Dec 4, 2009 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles
Technology meets the challenge in a tough arena.
Until the past few years, technology advances in architectural loudspeakers were aimed primarily at the freestanding and exterior-mounted models where designers had a more free hand, but new materials and steerable tweeters have made their way into the ceiling loudspeaker market with impressive results. The ceiling has never been a friendly environment for sound sources. Flush-mounted overhead loudspeakers have had to compete with lighting fixtures, HVAC vents, and plumbing along with producing sound that approaches the listener from an unusual angle. The lower the ceiling, the more the sound tends to spot into localized pools. Many of the models listed here have used new technology in the quest to produce a balanced sound environment in each room while minimizing acoustic leakage through attic space into adjacent rooms.
For low-ceiling installations, the Atlas Sound FAP42TC provides a 130-degree dispersion angle to minimize the number of loudspeakers needed for a smooth sound field in the space. It features a power rating of 25W and power taps at 1W, 2W, 4W, 8W, and 16W along with a frequency response from 83Hz to 20kHz ±7dB.
Bogen offers the CSD2X2 for quick and easy installation in a suspended ceiling. The unit fits right into a 2'x2' ceiling tile space and includes an enclosed back can that houses an 8in. woofer and a secondary high-frequency cone. The 70/25W transformer has power taps at 4W, 2W, 1W, 0.5W, and 0.25W and the frequency response is 95Hz to 20kHz.
Designed for professional installers or do-it-yourselfers, the new Bose Virtually Invisible 791 combines a 7in. woofer and two tweeters for evenly distributed sound over a wide area. Four clamps are used to secure each loudspeaker into the ceiling. A small molded arrow on the frame indicates the correct orientation and a simple twist of the grille snaps it into place.
The CI 600 series loudspeakers from Bowers & Wilkins have 5mm bezels that can be painted in the client's choice of colors, and there is a choice of round or square grille. The CCM684 two-way system has a 1in. soft dome tweeter and an 8in. black fiberglass cone for bass and midrange. These deliver a frequency response from 35Hz to 35kHz with power handling capacity of 25W to 130W.
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