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Tech Roundup: Ceiling Speakers 2021

They bring all the good points of effective sound distribution; light weight, easy wiring, specific and localized coverage and unobtrusive placement. Since about 90 percent of sound control is lost after it is changed from electronic to acoustic form, it has always been best to distribute by wire as far toward the coverage area as possible before hitting the speakers. Ceiling placement maximizes control and simplifies operation while minimizing system cost. Here are the latest models that exhibit all of these rewards.

AtlasIED’s FAP63T-W 6.5in. ported coaxial speaker brings a 70/100V transformer and its Safety First Mounting System (SFMS) to the game while leaving corrosion behind with no metal screws holding the mounting doglegs in position. The Safety First Mounting System uses t-handles that are integrated into the front of the speaker baffle to tighten the mounting tabs in materials as thin as sheet metal and up to 3/4in. Installation time is further reduced by having the transformer tap setting on the front

The Biamp D10 10in. high output speaker from Biamp can be used in 8-ohm or 70/100V sound systems and provide wide dispersion up to 16kHz. Especially good for high background noise environments, the D10 combines a 10in. LF cone with a 1.25in. exit HF compression driver for an operating frequency range of 58Hz to 22kHz. The unit can handle 200W at 8 ohms and it provides a continuous maximum output of up to 121dB.

Bogen’s HFCS1LP pairs a 6 1/2in. cone woofer with a 3/4in. polycarbonate dome HF driver to produce 78 Hz to 19 kHz frequency response with a 16-ohm power handling capability of 75W. When operated in a 70/100V system, it can take up to 32W. In a 70V system there are six power settings while in a 100V mode, there are five power settings. Designed for shallow ceiling spaces, the HFCS1LP requires only 6 3/4in. of vertical clearance.

For public address and background music applications, the Crestron Saros Integrator ICI4T is a 4in. two-way, in-ceiling speaker system using a 4in. cone woofer and 3/4in. dome tweeter. The 30W multi-tap transformer provides settings for 70 and 100V operation. Included is an adjustable tile bridge for tile ceiling mounting. The built-in cable clamp can accommodate one or two 1/2in. or 3/4in. flexible conduits. The system handles up to 30W and outputs a response of 100 Hz to 15 kHz +/-3dB.

The CIS400 two-way bass-reflex flush-mount loudspeaker from EAW has a special HF waveguide design that integrates the Ferrofluid cooled 1in. Neodymium dome HF driver with a 6.5in. LF carbon fiber driver to allow a perfect blend of frequency response and transition through the crossover point. The zinc-coated steel back can has cam-style installation clamps and it conceals a recessed Euroblock connector behind a hinged metal cover plate. This model has an integral 70/100V line transformer rated to a maximum of 30W and there is also a bypass switch for 16-ohm operation. The powder-coated perforated steel grille can be painted to match room décor.

Electro-Voice saw the need for a speaker in high ceiling installations and they introduced the EVID C12.2, a 12in. two-way coaxial unit with its front panel mode/wattage selector and 3/8in. threated rod mount for open ceilings. The white semi-gloss perforated, powder coated steel grille blends with tiles and the heavy gauge steel enclosure is durable enough for any environment. For use in 8-ohm or 70/100V systems, the unit extends upward just over 13in. A tile bridge and mounting ring are included.

The new SF 26CT LP SoundField XD 6.5in. two-way ceiling speaker from Extron has a frequency range of 85 Hz to 20 kHz and 95-degree conical dispersion. Handling 130 watts continuous program power, the system features a 6.5in. long throw woofer and a 3/4in. ferrofluid-cooled dome tweeter. The SF 26CT LP can operate in 8-ohm and 70/100V sound systems and its grille and bezel can be painted to suit any room. This new model features a 4.2in. low profile composite back can that allows it to be installed in tight spaces.

JBL designed the Arena 8IC to cover large enclosed areas with immersive sound using its 8in. polycellulose woofer, 1in. silk-dome tweeter and 30Hz-20kHz frequency response. It includes an XL-2 bracket suitable for mounting in any wall or ceiling up to 2in. thick. The unit can blend in anywhere with its nearly invisible zero-bezel and fully paintable magnetic grill. The 8-ohm system is best suited to work with a 100W amplifier.

The Faraday Series F-6800-C from KLH Audio has an 8in. injection molded graphite woofer with a butyl rubber surround for LF reproduction. For the HF sound, there is a 1in. proprietary blend of polypropylene and Mylar tweeter. Working with an amp that provides 25 to 200W power, the speaker can cover a large area and its four dog-leg attach points allow easy installation. The 8-ohm system has a frequency response of 63Hz-20KHz +/-3dB.

