Amps.
A way to save on purchasing multiple Amps would be to install a speaker switch, meaning you can simply cut the power to one pair of ceiling speakers at a time. This is great for a kitchen and outdoor area for example because if everyone is inside, you're not going to want to continue the music playing outside!
If you’re using multiple Sonos Amps, the most practical solution is to have all your ceiling speakers wired back to a central location where you can store your Amps 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 Sonos Amp and ceiling speakers.
Can I use a Subwoofer with ceiling speakers?
Adding a subwoofer to your set up will do wonders for the depth and rumble of the sound. We recommend using the Sonos SUB (Gen3) as it is a walk in the park to add to your existing setup - simply just plug the Sub into mains power and then "Add a Sub" to your chosen room in the Sonos app and follow the steps.
It is also an extremely powerful Subwoofer for the price you pay. However, if you'd prefer to use a different Subwoofer, the Amp also contains a Sub Out for direct connection to your own Subwoofer.
If you'd like to know whether the Sub is worth it for you feel free to read Is the Sonos Sub worth it? | In-depth review
To wrap up, ceiling speakers are a very practical, discreet 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 wide.
Our ceiling speaker filters on our ceiling and outdoor speaker page will help you find the perfect ceiling speaker for every room and space in your home within your budget. If you would like to discuss your requirements further, please get in touch with one of our friendly specialists.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a full home solution, please send us your floor plan to email@example.com and our specialists can recommend everything from positioning to the models of the ceiling speakers themselves.
10% off all Ceiling Speakers in our online shop
Exclusive Blog Offer: For a limited time only, we are offering all readers of this blog an exclusive 10% off all ceiling speakers from our online shop
Use Discount Code: cs1 at checkout
(Limited time only, excludes bundles and not to be used in conjunction with any other offer)
Still need help with ceiling speakers?
- The Complete Beginner's Guide to Ceiling Speakers
- How much will my ceiling speaker project cost?
- 10 Things You Need To Know About Ceiling Speakers Before You Install
- Why Sonos is the Perfect Choice for Your Home Extension or Renovation
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ABOUT SMART HOME SOUNDS
Smart Home Sounds is a UK Sonos specialist dedicated to filling homes with the joy of music, one room at a time!
We understand that planning for your ceiling speaker project can be daunting. To help with this, we offer a free ceiling speaker design service through which you can send us information about your project so that we can help in any way we can. Click here for more information.