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Tech Showcase: Ceiling Speakers

Major advances in ceiling speakers have evolved, streamlining installation.

Major advances in ceiling speakers have evolved, streamlining installation. The technology and materials have had to keep pace with the creative energy behind new and innovative spaces with increasingly sophisticated sound systems. The entries in this recent survey illustrate just how far we have come with these trends.

The Atlas Sound FAP42T-B is a 4in. coaxial speaker with a low profile and wide coverage pattern that is suited for installation in low ceilings and a 70.7V/100V-16W transformer for distributed sound applications. Its terminals are detachable four-pole Phoenix connectors and the 285-cubic-inch galvanized steel enclosure is tuned for extended low-frequency response. There is a front-mounted tap selector with a bypass for 8Ω configuration, which is hidden once the press-fit grille is attached. The unit’s frequency response is 75Hz to 20kHz (±7dB).

The FreeSpace DS 40F full-range, flush-mount speaker was designed by Bose to handle music and speech from 80Hz to 15kHz ±3dB using a single 4.5in. driver in a ported enclosure but its 125-degree conical coverage area makes it perfect for both flush-mount and pendant-mount applications. The integrated multi-tap transformer has a thumb wheel adjustment for power tap settings and the short-can design allows it to be installed with a minimum depth of 4.6in.

The two-way, 6.5in. coaxial D6 speaker system from Community Professional has Drop-Stop and Twist-Assist tabs to speed and simplify installation while it can be used in either 8Ω or 70/100V modes. With a frequency response of 80Hz to 20kHz (±5 dB), the D6 handles 100W continuous power and its Tru-Phase waveguide produces a wide dispersion pattern up to 16kHz. Pre-wiring is simple using the external loop-through Euroblock connectors, the integrated cable clamp, and optional conduit knockout.

Crestron’s SAROS Express ICE8LPT 8in. coaxial speaker can be installed in a ceiling space as shallow as 5 1/8in. and spread the highs with its horn-loaded 1in. dome tweeter as the system handles up to 60W of program power. Twin toggle clamps can hold the speaker firmly in surfaces up to 2.4in. thick. The ICS8T model has a zero-bezel frameless grille that assures a very unobtrusive appearance and a single screw fastens the connection cover over the detachable terminal block.

EAW designed the CIS300 two-way ceiling monitor with a waveguide that integrates its constant directivity horn with the 4in. LF driver to produce a frequency operating range of 90Hz to 22kHz ±10dB. The unit features a recessed Euroblock input connector with a detachable mating plug and this is mounted behind a hinged metal cover plate. The CIS300 is supplied with an integral 70/100V line transformer rated to a maximum of 30W. Recessed rotary switches select power taps and either 16Ω operation or a 150Hz high-pass filter.

The EVID C12.2 12in. two-way coaxial speaker from Electro-Voice can cover large areas with its 100W power-handling capability and high sensitivity. Housed in a heavy gauge steel enclosure, the system has an integrated transformer for 100/70V configuration or it can be run at 8Ω. Built-in three-point toggle anchors speed installation and the powder-coated white semi-gloss perforated steel grille matches a wide range of room décor. The frequency response is 65-20kHz and there are four power tap settings.

Featuring a mounting system that eases installation and a 165-degree coverage pattern that does well in low-ceiling and paging applications, the Extron CS 123T SpeedMount Ceiling Speaker System consists of the CS 120P plenum enclosure and the CS 3T speaker cartridge. The speaker can operate in 8Ω or 70/100V mode and handle 32W continuous program power. The magnetically attached grille also speeds and simplifies installation.

The CSS8018 8in. ceiling speaker has been fitted by JBL with a 10W multi-tap transformer for 100V, 70V, and 25V distributed lines and designed with a coverage pattern of 110 degrees. The 50-17kHz frequency response allows the unit to work well in paging and background music scenarios with its 20W continuous power handling capability and 97dB sensitivity. A range of power tap settings is available and the speaker can be mounted in one of several different-size back cans.

