Sonance’s New Discreet Opening Architectural Speakers Are Deceptively Awesome

Sonance’s New Discreet Opening Architectural Speakers Are Deceptively Awesome

Compactness almost always comes with compromises. I love theSmart Car, for example, especially for its ability to park perpendicularly in a parallel parking spot, but let’s face it: the Smart isn’t exactly a luxury automobile, nor a high-performance one at that. The reason I mention this is because when I walked into Dana Innovations’ booth at this year’s CEDIA Expo and saw the new Sonance “Discreet Opening System” Architectural Series speakers, I dug the concept: a tiny four-inch flush-mount round or square grille designed to match the look of trim-less downlights, housing surprisingly powerful little speakers meant to be seen and never heard. What’s not to love about that? What I didn’t expect, though, was for them to sound absolutely incredible. After all, there’s only so much sound you can squeeze through a four-inch hole, right? Or so I thought. That was before I stepped around the corner and heard Sonance’s demo of the system, which even on the noisy CEDIA show floor sounded spectacular.   Some of that is certainly attributable to the design of the speakers themselves, which feature ceramic dome tweeters and high-excursion carbon-fiber and Rohacell laminated woofers. Some of it also comes from the fact that Sonance has managed to pack a subwoofer into the exact same four-inch opening, by way of a beefy box that hides away in the attic and ports out to the ceiling via a flexible tube, not entirely unlike the exhaust hose for your clothes dryer (although certainly made of much sturdier stuff). The combined effect of the BPS6 Bandpass Subwoofer plus four of the AS38RS two-way satellitesspeakers is kinda magical—so much so...