One question I get asked a lot is whether or not ceiling speakers are worth the hassle. Is it really that good of an investment and worth your home space? It’s a tricky question because music is about personal preference. In an attempt to resolve this issue once and for all, I decided to create a pros and cons list, to help guide the unfortunate who are still unsure about buying in-ceiling speakers and what they need to consider when installing one in their household.
Usually, ceiling speakers offer great value to either an already existing home theater system, or to any standalone speaker setup you have in your home. The immersive sound experience offers an excellent addition to any surround setup in the market.
While some prefer Bose and Sonos, others are content with the cheapest sound quality available. Music is really about personal preference. In this article, I will be discussing the pros and cons of ceiling speakers so that you can decide whether it’s something you’d be interested in.
Ceiling Speakers – Pros & Cons
- They are less messy
- Offer good surround sound capabilities
- Offer flexibility since you have the entire ceiling to play with
- Offer a more immersive experience compared to normal speakers
- Support multiple connectivity options such as wired, Bluetooth, and WiSA
- Not easy to set up compared to other plug-and-play speakers. Trying to DIY can damage your ceiling if you do it wrong
- Requires you to put a hole through your ceiling
- Some Bluetooth variants do not have a dedicated volume controller
- Can damage your setup if you are not careful, for example shorting your amplifier
- Not enough loudness
- Difficult to hide wires if you do not have a pre-installed speaker socket
Advantages of ceiling speakers
There are several advantages of ceiling speakers, ranging from how they look to how well they sound. Let’s take a look at a few to help you better understand how they can contribute to your household:
1. Clean appearance – Depending on the manufacturer, most ceiling speakers come with a cover that covertly disguises the speaker front with a cool-looking mesh. Your guests might not even notice it until you have switched on the speakers. The setup might be a little difficult and cause a scene over the floor, but it’s a small price to pay considering the sound you’ll be experiencing soon enough.
2. Superior sound quality – Even if the speakers are not the best in the market, the dynamic nature of the sound since it’s coming from the top instead of your front or sides is a whole new experience, comparable to Dolby Atmos. Let me explain. Soundbars that have inbuilt Dolby Atmos bounce the sound waves from the roof for a more immersive experience into whatever you’re watching/listening to.
However, with ceiling speakers, you can simply produce sound from the top itself. If you already have a 2.0 speaker system, you can pair both speakers to get a complete package. It will not be as fulfilling as the full home theater experience, but this setup is way cheaper and is a value for money in my opinion.
If you are looking to install a pair at your home too, the Polk Audio RC80i ceiling speaker is one of the best in the market. It even comes with a dedicated speaker mesh to cover it up once the installation is complete.
3. Flexibility in setting up the speakers – One of the greatest advantages of ceiling speakers is that you can easily set it up since you have the entire ceiling to play with. Although it makes more sense to place them just above your seats, you can experiment with all sorts of setups.
Usually, the speakers have to place two feet off any of the walls to prevent the sound from bouncing off them right off the bat. Other than that, feel free to place them wherever you like. For best results, I would suggest hiring a professional or at least asking a friend who is familiar with this stuff, to recommend the ideal ceiling speaker placement in your home.
4. More immersive sound experience on budget – Normal speakers direct sound at you from either the front or sides. Even if you set them in a high place they will keep firing in the forward direction. Ceiling speakers enable you to enjoy Dolby Atmos-like sound quality on a budget. Adding a pair of ceiling speakers to your already existing 2.1 or even 5.1 setup is a complete game-changer.
5. Support multiple connectivity options – Ceiling speakers are not limited to wired connection anymore. They are also available with Bluetooth and WiSA out of the box. Simply make the holes, place the speaker and start playing. No messy wires are involved.
But like both sides of a coin, the device does have a few drawbacks that I will be discussing next. These are minor inconveniences that can be addressed easily but you should know about them.
Disadvantages of ceiling speakers
1. Setup is difficult – Setting up the speaker can be a pain altogether if you do not have prior experience handling the tools. You could end up making a crooked hole, or loosen a few existing wires in the process if you are not careful. I would suggest you hire a professional for the installation, especially if you do not have a speaker circuit board already installed at the back of your TV.
2. Ceiling Damage – No matter how you put it, you are damaging your ceiling for speaker installation. If anything goes wrong, then you would have destroyed your ceiling for nothing. One more reason to hire someone instead of DIY.
3. No volume control on Bluetooth speakers – Most Bluetooth ceiling speakers do not come with a volume rocker. You have to control the volume from your TV. Once again it’s not that big of a problem, but I heard some of my friends complain about it and assume there are others who feel the same. Make sure to do your research before bagging one right off the shelf.
4. Electrical damage – You have to be extremely careful while handling speakers because you can short them out quite easily. I have a friend who busted his amplifier because he forgot to unplug it and carried on with the installation. The replacement cost him roughly $200 and he was on the verge of abandoning the whole project but was forced to reconsider because he had already made the holes up top.
Exercise caution and maintain all safety protocols while handling electricity and do not create the speaker holes until you’ve installed
5. Low Volume – Ceiling speakers are usually good for small to medium-sized rooms. Any bigger and you risk dulling out the sound. Most speakers are quite loud but you never know if it’s right for you or not without trying first.
6. Wire troubles – With speaker setups, come to a lot of wires. Most households with ceiling speakers usually have a speaker socket preinstalled behind the TV. They route the wires from the attic through the drywall behind the TV where they finally come out.
You have to install one of these in your home, else routing the wires will take a lot of effort because you have to get it through the wall yourself. The alternative is letting the wires hang outside or using a zip tie to attach them to the wall, which does not look pleasing.
Hopefully, you are now able to decide whether you want ceiling speakers or not. Everyone loves music but in their own way and although ceiling speakers offer a new way of entertainment, not everyone is ready to welcome into their homes. What are your opinions on the matter? Did you decide to buy a pair yourself? Leave a comment below. Happy listening!