Small amp or all in 1 choice?

My wife and I are in the process of building a small 850 SF Florida vacation home. It will be ready early fall 2024. We are going to put 4 ceiling mounted speakers in the entertainment/living room for viewing tv and streaming music. The TV will be on the wall above a small fireplace with a 14" X 60" granite shelf above the fireplace to hold the electronics, router etc. I am going with a simple "lean and clean" look so no visible speakers in front. I want an "All in One" unit that will accept an HDMI/Arc connection for TV and also have the internal DAC for streaming background music. I was looking at the SVS wireless Pro soundbase but it only drives 2 speakers so I either need to find a similar all in one with HDMI ARC input that can power all 4 speakers or find a small outboard amp to drive the other pair of speakers. My wife is sensitive to to the shrill sounding cheap amps so that needs to be considered.  I really do not want to put a lot of money into this as the house is expensive and taxing the funds. We are starting from scratch here and EVERYTHING is new, tv, appliances, furniture, etc. I looked at the Cambridge stuff but $3000 is too much money for the model that drives 4 speakers so I think I just need to find a nice outboard amp to mate with the SVS. Any suggestions as to what to look at? I've been through the stuff on Crutchfield. I guess I'd like to be around $400-$500 for the amp, of if there is a all in one that drives 4 speakers and has the HDMI input like $1200-$1500 all in? Any ideas? Also I know I could just buy a HT Receiver but wanted to keep things smaller in scale to fit the shelf @ 14 inches deep. A receiver won't fit.


You could actually connect 4 speakers to a stereo amplifier in the same way we connect a sub with high level input to amp without pre or sub out. Two speakers connected by banana plugs and two speakers connected by spades/bare wire. 

Are you hoping to do surround with the four speakers?

or double up two left and two right speakers?   Do you have a fifth speaker for center channel (voices, dialogue )?

the HDMI ARC will have surround sound imbedded.  An inexpensive Marantz AVR does 5 channel audio processing and has 5 or 7 speaker outputs, HDMI input and streams and Bluetooth.  The cheaper Marantz are less deep but still 15”.

As said above, you can double two speakers on one output if the amp can handle the load.

Personally I would just consider wiring the four speakers in double stereo.  For this you don’t have to use HDMI, as the toslink from the tv will also work fine.  You can run the tv audio as well for the dialogue and fill in with the ceiling speakers. There may be more streaming amps available if you drop the HDMI prerequisite.

I want to run dual stereo, no surround multi-channel. I want HDMI ARC so I can turn on the TV and have sound without screwing around with several remotes. I cannot fit a receiver in there. I have an inquiry to SVS if I can power 2 speakers per side with their amp.  No center channel speaker. This room is small like 13 X 24 which is open i  the back to the kitchen but the speakers will be arranged on the ceiling above like  8' X 12'. 

With in-wall speakers sound quality is so limitied I would lower my expectations and go with a simple all in one.  No 5.1 available either.  TV sound without a center will be sub optimal.


Is having a receiver in another room or closet an option? Then just use apple tv into the receiver with earc. You will need to run hdmi and speaker wires thru walls but everything will be out of site - clean look. You can then do 5.1ch easily and have a great sound with in wall speakers (center, mains, rear, in wall sub). In addition, Apple TV can stream qobuz and tidal. So you get music as well. 

OK guys, please check your audiophile hats at the door here. (I know it's hard when sound quality is so important to you, i understand i have a $65K dedicated 2Ch system myself) I fully understand the compromise in SQ. I don't care. I don''t have room for hide away gear, it is what it is. I just want to better hear the TV and maybe stream some background music. I don't have 17 inches of shelf to put a A/V Receiver on, I just want something small, unobtrusive on the shelf below the TV. I am looking into a Cambridge EVO 150 if I can get it to fit my shelf. But it's more than i wanted to spend. Thanks, I was holing maybe someone knew of a small outboard Class D amp or something I was not aware of. I do not want to add a sub, no where to put it. 

some interesting threads on Fosi tiny intergrateds...I'm running some Avalon Ascendants with a $60 Fosi and WiiM Pro Plus streamer (they make 3)...sounds great..and yes, I also have a bigger main system...

you can get a quality home theater receiver from (Marantz, Denon, Yamaha, etc. from the mid 2000s). It will cost you a solid $30. I did it, no regrets. Set the seller location, to avoid $20+ shipping. 10s of decent models to choose from every week

Sounds like the SVS Prime Wireless Pro SoundBase does everything you want at a very reasonable price as long as it can run 2 pairs of speakers.  One thing I don’t quite understand though — are you planning on listening to TV through two pairs of stereo ceiling speakers?  On the surface that’d seem suboptimal on several levels.

NAD C 700 is perfect for your needs, I have one in a bedroom system with Monitor Audio Silver RS 6 speakers and they sound great, built in Bluesound Node streaming, too.

Maybe look into schitt audio? They have small components not too expensive that u can put together into something that works for you.

Ok I am looking into finding a HT Receiver that isn't too deep to fit on the shelf. I have looked at Schitt amps as well as others to mate with a all in 1 integrated. 13-14 inches deep will fit. I could then put a small speaker on the shelf to act as a center channel. This house is being built as a winter vacation home and it is replacing the RV we have stayed in down there for the past 9 years. That RV had a "surround" sound system with all speakers ceiling mounted and a crappy amp. We could hear the TV just fine, so this is the foundation for my low threshold standard set. I figure 4 much better 8 inch ceiling mounted speakers has got to perform better than the 3 inch speakers we were used to. I am interested and figuring out if I can get a small center channel speaker in front of us like an White SVS prime satellite as an example. I found a couple 14 inch deep HT receivers to look into as well. Thanks everyone.

Look at getting a pair of WIIM amplifiers. You will have to do more research, but they should work in series.

Hi @fthompson251 , you said you’re doing dual stereo in-ceiling (why?) and you got a few rounds of advice before calling on folks to check their audiophile hats… after you shied away from small chip amps due to your wife not liking a shrill-sounding device? C’mon now, stop being the pot calling the kettles, hey? 😉

Many of those small stereo amps would probably work well enough running speakers in parallel, but HDMI ARC won’t be common on small stuff since the former’s designed primarily for multichannel HT and the size you want is more desktop hifi. I agree using a secondary remote for a stereo mini amp to control TV volume is not ideal.

I’d think the sound compromises of sticking a quad of large woofers in the ceiling would be considerably more problematic for your wife’s ears than any particular small chip amp. Those big drivers, depending in part on which you use, could wind up beaming some of your frequency range in a way you didn’t hear with the previous 3” drivers; could give rather different results than you expect, especially without a typical AVR’s inbuilt software.

miniDSP now has a unit with HDMI ARC-in, but many devices as that one still won’t address ATMOS (your Apple TV might handle that suitably upstream, though, so maybe not a prob for that TV). They also are not cheap.

Your priorities and constraints don’t seem to be very well-matched for this project. Take some time and read up on available devices more would be my main recommendation. Not sure what to say about in-ceiling 8” drivers, maybe I misread something. Very unconventional choice, so, interesting.

@fastfreight  Thanks, I found a few that might fit.

@benanders The ceiling mounted speakers are a coaxial design with the ability of movable directional tweeters. My wife made a comment that the cheap amp in the RV didn't sound as nice as the Yamaha Unit we have in our home living room. I just need to be mindful of that. 

FWIW I may also consider a nice cambridge Audio EVO 150 unit depending on how the build budget works out if money is left. 


There is also a Russound outboard amp that I can turn on or off as needed with an all in 1 stereo unit.