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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know this isn't RL related, but figured this is the best place to ask. I recently installed a set of 8" coaxial ceiling speakers in our main living area as well a pair of two-way exterior speaker on our back deck. Both pairs are driven by a centralized stereo receiver with Bluetooth and A/B speakers that I wired in our hall closet. The frequency range on the ceiling speakers is 55hz to 20k and the outdoor ones are 65hz-20k. So far, we're loving the setup, but I'm a little disappointed with the bass output at lower to mid volume levels. The receiver I have is very basic and only has a "bass" and "treble" setting that goes from -10db to +10db. I'm not certain where the cutoff points are for these settings and it doesn't seem to help all that much with the bass output. The receiver is 100 watts per channel. It and the speakers will play very loudly without any distortion, so I know power isn't the issue. It just seems to be a matter of where the "boost" is applied with the bass and treble settings. I was thinking a 7- or 9-band equalizer in-line such as the Behringer FBQ800 would help this issue. I've never had any experience with them and really don't want to spend an arm and a leg for it. Can any of you esteemed audio gurus provide some advice as to whether it would help or if it's a waste of time and money?
 

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Sounds like (pun intended) you need bass reinforcement for the main living area (at least). You could crossover the ceiling speakers to a cheap powered sub. Parts Express is a good place to start for reasonable price/quality.
 

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I know this isn't RL related, but figured this is the best place to ask. I recently installed a set of 8" coaxial ceiling speakers in our main living area as well a pair of two-way exterior speaker on our back deck. Both pairs are driven by a centralized stereo receiver with Bluetooth and A/B speakers that I wired in our hall closet. The frequency range on the ceiling speakers is 55hz to 20k and the outdoor ones are 65hz-20k. So far, we're loving the setup, but I'm a little disappointed with the bass output at lower to mid volume levels. The receiver I have is very basic and only has a "bass" and "treble" setting that goes from -10db to +10db. I'm not certain where the cutoff points are for these settings and it doesn't seem to help all that much with the bass output. The receiver is 100 watts per channel. It and the speakers will play very loudly without any distortion, so I know power isn't the issue. It just seems to be a matter of where the "boost" is applied with the bass and treble settings. I was thinking a 7- or 9-band equalizer in-line such as the Behringer FBQ800 would help this issue. I've never had any experience with them and really don't want to spend an arm and a leg for it. Can any of you esteemed audio gurus provide some advice as to whether it would help or if it's a waste of time and money?
Well, you asked for it Ian. Stand by for a bunch of bull snot you didn't ask for. :)

Funny thing about ceiling speakers. Some users don't expect much from them other than ambient/low level background sound or rear channels in a surround system. Others think of them as primary listening sources. Those expectations result in very different levels of satisfaction. I'm guessing you are among the first group - who don't expect amazing audio quality but rightly expect some fairly balanced audio from 8" coax's.

Having read your posts, you have a good handle on sound related topics so it's a safe assumption you already did the visual polarity check thing. But I gotta ask... did you listen for polarity? More than a few times in my experience, a visual check says everything is connected correctly, but an audible test proves otherwise. Might be worth a try as a sanity check.

Every speaker - indoor or outdoor - is the same when it comes to the affects of polarity on low frequency reproduction - so an audible check is always a good idea - add the great outdoors to the equation and issues with achieving pleasing bass reproduction grow exponentially. When a speaker plays into the (more or less) infinite space of the outdoors, low frequency tapers dramatically because there is no "room gain" to speak of. The EQ you mentioned will make a woofer cone move farther in its X axis, but that means pushing it harder than it might be comfortable handling. The short answer is the Behringer EQ is a good choice as long as your speakers can handle the extra excursion you'll ask them for when boosting power @ 63hz.

I know you don't want to spend a bunch of bucks - and variables like aesthetics, running cables, power sources, the space you are dealing with, exposure to the elements and other things are huge factors in what you could do or want to do, BUT... if it's within the realm of possibility, a dedicated woofer is by far the better solution for increasing low frequency output outdoors.

