In reply to:
Have you shopped/tried different in-wall speakers?
I've looked at quite a few. Unfortunately I have not had the priviledge to audition them. The nicest in-walls that I have seen are made by (in no particular order) Mirage (HDT), Monitor Audio (this is one of the few, like the Axiom in/on wall that has a complete enclosure), Triad, Dynaudio, Polk and a few others.
What drew me to the Monitor Audio was the fact that there was no guesswork to the performance due to the fact that they had a complete enclosure. I believe they also have a "boundary effect" switch (most of the better speakers do) to compensate for the boundary effect. It is essentially a switch to modify the crossover point primarily in the lower frequency range.
Most other manufacturers hope you have well built walls, require you to install bracing in your walls (some provide some form of metal brackets), provide pre-built cabinets designed to fit in wall cavities (lets hope your house is built to code!) or give you plans for building the cabinets in wall. Triad is one of the few that offers an in-wall subwoofer. Oh how the wife loved that idea after having to look at my big black box for years (it has a nice piano gloss finish so I don't know what she is complaining about).
For the easy solution to get good quality sound, the Monitor Audio seemed to be the best bet (for a completely flush installation). My local dealer has a couple of samples (in-wall and in-ceiling). They are very well constructed.
I have learned that in-wall speakers have come a very long way but they are still not ideal (you have limited positioning capabilities - some provide swivelling dirvers). The honest truth is that nothing compares to a good bookshelf or floorstanding speaker, however, nothing will make the wife as happy as an unobtrusive in-wall speaker.
In trying to compare apples to apples, using Monitor Audio as an example, the GR-10 is their best bookshelf and the Gold CP is their in-wall equivalent. The GR-10 is an excellent speaker pair at $2000.00 and the in-walls at $1300.00 are a great compromise. For serious listening, I agree that there is no in-wall that will do, however they perform quite well for home theater.
Originally I thought of all in-wall speakers for home theater and keep the GR-60s in for critical listening. Triad sells an in-wall dipole that is quite nice. Basically, the nicer the in-wall speaker, the more expensive they get.
I would like to see Axiom put together a "wall theater" system comprised of their new in/on wall speakers and the QS4s or QS8s.