How to Install Surround Sound Wiring

Written by joe fletcher
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How to Install Surround Sound Wiring
(2.1 home theatre sound system. Isolated on white. image by diter from Fotolia.com)

There's only one thing separating you from enjoying your movies and music in surround sound: the wiring of the speakers. Wiring those rear surround speakers is not difficult of and in itself, but keeping the wires out of the way can be a bit of a challenge.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Speakers
  • Speaker wire
  • Tape measure
  • Wire stripper
  • Other tools vary by steps

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Take measurements. Once you've determined exactly where each speaker will go and how you're going to run the wire, measure out the path from your receiver to each speaker with a tape measure or measuring tape. Be sure to consider all routing or bends when measuring. You may want to cut the wire a bit longer to allow for error.

  2. 2

    Run speaker wire along the moulding of the wall. This is the best method for getting the wire out of the way. If you have carpet, lift the carpet up slightly and tuck the speaker wire under the edge of the carpet. If not, use wire mounts to keep the wire firmly connected to the wall or floor. When running past doorways, be sure that the wire is firmly secured and not in a place that it will be kicked up.

  3. 3

    Run wire under carpet. Another option to conceal surround speaker wire is to run it under the carpet. Purchase flat cable designed for this application and run it from your receiver to your surrounds under the carpet.

  4. 4

    Use flat, thin speaker wire. Some wire is designed to be so flat and thin that you can run it up and around your wall, paint it the same colour and it will virtually blend in with the wall itself.

  5. 5

    Use cable raceway. If you want your cables concealed and don't have a carpet or other means, use a raceway to keep the cables organised and out of sight. Route all cables through the plastic raceway, then attach it to your wall using the self-adhesive back. Raceway could be painted to further blend in with your room.

  6. 6

    Wire through walls. In-wall wiring provides the cleanest look, but is also the most difficult to perform. Assuming your drywall is hung, you'll need to cut into the wall near the receiver to get wire into the wall, and by the speaker to pull it out. Use only UL-rated wiring that meets all building and electrical codes for your area. You'll need to consider any plumbing, electrical wiring and insulation that may get in your way. You'll then need to push the speaker wire through the wall and around the studs using a fish tape.

  7. 7

    Make your connections. Routing surround sound speaker wiring is the most difficult part, making the connections is the finishing touch. With your speaker wire measured, cut and run, simply strip the two strands on each side. With the receiver turned off, connect one strand to the receiver's positive speaker output terminal for the given speaker and one to the negative. Pay attention to any polarity markings on your wire and use to distinguish the ends. Connect the positive end to the positive terminal on your speaker and negative to negative. Repeat for all speakers in your system.

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