Oct. 25, 2022 - Over the course of 2022, Crestron rolled out two new lines of speakers built primarily for residential (and marine) applications. "We wanted to build something that could keep up with the higher resolution and increased power that our new DM NAX amplifiers could support," says Ekin Binal, director of product management for AV solutions at Crestron. The speakers are the result of a partnership with Origin Acoustics, and Crestron's offerings now include two complete lines of in-ceiling, in-wall, landscape speakers. In addition to the Origin lines, Crestron's also released a new surface-mount Saros model tough enough for outdoor use.
Both lines utilize Origin's patented "bayonet ring" installation system, which streamlines installations. The lines include a baseline collection that provides excellent performance at a competitive price — Crestron's Reference series — and a premium solution, the Ultimate series.
The audiophile-worthy Ultimate speakers feature ceramic coated aluminum dome tweeters, which can handle industry-leading wattage — 200 W continuous and 400 W peak — due to the rigidity of the material. Binal's team leveraged carbon fiber material for the woofers, a material with enough strength and flexibility to really drive low frequencies well. "We are one of the few companies in the world that makes architectural speakers built to handle this much power," he notes.
Here's a breakdown of each series:
Crestron Reference Speakers
Available in small aperture, 6- and 8-inch diameters, these two-way speakers feature woven glass woofers that provide well-defined low and midrange response with a compression molded woofer basket that complements the bottom end. Silk DPSP tweeters deliver clean, crisp highs effortlessly. These speakers are rated to handle a steady 100 W of program power with a 200 W peak at 8 ohms. As you'd expect, the larger speakers have an impressive low-frequency response. The electroplated and powder-coated steel grille is paintable, and the bezel is held to the speaker magnetically.
Models: Reference IC6, Reference IC8
This two-way rectangular speaker features the same woofer and tweeter materials as the in-ceiling models in a side-by-side layout. Power handling is the same, too, and frequency response in this workhorse checks in from 60 Hz to 20 kHz. The speaker's turn and click Spring Lock mounting system makes installation quick and easy. Plastic and faux aluminum-finish bezels are available for this model.
Model: Reference IW4X8
The Crestron Reference outdoor solutions pack a lot of punch for their size, with a 4.1 package that covers 1500 square feet. The kit includes four two-way satellite speakers that can be either staked or surface-mounted and feature a four-inch polypropylene woofer and an 0.75-inch (19 mm) PEI mylar tweeter. The 10-inch subwoofer brings the system's frequency response all the way down to 35 Hz. The package handles 120 W of continuous power and 240w peaks to provide superb audio for music or movies. Satellite expansion speakers are available individually as well.
Models: Reference OD4.1, Reference OD4
Crestron Ultimate Speakers
Both the six-inch and eight-inch models of Crestron's audiophile-quality speaker solutions can fit into the same opening with the Origin Acoustics bayonet ring solution — an installation process that takes seconds and requires no tools. (It's notable that this system makes an upgrade from Reference to Ultimate speakers extremely easy, too.) The carbon fiber woofers and ceramic-coated aluminum tweeters in both sizes are rated for 150 W of steady program power with peaks of 300 W. Low frequencies generated by both sizes — and most notably in the larger version — are downright startling, even without a subwoofer. The depths of both options clock in at under five inches, making these speakers perfect for a wide variety of challenging installations. For an even smaller reveal, the Ultimate IC3 has a tiny visible speaker area — a mere three inches in diameter — backed by a 6.5-inch driver behind the surface that handles 200 watts.
Models: Ultimate IC6, Ultimate IC8, Ultimate IC3 (Coming Soon)
If you come across a Crestron speaker with an "-AW" suffix that designates "all-weather," that means the product is an excellent marine solution. Built to handle the worst environments — not to mention salt — every connection and screw is designed to hold up for many years at sea, in a spa, or any other humid environment. Crestron's Ultimate Marine speakers carry an IP66 rating, protecting against dust and water ingress.
Model: Ultimate IC8-AW
This two-way option brings all the technology and features of the in-ceiling Ultimate speakers into a rectangular form factor that features dual woofers to deliver a very deep (and defined) low end. Power handling is identical to the Ultimate in-ceiling options, and grille options are similar to this speaker's analog in the Reference line. This in-wall solution is perfect for an LCR solution in a surround-sound setup. There's also a terrific in-wall subwoofer, the IWS82, with dual eight-inch speakers that bring the LFEs to life in any movie.
Models: Ultimate IWLCR62, Ultimate IWS82
The 12-inch landscape subwoofer in the Crestron Ultimate line delivers an absolutely thunderous 23 Hz to 100 Hz frequency response from its polypropylene woofer. This passive sub brings the bass at 200 W continuous power handling and a whopping 400 W at peak. Couple that with satellite speakers that deliver tremendous audio from their glass fiber woofers with co-located planar magnetic ribbon tweeter, and you've got an outdoor system that'll rival anything you might put in your living room.
Models: Ultimate OD6T, Ultimate IGS12T
There are options here — choose either the booming dual woofers of the Ultimate in-wall subwoofer (the IWS82 mentioned above) or the in-ceiling model (ICS8) for those instances where an in-wall installation isn't practical. Both are rated for massive power handling (200w continuous, 400w peak), and both can handle marine applications. The in-ceiling sub utilizes the Origin-designed bayonet ring installation system, while the in-wall model features "dog-ear" mounting designed to minimize interference with whatever else is behind the wallboard. The line also features Crestron's first active sub, aptly dubbed the Ultimate Active Subwoofer made by Origin Acoustics. Constructed from premium carbon fiber materials with a unique design, this 10-inch, 400 W subwoofer can be mounted on its side, upright, or on the wall. There's also an available wireless extender kit, which allows the sub to sit up to 50 feet away from its content source.
Models: Ultimate IWS8, Ultimate ICS8, Ultimate ASUB (Coming Soon)