Acoustic Audio R191 Review: Affordable In-Wall or In-Ceiling Surround-Sound Speakers

Acoustic Audio R191 Review: Affordable In-Wall or In-Ceiling Surround-Sound Speakers

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Acoustic Audio R191 speakers are excellent yet affordable in-wall or in-ceiling loudspeakers designed to mount flush into the wall or ceiling, allowing you to have a beautifully discrete but powerful sounding home theater surround sound system without taking up any space in the room – an elegant and intelligent installation which sounds amazing!

The R191 wall-mount speakers come in a set of 5, which gives you exactly what you need for a full 5.1 surround system (5.1: the 5 refers to 5 speakers – left and right front, left and right rear, and center channel or dialogue) and the one refers to 1 subwoofer). With any good home theater receiver and a well matched subwoofer you have the complete system, although you can run these great speakers without a subwoofer and still get full and beautiful sound for movies and music.

Is Acoustic Audio a Good Brand?

While not exactly a household name, Acoustic Audio is a great example of a brand that professional contractors, home builders, and designers know and love, recognize as having incredible sound and high-quality materials, and recommend highly, a brand which in fact makes some of the best in-wall and in-ceiling surround speakers on the market today, but a brand which most consumers may have never even heard of.

Acoustic Audio’s parent company, Goldwood, has been around for over 30 years and has one of the very best reputations on the market for their products’ sound quality, material quality, and dependability, and for their customer service and integrity as a company.

Acoustic Audio R-191 Speakers Features and Specifications

  • 5.25 Inch 2-Way Wall or Ceiling Mount Loudspeakers (set of 5)
  • 5.25 Inch Polypropylene Woofer with Butyl Rubber Surrounds
  • 12 mm Soft Dome Tweeters
  • Frequency Response: 45Hz-22KHz
  • Power Handling: 10 Watts to 200 Watts per Channel
  • Speaker Impedance: 8 Ohms
  • Installation Dimensions: 6.625 Inch Mounting Hole, 3 Inch Depth
  • Features Pressure Lock Mounting for Secure Installation onto Drywall
  • Available in Standard or Frameless
  • Includes Paintable Grills, Cut-Out Templates and Instruction Manual

Pros and Cons of the Acoustic Audio R-191 Speakers

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Crystal Clear Sound, Sweet and MusicalNeed to be Installed
Excellent ImagingFor Deep Bass Impact You’ll Want a Subwoofer
Great Detail
Lots of Dynamic Energy and Exciting Sound
Good Bass for their Size
High Power Handling Capacity
Play Loud with Smaller Amps

Design and Installation of the Acoustic Audio R-191 Speakers

The Acoustic Audio R-191 loudspeakers are open-back two-way speakers which come in a set of five for a surround sound home theater system. This type of surround system also allows you to hear the surround encoding on many music SACDs, which can be especially powerful with symphonic Classical music, but it is really a must for movies.

The R191 speakers are an in-wall or in-ceiling design, meaning that they fit flush against the wall or ceiling into holes you have drilled into the drywall. They have an ingenious clamping system which allows them to clamp onto the drywall, so they don’t have to rely on molly bolts to keep them securely in place – and a secure mount will also always give you better, clearer sound as well.

You can mount the R-191s in the wall or ceiling, and while you may get slightly more immersive and accurate surround imaging with wall mounting it won’t make much difference, and so you can choose either without worry, basing your decision more on the design and décor of the room than on sound quality. The included grills are paintable to match or complement your décor.

I did not need to install the speakers I auditioned, since my friend recently put some into the home theater room of his new house. He tells me, though, that they were extremely easy to install, especially with their shallow depth and drywall clamps. They are maybe not a super-easy DIY project for anybody, since you do have to cut holes into your drywall and might also need to run wire, but if you are comfortable with such work it should be a problem-free job.

Sound Quality of the Acoustic Audio R-191 Speakers

When I listen to inexpensive speakers like the Acoustic Audio R-191, I make sure to remind myself that this isn’t about questions like what is the best architectural speaker in 2024, what is the best in-ceiling speaker or what is the best in-wall speaker available, but about how do the R-191s sound? How well do these speakers perform for their price point? But I have to say that this time I forgot all about any of that, and even kind of forgot that I was reviewing the R-191s, and just got lost in listening.

