New Invisible and Small Aperture Speakers redefine the home audio landscape with a no-compromises approach to music listening.
Studies show that music is good for your physical and emotional health, fosters productivity, and enhances a home environment. Recognizing the value that music brings to a household, homeowners are exploring audio options that can grace every corner of a residence. As the last link in the audio delivery chain, speakers can make or break the experience. People want the music that reaches their ears to sound smooth, clear, and with deep, impactful bass. In the past, if you wanted exceptional audio, it was best to keep speakers exposed—even if that meant undermining the home décor. The alternative, speakers designed to be recessed into walls and ceilings, may have meshed better with the home interior but offered inferior audio performance. “There was a compromise that had to happen,” relates Mike Cleary, Director of Channel Marketing at Sonance. “And for years, homeowners willingly sacrificed sound quality for speakers that could blend with a home’s architecture.”
New Speakers Blend Beauty and Brawn
Those days of choosing design over performance are over. The newly introduced line of Invisible Series (IS) speakers from Sonance delivers both, with absolutely no trade-offs. Under development for several years to advance Sonance’s legacy IS lineup, the new portfolio breaks home audio barriers by providing unprecedented performance that rivals the audio quality of some of the best visible speakers on the market, including Sonance’s own Visual Performance speaker series. “These new invisible speakers sound just as good, if not better, than our visible VP speakers,” says Cleary. “For the first time, we can recommend to any audio dealer or homeowner a truly remarkable experience where the hardware is totally hidden. In fact, because the performance of the new Invisible Series is so good, we are seeing a number of living room surround-sound designs from our partners using the IS10 speakers as LCR (left, center, right) channels in the front and the IS8 or IS6 models as the rear surround channels. The highly anticipated IS15W is a 15” in-wall subwoofer that we expect to be shipping early next year to accommodate these home theater projects.”
Diligent Diagnostics Inspires Innovation
To elevate the performance of this new invisible line of speakers, Sonance utilized a Klippel Distortion Analyzer, a high-end diagnostic tool traditionally reserved for the analysis and measurement of freestanding floor and bookshelf speakers. “The Sonance engineering team developed and applied a completely new testing procedure to make adjustments in the design process,” Cleary relates. Sonance thoroughly tested the audio performance of its original Invisible Series, other invisible competitors, and even their own visible architectural line, continually making adjustments and modifications as “problem areas” were revealed. With each refinement, the speaker grew better and better. The final result: a completely new invisible speaker line comprising six models of different footprints, all incorporating innovative new technologies, materials, and composition—like the inclusion of a premium subwoofer within the speaker housing--to finally bridge the gap between design and performance. Covered with a thin coat of drywall mud, the speakers disappear from sight, yet sound as if they’re standing right there with you in the room,” Cleary remarks. “Homeowners are now able to have the best of both worlds: an invisible speaker and uncompromised audio.”
Speakers Match Wood Ceilings & Recessed Light Fixtures
Of course, in some homes, it may be difficult to integrate an Invisible Speaker within the existing drywall structure. For these applications, Sonance offers its Visual Performance (VP) Series. Recessed into the walls and ceilings, only the grille of a VP speaker is noticeable. Minus the advanced technologies of the IS, the VP speakers fit into tighter budgets.
Drywall may be a popular ceiling and wall surface, but it’s definitely not the only type of material utilized in homes today. Wood ceilings are trending, so Sonance’s acquisition of James Loudspeaker couldn’t have come at a better time. No matter what the color, texture, or composition of the surface material—even the grain of a refurbished wood plank--the grille of the James Loudspeaker Small Aperture (SA) Series speaker can be fabricated for a barely-visible appearance. The speaker cabinet, which includes a subwoofer, sinks completely flush with the surface; its color- and pattern-matched round 3-inch grille is the only element exposed yet goes undetected. Adding to its aesthetic appeal, the 3-inch aperture (available in square or round; 4-inch versions are also available) resembles the size and shape of today’s popular recessed light fixtures. “These options have changed the dialog about speakers,” Cleary says. “No matter what surface you’re working with, a James Loudspeaker solution can be designed to disappear yet provide even, balanced audio coverage. Sonance was never built on the promise of true customization, but now with James Loudspeaker products entrenched in our speaker family, we can provide dealers and homeowners with amazing new capabilities to customize and hide technology into the architecture.”
Due to the high degree of customization, the James Loudspeaker SA Series sits at the top of Sonance’s pricing scale. A more budget-friendly option that suits the style of round and square recessed can lights, but without a specially fabricated grille, is Sonance’s Discreet Opening System (DOS) Speakers. Like Sonance’s other architectural speakers, they offer a combination of form and function at an affordable price.
Bridging the Best of Design and Technology
Are you more concerned about design or performance? This never has to be a question you ask yourself again when investing in a whole-house or surround-sound speaker. Thanks to the addition of the new Invisible Series and James Loudspeaker Small Aperture Series, Sonance offers the best of both worlds. No compromises, no sacrifices—superior audio quality from speakers that disappear.
Hear Sonance for Yourself
Sonance acknowledges that the best way to gauge the exceptional quality of its disappearing speakers is to listen for yourself. The company has provided its manufacturer’s reps with demo kits including an IS speaker and a similar-size VP speaker for an A-B comparison of the audio quality. Interested consumers, architects, interior designers, and general contractors are invited to contact a nearby HTA Certified dealer to learn more about Sonance and how to add invisible speakers to any room of a home.