Ceiling Speakers In the Kitchen

Beginners Guide to Multiroom Audio & Ceiling Speakers

Understanding multiroom audio and the available options will help you get the right system for your requirements

A Brief History of Multiroom Audio

Multiroom audio is a term given to a home audio system that consists of multiple zones. These zones can play different content at different volumes, or be grouped together to play the same content in multiple areas at the same time. This provides a flexible whole home audio solution for multiple users.

Until fairly recently, multiroom audio systems were the reserve of high end properties due to the costs involved. Multiroom systems could easily cost tens of thousands of pounds, making them out of reach for most. However, due to advances in technology, new high speed wireless standards, and the rise of smartphones and smarthome tech, multiroom audio is now more accessible than ever.

Products like the original Sonos ZP100 streaming amplifier (now the Sonos Amp) completely changed the multiroom audio world. With Sonos, customers could buy 2 or 3 cost effective audio zones, rather than one expensive system designed to do 6 or 12 zones. This instantly made multiroom audio much more accessible, and a true alternative to individual systems like Hi-Fis and mini systems. Streaming products like Sonos also quickly embraced the rapid change from buying CDs and downloading MP3s, to listening to music via the internet with subscription streaming services.

The genius of Sonos was its wireless connectivity and control, initially via a dedicated controller, and later using the now familiar smartphone app. This made the system easy to install and operate. Sonos’s proprietary wireless system meant amplifiers could be easily installed throughout a house without any physical connections between them, which was ideal for retrofit installations in existing properties. Alternatively speakers could all be wired back to a single location with amps housed in a media hub. Either way, Sonos is still the perfect system for small or large installations, and has become synonymous with multiroom audio and modern home audio in general.

Although systems like Sonos have their own plug-and-play wireless speaker options, using an amplifier with passive speakers provides much higher fidelity, and when used with in-ceiling and in-wall speakers they create the perfect high quality invisible audio solution. The rise of products like Sonos has also led to a rise in the number of speaker manufacturers building their own custom installation speaker range. Nearly all speaker brands now offer a range of in-ceiling and in-wall speakers that build on the heritage of their traditional Hi-Fi speakers, and in most cases use similar technology to achieve Hi-Fi sound quality.

Are Installed Speakers Any Good?

In-ceiling and in-wall speakers are a great solution for home audio, and can provide fantastic sound quality while also being super discreet and virtually invisible. If you think ceiling speakers are poor quality compared to traditional speakers and plug-in wireless speakers, then think again. All models from top brands use technology from their Hi-Fi speakers to produce high quality true-to-life sound, and premium models can sound every bit as good as their Hi-Fi relatives if installed correctly (for further information on this please read our blog, ‘Getting the best from your custom installation speakers’).

In the same way that early digital music formats like MP3 prioritised convenience over sound quality, the same is true for today's popular standalone home audio products. Many people have swapped traditional Hi-Fi for compact Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers that are small, easy to use, and on the face of it, sound fairly good. But in order to get a pleasing sound from something so small, manufacturers have to use clever sound processing techniques and heavily compress the audio. These processes have a catastrophic effect on audio fidelity, and kill the emotion of music. The chilling vocal that makes your hairs stand on end, or the searing guitar solo that cuts the air, are all lost in this process. Anyone who’s played their favourite tracks on a good system and suddenly hears them properly for the first time will understand the detail that is so often lost in reproduction on compact devices.

At Ceiling Speakers we’re passionate about bringing the emotion back to audio, but doing it in a way that doesn’t involve lots of visible equipment. With the right products and the right advice you can enjoy music throughout your home in high quality just the way the artist intended. And with so many streaming services now offering high resolution audio, it’s time to put away the toys and listen to music on grown up systems that actually make you feel something!

Most Popular Speaker Brands

Not Sure Where to Start?... No Problem

There has never been more choice when it comes to installed speaker solutions. This can of course make choosing the right system daunting, but that’s why we’re here! Our expert team all come from an audio sales and installation background, so we can help you cut through the plethora of options to find the exact products for your requirements. We are also happy to assist our customers in every aspect of their project from planning to first fix, and installation to setup.

