Technology & Engineering

Vanishing Custom Audio Controls

Freedom, with Limits

Built-in loudspeakers give you the freedom to install speakers almost anywhere. With built-in speakers, you’re not tied down to a bulky speaker box, and you can get professional audio without taking up valuable floor or shelf space. In hallways, in kitchens, in bathrooms and transitional spaces, built-in speakers let you enjoy music all over your home. (You can also make your traditional home theater disappear, using built-ins as your theater system!) 

But of course, it’s not really that simple. One of the trade-offs of built-in speaker technology is that it’s sometimes more difficult to achieve optimal performance in non-traditional spaces. With traditional loudspeakers, you know where to put them for optimal sound (one to the left, one to the right, about two feet from the wall, etc.). With built-in speakers, which can be put just about anywhere, you need more control over the sound the speakers produce. 

This control would allow you to better tune the speakers to deal with placement issues traditional speakers never have to face, such as proximity to corners or directly reflecting surfaces. Polk engineers spent a lot of time planning for these issues, and innovating ways to correct for them that would put optimum performance at your fingertips no matter where you chose to install your built-in speakers. 

Polk’s Vanishing Series of high performance in-wall and in-ceiling loudspeakers give you more control than any other built-in speaker. If you’re contemplating built-in loudspeakers in your home, it pays to get to know the controls you’ll want to use to optimize your built-in sound. 

Wall Distance Toggle

(all models) - If positioning limitations demand that your in-wall loudspeakers be installed closer than 2 feet from side walls, the proximity of the surface can result in a response bump between 50 and 200Hz. This can result in boomy sound. The Vanishing Wall Distance Toggle switch adjusts the crossover to flatten response and tune out boominess without sacrificing deep bass response, for more lifelike sound, and for more flexible placement.

Corner placement can cause
elevated midbass bloat (red line).
The Wall Distance Toggle
filters midbass bloat (green) without
sacrificing deep bass response.

Reflective Room Compensation

(all models) - Smooth walls, glass windows and luxurious hardwood floors furnished with modern metallic furniture. Does that describe your listening room? Reflective surfaces like these can make sound brighter and cause image distortion. Engaging the Vanishing Reflective Room Compensation feature (by selecting the low setting) lowers the tweeter level to compensate for the effect of reflective surfaces. The  feature cuts the level only in the 4-5kHz range, exactly where reflectivity destroys sound quality. In all other aspects, it retains its detailed and accurate high frequency response, for no loss of realistic musical details.
Tweeter Attenuation
lowers upper midrange "glare"
without sacrificing
top octave "air."

Off-Axis Targeting

(Round models only) -Sitting directly under an in-ceiling loudspeaker is actually sitting in an off-axis listening position. That’s because round Vanishing models, designed for in-ceiling installation, feature a 15º Driver Offset for better midrange clarity and imaging. This offset drive unit influences directionality (the aimed direction of the sound). If you happen to have listening positions directly below a Vanishing in-ceiling loudspeaker, the innovative off-axis Targeting Switch can easily compensate for this off-axis situation. Engaging this function fills in the perceived mid-range dropout that off-axis listeners may detect, extending directional imaging an additional 15º. This vastly improves off axis imaging, and allows Vanishing speakers to fill any room with well rounded, high performance sound. With Vanishing off-axis Targeting feature, no one is off-axis.

Off-Axis Targeting boosts
the highest frequencies,
improving imaging throughout the room.


This article was last modified on Mar 26, 2013

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