In Wall Speakers

I spent yesterday helping a friend of mine install a pair of in wall speakers.  It was surprisingly easy, particularly because we didn’t have to cross any studs.  The installation was simple, speaker up high connected to a jack down low.  The lower jacks aren’t close to each other but everything down low is hidden by a buffet table.  The stereo is hidden in the buffet.

Installing the speakers is exactly like installing an old work box, only much larger.  An “old work box” is an electrical box that is designed to be added to a wall after the walls are up.  The old work box attaches to the wall with a couple of clamps that compress the box to the drywall.    Basically, you cut a hole the size of the box, slide the box in and then tighten the tabs against the wall.  The first 40 seconds of this video do a good job explaining how they work:

In my friend’s case, the speakers have 6 tabs, and it’s a larger hole.
Installation was easy:

  1. Used a stud finder to mark the studs, you can’t install the speakers if there’s a stud in the way.
  2. We used a pattern that came with the speakers to mark the where the speaker holes should go.
  3. We cut the holes.  Cutting them was easy, we drilled a hole in each corner and used a drywall saw to cut the square out.
For the first speaker we got really lucky.  Behind the sheet rock we cut were two separate power cables that weren’t attached to the stud.  Luckily we didn’t cut those wires.  We also ran into some knob and tube that was attached to the studs, this was surprising to us!  We’ve done quite a bit of electrical work to this house, changing outlets, adding a light, and this was the first time we ran into any knob and tube.

Once we had the hole for the speaker, we cut a hole for the speaker bindings. Speaker wire isn’t high voltage wire so you don’t actually need a work box to put it in.  This let us get away with a much easier to work with low voltage bracket.  The speaker bindings look like a normal face plate except they have a pair of speaker bindings in them. These bindings plug into a face plate blank.  Finally we just had to fish the speaker wire through the wall.  Make sure you use in-wall rated speaker wire!
The whole project took about half a day, including a trip to Home Depot to pick up the supplies.  
The before picture.

Speaker bindings, we probably should have taken the picture before putting the furniture back.