Although some systems require professional AV installation, and this is certainly true for some custom-installed multiroom audio products, systems like Sonos are really very straightforward. We regularly help customers, electricians, builders and project managers install these systems without any professional audio assistance.

Getting the right system for your requirements and making sure the cabling infrastructure is correct is still an important part of any installation of course, so if you’re looking to add an audio system to your project then please get in touch and we can help talk you through the options, recommend the correct products, and advise on their installation and setup. Our goal is to help you install the right system, at the right price, and with the right technical backup, so you can enjoy great audio experiences everyday. Very few audio/visual retailers actually know their products inside and out, and that’s what sets us apart. We’re also a Sonos Platinum Dealer, and all our staff use Sonos in their own homes, so you can trust that our experts really know their stuff.

To make choosing the right products easier, we also have an extensive range of curated audio system packages which combine popular streaming amplifiers like the Sonos Amp with recommended speakers from top brands. Finding the perfect system couldn't be easier. For more details on our available packages please read on.

External or Built-In Amplifiers?

Until recently, in-ceiling speakers have always required an external amplifier. However Lithe Audio, a relative newcomer to multiroom audio, developed a ceiling speaker range which features a built-in amplifier and Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity. These speakers don’t require speaker cable to be run back to an amplifier, and can be powered from a lighting circuit, making them a popular choice for retrofitting.

Both systems have pros and cons, so it’s important to understand the difference to ensure you get the best system for your needs and installation.

External Amplifier (eg. Sonos Amp)


  • Higher quality amplification and power output
  • Flexibility to pair with any passive speakers for different budgets and quality
  • One amp can drive 4 speakers (more with a speaker switch)
  • Can be connected to other speaker types such as in-wall, on-wall and outdoor
  • Better connectivity and integration with other products such as TVs
  • A greater range of compatible products and more flexibility to expand the system
  • Hardwired speakers are typically more reliable
  • Better upgradability with the option to upgrade the amp and speakers separately


  • Can be more difficult to install if retrofitting as speaker cable is required between the amp and speakers

Built-In Amplifier (Lithe Audio)


  • Built-in amplifier simplifies installation in some cases
  • Can be a cheaper alternative to separate amp and speakers
  • Pro models can be powered via PoE (Power over Ethernet)


  • Higher quality audio can be achieved with separate components
  • Upgrading requires replacing the entire product
  • Product range is not as diverse as systems like Sonos
  • Bluetooth only speakers can’t be grouped together, so Wi-Fi models are required for true multiroom audio.
  • Speakers require a 240V mains power supply which may require an electrician

Our Curated Amp & Speaker Packages

We’ve taken the time to pair leading multiroom amplifiers like the Sonos Amp with great speakers from top manufacturers to suit a range of budgets. These packages are a fantastic way to buy audio zones, and feature competitive click-to-buy savings straight off the bat. Why not browse our selection of packages suited to your requirements, and let us know if you have any questions. Of course, if you have any specific requirements or want a combination of amp and speaker that we don’t currently have listed, then please let us know and we can provide a bespoke quotation.

Please note that a single amplifier component is only designed to drive one zone (or room). In order to have independent zones that can play different music at the same time and at different volumes, it is necessary to have a separate amplifier for each zone. In some circumstances it may be possible to install a speaker switch to provide on/off control of a number of speakers in different areas, but this only provides rudimentary control and isn’t considered to be a good solution for completely separate rooms. If in doubt please contact us and we can recommend the right setup for your requirements.

Sonos Amp

The original, and arguably one of the best wireless streaming amplifiers. Sonos is hugely popular with our customers as it combines great quality, extensive features, ease of use, and bulletproof reliability. Perfect from small and large installations alike, Sonos has it all.

