8 Best Amplifiers for Ceiling Speakers

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You’ve just bought a pair of passive ceiling speakers, but you don’t know what kind of amp you need for them.

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Our article about the best amplifiers for ceiling speakers is here to give you some tips, explain what to look for, and offer you some suggestions.

Reasons to Use Ceiling speakers

There are a few scenarios when using ceiling speakers is a good idea. First of all, they can be part of your home theater system – you can use them as height speakers.

Second, you can install in-ceiling speakers in your living room, or bedroom, or porch, or even bathroom, and use them to play some nice background music. Ceiling speakers are also used in restaurants and supermarkets because they look very clean and inconspicuous.

For some purposes, buying powered/active or Bluetooth ceiling speakers are a better choice, mostly because they are easier to install. So, if you haven’t bought the speakers yet, think about buying those. 

The biggest advantage of passive in-ceiling speakers is their sound quality. What’s so different about passive speakers, you may ask.

Well, many reputable manufacturers make passive in-ceiling and in-wall speakers (Klipsch, JBL, Definitive Technology, Pyle, Yamaha, Monoprice), while most powered and Bluetooth speakers are made by less reputable brands and all kinds of generic brands. So, that’s the main reason to go for passive ceiling speakers.

Unfortunately, there’s one ‘’problem’’ with passive speakers that you don’t have to think about when buying active ones. When buying passive speakers, you also have to think about amplifiers

Depending on the purpose, you will need a different kind of amp, and we are here to give you a few suggestions for every purpose. Here’s our list of best amplifiers for ceiling speakers.

Our Top Picks

This post contains affiliate links. See the affiliate disclaimer here.

PreviewProductReviewOur RatingPrice
Sony STR-DH790Read Our Review4.6Check Price On Amazon
Marantz SR5014Read Our Review4.4Check Price On Amazon
Pyle PDA6BU.5Read Our Review4.3Check Price On Amazon
Rockville RCS80-1Read Our Review4.5Check Price On Amazon
Pyle Model: PWA15BTRead Our Review4.4Check Price On Amazon
Herdio HMA-16BTRead Our Review4.2Check Price On Amazon
TNP AMP_1430WPRead Our Review4.4Check Price On Amazon
HELMERRead Our Review4.0Check Price On Amazon

What to Look for When Buying an Amplifier for Ceiling Speakers?

The process of finding the matching amplifier for ceiling speakers is pretty much the same as finding the matching amp for any other passive speaker.

The list of features to look for is pretty much the same. The two most important specs are impedance compatibility and power output for the given impedance.

Different amplifiers are made for different impedances – 4-8Ω, 4-16Ω, etc. You have to find the one that’s compatible with your speakers’ impedance.

Furthermore, you have to check if the amplifier can push enough power into your speakers (power output for the given load).

The amplifier should be able to drive your speakers with ease. It doesn’t hurt if the amp output is somewhat higher or slightly lower than what your speakers can handle continuously, but the difference in power ratings shouldn’t be huge. 

If you want to know how loud your speakers can be, you should also check the speakers’ sensitivity.

Once you find the amp that can drive your speakers, you may also want to check the available inputs and supported features. So, if you need Bluetooth, Airplay, Chromecast, digital inputs, phono inputs, or anything else, make sure that the amplifier you’re buying has those features. 


Now that you know the basics, let’s move onto our reviews. Our selection of best amplifiers for ceiling speakers is divided into three parts – amplifiers for home theater use, amplifiers for music, and amplifiers for clean installation (in-wall amplifiers). 


Best Amplifiers for Home Theater Use

If you’re looking for something for home theater use, the best option is buying an AV receiver with dedicated height channels.

If you have an amplifier with preamp outputs for height channels but don’t have available height channel outputs because you already assigned them some other function, you can buy a separate stereo amp for height ceiling speakers. 

In this article, you will only find two relatively affordable AVRs. If you are interested in more versatile and more powerful units, check out one of our previous articles about high-end AVRs.

Best Budget – Sony STR-DH790

Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

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Impressions

STR-DH790 is not exactly cheap but then again, when it comes to AVRs, $350 or less can be considered very affordable. This compact AVR is one of the cheapest with dedicated height channel outputs. 