For wide coverage for low-ceiling installations, the Klipsch IC-525-T provides a 105-degree coverage angle using its Tractrix port design and maximum acoustic output of 104dB @ 3.28ft. The combination of a 5.25in. woofer and a 3.5-inch round modified XT Tractrix horn put out 65-20k Hz +/- 4dB frequency response and the unit is shipped complete with a tile bridge to aid installation. Input connections are on a terminal strip and there is a front mounted rotary 70/100V power tap with a provision for 8Ω operation, as well.

The Tavor 8-T 8in. powered ceiling-tile speaker from Kramer Electronics consists of a 40W built−in class-D power amplifier with three inputs on individual volume controls, a master volume control, a Kevlar woofer with rubber surround, four pivoting titanium tweeters, and a magnetically attached grille with two security screws. The amp can handle up to 110W continuous program power while the frequency response is 65Hz to 20kHz @−10dB and the design provides nearly 180 degrees of sound dispersion.

The wide 135-degree dispersion angle of the 4in. dual coneES-4T speaker system allows good coverage in low ceilings and the 20-gauge, zinc-plated steel enclosure has been designed by Lowell Manufacturing to protect the unit and ease installation. The high-frequency whizzer cone extends the frequency response to 20kHz and the removable Phoenix connector makes pre-wiring a simple task. The ES-4T can handle 25W RMS power at 8Ω, and it comes with all of the mounting hardware needed including a pull tool for the white, press-fit, fine-mesh grille.

Low ceilings and tight spaces are no problem with the Martin Audio C4.8T two-way, flush-mount speaker system and its 180-degree dispersion up to 10kHz. The 4in. carbon-fiber-loaded polypropylene cone woofer and the 0.8in. dome tweeter are mounted side by side rather than coaxially and the pair deliver a frequency response of 100Hz to 20kHz ± 3dB. Mounted in its steel-back can and using a 5kHz crossover, the system can handle up to 40W AES power and it puts out a maximum SPL of 100dB at 3.28ft.

The CM8SI 8in. two-way stereo input ceiling-mount loudspeaker from Niles Audio can be mounted in wet environments such as under eves with its glass-fiber woofer cone and dual 1in. Teteron tweeters. These are bridge mounted to direct left and right audio to preserve stereo imaging. The magnetically attached, rust-resistant grille and spring-tensioned mounting clamps ease installation in difficult surfaces. The 8Ω unit can handle amp power from 10W to 130W and provides a frequency response from 55Hz to 21kHz ±3 dB.

Combining a 5.25in. weather-resistant, low-distortion fiberglass cone woofer with a 1in. titanium dome tweeter, the QSC AD-CI52ST has a shallow can, ported enclosure that produces a frequency response of 63Hz to 20kHz ±6dB and a maximum continuous output of 102dB SPL. Its 100-degree conical pattern and 40W continuous-power handling capability work well for low ceilings and for using the minimum number of units to cover the space. The system has a number of 70V/100V power taps and can be run at 8Ω, as well.

RCF equipped the MQ50C two-way ceiling monitor speaker with a high-excursion, PP-coated paper cone 5in. woofer and a 1in. fabric dome tweeter loaded on a constant Q wave guide. The 120-degree coverage pattern maximizes coverage while the 60W RMS power handling provides enough muscle to cut through background noise. It uses a 3kHz 12dB/octave crossover and the four polar loop thru Euroblock male and female connectors form a parallel IN/OUT connection. The enclosure is constructed of high-density, UV-resistant self-extinguishing polystyrene and includes a protective perforated steel grille.

For restaurants and other areas where the sound coverage must be carefully contained, the CS Series (CS66 & CS99) from Renkus-Heinz has a quad-source design with complex conic horns to tightly control sound dispersion over a wide frequency range. The series provides a choice between 90°x90° and 60°x60° coverage. The fully passive three-way design also integrates a mid-range cone for even response over the 70 to 17kHz frequency range. The enclosures are multi-ply hardwood and incorporate a perforated metal grille. They are available in black, white, unfinished, or in custom colors.

