In-wall subwoofers, not just for destroying walls anymore

March 18, 2009

If you’re not reading the editorial cranked out by Brad Grimes and Dan Daley over at, then you care not for pertinent technology issues confronting homebuilders today. One particular article by Mr. Daley is especially illuminating as it deals with a topic that is near and dear to my PR heart.

In his March 2009 article titled, In-Wall Subwoofers: The Final Frontier of Built-In Audio, Mr. Daley states:

Sustained high sound pressure levels (SPL) in the lowest reproducible low-frequency range, between 20 Hz and 40 Hz, has been shown to literally tear the house down, starting with protruding nail heads and ultimately cracking and tearing drywall. And even at non-destructive SPLs, a subwoofer’s connection to a wall could add unwanted resonances (read: distortion) to the low frequencies. So most of us know the subwoofer as that great-sounding, squat intrusion that annoys dogs and interior decorators alike but makes action movies and the Palladium channel things to look forward to. ”

That’s some interesting stuff, I mean who needs a wrecking ball when you have an in-wall subwoofer right, ha? But seriously Dan, it’s great to know this but what’s the relevance to a homebuilder? 

“…subwoofers create another impression: a sense of impermanence, of being in the house but not being part of it, which reduces the potential for builders to benefit from making it part of a home theater of whole-house audio system,” states Mr. Daley. “The flexibility to make subwoofers an in-wall or in-ceiling proposition puts that potential back on the table.”

If I was a homebuilder right now, I’d definitely be looking for ways to differentiate and maybe whole-house audio systems are a good start. The problem now is I don’t know of a trustworthy audio manufacturer who can deliver a solution that is easy to install yet still delivers performance I can put my company’s name behind. If only there were some resource…

Paradigm’s RVC-12SQ uses a vibration-cancelling technique that allows it to be either wall- or ceiling-mounted. Within its enclosure, two 12-inch oval speakers are directly facing each other and firing in phase, which effectively cancels out wall vibrations,” states Daley.  “The speaker assembly is placed in a high-pressure, die-cast chassis to contain vibrations as SPL is increased. An interesting touch is the pleated, molded thermoplastic ring that suspends the speaker cones, allowing smaller speakers to move further and thus attain lower frequency reaches.”

I definitely learned something today, thanks Dan!

Posted by: Nick