Hidden Delights

Do you have to have speakers on show if you want music in a room? We explore the options below... Steve (13 Sep 2017)

"I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music." Billy Joel. Billy's right, I don't think I've ever spoken with anyone who doesn't enjoy listening to music. I have, however, met plenty of people who don't like the agents of music, the speakers, amplifiers and source devices that bring the music to our ears.

Let's get one thing clear upfront, if you want absolute performance, big and visible is the only way to go. That doesn't mean ugly, big, black boxes. Large and space taking, yes. Very few are willing to devote more than one room in a house to dedicated high end listening, but given the opportunity, most would have music in most, maybe even all, rooms.

We often find ourselves introducing the idea to clients and their designers or architects once a basic plan for their renovation has already been formed. Plenty of time has been devoted to planning to the right wall finishes, furniture choices, cabinetry designs, but no thought has been given to how to bring music to those spaces. We've written before about multiroom audio, where only the speakers are visible in each space, but even a pair of speakers can be difficult to accommodate in some designs. That's where we come in. Years of experience, product testing and constant communication with suppliers and manufacturers has meant we've refined a selection of products which range from 6ft tall no compromise line source speakers, through ceiling speakers to completely invisible speakers. That's right, 100% totally invisible.

Many people are aware of the concept of ceiling speakers. These are a great way of getting music into a room without taking up floor space or wall space, but for some the 'dinner plates' on the ceiling is still a compromise too far. There are things we can do to improve this situation. Grilles on speakers these days are slim and bezel-less. We can spray paint them the same colour as the ceiling. There are a range of speakers designed to match the size and appearance of down lighters and other light fittings. Or even aircon vents. But they are still visible to some degree.

So how do we make a speaker completely invisible? Make it part of the wall or ceiling. To make music, the surface of a speaker vibrates, sending sound waves through the air. Instead of a traditional speaker cone, this can be done with a flat surface. If you make this flat surface large enough, and of the right material, it can be mounted within a hole cut into the plasterboard of a wall or ceiling, and then plastered over and painted (even wallpapered), and it is still able to develop those sound waves. Et voila! Completely invisible speakers.

I know what you're thinking. "I bet they sound rubbish, how can they sound good covered in plaster?". You'd lose that bet. The speakers are engineered to have this covering, it's part of the fundamental way they work, so they sound great! They are so good in fact that they can be used in main listening locations and media rooms.

Visualise a beautiful sleek modern living room. You'd love to have a full surround sound system so that movies and music sound incredible, but you really don't want any speakers on show, breaking up the clean look. Plaster over invisible speakers are the answer. There's nothing stopping you having a full 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos system (13 speakers in total) all completely invisible and sounding amazing. Imagine the look on your friends faces when you put on a film and they are enveloped by amazing audio without any idea where it's coming from!

The final point worth mentioning. This technology can be applied to materials other than plaster. With the right preparation, these speakers can be mounted within wooden panelling, behind slate, covered in leather, even behind concrete!

As with all the technology we sell, we spend time making sure we've selected the right brand to recommend to our clients. Based on sound quality and installation flexibility, we believe Amina make the best invisible speakers on the market.

If you're interested in amazing hidden audio, why not give us a call on 0207 887 2424 to talk through the options.

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Call 0207 887 2424 or email info@philharmonicav.com