In-wall speakers ceiling mounted are a great alternative. The space behind in-wall speakers affect their performance, with .5 cubic feet being the lower limit.
Most ceilings face open attic space, providing easy installation and fewer acoustical problems.
You might consider two pair, with one pair at each end of your space, so you may enjoy comfortable listening levels without high sound pressure levels.
I choose B&W Signature 7 nautilus as my in-wall speaker. They are bi wire and bi amp, with great sound in a small package. There are plenty of other manufacturers with similar products, depending on what you like and want to invest in the project.
Swampwalker, I would like to add the thought that since this is a "working" area you should throw out all the concepts of your sweet spot listening area. I have two rooms where I use this type of set up, one is in my surgical suite at my vet clinic, and the other is a second system playing music where I do the exciting business of ironing my clothes. Since I am standing up in both situations, I have monitors mounted high, (6.5' and 8',) and play usually in mono. One room uses some PSB 400s and the other I have some PE Leon Primas. It gives me everything I am looking for. BTW, if you have some company at a party and they migrate to the kitchen, (and don't they always,) you have a new party system. Cooking with music! Watch the grocery bill. Good luck. Charlie
~~~Hi, Is there any room above cabinets or do you have soffits above,(a convenient space not usually considered)? Albert is definitely correct about spreading sound around to keep it even throughout the room. Have you considered a subwoofer in a out of the way locale to free up speaker size considerations? How about a sub, self contained midrange, ribbon tweeter, and your own crossovers.
The mids can be located more easily without trying to fit a box. The ribbons are small enough to blend in to decor. You must be creative if WAF in interjected into the scenario.
~~~If you have cold seasons or are in a high humidity region, the ceiling thing, if not done properly, might cause a mold or wood dry rot situation. What is the layout of your kitchen area and ceiling height?
~~~~One other thing, (This is from experience) Install seperate 20 amp lines. I put 7 separate 20 A. lines in my kitchen (not counting stove 30 A. and dishwasher). You would be surprised how fast one runs out of capacity during a gathering. Microwave, coffee pot(s), electric roaster(s), crock pot(s), blender..... It is easy while the wall is opened up, and inexpensive, if you pulled your own permit and do the wiring yourself.
~~~~What was the topic, Was I rambling again? Oh yeah! Kitchen speakers. I think I plowed too much snow today! Yes, I was using my tractor and not my car!
~~~~ OK DEAR-- time to pray with and tuck the children in bed. Hope I didn't bend your ear too much!
What about the little Acoustic Energy AEGOS 2 with the ever so tiny sats and smaller sub. I believe you can now run 4 or 5 sats off of it. It's a sweet little system.
Ceiling speakers was definately something I was thinking of, but I've got a two story and the kitchen (of course) is on the ground floor. So attic situation is not a problem in terms of rot or whatever, but the enclosure volume might be kind of small. Running multiple speakers in mono is an interesting idea. In addition to the speakers themselves, another issue I need help on is cabling. Last time I did some work, the electrician said that couldn't use the speaker wire I wanted, cause it wasn't rated for being enclosed in a wall. Any ideas on what's allowed and what would be good. BTW, the kitchen is small (only about 12 x 12, with a fairly high ceiling (about 7'10", I think). And the cabinets are custom, and going right to the ceiling (no soffit).
This is interesting to me because I had not considered in-wall speakers. I assumed they would not sound as good as, say, small bookshelves or monitors suspended in a corner (something in the $300 - $700 per pair range).
Are the good in-walls really comparable to "real" speakers?
How about a nice Vandersteen center island? Maybe look into the Gallo Micro line as they are a bit rolled off in the HF's which might do well in a bright sounding kitchen? They are orange/apple sized balls which would look basically like a couple of track lights, if wall/ceiling mounted on their supplied brackets, and come in various colors. Both passive and active subs (also very tiny) are available as well. On the cheaper and nostalgic side a reburbished/vintage tube radio might be more fun (like a nice colorful Bakelite one).
In-walls at a budget level will not sound as good as independent speakers. In my opinion, you'll get fuzzy muzak. I'm looking at the new Swans M-20 active mini sat/sub system, nice sound for $200 (shown at CES, check av123.com), with intent of hanging the 4" cube speakers from the top of the window frame so they project beyond the wall just a bit. I've found it really helps clarity to have speakers at standing head height, assuming that's how you move around the kitchen. Good luck.
~~~~Ah, You have a two story home. Thats another story!(sorry) If your home was built recently, you may have anywhere from a 7 to 11 inch space above the drywall, and joists spaced 12" to 24" apart. The joists that support a drywall ceiling in a one story home are a minimum of 2"x6". A two story home joists need to be thicker to support the added pounds per square foot load. Depending when the home was built, the span the joist must cover, and what was code at the time, would determine how thick of a floor/ceiling space you have.
