What type of ceiling speakers do I need – Stereo or Mono?

If you take a look in detail at the in-ceiling and in-wall speakers on our website, you’ll notice that most are described as mono, and that stereo speakers are in the minority.

What you need to remember is that when you bought a pair of conventional stereo box speakers in the past, you were actually buying two matched mono speakers which, when connected to a stereo amplifier, gave you stereo sound in your room. The principle with in-ceiling and in-wall speakers is the same and if you want to have stereo sound, you simply buy two identical mono speakers (or one pair if that is how they are packaged) for the same result.

It is important to remember that a mono speaker on its own will only be capable of playing a single channel of audio. Where possible, avoid using a single mono speaker in your room. Otherwise, you will find yourself listening to one side of a radio interview or only half of the audio from your favourite album. Almost all recordings made since the late 1950s have had two channels – left and right – and each channel needs to be put through its own speaker to create a depth and soundstage that reproduces something close to a live performance.

With in-ceiling and in-wall speakers we have a new concept that you won’t normally find in the range of conventional box speakers: the single stereo speaker. This comes about because the modern customer wants to run music throughout the house, including rooms that are not obvious candidates for a pair of speakers such as bathrooms, en-suites, and dressing rooms. Most of these rooms don’t have enough ceiling space to justify a pair of speakers, so the single stereo speaker was born to provide the ideal alternative by presenting both the left and right hand channels of audio from one speaker enclosure.

Single stereo speakers are typically priced somewhere between one and a pair of the equivalent mono speakers, so they do offer a price advantage over buying two mono speakers. However, you do lose the benefits of having separately located left and right speakers; there is minimal stereo separation and a single stereo speaker is less able to offer the dispersion of sound offered by a pair of speakers.

We recommend the Monitor Audio CT165-T2 as a good value unit that offers a nice sound quality, or the Speakercraft AIM8 DT THREE for the ultimate performance. This has aluminium drivers including an eight-inch bass driver for deeper bass, bass and treble adjustment’s to customise the sound for your rooms’ acoustics and a fully pivoting design to point the sound to where it’s needed.

When planning your installation, keep in mind that because single stereo speakers reproduce both the left and right channels of audio, you need to connect two normal (two-core) speaker cables or one (four-core) speaker cable. Also, a single stereo speaker counts as one pair of speakers when connected to an amplifier, so an amplifier designed to run two pairs of mono speakers would only run two single stereo speakers with the same impedance rating.

Contact our ceiling speaker experts for advice for your project.