Are you thinking of installing a wall or ceiling speaker system in your home? A do-it-yourself installation can be a cost-effective and good learning experience.

Installing your new speaker may not be as tough as you believe.   Even if you have no experience with appliance installation, you may easily position your speaker in the desired location. The task may appear intimidating at first glance.  Cutting a hole in your drywall may appear difficult at first, but this is not a barrier.   Even the most difficult task can be completed if you have the right materials and follow the proper procedure. Therefore, you should know that installing a ceiling speaker is not too complicated.

Plan Your Installation

Deciding which rooms or locations you want to supply sound for and for what purposes.  If you’re designing a system primarily for background music, focus on even sound distribution through much of your room. It is preferable to have more speakers than too few. If the speakers are very far apart, the audio may be too loud in some areas of the room and too quiet in others.

Assess where the decor and furnishings will be positioned to select the proper speaker and speaker jack plate placements. Ceiling speakers are generally preferred in locations where there is no centralized seating or viewing point.

If the space has furniture, wall-mounted speakers should face the intended listening and viewing location. In-Home Theater applications, four, six, or even eight speakers can be used to produce the ultimate surround sound system.

It is important to have a clear plan before you begin any installation. Excellent quality speakers in the wrong spots may not sound as good as lower quality speakers in the proper locations.

Confirm your speaker locations

After you’ve determined where your speakers will go, make sure there’s enough room in the wall or ceiling to accommodate them.  Find any potential hazards behind the wall or ceiling by using a high-quality stud finder that can detect metal pipes, AC wires, and other hindrances hidden behind the walls.

Make an effort to inspect as much as possible without creating a hole. Try to figure out which way the joists run and where the empty wall space between the studs might be.  Look for areas of the wall that are absent of pipes or electrical wires. You may not know what’s behind the wall with certainty and will have to cut and patch all examined holes.

Drill a pilot hole in an existing room to see if each of your speaker locations will work. This allows you to check the space behind the wall or ceiling to confirm there is nothing there.  To avoid electric shock, turn off the power in the areas where you’ll be working before you begin.  Drill a small hole in the center of the area where you plan to install your speaker. Drill with caution so that you do not accidentally drill into a pipe or electrical conduit.


System and Volume Control

Determine where the Stereo System (Receiver/Amp, CD, etc.) will be placed. This is the Home Run location where all of the remote speaker wirings will be routed.

In the wall area here (behind the stereo equipment), you can optionally mount the Decorator Style Banana Jack Plates or Binding Post Plates. These terminate the wiring from the in-wall or in-ceiling speakers to one main location.

You can choose to mount the Decor Style Banana Jack Plates or Binding Post Plates in the wall area behind the stereo equipment. These connect the wiring from in-wall or in-ceiling speakers to a central location.

Determine the location to place the Decor Style Autoformer Volume Control in each room. It is recommended that one volume control be installed for each pair of speakers.

While the centralized receiver/amplifier will set the maximum volume for the entire home or building, each room’s relative volume level is controlled by its local volume control.

Speakers Installation

You may choose whether to run the wiring on the outside or inside of your walls. Running the cables on the outside of the wall is much easier, but it may not look as attractive and may place your wires in places where they are easily damaged. If you plan to route the speaker wires through the wall, consult an electrician to ensure proper installation.

Drywall Installation

Drywall, often known as sheetrock, is a soft building material that is simple to work with. When you need to make a hole in a wall for cables to pass through, choose an area that is not covered by a poster or wallpaper.

Place your ladder near the intended position. Locate all ceiling joists and surrounding studs with a stud finder. Mark them each with masking tape and draw the speaker area with a non-permanent marker or chalk.  It is recommended that you utilize the template available in the speaker box. If you intend to do so, tape the figure to the placement area before tracing it with a marker or pencil.

Cut the outline of the speaker using a utility knife, then cut the shape with a keyhole/drywall saw.  Make sure to cut inside the traced line because the drywall saw has a thick blade.  If you cut outside or exactly on the tracing, you may not get the proper hole measurement.

