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Old 12-30-2007, 12:05 AM   #1
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Installing Ceiling Speakers

We have a new home that is pre-wired for surround sound in the family room. In the ceiling, there are 5 standard outlet cover plates (3 in the front of the room for the L,R, and Center speaker and 2 in the back for the rear speakers). The home builder installed regular electrical plastic outlet boxes in the ceiling and ran the speaker wire to the boxes.

My question is are you supposed to cut a hole for the speaker around the boxes and then remove the installed boxes? I would then assume that the speaker grill would cover up the area where the installed electrical box is now located.

Any help would be appreciated.


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Old 12-30-2007, 02:44 AM   #2
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Sounds like he planned for a surface-mount type speaker. The boxes are probably nailed to the studs, so if you intend to remove them (which would be OK, but leave a rectangle hole 4" along a beam) be sure your flush-mount speakers are square or rectangle. Not round.


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Old 01-01-2008, 09:10 PM   #3
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Hopefully the cover plates in the ceiling are either just attached to old work boxes or low voltage type frames, both of which can easily be removed, so that you can cut the proper size hole in the ceiling for the speakers. If they are mounted to the joist, do as suggested from LawnGuy, being careful to do as little damage as possible along the joist, as most speakers have pretty narrow trim. Surface mount ceiling speakers will be pretty ugly, and I could not imagine anyone "planning" for such. This was just the easiest, cheapest way out that allowed him to say that the house was prewired for surround sound. I would not use the ceiling location for the center channel, but opt for locating it either on top of or directly below the screen. This is the speaker that the voices come from, and it will drive you crazy to see people talking on the screen and detect their voices coming from somewhere in a location other than the person you are watching talk. Have you ever seen the news when they try to patch in a satellte feed from someone in the field, and the audio signal is out of sync with the persons mouth or body motions?
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Old 01-01-2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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Is there access above the ceiling?

Possibility of pulling additional wiring to the speaker locations?

TV location in relation to the speakers?
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Handyman2007 View Post
.... My question is are you supposed to cut a hole for the speaker around the boxes and then remove the installed boxes? I would then assume that the speaker grill would cover up the area where the installed electrical box is now located. Any help would be appreciated.
For me, I'm not into perfect sound systems. To this day, I still can't tell the difference between CD sound or sound being played off a VHS tape. Many perfect ears state there's a huge difference. But I can't tell the difference. Especially for background sound.

With this in mind, I'd install flush mount square speakers on their ceiling. As explained above, determine where the other side support boards are and make the needed opening. And if needed, use some 1x4 with PL Premimum (which is construction glue) to install extra support plating. Thus, your flush mount speaker screws can screw into these 1x4 boards (for more solid support). If living space above these speakings, you might want to pack some sound reduction insulation in their upper ceiling areas as well. Thus, reducing some sound travels to upper living space. To me, good quality "surface mount" ceiling speakers are good enough. Connect each speaker to the sound jack that works best for you. For example, if you want voices on the front speakers and other tracks on the ceiling speakers.

If your ears are into near perfect sound, I'd install speakers that can be tilted towards the target person. Or, install pre-tilted speakers. Pointed towards your room's central sofa area. Exspensive (due to their design) but if this is your long term dream home, buying these tilt-able (or pre-tilted design) ceiling mount surface speakers might be worth it.

For others, they may install normal speakers with their own tilt-able support brackets. Thus, allowing more speaker tilting. For some, the little wire that comes out of the speaker box (approx 6" long) is then fed into the little surface place. Drill a hole in the surface plate and use a rubber gromet in the hole. Other designs allow speaker wire to be 100% hidden (like in the below link that shows a single rod support bracket). This hollow rod mounting method works as well.

For visuals, surf the below links:
- Fixed ceiling surface mount:
- Pre-Tilted ceiling surface mount:
- Manual Tilt-able surface mount:

Long story short.... Use which method that you feel might work best for your wants.

Hope these ideas help as well...


Last edited by Spike99; 01-05-2008 at 11:14 PM.
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