A truce may be in the works in the on-going battle between audio quality and aesthetics. On one hand you have the audio enthusiast who will stop at nothing to get the best sound, even if it means installing aesthetically unappealing speakers. On the other hand you have the interior decorator that winces at the sight of anything that looks like a speaker. The long-awaited truce comes in the form of the totally invisible in-wall speaker, offered by Amina Technologies and in the future, Triad Speakers.
Design and Construction:
The invisible speakers are a flat panel design measuring only 1-5/8" deep, 13-5/8" wide and 17-3/4" high, designed to fit between the wall studs in typical home construction. They consist of a transducer (similar to the magnet and voice coil in a conventional speaker) attached to a flat surface, which serves as the vibrating element or speaker cone. When installed, the speaker's flat surface can be plastered over with a 2mm skim coat of plaster and paint, texture or wallpaper and becomes completely invisible.
How They Work:
The principle behind the design is the same as the soundboard in a piano, guitar or violin. Like the strings in an acoustic musical instrument are amplified by the soundboard, the vibrating surface or soundboard in the speaker, made of a honeycombed aluminum material used in aircraft construction, generates sound waves that are said to provide very wide sound dispersion and more than 105 dB sound pressure level throughout the room. I have heard a demonstration and the sound is quite convincing.
Models and Performance:
The speakers are available in three different same-sized models, with one, two or four transducers providing 95 dB, 99 dB and 105 dB maximum loudness respectively. They are capable of frequency response from 100 Hz to 20 kHz and require a crossover and subwoofer for low-frequency reproduction.
The invisible speakers are available from Amina Technologies, known as the AWIX Series and from Triad Speakers, known as the DS Designer Series. Both companies offer backboxes for solid walls (plaster) and hollow walls (stud and drywall construction), and two crossover filters, a shelf-mounted and rack-mounted model that have a 120 Hz high-pass filter.
For sound and design conscious consumers, the invisible in-wall and in-ceiling speakers from Amina and Triad could be the ideal solution for stereo and home theater speaker systems. They have been available in Europe for many years and were introduced in North America just a few years ago. For more information, check out Amina Technologies and Triad Speakers.