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Tech Roundup: Ceiling Speakers 2023

Even though there have been major advances in sound pattern control and compact design for speaker arrays and column systems, ceiling speakers maintain a dual advantage in achieving precisely tailored area coverage. They are virtually invisible in their nesting places where their unique location can minimize the distance necessary for acoustic throw. In addition, room systems can be configured to lower the volume and even alter EQ of ceiling units near microphones to enhance gain before feedback for the whole room. These basic benefits have assured ceiling speakers continued technology investments and a strong market.

Great music reproduction and speech clarity are two aces offered by the AtlasIED FAP63T-BEGR Strategy III 6.5in. coaxial speaker. The low frequency tuning port is optimized for deeper bass and the unit is safety listed to both UL1480 and UL2043. The Safety First Mounting System (SFMS) prevents mounting tab damage by using t-handles integrated into the front of the speaker baffle. This allows the speaker to be easily mounted into surfaces from sheet metal up to 3/4in. thick.

The Biamp Desono DX-IC10 is a high ceiling model that offers powerful area cov- erage and sound projection with its 10in. woofer and 1.25in. exit compression driver. Handling a peak SPL of 125dB, the DX-IC10 covers a 115-degree conical area with a frequency response of 65Hz to 20kHz (-10dB). There is a front-face wattage/low impedance selector switch and the unit uses four SpringLock mounting clamps with 2.5-inch grip range. The white grille blends with most tile ceiling systems.

No survey of ceiling speakers would be complete without the drop-in type and the Bogen CSD1X2 and CSD1X2VR typify the advantages with these speaker types. Rapid placement and wiring team up to speed up and simplify installation of the 1x2ft. panels. One cut across the existing ceiling tile makes the fit and each unit’s 4-watt, 70V/25V transformer enables versatile load management. The back can reduce next room spillover from the 8in. woofer while the secondary high-frequency cone projects the highs efficiently. The VR model includes a recessed volume control.

Another speaker designed for easy drop-in installation in 1x2ft. ceiling spaces is the Crestron Saros ICT5T-12 with its 8-ohm impedance and 70 Hz-18 kHz (+3/-10 dB) frequency response. For 70V/100V sound systems there are also connection taps for numerous power levels up to 16W. This model can handle up to 30W in low-impedance mode. The black steel enclosure houses a 5in. LF cone and dome tweeter covering a 120-degree area. The ICT5T-22 fits 2ft. x 2ft. ceiling spaces.

Central features of the EAW CIS300 speakers are precision-designed HF horns and crossovers, a sealed zinc-coated steel back can, and a lightweight UV/weather resistant, high-density polystyrene flush mounting enclosure. This two-way system uses a high frequency 1in. cloth dome tweeter and a 4in. polypropylene woofer to produce a 110 Hz-20 kHz (-3dB) frequency response and maximum SPL of 102 dB at one meter. 70 and 100V transformers have power taps up to 40W and there are loop-through terminals

Within the pendant-mounted speaker realm, the Electro-Voice EVID-P2.1 is a top pick for easy installation. Captive mounting tabs, four-pin Phoenix connectors that allow pass-through wiring, and UL 2043/1480 ratings smooth out the setup. Available in white finish, the weatherized speakers can be used in signaling applications and plenum air spaces. Maximum SPL is 100dB and the -10dB frequency range is 180Hz–20kHz.

The Extron SoundField SF 228T Plus 2-way ceiling tile speaker is a drop-in device designed for US-style suspended ceilings. The UL 2043 plenum-rated structure contains an 8in. long-throw woofer and 1.1in. silk dome tweeter along with a white perforated grille that resembles a standard HVAC vent. This system can be operated in 8-ohm mode or in a 70/100V configuration with multiple power taps. Capable of handling up to 180W continuous program power, it has a frequency range of 63Hz to 12.5kHz (±3 dB).

Equipped with XL-2 mounting clamps able to fit securely into 1/2in. to 2in. thick surfaces, the JBL Arena 61C houses a 6.5in. long-throw woofer with rubber surround and a 1in. silk-dome tweeter with an integrated waveguide. This model is an 8-ohm device with a power handling capacity best suited to 80W amplifiers. The 38Hz-20kHz frequency response is delivered through a paintable, nearly invisible zero-bezel magnetic grille that blends well with any room.

