Feb 26, 2013 3:31 PM, By Mark Johnson
In their 1930s song, “Dancing on the Ceiling,” the classic songwriting duo Rodgers and Hart sang, “I love my ceiling more, since it is a dancing floor.” That sentiment was later echoed by Lionel Richie in the chorus of his 1986 hit of the same name: “Oh, what a feeling, when we’re dancing on the ceiling.” Designed to keep your fingers poppin’ or to soothe your nerves while you’re in a sea of shopping humanity, ceiling speakers have grown in stature over the years—from the days of issuing barely intelligible announcements as public address systems to the high-fidelity background/foreground music systems available today.
Commonly referred to as “in-ceiling” or just “ceiling” speakers, most come with backcans as part of the whole system, or as accessory items along with mounting systems to install into ceiling tiles or replace whole tiles. There are pendant-mount models for use when there is no place to install but the rafters. Some manufacturers provide subwoofer options for extended low frequency. And, there’s even one that is also an LED spotlight.
There are models designed primarily for home theater or home entertainment systems, as well as models manufactured for commercial installation in retail establishments, restaurants, theme parks, hotels, and other facilities that serve the general populace. Here we showcase models intended for commercial application.
The Azden ACS-6.5 ceiling mount speaker is optimized for voice reproduction, though audio from other sources (CD, MP3 player, VCR) can be used as well. The speaker incorporates a sealed-back enclosure and 6.5in. polypropylene midrange/woofer and a coaxially mounted 1in. polycarbonate tweeter for high frequency response. The speaker can be flush-mounted in any drop ceiling. Power handling is up to 50W (continuous program).
The Near OPS1 orbit pendant speakers from Bogen are designed for high-ceiling and open-space applications. The 6.5in. low-frequency driver incorporates Metal Diaphragm Technology (MDT) in a one-piece, metal-alloy cone spiderless structure and Magnetic Liquid Suspension (MLS) ferrofluid injected into the driver gap. Coverage is 140 degrees and the frequency response is 45Hz to 19kHz. Connection is via a snap-on connector with loop-through to the next speaker. The cable suspension system includes three cables with attached forged eyebolts.
Bose brings to the table, or ceiling in this case, its FreeSpace DS 40F full-range loudspeaker comprising a single 4.5in. driver in a ported enclosure. The speaker provides a 125-degree conical coverage pattern with a frequency range of 70Hz to 19kHz. The Shortcan design allows installation in shallower ceilings with minimum depth of 6.4in. and can be used for either flush ceiling or pendant-mount applications. Designed for indoor applications, the DS 40F features an integrated multi-tap transformer with thumb-wheel adjustment from underneath the loudspeaker grille for tap setting adjustment. Maximum SPL at 3.3ft. is 103dB SPL (109dB SPL peak).
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