How to Install In-Wall Stereo Speakers

It takes some planning and a bit of handiwork

What to Know

  • Plan your project and review each step. Determine the best location for the speakers. Measure and cut holes for the speakers.
  • Plan the installation of the speaker wires. Run the speaker wires according to your situation. Install the speakers. Test the system.

This article will guide you through the steps for installing in-wall speakers into an existing wall with drywall or sheetrock construction. Walls constructed of lath and plaster require different methods and are not covered in this article.

Install In-Wall Stereo Speakers

In-wall stereo speakers are a great option for good sound quality if you don't have speaker cabinets. When painted to match the room décor, in-wall speakers blend in with the surroundings, giving your home theater a customized look.

  1. Plan your project and review each step. Review the installation steps, and examine your home's design to determine the best approach for the project. You will probably need access to the attic or crawl space to run speaker wires from the audio components to each in-wall speaker. Consider your best options based on the accessibility.

  2. Determine the best location for the speakers.

    • Locate any obstructions behind the walls, such as pipes, studs, or wires by drilling a small 1/4-inch hole in the wall and inserting a coat hanger bent to a 90-degree angle. Move the coat hanger inside the wall to feel for any obstructions. If you find any, patch the small hole and find another location.
    • Locate wall studs. In-wall speakers should be installed between wall studs. You can locate the studs by tapping on the wall or using a stud finder.

    In-wall speakers should be positioned at ear level when seated, usually about 38 to 42 inches from the floor.

  3. Measure and cut holes for the speakers.

    • Use the cut-out template. Most in-wall speakers include a cut-out template. Tape the template to the wall where you want the speaker to be and trace an outline with a pencil. Use a level to make sure the template is properly aligned and straight.
    • Cut the hole. First, drill a 1/2-inch hole in one inside corner of the template. Using a manual drywall saw, cut around all four edges of the cut-out and remove the piece of drywall. Don't worry about rough edges around the cut; the speaker's frame will cover them.
  4. Plan the installation of the speaker wires. There are usually three options for running speaker wires from your amp or receiver to the speakers.

    • Run wires overhead through a floor or ceiling crawlspace.
    • Run wires laterally through the walls.
    • Run wires along the floor, ideally behind the baseboards, and then through the wall and up to the speakers.

    Consider your options by inspecting the room for speaker wire and drywall accessibility.

  5. Run the speaker wires according to your situation:

    • From a floor or crawlspace: You will need to drill an access hole through the top or bottom plate of the wall and into the wall.
    • Laterally: When running wires laterally through the walls, cut small holes in the drywall with a utility knife to expose the studs and drill holes in the studs large enough for the wire. The holes in the walls only need to be 1 inch in diameter, or wide enough to expose both sides of the stud.
    • Behind baseboards: Remove the baseboards and cut a channel into the drywall for the wires, then replace the baseboards.
  6. Install the speakers. If you want to paint the speaker frames and grilles to match the walls, paint them before you install them. Always use spray paint and mask the speaker components first.

    • Connect the wires to the speakers.
    • Secure the speaker to the wall. Most in-wall speakers use dog-leg clamps to secure the speaker to the wall. After inserting the speaker in the cut-out, tighten the screws on the front of the speaker. Some speakers have a perimeter clamp, which uses the entire frame to clamp the speaker to the wall.
  7. Test the system. Turn on the system and test the speakers for sound. Start at a low volume to prevent damage to the amplifier if there is a problem with any connections.

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