For light commercial or home theater systems, the 8-ohm KLH Audio Faraday Series F-6800-C is fitted with an 8in. injection molded graphite woofer with butyl rubber surround and a steerable 1in. Mylar and polypropylene tweeter. The Micro-perf zero-bezel magnetic grille simplifies installation and this unit can work with amplifiers from 25W to 200W. With its custom-designed multi-element crossover, the system provides a 63Hz-20kHz (±3dB) frequency response. The input signa

The Klipsch PRO-18RC offers smooth area coverage and the famous Klipsch sound quality with its 8in. injection molded graphite (IMG) woofer and 1in. pivot aluminum dome ABS Tractrix horn-loaded tweeter. Once it is easily mounted, the 8-ohm PRO-18RC delivers 50W RMS power handling, 56Hz-23kHz (±3dB) frequency response, and a 100-degree coverage angle. The unit can fit into a mounting depth as shallow as 6.35in. while showing a white, paintable grille.

For meeting and conference rooms where space is tight and the amplifiers are hidden out of the way, the Kramer Electronics Tavor 8-T is an interesting powered design with a 40W RMS built-in class D power amplifier, three inputs, 8in. Kevlar woofer, and four pivoting 0.8in. titanium dome tweeters. A special feature is the three-input design with separate volume trimmers and a master volume trimmer. The built-in amp can handle 110W continuous program power. The tough steels grille comes in a white finish and the system’s rated frequency range is 80Hz to 20kHz(±3dB).

Wide dispersion and a ported enclosure tuned for extended low-frequency response are two primary features of the Lowell Manufacturing ES-62T ceiling and wall speaker. The 6.5in. coaxial driver uses a high-frequency PEI tweeter with an acoustic lens to complement the deep bass. Equipped with a 4-ohm bypass position, the transformer also has several selectable 70V and 100V power taps. The four-pin Phoenix-style connector includes both direct and pass-through terminals. Included are a C-ring for drywall ceiling cutouts and a press-fit, fine mesh 20- gauge CRS grille with white powder coat finish.

Enclosed in a sturdy steel back can and UL2043/UL1480 rated, the Martin Audio C6.8T combines a UL94V-0 carbon fiber loaded polypropylene cone bass driver with a 0.8in. dome tweeter to produce a frequency response of 90Hz-20kHz(-3dB). The 4-point mounting system allows it to be used in ceilings and walls. The very wide 150-degree dispersion is perfect for low ceiling environments where it can be operated at 16-ohms or through a 40W 70/100V transformer. Other features include polyswitch and thermal fuse protection.

Purchased as a pair, the OSD Audio Ceiling Speaker Pair ICE800 can cover large areas. Each one has an 8in. cone LF driver mounted into a butyl rubber surround. This is a tough, moisture-resistant rubber that reflects energy and provides excellent sound dampening characteristics. The inputs are on spring loaded binding posts and dog ear installation brackets are included. The LF cone and 5in. pivoting PEI dome tweeter work together to provide a 40Hz-20kHz frequency range with a power output of 140W

The Polk Audio 80 F/X-LS is sold in pairs and each unit puts an 8in. polypropylene cone with rubber surround behind a pair of 0.75in. tweeters and covers them with Polk’s wafer-thin sheer grille in a white, paintable surface. Used with 10W-125W amplifiers, this model outputs 30Hz to 33kHz total frequency response with its dual bandpass bass ports. A PB LC80i PreConstruction Bracket is sold separately. The entire assembly has a depth of 5.13in.

Especially noisy and high background sound areas can benefit from the high-powered QSC AC-C8T-nb with its 104dB maximum continuous SPL level, 8in. woofer cone, and 130-degree conical coverage area. Versatile system capability is assured by low-saturation 70V/100V transformers with an 8-ohm bypass. The 4-pole Euroblock connector on each one simplifies installation and the white powder coat steel grille finish blends anywhere. Each unit covers an effective frequency range of 53Hz to 20kHz.

The RBH Sound Signature Series SI-615 in-ceiling speaker has a 6.5in. aluminum cone woofer and a ¾in. pivoting ring-radiator tweeter mounted in a coaxial design. Recommended for use with 15 to 120W amplifiers, the SI-615 is an 8-ohm system covered by a magnetic white steel grille that is paintable. The speaker produces a 50Hz-20kHz (±3dB) frequency response with a 3kHz crossover. The swingout dog leg mounting system speeds installation and sound contour switches allow the SI615’s sound profile to be adjusted for optimal performance.

