If I were to invite you to my home to hear my main audio system, you wouldn’t see any audio gear. My electronics are professionally installed in Middle Atlantic equipment racks that are stashed away in a mechanical closet. I’ve also gone invisible with the speakers and subs in my living room—and they sound great! Allow me to explain.
My system features Nakymatone’s $3,479 ECHT invisible “speakers.” By invisible I mean that they are designed to be hidden behind some form of material. In my case, that material is drywall skim-coat, but you could alternatively use wood, wallpaper, plaster, and all sorts of creative materials. If you boil things down to the basics, the speakers are more transducers than traditional driver-based speakers. I’ve paired them with Gray Sound in-ceiling subwoofers, which are ported but also pretty much hide in your ceiling—thus allowing me to get that 20-to-20 frequency range without using up one square inch of floor space. My other new-school audiophile trick is to use three of the channels of my Anthem MRX-16 to power and “tune” the invisible speakers using Anthem’s excellent ARC room correction.
Overall this is a pretty affordable system with maximum Wife Acceptance Factor. But I know what you’re thinking: Are these speakers really worthy of audiophile listening, or are they just some high-profit-margin, custom-installation-only product? Keep reading….
What Makes the Nakymatone ECHT Invisible Speakers Special?
- Dude, you don’t see any speakers in the room. Dude. (I just double-duded, which I don’t do often. That’s special.)
- The speakers are absolutely fantastic for side, rear, and overhead channels in a home theater. I use a few pairs of them in my object-based surround sound system located in my media room, along with an SVS SB-4000 subwoofer, Marantz processing, Halcro amplification, and Revel F208 BE floorstanding speakers. The Nakymatone invisibles can hang with the big boys.
- The Nakymatone ECHT isn’t some fragile, custom-installation speaker product. It’s a robust speaker with a really good protection circuit that keeps it from blowing up, which would be a messy and expensive repair. Emphasis on messy when you are cutting through drywall skim-coat.
- The ability to have high-resolution speakers in high-profile rooms while avoiding the eyesore of traditional in-wall speakers is game-changing.
- You can pair these speakers with a subwoofer and higher-end two-channel electronics,and they will work great. In fact, they will thrive in ways that you need to hear to believe.
Why Should You Care About the Nakymatone ECHT Invisible Speakers?
This is a game-changing and disruptive product, to use words from the world of Silicon Valley. Throw away the idea of what you think speakers need to physically look like in order to sound good, and take a listen to the Nakymatone ECHT invisibles. Imagine having a small child (as I do now at 48 years old) and not needing to worry about him or her (Giovanni, in my case) toppling over a big pair of audiophile speakers. Imagine not having to use one bit of your floor space for speakers, which is especially relevant these days given the increase in per-square-foot cost of most homes. The Nakymatone ECHT speakers pay for themselves from that perspective.
Some Things You Might Not Like About the Nakymatone ECHT Speakers
- The installation cost of these speakers is higher than traditional in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. That’s the cost of doing business to get your speakers to actually disappear.
- I have many pairs of Nakymatone ECHT speakers in locations like my kitchen, theater room, office, and living room. The ones installed in my kitchen didn’t come out looking perfect after the drywall subcontractor left. I was able to get them sanded down, re-mudded, and summarily re-painted. The moral of the story is: Hire top-level drywall subcontractors to get the best results.
- This is more of a personal regret than a downside, but the only location where I could install these speakers in my living room was in the ceiling, above my 65-inch Samsung Frame TV (another cool-looking product). While the sound is hard-to-believe good considering the form factor, I wish that the speakers were on a vertical wall so they don’t “image down.” Again, I just didn’t have another option because of my room’s open floor plan, and that is something you will want to consider before you go this route.
Listening To The Nakymatone Etch Invisible Speakers…
I fired up “YYZ” from Rush’s Moving Pictures (AIFF file, CD resolution) (buy at Amazon) and reached for my Crestron remote to get some volume going. My smile increased along with the volume. If I am known for one thing, it is my love for songs named after airport codes—and “YYZ” is at the top of a very short list. (OK, I don’t know any songs named after LAX, JFK, or other airports, but I digress.) This song is just a gaudy display of musicianship and is exactly what I don’t hear in most of today’s modern music. Through the ECHT speakers, Neal Peart’s (God, I miss him) rototom hits sounded sharp yet palpable. The chimes that start the track off were lively and crisp, despite the layers of sanded skim coat on top of these speakers as they hide in my ceiling. The syncopated drum, guitar, and bass parts had the visceral impact that you won’t get from a 20-year-old pair of in-walls or even more modern, traditional in-wall designs. The Nakymatone ECHT speakers are better. Way better.
If my job was to convert people to the religion of invisible speakers, I would play songs like “Night of the Thumpasauris Peoples” from Parliament’s all-time classic Mothership Connection (buy at Amazon) (AIFF file, CD resolution). These invisible speakers have bass. I know because I unhooked the input for the Gray Sound in-ceiling sub and jacked the volume up for a funk-tastic demo. I am not bullshitting you here. With some room correction but no sub, these $3,470 invisible speakers get it done in the low-frequency range. Are they better with a sub? Of course. What speakers aren’t? Do you need an in-ceiling ported sub in your kitchen or dining room? That’s up to you. I bucked up for them in my office and kitchen, and I have the SVS monster in my theater.
Please note, I linked to a live version of the song on YouTube, as you will catch the vibe of these crazy cats from their prime in 1976 in Houston. The studio track is a better demo, but I had to share this one. I’ve seen them live and even briefly met George Clinton. They are a sight to be seen.
Do the Nakymatone ECHT Invisible Speakers Have Any Resale Value?
Nope. Not a penny.
You don’t buy installed products like this for resale. They go into your house and stay there when sell the joint. Nobody is going to cut their invisible speakers out of the celling and re-use them. They just aren’t. A Krell amp has strong resale value. These speakers don’t. Period.
Who Is the Competition for the Nakymatone ECHT?
I have a pair of Stealth Acoustics LRX-83 speakers in my dining room; they are half the price of the Nakymatone ECHT, at about $1,650 per pair, and equally invisible. I don’t beat on my Stealth Acoustics system as much as the others because, really, who cranks up their dining-room system that loud or that often? We play John Williams classical guitar for dinner parties or choice Sinatra tracks when we are eating my Sunday Spaghetti Sauce, like a version of the Soprano family. (BTW, The Soprano’s Family Cookbook is the best that I own in any genre, and I might have 200 high-end cookbooks. I am just saying, Artie Bucco should get a Michelin Star.)
Sonance makes an invisible speaker, which I installed in the dining room of my last house. The pair sounded really good and made me regret that I didn’t use invisibles everywhere in that home.
Final Thoughts on the Nakymatone ECHT Invisible Speakers
I don’t smoke crack, but audio traditionalists who haven’t read my reviews over the past 25-plus years might think that I’ve been firing up the glass pipe for recommending in-wall speakers to audiophiles. But I stand by the recommendation. The Nakymatone ECHT invisible speakers are excellent performers that simply will challenge your audiophile beliefs.
Your main media room is not the only place in your home that needs music, and the Nakymatone ECHT speakers can deliver sweet sounds in a visually (completely) non-intrusive way. Every custom installer should sell this product or something like it, and every audiophile should find a way to hear this category of speaker. I should convince Nakymatone to install its speakers in a room at a regional audiophile show like Axpona and really freak out some audiophiles. Million-dollar audio systems are well and good, but they can’t pull a David Copperfield the way Nakymatone can—and that’s one hell of an audiophile trick.