AT A GLANCE Plus
Installer setup over IP
Options for wide, narrow, and frameless grilles
Six-band parametric EQ Minus
Installation may be tricky for the uninitiated
Extensive tuning capabilities make for true high-end performance at an affordable price.
When it comes to architectural speakers, there are few companies I can think of that do things in a more focused, more insightful, and—most important when it comes to custom installations—more useful way than Triad. The company stands out in another way, too, in that most of Triad’s speakers are built to order in the U.S. (Portland, Oregon, to be specific) and are usually less than two weeks old by the time they arrive at the dealer’s warehouse door.
We evaluate eight similarly designed and priced in-walls.
I think I've purchased enough drywall to finish the interior of a three-bedroom house. My local home-improvement warehouse now stocks extra inventory just for my in-wall speaker reviews. You see, I hate to cut holes in my living-room walls, and I'm not very skilled at patching them. So, for this review, I made some portable walls in which to test eight different in-wall loudspeakers, also known as architectural speakers, priced between $435 and $600 per pair. In fact, I made several walls and simply swapped drywall to accommodate the various models. That's why my home-improvement store likes me so much.
Planar magnetic thin-film drivers
Solid Uni-grip mounting clamps
Thin magnetically attached grilles available in custom lengths
Truly outstanding sound quality
Horizontal center channel use requires stud modifications
Definitely not the cheapest in-wall system you can buy
It might bust your budget on the front end, but the Wisdom Insight delivers a near-electrostatic, audiophile listening experience in a disappearing, in-wall package.
If you’re intimately familiar with Wisdom Audio, then you’re more dialed into this industry than I am. Sure, I’ve breezed by the company’s booth at past CEDIA Expos, but when I hear that name it always brings to mind the image of a of an old guy in a flowing robe with a long, white beard (and maybe a Harry Potter–esque wizard’s hat) sitting in an overstuffed chair in front of an audio system, his beard and hat being blown back à la the old Memorex advertising campaign.
Price: $88,500 At A Glance: A unique listening experience • Unprecedented detail and transparency • Exceedingly good bass
Jaw-Dropping Home Cinema
Somewhere on the audio quality scale, a home theater system crosses an imaginary line and becomes a home cinema system, one that’s capable of truly extraordinary music and film sound reproduction. I’m not exactly sure where that line is, or at what price, but I know it when I hear it. A true home cinema system delivers music that rivals a live event and a movie experience that surpasses even some of the finest commercial cinemas. In this rarefied universe of ultra-high-end audio systems, I tested a no-holds-barred home theater speaker system from Wisdom Audio based on the company’s L100i and C150i in-wall speakers and Suitcase Sub. As you’ll read, the in-wall speakers are just the beginning with this unique system.
Not Your Father’s In-Wall Speakers
In addition to the Suitcase Sub, this review system featured two L100i speakers for the left and right channels and a C150i for the center channel (although you can use either model for the left, center, right, or surround channels). The L100i and C150i are sized for placement behind an acoustically transparent video projection screen measuring at least 50 inches in height and of adequate width. The L100i and C150i are designed to deliver high-performance audio from speakers that disappear from the audience’s view behind the screen. The L100i is a two-part speaker system that consists of a 48-by-8-inch planar magnetic line-source array for the mid and high frequencies (above 275 hertz) and a separate enclosure of the same size that contains eight 6-inch woofers for bass/midbass. The three-part C150i features the same planar magnetic driver array combined with two bass enclosures that each house eight 6-inch woofers. The additional eight bass drivers in the C150i signal the importance of the center channel for dialogue information, onscreen action, and overall system dynamics.