As an example: a friend has a nice looking Yurt style pole barn on his property that he makes available for weddings, private parties and such. A while back, we put together an outdoor system on a budget. We ended up with a multiple sub/satellite system that sounded better than OK. For subs, we used several Goldwood MDF vented cabinets, stripped the automotive carpet coverings, rolled the surface(s) inside and out with rubber coating & slapped in the cheapest dual VC drivers we could find. The result was a bunch of (more or less) weather tolerant sub enclosures that sound danged nice for right around $100 each - they are still up and running today. The subs aren't fully exposed to weather but they've handled a couple of years worth of ambient moisture, humidity, heat and cold - and have done so admirably. Over time, he's moved them around and devised a couple of creative cosmetic/functional solutions, like stuffing one in a cedar utility chest or burying them inside hollowed out hay bails. You get the idea. There might be a way to build something relatively inexpensive, integrate it into your environment and have it sound way better than what an EQ could do for you. Parts Express has the items mentioned here. Try this on for size. $33 cabinet + $27 woofer $30 low pass filters = $90. Add some coating and you're @ $120-ish. The Behringer is what, $70? If the dedicated sub were possible in your situation, double the price of the EQ would be well worth the listening pleasure a guy like you deserves. Did I mention I'm on commission? LOL.

$33 - 10” vented enclosure: http://www.parts-express.com/goldwood-e-10sp-10-single-vented-box-speaker-cabinet--260-628

$27 dual VC 10”: http://www.parts-express.com/goldwood-gw-410d-10-poly-dvc-subwoofer--290-362

Anyhoo, the EQ will certainly add flexibility to your system. And it'll be an easy plug and play solution. If I understand the system described, the EQ would be connected in pre-amp-out/amp-in loops on the receiver, or perhaps a send/return facility of some kind. That would mean adjusting the EQ would affect A&B outputs, which I assume are inside/outside spk systems. That'll work of course as long as making A sound the way you like doesn't make B sound like mosquito farts, or Rhinoceros burps, or visa versa. IMO: your idea is not a waste of $. The ceiling spks will probably handle what the system could throw at them and as long as the outdoor spks will handle low freq power increase without complaint, you'd be sitting in tall cotton - as they say down south.

Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Completely understand what you guys are saying. The ceiling speakers are in our main living area. One is above the dining table and the other is in the adjacent sitting area which is all open. There is an attic above both of these rooms which is fully accessible. I was able to run all of the power and speaker wires in this area. The outdoor speakers are directly outside of the sitting room which has a set of French doors to access the outside deck. I was able to drill a small hole to run the speaker wires through to the attic access and put everything into the central hall closet. I know for a fact that my polarity is correct. I double and triple checked my wiring before buttoning everything up. I also have had several hours of listening time on these things now and there is no doubt in my mind the polarity is correct. Don't get me wrong - the bass output is good for what they are. I wasn't expecting sub-quality bass output, but I really would like just a little bit more.

I had thought about running a powered sub as an alternative. I actually have an older AudioSource 10" that I haven't used in years sitting downstairs on a shelf. My only issue is placement and wiring. The entire idea behind the ceiling speakers is that I wanted audio in our main living area, but I didn't want to see any equipment. If I had a boxy hulk of a sub sitting on the floor, that sort of defeats the purpose. Even if I did want to use a sub, wiring would be difficult. I'd have to run two pairs of wiring from the receiver out to the sub and then from the sub back out to each of the speakers. My receiver doesn't have a dedicated sub output, so I'd have to use the speaker level inputs/outputs on the sub itself. I bought a 100' roll of in-wall speaker wire and I have less than 5' left. I'd need to buy another roll and I don't know if the hassle is worth it.

I'm pretty confident my speakers could handle the extra bass output. Before I fully installed the ceiling speakers, I had them hooked up to my little Lepai T-amp and they were really moving. Being that they're 8" speakers rated down to 55hz, there's no worry in my mind. I think the "bass" boost frequency on the Lepai is likely a little lower than my receiver's because the bass seemed a little stronger. Nevertheless, I think a little EQ shaping with more of an emphasis in the 63hz-120hz range would help. Additionally, for a time, I had the outdoor speakers connected in my garage to my old Technics receiver that has a full EQ array on it. They can put out some solid bass with no distortion. If something happens to any of these, they were very affordable and easily replaced.

