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Tech Roundup: Ceiling Speakers

The most precise and unobtrusive way to distribute sound in a large interior space, especially those with suspended ceiling tiles has always been ceiling speakers. Hidden away in their perches, these little troupers cover their individual areas and work as the perfect team. With higher spaces, their pendant versions can handle the task and once installed these just keep on working. When wired for area feeds they can be controlled to accommodate live microphones or blast full force for playback sources. These workaday wonders have evolved beyond simple coverage to deliver full-bodied sound.

The AtlasIED FAP43TUC-W 4.5in. coaxial speaker uses the patent-pending Safety First Mounting System (SFMS) with t-handles that are integrated into the front of the speaker baffle. This enables it to be rapidly installed into surfaces as thin as sheet metal and all the way up to 3/4in. thickness. A front-mounted power tap, including 8-ohm bypass, and a removable 4-pole euro-style connector make installation even easier. Dispersion is 110 degrees.

For background music applications and pure clarity in paging, the Biamp Systems Desono CM60DTD two-way 6.5in. ceiling speaker can deliver with 75 Hz to 22 kHz (-10dB) frequency response and 150-degree coverage. Its 5-position switchable transformer can also switch to 16-ohm low impedance. Fitting it in is easy since the unit can be blind-mounted from below the ceiling and the paintable magnetic grille sticks right on. The coated paper woofer is paired with a 1in. tweeter for low distortion and high SPL. For background music applications and pure clarity in paging, the Biamp Systems Desono CM60DTD two-way 6.5in. ceiling speaker can deliver with 75 Hz to 22 kHz (-10dB) frequency response and 150-degree coverage. Its 5-position switchable transformer can also switch to 16-ohm low impedance. Fitting it in is easy since the unit can be blind-mounted from below the ceiling and the paintable magnetic grille sticks right on. The coated paper woofer is paired with a 1in. tweeter for low distortion and high SPL.

Late January saw the debut of the Biamp Desono DX, a new line of ceiling and surface mount loudspeakers that will replace Biamp’s Desono D Series loudspeakers. Desono DX loudspeakers integrate the most distinctive features from the D Series — including the same intelligibility, uniform coverage, and the shallowest back cans in the industry — with an edgeless magnetic grille design, uniform voicing across all models, and time-saving installation features. An additional line of Desono loudspeaker accessories offers even more options to address any installation challenges.

There’s a good solution for sound in both hard-surfaced and suspended ceilings with the Bogen OCS1 ceiling speaker. It’s 6-1/2in. MDT metal alloy woofer cone adds durability and pairing that with a 3/4in. polycarbonate tweeter provides 45Hz to 19kHz (-10dB) frequency response. Each unit spreads sound over a 140-degree angle and it can be used in 70V or 16-ohm applications. The back can is heavy gauge steel and requires 11in. clearance above the faceplate when mounted.

The Crestron SAROS IC6T-W-T-EACH is a 2-way speaker system with an integral metal back can that meets UL 2043 requirements for installation in a plenum space. The 6.5 in. polypropylene woofer with damped cloth surround teams with a horn-loaded titanium dome tweeter. Two-step toggle clamps speed installation and a tile bridge is included for installation in a droptile ceiling. Capable of handling 125W program power at 8 ohms, this model has a dispersion of 100 degrees and frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz.

Another versatile ceiling speaker model is the EAW CIS400. It includes an integral 70/100V line transformer rated to a maximum of 30 watts. This feeds a recessed rotary switch on the front bezel, and allows selection of 30, 15, 7.5 and 3.7 watt taps. For use with low-impedance amplifiers or a 150 Hz high-pass filter, there is a second recessed transformer. A detachable plastic cover fits over the transducers inside the bezel. The 6.5in. carbon fiber woofer works with a 110-degree x 110-degree constant directivity horn with a Ferrofluid cooled, 1in. Neodymium dome tweeter.

For somewhat more heavy-duty output in a ceiling environment, the Electro-Voice EVID-PC8.2 handles up to 100W and outputs up to 114dB maximum SPL. Its 8in. high-excursion woofer and 1.3in. HF compression driver provide full-bodied 40Hz20kHz sound while the reinforced steel back can, four-point clamp mechanism, and integrated mounting legs make a solid platform. The tap selector includes 8-ohm/70V/100V operational settings. The white finished unit has a 100-degree coverage angle.

The new Extron SF28 PT pendant speaker takes on projects with higher ceilings with an 8in. long-throw woofer and 1.1in. silk dome tweeter. Available in black and white, the SF28 PT is capable of 8-ohm direct or 70/100V operation. Coverage area is an 80-degree cone and the continuous power handling capability is 180W. Each speaker delivers 58Hz to 22kHz frequency response and the exterior is paintable. It can be ordered in black or white and each comes with a 30ft. PendantConnect PCC-2 speaker cable.

