By Don Lindich
Week 23, 2021
Q. A few years ago you gave me great advice when I bought my home sound system. You recommended GoldenEar Triton floorstanding speakers with built-in subwoofers, and they are excellent! We are building a vacation home and my wife has declared absolutely no speakers on the floor or mounted on walls, everything needs to be built into the walls. I have 5 locations pre-wired (left, center, right, left surround, right surround) and am looking at in-wall systems. Unfortunately I have no idea how they will sound, nor any idea of what brand works best. The room is 34×14 feet with a 20-foot ceiling. I hope to stay under $2,500 for all the speakers.
-R.S., Los Gatos, CA
A. That is a very large room and you are going to need sizable speakers, as well as a subwoofer, to move enough air for the system to sound full and satisfying. In-wall subwoofers are very expensive and will take you well out of your $2,500 budget so you may want to start compromising with your wife on one speaker in the room, namely the subwoofer. Bass is non-directional and when a subwoofer is set up properly you should not be able to tell where it is located, so you can tell her it can be placed somewhere unobtrusive and use that as a bargaining point when deciding on your speakers.
You won’t go wrong buying GoldenEar again. Their tower speakers tend to grab all the attention, but they make excellent soundbars and in-wall speakers, too. GoldenEar Invisa MPX in-wall speakers are $599 each and you will need three of them for the front left/center/right. GoldenEar Invisa 650 in-wall speakers are $349 each and will make fine surround speakers. This brings you to almost exactly $2,500 without the subwoofer.
If you can stretch financially for it I recommend a subwoofer from GoldenEar or SVS. The GoldenEar Forcefield 4 is $799 and given your room size it is the smallest one from GoldenEar you should consider.
The SVS PB-1000 Pro provides very strong, defined bass for $599. svsound.com
If you are financially tapped out at this point, get the $156 Acoustic Audio PSW-12 subwoofer on Amazon and use until you are ready to upgrade.
OC Acoustic Newport Bluetooth speaker: this is definitely a product that makes you think, “I can’t believe no one has done this before” or “I wish I would have thought of that!”
The $69.95 OC Acoustic Newport speaker is a small Bluetooth speaker that plugs directly into an outlet, looking clean and purposeful and avoiding visible wires. The Newport does not block the second plug of the outlet and a USB port is provided for charging your mobile devices. The speaker provides high quality sound beyond its price point and is available in several colors to match your room.
You can connect up to 50 Newport speakers together in “Party Mode” to provide affordable and flexible whole-home audio from a single Bluetooth source. Party mode is also a good way for a business to add sound throughout their facility without a lot of expensive wiring or system design. Just plug them in, press the appropriate buttons and you are all set. All speakers must be kept within 45 feet of the main (paired) speaker in this mode.
The Newport speaker is available on the manufacturer website and on Amazon. OC stands for “Orange County” which is where the company is located in California. I hope this isn’t the last product we have seen from this innovative company.