The difference between a “messy” home theater installation and a slick, smooth-looking install has a lot to do with the integration of the speakers system. Whether outdoors, indoors, wall-mounted, in-wall, or hidden, it’s essential to mount the system’s speakers in a way that gives it a nice seamless effect – or in a way that completely hides the speaker so that you don’t even know that it’s there. If you want the look of a professional home theater installation, speaker integration is one of the most important aspects of the job.
We’ll take a look at some of the best examples of ultra-smooth speaker integration inside some of the coolest home theaters, whether the system be inside a the home, at the pool, in the garden, or anywhere else around the house. You’ll see that there really is no limits when it comes to mounting a high-end speaker system just about anywhere around your home, and have it be almost completely stealth.
The technically-savvy owner of this 14,000 sq. ft. estate requested (1) complete integration of all electronics, (2) unbridled user control and programmability, (3) optimum flexibility, (4) thorough and accurate status feedback of all electronics in the house, and of course (5) reliability…an integrators dream…a challenge to behold. The client’s request culminated in using 49 AMX touchpanels running off 5 Netlinx masters with 37,245 lines of code controlling 43 audio zones, 9 local systems, 13 video displays, 9 PTZ cameras with hard drive recorder, 18 Litetouch enclosures, 12 climate zones, 140 security zones and pool/spa control. This young, retired dot.com founder enjoys family life with his wife and three young children. As an avid baseball fan and car collector, his house caters to these interests with a richly detailed automobile museum in the basement and HDTV displays in virtually every room. source
A great example of integrating a home theater surround sound system into the walls of the theater, and seemingly making the speakers invisible, is a half of a million dollar home cinema in Denver, Colorado. The Genelec in-wall speakers are built into the walls of the theater, and they are surrounded by a sound-proofing material. An attractive fabric material is then placed over the speakers to give the theater a cleaner look. This is a relatively simple way to hide speakers, but it’s effective at creating a smooth-looking theater without any bulky speakers protruding from the walls or taking up space on the floor. source
A great way to conceal home theater speakers is to blend it into its background. For example, this beautiful log cabin home in Canada features surround sound speakers that are built into the stonework of the home. They’re barely visible without actually knowing that they’re there. Aside from the creative way of concealing this home’s surround sound speakers, this place even has window shades which close with the push of a button when it’s time to watch a movie, and the movie screen is revealed with the push of a button as well. Almost every electronic system (audio, heating, lighting, etc.) in this home is controlled through an Elan touch panel that is embedded in the stonework. So much for rustic log cabin living! source
If you want to have that great sound system in your home, but you also want to keep it looking elegant and discreet, you may want to check out the various realistic speaker covers on the market. These are very realistic furniture pieces which house a speaker hidden inside. The photo shows a great example of how realistic these hidden speakers actually look. There are multiple speakers in this photo including three of them on the mantle – it’s not very easy to spot them! The speakers on the mantle are disguised as the two vases, and the set of books in the middle. The line of speakers in this photo are from the Acoustic Research Home Décor line of audio products. They also have speakers disguised as lamps, wicker baskets, decorative towers, clocks, and a variety of subwoofers mounted inside of decorative trunks. source
When it comes to an outdoor living space, it’s not complete until a nice outdoor sound system is installed. Whether in a garden, poolside, patio, or any other outdoor space, a good sound system is a great addition to help bring music/home theater outside. Outdoor speakers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to fit just about any type of outdoor décor. You can find waterproof outdoor speakers in the shape of rocks, tree stumps, potted plants, water fountains, and various decorative statues. These types of speakers are perfect for poolside music, garden entertainment, parties, or for your outdoor home theater. These outdoor speakers are very discreet, and often times people don’t even notice that they’re actually a speaker. source
When trying to keep a wall-mounted surround sound system discreet and hidden, it’s sometimes difficult, but it is possible. This example of a bedroom home cinema shows a great way to mount a 5.1 surround sound system very discreetly into the ceiling, and still be able to achieve the optimal listening angle while watching a movie. The two front Kef loudspeakers sit flush with the angled ceiling until the home theater system is turned on. At that point, they will automatically descend from the ceiling to produce the optimal listening angle. The 42-inch plasma sits hidden inside the custom-built window sill, and the MJ Acoustics Reference 100 subwoofer is hidden in a custom-built cabinet. When not in use, this home cinema is almost completely hidden – great install! source
This 7,500-square-foot home in Illinois may just have the ultimate sound system. This house contains a total of 49 speakers, both inside and outside of the home. The total cost of this extreme speaker set-up was around $30,000! The owner’s say that there’s not one dead-spot in the house where sound can’t be heard at an optimal level. You’ll find speakers mounted in the closets, bathrooms, on the patio, and even inside the steam shower. The entire sound system consists of a variety of Elan and Sonance speakers, which are mounted either in-wall, in-ceiling, or outdoors. The owner’s commented about why they installed such an elaborate sound system in their home, “we like listening to music, sure” – well Duh! source
So how do you go about installing 24 12-inch subwoofers in a home theater room, and still be able to hide them enough so that nobody even knows they’re there?…until you crank up the volume of course. This award-winning home theater in Texas was able to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. The $3.4 million theater’s sound system consists of a total of 38 audio zones where sound is heard at optimal levels. Just to get an idea of the cost of this sound system, the least-expensive speakers used were a pair of $2,000 CAT in-wall speakers. By discreetly integrating the extensive speaker system into the existing décor, the installers were able to make the speakers disappear behind hand-made fabric screens (the photos show the speakers with the fabric screens off), and blend it in perfectly with the overall theme of the theater – turn-of-the-century Parisian opera house. source
If you are inspired to better conceal your speakers and speaker cables for your HDTV setup or audio system then its time to explore your options for vogels wall mounts, vogels brackets and speaker wall plates.