STR-DH790 is compact, it has a very clean design, and it’s fairly versatile for its price. The unit is classified as 7.2, and it supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, so you can use it in a 5.1.2 configuration (2 ceiling speakers). 

STR-DH790 has 4 HDMI inputs and one HDMI ARC output. If you have more than four sources that you want to connect, you will have to use the HDMI inputs on your TV.

All HDMI ports support 4K/60Hz pass-through and HDCP 2.2. They also support HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. 

Besides HDMI inputs, you have multiple digital/analog audio inputs – optical, coax, and four RCA inputs. On the front panel, there’s also a 6.35mm headphone output. 

The receiver has 7 speaker terminals. Two of those 7 (FL and FR) are 5-way binding posts compatible with banana plugs. The other 5 terminals are spring-loaded.

The amp section is compatible with 6-16Ω speakers. The advertised minimum RMS power output is 90W per channel (two 6Ω channels driven, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 0.09% THD). 

The unit doesn’t have a lot to offer when it comes to additional features, but it supports the most common ones – it has a built-in FM tuner (but no AM tuner) and it features Bluetooth connectivity (BT 4.2).

Installation is quick and painless. The initial calibration is done with the D.C.A.C microphone (included in the package). To control the unit, you can either use the buttons on the front panel or the included fully-featured remote. 

Advantages

  • Affordable – priced under $350
  • Comes with a calibration mic and fully-featured remote
  • 4 HDMI inputs + 1 HDMI ARC output
  • All HDMI inputs support 4K/60Hz pass-through and are compliant with HDCP 2.2
  • Support for HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision
  • Multiple digital/analog audio inputs – optical x1, coax x1, RCA x4
  • Headphone output
  • 7 speaker terminals and two subwoofer pre-outputs – 5.2.2 max supported surround sound speaker layout 
  • Compatible with 6-16Ω speakers
  • Minimum RMS output – 90W per channel (two 6Ω channels driven across the audio spectrum with 0.09% THD)
  • Supports all the most common surround sound formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • FM tuner
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 4.2)

Disadvantages

  • Only 4 HDMI inputs (more expensive AVRs come with 7 or 8 HDMI inputs)
  • Lacks preamp outputs (only subwoofer pre-outputs)
  • Lacks wi-fi
  • Not compatible with 4Ω speakers

Best Under $1000 – Marantz SR5014

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

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Impressions

Marantz SR5014 is much more versatile and more powerful than the Sony STR-DH790, but it’s also much more expensive. Both units support the same max surround sound speaker configuration (5.2.2 – two ceiling speakers). 

SR5014 has 8 HDMI inputs (7 on the rear panel, and one on the front panel) and two HDMI OUT ports (one HDMI OUT features eARC).

All the ports are HDCP 2.3 compliant, and they all support 4K/60Hz pass-through, as well as HDR10, BT.2020, HLG, and Dolby Vision. The AVR can decode all popular surround sound formats including DTS:X and Dolby Atmos.

The receiver has a multitude of digital/analog audio and video inputs. There are two component video inputs and one output, two composite video inputs and one output, two coaxial inputs, two optical inputs, one RCA phono input, and four analog RCA inputs. It’s safe to say that you have more connections than you actually need. 

SR5014 has 7 speaker terminals. They are all 5-way binding posts compatible with banana plugs. The advertised RMS output with two 8Ω channels driven across the audio spectrum is 100 Wpc (0.08% THD). The unit has two subwoofer preamp outputs, as well as preamp outputs for all the other channels. 

When it comes to additional features, you have AM/FM tuners built inside, Bluetooth connectivity (BT 4.1), AirPlay support, and HEOS wireless multiroom streaming capabilities. The unit is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and other common voice assistants (Google Assistant, Siri).