Equally effective for in-wall and in-ceiling installations, the JBL B Series speakers are easy to install. The JBL B-8IC 8in. ceiling unit is equipped with an 8in. poly cone woofer and a 0.5in. polymer tweeter for 45kHz20kHz frequency response. Great for tight spaces, these speakers require only a 3.9in. mounting depth and a cut-out template is included. The moisture-resistant design also makes them a good choice for bathrooms.

A good fit for a wide variety of places, the KLH Audio Faraday Series F-6600-C has a 6.5in. injection-molded graphite woofer with butyl rubber surround. This is teamed with a 1in. soft dome tweeter and neodymium motor system. The micro-perf zero-bezel magnetic grille speeds installation. Designed to operate with 8-ohm amplifiers from 25W to 150W, the F-6600-C has four dog-leg installation points and takes in the audio signal on spring-loaded binding posts.

The Klipsch PRO-16RC was designed with quick installation and high power handling in mind. Its 6.5in. injection-molded graphite (IMG) woofer and 1in. pivot aluminum dome ABS Tractrix hornloaded tweeter provide up to 50W program power (200W peak) and frequency range of 63Hz-23kHz (± 3dB). The 8-ohm compatible system covers an angle of 100 degrees and uses bezel-free square and round paintable magnetic grilles along with the SecureFit installation system.

Known for its ability in high-frequency dispersion, the Kramer Electronics Yarden 8-T is custom configurable using the stereo/ mono and speech/music selectors. There are transformer taps for 70/100V and a bypass for 8-ohm operation. The 8in. Kevlar cone woofer and four pivoting 0.75in. titanium dome tweeters output 80Hz-20kHz (±3dB) frequency response at 40W RMS and 110W continuous program power. The Yarden 8-T is UL 1480/2043 listed and plenum compliant.

Designed to acoustically match the response of the company’s ES Series of recessed speakers, the Lowell Manufacturing ESP-62TB pendant model can deal with a wide range of architectural challenges. The 6.5in. coaxial driver is mounted in an ABS plastic enclosure with a magnetically mounted top to hide the wiring. The unit’s fine mesh 20-gauge CRS press-fit grille with UV-rated black powder coating lends a professional look while easing installation. Multiple power taps are available for 25V, 70V, and 100V systems along with a 4-ohm bypass switch.

The Martin Audio C8.1T is intended for use in environments with high ceilings and difficult acoustics. An 8in. carbon fiber-loaded, polypropylene cone and horn-loaded dome tweeter mounted side by side provide 125W power handling to cover the distance and 90-degree dispersion to facilitate the best acoustic control. The system is capable of high and low impedance operation with a transformer included. The steel back can is tough and the unit is Polyswitch and thermal fuse protected.

A 7in. glass fiber woofer cone with a curvilinear profile, glass fiber dual voice coil, and dual 1in. fluid-cooled UltraSilk tweeters are the central elements of the Niles Audio CM7SI stereo input ceiling-mount loudspeaker. The unit’s bridge-mounted stereo imaging (SI) tweeter array directs the high-frequency sounds from both the left and right channels at opposing angles to preserve stereo separation. Deeper bass results from the integrated baffle/frame assembly that increases the cone area. The 8-ohm system produces a frequency response of 55Hz to 21kHz (±3dB).

Featuring a dog leg (L-shaped) mounting system that is part of the frame, the OSD Audio ICE1080HD three-way high definition ceiling speaker requires no special installation mounting brackets. Its 10in. paper woofer, 2.5in. pivoting paper cone mid-range, and pivoting 1in. Ferrofluid cooled silk dome tweeter combine to handle up to 150W power with extended bass from a butyl rubber surround. The frequency range is 30Hz to 20kHz working in an 8-ohm system.

The Polk Audio V6S Vanishing V Series ceiling speaker is switchable between stereo and surround sound modes. The 6in. mid/ woofer component is a Dynamic Balance composite polymer cone with butyl rubber surround and this operates behind twin .75in. silk dome tweeters on a swivel mount. The unit provides a total frequency response of 33Hz to 27kHz and operates at 8 ohms. The input signal connects on a pair of gold plated push connectors.

Durability and voice clarity are the central aims of the QSC AC-C6T 2-way speaker. Equipped with a 4-pole Euroblock connector for speedy wiring, the system has a low-saturation 70V/100V transformer with 8-ohm bypass. It handles a maximum SPL of 104dB while delivering 65Hz to 20kHz response and a -3dB coverage angle of 100 degrees. There is a wide range of power taps and the steel back can and powder coated steel grille make it a tough unit.

For extended low frequency from above, the RBH Sound VM-815 combines its 8in. aluminum cone woofer and 1in. aluminum dome tweeter to span a broad area with full-bodied sound. Its swiveling neodymium tweeters can be angled up to 30 degrees off-axis and protection devices built into the crossover circuitry prevent damage at high SPL. This model comes with round grilles but square ones are available. The 8-ohm system produces 45Hz-20kHz (±3dB) response.

