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Wednesday
Jan 28 2015

KEF's Custom Install Speaker Placement Tool

Whether you're a full-time installer or a home owner getting ready to tackle that basement media room you've been dying to build, custom installed speakers are a great way to make a room look and sound great. KEF's Ci Series are designed and manufactured to produce KEF's world-renown sound quality with a fit and finish that does justice to our brand.

To make it even easier to use KEF's Custom Install products in your next project, our engineers have developed a software tool that allows you to easily enter your room dimensions, listening habits and desired sound level in order to calculate what type of speaker – and how many of each – you should use for the best quality sound.

Here are a few screenshots from the Ci Placement Tool to give you an idea of how it works and how helpful it could be as you start your design. You may want to magnify this as you read it here, but in actual size on your monitor the program screen is easily readable.

In the first example we're installing KEF Ci160QR speakers in 16x24 foot room with 10 foot ceilings. The Ci160QR is a 6.5" Uni-Q driver from our Ci Q Series.

Figure 1.

Figure 1 is a screen shot of our calculation to place the Ci160QR in our room. The colors indicate the expected SPL in relationship to the room dimensions. For medium coverage in our 16x24x10 room we should install 6 Ci160QR speakers in the ceiling.

Figure 2.

Figure 2 is a close-up of the information window shown in Figure 1 . The options chosen by the User are shown along with the expected SPL and number of recommended speakers. In this example, we would expect an average SPL for voice and music of around 86dB, which is quite sufficient (and comfortable) for a room of the size we are experimenting with. A peak of 96dB (using pink noise standard) is loud, but not overly so.

Figure 3.

Figure 3 shows the Placement Tab result with the center of each speaker indicated by a dot (red for the right channel and blue for the left channel). The dots show the placement of each speaker relative to the measurements of the room, making it as easy as possible to draw up your plans, or to let your sheetrock guy know where to cut the holes.

Figure 4.

Figure 4 shows the wiring diagram (for stereo).

Figure 5.

In Figure 5 we specified a Ci80QR in a 16x12x10 room. The Ci80QR is a 3" (50W) Uni-Q driver and in the layout we chose, the software alerts us to the fact that this speaker would not be a good fit (our options are to increase the number or size of the speaker). Having a calculated response to our design issues is a great comfort (and budget protector!).

In the last series of screen shots, we are specifying a Ci200QR (8" Uni-Q) driver in our 16x24x10 room. Figure 6 shows the coverage provided when we choose "Fewer" speakers. Even with a great speaker like the Ci200QR, if we under-spec the amount of speakers we're going to have minimal coverage except for the areas directly under the drivers. No matter how good a speaker disperses sound, if the room is too large and the amount of speakers used too small, the results will be disappointing.

Figure 7 shows the result when we pick a medium amount of speakers for our room, in this case six. While the overall coverage is better, we can still see that once we get three feet or so out from the speaker itself our SPL drops to around 86dB, which may or may not be satisfactory to the normal listener.

Figure 8 shows a spec calling for fairly wide coverage within the room. As we can see, in this configuration average SPL drops to around 89dB, but only against the walls of the room and in the very center.

Figure 6.

Figure 7.


Figure 8.

KEF's Speaker Placement Tool can really be an invaluable aid when designing the optimum Custom Install in your living / listening space.

The KEF Ci Speaker Placement app is free and can be downloaded here . Please note that at this time the Placement Tool only works with Windows.

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