Technically speaking, good points are that there won’t really be any tweeter refraction on the edges of a cabinet, since you are using the entire wall as a front panel. On the bad sad, there is little or no toe-in capability, which is critical to proper speaker alignment/beaming and can seriously affect imaging quality.
You can also look at the B&W CI 800 series. They do come with a black box that is, essentially, a sealed unit. However, it will require you to remove/replace drywall as the boxes are 42-65 inches in height (taller than the actual speaker/frame to give you more box volume). The positive side is that the B&W 800 series are vented woofer designs, which will have a better bass response.
I’ve done it both ways in the past , a discrete "B" 7.1 system for multi-channel and music HT rig with inwall or inwall speakers , and Also a stand-alone 2 channel "A" system for music
the in-wall or on- wall speaker approach:
it depends on
(1) the performance capabilities and build quality of the HT speaker selected and
(2) choosing what is your primary goal/use : multi-channel HT or top performance 2-channel.
the compromises on the latter can be significant in a one-size-fits-all approach.
having owned Martin Logan’s for the HT portion above in a stand-alone discrete kit, their in-walls such as their VOYAGE or PASSAGE models are worthy contenders for any HT system.
You get get what you pay for. These are not your POS cheap run-of-the-mill Chi-fi stuff ’em in gear .I highlight that for a HT system, these are contenders and not pretenders
I ended up going with a "full speaker " 7.1 system. Because I wanted to simplify my mancave, I utilized the pass-through feature on my 2-channel integrated amp, added 5.1 surround same-brand speakers as matched brands to the LF and RF "main" hi-end 2-channel, added separate hi-end power amps and a standalone 7.1AV preamp/ processor to flesh out the end system for both 2-channel and HT purposes.
Now their are no compromises for 2-channel music vs multi-channel uses.
takeaway: top in-walls (not cheap ones) can be impressive for the artificial multi-channel audio approach and may easily match or better cheap box speakers but they cannot compete with any high-end 2-channel "box" speakers for audio reproduction ..... that is your compromise quotient.
I agree with some of the other posters but allow me to share my experience:
I have a tower 2.1/5.1system consisting of B&W 802's, HTM-1 center channel and CWM-DS8 in-wall surrounds, and ASW-800 subwoofer. Another 5.1 system consisting of Klipsch R-5800-W (L,C,R), R-5650-S in-walls, and RT-12D subwoofer. Also B&W CWM-8180's in-walls in a second zone for two channel only.
With the two systems for 5.1, I can honestly say that I could easily be satisfied with either (don't tell my wife) on 5.1 material. Of course with two-channel the 802's are in another stratosphere. But in both systems the quality of amp/pre-amp, or receiver approach plays a huge role in bringing out solid 2-channel performance. I'd say in both cases separates is the way to go, but in the 5.1 Klipsch system using a quality receiver is quite adequate.
With the B&W 8180 two-channel system using a Vincent SV-236-MK2 intergrated I would say aspects of depth and presence are there... Just not at the level of the 802's, but very satisfying. Coincidently before the 8180's were installed I used Klipsch R-5800-W's with very close results.
Sorry I guess I should have specified that the question was for the surround and back speakers only as I already have a stereo setup that I will be implementing with the HT, thats what I currently have, both receiver and pre amp are connected to the same amp although be it through the same pre amp, my pre does not have a pass through so I just set it to 12 when ever i switch to HT input.
So the system will be used for both stereo and ht, as far as my setup is concerned I am very happy with my front, I have Rethm Saadhanas for mains and Audiozen pre and amp and Lumin T1 for digital. For HT i am using Marantz, currently my surrounds are paradigm v7s, my ceiling will be monitor audio CT 280. Its the surrounds that I was thinking of changing mainly for aesthetics but I believe the general thought is that in walls are worse than regular speakers, if I understand correctly.
In my case the in-walls that I’m using fire in both directions in dipolar configuration, and have a very wide dispersion of sound... Even in the case where one room has an open side to an ajacent room. For the enclosed room side placement is just as effective as rear only install. Stereo center imaging is a touch more pronounced with the rear install, but both placements acheive outstanding full/ambient surround.
I initially had on-walls in both setups but for space, or a more stealth-WAF decided to try in-wall in the open room. Then once I heard the performance and felt I was missing absolutely nothing, decided to switch in my main listening area. Honestly can’t comment on monopole designs as I’ve never used them.
A buddy of mine had tower fronts and in-ceiling surrounds, and I thought it worked surprisingly well. The rear speakers being behind the listening positions produced a nice, diffuse surround sound that created a very seamless and immersive experience. That's what I'd do if I was creating a home theater since it worked so well, with the obvious added benefit that the speakers were completely out of the way and basically invisible. If you're thinking of getting seriously into surround music I'd probably use traditional box speakers.
Sounds like you don't use a center channel speaker?
I do, I forgot to mention that I have just ordered a matching Rethm center, should be here next week, looking forward to it. Before that I used a paradigm center.
Although I can say that spending a week or 2 now without a center, I can honestly say that the two fronts are doing a good job at mimicking it.
If you're tight on space, in-wall speakers can be a good option, but I'd recommend getting sealed units that have their own enclosure. This is essentially like placing a shallow bookshelf speaker inside the wall, and will give far better acoustics that an unsealed unit. Definitive Technology has some good options in their UIW line, as do many other manufacturers. Let me know if you need any help picking out some appropriate options, and I'll be glad to assist in any way I can.
It really depends on what your listening requirements are going to be. If it is mostly two channel than at least you can tower the two front. How big is your basement HT room? I had all in walls in my own 17x21 dedicated theater room with two subs. All speakers were RBH and the sound was great. I am building a new theater room in a new home with super acoustics and I am going in wall again except for two subwoofers. In wall speakers get a bad rap. I researched in wall speakers for a year. It came down to James and Triad, both of whom build custom in wall speakers and Dali Phantom Helicon. I could have easily gone with RBH again and wanted to try something different. Tekton is just now coming out with a slimline on wall speakers which for a theater room would be kick-ass. I also considered Legacy Silhouette's which if money was not an object I would have purchased those. I ended up with the Dali's because I got an unbelievable deal. The bottom line is that I have had a great experience with in walls for my theater room. My two channel room consists of Wilson Audio Duette 2's and a Raven Reflection Integrated MK2 tube amp.