Before removing the cut area, make sure to wear an eye protector to keep debris or dust out of your eyes.  Use the saw and cut around the outline in only one direction and stay inside the shape that you have scored and traced.

Drop Ceiling Installations

Most In-ceiling speaker installations are either on drywall or drop ceiling.  Ceiling speakers are designed to reproduce sound in places where in-wall or freestanding speakers would be impractical. Ceiling speakers can also be used to mask speakers so that they do not hinder the visual appeal of a room. Ceiling speakers can be combined with the practicality of a drop ceiling, but the size, shape, and weight of the speakers must be evaluated before trying to place them in a drop ceiling.

Installing speakers in a drop ceiling differs from drywall installation. Drop ceiling panels are typically not sturdy enough to support the weight of most in-ceiling speakers.  Place the speaker to the cross beam or ceiling joist, and cut the speaker opening into both the plywood and the drop ceiling.

If a bracket is not an option, heavy-duty press-board ceiling tiles, such as those used for video projectors, might provide additional support while making installation easier.  The speakers should either fit into the opening in the ceiling tile or be connected to the bracket. Before you complete the installation, connect the wiring and test the speakers to ensure that any potential issues are swiftly resolved. After you’ve confirmed that the speaker works, hang it from the ceiling. Many in-ceiling speakers come with a grill that shields the speaker and hides the seams created during installation.

Start by testing the area by placing the speaker in the hole. You must check if it fits perfectly. After that, you can proceed with the installation.  Push the ceiling speaker into the hole and do not stop until it is securely in place. Next, attach the speaker to the ceiling and proceed by following the steps below.

  • Remove the speaker grill and Pull the cords from the ceiling.
  • Strip about half an inch of each of the wire conductors and connect the stripped wires to the speaker by soldering or connecting to the speaker terminals.
  • Position the speaker up to the ceiling. Firmly attach the ceiling speakers in place by making sure all of the screws are properly tightened.
  • Adjust the pivoting tweeters so that the sound is focused where you want it before replacing the speaker grill.
  • Paint the speaker grill to match your wall and decor.

If you carefully follow the procedure and safety tips, installing ceiling speakers can be a simple task. Receive powerful and captivating sound while maintaining the quality of your interior decors, when you properly follow the steps to install a ceiling speaker.

Wire Installation

Decide to run wire to every possible location for a speaker. It’s worth noting that the wire is routed through adjacent stud bays to allow movement left or right, as well as up and down, on the same wall. While many types of wire are thick enough to carry an audio signal, they will not be approved in the electrical inspection process if they are not CL2 or CL3-rated.  Be sure to used CL2 or CL3-rated wire to comply with building codes.

The jacket is what distinguishes approved speaker wire from the clear jacketed speaker wire.  A CL2 or higher wire has a jacket that does not burn as easily or emit toxins, making it safer for in-wall use. This characteristic is required for any cables to be run inside the walls of a home or building.

It is normal practice to run four-conductor cables from the speaker selector point to each volume control.   A 2-conductor cable should then be routed from each volume control to each of the two related speakers. A positive (+) and a negative (-) cable are required for each speaker. Use at least 16-gauge wire, and select for a thicker 14-gauge wire if the runs exceed 100 feet.  Wire gauges of 18 or less can cause your amplifier to overheat and damage in extreme conditions.


Set & Tune All Speakers

After you’ve installed your speakers, you’re ready to make any last adjustments.  Before installing the speaker grilles, point any tilting tweeters toward the main seating areas.

Check the speaker for tone controls and set the bass settings to minus or cut if the speaker is within a foot of a corner wall. Set the treble control to the minus or cut setting if the room lacks upholstered furniture to absorb the sound.


Check out Syston Cable’s video onChoosing the Right Gauge Wire Size for Your Audio Speakers video along with all Syston’s videos on Youtube.

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Written by Syston Cable Team