TDG Audio in-wall IWLCR-66 home cinema loudspeaker review

Inside CI 5 Rating

What does this mean? Find out how we rate products.

posted on Saturday, 21st October 2017 by Steve May

Architectural  Loudspeakers  home cinema 

[#pageName]

The IWLCR-66 is a high-performance home theatre in-wall loudspeaker, designed (as the moniker suggests) to deliver the front soundstage in a dedicated cinema or media room. There’s no shortage of architectural speaker solutions available, but few compete directly with its imposing form factor.

TDG Audio will not be an overly familiar name to UK installers, although you may well have caught them at ISE 2017, however the brand has a long track record in architectural loudspeaker development. Based out of Southern California, TDG Audio is part of The DaVinci Group, and maintains that its loudspeakers are ‘built by custom integrators for custom integrators.’ As we discover below, there’s plenty about the IWLCR-66 that merits their claim to the high-end of the CI speaker market.

In Wall Combi

TDG Audio IWLCR-66: Build quality and features
Build quality is impressive. A sealed box design, theses LCRs are designed to be installed in a vertical orientation. The array consists of dual 165mm reinforced paper cone woofers, positioned top and bottom to a single 102mm midrange driver and 19mm soft dome tweeter. For this audition, we powered them with a high-end AVR, but given their efficiency is relatively high at 91dB, driving them for a theatrical SPL shouldn’t be a problem for most amplification. The recommended power handling range is between 30-150 watts, which covers everything from cool-running multizone amplifiers to more aggressive sound systems.

The speaker uses a substantial one-piece steel frame construction, with an integrated back-box made from high-grade MDF. The overall weight is a not immodest 15kg.

Grill

Magnets

The detachable metal grille covers the speakers, a large format 667 x 431 x 89mm.There are 12 magnets positioned around the edge. These are covered with a velvet pad to prevent scratches. The grille is white as standard but to better fit within existing interior decor, can be painted to match. Obviously any repainting needs to be done off the speaker.

The overall finish is excellent; the grille has been zinc coated, before powder coating is applied, to mitigate against rust.

Cut out dimensions are 602 x 366mm. Integrators need a mounting depth of just 89mm. To aid installation, the speaker ships with a mounting template.

TDG Audio IWLCR-66: Performance
TDG Audio claims a frequency response of 60Hz-20kHz, and this is largely born out by our listening tests. For this audion, we listen to a variety of content, both movies and TV shows, as well as various two-channel sources.

It didn’t take too long to conclude that they’re extremely well suited to home theatre work. These are very dynamic sounding boxes. Action sequences have snap and attack, while the mid-range perfectly suits vocal performances.

The extremes of personality depicted in the Disney animation Zootropolis are smooth and distinct; the timbre full-range and smooth. The soundstage is fittingly cinema. With high octane action fare, they sound entirely at home. It’s not just blockbusters that benefit. The speakers bring cinematic weight and clarity to TV shows too. They also work surprisingly well off-axis, so a theatre with a large number of seats can still serve crisp audio.

Signature

Binding Post

Inevitably, there is a limit to just how deep they’ll drop. In a home theatre install, they need to be partnered with dedicated subwoofers if you want to unleash impressive levels of LFE. Naturally, TDG Audio has in-wall subs to partner these models. However, when it comes music reproduction their full-range demeanour is more than up to the job.

Bjork’s Virus (from Biophilia), a track that meld’s distinctive vocal histrionics with looping percussion and high-end treble, is presented with depth and width.

They really come into their own with The Door’s Riders on the Storm (LA Woman, again in MQA format). This track has an uncomplicated stereo mix which really suits the TDG’s. The result is a three dimensionality to the track’s keyboard solo, which is underpinned but never confused by the rolling thunder of the band.

When the bell tolls and rain cascades, before Ozzy and crew lurch into Black Sabbath (MQA, from The Ten Year War), you’ll feel inclined to check the weather. N.I.B sounds entirely live, the familiar bass line raw and textured. When Tony Iommi’s familiar riff kicks in, I instinctively reached to crank the volume up - that’s a good sign that the speakers are doing their job.

One suggestion: During our listening session, I got the sense that the speakers would benefit from some protracted running in; the mid-range driver seems a little stiff straight from the box.

TDG Audio IWLCR-66: Verdict
If you’re specifying full-range architectural in-walls, the TDG Audio Signature Series are an compelling option. When it comes to installation, they’re accommodating; the slimline cabinet should be a manageable fit (for two) while the paintable grille will help the speakers blend in with the decor.

Clearly these IWLCR models been designed from the outset as a dedicated home theater speaker. Touted as a reference grade product, there’s nothing diminutive about their sound. In a larger theatres, they’ll move copious air.

In-walls are rarely going to be the first choice for a two-channel install but even here, there’s much to admire. They image well, handle High-Res Audio sources with aplomb, and most importantly, are a consistently exciting listen. Overall, we rate them highly.

The TDG Audio IWLCR-66 is available now
Distribution is via Avoke Sales: www.avoke.co.uk

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

Share this!

Have your say...

Sorry guests can't post comments.

Please Login if your an existing member or Register a new account.

  • signature
  • Lode

Tags

Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\TagCloud.xslt

Latest Review

Latest Article