Review (December 2006)
By Kevin Nakano
The demand for in-wall speakers has increased over the years with both new and older homes taking advantage of distributed audio systems. Home owners no longer have to put up with poor sounding in-wall speakers with inferior designs. Some of the latest models from a variety of manufacturers rival the sound quality found in some of the better boxed speakers. Phase Technology has a new Custom Installation (CI) series of in-wall designs that will please both the interior decorator as well as the audiophile. Having reviewed Phase Technology's V-10 5.1 home theater speaker system a couple of years back, we were excited to see and hear what their technology could do for in-wall speaker designs. We received a pair of their CI-20VII full-range speakers that features a 6.5-inch injection-molded polypropylene woofer and a 1" soft dome tweeter. The tweeter is designed to pivot so that the high frequencies can be directed into the listening area. This is a nice feature since high frequencies typically roll of rapidly as you get off-axis. Just below the tweeter is a 3-position switch that adjusts the high frequency level ±3dB. So now it is time to tackle the installation of these speakers.
The CI-20VII woofer has a large magnet designed with a high temperature voice coil for maximum performance and long term reliability. For those needing IR control of their system, the front baffle also includes an IR window for a convenient location for the IR repeater to be installed. The color of both the frame and the grill closely matched our wall color, allowing it to blend seamlessly into our decor. However, if you and have less benign colors in your room, the frame and speaker grill can easily be painted to match the surroundings.
The gold-plated terminal posts located on the main crossover board assembly make it easy to attach the speaker wires. The spring-loaded and color-coded posts accept stripped wire that get firmly pinched when inserted. In our installation we used 14-gauge Tributaries wires connected to our ZP100 Zone Player, part of the Sonos Digital Music system. On the back of the speaker assembly, the woofer has an acoustically transparent material covering the basket to prevent debris from getting into the woofer cone area. This is a great idea that few in-wall speakers manufactures have used. The potential problem of buzzing debris is alleviated with this design. This can be even more of an issue with speakers that are mounted in the ceiling where gravity forces loose material right onto the speaker assembly.
- Kevin Nakano
System : Sonos
Digital Music System with a ZP100 Zone Player
|Review - At a Glance|
Technology - CI-20 VII In-Wall Systems
Warranty: 10 years
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