High output and extended bass response are the primary features of the Klipsch IC-SW8T2 8in. in-ceiling subwoofer. It can fill out the frequency response of large rooms with 111dB continuous output and 150W power handling capacity. Its transformer-less taps have two power settings and the unit’s frequency response is 50-130Hz +/- 4dB. The IC-SW-8T2 has a bandpass design that utilizes a passive radiator to reduce distortion.

The Galil 8-C from Kramer Electronics is a two-way coaxial ceiling speaker with an 8in. polypropylene cone woofer and a 1in. silk dome tweeter. The 8-ohm system can handle 180W continuous program power with a frequency response of 85Hz to 20kHz +/-3dB. The coverage angle is 110 degrees and the power transformer selector allows 8-ohm or 70/100V operation. Each package contains two speakers, ceiling mounting kit, template and user manual.

Developed by Lowell Manufacturing to match the ES Series of recessed speakers, the new ESP Series opens the way for a wider range of installation environments. The ESP-82TB is a 120W pendant unit that can be used in 25, 70 or 100V systems as well as an 8-ohm configuration. It is equipped with a 20-gauge CRS press-fit grille and a magnetic mount top that hides the integral top bracket and wiring terminals.

Perfect for a wide range of ceiling mount scenarios, the Martin Audio ACS-55T covers a 155-degree pattern with its 5.25in. LF driver and .75in. dome tweeter. This one can be used in a 70/100V system or connected as a 16-ohm load with HF and LF overload protection. The enclosure uses a UL94V-0 flammability rated baffle with zinc-plated steel back can and features a quick release, bezel-less grille. Tile rails and a C-ring are included with the speaker.

The Niles Audio DS8HD 8in. left/center/ right ceiling mount speaker has a fully pivoting woofer assembly to enable steering of HF sound to the listening area. The 1in. dome tweeter, 1 1/2in. dome midrange and aluminum ceramic cone woofer blend for a response of 48Hz to 21kHz +/-3dB. Maximum SPL is 115dB and this model can handle up to 160W at 8 ohms. It requires only 5 5/16in. clearance behind a wall or above a ceiling.

Dual 1/2in. titanium coated dome tweeters are a prime feature of the ACE840TT 8in. trimless stereo speaker from OSD Audio. The glass fiber woofer is paired with these to provide a frequency response of 38Hz-20kHz while handling up to 120W power. There are twin 8-ohm wiring connections to accommodate stereo channels. The ACE840TT is perfect for environments where there may not be enough space for a pair of separate speakers.

The Polk Audio MC80 has an 8in. polymer composite cone mid/woofer and 0.75in. silk dome tweeter. Powered with 20 to 100W, the speaker uses a pair of heavy spring-loaded input terminals. Installation is made quite easy with the included perfect fit templates, precision flange and rotating cam system. The grille is paintable to match any room décor and the tweeter is capable of swiveling to precisely steer the HF sound.

QSC brought the bass response down to 52Hz and set the maximum continuous SPL at 108dB in the AC-C8T 8in. two-way speaker. The 4-pole Euroblock connector makes wiring easy and there is a wide selection of power settings for distributed systems along with an 8-ohm connection. The plated steel back can add durability to the steel grille. The .86in. coaxially mounted silk dome tweeter complements the woofer for 100-degree (-6dB) coverage.

The VA-615DS in-ceiling dual channel speaker from RBH Sound can be installed as a di-/bi-polar surround speaker to allow full range sound for areas that are difficult to cover with a speaker pair. It can also be installed in pairs to carry separate surround channels. The wide 55Hz-20kHz (±3dB) frequency response spreads rich sound in challenging sound environments. The 6½in. Polygraphite cone woofer and 3/4in. silk dome tweeter work best with any amp between 10 and 80W.

Designed for recessed installation in false ceilings or panels, the RCF PL 60 6in. full range transducer has a frequency response of 90Hz to 20kHz and a 90-degree coverage angle. The PL 60 can handle up to 6W RMS power at 8-ohms and produce a maximum SPL of 107dB at one meter. There is also 70/100V capability with power taps at 3W and 6W. The can is plastic and the grille is steel painted white.

