Nowadays, many people want the luxury of a surround sound system but without the eyesore of speakers hanging everywhere. Fortunately, you can buy speakers that sit flush inside your wall and out of sight, without sacrificing sound quality.
This process is very similar to, but actually easier than, installing In-Ceiling speakers. If you decide to do in-ceiling instead of in-wall, check out the How To Do Things article on installing in-ceiling speakers.
If you need your speakers in-wall, keep reading.
First things first. This article is going to assume that you have a pre-wired room or have already run speaker wire to the locations you will be mounting speakers. Almost every new home is being prewired with at least a 5.1 system in mind, and most older homes can be retrofitted with minimal construction. If you aren't comfortable running the wires in the wall yourself, it's best to have a professional do this for you.
Next, get all your tools ready. Here's what you'll need:
- A drywall knife (available at Lowe's or Home Depot for around $10)
- A writing utensil (Pencils work best since you will be writing upside down.)
- A ladder, if the speakers will be higher than your shoulders.
- A stud finder
- A level
- A power screwdriver with an extended philips head bit (at least 4")
- Damp paper towel (for removing fingerprints at the end)
- And lastly, a tarp or sheet to put down to help minimize cleanup
Now that everything is ready, you will want to remove the speakers from their packages and put them aside. Inside the box, you will find a template, usually a cardboard cutout, that will tell you how big the hole has to be in the wall. It will almost always be a rectangular cutout. Use this template to help you layout where the speakers will be. If you have a prewired home, this is pretty much already done for you.
Set up your tarp and ladder under the first speaker's location. Use your studfinder to verify where the studs are in your wall. Traditionally, the studs will be spaced either 16" or 24" apart. You want to make sure you can safely cutout a hole in the wall between two studs without any obstructions, so also be cautious of electrical wiring and plumbing. When you have located the studs, hold your template between the two studs where you want your speaker to sit, use your level to set your template level, and trace the hole with your pencil.
Using your drywall knife, cut out the rectangle you've just traced. There will be a good amount of dust and, if you have it, insulation that will blow all over the place. Keep that in mind if you have severe allergies or valuable furniture, that should be covered up.
Once the hole is cut, clear out the area in the wall of any debris to make sure the speaker has room to sit inside. Attach your speaker wire to the + and - terminals on the speaker (usually red for + and black for -). Making sure not to pinch the wire, slowly push the speaker into the hole. Depending on your tracing and cutting ability, it might be a tight squeeze or it may sit loosely. Attach your level once again to make sure the speaker is level. Use your power screwdriver with the extended bit to tighten the screws on the speaker that secure its clamps to the drywall. Every model has its own way to do this, so check your manual. Make sure not to overtighten the clamps as you can easily crack the drywall. Most speakers will also come with a grill cover. This is the time to put that on.
Repeat the previous process for any other speakers that will be in-wall. Once they are installed, either hook them up to the receiver or use the battery trick to ensure they are hooked up properly. The battery trick is to take a AA or AAA battery and touch it to the leads of the speaker wire. If it is hooked up properly, the battery will send a small current through the wire and cause the speaker to "pop" momentarily. This is also a great way to track down which wire goes to which speaker if they aren't labeled.
And that's it. You now have speakers mostly out of sight that will still enhance your home theater experience. Again, remember to check out How To Install In-Ceiling Speakers if you aren't able to install your rear speakers in-wall.