Product Satisfaction Survey
The Smarthome SELECT brand started with in-ceiling speakers back in 2009 and we have since grown that to offer a wide variety of speakers to our customers . Through our experience and passion for audio, we have worked with several different industry professionals over the last couple of years to deliver a line of speakers that exceeded the specifications of several household names and are offered at a price that was affordable.
The first thing you need to decide is what audio need your speakers are going fill. For example, if you are setting up a home theater system then in-ceiling speakers, in-wall speakers and a subwoofer might be what you are looking for; if you want some sound in the garage, maybe a pair of bookshelf speakers will work â€“ or if you are entertaining outside your home, some outdoor speakers may be in order. Click on one of the speaker types below to directly see more information about the speaker type, or simply scroll down on the page to read through the various speaker types.
|In-Ceiling Speakers||Bookshelf Speakers|
|In-Wall Speakers||Outdoor Speakers|
|Soundbars||Speaker Systems & Kits|
If you want to eliminate the clutter of bookshelf and tower speakers or maybe you just want speakers that seamlessly blend into your home, in-ceiling speakers are the right choice for you. In-ceiling speakers require you to cutout a space in your ceiling for mounting, and access to the area above your ceiling will be required to run wire to the speakers. However, once installed, they offer a thin, low-profile appearance that sits flush to the ceiling for a clean, professional finish. In-ceiling speakers are often used for home theater surround sound as you can strategically place them around a room to create an optimum listening area for 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 channel audio systems. For home theater setups, in-ceiling speakers are often complimented by in-wall speakers and subwoofers. They can also be used as part of a multi-zone or whole home audio system. In-ceiling speakers are typically round, however they are often classified and named as both in-ceiling and in-wall speakers, as in-ceiling speakers can usually be mounted in walls as well.
If you want to eliminate the clutter of bookshelf and tower speakers or maybe you just want speakers that seamlessly blend into your home, in-wall speakers are the right choice for you. In-wall speakers require you to cutout space in your wall for mounting, and access to the area behind your walls will be required to run wire to the speakers. However, once installed, they offer a thin, low-profile appearance that sits flush to the wall for a clean, professional finish. In-wall speakers are often used for home theater surround sound as you can strategically place them around a room to create an optimum listening area for 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 channel audio systems. For home theater setups, in-wall speakers are often complimented by in-ceiling speakers and subwoofers. In-wall speakers are typically square, however they are often classified and named as both in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, as in-wall speakers can usually be mounted in ceilings as well.
Typical surround sound systems require you to place speakers and wire all over the place, and in-wall/in-ceiling surround speakers require you to run wires throughout your walls/ceiling and cut holes in your drywall. soundbars get rid of all that. They are primarily used to compliment a TV for a more immersive audio experience, while eliminating the clutter of speaker wires and speakers of a complete surround sound system. Typically featuring 3 (or more) channels of audio output from a single speaker box, soundbars offer separated left, center and right channels (or more if applicable), making a great alternative to common surround sound systems. While not usually recommended for the audiophile type, soundbars can offer a significant improvement to your listening experience (especially when paired with a subwoofer) when compared to the generally poor built-in audio that usually comes from a TV. Soundbars are usually freestanding for placement on a cabinet or table with optional wall mounting capability.
In-ceiling speakers, in-wall speakers, on-wall speakers and soundbars all generally lack one thing, the ability to deliver solid ow frequency bass. A subwoofer compliments your surround sound speakers and brings your home theater to life, delivering bass that helps you really feel the special effects that take place in your favorite programs and movies. Subwoofers will vary greatly in size and power, for the best results you should use an active (or powered) subwoofer. Active sub woofers have a built-in amplifier and thus draws no power from your receiver but will deliver plenty of power for the low end notes. Many of the higher end subwoofers offer specified adjustments that allow you to dial in the right sound for your home.
Exactly what the name implies, outdoor speakers are a very popular option for those that like to enjoy spending time outside or like to entertain outside, and want some sound to go along with it.
The most common type of speakers used are the bookshelf speakers These provide the most common audio output, stereo left and right channel, and are freestanding. Bookshelf speakers are generally smaller in size and ideally for placement on any bookshelf, shelf, cabinet, garage workbench, or any other space that will support them. They are ideal for music or can be used in a situation where you just want a little better sound while watching TV but don't really care about a full surround sound environment. Often times computer speakers are include in this category too.
Speaker Systems & Kits
For convenience, there are numerous options for pre-packaged speaker systems. These speaker systems and kits are for all sorts of applications from surround sound systems for your home theater system.
Let's face it, we are right smack in the middle of the age of the wireless devices, from our smartphones to our tablets to our computers. Taking it a step further, there are a wide variety of wireless speakers to bring these wireless devices to life.
Understanding which speaker is right for you will require a bit of research on the different feature specification for speakers. Below is a list of some of the most common features you will find when looking for speakers, and a brief explanation of what these features mean. Put together a list of what features are needs and what features are wants or maybe what features aren't needed or wanted. Click on one of the features below to directly see more information about the feature, or simply scroll down on the page to read through the various features.
|Size||Passive / Active|
|Frequency Response||Outdoor Rated|
The construction of the speaker is directly related to the quality of the speaker. For in-ceiling, and in-wall speakers, generally speaking the housing of a speaker will not vary too much as will have minimal effect on the sound. Speakers with boxes (or cabinets) should use a solid material, fastened very securely, and ideally using internal dampers to prevent vibration. Subwoofers can come in sealed enclosures, or 'bass re-reflex' which has an opening that allows air to move freely in and out of the cabinet as the woofer moves providing better sound.
For the speaker the components (driver, midrange and tweeter) industry standard for the composition has been polypropylene. While it is still the prevalent material used today, studies have shown that these can break down over time, leading to sound degradation and distortion. So new, more advanced materials such as Kevlar are being used to prevent these problems and increase the life of speakers; and even to specifically allow speakers to work in outdoor environments. That being said, polypropylene construction will work fine for almost any average in home application. However, if you are an audiophile looking for premium sound or have an outdoor application, take a close look at the manufacturer specifications and research the materials being used to see if they are right for what you trying to accomplish.
The physical size, dimensions and weight of the speaker is important to consider prior to purchasing so you can be sure it will fit into your plans - saving your self the headache of needing to return the product later. Size is also a consideration when looking specifically at the components of the speaker - woofer (also known as the driver), mid-range and tweeter. Generally speaking the larger each of these is the more power output the speaker can handle. That being said, the generalization is not always the case, sometimes a higher quality speaker smaller in size can offer equal or even more power output and even better audio output than a larger speaker - you will have to determine the features that are of utmost importance to you and evaluate that between different size speakers to determine the right size for you.
Understanding impedance is a rather lengthy scientific explanation, so for simplicity we can say that it is essentially the amount of resistance that an amplifier or receiver needs to overcome to power a speaker. Impedance is measured in Ohms, usually 2, 4, 6 or 8 Ohms. Matching speaker Ohms to the Ohms of your amplifier is important, especially with older, tube-style amps which can blow if the impedance doesn't match. Generally speaking, contemporary amplifiers can drive most speakers without any issues. However you should never try and drive high-end low Ohm speakers with an amplifier that only supports higher end Ohms, for example, 4 Ohm speakers should not be used on an 8 Ohm amplifier, unless the amplifier specifically says it can handle X amount of Watts at 8 Ohms and Y amount of Watts at 4 Ohms.
When deciding how much power you need, you must first understand the difference between Maximum Power (Peak Power) and Continuous Power (RMS Power). While these are actually scientifically calculated, in simplest terms power is measured in Watts. While it is great to know that a speaker has a maximum power handling capacity of 100 Watts, you should understand that maximum power output refers to the maximum amount of power an electronic component can possibly handle for an instant without distortion or damage. So what you really want to go by is the RMS power, this is the highest amount of power that the speaker can handle with minimal or no distortion or damage when being used over an extended period of time.
Another great way to measure the quality of a speaker is through frequency response, which is the measurement of the range between low (bass) and high (treble) sound pitches. These are usually measured in range of Hz â€“ kHz. An example of speaker frequency response would be 60Hz - 10kHz, where 60Hx represent the low end and 10kHz represents the high end frequencies (note: sometimes 10kHz will be written as 10,000Hz - 'k' represents 1,000). Speakers with lower end range would go down from 60Hz to 40Hz, 20Hz, etc. Speakers with higher end frequencies will go up from 10kHz to 20kHz, 50kHz, etc. While a wider range is ideal, it may not be optimal, for example if you are using a subwoofer to augment low frequencies you may not need a lower frequency response speaker. Additionally, some speakers with really high frequency response might actually irritate your ears. Usually the wider the range the more expensive the speaker is, and often isn't necessary for the average consumer. One other thing to consider a speakers with built-in adjustable frequency response, more common with subwoofers, but some speakers also have this feature, making the far more expensive but let you really dial in the sound you want.
This is a quick way of measuring how loud a speaker will be, and is measured in decibels (dB), when played at a given voltage. Almost all sensitivity is measured at 2.83 Volts as a baseline (which is 1W into an 8 Ohm speaker). So the sensitivity measurement specification will typically look something like 88dB/2.83V or 88dB at 2.83V. The minimal amount of decibels you should look for is 86db, the greater the decibels, 88dB, 90dB, etc., the better the speaker and less power it takes to drive the speaker to achieve the same loudness as a speaker with lower sensitivity. Sometimes an efficiency level is listed with sensitivity; most common home speakers have an efficiency of 0.5% to 4%. The higher the efficiency the louder the speaker will be - but this range is very small so you likely won't notice the difference when comparing. Higher quality speakers that generally need to be played at loud volumes (i.e. public address systems or concert speakers) have efficiency in the range of 4% to 20%.
You can't just use any old wire to connect your speakers to your amplifier and expect good results. You should always use speaker specific wire, and the right size of the speaker is important too. The size of the wire, measured by gauge, will matter when transmitting an optimal signal. When it comes to speaker wire, the lower the gauge the larger the wire. For most home applications, if the distance between your amplifier and your speaker is less than 50 feet 16 gauge will be fine, anything longer than that use 14 gauge. If you are running the wire through walls or attic space, you may also want to considered wire with a jacket to keep it protected.
You will also need to verify the connections at both the speaker and the amplifier. The most common connection are spring clips, where you push down on a clip and insert bare wire into the hole and the clip springs back into place securely holding the wire. Binding post connections unscrew, exposing a hole which the speaker wire can be inserted into and the screwed back down, tightening the wire firmly into place. If you are using either of these bare wire options, you can consider using pin connectors on the bare wire to eliminate the need to twist the wires making the connections much easier. Banana plug and Spade termination are other connections that speakers and amplifier use, which do require banana plug and spade connectors to be fixed to the speaker wire these are much easier to use, and should be considered if your think you might be connecting and disconnecting your system frequently. Some speaker wire comes with these connectors already in place, if not they are available separately.
Passive / Active
A passive speaker is a speaker that does not have an internal amplifier or require power. Most in-ceiling, in-wall, on-wall, bookshelf and tower speakers fall into this category. Passive speakers simply require a speaker wire connection to an amplifier. An active speaker is a speaker that requires power to drive an internal amplifier, usually applicable to subwoofers and computer speakers. Active speakers will require an audio cable coming from the audio source device (amplifier, computer, or other) to deliver the audio signal. They are plugged in to an outlet which powers an internal amplifier which then drives the speaker(s).
Speakers are also referred to as channels. For example, a common 2-channel audio system offers a right and left channel, stereo audio output - typically you would need 2 speakers a right channel speaker and a left channel speaker to enjoy the separated stereo audio sound. A few years back this changed with the advent of stereo input (or dual voice coil) speakers. You can get stereo output from a single speaker. Both channels are wired from the amplifier directly into the stereo input speakers, which has a single driver for low end sound, and 2 voice coils, or tweeters, for high end sound delivering separated, or stereo audio. The advantage of this is that you only have to buy one speaker instead of a pair of speakers, which will save you a few dollars without sacrificing much in the way of audio quality. It also makes installations easier if you are installing in-ceiling or in-wall speakers throughout your home as part of a whole home audio system. These speakers are ideal for that application as they work good for music â€“ but these speakers should not be used as part of a surround sound system, as the stereo separation is not as profound as using separate speakers placed properly.
This was a recent innovation in the world of speakers that allows you to pivot the tweeter and accurately position the tweeter in a specific direction to deliver optimal sound just where you want it. So whether you have a large area or a small area you can send the mid to high end frequencies to the sweet spot of your room for optimal listening pleasure.
If you are looking to enjoy some audio outside your home, make sure your have speakers with an outdoor rating. If your speakers are going to be in a protected or semi-protected area, under eaves as an example, then a weather-resistant rating should be enough. However, if the speakers are going to be directly exposed to the elements, you will want to look for a specific weather-proof (not weather-resistant) rating "or more specifically and Ingress Protection (IP) rating that is specific to the environment it will be in. Visit the Wikipedia IP Ratings page for more information about weather and water protection ratings.
This is really directed at wireless speakers and the type of wireless communication the speakers use. Most commonly this is Bluetooth. You will want to keep an eye to make sure the Bluetooth versions are compatible. For example, if the Bluetooth speakers are compatible with Bluetooth devices using versions 4.0 or newer, obviously a Bluetooth 2.0 device will not work.