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Monitor Audio CSS230

Ultra-shallow in-ceiling speaker with built-in back-box

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Item # 893CSS230

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Our take on the Monitor Audio CSS230

Have a room in which you want music overhead, but don't have much space to work with above your ceiling? Monitor Audio's CSS230 ultra-shallow in-ceiling speaker is designed for just this scenario. At less than 2" deep it fits into ceilings where space is tight, and delivers the rich, revealing sound that Monitor Audio is known for.

Tight space in your ceiling? No problem!

Have a room in which you want music overhead, but don't have much space to work with above your ceiling? Monitor Audio's CSS230 ultra-shallow in-ceiling speaker is designed for just this scenario. At less than 2" deep it fits into ceilings where space is tight, and delivers the rich, revealing sound that Monitor Audio is known for.

Monitor Audio CSS230 ultra-shallow in-ceiling speaker with built-in back-box

At about 2" thick, the CSS230 is able to fit into shallow ceiling cavities.

Signature sound from Monitor's gold dome tweeter

The CSS230 uses Monitor's signature C-CAM® (Ceramic-Coated Aluminum/Magnesium) gold dome tweeter for clear, detailed highs and realistic reproduction of instruments, vocals, and dialogue. It's the same tweeter design found in many of Monitor's highly acclaimed bookshelf and floor-standing speakers.

Excellent midrange performance 

This speaker uses a trio of 3" C-CAM woofers for textured, accurate midrange. Because of the shallow nature of this speaker, it doesn't produce much bass when the cabinet is sealed. However, if you remove the included port plug, the enclosure turns into a bass reflex design, which widens the frequency response from 100 Hz down to 85 Hz — sweet!

A built-in enclosure elevates performance

One of my favorite features of the CSS230 is the back-box that's built onto the speaker. This carefully designed enclosure helps it deliver consistently focused, well-balanced sound no matter what kind of space is above it in your ceiling. It also keeps dust and dirt out of your speaker.

DIY installation 

If this is a do-it-yourself install, check out my guide to installing in-ceiling speakers, along with our selection of in-wall speaker wire. You can paint the included magnetic grille to have your speaker blend in with your décor.

Product Highlights:

  • ultra-slim mounting depth allows for installation where space is at a premium
  • built-in back-box protects against dust and dirt while providing consistent performance
    • rear plug can be removed to convert the speaker to a ported design
  • ideal for an in-ceiling music system or overhead effects channel of a home theater system
  • 3/4" gold dome C-CAM (Ceramic-Coated Aluminum/Magnesium) tweeter for detailed sound and extended high-frequency response
  • three 3" C-CAM midrange drivers
  • recommended amplifier power: 20-60 watts
  • frequency response: 100-30,000 Hz (sealed)
  • frequency response: 85-30,000 Hz (ported)
  • sensitivity: 86 dB
  • impedance: 8 ohms
  • patented Tri-Grip® mounting system ensures maximum surface seal for better bass and midrange clarity
    • can only be installed into drywall up to 9/16" thick
  • paintable removable round magnetic grille
  • cutout diameter: 8-5/16"
  • overall diameter: 9-13/16"
  • mounting depth: 1-15/16"
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • In-ceiling speaker
  • Grille
  • Paint skim
  • Installation Guide
  • Important Safety Instructions
  • Cutout Template

Hands-on research

Features and Specs

Quantity in Package Single
Tweeter Dome
Midrange Size 3
Woofer Size N/A
Cutout Size 8.3125
Woofer Composition ---
Woofer Surround ---
Power Range (Watts) 20-60
Sensitivity 86 dB
Impedance (Ohms) 8
Frequency Response 85-30kHz
Connector Type Spring post
Bi-Amp Inputs No
Built-in Back-box Yes
Parts Warranty Lifetime
Labor Warranty Lifetime

Product Research


C-CAM Multi-Driver Array: The Monitor Audio Super Slim series CSS230 in-ceiling speaker features a multi-driver configuration consisting of three 3" C-CAM bass/midrange drivers in a radial array around a 0.75" C-CAM gold dome tweeter. A high quality crossover design offers Monitor Audio's award-winning signature sound quality.

  • 0.75" C-CAM Gold Dome Tweeter: The gold dome tweeter is formed from a ceramic-coated aluminum/magnesium alloy, gold anodized to a specific thickness for ideal stiffness and damping characteristics. Its new profile and surround geometry have been developed using advanced modeling tools, to provide the optimum qualities for accurate sound reproduction. The new design moves the first order of breakup to beyond 35kHz, producing a linear response way beyond audibility, which matches the wide frequency bandwidth available from HD music and cinema sound formats. The gold dome is thinner, lighter, more rigid and therefore more efficient than domes made from other materials which are prone to distortion in the audio band.
  • Three 3" C-CAM Cone Woofers: Ceramic-Coated Aluminum/Magnesium is a material originally developed by the aerospace industry for jet engine components. Its properties are ideal for loudspeaker cones being extremely rigid, yet light enough to yield high overall efficiency. In manufacturing, aluminum/magnesium alloy undergoes a three-stage stress-relieving process to remove surface deformation and molecular weakness. Once formed, the alloy cone is subjected to a high temperature anodic coating process in which a layer of pure ceramic alumina is depleted onto its surfaces to a depth of 50 microns, producing a completely rigid sandwich of alloy and heat-dissipating ceramic material. Conventional cones are liable to flex or twist in operation, producing a significant level of audible distortion. C-CAM cones have a much higher resistance to bending stress and therefore exhibit much greater fidelity over their entire operating range.

Hybrid Sealed/Open Back Design: An enclosed or open back-box option provides flexibility when mounting the speaker in your ceiling. The sealed back option offers sound isolation in wherever the CSS230 is installed, and is not reliant on the specification or acoustic properties of the wall cavity or building materials. The sealed back option also protects the precision-engineered multi-driver system against the accumulation of damaging dirt and dust.

  • Sealed Frequency Response: 100Hz to 30kHz
  • Open Back Frequency Response: 85Hz to 30kHz

Super-Slim Mounting Design: The Monitor Audio CSS230 in-ceiling speaker features a super-slim mounting depth of only 2" that is designed to fit within 2" stud walls or where space is restricted. It requires a round 8.3125" (diameter) cutout.

Tri-Grip Fixing System: Monitor Audio's innovative Tri-Grip fixing system is easier to install than conventional clamping schemes and provides 3x the surface area and a better surface seal, maximizing bass response and midrange clarity. The Tri-Grip fixings are made from a tough re-enforced polymer, giving a secure installation.

Note: The CSS230 in-ceiling speaker can only be fixed into drywall, plasterboard, or suspended ceilings with a thickness of 0.125" to 0.5625".

"Trimless" Magnetic Grille: The CSS230 in-ceiling speaker features a steel-mesh grille that is held in place by high strength Neodymium magnets covering the entire speaker for a true "trimless", stealth look. The grille is paintable to blend with the living environment; additional scrim material is provided for trouble free painting.

Spring-Post Terminals: The Monitor Audio CSS230 is outfitted with two gold-plated spring-post terminals to connect your speaker wire. The spring-post terminals which accept bare wire (up to 10AWG), banana plugs (sing/dual), and angled pin-connectors.

Our Product Research Team

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