A common question asked is what’s the difference between an in-ceiling speaker and an in-wall speaker is, and the answer really is very easy - not a lot.
Technically there is no real difference between the two types of speakers, with a few rare home cinema speakers. The speaker drivers on most comparable models are identical with the only difference being that the tweeters are not mounted in front of the bass drivers with wall speakers. With this the circular speaker can be narrower and the rectangular speaker can be shallower, with these attributes benefitting their own unique installs.
With installation they both have similar installation methods, the dog-leg fixings - which clamp the speaker to the plasterboard wall or ceiling. This means that installation into a solid wall or concrete ceiling can be incredibly difficult unless a stud wall or false ceiling can be installed to house the speakers.
In most cases in-ceiling speakers would be perfectly fine if installed into a wall and vice versa, an in-wall speaker would not sound out of place being installed in a ceiling..
Why Different types?
If they sound the same and there are no main differences in them then why are they separate and the reason is the shape. A square or rectangular outline is preferable when installing speakers into walls, usually to achieve aesthetic parity with other wall furniture such as TVs, windows and pictures. In-wall speakers are often shallower, because of the bigger chassis size which allows the technology to be spread out.
The in-ceiling speakers are typically circular in shape and are usually preferred for in-ceiling installations, mainly because in the UK people tend to have circular light fixtures. However, if you have square light fixtures then a square outline may be preferable, and if the speakers are to be installed either side of a roof lantern or Velux window a rectangular chassis may well look more natural.
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