How to Install In-Wall Stereo Speakers
While it is handy to have portable speakers that can move throughout the home, many prefer the superior sound quality that installing in-wall and in-ceiling speakers can deliver. In-wall speakers also save space, providing a cleaner look and eliminating the clutter of the multiple speakers of a home entertainment system. Finally, placing speakers in the wall or ceiling is an excellent option in place of using speaker cabinets and can create a thrilling ambiance when playing music or watching a movie at home.
Can I Install My Own In-Wall Stereo Speakers?
The short answer is yes, you can! However, it’s essential to think through the process and ensure you have the right tools for the job. Many YouTube videos can walk you through the installation process. Keep in mind that every home is different, so while one technique may work for one home, you may have to adapt your approach for your home. The biggest hurdle for anyone wanting to install their own in-wall speakers is fear, which is understandable. The key is to plan each step carefully, and if you are still unsure, consider enlisting the help of a handyperson.
The Steps for Installing In-Wall Speakers
If you have decided to do the installation of your in-wall speakers yourself, you’ll have greater success if you follow these steps:
- Make a plan before you start. You may need to access your attic or crawl space since you might need to run speaker wires through the area to your in-wall speakers. Mapping existing wiring and plumbing behind the walls will help you determine where to place the speakers. Locate your studs since you’ll want to put in-wall speakers between studs. You can tap on the walls or use an inexpensive stud finder.
- Select the speakers you’re going to install. Once you know where you’ll be installing the speakers, you’ll have a better idea of what kinds will work best for your home. Many speakers are rectangular and designed to fit in-between studs, and some are circular so that you can install them either in the walls or in-ceiling. You’ll also see the option to select speakers enclosed in the back or not. Consider the wall cavity you’re installing the speaker into since this can affect the quality of bass sounds. Enclosed speakers have a more consistent sound quality.
- It’s time to cut the holes for the speakers. Your in-wall speakers probably come with a template, and you’ll use this to trace the outline where you should cut. Use a level for this part. Drill a half-inch hole in one corner of the traced template, where you’ll start your cut out with either a drywall saw or an electric jigsaw.
- Select the correct wire gauge. You can run a 14 to 16 gauge wire for your installation for up to 100 feet for most speakers. If you’re running wire further than that, you’ll need to choose a 10 or 12 gauge wire, which will also mean drilling larger holes. Use a staple gun to hold wiring in place, but go carefully, so you don’t accidentally nick the wiring insulation.
- Now you can run your speaker wires. This is usually the easiest option if you have an attic or crawl space. You might also be able to run the wires beneath the floorboards or behind the baseboards. If you’re running wires through your walls, you will need a fish tape to help you bring the wires through. Whether you run the wires through the walls, under the floor, or through the attic, you may need to drill small holes to allow the wires to pass through, but these small holes are easy to patch after.
- Install your speakers. You may want to paint the speaker grills to match your wall color, so do that before installing. Use spray paint and tape off the speaker components before painting. Your speakers may come with a gasket, and you’ll have between four and six clamps or a perimeter clamp. Other speakers come with a frame you install first, and you’ll insert the speaker into the frame.
- Attach the wires and test. Strip about a half-inch of insulation from the end of the wiring and insert it into the correct speaker terminals. Red is positive, and black is negative, and your amplifier should have corresponding red and black terminals. After that, it’s time to test your work. Turn on the receiver or amp to check the sound, but start low. Listen to each speaker to ensure everything is wired correctly.
Tips When Installing In-Wall Speakers
If you don’t consider yourself handy, it can feel overwhelming before you start the installation. Before you begin, you should gather the basic tools you’ll need:
- Drill with several bit sizes
- Drywall saw or jigsaw
- Stud finder
- Fish tape
- Personal protective equipment like gloves, a dust mask, and a cape or coverall
- Staple gun
- Wire cutters with a stripper
- Level and a measuring tape
- Phillips and slotted screwdrivers
- Wall patching materials
You may also want some R-13 wall insulation to place around the speakers to improve sound quality and help reduce unwanted airflow.
When deciding where to place your speakers, consider height placement for sound quality. Ideally, you’ll want your speakers to be between 38-42 inches off the ground, about ear level when people are sitting in the room.
Invest in a shop vac. You can damage your regular vacuum trying to vacuum drywall dust, and you might want to clean your attic or crawlspace if you’re moving around up there.
If you have opted to use circular speakers, such as Bluetooth ceiling speakers, you’ll want a circular drywall saw that will cut holes much more efficiently than trying to hand-saw a clean, circular cut. Circular speakers are a great choice if space is truly at a premium, but you’re looking for a dynamic home theater sound.
You’ve Got This
Watch videos and write down your plan so you’ll build your confidence before beginning. Speakers Daily reviews the latest speakers for sound quality and durability, and we’re always looking into new products to give you our unbiased assessment.
You can do it!