The first thing you notice with the Acoustic Audio R-191 speakers is the clarity of sound. There is absolutely none of the smudginess or muted quality you often get with inexpensive speakers like these, but instead real detail, impact and openness with music and dialogue. This, in combination with the very precise imaging, can make home theater a thrilling experience – three dimensional, totally immersive and believable, and it is easy to get completely lost in the movie. And even the stereo imaging for normally recorded music is impressively precise and spacious.

The dynamic energy of the R-191 speakers is surprisingly intense, and they have a wide dynamic range, so that very soft musical or movie sounds come through with presence and all the subtlety they deserve, the loudest sound effects or musical climaxes have awesome power, and everything in between is presented with correct and realistic gradation of volume.

With movies, all of the sound cues – vocals, car engines, footsteps, thunder or explosions – sound realistic, and with music the same thing is clearly evident. Every movie we put on had the same fully immersive spatial quality, with smooth and believable movement, specific placement and the right amount of space. I also listened to an SACD with a full surround sound recording of a large orchestral work, and both the orchestra and the space it was in sounded so realistic and palpable that I couldn’t believe I was listening to such inexpensive speakers. And with simple acoustic music – a singer and guitar, for example – the same is true, and the size – the relative scale of space and dynamics – was just right in either case.

I listened to the Acoustic Audio R-191 speakers both with and without a subwoofer (my friend has the Polk Audio PSW10 Powered Sub, which is an ideal match), and in either case the bass response and fullness of the sound was more than satisfactory. On their own the R-191s have some of the best bass I’ve heard in in-wall speakers, and in fact probably the best I’ve heard for this price. It must be said, though, that with a subwoofer things do change, and both music and movies have a much higher level of impact and excitement.

Are there problems with these admittedly very inexpensive speakers? Well, given their price I wouldn’t say there are any problems at all, but certainly more expensive high end speakers do offer advantages, like even more openness, more detail, faster and deeper bass and that nth degree of precision and spatial placement in both stereo and surround imaging. Also, while the Acoustic Audio R191 in-wall loudspeakers are remarkably musical and wonderful to listen to for their price (or even compared to lots of in-wall speakers that are a lot more expensive), a truly premium set of speakers may offer more warmth and sweetness to the sound. 

But considering what they actually cost, I was absolutely blown away by the Acoustic Energy R-191 surround sound speakers, and all throughout my listening and watching I never once thought that something was missing. On the contrary, instead I kept getting lost in the music, or the movie, and didn’t really think of anything else. A high compliment for any speaker system at any price!

What do Customers Say about the Acoustic Audio R-191 Speakers?

After listening to these speakers, I was not surprised to see how many people praised their sound quality, or talked about how much they enjoyed them with both movies and music – lots of comments about the richness of the sound, the clarity, the believable imaging and the depth of the bass. So many reviews talked about the value the R191 speakers offer, considering that sound quality and the apparently very high material and construction quality as well.

What is a little surprising, though, was the many, many review that talked about just how easy these speakers are to install. I read a lot of reviews for various architectural speakers at all price levels, and they are always peppered with complaints about difficult installation or ineffective engineering, but with the Acoustic Audio R-191 in-ceiling/in-wall speakers I didn’t see any of that, really – just talk about the ease of installation, the clever drywall clamps and assurances to others that they too can do it.

Final Thoughts: Are the Acoustic Audio R-191 In-Wall / In-Ceiling Loudspeakers Any Good?

Yeah, it might seems like a strange question after all of the positive things I, my friend and so many verified customers have said about the Acoustic Audio R-191 speakers, but I think some of you may still wonder if a speaker that costs so little money can actually sound good.

Again, I have definitely heard surround sound speakers that sound better than these Acoustic Audio R-191s, and some that sound markedly better, but you have to remember that I regularly listen to and review speaker systems that may cost many, many times more that the whole R-191 system, which is well under a hundred dollars for all five speakers.

I have also heard speaker systems at a much higher price point which don’t sound nearly as good, or that have obvious problems which are too distracting to really allow for me getting lost in movies or music – problems such as the Acoustic Audio R-191s never once displayed. I have also heard lots of in-wall or in-ceiling speakers which, because of poor quality or poorly engineered frames and mounting systems, rattle and vibrate, making noise and blurring the sound, but again this is not an issue at all for these super-affordable Acoustic Audio speakers, as attested to by not just my experience but the experience of so many customers.

So, are the Acoustic Audio R-191 speakers the best in-wall or in-ceiling speakers on the market today? No, of course not, but they are clearly the best architectural speakers available at anywhere near the price, and are highly recommended.

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