Help selecting ceiling speakers


Senior Member
OK, I've gotten the green light to buy some ceiling speakers. Without them, that B&K CT600.1 is just an expensive paperweight!

So I am looking at buying speakers for three zones right away. I've searched on this site as well as some others (CQC, AVS, etc) and surprisingly there is little in the way of practical in-ceiling speaker advice. So I figured I would ask you guys.

Here is my thoughts so far:

Kitchen - room is 13x20 with regular 8' ceilings and laminate wood flooring. One end has seating for 6 around a table. My though it to place two speakers towards one end of the room above the seating area. I would consider putting a powered sub in this room, but it would have to be a ceiling sub or floor sub.

Sun Room - room is 14'x24' with 9' ceilings which fault up to about 11' and a hard brick floor with area rugs. Three walls are glass with very little wall space, and the 4th is one of the 14' walls and is the exterior brick wall of the original house (this room was added onto the back of the house). Right now we have a seating area on one end (the "glass" end) and a table set up at the original house end, but I forsee a TV along the original house brick wall one day. Again, my thought is to put 2 8" speakers in the ceiling, but I haven't decided which end. Probably the glass wall end so I could use them in the future for the rear speakers in a 5.1 sound system. I am also planning on putting a small powered sub in this room to help with the low end.

Back Patio - we have a decent size patio - probably 20'x24'. It is boardered on two sides by the house (the original house as well as the sun room). My thought is to get some outside speakers and hang one in adjacent corners of the house. One at the end of the sun room and one on the original house at the far end of the patio - in opposite corners mounted under the eave of the roof so it is semi-protected from the weather. (Hopefully my description makes sense). I don't plan on any type of sub outside (but if there is a decent outside sub that actually works at a low cost I might consider it).

Budget - could be as high as $250/pair (not including the sub). My local supplier carries three lines of speakers, so I can get great prices on those three brands. I am open to looking at other brands as well, as long as the budget is maintained.

Speakers my supplier carries - OEM Systems, Proficient Audio, and Nuvo. In the 8" size, I can get the Proficient Audio c800 ($200/pair) and the OEM Systems SC-820ke ($135/pair). Proficient also make a nicer 8" speaker, the C870, but they go for $175 EACH. So I won't put them everywhere, but could probably put them in the sun room where I will end up using them in a 5.1 system. I am also looking at the Proficient AW650 which is a 6.5" indoor/outdoor speaker (runs about $170/pair).


So I'd love to hear people's thoughts on ceiling speakers. Especially those people that have them - what type and how do you like them? Any other suggestions for speakers in my price range?
JKMonroe suggested the Paradim CS series on the chat room. I'm posting this here for two reasons.

1) To get feedback on those vs the Proficient speakers
2) A bookmark so I don't forget :huh:

However, I'm not sure I could get a 8" model (which I think I need given the room size) in my budget, so it might be a moot point.
I used Niles speakers for mine, they're decent and far less than $250/pair. I used a single 6.5" stereo input speaker (both L & R channels are in the same speaker) for the smaller rooms, ie bathrooms or breakfast nook. I used regular 6" speakers for most of the other rooms, but they are all smaller than yours.

I'd use 8" speakers in rooms of that size, i'll see how much those Niles go for.
Niles and Paradim are both good choices. In my current house, I have all Klipsch reference series. I like the sound of them, but they can be a bit "bright". For the new house I am building, I am going with all Polk speakers. I had never really thought about Polk's too much, until I went to a dinner party a few months ago. That house had Polk's in the ceiling throughout the house, and they sounded fabulous! That sold me...but it will be a year until I will be able to tell you how I like them on a day-to-day basis.
I have Proficient Audio in my house and also spec them on all my installs; I have been very pleased with them. I have also heard great feedback about Niles but have never used them.

I would go with the 8" speakers in the two indoor locations. For outdoor, you may want to consider the AW650 (if you go Proficient) for the larger woofer and better bass response.
I went with Polk mainly for WAF. For my HT great room, I went with 5 Polk LC801i 's( Front L/R, Center, and Rear L/R) and 2 RC801i 's (Rear L and R) for 7.1 surround and an in floor subwoofer. I was tempted to add two more(RC801) for front presence a feature in some Yamaha receivers(I am using an RX-V2700 to feed my projector and LCD TV), but the it sounded fine the way it was, but I pulled the speaker cable in the ceiling just in case I want to add it later. For the kitchen, Master bedroom (5.1 on a seperate receiver with HDMI in and HDMI monoprice switch&component video splitter in AV closet for multiple viewing options/backup) and master bath(zone 2 from the master bed. receiver) I just went with the RC801i's they sounded fine enough for light listening, gaming, tv viewing,etc. The deck uses some Bose all-weather speakers I got as a gift.

You can find the Polk RC801's on sale at Fry's for $99 a pair. They are 10" diameters on the ceiling about 9 1/4" holes with 8" woofers and directional tweeters for managing sweet spots the LC801i's to me sounded better than the Paradigms, which I have in the family room(which also runs on a seperate receiver).

This setup works fine for me for both my Media Center PC hooked up to a NAS, DVD distribution from DVD changers soon to be ripped to the NAS,PVR, Slingbox, Satellite radio,etc.
OK, a little update on my situation. I have narrowed my search down to the Proficient C800's and the Niles CM8MP's for the ceiling speakers. They seem to have similar specs and are almost the exact same price.

So my thought is to buy one pair of each and listen to them side by side. Then I'll know which sounds better to me and will order future speakers accordingly.

I am also looking at the Niles OS7.3 for my outdoor speakers.

I was just curious of anyone had first hand experience with both of these speakers and had a strong opinion one way or another.
I needed mostly dual voice coil speakers and compared the Proficient C800TT to the Channel Vision Aria's. I had a buddy come by (he used to be in a band and has a much better ear than me) and we listened to both with different music. While the Aria were pretty good, the Proficients were better (much better midrange). Based on that, I got a bunch of the C800TT, a few pairs of the C850 and a pair of the AW525. The AW series and TT series are on sale right now too. Can't compare to the Niles other than specs and the Proficient specs are better.
I wish I was in a position to have bought my speakers last month. Proficient had a sale on their higher end speakers which I would have jumped at. I really don't need the dual voice speakers, but you are right, the prices are great on those speakers right now.

I simply wasn't ready to buy last month (I didn't even know what I wanted at that point). Unfortunately it is going to cost me :p
Hi, Guys.

Where are the Proficients on sale?

Well, the 'dealer cost' is really the sale, so you need to find a dealer that will pass the savings on to you. Just as an example, the C800TT is $30 off and the AW525 is $50 off. If you can't find someone PM me and maybe I can help.
Proficient Audio provides regular promotions for dealers through distribution which translates to some great pricing. The promotions seem to roll through the entire product line once or twice a year and are really designed to provide better profit for the dealers.

I've worked with a number of message board members and am happy to pass the savings along. I'm sure their are other dealers here that would be willing to do the same... I've also noticed some of the on-line resellers drop prices accordingly, but not all.