Advantages

  • Comes with a calibration mic and a setup assistant
  • 8 HDMI inputs + 2 HDMI outputs (one HDMI eARC)
  • All HDMI inputs support 4K/60fps pass-through and are compliant with HDCP 2.3
  • Support for HDR10, BT.2020, HLG, and Dolby Vision
  • Additional video inputs – component (2IN/1OUT), composite (2IN/1OUT)
  • Multiple digital/analog audio inputs – optical (2IN), coax (2IN), RCA Phono (1IN), RCA (4IN)
  • Headphone output
  • 7 speaker terminals – 5.2.2 max supported surround sound speaker layout
  • Two subwoofer pre-outputs 
  • Preamp outputs for FL, FR, C, SL, SR, SBL, and SBR channels
  • Compatible with 4-16Ω speakers
  • Minimum RMS output – 100W per channel (two 8Ω channels driven across the audio spectrum with 0.08% THD)
  • Supports the most common surround sound formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • AM and FM tuners built-in
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 4.1)
  • Airplay support
  • Multiroom compatibility – HEOS compatible
  • Compatible with Alexa and other voice assistants 

Disadvantages

  • The unit has some features of HDMI 2.1 (eARC, ALLM, HDCP 2.3) but all the ports are still HDMI 2.0

Best Amplifiers for Music and Commercial Use

If you are looking for an amp for music, buying a stereo amp or an integrated amp would be the best option. In this section, we will cover only cheap amps for commercial use.

Best Cheap Bluetooth Amplifier for Ceiling Speakers – Pyle PDA6BU.5

Editor’s Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

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Impressions

PDA6BU.5 is a super-cheap solution for a stereo speaker set. It’s a surprisingly versatile and powerful amplifier for the price. It’s not the best-sounding amp out there, but it does the job well.

All the controls are on the front panel. Aside from playback and master volume controls, PDA6BU.5 has a bunch of knobs – mic volume, echo, bass, treble, balance, and input selector.

The front panel also houses most of the inputs. There are two 6.35mm mic inputs, one AUX input, an SD card slot, and a USB port for music playback. On the back, there’re two RCA analog inputs and one RCA line output. The unit also features Bluetooth connectivity.

It has an outdated Bluetooth version (BT 2.0) but it offers pretty decent performance and range when you are within the line of sight. However, the signal doesn’t go through walls and other obstacles.

The unit has two speaker terminals on the back (5-way binding posts). The advertised RMS power output is 100W per channel (two 8Ω channels driven).

Advantages

  • Super-cheap
  • Surprisingly versatile
  • Two mic inputs
  • SD card slot, USB port, AUX input, and two RCA inputs
  • RCA line output
  • FM tuner
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Compatible with 4-8Ω speakers
  • 100W per channel into 8Ω (2ch driven)

Disadvantages

  • Outdated Bluetooth version
  • Cheap-looking and not very responsive remote
  • The power indicator light is very bright

Best Amplifier for Ceiling Speakers Under $100 – Rockville RCS80-1

Editor’s Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

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Impressions

Rockville is probably better known for its car amps and car subwoofers, but they also make amps for home use and for commercial purposes. T

heir amps are cheap and quite versatile. They are not audiophile material but are good enough for casual music listening. 

Rockville RCS80-1 is a very compact and slim integrated amplifier. It has a clean design with an intuitive user interface. 

All the controls and some inputs are located on the front panel. On the left end, you have a tiny display with playback controls and three inputs – SD card slot, USB port, and one mic input.

On the right end, there’s a series of volume dials (5 dials – one for each input), as well as 2 knobs for treble and bass adjustments.

On the back, there’s another mic input, two RCA inputs, RCA line output, and speaker terminals for two speakers. 

RCS80-1 is compatible with 4-16Ω speakers. The advertised RMS power output into two 8Ω channels is 70W.

The amplifier also features Bluetooth connectivity and has a built-in FM tuner.

This amp can drive only two ceiling speakers, but Rockville also has a similar unit that can drive up to 12 speakers or 6 zones simultaneously (Rockville RCS350-6), which is a better choice for commercial use (for restaurants). 

Advantages

  • Affordable – priced under $100
  • Compact and slim 
  • Two mic inputs
  • USB port and micro SD card slot (max size – 32GB)
  • Two RCA inputs and one RCA line output
  • FM tuner
  • Bluetooth connectivity 
  • Compatible with 4-16Ω speakers
  • 70 W per channel (two 8Ω channels driven)

Disadvantages

  • Noticeable distortion at high volumes
  • Loud internal fan

Best Amplifiers for Clean Installation

If you’re looking for the cleanest and most compact solution, one of the following amplifiers may be the best option for you. They are all wall-mountable and are almost invisible.