  • Easy to setup and operate via the Sonos app
  • Access a huge range of streaming services including music, internet radio, podcasts and audiobooks
  • Stream music from a mobile device, computer or network hard drive
  • Apple AirPlay 2 compatible
  • Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect compatible
  • Easily connect a TV via HDMI ARC
  • Connect external devices such as a turntable
  • Combine with other Sonos products for a complete home entertainment solution

Sonos Amp & 1x Stereo In-Ceiling Speaker - Great for small rooms such as bathrooms, en-suites, and offices.

Sonos Amp & 2x In-Ceiling Speakers - Great for medium sized rooms such as average sized kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms.

Sonos Amp & 4x In-Ceiling Speakers - Great for larger rooms and open plan spaces such as kitchen/dining rooms. Adding a 2-way speaker switch can provide on/off control of each pair of speakers if required.

Sonos Amp & In-Wall Speakers - Great for music and TV applications in areas where high quality audio is paramount or in-ceiling speakers are not viable.

Sonos Amp & Outdoor Speakers - All weather speakers to extend your Sonos system into the garden.

Bluesound Powernode

The Bluesound Powernode is a great alternative to Sonos for those looking for an even more refined audio experience. Built with very high quality components and tuned to perfection for maximum performance, the Powernode hardware and BluOS operating system provides high quality streaming from more hi-res music services than any other amplifier.

Bluesound Powernode & In-Ceiling Speakers

Bluesound Powernode & Outdoor Speakers


HEOS is a multiroom streaming system by audio powerhouse Denon. Although lacking in some of the features provided by Sonos and Bluesound, HEOS is a slightly cheaper multiroom audio alternative. HEOS is also built into many Denon and Marantz AV receivers, so if you already have this functionality in an existing system, then HEOS could be a cost effective way to expand your setup.

Denon HEOS & In-Ceiling Speakers

Denon HEOS & Outdoor Speakers

WiiM Amp

The WiiM Amp is an affordable Wi-Fi streaming amplifier which is perfect for pairing with installed speakers for a discreet music system that won't break the bank. Despite it's affordable price, the WiiM Amp has an extensive range of features and connectivity options which makes it a great solution for multiroom audio on a budget.

  • Compatible with Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast Audio, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect and DLNA
  • Connect multiple music and radio streaming services in one place through the WiiM Home app
  • Play digital music files from a hard drive or USB drive
  • Digital optical and analog inputs for external sources
  • Connect a TV via HDMI ARC
  • Subwoofer output with user adjustable crossover
  • 2-way Bluetooth 5.1
  • High quality DAC for 24-bit 192 kHz Hi-Res Audio
  • Highly customisable EQ - 24 presets, 10-band graphic EQ, 4-band parametric EQ
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google and Siri

WiiM Amp & In-Ceiling Speakers

Sonos Amp Connectivity Guide

The Sonos Amp is one of our best selling products for multiroom systems thanks to its great sound quality, extensive features, ease or use, and reliability. But it is also one of the best amplifiers when it comes to connectivity and integration with other products. Take a look at our Sonos Amp Connectivity Guide to see all the different ways it can integrate into your home audio.

  • Connect via Wi-Fi or Ethernet
  • Full control via phone, tablet or PC
  • Connect a TV via HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) - provides auto on/off and volume control via TV remote
  • Connect an external line level source such as a turntable or CD player
  • Add a Sonos wireless subwoofer or hardwired subwoofer for earth shaking bass

In Conclusion

Custom installation speakers are a great way to enjoy high quality audio throughout your home without impacting décor, and should definitely be a consideration when doing any kind of renovation or new construction. Integrated audio solutions are a feature of many modern homes these days, and not just reserved for luxury properties anymore thanks to systems like Sonos. Building the right audio/visual specification into your project is a must for modern living, as well as a great way to add value and the ‘wow factor’ to your property.

Do it right, do it once

Get the help you need and the right products at the right price all in one place at Ceiling-Speakers.co.uk.