in-wall or free-standing speakers? - AudioJunkies
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:15 AM   #1
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Default in-wall or free-standing speakers?

I'm in a situation that I suspect may benefit from an in-wall speaker layout. I've been trying to read up online about Infinite Baffle speakers, and in-wall speakers, but honestly, I don't have the patience or desire to become an acoustics engineer. What I'm looking for is the short answer - does this work, or no?

My goal is to set up a place to listen to vinyl. Most of my listening will be a moderate volumes, but I intend to occasionally rock out. Whether I build cabinets or wall mount them, I'll be setting up speakers to handle every type of music, from opera to punk.

My listening area is in the basement of my house. It's approx. 13 x 18 feet and about 8 foot ceiling. Two walls of the area are cinder block, covered over with the cheapest possible fake wood paneling. The third wall is non-structural (non-load-bearing) put in place to separate the laundry from the rest of the basement. It's 2x4's at 24" on center with the same cheap paneling nailed on. The laundry space behind it is almost as large, and mostly un-used. There is no Fourth wall, it is open to the rest of the basement. So the immediate area is roughly 1900 cu-ft, but it's open to twice again that much wide-open space.

Here's the kicker. WAF is a total non-issue. She's claimed the upstairs, and doesn't care what I do with the basement.

So. I could rebuild the third wall as an IB or in-wall system. From what I've gathered about infinite baffle, there are lots of advantages, and the limitations are usually due to things like wall thickness and what's on the other side. In my case, I have an entire 18' wall with literally nothing on the other side. I can re-build the whole wall out in 3/4 mdf, with as much or little bracing as I like, I could tear all the studs out and re-space them, or whatever else suits my fancy.

What I really want to know is this - given that I have a wall which I can remake to suit, and with nothing on the back side, what does the acoustical theory say about drivers flush-mounted in a tremendously wide (effectively infinite) baffle? What are the pros and cons of this kind of set-up? Would I be better off building a set of loud-but-precise DIY tower speakers?

I have a feeling there's something obvious I'm missing, and I'd love for the pros to tell me what it is. But I also have the feeling there's a potential here, and I'd hate to miss it.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 03-12-2012, 02:50 PM   #2
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I, personally, don't like in wall or in ceiling speakers. They just don't sound right to me. But, I'm more into home theater, with a 7.1 setup. Another thing about them, is that once installed and setup, you can never rearrange the furniture, without doing major repairs of holes in the wall, where the speakers were. Once the furniture is rearranged, the speakers need to be moved too, to keep the soundstage correct for the new seating. If you've heard them, and like them that way, and don't plan on ever moving your furniture around, then go for it.
Good luck with whatever you decide on.
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