by Jason Griffith, founder of Vibe Speaker Company
Apart from being stylish and contemporary, in-ceiling audio speakers have other benefits with regard to whole-house audio and home theater.
First of all, in-ceiling audio speakers can deliver a tremendous home theater surround sound experience. Second, it allows you to save floor space and avoid the clutter of floorstanding speakers. And finally, in-ceiling speakers can be installed and their grills painted in a way to blend seamlessly with the decor of your home.
However, before the in-ceiling speaker installation occurs, there are some important points that must be considered.
Should You Buy In-Ceiling or In-Wall Speakers?
This choice usually boils down to your personal aesthetic preferences, as well as some installation issues.
If your ceiling does not have an accessible attic above it, then there’s a good chance you may want to go with in-wall audio speakers. If you do have an accessible attic and you want to keep your speakers out of your immediate line of sight, then in-ceiling is definitely the way to go.
However, if you don’t want to get stuck with one option, there are speakers that can be used for both in-wall and in-ceiling installations. [Vibe Speaker Company makes such options.]
Choose Your Speaker Placement Location Carefully
Given the nature of in-ceiling audio speakers, once they’re installed firmly, you cannot move them around. Optimal placement of the ceiling speakers must be determined before you start the actual installation.
The location and wiring of the ceiling speakers at selected locations is very important, and a little pre-planning will allow you to work through these installation issues beforehand.
Pay Attention To Home Wiring
When outfitting your home with in-ceiling speakers, note that the speakers aren’t wireless. The wires will be running all the way from the audio system amplifier, through the walls and ceiling, to the speakers.
- When mapping out your wire runs, pay close attention to electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC ductwork locations.
- Always take the time to double-check before you start drilling or cutting into a wall or ceiling.
- Running your speaker wiring parallel to electrical wiring should be avoided if at all possible. If you must cross electrical wiring, do so at 90-degree angles to avoid inducing electrical hum in the speaker lines.
- Lastly: The thicker your speaker cabling, the better. We generally recommend using at least 14AWG stranded cabling.
Check Before Installing Speakers in a Moist Setting
Most in-ceiling audio speakers are not made for moist environments, such as bathrooms or back porches. Before installing your in-ceiling speakers in such locations, check the documentation to make sure they can be placed there or not. Otherwise, the speaker grills and other components will start to rust and deteriorate with time.
Your best bet here will be to buy in-ceiling speakers which come with all-weather grills. For example, Vibe’s Spectrum in-ceiling audio speakers will stand up perfectly in these environments.
4 Easy Steps to Install In-Ceiling Speakers
A whole-house audio system with in-ceiling speakers produces amazing and immersive sound throughout a room. You can listen to your favorite music or movie, while eliminating obtrusive wires and boxy floorstanding speakers that clash with your interior decor.
Aside from the aesthetic benefits, installing in-ceiling speakers is a huge space-saver and a perfect solution for a home theater surround sound system. You get powerful surround sound while keeping an elegant look that blends seamlessly with your home.
So how can you revolutionize your audio system and carry out a smooth in-ceiling speaker placement in your living space? Here are four easy steps to install your in-ceiling speakers at home.
Before You Begin
As discussed before, choose the right area for your in-ceiling audio speakers by checking the back of your ceiling through an accessible crawlspace or attic. Survey the area where you want to install the speakers and be sure to have a clear understanding of local building and fire codes to avoid any harm and distractions as you run the wiring in the ceiling.
When running the speaker cables to the installation location, be sure to avoid running alongside electrical wiring for extended distances. This will help to avoid electrical hum in the speakers.
Also, if you have blown-in insulation, it’s good to temporarily move the insulation out of the area you are cutting in the speaker. Otherwise, some of the insulation will simply fall out when your speaker hole is cut out.
Step 1: Gather Tools
For a hassle-free home ceiling speaker placement, you will need:
- Protective goggles (safety first!)
- A ladder (This is to help you reach the area where you want to install your in-ceiling speakers.)
- Stud finder
- Painters tape
- Pencil and a template of the speakers (for marking the location of your cutouts)
- A laser level (This is optional, but can ensure that your speakers are even with each other.)
- Box cutter (This is for scoring the drywall before you start cutting, to avoid chipping paint, plaster, etc.)
- Keyhole saw to cut the drywall
- Wire cutters to strip the wires
- Phillips screwdriver
Step 2: Prepare the Area
Place the ladder to reach the desired location of your first speaker. Use the stud finder to find all nearby studs or ceiling joists. (I like to mark them with the painters tape.) Once you know where the joists are, trace the area of the ceiling speaker using the template found in your speaker box.
Tape the template to the wall before tracing it with a pencil. Use the box cutter to score the drywall where you traced your template to make it easier for you to cut using the keyhole saw.
Make sure to cut inside the line, because the keyhole has a thicker blade that might widen or go over the lines. Go all the way around the circle until you have everything edged out using the box cutter.
Step 3: Cut the Hole for the Speaker
Before you remove the drywall, make sure you are wearing your goggles to protect your eyes from dust or debris during the cutting process.
Grab your keyhole saw and cut all the way around in one direction, following closely the circle that you traced and scored.
Step 4: Install the Speaker
Test the area to make sure that the in-ceiling speaker will fit perfectly. Carefully push the speaker into the hole until it is in place. At this point, we are ready to connect the speaker and attach it to the ceiling.
- Remove the grill from the speaker.
- Pull the wires from the ceiling and strip each of the two conductors about half an inch to uncover the copper strands.
- Connect the wires to the speaker and insert it back to the ceiling.
- Tighten the speakers in place with the screws along the perimeter of the speaker.
- Before placing the grills back, adjust the direction of the sound by adjusting the swivel tweeters. Once completed, you can paint the grill to match your decor.
And that’s it. You can now start enjoying a seamless whole-house audio experience.
A former musician and professional audio engineer, Jason Griffith is the founder of Vibe Speaker Company. He has a decade of experience in interacting with music lovers and creating unforgettable audio experiences in homes across the country. Learn more about Vibe, or connect with him here.