As far as how I plan to connect the EQ, I have my old iPhone acting as a music source. I mostly just use Pandora radio. I would have a cable running from the iPhone to the input of the EQ then another cable from the output of the EQ to the input of the receiver. I do like to put on the FM radio in the receiver from time to time, so the only downside would be that the EQ wouldn't be able to be used for that input. Nevertheless, I'm just trying to decide if it's worth it to have another piece of equipment in that closet and exactly how much of a benefit I'm going to see from it.
 

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^^^Yep, you have a good handle on the whole shebang.

Short of routing power to the attic, splitting A or B spk feeds already in the ceiling to the AudioSource sub, locating it in such a way to fire thru a vent to the outside, adding a recessed light fixture to vent to the interior listening space - I'm out of ideas.

Of course, then you'd have to find a way to add LED's or lasers or other do-dads. LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I know I'll likely end up with the Behringer at some point. It's not really a priority of mine right now, but I'll likely do it within the next few months. I'll report back as to if it helps or not. My wife enjoys the music, but doesn't have quite the distinguishing ear for SQ that I do. Whereas she doesn't really understand it, she just lets me go and do my thing. A lovely woman, she is.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I pulled the trigger on an equalizer, but not the Behringer. I surfed through eBay and found a very nice old Teac EQA-5 10-band unit with separate left/right controls. It was all of $25 with free shipping. The seller says that it was tested and is fully functional. I noticed that of the many that I was looking at, most had at least one or two knobs or dials missing or lights that didn't work anymore. This one is entirely complete with very minimal wear. I figure that if it doesn't work really well, it's only $25. If it does work well, I've gotten a steal. The internals of an EQ built in the 80's are likely stronger and longer-lasting than that of a modern-day piece of plastic. It's due for delivery on Tuesday of next week, so you can bet I'll be connecting it and playing around that evening. I'll report back with an update on the sound quality after that.
 

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I am not sure if it was mentioned already or not.

To get the most bass from those 8" coax, you may need to build a sealed enclosure based on the manufacturer's specs, assuming you have the room for it behind the wall. That will give you better bass response, then you know, some 8" speakers are not that great.

Good deal on the EQ, that will help a bit also.
 

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Good point on the 'in wall' sub. There's your space saver and bass boost to boot.
 

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I am not sure if it was mentioned already or not.

To get the most bass from those 8" coax, you may need to build a sealed enclosure based on the manufacturer's specs, assuming you have the room for it behind the wall. That will give you better bass response, then you know, some 8" speakers are not that great.

Good deal on the EQ, that will help a bit also.
On the contrary, enclosing a driver with compliance characteristics designed for the (more or less) free space of a ceiling *could be* counter productive. Not to mention a whole lot of work for (likely) detrimental affect.

There are definitely ceiling speakers systems designed with built in enclosures, those enclosures are normally small to accommodate depth & width considerations of their retro-fit design - and whether they are designed to mount directly into a space with existing insulation. Other ceiling systems have no enclosure - for very specific reasons. Tight compliance drivers operating on a baffle (like drywall or other solid surface) NEED open space behind them to reach their specific Fs and maximize Q.

In all cases, retro-fit wall/ceiling mount systems are designed to be installed from the finished side of the surface they are mounted on. Building an enclosure around a retrofit system would be very challenging for any fabricator. And second guessing the OEM would (almost always) defeat sound quality goals of the OEM.

New construction is another story altogether and is full of potential, where the imagination can run wild.
 

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Ian, since I don't know the floor plan or what else the closet with the equipment has in it I have no idea if this would be possible, but couldn't you place the spare sub on the floor of the closet.

I only suggest this as I did something similar in my first house. The wall the entertainment equipment was on was really short to place it next to the entertainment center. So I placed it in the hall closet behind it. The only thing I had to do was use museum putty on the pictures on the wall nearest the closet to stop things from rattling.
 