Screw terminals and a special three hook mounting system allow the RCF PL 8X coaxial ceiling speaker to be quickly installed so that its 8in. woofer and 1in. dome tweeter can go to work. Available in white and black, the speaker is equipped with a line transformer that enables direct connection to 70V and 100V sound systems. This model can output up to 109dB SPL and is recommended for use with 40W amps.

The Revolution Acoustics Ubiqui-T360 ceiling tile adaptor panel is fitted with the SSP6 Multiducer and attaches to an existing ceiling tile. Capable of operating at 8 ohms or in a 70V/100V sound system with a frequency response of 100-150Hz-20KHz, this device can handle maximum continuous power of 24W unenclosed or 15W enclosed. Its IP66 certification allows installation in a wide range of environments and the full system is UL 2043 listed.

Simplifying installation with the toolless Push Lock by Swarm technology, the Snap One TS-PDX-IC64 Triad PDX Series 4 in-ceiling speaker features an optional rear enclosure to reduce sound propagation to adjacent rooms. The 6in. woven carbon fiber woofer has a high excursion 1.25in. voice coil for better bass and power handling. The 1in. pivoting dome tweeter is fixed to an aluminum tweeter bar and it can steer the highs to any desired direction for HF emphasis.

Some sound environments require a small number of speakers to cover a very large area and the Soundsphere Q-6 (SS-Q-6-BK) spherical loudspeaker is a weather-proof solution to handle full-range music and voice. The sealed, structural foam Polystyrene housing can be using a supplied hanging kit or mounting bracket to provide a hemispherical coverage pattern. The 6.5in. woofer is a Polypropylene cone with a Butyl rubber surround and the tweeter is a .75in. Mylar dome.

The SoundTube MightyMite 43-BGM is a variant of the SoundTube Mighty Mite line of 3-way hanging speakers and it has a 5.25in. dual-chamber, band-pass subwoofer, a 4in. woofer and a .75in. BroadBeam ring tweeter. This combination is well suited for paging, background music, and foreground music applications. There is an integrated hanging bracket at the top of the speaker in addition to an integrated SpeedClamp self-locking wire grip. This unit can be connected in 8-ohm configuration or the built-in transformer can be used for 70/100V systems.

Full-bodied sound and quick, smooth installation were first in mind when the Speco Technologies SP6MAT was designed. This 6.5in. 25/70V speaker offers a wide choice of screwdriver adjustable power tap settings. It is enclosed in flame-retardant ABS back can and comes with insulated wires. It also has an attached metal seismic safety loop and built-in easy mount tabs. Capable of handling 30W RMS power, the SP6MAT is the off-white finish version but the product is available in 5.25in. or 6.5in. with off-white or black finish.

In some rooms there is a high priority on invisibility of the speaker system and the Stealth Acoustics LR8G two-way, 8-ohm full-range model with a rigid body that attaches directly to standard structural framing. This makes it very good for surround sound systems and sound masking applications. It is composed of an 8in. woofer and 11/8in. neodymium motor. These combine for 45Hz-20kHz frequency response and power handling capacity of 120W RMS.

The Tannoy CMS 603ICT BM is a 6in. full-range ceiling speaker with proprietary ICT (Inductive Coupling Technology) to allow extended frequency range. The acoustically enhanced zinc-plated steel back can is fitted with a removable locking screw terminal connector and loop-thru functionality. The 60W transformer and its front panel power tap switcher are covered by a paintable powder-coated steel mesh grille with dust protection. The housing has a semi-matt white finish.

Between included and optional hardware, the TOA Electronics F-2852C is a two-way, bass-reflex system that can fit into many installation scenarios and its 180W continuous program power rating at 8 ohms makes it suitable for high ceiling environments. The F-2852C covers a frequency range of 60 Hz to 20 kHz (-10dB) and there is a removable locking connector with screw-down terminals for wiring. The housing is composed of steel plate with a fire-resistant ABS resin baffle and a white steel grille that is paintable.

While very architecturally attractive, pendant speakers can sometimes be a challenge for correct installation but the Yamaha VXH8B (black) and VXH8W (white) make it quick and easy to get the right look and the right sound. The narrow 70-degree dispersion reduces acoustic spill while the 360W power handling gets out more sound, even from high-hang installations. This model has support for low or high-impedance connections and the magnetic grille is paintable.