Revolution Acoustics has a versatile solution for sound masking from ceiling tiles in the Ubiqui-T360. It makes possible a perfect match among tiles while presenting no weight support problems. The Ubiqui-T360 Ceiling Tile Adaptor panel attaches to an existing ceiling tile and accommodates one SSP6 Multiducer which transforms rigid surfaces such as walls, ceilings, tables, windows and vehicles, into full range audio speakers. The RevLoc mounting plate is adhered to the surface and the SSP6 is screwed into place on the RevLoc. The unit is 8-ohm, 70 and 100V compatible and provides a 45Hz-20KHz frequency response.

In designing immersive sound environments speaker placement can be tricky especially in tight spaces and the SnapAV SIG-78-ICSURR Signature 7 Series in-ceiling surround speaker addresses this with its dual tweeters. A tweeter compensation switch adds or subtracts 2dB from the HF response to custom tailor the sound for the space. The surround mode switch sets the speaker to bipole or dipole to further craft the output. Other features include the honeycomb fiberglass woofer and direct-mount back box.

The Q-12AWR from Soundsphere is used for high volume environments where the sound system has to compete with background noise. The hemispherical coverage pattern reaches all areas equally and its 121dB SPL capability and patent-pending Poly-exponential Incidence Reflector projects for quite a distance. Available in custom colors the speaker can be installed with a hanging kit or mounting bracket. The Q-12AWR version is weather resistant for outdoor installations and includes a protective screen over the holes and driver to keep birds and other critters out.

The SoundTube CM1001D-T in-ceiling subwoofer kit brings out the bass response in a sound system with a 10in. polypropylene cone, butyl rubber surround, reinforced ABS baffle and 12.9 liter steel deep can. These all team up to produce a 70Hz peak in response. The easy access five position transformer switch works for 25, 70 and 100V operation and includes a low impedance bypass position. The tool-free strap allows easy installation. The kit includes a color-coded (purple) tile bridge, grille, ULrated cover plate, four-pin Euroblock connector, paint shield and restraint cable.

Speco Technologies combined a 6.5in. polypropylene woofer with a rubber surround and a 1in. pivoting silk dome tweeter in the SP625C at the top of their Series 25 audio line. Connected on a press terminal, the 8-ohm unit has a frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz while handling power from 40W RMS to 80W. The metal grille is attached to an ABS plastic body and once the mounting tabs are rotated into place the tweeter can be positioned to point toward the intended listening area.

For invisibly providing very big sound over large areas Stealth Acoustics has the model LRX-85, a three-way two panel system in a single or bi-amp version. The LRX-85 uses 300W to output up to 105dB for home theaters and other environments requiring a low visibility speaker profile. Midhigh and bass frequencies are sent through separate panels which can be mounted up to one meter apart. The midrange employs four 25W neodymium drivers and one 25W HF driver. The bass response goes down to 35Hz in the separate dual 8in. high-power cone woofer bass-stage panel. Each panel has a wide range of finishing options to match the room.

The Tannoy CMS 603DC BM uses a proprietary 6in. dual concentric point-source driver with Omnimagnet technology on a Torus Ogive Waveguide to form a 320W peak power high sensitivity loudspeaker. For simplified installation, this model features an acoustically enhanced zinc plated steel back can and a removable locking screw terminal connector with loop-thru functionality. There is also a low-insertion loss 60 W transformer with front panel tap switching for 70/100V or 16-ohm operation. The semi-matte white finish blends nicely with most ceilings.

For extended bass response from a ceiling system TOA Electronics has the FB3862CU, flush-mount ceiling subwoofer including A 60W 70/100V transformer. 8-ohm operation is also available using the transformer bypass setting. The speaker is able to handle 100W RMS and 200W peak power in a low impedance setup while delivering a frequency response of 45-200 Hz (-10dB). It is composed of an 8in. driver with oiled paper cone and foam surround. It is supplied with a steel support ring, two steel support rails, speaker hole templates and operating manual.

As we go to press, Vaddio added the Vaddio Ceiling Speaker to its full suite of conferencing and collaboration products. The Vaddio Ceiling Speaker is optimized for easy installation and accurate voice reproduction. The 2-way speaker is built with a specially designed coaxially mounted cone tweeter and a high-performance 4” metalized cone woofer and rubber driver surround for long-lasting use. The speaker can be flush mounted in a wall or ceiling and comes with a lightweight ceiling tile brace.

Yamaha brings in the bass with the VXC8SB/VXC8SW ceiling subwoofer to match their VXS and VXC series speakers. Capable of working in high or low impedance systems, these models are equipped with a built-in carrying band, an anti-drop tab mechanism and double-threaded speaker clamp screws to aid installation. The black and white versions include paintable grilles with magnetic catches. The AB-C8S O-ring/tile rail kit is required for installation and is sold separately.

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