Looking for small speakers

hatman52September 18, 2007

Looking for a set of small, low-profile speakers to sit hidden on top of our corner kitchen cabinets. I currently have a set of Polk R150s there (on their side), and they sound great, but the top 3-4" of the cabinet can be seen, which is what we're trying to avoid. (To save this from thread drift, we don't want to put plants in front of the speakers, use in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, etc.)

The Bose 161 is a very low-profile speaker, but it doesn't seem to get the best reviews (I do understand that Bose speakers tend to be very polarizing). Again, these are speakers for our kithen, sitting on top of cabinets 8 feet off the ground, so I'm not expecting high fidelity -- just nice background music that doesn't sound like it's coming out of a cheap boom box.

Any thoughts on the Bose 161? Any other very small (or short, or narrow) speakers worth checking out?

Thanks in advance.

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I have Polk bookshelf speakers for a secondary system and they sound good. Couldn't you save some time, money and aggravation and paint the cabinets and redo the screens with some color that would blend better with the cabinet and the kitchen overall? Just a thought...

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 9:56AM
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I'm not too particular about the sound in the kitchen, but I do have some input as I have the 161's in the kitchen, on top of a cabinet. Before remodelling the kitchen 5 years ago, we had some pretty cheap Realistic speakers (8" woofers, I think), hung up next to the ceiling at opposite ends of the very small kitchen. Sounded great. After the remodel, I got the Bose 161's because we were limited by the height of the speaker. As you know, the 161s are pretty "short". I'm not thrilled with the sound, and it's because of both the speakers and the placement. But we didn't want to see them, or spend a fortune. So just be prepared for the fact that they will not sound as good as your Polks. A trade-off which you will have to decide about. Steve

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 12:01PM
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What about laying the Polk's on their back? It's not as deep as it is tall. As for small speakers take a look at Monitor audio. I think it's the, "Radius" line. The smallest ones are not much bigger than the Bose but should sound quite a bit better. Also the OMNISAT v2 SAT from Mirage is also very small. You're not going to get much bass out of such tiny speakers however. If you have space to lay the Polk's on their back then you save the money and it probably works out better.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 3:57PM
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I would not lay any speaker on its back. First, very few speakers are designed to work accurately with their backs against a flat surface. Second, you will be listening "off-axis" -- the component speakers typically are designed to broadcast their sound less than 180 degrees around, so you'll be even below the edges of that boundary. Finally, speakers in kitchens -- even large, well-ventilated ones -- acquire disturbing amounts of grease; a speaker on its back will collect that grease on its speaker grille, which certainly won't do anything positive for sound.

If you're willing to buy used to get a good set of tiny speakers for non-critical listening and for not a lot of money, consider picking up a pair of classic Radio Shack Minimus-7s. They're about 7 inches high and four inches wide and deep. They are made of metal painted in black, white, or silver and they could easily be repainted if they still were visible after installation. Radio Shack no longer makes these, thought they still sell some which don't sound as good. The 7s are tough speakers and they're not very expensive through eBay and even cheaper if you're willing to "shop" craigslist and the like. I've used a pair on and off for the last couple of decades on secondary hi-fis. They're surprisingly good for the price and their size. Other very small speakers of that vintage came from a/d/s and Canton, but they'll be much harder to find.

Newer tiny speakers are available from Role Audio (6x4x5 and good-sounding but rather expensive and hard to find); NHT (a little bigger, but black, white, or brown, and decent-sounding); and Gallo (Nucleus and A'Diva lines). You'll have to go to a high-end audio retailer to find and listen to these, though.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2007 at 9:26PM
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