Tilt and Deliver
But the sound - especially the imaging - of in-ceiling speakers isn't always the most desirable for listeners who happen to love great sound in addition to good looking rooms. A large majority of the in-ceiling speakers I've heard have sounded like speakers mounted in the ceiling. (Hmm, what a coincidence...) It's a shame, really, because there are lots of homeowners who'd love to banish their speakers to the upper regions of their domiciles. "Homeowners love in-ceiling speakers because they can be installed with virtually no impact on the surrounding decor, but by nature in-ceiling speakers are challenged at projecting sound directly at the audience," said Alec Chanin, president of speaker maker, KEF America, in a statement that totally backs up my comment in the previous sentence and is a great lead in to the next paragraph.
KEF's new Ci 3-80QT in-ceiling speaker is designed to provide "the utmost decorative subtlety" with "the robust performance of a free-standing or bookshelf speaker". KEF says that the wide dispersion of the Ci 3-80QT comes from the use of its Uni-Q driver in which an aluminum dome tweeter is mounted in the acoustic center of the mid-bass cone. According to KEF, the benefits of the Uni-Q array are wider dispersion and distinct "vocal intelligibility".
But what about that near-invisibility mumbo-jumbo mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs?
That's the aspect of the Ci 3-80QT that makes it so different. The new model is designed with a motorized mount that tilts the speaker down from the ceiling and angles it toward the listening area. The mechanical action is initiated automatically when the system is turned on so users who prefer simple operation don't have another button on the remote to press.
Those with home theaters that include front-projection TVs with drop-down screens will also like how cool it looks when both the screen and the speakers descend from the ceiling. It's almost worth the price of admission just by itself.
The Ci 3-80QT is available with a soft white finish. It can be painted to hide (or highlight) the speaker in most ceilings (except those with big cracks running across them thanks to problems with the foundation). KEF says the speaker will be available to KEF dealers in mid September with an MSRP of $499.99 each.