invisible speakers may be a psychological advantage.


Novice Member
I normally listen to music in surround sound and I have over many years having had an ambisonic system before the current surround sound systems became available or fashionable.
This makes everything sound bigger than stereo and I like that.
Today I heard some in wall m and k speakers these were the same colour as the wall and placed quite high I believe. Even in stereo sound sounded really big and somehow had a presence in the room.
I have been in some charity shops that have had speakers at ceiling height. When I say speakers I mean silly wooden boxes with the driver of some sort in from some incredibly old cheap hi-fi system. But again the sound seems to drift out of the air and have a presence which one would not expect from such cheap tatty equipment.
Presumably this is down to psychology. But I'm wondering if we are wasting our time and money on existing expensive speakers which are boxes we are very easily aware of as opposed to placing things higher than usual and which are nearer to being invisible.
I know bose are tiny and perhaps not appreciated on these forums. I would be interested in anybody else's experience with speakers when they are not really aware of them or when they are placed higher than may traditionally be considered optimum.
I have some Wharfedale picture frame speakers nxt powered but I've never really used them so I may experiment.

I will add that my main system is more expensive than the one I heard today so at its simplest I would have hoped mine sounded better.

I had a really nice and interesting time today at ideal av in Normanton.
As a result I am likely to post in more than one forum about my experiences.
I want to tell everybody I have no connection with any of the organisations
I may mention. Nor have I paid any of my own hard earned money to any of them.
Consequently I am not making any comments on value for money or
customer service or anything like that am just trying to give credit where credit is due.


Distinguished Member
Consider this, in-wall and in-ceiling speaker are still in a box. Taking In-Wall as an example, they are in a box 3.5 inches deep, 8 feet high, and about 16 inches wide.

I think far more than in-boxes or in-wall is the quality of the speaker itself.

Further in-box speaker can have their own positive psychological effect. The large imposing cabinets combined with the finely finished wood, can itself be impressive, and set a psychological mood that could color your perception of the speakers.

With 'invisible' speakers, there may be some psychologically positive impression in that the music just seems to appear out of nowhere.

It is a Sword that cuts both ways.

Again, I think the overall quality of the speakers, and the general acoustics of the room, play a greater role that visual perception or lack there of.

Just one man's opinion.

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Distinguished Member
You're going to struggle to beat a proper hi-fi system with an in-wall or in-ceiling speakers at the same/similar price point.

I've been to ideal av and yes the s150's are amazing for home cinema but compared to a decent hi-fi system don't really cut the mustard, not to say they don't sound good for stereo as well but just not really in the league IMO.

In ceiling are the same I had some as rears in a 5.1 and they offered a nice dispersed sound however they weren't that good at creating a realistic sound stage like my hi-fi system can. In ceilings are ok to fill a big area with sound but it doesn't really give you a stereo sound where you could place the singer/pianoist/guitarist etc etc.


Well-known Member
In-wall speakers have a different bass loading and different directivity issues, with (obviously) fewer issues with backwards radiation, cabinet resonances etc. They are, if designed properly, IMO inherently good speakers design-wise. They aren't widely used though for the obvious reason - they need to be installed ideally at the same time the room is built - natural enough for studios, not so much domestic living rooms.

So there tend to be very few good in-wall or on-wall speaker solutions for home use. There are some though, and IMO are worth looking at unless you really do have plenty of space

For home cinema use, I'm aiming specifically for Monitor Audio Shadows in the short term and, in the long run, real in-wall active speakers - s/h Meridian A350s if I can find them or mabye DSP 420s. Domestically perfect - NO boxes, stands or cables. Properly installed and well integrated into the decor, these are the way to go IMO :)

And yes, I suspect that 'invisible' speakers sound different, because we aren't mentally pinning the sound on them simply because we can see them. We are much more reliant on the sound itself to inform the soundstage, only without the visual 'anchors' leading us to 'expect' where to find centre-stage. I suspect then that centre-stage even with a good hifi is NOT as 'central' as people might think.

Another point is the wall itself - it can be a major source of reflected sound... I'm not sure how that relates to this topic, but I think it's a factor in the sound relating to speaker placement.

Interesting video with Bob Stuart on their in-wall speakers.
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Active Member
Shainian Arcs may provide what you are looking for.. Semi-omnidirectional oddities. They're definitely on my last of must-hear speakers.

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