Just as ceiling speakers can be crucial to a space, ceiling microphones can transform it. The Audio-Technica ATND1061 beamforming ceiling array microphone is an ideal solution for conference rooms, boardrooms, and meetings spaces large and small. Designed in a familiar form factor—roughly the size of a wireless access point—the ATND1061 is easy to install, setup, and operate. It may be used by itself or in multiples for larger meeting spaces to capture every person speaking in a room with clear, natural audio that reduces distracting environmental sounds. Room configuration, zone setup, and other settings are handled through AudioTechnica’s user-friendly Digital Microphone Manager software application. The ATND1061 has six Individual output channels, which collectively can be configured with up to 32 user-defined microphone pickup zones, providing the flexibility to cover a wide variety of room sizes and meeting types.

The Audix M45 Shortgun miniaturized shotgun condenser ceiling mic covers up to 150 square feet with remarkable sensitivity and exceptional audible sound, making it ideal for use in boardrooms, classrooms, large lecture halls, and hospitals. Both versatile and aimable, the M45 features a low-profile, swivel-and-pivot base and is optimized for voice intelligibility, offers high sensitivity and immunity from RF interference, and is easy to install. Mic-level signal and LED control is via an RJ45 connection, and an adapter is included to convert from RJ45 to an 8-conductor pluggable terminal block.

Not only does the ClearOne BMA 360 with Voice Lift deliver on high-quality audio performance and deployment ease, it offers a variety of other features, including echo and noise cancellation, auto-mixing, power amplifiers, and camera-tracking functions. The BMA 360 is unique as an ultra-wideband, frequencyinvariant beamforming mic array with uniform gain response across all frequency bands. With FiBeam technology, conference participants experience natural and full-fidelity audio across all beams with a single beam. DsBeam provides sidelobe depths below -40dB, resulting in superior rejection of reverb and noise while creating superb clarity and Intelligibility

Announced at ISE 23, the Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling Medium (TCC M) delivers all the innovation and features of the flagship TCC 2 to medium-sized rooms. With a coverage area of up to 40 m², it has a sleek design and attractive price-point. Unlike the TCC 2, TCC M is round, but offers the same ceiling installation choices – surface-mounted, suspended, or flush mounted. TCC solutions employ patented automatic dynamic beamforming technology and TruVoicelift. TCC microphones track speakers without manual control or preset zones, although priority and exclusion zones can be set as desired.

The Shure MXA920 ceiling array microphone delivers Automatic Coverage Technology and provides pre-configured audio capture with minimal setup required, dramatically reducing the time and cost of deployments for integrators. The MXA920 also employs Next Generation Array Architecture for enhanced directional pickup and more natural speech. Plus, the onboard IntelliMix DSP delivers noise and echo-free performance as well as unprecedented audio clarity and intelligibility for AV conferencing across various room types, including executive boardrooms, hybrid classrooms, and meeting spaces. Two form factors support design integration into even the most sophisticated facilities and meeting spaces.

The Sony MAS-A100 beamforming ceiling microphone is a hands-free lecture and presentation solution with advanced speech reinforcement technology enabling truly hassle-free lectures and presentations. This microphone system has dedicated channels for speech reinforcement and recording, with comprehensive audio volume stabilization and clear audio processing to produce sharp recordings. The dedicated record channel provides a wider capture range and optimal intelligibility—perfect for lecture capture. Supporting Dante and PoE, the MAS-A100 links with third-party systems via a single cable connection. Auto-calibration streamlines system configuration, and settings can easily be adjusted via the network using free MASM-1 management software.

The Yamaha RM-CG Dante-enabled ceiling-mount microphone includes all of Yamaha’s powerful technologies—including automatic voice tracking, auto gain control, adaptive echo cancellation, noise reduction, and reverberation suppression—for optimal collaboration experiences, while seamlessly integrating with the room’s existing conferencing equipment or a variety of third-party components. The RM-CG also features Yamaha’s dynamic beam tracking, which utilizes multiple beams to automatically track voices within the room simultaneously, eliminating the need to program fixed lobes, which can often lead to dead spots with the meeting space. Design changes or room setup flexibility can also be done without the need to reprogram microphones.

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