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I would certainly out-rule an in-wall sub if you did not already have ceiling speakers. But you have a dedicated listening area by having them so I think the idea of adding a sub in the wall still has merit.

But as OhSix has well stated, there are several considerations to take into account. Given that and based on the relatively simple configuration of your existing system, you could still gain with a modest sub IF you could meet those challenges (closet, etc.).

There are many in wall sub products, but how they would integrate with your existing construction would need further investigation as to the how and where.
There are some in/on wall subs that don't require a very deep cavity to be quite effective.
Another alternative are the very small subs that pack a punch in a relatively small cube that should be relatively easy to place.

I agree on the getting the best signal to your existing speakers within reason, but nothing will replace a sub IMO.
 

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Well, since I would never put a speaker inside a wall, I was not even aware they designed drivers to play bass better in an IB set up inside a wall, applying that concept to a car, if that is the case, some serious power would be needed for those speakers in order to deliver more bass without an enclosure. I know in the past, they would never match a speaker system's bass in an sealed or ported enclosure. Maybe times have changed.

Maybe Ian is having high expectations, I know big open rooms will not matched bass played in smaller rooms, and if drivers are placed in front of softer or less stiffer walls.

I have no experience with in wall speakers, anything I a have seen in new demo houses has been below average compared to even bookshelf small average speakers.

Maybe the EQ would improve things.
 

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Well, since I would never put a speaker inside a wall, I was not even aware they designed drivers to play bass better in an IB set up inside a wall, applying that concept to a car, if that is the case, some serious power would be needed for those speakers in order to deliver more bass without an enclosure. I know in the past, they would never match a speaker system's bass in an sealed or ported enclosure. Maybe times have changed.

Maybe Ian is having high expectations, I know big open rooms will not matched bass played in smaller rooms, and if drivers are placed in front of softer or less stiffer walls.

I have no experience with in wall speakers, anything I a have seen in new demo houses has been below average compared to even bookshelf small average speakers.

Maybe the EQ would improve things.
I don't really have any hands on experience with wall subs, but I do know some of the most reputable speaker manufactures do make them and I have read very favorable reviews.
I think it kind of falls into a similar category of the better sound bars used for flat panels.
They are hardly ideal compared with well placed speakers in a calibrated room. But they can be day and night compared with speakers built into displays.
I do think one of those very small subs that run in 8X8" powered cubes do work quite well in more modest systems.
Certainly finding a place for a sub that measures less than a foot in every dimension would be a desirable alternative to breaking into drywall.
 

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Well, since I would never put a speaker inside a wall, I was not even aware they designed drivers to play bass better in an IB set up inside a wall, applying that concept to a car, if that is the case, some serious power would be needed for those speakers in order to deliver more bass without an enclosure. I know in the past, they would never match a speaker system's bass in an sealed or ported enclosure. Maybe times have changed.

Maybe Ian is having high expectations, I know big open rooms will not matched bass played in smaller rooms, and if drivers are placed in front of softer or less stiffer walls.

I have no experience with in wall speakers, anything I a have seen in new demo houses has been below average compared to even bookshelf small average speakers.

Maybe the EQ would improve things.
Well, since I would never put a speaker inside a wall, I was not even aware they designed drivers to play bass better in an IB set up inside a wall, applying that concept to a car, if that is the case, some serious power would be needed for those speakers in order to deliver more bass without an enclosure. I know in the past, they would never match a speaker system's bass in an sealed or ported enclosure. Maybe times have changed.

Maybe Ian is having high expectations, I know big open rooms will not matched bass played in smaller rooms, and if drivers are placed in front of softer or less stiffer walls.

I have no experience with in wall speakers, anything I a have seen in new demo houses has been below average compared to even bookshelf small average speakers.