SnapAV has designed the Episode 200 Commercial Series 2×2 tile replacement speaker to replace the entire ceiling tile to speed and simplify installation. It has a rotary power tap setting switch, built-in security loops, and an 8in. full-range driver. There is also an adjustable 3/8in. conduit connector along with rigid foam backing and a light weight metal sheathing back box. With 12W RMS power handling, its 100-degree dispersion angle provides wide coverage from 65 to 17kHz and it connects with 7in. color codes pre-cut pigtails.

Introduced at Infocomm 2014, the 110 Page is intended for paging in high-noise environments such as transportation hubs, cafeterias, and amusement parks. Soundsphere is known for its 360-degree dispersion feature and the 110 Page delivers this coverage using a 4Ω speaker powered by a 6-1/2in., full-range driver that is boosted by an oversized neodymium-ferrite hybrid magnet system. An optional transformer is available for 25V, 70V and 100V systems. The standard unit can be painted to match existing color schemes but custom colors are available.

The IP-CM62-BGM from SoundTube is an IP-addressable speaker system that includes a rack-mountable, 16-port switch with 40W of proprietary PoE. But the speakers can also be externally powered so that they can operate with any standard Ethernet switch. In the versatile system, each speaker can receive different audio signals and is continuously monitored by the system to provide report-back status to the main control point using CobraNet as its backbone. Any failure will set off an alarm and the speakers can be set to trigger an automatic email. Each enclosure contains a 6.5in. polypropylene woofer and a 1in. silk dome tweeter.

The 6.5in. black housing variant of the Speco Technologies MA Series speakers, the SP6MATB is preassembled with its back can and a mounted transformer along with a 70V/25V switch and a rotary power tap dial. The unit’s 34-20kHz frequency response and 30W power handling capacity provide strong, full-range sound coverage and the flame-retardant ABS construction includes insulated wires with an attached metal seismic safety loop and built-in easy mount tabs. The 6.5in. polypropylene woofer with rubber surround is paired with a 1in. coaxially mounted Mylar dome tweeter.

Featuring an advanced new dual-concentric driver design utilizing Omnimagnet technology, the CMS 803DC full-bandwidth, high-power-handling and high-sensitivity loudspeaker from Tannoy includes a 60W line matching transformer, four-clamp self-aligning system, and a magnetically adhering grille. The blind mount version installs as a single unit with the integral back can, and the PI model is supplied without a back can. The back can has a recessed termination box and there is loop through and strain relief incorporated into the design. All models are provided with the classic grille, two-tile support rails and one C-ring.

TOA has fitted the PC-648R ceiling-mount speaker with an integral resin panel and speaker frame along with a spring clamp mechanism to facilitate easy installation. The baffle is finished in polypropylene resin with off-white paint, and the grille is a surface treated steel plate net. The unit has a 6W power handling capacity at 100V and 3W at 70V. Capable of mounting in ceiling thickness from 0.2in. to 0.98in. and delivering a frequency response of 100Hz to 18kHz, the 5in. cone type PC-648R speaker has a sensitivity rating of 90dB (1W@3.28ft.). The built-in transformer has multiple power taps.

The VXC Series ceiling speakers from Yamaha Commercial Audio, complete with O-rings and tile rails, are designed for quick installation and they can be painted to match the room décor. High- or low-impedance operation can be selected on the baffle-mounted rotary switch. The various models in the series provide from 100-degree to 130-degree coverage and peak power handling capability from 120W to 380W. All models use a four-pole Euroblock connector with loop-through to simplify wiring and they can be mounted in ceiling thickness from 5mm to 35mm. The frequency response of the speakers in the series ranges all the way up to 20kHz (-10dB).

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