Speaker Experiment

I. Love. Speakers…almost as much as music.  Because of speakers, I get to hear Johnny Cash in his prime, even though he has long since past.  When it comes to quality, there are serious differences between various speakers.  For this reason and more, I set out to solve the question of who makes the best in-wall speaker.

For this experiment I started by building a speakerbox.  It had 6 chambers for 6 different speakers.  One side was made of drywall to emulate a home.  Then, I picked 6 popular in-wall speaker brands, and got their $299 model sent to me.   The final roundup was Klipsch, Monitor Audio, Definitive Technologies, TDG, Niles, and Episode.  

What we did next was install all the speakers.  We noticed HUGE differences in build quality. Despite being the same retail price, these speakers had obvious differences in how much was spent on their construction.  Monitor Audio took the trophy here.

After getting all the speakers installed into this box, we wired them through a speaker selector. We then had a perfect way to compare all of them.

Next was the listening test.  I had our team of 10 listen to each speaker.  2 things became apparent: 1) The Niles and Episode speakers sounded muffled and weak.   2) The Klipsch speaker was way louder than the others.   We thought that this was skewing our results, so we turned down the volume until it was the same level as the others.   After doing this, the Monitor Audio gave the Klipsch a run for its money.   

We concluded that the Klipsch speaker was the winner, with the Monitor Audio and Definitive Technologies model a close tie for second.  Last place was a tie between Niles and Episode.   In the end, we stayed with the same brand of speakers that we have carried for years, but this test was still worth it.  Not only did it confirm that we were selling the best in-wall speaker out there, but it also allowed us to see how much better it sounded than the other guys.

Check out the photos below to see all the speakers and the speaker box installation we used for the experiment...