Speakers

Can ‘Invisible’ Transducers Solve OLED TV Audio Concerns?

Super-thin ‘wallpaper’ OLED TVs look great, but require audio enhancement. Could aesthetically pleasing ‘invisible’ transducers be the answer to OLED TV audio concerns?

Can ‘Invisible’ Transducers Solve OLED TV Audio Concerns?
An integrator can install eight transducers around a flat panel TV in less than 2 hours for under $3,000.

Photos & Slideshow

Jason Knott · July 10, 2017

Could transducer technology be the savior for the sound limitations associated with today’s flat panel TVs? Recently, several integrators seeing the new LG Electronics super-thin OLED TV debated the best way to offer companion audio to go with the flat panel TV. The pros and cons of using in-ceiling, in-wall, soundbar and on-wall options were all on the table, but so was and old school technology that seems to be re-emerging as a possible aesthetically pleasing OLED TV audio solution: transducers.

Indeed, soundbars emerged over the past several years as the de facto audio solution for flat panel TVs with no ability to offer quality (or even barely audible) sound. But that was for TVs that were 2-inches deep. Now with OLED technology like the LG units, the TVs are less than ¼-inch deep.

"I believe speaker-less audio is the next major trend in audio."
— Domonic Ballew, InvisAudio

Domonic Ballew at InvisAudio in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., says transducer technology is the solution.

“Today’s new TVs help explain the need for our system,” says Ballew bluntly. “I believe speaker-less audio is the next major trend in audio. You can put two transducers in the corner of a room connected to a rheostat audio controller and make a decent whole-house audio system. In home cinemas, you can make the walls themselves into speakers.”

InvisAudio has been making transducers since 1976. In 1983, the company patented a high-powered transducer technology capable of producing 200W peak performance, ranging down from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. The units convert the physical wall behind the flat panel into a giant speaker. For that matter, transducers can literally turn any surface in a speaker, from a window to a tile wall. Other companies making transducer technology for the industry include Clark Synthesis, Aeria, Earthquake Sound, Stealth Acoustics and James Loudspeaker

Less than $3,000, 2 Hours to Install

“You can put four transducers on each side of the TV… eight in total… install it in less than 2 hours for less than $3,000,” says Ballew. The InvisAudio system uses a patented black webbing as the mounting plates to hold the transducer in place. When the drywall is installed, it literally sucks the mounting plate to the wall. The entire wall itself vibrates to emanate sound. Obviously, the system is best suited for new construction with open wall studs. The wiring scheme can be in parallel or in series. Ballew says it is ideal to integrate the system with a powerful amp that can drive lots of power, but he has paired the system with an entry-level Onkyo amp with solid results.  

The power of the transducers give clarity to the audio well beyond what integrators can get from invisible in-wall or in-ceiling speakers that are hidden behind a thin layer of plaster, according to Ballew.

“Designers and architects love it, but most of them do not know the capabilities of transducers, or have any knowledge of particular audio brands,” notes Ballew. “They want walls and ceilings with no clutter. With transducers, you are not compromising the sound quality. Likewise, very few homeowners or commercial end users know this technology exists.”  

InvisAudio currently installs its own systems for end users and performs room equalization on every system, but Ballew says the company is looking to establish a dealer network. The company’s high-end fully waterproof solution has been installed in bathroom mirrors and showers, swimming pools (for a synchronized swimming team), a fountain, panes of glass in hotels, and even on a 50-foot catamaran boat. Ballew has even done a dedicated surround sound home theater with 50 transducers behind the walls. 



  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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  Article Topics


Speakers · Loudspeakers · Architectural · In-Ceiling/In-Wall · News · Media · Slideshow · Aeria Sound Environments · Earthquake Sound · James Loudspeaker · OLED · Transducer · All Topics
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Comments

Posted by VR500 on July 13, 2017

We also can’t overlook the Sonance “Invisible” line. They sound VERY good.

Posted by John Nemesh on July 11, 2017

It’s not a transducer like the ones shown in the article, it is NOT exciting the drywall.  It has its own woofer and has a “direct coupled 30 mm neo-magnet high-frequency motor” which is moving it’s own carbon fiber driver to achieve frequencies up to 20khz.  Apples and oranges man.

Posted by Carl Neef on July 11, 2017

My point is any device that converts energy from one form to another is a transducer.  Stealth Acoustics is a transducer.  Amina is transducer.  A condenser mic is a transducer.  To make the blanket statement that “Transducers sound HORRIBLE” and then cite a transducer as a better alternative is circulus in probando.

Posted by Jason Knott on July 11, 2017

Thanks Carl. I will add them to the story

Posted by Carl Neef on July 11, 2017

Stealth Acoustics is a transducer.

Posted by John Nemesh on July 10, 2017

Transducers sound HORRIBLE.  A better solution would be Stealth Acoustics.  Those are completely invisible yet still sound like a GOOD speaker, NOT like a transducer!

Posted by John Nemesh on July 10, 2017

Transducers sound HORRIBLE.  A better solution would be Stealth Acoustics.  Those are completely invisible yet still sound like a GOOD speaker, NOT like a transducer!

Posted by Carl Neef on July 11, 2017

Stealth Acoustics is a transducer.

Posted by Jason Knott on July 11, 2017

Thanks Carl. I will add them to the story

Posted by Carl Neef on July 11, 2017

My point is any device that converts energy from one form to another is a transducer.  Stealth Acoustics is a transducer.  Amina is transducer.  A condenser mic is a transducer.  To make the blanket statement that “Transducers sound HORRIBLE” and then cite a transducer as a better alternative is circulus in probando.

Posted by John Nemesh on July 11, 2017

It’s not a transducer like the ones shown in the article, it is NOT exciting the drywall.  It has its own woofer and has a “direct coupled 30 mm neo-magnet high-frequency motor” which is moving it’s own carbon fiber driver to achieve frequencies up to 20khz.  Apples and oranges man.

Posted by VR500 on July 13, 2017

We also can’t overlook the Sonance “Invisible” line. They sound VERY good.