How to Hide Wires When Installing Surround Sound

Written by darrin meyer
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How to Hide Wires When Installing Surround Sound
Surround sound audio helps bring the moviegoing experience to your living room. (luxury home cinema image by Nikolay Okhitin from Fotolia.com)

Surround sound home theatre systems are becoming a must-have for even moderate movie buffs, though one drawback they face is having speaker wire run from the receiver to the speakers' various locations across the room. However, there are ways to conceal the wires, either within the confines of the room or behind the walls, if you feel confident in your construction talents or choose to hire the services of a professional, though that process is much easier during the initial construction of the house rather than attempting it in an existing home.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Speaker wire
  • Adhesive tape
  • Drill
  • Plaster-cutting blade or reciprocating saw
  • PVC conduit

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Decide where to place the surround sound receiver in the room, most likely in a centralised position near the TV and other components. Also decide where to situate the individual speakers using the guidelines provided with the system to maximise their effect in the overall surround sound experience.

  2. 2

    Purchase additional speaker wire if the lengths of the wires provided with your surround sound system are insufficient to reach the intended locations of the speakers. Ensure that the wires you use (especially if you cut the wire yourself) are long enough to not only span that distance but to conceal them in the manner you choose without stretching them tight.

  3. 3

    Connect one end of the speaker wire to its output on the receiver. Let it drop to floor level behind the entertainment centre or other cabinet/stand you are using, then run the wire along the crease between the floor and wall to the speaker's location. Use adhesive tape matching the colour of the floor or trim to secure the wires if you choose, or paint the wires to match.

  4. 4

    Connect the other end of the wire to the speaker. Use any additional methods available here to further conceal the wires. For example, drill a small hole in the back of a bookshelf the speaker is sitting on and run the wire through that, or secure the wire to the back of a speaker stand.

  1. 1

    Determine the location of the receiver and the individual speakers within the room and mark the spots to cut the holes. You may choose to run the wires directly behind the walls, across the attic or under a foundation. If choosing this method, use the thickest gauge speaker wire compatible with your system to better protect against wear and tear or hungry vermin. Running the wires through PVC conduit makes for even better protection.

  2. 2

    Use a drill, plaster-cutting blade (for plaster walls) or reciprocating saw (for wood) to cut the holes in the walls at the necessary spots, making them just large enough to complete the task of routing the wires. Always ensure that there is nothing directly behind the wall, such as pipes, cables, or wires, before cutting or drilling.

  3. 3

    Ensure that the chosen route for the wires is also free of any obstacles and that the lengths of the speaker wires will be more than ample to reach their destinations. Run the wires along the route chosen, with the ends hanging out at each end point to attach to the receiver and speakers, respectively.

  4. 4

    Mount or situate the speakers at their locations and connect the various speaker wires. Connect the other ends of the wires to the receiver and connect the receiver to the other components of the home entertainment system.

Tips and warnings

  • With most surround sound systems, the speaker wire is colour-coded to each individual speaker and its output on the receiver to simplify the process of routing the correct sound to each channel.
  • Keep the speaker wire at least a foot away from electrical wires to prevent interference or a hum in the sound.
  • If wall-mounting the speakers, keep in mind that the vibrations could cause any nearby objects (artwork, knick-knacks, etc.) to shake or fall.

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