what are the best in-ceiling speakers for surround sound?

We believe the ultimate TV viewing experience comes from a surround sound set-up. The ability to bring all the bangs and crashes of the Cinema to life and make ‘Movie Night’ that bit more special make surround sound set-ups one of our most common enquiries. 

The Sonos Play:1 and Sonos One have long been go-to products for adding Surround Rears to a Sonos Soundbar. For some customers, however, the priority is a sleek and discreet look, making you forget your surround speakers are even there. 

This is where ceiling speakers come in, a tried and true way of experiencing the best audio quality while preserving your minimalist look and being relatively easy to install. Keep reading below for our top picks of in-ceiling speakers for surround sound. 

Sonos Amp - the first consideration



The first port of call for any surround sound project is deciding how every component will work together for a seamless listening experience. Fans of Sonos will know how easy it is to pair speakers and create a cohesive multi-room system, and the Sonos Amp is no exception. 

The Sonos Amp allows you to go one of two ways with your surround sound set-up. Owners of a Sonos Soundbar, such as the Beam or Playbar, can wirelessly pair this with the Amp.

You are then able to set the in-ceiling speakers to work as rear surrounds, giving you a 5.0 Dolby Digital Set Up. Another great perk of the Sonos Amp is that it does not have to be hard-wired to the soundbar to be set up as rear surrounds, giving you freedom to position it wherever you would like.

You can then increase your set-up to a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound system at your pace, with the addition of a subwoofer, either through a wireless connection to the Sonos Sub or by using the Subwoofer out on the back of the Amp to manually wire to a powered subwoofer.   

Those without a Sonos Soundbar don’t get left behind, however, as the Amp can be connected directly to the HDMI-ARC output on the rear of your TV. This gives you a 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround set-up on your in-ceiling speakers.

The Amp is even intelligent enough to create a ‘ghost’ central channel to mimic the three sound channel set-up of a Sonos soundbar. This means you’ll still get a great listening experience when deciding to opt for the Amp instead of a soundbar. 

When wired to the Amp, any in-ceiling speaker becomes part of the Amp’s Sonos ‘zone’ and can be controlled as wireless speakers via your WiFi on the Sonos App. 

The Amp also gives you the ability to pair an Amazon Alexa or Google Home voice assistant enabled device with your surround system. This handy feature allows customers that aren’t using a voice-enabled Sonos speaker to benefit from the same great voice assistant features. 

Shop Sonos Amp

Monitor Audio C265-FX ceiling speaker- £189.95 per speaker plus Amplifier


Monitor Audio have built on the success of their much-loved C265s and created a ceiling speaker option specifically with Surround Sound in mind. The C265-FXs have the driver, tweeter and other inbuilt components of the C265s; while building on this further to create a speaker designed for excellent surround sound quality.

The tweeters have been specifically placed at an optimised angle, facing away from each other to give the widest dispersion possible for the surround channels.

The C265-FXs have a Bipole/Dipole switch, meaning they can be tailored specifically to your room and the position of the speakers. 

When toggled to ‘Bipole’ the speaker drivers will give you a diffused sound that’s perfect for speakers positioned to the side of the listening audience.

The ‘Dipole’ option directs the sound towards the TV, giving you the best sound when placed behind the heads of the viewing audience. Wherever your sofa or seating area is positioned in relation to the speakers, you can ensure that you’re getting the best surround sound output possible. 


- Bipole/ Dipole Surround Selection, allowing you to tailor the sound output in relation to the viewing audience. 

- 6 1/2 inch C-CAM bass driver and dual 1-inch C-CAM Gold Dome tweeters mounted at a fixed-angle for optimal performance.

Shop Monitor Audio C265-FX

Sonos In-Ceiling Speakers - £599 per pair plus Amplifier



The Sonos in-ceiling speakers have been designed from the ground up by Sonos to give you the best tweeter, driver and internal components for use with the Sonos Amp. Your surround audio will be crystal clear, while the pivotable tweeter allows you to direct sound towards the listening audience.

The main reason why we think the Sonos In-Ceiling speakers are so great for surround sound is the Trueplay function, making them a forerunner in the ceiling speaker market.

Trueplay allows you to use an iOS device to send out test tones into the room your speakers are positioned. This will adjust the speaker output to best match the dimensions of the room. This customised listening experience will ensure the surround-sound output is the best it can possibly be.


- Pivotable tweeter

- Crystal clear audio and vocals

- Trueplay tuning to customise the speakers for the room 

Shop Sonos In-Ceiling Speakers

Monitor Audio C265 or C280 ceiling speaker - £164.95 - £194.95 per speaker plus Amplifier



You may be wondering why we opted for the C265s and C280s over Monitor Audio’s best selling C165s and C180s. Though we love these speakers as a budget-friendly and versatile speaker option, we think the C200 series edges it for surround sound performance. 

The primary thinking behind this is the improved C-Cam Gold Dome tweeter, giving you enhanced vocal and audio clarity. This works wonderfully in a surround sound system as it ensures the surround rear channels are brought to life with a crisp and clear speaker response.

The Monitor Audio C200 series again features a pivotable tweeter, allowing you to direct sound towards the sofa or seating area.



We tried to decide between these 6.5” and 8” driver models in terms of which were best suited as surround rears but concluded both earn their place at the table.

Sonos lovers looking to pair their surround in-ceiling speakers with a soundbar and sub will be well suited to the smaller C265 drivers to complement their set up.

Customers who aren’t thinking of expanding their set up with a soundbar or sub, however, may wish to opt for the 8” C280s, as the larger driver will pack more of a punch. 


- Pivotable C-CAM Gold Dome Tweeter

- 6.5” or 8” driver options for increased bass

- Improved tweeter for audio clarity 

Shop Monitor Audio C265

Shop Monitor Audio C280

KEF Ci160QR ceiling speaker - £219 per speaker plus Amplifier  



The luxury KEF QR range guarantees deeper bass and higher treble than the CR range, making the KEF Ci160QRs perfect for use as surround rears. 

The in-built Uni-Q driver is a massive draw towards the KEF Ci160QRs as surround rears. The driver is placed at the acoustic centre of the bass cone. This means the sound is dispersed outwards from a single point, ensuring the audio output is crisp and evenly dispersed. 

The Uni-Q driver doesn’t need to be pivoted towards the sofa. These speakers are great for customers who want to alternate between surround sound and music output, as the sound does not have to be centred to one spot. 

KEF also make a Ci200QR which features a larger 8” driver, great for those who want extra bass output from their speakers. 


- Uni-Q driver for sound dispersal throughout the room 

- Single point of dispersal

- Ultra-thin bezel for a discreet appearance. 

Shop KEF Ci160QR

learn more about ceiling speakers

10 Things You Need to Know About Ceiling Speakers Before you Install >>

Can I use In-Ceiling Speakers for Surround Rears? >>