coNEXTion Systems z600c/z200c In-Ceiling Speakers
By Greg Robinson
When I reflect on the various in-ceiling speaker demonstrations I've witnessed, it occurs to me that my post-demo impressions always fall somewhere between "ehh" and "not bad." Reason being, in-ceiling speakers have traditionally filled a niche of convenience or compromise where sound quality is not crucial. Not that there's anything wrong with that—in-ceilings are frequently used for ambience or for distributed audio systems and, in most cases, they can be perfectly adequate.
Unfortunately, "adequate" doesn't get my heart racing. That's why I'm encouraged by the zc Series of speakers from coNEXTion Systems. Comprised of six models and promising "zero tools" installation, the series pushes the envelope of what in-ceiling speakers can do.
DESCRIPTION AND INSTALLATION
The zc Series consists of two eight-inch three-way models and four 6.5-inch two-way models. I had the opportunity to install a trio of coNEXTion's largest three-ways (z600c) mated with three of its most versatile two-ways (z200c).
Like the rest of the zc Series, both models are sturdily packed and the ceiling frame can be easily retrieved for installation without touching the speaker. The speaker remains safely in-box until the dust has literally settled.
Every model in the zc Series features coNEXTion's Z-Tool frame. This frame (and its resident speaker baffle) is a marvel of engineering and one of those things that makes you wonder why everyone hasn't been doing it like this all along. Once your ceiling holes are cut and your wire is fished, the frame slides into the hole and clamps down on the drywall (in my case) using four swing-out "dogs."
It should be noted that you'll need 1.5 inches of additional circumference inside the ceiling bay to accommodate these dogs, although you can fudge things a little if necessary. In my case, an unexpected crossbeam infringed on that 1.5 inches and prevented one dog from fully swinging out; however, because the dogs are at the frame's corners and the frame's orientation is independent from the speaker, I was able to rotate the frame 45 degrees, giving the dogs just enough room to avoid the crossbeam.