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Custom-Install Speakers Get Boxed In

It used to be that enclosed speakers were tower or bookshelf speakers, but a growing selection of custom-installed in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are dropping their open-air design to sport integrated enclosures.

The custom speakers’ enclosures improve acoustic performance over open-air designs, deliver predictable sound no matter where they’re installed, and prevent back waves from leaking into the room behind the speaker. For these reasons, Atlantic Technology and Pinnacle launched their first custom speakers with integrated back boxes, and Mordaunt Short launched new models.

In an unusual twist to the trend, Pinnacle developed narrow enclosed speakers for use with flat-panel displays, but unlike most plasma- and LCD-friendly speakers, the company’s QP5IW and QP3IW are flush-mounted into the wall for a less-obtrusive look. The extruded-aluminum enclosures swivel 25 degrees to the left and right for proper imaging.

The QP5IW, designed for screens starting at 32 inches, retails for a suggested $749 each. The QP3IW for screens starting at 27 inches retails for $549 each. Both models are available in silver or black.

Atlantic’s first enclosed in-wall speakers consist of three models in the In-Wall Closed Box (IWCB) series. All are two-way models with 5.25- or 6-inch woofers, and all come with acoustic controls to compensate for acoustically bright or dull rooms, for placement near a ceiling or wall corner, and for electronically directing the tweeter’s radiation pattern toward the listener without using what the company calls “clumsy” swiveling tweeters. Two add passive bass radiators to complement the active bass driver. Atlantic’s prices are $950, $800, and $600 each.

For its part, Mordaunt-Short has introduced enclosed in-ceiling speakers to join enclosed in-wall speakers in its Avant Architect series. The series consists of eight enclosed in-wall and in-ceiling models at $200 to $500 each. Select in-wall models feature Adjustable Vertical Horizontal (AVH) crossover technology to deliver optimum imaging whether installed horizontally or vertically. Select in-ceiling models come with tonal-adjustment switch, and all in-ceiling models feature pivoting tweeter.

The brand is marketed in the United States by Audio Plus Services of Plattsburgh, N.Y.