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In-wall speakers are one way to create a clean looking media space, but in-wall and on-wall subwoofers aren’t exactly commonplace. Speakers placed in walls are less likely to rattle and create annoying vibrations simply because they are riding less meddlesome frequencies. But deep bass? Well, deep bass can cause buzzes and rattles when located in a dedicated cabinet, let alone when married to the cavity of a wall.



Beale Street Audio's new ICS6-MB in-ceiling subwoofer.

Enter Beale Street Audio, a new upstart company based in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee. Their first products were a range of 4, 6.5 and 8.5-inch wall/ceiling speaker models, in addition to an integrated 2-channel amplifier. Recently, they announced two new products: In-ceiling subwoofers.

Yes, we’re talking bass from above, generated by two different models of passive subwoofers. Because low frequencies (<80 Hz) are omni-directional, subwoofers can be placed just about anywhere in a room…including the ceiling.

The notion of bass emanating from above draws some immediate concerns. First, an in-ceiling application means cutting drywall and committing to a semi-permanent installation. This means moving the sub to accommodate changes in room design (or to address performance issues) is rather difficult. Second, potential damage (such as cracking and crumbling of drywall) due to heavy vibrations is worrisome.

“I’ve seen in-ceiling subwoofers literally crumble drywall during movie scenes with heavy and rapid low frequency effects, due to the excessive motion of the driver,” said Jim Murray, founder of Beale Street Audio. “By controlling the speed and motion of air through a speaker enclosure, we found that you can create incredibly powerful and articulate bass without requiring movement that can damage its surroundings”.



ICS6-MB's backside and a graphical breakdown of its Sonic Vortex Technology.

Beale Street’s subs work by harnessing the magic of a patented Sonic Vortex Technology that shrinks a traditional port design. It works by efficiently moving air at high speed through multiple ports in a vortex shaped enclosure. These ports surround a Woven Kevlar woofer. The rest of the sub is completely sealed. As a result, the subs’ drivers barely move their enclosures and air never escapes into the ceiling. In fact, these subs have such little movement that no internal back box or special in-ceiling bracing is needed.

The company’s two sub models (ICS6-MB and ICS8-MB) are both relatively small in size. The ICS6-MB has a 6.5-inch driver and has a diameter of 8.4-inches with a depth of 6.8-inches. It weighs a mere 7.10 lbs. The larger ICS8-MB has an 8-inch driver (11.3-inch diameter, 8.6-inch depth, 8.4 lbs). Reported frequency responses for the units are 42-300 Hz and 35-300 Hz, respectively. Because they are passive, they require external amplification.

Click here for more information about Beale Street Audio’s offerings and further details about their unique Sonic Vortex Technology.



Image Credits: Beale Street Audio
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I'm surprised this hasn't generated some interesting conversation.

Is this product really that far off the mark for the hardcore home theater crowd?
 

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Not sure what their theater applications could be given their frequency response.
 

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I have the same thought...

I wonder, if you place four in a room (corners), would they benefit form room gain and affectively dig down into the 20 Hz range?
 

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For me only hitting 35Hz even with in room gain that might get it down to the high 20s simply is not a real subwoofer. Great for music but falls far short for movies.
 

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I have the same thought...

I wonder, if you place four in a room (corners), would they benefit form room gain and effectively dig down into the 20 Hz range?
Not sure.

If I was a subwoofer manufacture creating an "in wall" solution it would definitely have to be self powered and wireless signaling. The reason?... well in ceiling means most of the time (i mean most of the time loosely here) you have access to the attic and can provide power relatively easy.

Now.. maybe if you had about 20 of these things wrapped around the perimeter of the room then I could see maybe some benefits but it's still a small enclosure 8" woofer. When it comes to bass there is no replacement for displacement.
 

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I agree with both of you...

Perhaps its best application is a living room...some place where an owner is looking for added depth to sound without any visible equipment.

I've reached out to Beale Street with a few questions. I'll pass along their answers if they respond.


***edit***
Never received a response
 

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Heard from Beale Street...here's a quick summary

1) Corner loading works, so it is very possible to dig for room gain
2) Sounds like the market intention for this sub is more in the realm of whole house audio systems (but could certainly see duty in an HT application).
3) They are in the process of creating a white paper...once some FR graphs are reported, I'll pass them along.
 

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I have the same thought... I wonder, if you place four in a room (corners), would they benefit form room gain and affectively dig down into the 20 Hz range?
Well, if I read it right, 35hz was the bottom end for the bigger one. I feel like that would be quite a stretch to get down there. I do agree with you though on the distributed audio thing. These would be a great addition to in ceiling/wall speakers for music. Most HT would turn away probably. Thanks for sharing this. Nice to see different things.
 
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