How to wire ceiling speakers

Updated April 17, 2017

A sound system can greatly add to your audio experience in the home. Setting up ceiling speakers is a way you can upgrade your home surround-sound system. Upgrading your home surround-sound system can involve hooking up stereo and television speakers on the ceiling so you enjoy quality music and movie audio. To set up ceiling speakers you will need to wire the speakers correctly.

Set up a tarp and ladder under the location on the ceiling you want to install your speakers and use it to access the ceiling. The tarp and ladder should be securely grounded to remove any chance of tipping over when in use.

Scan the area on the ceiling where you will fit your speakers and get a good feel of what is above. Ceiling speakers should be installed between ceiling joists. Use a stud finder or a pipe and wire detector to locate ceiling joists when scanning the area on the ceiling you will run the speaker wires.

Mark a cut out on the ceiling for fitting the speakers using the speaker template that comes with the ceiling speakers. Hold the template against the ceiling and trace out the outline of the speaker with a pencil. Ideally, the speaker cut out must be about 2 inches from adjoining walls, internal studs and pipes.

Cut out the speaker hole on the ceiling using a drywall keyhole saw for installing the speaker.

Run speaker wires from your system or amplifier to the speaker. Drill a hole on the horizontal board at the top of the wall where all the vertical studs are attached to (top framing stud) using a wall drill. Attach the speaker wire to a fish tape. Snake the fish tape from your system or amplifier up the wall behind your system through the top framing stud hole to the speaker position on the ceiling. Pass the wires between wall studs and ceiling joists.

Connect the ceiling speaker to the amplifier or system. Plug in the speaker wires into the jacks at the back of the speaker and the system or amplifier. Connect the Positive (+) speaker wire to the red terminal on the speaker and the other end of the wire to the red terminal on the system/amplifier. Connect the Negative (-) wire to the black terminal on both the speaker and system/amplifier.

Secure the speaker to the ceiling. Place the speaker into the cutout in the ceiling and tighten the mounting screws using a power screwdriver or Phillips screwdriver. Avoid over tightening the mounting screws as this might damage the speaker. Turn the unit on and finish.


Avoid routing speaker cables near or parallel electrical cables to reduce hum and radio frequency interference. Allow an allowance of about 2.5 feet of free wire at the speaker cutout hole for easy fitting or unfitting of the ceiling speaker.


Do not staple or nail speaker wires when securing the wires on the ceiling as this can cause a short circuit that could damage your speakers/amplifiers and reduce your system's performance. Secure speaker wires with correct-sized cable clips to prevent the wires breaking or people tripping over them.

Things You'll Need

  • Tarp and ladder
  • Stud finder or pipe and wire detector
  • Speaker template
  • Pencil
  • Drywall keyhole saw
  • Wall drill
  • Fish tape
  • Power screwdriver/Phillips screwdriver
  • Cable clips
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About the Author

David Kiarie has been an independent writer and communications practitioner since 2007. Based in Africa, he has written works that have been published in various platforms, including "Prime Scope Magazine." Kiarie particularly enjoys writing about Africa, including African travel and art. He has a Bachelor of Arts in language and communication and literature from the University of Nairobi.