June 3rd, 2008
Call it physics, call it what-you-pay-is-what-you-get, call it whatever–it is an audio universal truth: the best sound is large and expensive.
The popularity of iPods and mp3s have demonstrated that most consumers, however, are willing to make compromises. People will tolerate some decrease in sound quality when partnered with affordability, fashion and convenience.
Purchasing thin, fashionable, on-wall speakers has to be approached from this same direction. Sound quality will not be as good as floor standing speakers, but for most people it will be close enough. Plus, a well installed system can blend into anybody’s decor. A high quality thin, wall mounted speaker setup can be pleasing to both the eyes and the ears.
In fact, everything in audio is a compromise. No matter how much one spends, somebody else will probably have a more expensive, better sounding system. The human ear perceives volume in a logarithmic nature. Increasing amounts of power are required to increase volume the louder it gets. Likewise, the more you spend, the more money that is required to detect changes in sound quality. In another words, a $1000 system is going to sound much better than a $99 system; however, a $11000 system is unlikely to sound a lot better than a $10099 one.
A couple of other things to remember about this type of speakers. In almost every circumstance, a subwoofer is required. Thin speakers just do not have the physics to cover the necessary lows. Positioning and installation is also very important. Creation of the soundfield has less room for error. Plus, why get beautiful stylist speaker if you are not going to have a flawless, styled installation?
With those caveats in mind, here are some excellent thin, wall mounted speakers. I think all of these speakers are excellent quality for their price range. Pictures are property of the respective companies. Links are directly to the manufacturers.
Monitor Audio R250 $250-$350
Paradigm 330 $250-$300
Canton CD250 $450-$500
Vienna Acoustics Waltz Grand $795-$895
Vienna Acoustics SCHÃ–NBERG $1495