~~~~Carefully probe through the drywall in a area that is not noticeable (next to a cabinet). Start with a pointed, small diameter tool. Do not go more than 5/8" in(thickness of fire code drywall). Then with a dull insulated probing tool, could use a piece of solid romex 15" long, or something non conductive and thin, gently push it up until it hits the floor of the second story. Hopefully you won't hit the joist on the first try. If you have a stud finder (not the kind at a bar) you can avoid a joist the first time. You may also tap with your knuckle and listen for a solid/hollow sound. Solid=joist, hollow=space.
~~~~Depending on which way your kitchen is oriented to the joists and interior walls, will determine the difficulty of the wiring. Only use wire rated for in wall use. Since you are not building a reference system, sonic quality of the wire is not a factor.
~~~~If all factors are favorable to ceiling speakers the next factor is which speaker to use. That will determine how you mount and support the speaker. I wouldn't use the drywall only to support the load. You should build a type of solid support inside the space to carry the load and not allow the speaker to vibrate. If an open back unit is selected, you may want to limit the volume of the space by inserting some type of partition and caulk to seal air space. If you have room you may want to install some bookshelf cabinets (wire, support, and trim out surface).
~~~~Is this starting to sound like a walkman would do nicely? Think about these ideas. Hopefully they will give you more options or spark more suggestions from others (other than things like, "Is this guy writing a novel or what!") My typing finger needs a rest. Remember, music soothes the savage beets (I had to!).
Fbi- thanks, I always appreciate humor. I won't have any problem wiring or construction, since the ceiling is coming down and a contractor is doing the whole job. What I'm trying to get a handle on most is speaker placement and code issues re: speaker wire. This will definately NOT be a reference system, but since I work long hours and do most of the cooking, I'd like it to sound nice. Other big issue is relatively small kitchen; if I can good sound out of mini-monitors or in-wall or in-ceiling, that is how I want to go. Has anyone had any experience with speakers behind you? I will probably have some space on the opposite wall to the sink/main counter. Table radio would not be a bad idea if there were any decent radio stations nearby.
~~~~If you want to get the most out of a non reference system, use a graphic equalizer. You can tweak the sound to your liking. Tried many speaker position combinations to find pros and cons. The in front in wall set up 18"-24" away, 6'-8'apart, should give you pronounced bass, exagerated seperation with less front center stage, more of an overhead center effect. Almost like you had a pair of headphones on. Behind you would tend to have less seperation, clarity, and depending on room resonances thin bass or heavy bass. Keep in mind a hidden, inexpensive sub if you aren't satisfied with the bass.
~~~~ The in front bookshelf would give you the ability to adjust toe in/out. Should be secured and also be visually acceptable. Do you have access to(borrow)some small speakers to try front and behind. Sonically, should be the same as in wall(separation/center stage).
~~~~Table radios? Haven't listened to any lately. There are many commercials for the (shh, nobody listen!) Bose wave guide table radio. Try a demo, maybe they can make a decent table radio. Another name that comes to mind is Kloss. Had Zenith, tubed, table radio in the 60's, nice sound!
~~~~ If you go with the on/in wall/ceiling setup, a remote controller is nice. The source could be placed in a cabinet, pantry, or some out of the way location.
~~~~ How far are you from radio stations? I'm in Michigan out in the boonies, use an amplifier on a rabbit eared antenna. Pick up FM from Canada, Ohio, as well as many in state stations. (This is off subject, with this setup on TV, I have watched stations from PA.,OH., CAN., and one day last summer, after a storm, a station from Louisiana came in clear as day for 5 minutes on Ch.3?KDKJ? Didn't write it down. Must have skipped off the atmosphere.)
~~~~Anybody else on wiring? Might have to get my NEC code book out if no replies.
~~~~Shucks, hope I didn't cornfuse you by bending your ear. (Sorry again)
Swampwalker, I think some here do not cook. As you know, you will be moving around quite a bit, (that's why I mentioned listening in mono,) and there is lots of background noise. No need to get fancy with wires and expensive speakers, the music is secondary to olfaction in this room! Did I remember you having a pair of the Coincident monitors? If you mounted anything of that caliber, you would have a ball. (IMHO I think something such as the lower PSB line is all you need in the kitchen.) Have fun. Charlie
Wish I had some co-incident but sadly do not. Right now I have a single NHT superzero and a pair of PSB minis hanging around not doing anything. Since the entire room will be gutted, I'm thinking that in-wall (or ceiling) could be nice. I will probably drive them with the second zone from my Yammie HT rig (Pioneer DV-05 CD/DVD) and use a Moscode amp I have that is also semi-retired.
Logic and practicality prevails! (You are, of course, going to use Nordost Valhalla cables. Right?) [:)]
You betcha, gonna finance the purchase with proceeds from sale of my Enron stock [;~)]