The biggest problem with these units, or rather with in-wall/in-ceiling speakers, is speaker wiring and installation. Once you install everything and connect the speakers, you will be very happy with the results.

Best In-Wall Amplifier for Ceiling Speakers Under $50 – Pyle Model: PWA15BT

Editor’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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Impressions

PWA15BT is a simple in-wall amp, perfect for clean installation of in-wall speakers and in-ceiling speakers. It comes with a power adapter and a wall plate. 

The amp has a very simple input scheme and control layout. All the inputs and controls are located on the front From top to bottom, you have one master dial (used to turn on/off the amp, control the volume, and initiate Bluetooth pairing), two LED lights (power and Bluetooth status), input selector, 6.35mm mic input, USB port for phone charging, AUX stereo input, and a DC input.

On the back, there’s a set of speaker terminals allowing you to connect two ceiling speakers. 

The unit features Bluetooth connectivity with a standard 30ft range and it delivers a reliable wireless connection within that range. To initiate pairing, you have to press the master volume dial.

The amp is compatible with 4-8Ω speakers. The advertised RMS power output is 40W per channel (2ch driven, 1kHz).

Advantages

  • Very affordable (priced under $50)
  • Looks cleaner than regular amps
  • Mic input
  • USB port for phone charging
  • AUX input
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Compatible with 4-8Ω speakers
  • 40W per channel (2 4Ω channels driven)

Disadvantages

  • The installation may require professional assistance

Herdio HMA-16BT

Editor’s Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

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Impressions

Just like Pyle, Herdio is a very popular choice when it comes to in-wall amplifiers. Their amps are slightly cheaper than Pyle’s, so if you are on a budget, Herdio might be a better option.

HMA-16BT looks almost exactly the same as Pyle’s PWA15BT. They only changed the control layout. You have all the same inputs (3.5mm AUX IN, 6.35mm MIC IN, USB port, DC input) and the same controls (master volume/power dial), and an input selector (AUX/BT/MIC).

The unit features Bluetooth connectivity. To initiate the pairing, you have to select the BT mode and press the master volume dial. The range is mediocre (approx. 30ft) and the connection quality is satisfying. 

You can connect two speakers to this amp. It is compatible with 4-8Ω speakers. The advertised RMS is 40W per channel (2ch driven). 

Advantages

  • Very affordable (priced under $50)
  • Looks cleaner than regular amps
  • Mic input
  • USB port for music playback and phone charging
  • AUX input
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 5.0)
  • Compatible with 4-8Ω speakers
  • 40W per channel (two 4Ω channels driven)

Disadvantages

  • The installation may require professional assistance

TNP AMP_1430WP 

Editor’s Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

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Impressions

TNP amp is very similar to the previous two but looks even cleaner. It comes with a wall plate and a power adapter. The adapter connects to the rear panel and not to the front, which is one of the biggest differences between the previous Herdio amp and this one. 

On the front panel, there’s only one master dial, AUX input, and two LED indicators (power indicator and Bluetooth indicator). The master dial is used to turn on/off the amp, control the volume, and initiate pairing. 

The amp features Bluetooth 4.2 and provides a decent Bluetooth range and a stable wireless connection. 

You can connect one pair of speakers to it. The amp is compatible with 4-8Ω speakers. The RMS output is rated at 30W per channel (there’s no info on the impedance).

Advantages

  • Affordable 
  • Looks cleaner than regular amps
  • AUX input
  • Bluetooth connectivity (BT 4.2)
  • Compatible with 4-8Ω speakers
  • 30W per channel

Disadvantages

  • Lacks mic input
  • Lacks USB port
  • The installation may require professional assistance

HELMER Bluetooth Amplifier in Wall

Editor’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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Impressions

This amp is similar to the previous three but it’s more of a high-end. Instead of a control panel with physical buttons, the HELMER amp has a touch-sensitive display that you can use the adjust settings, select the input, control the playback, etc.

HELMER amp looks even cleaner than the previous three amps but it’s also significantly pricier (priced slightly under $300).

