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Question New kitchen and ceiling speakers.

Navrig

Active Member
We are about to put in a new kitchen and knock through to the dining room. The work starts this week (most of the old kitchen is out).

It suddenly occurred to me that I have the chance to put in some ceiling speakers with a wi-fi connected amp (Sonos or Denon?).

Given that this is a one off chance to run cables and cut speaker holes (now or never) because the pace will be a mess and need redecorating I am giving it some serious thought.

However I know nothing about ceiling speakers and wi-fi sound systems. So given time constraints I thought I'd ask here.
So some questions:

1. I presume that the speakers are signal hardwired to the amp, with the amp being wi-fi connected?
2. It's a domestic situation with two zones - kitchen and dining room, the zones are open to each other. What sort of area would a speaker typically cover with decent sound (lots of what ifs here I know)?
3. Can the amp be controlled to switch one zone off and on independent of the other?
4. Any suggested amps and speakers for a budget of around £500 (or am I wasting my time at this budget)?
 

ThePaps

Novice Member
You could do it with a Sonos connect amp, a 2 way speaker switch and some ceiling speakers.

The ceiling speakers to be wired back to the connect amp (maybe in a cupboard) which where the speaker switch might live too. Depending on the size of the areas you might want to be looking at 2 speakers (around 6.5") per area.

A connect amp will cost you just under £500 on it's own so you'd have to be thrifty with the speakers!
 

Member 784165

Standard Member
Agreeing with The Paps here - your budget needs to roughly double for something decent if you're buying new and wish to have independent control or sync of both zones.

Speakers - use four single KEF CI 160's with Hoodies (fabric overlays which sit above the speaker) to maintain building regs, fireproofing and to minimise sound "bleed" above. They also improve the sound from the speaker.

Cabling - use 16/4 (four core cable), one run to one pair of speakers. Again, it sounds good and maintains building regs.

Amp - either two Sonos Connect Amps or a single Sonos Connect into a regular amp with two switchable zones. Less elegant but closer to budget.

If you spend a lot of time in this area of the house don't skimp on it - do it properly and you'll never look back.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I'd rethink the ceiling speakers if at all possible. They are poor quality/price. You'd get much better sound from regular speakers within a budget, I know they are not as tidy
 

Member 784165

Standard Member
I'd rethink the ceiling speakers if at all possible. They are poor quality/price. You'd get much better sound from regular speakers within a budget, I know they are not as tidy

Sorry Muljao, I couldn't disagree more. I run four Linn CI speakers in my ceiling with a Velodyne sub and a Linn DSM streamer. Sounds better than most people's £5k main room systems and looks invisible. The KEFs are not as good as the Linn but we're working towards a budget - that said they still sound fantastic and fill an area with sound, which is desirable in a kitchen/diner. Floodlight - not spotlight, if you get my drift?
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Sorry Muljao, I couldn't disagree more. I run four Linn CI speakers in my ceiling with a Velodyne sub and a Linn DSM streamer. Sounds better than most people's £5k main room systems and looks invisible. The KEFs are not as good as the Linn but we're working towards a budget - that said they still sound fantastic and fill an area with sound, which is desirable in a kitchen/diner. Floodlight - not spotlight, if you get my drift?
Well I am happy to be corrected. I will say any I have heard were poor in comparison, but they were sub 500 euro set ups and I compared them to sound I could achieve with my sub 500 euro speakers.

OP-Ignore my advice and listen to more experienced. :(
 

Member 784165

Standard Member
That's a fair point Muljao - cheap in-ceiling/in-wall speakers sound awful. Check out a new-build home where it's been done for pennies and you think "I'd pay to have this all removed"!
 

Navrig

Active Member
Thanks for the advice. Given the current send on the kitchen I wont be able to stretch to the ideal at the moment.

Non-ceiling speakers are a no-go. They wont' get past the style police and I wouldn't even be on here asking.

I think I will run the cables and look at the best speakers I can afford with a more basic hi-fi amp with a Chromecast audio to give me wi-fi connectivity.

Ideally I would like a physically compact amp as i won't need half the functionality of most amps and it will be hidden away in a cupboard either in the kitchen or a wardrobe above the kitchen.

Any suggestions for an amp with a single input and basic tone controls. I used to have an old QED amp which would have been ideal but sold it several years ago.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I know "other" suggestions are not always helpful. If you only need streaming would something like a Naim muso work. I know it is not hidden, but looks more like furniture than hifi?
 

Navrig

Active Member
I would like the Naim. It looks stunning and one of the reviews on YouTube makes it to be fantastic.