Maybe the EQ would improve things.
You would never place a speaker in a wall? That's unfortunate. I would suggest you are missing out on significant entertainment by adopting that rather odd position. During a remodel in 2005, I added ceiling speakers in the kitchen and master bath of my home. They play an important role in tranquilizing the morning before work, or adding enjoyment to the preparation of a Sunday morning meal, or entertaining friends. Of course, those activities aren't the time for critical listening. But they do provide satisfying audio quality while moving around a home without having to blast from the living room. These little guys do a great job of providing a musical backdrop for life at home. In Ian's case, his ceiling speakers might be farther away than these, but in my case, they are close, especially in the kitchen. Remember the kitchen - butt bumping - dance around with friends scene in "Big Chill"? That's the kind of reaction ceiling speakers have brought about. Great fun. No need to mention the affects of music on a couple in a candle lit bath tub. LOL.

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BTW: drivers of various compliance have been around for over 50 years. There is nothing new about compliance characteristics that work well outside of an enclosure. The position that a sealed enclosure is "better" than a vented enclosure (or visa versa) is fallacy. It isn't unusual for a loudspeaker to possess mechanical characteristics to operate very well in an infinite baffle environment. Audiophiles around the world have been deploying various iterations of super-high efficiency, full range, single drivers in all kinds of enclosure configurations - including NO enclosure since the beginning of audio reproduction time. Ever heard a good transmission line enclosure? How about an open baffle sub woofer? Ever listened to a great recording on bi-polar Maggies? How about electrostatic panesl? Martin Logans? Quads? Some who have call it an emotional experience. And most of those don't even have a baffle, let alone an enclosure, so there you go.

Fostex-FF85K-Eminence-Alpha-15A-Open-Baffle-Speaker~4.jpg Diaphony6.jpg magnep10.jpg
 

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You would never place a speaker in a wall? That's unfortunate. I would suggest you are missing out on significant entertainment by adopting that rather odd position. During a remodel in 2005, I added ceiling speakers in the kitchen and master bath of my home. They play an important role in tranquilizing the morning before work, or adding enjoyment to the preparation of a Sunday morning meal, or entertaining friends. Of course, those activities aren't the time for critical listening. But they do provide satisfying audio quality while moving around a home without having to blast from the living room. These little guys do a great job of providing a musical backdrop for life at home. In Ian's case, his ceiling speakers might be farther away than these, but in my case, they are close, especially in the kitchen. Remember the kitchen - butt bumping - dance around with friends scene in "Big Chill"? That's the kind of reaction ceiling speakers have brought about. Great fun. No need to mention the affects of music on a couple in a candle lit bath tub. LOL.


BTW: drivers of various compliance have been around for over 50 years. There is nothing new about compliance characteristics that work well outside of an enclosure. The position that a sealed enclosure is "better" than a vented enclosure (or visa versa) is fallacy. It isn't unusual for a loudspeaker to possess mechanical characteristics to operate very well in an infinite baffle environment. Audiophiles around the world have been deploying various iterations of super-high efficiency, full range, single drivers in all kinds of enclosure configurations - including NO enclosure since the beginning of audio reproduction time. Ever heard a good transmission line enclosure? How about an open baffle sub woofer? Ever listened to a great recording on bi-polar Maggies? How about electrostatic panesl? Martin Logans? Quads? Some who have call it an emotional experience. And most of those don't even have a baffle, let alone an enclosure, so there you go.

I used to be subscribed to Home HIFI stereo magazines in the 80's through early 90's.

I read many reviews about many speakers even in wall speakers, I do not recall reading one single good thing about any in wall speaker ever. Maybe it was the editor's choice bias to traditional brands and designs, I do not know and I don't really care.

Maybe I saw some reviews of speakers like you show on the pictures, and like I said, I do not recall reading greatness about any of those designs, I am sure some work as good or better, at the same time, I assume they cost more and maybe some of the things I read was they cost way more than the traditional speakers, and I never cared to know more about them or listen to any, maybe times are different and they are more affordable.

Just like many do not care much a about Bose, pretty much the same thing even when they reviewed Bose, and a few times some systems had decent reviews, I never cared about them and I did listen to many home Bose Systems.

