How to Install Speakers in a Ceiling for Surround Sound


Move surround-sound speakers off the floor and wall and out of the way by hiding them in the ceiling. Placing surround-sound speakers in the proper locations of a room enhances audio quality and enjoyment. Surround sound can give you that feeling of being in the middle of an action movie or front and center at your favorite band's concert. Installing surround-sound speakers in a ceiling can save you some space and money that could be used for other home theater components.

Things You'll Need

  • Stud finder
  • Tape
  • Measure tape
  • Jab saw
  • Wire strippers
  • Phillips or slotted screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Electrical tape
  • Masking tape
  • Speaker wire
  • Low-voltage remodel junction box
  • Large paperclip
  • Flashlight
  • Drill
  • 3/4-inch wood drill bit
  • Fish tape
  • Slide a stud finder over the ceiling to locate the ceiling joists. Mark these locations with tape.

  • Mark the speakers' location in the ceiling. Place the left and right front speakers of the home theater system in front of the television. The speakers should extend at least 2 feet to 3 feet away from a wall behind the television. Also place the speakers an equal distance from the main seating area.

  • Position the speaker locations no less than 5 feet and not more than 10 feet away from each other. Arrange the position for the system's center speaker between the two front speakers. Position the system's rear speakers directly behind the main seating area in line with the front left and right speakers.

  • Trace the system's templates for each speaker onto the ceiling. Use a jab saw to follow the speakers' trace lines and remove drywall at each speaker's location.

  • Slide the stud finder over the wall to locate the studs behind the home theater system. Mark the stud locations on the wall with tape.

  • Trace the template provided with the low-voltage remodel junction box onto the wall between two studs behind the home theater system. Choose a location on the wall about 18 inches off the floor or level with other electrical receptacles on the wall.

  • Cut along the remodel junction box's trace lines with the jab saw. Remove the drywall to create an opening in the wall. Slip the low-voltage remodel junction box into the wall.

  • Turn both screws clockwise on the face of the low-voltage remodel junction box until tight. This flips up the wings attached to the screws behind the drywall and secures the junction box to the wall.

  • Push an unbent, large paper clip through the ceiling and into the attic above the new junction box in the wall. Keep the paper clip as close to the wall as possible as you push it into the attic.

  • Go into the attic and locate the wall behind the home theater system. Use a flashlight to look for the paper clip pushed through the ceiling. The paper clip indicates the position of the new junction box in the wall.

  • Drill a 3/4-inch hole through the top plate in the wall next to the paper clip with a 3/4-inch drill bit. Thread a fish tape through the hole in the top plate and reel it down through the wall to the new junction box. Have a partner watch for the fish tape and pull it through the open back of the low-voltage junction box and into the room.

  • Measure the distance from the home theater system's receiver to the junction box, up the wall and across the ceiling to each speaker opening. Add 2 feet to 3 feet to each measurement and cut lengths of speaker wire for each speaker's location with wire cutters.

  • Mark each speaker wire with its corresponding speaker location on a piece of masking tape wrapped around the end of each length of wire. For example, wrap a piece of masking tape labeled "RF" on each end of the right front speaker wire.

  • Bend all the speaker wires around the hook on the end of the fish tape. Wrap the wires with electrical tape to secure them to the fish tape.

  • Go into the attic and reel up the fish tape. The fish tape pulls the speaker wires up through the wall and into the attic. Carefully cut the electrical tape from the end of the fish tape with a utility knife to release the speaker wires.

  • Pull each length of speaker wire across the attic to its corresponding speaker hole location in the ceiling. Low-voltage speaker wire is safe to stretch across ceiling joists in the attic.

  • Strip half an inch of insulation off each speaker's wire with wire strippers. Push in the spring-loaded connector button on a speaker body and insert the ends of a speaker wire into the openings on the speaker. Release the button on the speaker body to secure the wires. Repeat this step for each ceiling speaker.

  • Push the speaker body into the ceiling until the lip on the speaker rests against the ceiling. Turn the screws on the face of the speaker to flip out dog-ear brackets behind the drywall. Continue to turn the screws until the speaker clamps to the wall. Push the speaker grills onto the speakers. Repeat this step for each ceiling speaker.


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