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Video: Installing In-wall and In-ceiling Speakers — The Basics


If you're thinking of installing in-wall or in-ceiling speakers in your home, this video is for you. We'll cover some of the most commonly asked questions, discuss the key things to consider before installing speakers, and show you the basics of speaker installation.

Norm: Hi. I'm Norm, a member of Crutchfield's Audio/Video design group. I help a lot of people with in-wall and in-ceiling speaker questions every day. So in this video I'll give you a quick introduction to in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. I'll also cover some key things to consider before installing them. Then I'll show you the basics of an in-wall speaker installation so you can get an idea of what's involved.

It's easy to see why in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are so popular. They easily blend in with your room while still sounding great. My customers have used them for surround sound in their home theater as well as in whole-house music systems. Plus, they're not so complicated to install that you have to hire a pro. It can be a good project for people comfortable with other common jobs around the house, like installing new light fixtures, patching dry wall, and using some of these simple hand tools.

Now let's take a look at some things to consider when planning an in-wall speaker installation. The first thing to figure out is where you're going to install your speakers. Good speaker placement can mean a big improvement in your system's sound. The specific locations for your speakers will be different from room to room, but your main goal is to get even coverage throughout the room. You can find detailed recommendations for a variety of rooms at crutchfield.com/inwallplacement.

Once you've decided where to install your speakers, you'll need to run in-wall speaker wire from your receiver to each speaker location. There are a couple of key considerations here: what kind of wire to use and how to route it from your receiver to your speakers. You'll want to use a different kind of speaker wire inside your walls than you would on your carpet or along your baseboard. To make sure you get good, clean sound you'll need high-quality speaker wire that has been shielded to prevent interference from nearby AC power lines. More importantly, you'll need wire that meets national electric code standards. Look for cables clearly labeled CL2 or CL3. That means they're rated for in-wall use by the Underwriters Laboratory. Also be sure to check your local building and fire codes since some localities have additional requirements.

Now let's take a look at some things to keep in mind when routing the wire from the back of your receiver to your speakers. Running in-wall speaker wire often involves drilling holes through studs or joists then pulling the speaker cable through the holes. As you can imagine this is easier to do in homes that are under construction or extensive renovation when the insulation and sheet rock haven't been installed yet. But if you're installing your speakers in an existing home you can find tools at your local hardware store to help you route wire through your walls. There are also some simple techniques that can save you time and effort like using unfinished attics and basements to route your wire. Still you should expect to cut and patch a decent amount of drywall, so be sure it's a job that you're comfortable with. For more wiring information and step-by-step tips visit crutchfield.com/helpguides.

Now I'll show you the basic steps involved in installing an in-wall speaker. Installing an in-ceiling speaker would be done the same way. Be sure to follow the instructions and safety guidelines included with your tools and with your speakers to ensure a safe, successful installation. First, take the necessary precautions before cutting into the drywall, like shutting off the power in the areas where you're working. You don't want to shock yourself if you accidently hit a power line. Use a stud finder to check for studs and other obstructions, then carefully drill a pilot hole and explore the wall cavity. A bent coat hanger does the job perfectly. Trace the speaker's included template, then carefully cut the hole with a dry wall saw. Next pull the speaker cable out of the wall and connect it to the speaker. Then mount the speaker into the wall. Now test the speakers to make sure that they're working and that they sound the way you want. If your speaker has an adjustable tweeter or controls for bass or treble, this is a good time for adjustments. Finally, pop in the grille, and you're done.

I hope this video has answered some of your questions about in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. For more in-depth information visit crutchfield.com/helpguides or give us a call at 1-888-955-6000.

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