As technology is evolving and smart homes are becoming the norm, the provision for music within the home is becoming more and more common place. In this article we focus on audio in the home and more specifically the types of speakers available. The easy part is to decide where to have the music, but the real challenge becomes what sort of speaker do I want and how do I tie it in to the look and feel of the room. Fortunately, as the popularity of installing music systems into the home has increased, so has the number of speaker options available and these fall into five main categories. Now of course there are other options, such as portable speakers, IPod docks and sub woofers etc. but we will talk about those at a later date.
Floor mounted speakers:-
So probably the first style to provide audio into the room is the floor mounted speaker. These speakers, generally, can also be fitted onto a stand but for ease we will refer to them as floor mounted. Originally very angular, this style of speaker was mainly utilised with Hi-Fi’s however, they do have a place with home cinema ups or for a room where you need a large speaker that can deliver some serious punch. Furthermore, their design has evolved with them becoming much more stylish in nature without them losing any of their capability. Check out this funky speaker that is designed by British manufacturer, KEF, which highlights how this style of speaker has changed and emphasises the point that there is likely to be a speaker out there that will fit in to any style of room.
Surface mounted speakers
These are generally fitted when the speaker is there to make a statement and as the name suggests they are fitted onto the wall and sit proud. Again, as with the floor mounted speakers, the days of cheap, laminated, angular and unattractive speakers are long gone. For example take a look at these impressive designs by Artcoustic, http://www.artcoustic.com/. A really cool feature that they offer is that they give you the option to design your own speaker, choosing not only colours but also give you the ability to embellish the front cover with art or even pictures from the vast Getty’s catalogue.
In wall /In ceiling
These are the most common speaker that we fit and are a great way to bring audio to any room without intruding visually. Designed to sit flush to the ceiling, many of the makes and models, such as the Bowers and Wilkins CI series, http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/, have the option to paint the grill to further minimise their impact making them barely noticeable. Even though generally they are much smaller than the previous options, they deliver some truly incredible sound. Also extremely versatile, they can utilise directional tweeters to deliver surround sound for home cinemas or can even be used as a single stereo speaker in a bathroom.
Although hard to believe, there are options for invisible speakers! As you can probably guess they are designed for when the layout of the room would not tie in with a visible speaker (or just because they are a great talking point and a very cool option!). Extremely flexible they are designed to work behind a range of materials such as plaster, wood or leather whilst still producing unbelievably clear and powerful sound. Amina Technologies, http://www.amina.co.uk/index.html, are probably leading the way with this style of speaker and not only do the products sound superb, but they also offer a ten year guarantee on their products when installed by registered installers. Peace of mind as well as a great audio set up. What more could you want!
As TVs have slimmed down, unfortunately their ability to produce sound through their integral speakers has reduced accordingly. The size of the chassis just doesn’t give the space required for decent speakers. The easy solution for this, if you do not wish or have the requirement to fit a surround sound system utilising the speakers highlighted previously, is to use a sound bar. In short a sound bar is a very effective single* speaker which sits directly below the TV, either wall mounted or floor mounted, and will link directly into your TV to deliver the audio for you regardless of the source being used e.g. games console, Blu-ray player, Sky box etc. There is a huge variety of sound bars available on the market, catering for all budgets, however, one of our favourites is the Bowers and Wilkins Panorama 2, http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/Speakers/Theatre_Solutions/Panorama-2 . Not only does it look fantastic but it has the capability to deliver as close to a surround sound set up as possible without installing multiple speakers.
*for clarity sound bars will generally have multiple speakers inside them however, they are designed to look as if they are a single speaker.
Although a quick canter though the world of speakers, hopefully this article has given you a basic understanding of the options available to you. If you have any more in depth questions or you have been inspired to bring audio into your home please feel free to contact us and we will be delighted to design a system that is perfect for you.
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