The front panel is occupied by a good-looking 5” display. The display has a very intuitive interface and it’s fairly responsive. The unit runs on a proprietary OS but the interface is similar to Android.

On the top of the enclosure, there’s a micro USB port and an SD card slot. On the bottom, you will find the power switch and volume controls. 

All the physical connections are on the back. That includes audio inputs, power input, FM antenna connector, and speaker terminals. HELMER amp allows you to connect up to 4 in-wall/in-ceiling speakers. The power output is not very impressive (15W per channel with two 4Ω channels driven). 

The unit features Bluetooth connectivity (BT 4.2) and has a built-in FM tuner.

Advantages

  • Clean and attractive design
  • Touch-sensitive display with an intuitive interface
  • Micro USB port and SD card slot
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • FM tuner
  • Connect up to 4 speakers
  • Power output – 15 W/ch (two 4Ω channels driven)

Disadvantages

  • Lacks 3.5mm AUX input
  • Lacks mic input
  • Pricier than other in-wall amps

This concludes our selection of the best amplifiers for ceiling speakers. Hopefully, this article helped you find the perfect solution for your needs. For more info about amplifiers and in-ceiling speakers, check out the following section. If you have additional questions or some suggestions, leave us a comment below.


What kind of amp do I need for ceiling speakers?

Depending on the application and intended purpose, you will need a different kind of amplifier. For some ceiling speakers, you don’t even need an amp (Bluetooth active ceiling speakers). 

If you’re going to use them for your home theater (as height speakers), you will need an AV receiver. If you need the cleanest possible installation, you will need an in-wall amplifier.

If you have high-quality ceiling speakers and you want to use them for music reproduction, buying a nice stereo integrated amp is the best option. 

How do you power ceiling speakers?

The same way you power any other speaker. If they are active (if they have a built-in amp), you just have to plug them in and turn them on. If they are passive, you need an amplifier or an AV receiver, depending on the purpose. 

How many ceiling speakers do I need per room?

Roughly speaking, you need one pair for small to medium-sized rooms (up to 15x15ft). If the room is larger than 15x15ft, you may need two pairs.

Have in mind that this is just a rough guide. It doesn’t hurt to have two pairs of speakers in a medium-sized room and multiple pairs in larger rooms.

Are ceiling speakers worth it?

When it comes to home theater use, they don’t add a lot to the overall experience, and they are definitely not as important as the front three channels, but they are kind of fun. And they are not that expensive, so we think they are worth it.

For commercial use (like in the restaurants and supermarkets) they are a great solution because they are practically invisible.

And, since they are just used for background music, they don’t have to be extremely loud, so you don’t have to spend a fortune on them. 

They are also a very nice solution for home use. However, if you consider yourself an audiophile and you are looking for the best-sounding solution, buying a pair of bookshelf speakers is maybe a better option. 

Do ceiling speakers need a subwoofer?

Ceiling speakers don’t come with enclosures and aren’t great when it comes to low-end reproduction. So, even though you don’t have to add a subwoofer, it is highly recommended that you do.

What are the best Bluetooth ceiling speakers?

Our advice is to stick to trusted brands and avoid ceiling speakers made by generic brands. 

What is the best amp for ceiling speakers?

We can’t give you a single answer to this question since we don’t know what you want to do with your ceiling speakers.

Different applications call for a different kind of amp. The best advice we can offer is to check out our selection of best amplifiers for ceiling speakers and find something that suits your needs.

Where should I put my ceiling speakers in my surround sound?

According to Dolby’s installation guides, if you have only two speakers, you should place them in front of your listening position.

If you have four speakers, two speakers are supposed to be in front of your listening position, and two are supposed to be behind it (but in front of the rear surround speakers).

The distance between the speakers should be the same as the distance between the FL and FR speakers, and they are supposed to form a square around the listening position. 

General speaker placement guidelines

General speaker placement guidelines

Speaker placement guidelines - 5.1.2 surround sound system

Speaker placement guidelines – 5.1.2 surround sound system

Speaker placement guidelines - 5.1.4 surround sound system

Speaker placement guidelines – 5.1.4 surround sound system

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