Currently we are using a Bose Soundlink Mini in the kitchen. For what it is the Bose does very well but it will struggle when we knock down the dividing wall hence the bigger system idea.

The Yamaha looks good but at £425 plus another £600 for speakers I am well over budget.

Thanks for your suggestions - always welcome.
 

Navrig

Active Member
So I am thinking of the following:

Amp: CAMBRIDGE AUDIO TOPAZ AM10Black Stereo Amplifier (£199)

Source: Chromecast Audio (£30)

Speakers: Q Acoustics Speaker (QI65S) - Ceiling-Speakers.co.uk (2 pairs £400)

Total spend £630 plus cables.

I'll forego the switching between 2 zones and hen music is on it will play both in the kitchen zone and the dining zone.

Amp - 2x35W, 8 Ohms
Speakers - 8 Ohms.

I am an engineer but electronics was always a black art!

So do I wire these in series or in parallel?
 
Last edited:

Member 784165

Standard Member
Parallel :)

If the Chromecast has an inbuilt volume control (I don't sell em so I don't know sorry) just get a used power amplifier - Linn LK100 for £175 or similar. It'll sound far better than the Cambridge and has loads of speaker outputs.
 

Navrig

Active Member
The volume for the Chromecast can be controlled via the mobile device setting up the signal - phone/tablet/laptop.

The intention would be to set the volume on the amp and not adjust it.

I'll have a look at the Linn LK100
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I have no doubt a power amp in the same price range is better sound quality wise, but it will limit your choices for adding or changing units later. Everything will need volume control. I'd be slow to use one, I'd buy an integrated

Just my opinion
 

Navrig

Active Member
Thanks Mu.

You're probably right about limiting future connections but this amp will be in a high level kitchen cabinet, ready to go at the switch of a button and a connection from a mobile phone.

We've stoppeds using CDs and I don't want anything on display. If eventually I want to change it seems Linn stuff sells well so that means I can always punt it on.

As long it is as good as the Bose soundink and doesn't blow the QA ceiling speakers it will do.
 

Navrig

Active Member
After a but of faffing I have eventually gone for the suggested KEF ceiling speakers and the suggested Linn LK100. Should be good.
 

Navrig

Active Member
I got hold of an LK100 at the weekend and managed to get it set up temporarily just to hear it. The sound is good and there is loads of headroom as far as volume is concerned. At this point the ceiling still has loads of holes and hanging spotlights etc so probably not the final sound by any means.

The LK100 is some piece of kit given that this one is 25 years old. Obviously been part of a house install and been in a cupboard for years. Hardly a mark on it.

My only potential concern is that 4 Kefs may be too much for the area so I may run with two in the kitchen/dining area and put two in the bedroom/ensuite directly above.

Thanks to @LoudAndClearGeo for the suggestion.
 

Schmeichs

Novice Member
Hi, reviving an old thread here! I am in the same position as OP as I’m currently about to board the ceiling to a large kitchen extension... I’m planning on a similar setup with a power amp feeding a couple of speakers... will the KEFs discussed earlier carry enough sound to use near the bifold doors at the far end of the kitchen to satisfy (for example) a barbecue party where the music should be heard both indoors and outside, or should I go for two pairs?

OP how does your setup sound after full installation? I’d love to hear any more advice as my requirements and budget are almost exactly the same as in the original post!
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
Hi, reviving an old thread here! I am in the same position as OP as I’m currently about to board the ceiling to a large kitchen extension... I’m planning on a similar setup with a power amp feeding a couple of speakers... will the KEFs discussed earlier carry enough sound to use near the bifold doors at the far end of the kitchen to satisfy (for example) a barbecue party where the music should be heard both indoors and outside, or should I go for two pairs?

OP how does your setup sound after full installation? I’d love to hear any more advice as my requirements and budget are almost exactly the same as in the original post!

I have a pair of 8" B&W ceiling speakers (can't recall the model number) powered by a little SMSL 98E amp. Room is around 35 square metres with 7+ metres of bifolds across the back and another 3 metres down one side, one speaker being close to the doors, the other being deeper into the room itself. When we have BBQ's we open all doors but tend to sit near the house rather than far into the garden but the 2 speakers are more than loud enough to be heard from outside with a group of around 12-15 people chatting away. I'm not talking disco levels of course but easily enough to upset the neighbours. I do have a full hifi with floor standing speakers in the room too (it's a kitchen/diner/TV room) which I thought I would use when having BBQ parties but found the 2 ceiling speaker do a better job in many ways so never actually turn it on.

My only regret is I didn't run some extra speaker cable at the time the room was built so I could experiment with adding a sub at some point but even as it stands, the results are far better than I had expected them to be.
 

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