Once installed with its three-hook system, the RCF PL 6X coaxial ceiling speaker pairs a 1in. dome tweeter with a 6in. woofer to output 70Hz to 20kHz (-10dB) response over a 100-degree coverage angle. There are four power settings on 70V/100V connections and power handling is 12W continuous, 48W peak. The IP44 system is enclosed in a plastic frame with a steel grille and it is available in white or black. It is recommended that a 24W amp be used at the speaker input.

The Revolution Acoustics Ubiqui-T360 uses a unique approach to ceiling tile speaker installation for sound masking systems with its ability to attach to an existing ceiling tile and accommodate one SSP6 Multiducer. In such installations, a single Ubiqui-T360 with an SSP6 Multiducer can replace up to 9 traditional sound masking emitters. This is primarily for 8-ohm operation but it is also 70.7V and 100V compatible, producing a frequency response of 100-150Hz(– 20KHz). Power handling is 24W unenclosed and 15W enclosed.

The special mounting mechanism Push Lock by Swarm technology isn’t the only remarkable aspect of the Snap One SIG-78-IC Signature 7 Series in-ceiling speaker. Available in 6in. and 8in. honeycomb fiberglass Nomex woofer sizes, the speaker allows flat response over a wide area with its titanium tweeter, a trait especially important in difficult installation environments. Push Lock secures the speaker with the simple press of a button for the fastest and most secure install on the market. Installation is further aided by the magnetic grille.

The way to go for maximum area coverage and clarity in high ambient sound areas is the Soundsphere SS-110 Page paging speaker. This 10in. product is known for its 360-degree horizontal dispersion for superior off-axis response and extremely high intelligibility. For superior sensitivity it uses a Neodymiumferrite hybrid magnet system and it can be flush mounted or for very high ceiling architecture, it can be hung. It comes fully assembled and ready to mount and connect.

A perfect example of the advances in ease of installation and quality coverage, the SoundTube CM500i 5.25in. ceiling speaker employs a blind-mount, fixed wing mounting mechanism with constant tension design to fit ceilings with thickness from 0.25in. to 1.91in. The six-position selectable tap switch works for 25V, 70.7V, and 100V systems and it includes a low impedance bypass. It also features a tool-free magnetic grille and bezel assembly with integrated safety cable. A tile bridge, conduit plate, Euroblock connector and paint mask are included.

With a powder-coated metal grille that can be painted to match any décor, the Speco Technologies SPCBC5 5.25in. compression-molded dual cone speaker is sold in pairs with an integrated c-clamp mounting system. Part of the company’s Custom Builder Series along with their SPCBC6 and SPCBC8, the SPCBC5 handles 50W maximum power with 70Hz-18kHz response. The 8-ohm device is equipped with a rubber surround on the woofer cone.

The Stealth Acoustics LRX-83 is a three-way full-range loudspeaker system designed to blend invisibly into the installation surface. The paintable active diaphragm face is bonded to the frame of the speaker panel. Installed in a wall or ceiling, the LRX-83 can be finished in latex paint, light wallpaper, fabrics and selected texture coats. It contains a high-power 8in. cone woofer, a 1.18in. direct-coupled neomagnet mid-range driver and a direct coupled 0.98in. neo-magnet high-frequency driver. With the recommended back box installed, frequency response can go below 40Hz.

Capable of hiding away while competing with the highest noise environments around, the tough Tannoy CVS 8 BK is a small, 240W matte black speaker. Mounted in a vented, injection molded, paintable front baffle, the 8in. mid bass driver and coaxial 0.75in. high-frequency section combine for high ambient noise penetration. A steel cover and strain relief clamping mechanism is included for use with fire-rated cabling. Security toggle clamps make for quick and easy installation. Two tile support rails and one C-ring are also supplied.

Big bass moves overhead with the TOA Electronics FB-3862CU high-performance flushmount ceiling subwoofer. This one includes a 60W 70/100V transformer along with a low impedance bypass. The FB-3862CU is perfect for rooms that are difficult to fill with bass response without using obtrusive floor or shelf subs. The 8in. driver is an oiled paper cone with foam surround and handles up to 100W RMS power with 45-200 Hz (-10dB) response.

The Yamaha VXC8/VXC8W 8in. acoustic suspension speaker is one of three products in the plenum listed VXC Series with easy power taps and 8-ohm bypass. During the installation work a carrying handle makes the whole assembly easy and safe to handle. The hexagonal design featured on the grille improves sound clarity with unrestricted woofer movement. A paintable grille covers the entire baffle assembly for a perfect color match with the room. The unit’s 55Hz20kHz response is spread over a 100-degree coverage angle.

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