The reason I would never put a speaker in a wall is just a personal choice, it is too much work in an older home and I like the flexibility to place speakers in different locations, also when you have a family where pretty much everybody likes different music. We have a boom box on top of the fridge in the kitchen, in my room I only listen to talk radio, we also use one of those Logic Tech UE boom, I don't, but they use it and it gets loud for what it is, it works with BT and it is portable and I can put it in the bathroom, if I want to.

I had a dedicated room theater that became a video room for one of the kids, got another set up in the fam room where we watch movies sometimes, we hardly play music, we may play youtube videos through a chromecast USB and the HT system sometimes. The living room is a lonely room where I have another basic stereo system and a Turntable. A lot of the home audio stuff get less use than the Truck's sound system or my phone or ipod when I walk the dogs or go for a bike ride. The TV is on most of the time, another reason the audio systems are not played often.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I contacted the manufacturer of my ceiling speakers and they told me that they were designed to be in a free-air or infinite baffle configuration. I had fully planned on building an enclosure to put behind them in the attic. It's fully accessible and wouldn't be an issue to create a nice, sealed enclosure. However, the manufacturer told me that an enclosure would likely be detrimental to the bass output. Therefore, I scrapped that idea. I truly think that the EQ will help greatly. If it doesn't get me to a satisfactory level of bass output, I may just try putting the 10" sub I have on the floor of the closet where the receiver is. The only downside to that would be that the door to the closet would need to be open for the sound to reach the listening area. I'm not interested in an in-wall subwoofer at all. I don't want to cut any more holes in the drywall and the wiring would be difficult. I greatly appreciate the input of all of you.
 

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I agree on trying a sub. I picked up a 10" JBL on Ebay (refurb) for 90 bucks sold directly by JBL.
We use it with a bedroom display and a sound bar. Very decent bass for that application.

I did not want my in-wall sub suggestion to be a priority, it is not the best solution. Although reviews of recent installs (in the 21st Century) are impressive but certainly not the best solution for most of us.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I agree on trying a sub. I picked up a 10" JBL on Ebay (refurb) for 90 bucks sold directly by JBL.
We use it with a bedroom display and a sound bar. Very decent bass for that application.

I did not want my in-wall sub suggestion to be a priority, it is not the best solution. Although reviews of recent installs (in the 21st Century) are impressive but certainly not the best solution for most of us.
I had also thought about an add-on wireless transmitter/receiver. I could use the outputs from the receiver and wire into the transmitter. Then I could have the receiver wired into the sub anywhere in the living space as long as it was close to an electrical outlet. I really don't know what I'd need, per se, but all the decent products I've seen are relatively expensive for what they are. I wouldn't mind throwing my sub in the closet with the receiver, but I don't know if my wife would be all that thrilled about losing that closet space.
 

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I contacted the manufacturer of my ceiling speakers and they told me that they were designed to be in a free-air or infinite baffle configuration. I had fully planned on building an enclosure to put behind them in the attic. It's fully accessible and wouldn't be an issue to create a nice, sealed enclosure. However, the manufacturer told me that an enclosure would likely be detrimental to the bass output. Therefore, I scrapped that idea. I truly think that the EQ will help greatly. If it doesn't get me to a satisfactory level of bass output, I may just try putting the 10" sub I have on the floor of the closet where the receiver is. The only downside to that would be that the door to the closet would need to be open for the sound to reach the listening area. I'm not interested in an in-wall subwoofer at all. I don't want to cut any more holes in the drywall and the wiring would be difficult. I greatly appreciate the input of all of you.
It will work, doubtful the closet is an airtight enclosure.

I had also thought about an add-on wireless transmitter/receiver. I could use the outputs from the receiver and wire into the transmitter. Then I could have the receiver wired into the sub anywhere in the living space as long as it was close to an electrical outlet. I really don't know what I'd need, per se, but all the decent products I've seen are relatively expensive for what they are. I wouldn't mind throwing my sub in the closet with the receiver, but I don't know if my wife would be all that thrilled about losing that closet space.
Give her the $100-$150 for the wireless transmitter and she'll be fine ;)
 
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