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Freestanding vs. In-Wall vs. In-Ceiling Speakers

Learn the pros and cons of freestanding speakers vs. in-wall or in-ceiling speakers from audio expert Jon Zimmer in this Howcast video.


My name is John Zimmer. I'm the owner of Sound Representation, which specializes in the sale of high-end audio equipment. I really learned everything that I know about high-end audio from working at this store that we're sitting in right now, Stereo Exchange. I'm going to teach you what to look for when you want to shop for a stereo.

Speakers come in lots of different shapes and sizes. There are conventional box shape speakers that are floor standing, or bookshelf in size. There are speakers that mount inside the wall, on the wall. There are even speakers that you can plaster and paint over. Free-standing speakers tend to sound the best, because you have the greatest flexibility when it comes to positioning. But in the real world, not everyone can put a speaker out in a room. So on-wall or in-wall speakers are used. In-wall speakers will sound better than in ceiling speakers, because they are projecting sound at ear level. Whereas in ceiling speakers are firing down at the top of your head. When choosing an in-wall, or in-ceiling mounted speaker, it is important to buy a model that has what's called a back box. A back box is a speaker cabinet that is designed to fit in your wall. On-wall speakers can be a great solution for people looking for better sound quality than in wall speakers, but don't have the space for conventional speakers. If you're just concerned about sound quality, you're looking for a floor-standing or bookshelf type free standing speaker. A bookshelf speaker can sit on a bookshelf, but actually is gonna sound better on dedicated speaker stands. The bigger the room, the harder it is to pressurize with sound. So, you're gonna need a bigger speaker. In a larger room, a floor-standing speaker is the best way to go. If you can't do a floor-standing speaker, doing a bookshelf type speaker, but supplementing that bookshelf speaker with a subwoofer makes a lot of sense.

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