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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In order to get the center channel speaker for my 5.1 setup at ear level, it needs to be mounted on the wall between our gas fireplace and the TV niche above it.

My concern with simply mounting the speaker to the wall was that it would be directly in the path of heat coming up from the fireplace. So what I've done is build a 1/2" MDF enclosure for the speaker to mount inside of, which will be recessed into the wall away from the heat. The enclosure has a 1" gap around the sides of the speaker, and the speaker is recessed inwards 1" from the front edge to keep it back from any heat coming up the wall from the fireplace.

The fireplace is a direct vent model so all of the heat is emitted through the front glass, with minimal heat escaping from the top and sides of the unit, so there shouldn't be too much concern about heat inside the wall effecting the speaker enclosure. Also, the back panel of the enclosure that the speaker is mounted to is installed on L-brackets, so adjusting the depth of the speaker is possible if a 1" recess is too much.

What I'm wondering now is will having the speaker recessed into the wall change or effect its acoustics? Any thoughts?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmehak/5349998180/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmehak/5349388085/
 

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Doogals said:
What I'm wondering now is will having the speaker recessed into the wall change or effect its acoustics? Any thoughts?
Interesting project.

Of course changes to a room make a difference to how speakers will sound in it. In fact, on a trip to California this past fall I walked into a Bose store in a mall and they were demoing this TV that had integrated speakers. It sounded okay, but the thing that I came away impressed with was the acoustic qualities of the demo room, more than the quality of the speakers themselves.

But I digress.

While I'm sure there will be a small impact in the sound due to the recessed compartment, I don't think it would be a significant change. You may even prefer the acoustical changes caused by the recessed speaker.
 

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Sometimes we have to sacrifice some quality to achieve other objectives like aesthetics.

I think that you'll be alright with your decision.
 

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Try checking to see what the temperature (with a thermometer) to see what temperature readings are in the recessed area and at the edge.

Depending on the temperatures, I would try to bring that speaker out as far as possible so it's flush with the wall or slightly protruding.

I'm curious, is it hot inside that enclosure? It's proximity to the fireplace and being right above it makes me wonder.
 

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I understand the concerns about the heat, and although it will definitely be more asthetically pleasing, by now enclosing it above the fireplace and the heat of the exhaust, you may have cause an even hotter environment for the speaker. Instead of having it in the open in the line of escaping heat, you are now encasing it in the line of heat with little ventilation. Consider running the fireplace for a couple hours and place your hand on the wall where the enclosure will be. That will be a good indication of how much heat will be induced into that enclosure and in turn the speaker.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Over the past few months I have been monitoring the heat level of that wall before even opening it up - it got warm but never hot. When the fireplace is running for an extended period of time the hottest area on that wall is actually the horizontal trim/molding at the bottom of the TV niche. The shelf that the TV is sitting on extends out from the wall roughly 1-1.5", but that is still enough of an overhang to catch a lot of heat coming up from the fireplace. This was the reason I decided not to simply mount the speaker to the wall in that location, or even place the speaker on a shelf above the fireplace - any kind of overhanging fixture above the fireplace catches a lot of heat.

For the speaker enclosure, the bottom panel doesn't get warm at all, but rather the top panel inside seems to catch more of the heat (the "ceiling" of the speaker enclosure, so to speak). If it turns out that the enclosure is catching too much heat, I might make a removable frame with acoustically transparent mesh that would help deflect the heat upwards and stop it from entering the speaker enclosure.

Inside the wall, the metal fireplace enclosure gets warm to the touch, but not hot enough to even warm up the wood framing that it is attached to (it seems).
 

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Why don't you just test it yourself and decide if there is any noticeable difference? Temporarily fasten a small piece of plywood to the top of your cutout making it stick out about 3" creating a shelf just above your recess, then sit the speaker ontop of that and listen to some music or watch a movie.

Then put the speaker back in the hole and do the same thing.

Does it sound different?

Likely it won't unless the speaker is a big mother with 5" or larger woofers and rear bass ports.

If it's one of those HTIB centers with 2" woofers and no vents, it's unlikely to make any difference where/how you mount it.

Cheers
The REAL Joe
 

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Recessed centre channel speaker

I'm sure by now you have figured out that the placement of your centre speaker likely didn't make any noticeable difference in sound.

I thought I would show you how I handled a similar problem.

For those that worry about the heat behind the wall, it is not a problem with a zero clearance fire box. My biggest concern is the cold air that now filters in around my speaker.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kanuck2/5396850343/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kanuck2/5397446770/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kanuck2/5396846413/

This is my first post here, so forgive me if I don't do it right. I tried posting this way back in January and after hitting submit, my post went nowhere. It has taken me this long to try again.

Scott
 
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