• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Speaker Voicing - Views on different Front/Rear arrangments


Established Member
I was thinking of upgrading my small room to 7.1 during an imminent decorating project, and I want to keep my front 3 PMC TB2's freestanding, but go for in ceiling rears.

Now, I have had in a previous house Wafer 1's as surrounds, but these are very pricey just now and in a 5 sq.m living room in a terraced house a 7.1 system of this magnitude is slight overkill, and of course the 4 PMC's would set me back £3200, which is not possible at this time.

The wife has already bought the art for the walls, so on wall speakers are out.

So I am looking to find 4 smaller round (or square) ceiling speakers that I can use for surround duties that will be sufficient with the PMC's out front. The reason for asking here is I know a few forum users like to try different kit, so hopefully there should be some good feedback out there.

I would like to hear from any one who has a similar setup, or uses a different set up of fronts and rears.

Do you notice a difference in the voicing when watching movies?

Does the amplifier choice (Arcam and Bryston for me) have an effect on the perception of speaker differences? (Do the rears sound weak in comparison, did you have to wind up the gain?)

As always, any help and opinions welcome.


Distinguished Member
If budget is a little limited and you have a small room why not stick to a 5.1 system as opposed to going for 7.1. The benefits of 7.1 are more about getting the right speaker placement and there are not that many 7.1 blurays anyway. Personally I would get a good 5.1 over an alright 7.1.
You should not detect the tonal diferences front to rear so much so there should not be too much of a problem having a different make at the rear. Although I would try to get some speakers of a consistent quality to the good fronts you have (hence the comment of going for a better single pair of speakers ar the rear instead of an OK 2 pairs).
I am sure others will have a different opinion but that is my 2p worth!!!!


Distinguished Member
I have concern when people talk about upgrading from 5.1 to 7.1. Typically it is on the assumption that more is better, but you have to give serious consideration to where the speakers are going to be placed.

Ideally, the side surrounds are ...well... at the side, and the rear surround are ...well... at the rear well behind you. The idea is to surround yourself with sound, not bury yourself in sound.

So, you first need to consider your room and the location of the Prime Seating area within that room. If the prime seating is against the wall, that makes 7.1 hard to implement effectively.

Now if the Prime Seating is in a large room, and place out in the open with plenty of space behind it, then 7.1 becomes a very workable option.

As to the surround speakers. While perfection dictates that EVERY speaker be identical including the center speaker, virtually no one has a room that affords that luxury.

The general consensus is that the surround speaker don't really strain all the much, and they typically are providing 'fill', meaning little solid serious content is coming from them. The front three plus the Sub are carrying the real load. Consequently, the surround speakers are not as critical. They still need to be good, but the matching is mostly focused on the front three which are far more critical.

In my opinion, any quality speaker, and given your equipment and apparent budget, they will certainly be quality speakers, should do.

Just apply a little common sense in making your choice, and I don't think there will be any problems.

Once last point that I always bring up when people are considering In-Ceiling speakers, remember that those speakers don't just magically appear in your ceiling. Speakers need wires, and wires have to be connected to amps. That means you are going to have to pay a contractor to come in and tear up your ceiling and your walls to mount the speakers and run the wires.

How much tearing up depends on the nature and construction of the ceiling and walls. Standard Stud frame with sheetrock is much easier and far less messy than plaster over lath or brick and mortar.

If you are OK with the mess and the expense, more power to you. But don't jump in until you have given due consideration to this factor. Consider what it is going to take to get the speakers and wire into the ceiling and walls. Again, if you are OK with that, who is anyone to argue.

Last edited:


Established Member
This was the secondary reason for this post - am I getting swept away in the 7./9./11. wave?

I only have about 5 Blu Rays with multi channel sound.....

I have and will be keeping the PMC front end, no questions there. But for the surrounds, my main problem is being in love with that PMC sound, I have done some work on the house and the cables are all in place for both 5 and 7 speaker systems, Do I really need to go down the Wafer 1 in wall route again, as £1800 is a lot for a pair of speakers just doing surround duties. I could have a pair of Speaker Craft Aim jobbies that will be as adjustable, but how outclassed will they be by the other speakers in my system when used just as surrounds?

I like Steve's statement, surround sound, not buried in sound. Thats the problem I have, this is a Yorkshire terraced house, its not some Grand Designs project which is kind of where I am at with going for the PMC wafers. I have tried the speaker placement and its pretty damn good, which is why I am now toying with idea of spending about £250 -350 on some good in ceiling speakers for rears.

Opinions are great thanks, and as we buy more and more from the 'tinternet these days the friendly guy (also experienced guy!) in the shop has all but disappeared.


Distinguished Member
You can often find PMC DBs being sold on ebay for around £500 which would act as very good rears. They are also fairly small although have quite a big sound. I have GB fronts and DB rears and they work very well.


Established Member
I have been looking at a few DB's on the 'bay recently, but I think I will have to go down the ceiling speaker route, the room is small once all the other clutter is in there.

The latest video from AVForums

Spielberg, Shyamalan, Aronofsky, Chazelle, Eddie Murphy and Mel Gibson - all the latest movies
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom