In-ceiling: Am I wasting my money?


Hi everyone:

Bought and moved into a new home. The builder has in-ceiling speakers installed in the living room. There are 5 speakers, but I have no interest in using them for HT -  just for music. They appear to be 8" Monoprice speakers, I have no additional details on them.

For the short term, I'm thinking of picking up a Sonos: Amp since I'm already invested in that ecosystem. I can use that to drive 4 of the speakers by hooking them up in parallel.

Now, here's the big question - I was toying with the idea of picking up a 200 watt/chan McIntosh integrated amp and replacing the Monoprice speakers with four higher quality in-ceiling speakers - perhaps something like the B&O 10" Celestial (BOC106) which are really made by Origin Acoustics (but with prettier covers).

So - am I wasting my money by doing this and I'm better off just sticking with the Sonos Amp and maybe upgrading (or keeping) the speakers to something better but not as expensive? Or... full speed ahead?

Note / extra info: Unfortunately, the layout of the room and the decor in it has ruled out a floor-standing or in-wall system... so I'm trying to keep this to an in-ceiling system. The living room ceiling is about 14' high and flat.

Thanks.
eisenb11
I have no idea if this would be a waste of your money. I only know it would be a waste of mine.
Yes your throwing your money away in ceiling is good for elevators.
4  x 8 Ohm speakers in parallel = 2 Ohms, so don't do that! :)

Yes, you are wasting your money with fancy amps. At most, consider something like a Parasound Zone master which will let you drive each and set the volume for each.
Thanks Erik, oops - just to clarify: Sonos' recommendation for 4x 8 Ohm speakers is to wire 2 each to each of the Amp terminals. So 2 speakers in parallel to the right and 2 in parallel to the left.

Sounds like the consensus is that that in-ceiling speakers are totally no-beuno (surprised because there are a bunch of $$$expensive$$$ ones out there!) for good music.

Unless I hear otherwise - sounds like best bet is to plunk the $500 on the Sonos and move on!
I agree with the above posts. Background music,not serious listening,so why spend serious money?
I'm not saying there aren't degrees of quality in in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, but given they are background music devices, investing in a boutique stereo amp is not going to serve you well.

Loudness or bass and treble controls though, may be ideal. :)
ceiling=background music. I liked the elevators comment. No I wouldn't spend money trying to improve ceiling mounts....but only your opinion matters, it's your money, spend how you like.
I had my main rig in the living room and brought music into my kitchen using an AudioSource 100 amp( 50 watts x 2 into 8 ohms or 60 watts into 4 ohms)[$140] and ran it a LONG way (guessing 75-100 feet) to some in-ceiling speakers with adjustable tweeters, like Klipsch CDT-5650-C II or  Polk Audio RC80i [$100-150 each] wired in parallel using 10 ga landscape stranded lighting wire [about $0.80 /foot].

It provided good (better than expected) background music for an all in cost ~$800
You would be better off looking for places to hide Sonos speakers. Those can be equalized and are great for background music. The 1's are very small. 
I have my main rig in The Listening Room.
I bring the music into my kitchen by leaving the door open.
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FYI - $650 for the SONOS Amp. Sounds a little better than the old Connect:amp, but not Audiophile. Instead of wiring in parallel, you might want to look into an Impedance matching speaker selector box if your speakers are rated at 4ohms. BTW, the new unit is rated at 125W/8ohms and 250w/4ohms.
I think I can use the trade-up program to get one for ~ $450. I have some of the sunsetted legacy products mixed into my collection that I can sacrifice. Sounds like in-ceiling and audiophile don't jive, so it looks like I'm aiming for background music... ha ha

Based on what I'm seeing here, I'm kind of wondering if it's even worth upgrading the speakers from 2-way to 3-way of some non-super-expensive brand.
An alternative view based on ownership and usage, with the caveat that I have two other critical listening systems in the house. I have 2 in ceiling Totem loudspeakers and small tribe sub powered by a BlueSound Powernode in a 40’ glass wall sunroom. A bit of music watching the sun go down over the Olympics and Puget Sound can make for frosting- now the Totems are well engineered and come from good lineage. Obviously most of the inputs you get will differ, nobody on this site has a car stereo...
Golly, I sure hope kenjit chimes in...
thecarpathian:  I'm surprised he hasn't yet.  He'd probably suggest removing the roof above the ceiling to create the prefect infinite baffle.
I just moved into a place with speakers in ceilings everywhere, and speaker wire to spots just in case I need more. Volume dials on the walls just to be even more obnoxious. I plan to ignore all of it.
Have you even listened to the Monoprices?

While certainly not state-of-the-art, they may be perfectly adequate for background listening.

I have heard some pretty nice custom installs using higher-end Sonance speakers and another with some older Kefs.

Best of luck.
Do what you want.
i have some speakers not recessed in ceiling, but in corners of my room mounted to the studs with rca’s as hookups. Sound fine for what they are, not every day is critical listening, I like background and some basic speakers will work well.

its nice to have light backgrou Nd tunes.  
  Not a waste. Plus you don’t need to spend a lot for music.
  Any average mountable pair will do.
ive had mine since we moved in about 1993-4 maybe, still sound good and look great. They fit in the room as they are all white and are not easily noticed on. The wall
Ceiling speakers are good for dolby Atmos and rear surrounds.  Have you considered the larger Magnepan On Wall speakers.  Two versions motorized and manual.  Fold flat to the wall when not in use.  Multiple color options for the covers.  I use a small Boston Accoustics in the ceiling for side surrounds and MTX 30 year old speakers in the ceiling for rear surrounds, my room is tiny 12w and 18 deep.  I may put some 12 or 15 woofers in the ceiling to augment my low bass swarm.  I installed car stereos from 1970 to 1990, ceilings are easy.  Made a dust tent for each speaker.
If you lay down on the floor it’s good, Face up... face down there’s way too much reflected sound.
I was I was in exactly your situation a few months ago.  I wanted something for ambient listening and/or party’s.  The speakers were rubbish.  I upgraded them a bit to Boston’s and increased the driver size from 8” to 10”.  I wanted to have three zones (living room/dining room, kitchen and balcony/BBQ area.  I connected each area to a Sonos Amp (60 watts) .:. so 3 Sonos Amps.  This way I could select one area or all areas (I only stream music from Tidal so the source was not a worry). The audiophile side of me cringes.  That said it works great for the intend purpose.  As others have said, don’t spend big $ on in ceiling, you are not going to get an enjoyment return for your investment (IMO).
I was I was in exactly your situation a few months ago.  I wanted something for ambient listening and/or party’s.  The speakers were rubbish.  I upgraded them a bit to Boston’s and increased the driver size from 8” to 10”.  I wanted to have three zones (living room/dining room, kitchen and balcony/BBQ area.  I connected each area to a Sonos Amp (60 watts) .:. so 3 Sonos Amps.  This way I could select one area or all areas (I only stream music from Tidal so the source was not a worry). The audiophile side of me cringes.  That said it works great for the intend purpose.  As others have said, don’t spend big $ on in ceiling, you are not going to get an enjoyment return for your investment (IMO).
As someone who has actually heard Paradigm in-ceiling speakers, they are very good. They are certainly good enough to hear the difference between Sonos and a higher quality source.. I've heard Paradigm in-ceiling speakers give good account with a Clearaudio Performance DC as source. It the music was not up to my standards with floor standers, but certainly worlds better than Sonos/Monoprice.
 I'm surprised he hasn't yet. He'd probably suggest removing the roof above the ceiling to create the prefect infinite baffle.
RCprince, I got a big laugh at this, good stuff!
ceiling only, nooooooo, change the room decor, change your spouse, move!!!
I have ceiling speakers which bring quiet background music when I'm  doing something other than listening to music.
@eisenb11....you can save some $ if you look into a used distribution amp. There’s decent ones’ out there’ that will give you ’decent sound around the house’ without thrashing your budget.

Save your bucks, ducks! *G* Spend your major money on the Big System....;)
I once had a good pair of ceiling speakers right above the kitchen sink, and dishwashing was actually fun.