Nineteen Speakers: My Install - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't post a lot on here though I've been a member for almost 10 years. I just completed an install at my house and thought I'd share the journey. I got a lot of help from people on here prior to starting this which was great appreciated it, maybe I can help some people in return.

Everything involved ended up taking about 22 hours of hard work but it definitely paid off.

Started the project months ago when the house was being built (builder wouldn't let me do the install when there was no dry wall up, ended up sneaking into the attic one night and spent 7 hours up there, I've never been more sore in my life for the following week!)

I got some great hook ups on the equipment as well as got crazy lucky with some sales and Craigslist. Was able to stay pretty close to the $2000 budget all in (cables, wires, speakers, amp, receiver...everything!). Pretty decent considering the equipment.

Started out by mapping everything out, where I wanted the speakers, where I wanted volume controls and what kind of wire I'd be running to everything.
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Before going up in the attic, I took pictures of the house build and made notes on where I would place the speakers and such so when I got up in the attic, I'd have reference points. Worked out pretty damn well, though in hindsight, I should have went up and marked with some paint where I wanted to run everything pre-drywall, would of made things much easier.
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Running the speaker wires around midnight a few months back before they blew in the insulation. It was ridiculous, having to balance on the 2x4s in the attic, laying there in a planking position, never imaged it would be that hard.
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Zip tied everything, used fireblock foam to fill the hole, kept everything very much like the builder install.
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Coiled up the speaker wire in the spot I needed it and then placed and stapled a piece of batt insulation over it. This is supposed to help with both the sound quality and also with keeping the blown in insulation from falling out when the speaker hole is cut later.
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Unfortunately could not run any speakers to the master bedroom or the dining area as they had already blown insulation in.
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Fast forward a few months, all moved in, and now it's time to find those wires that I dropped into the walls! They should be somewhere around here...
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Boom! There they are!
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Unfortunately there were only a few of the 10 wires I was expecting...so sticking a camera into the wall, I see a lot of them didn't make it down.
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Ended up having to make another cut in the wall higher up, reaching in with a hanger and after about an hour's worth of trying, finally got them all out.
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Good stuff, now onto prepping the wires and installing the wall plate for a clean, professional look.
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Next up, cut and label all the wires and cables that will connect between the wall and the equipment.
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With all that done, time to move onto the wall volume controls. Had to install 6 of these volume controls, one per room (aside from the living room).
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Cut out the wall, with some luck the wires I previously dropped from the attic would be right on the other side...
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Oh yeah! Good stuff...ended up having no issues with any of these, the wires were all exactly where I expected them.
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Install the wall bracket, strip the wires, connect the volume control and voila, nice clean install.
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Done with that, now onto the speakers...which actually took place yesterday, everything else was over a time span of a few weeks/months.

19 speakers ready to go.
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Yet again, cut out the hole, hope the wire I'm looking for is right on the other side.
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There it is on the side!
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Pull it out, cut to length and strip the ends...
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Unfortunately it didn't go so well for all of them, though 15 out of 16 isn't bad. No idea WTF happened here, but the pink batt insulation I placed over the speaker wires in the attic wasn't even there, let alone the wire itself.
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Crawl back into the attic, now with full on blown in insulation. It was ****ing hot, dusty, and miserable. I was able to find the wire, which was way off from where I thought it would be.
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A lot bigger mess though without the batt insulation, super glad I did that for the install.
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Done cutting all the holes and prepping the wires...
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Time to hook everything up and install the speakers. Very easy install, the speakers have brackets on the back side which you tighten with a drill from the front and they grip the drywall from the back, very nice.
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With all the ceiling speakers done, time to install the front left, center, and front right bookshelf speakers. Normally this doesn't take much install but I ran into one minor problem...the TV console had a middle partition that stuck out too much and the speaker was too deep.
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Nothing a mini sledge hammer can't fix! Not bad right? biggrin.gif Got pretty lucky it came out so clean.
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Can't forget to hook up the subwoofer...
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Amplifier and receiver install, again same problem, the amplifier was too deep for the space. With the right tools, dremel in this case...what problem? :tongue: Figured I'd cut out the space for the receiver too for easier access, even though the fit was fine.
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Finally time to connect all the wires and test everything out. Everything actually worked on first try...every single speaker, every single volume control! Nobadobama for real!
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Run the Audyssey speaker calibration...
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And there it is! All done, everything works, everything looks clean and professional. The 7.1 system in the living room sounds glorious! Very very nice. The setup ended up changing a little, originally I was going to do all ceiling speakers (including the front left, center, front right) but after reading up, it's not the best idea (TV is in front of you, sound coming from above is not ideal). I ended up going with the bookshelf speakers and using the ceiling front speakers that I pre-wires for Front Height Speakers which worked out nicely.

The speakers in the rest of the house, aside from the patio, sound good I would say, but nothing that really wows you...the lack of a speaker box for each speaker really makes a difference. The patio on the other hand sound amazing because it's a very small space (probably 8-10" in height and then there are 2x4 studs on the sides, so the speaker practically has a speaker box...it's amazing the difference).

Thanks for following along if you made it this far. smile.gif

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post #2 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 05:09 AM
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Very nice job.

Why wouldn't your contractor let you run wires before sheetrock went up?

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post #3 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks! The builder doesn't allow any custom or 3rd parties to work on the house while it's under construction because technically it's not your house yet, not until you close on the loan anyway.
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpcamaro70 View Post

Very nice job.

Why wouldn't your contractor let you run wires before sheetrock went up?

Many if not most do not allow this. The main reason is liability. Lets say you do this work and in the process, you partially drill into a wire without knowing it. Now the house catches on fire and burns down. What if someone died in the fire? Lots of risk for the contractor. Look at the same scenario, but this time the wire is a clean short and the house does not pass electrical final. Now you have time and money being spent to locate and fix the problem.

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post #5 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 11:18 AM
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Thanks for taking the time to document and share everything - I always have great intentions, but invariably end up losing the plot along the way!

It made my arms tired just looking at all of those hand sawn cut outs! I personally couldn't contemplate doing this without using a "Roto tool" of some description!

Nice job.
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 11:50 AM
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Great job documenting everything with photos. You might want to bring the LCR speakers forward a bit so they are at least flush with or in front of the front edge of the console. Also, it's a good idea to buy a cheap mic stand with a boom so you can place the Audyssey mic over the couch, not behind it.
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 02:23 PM
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Good job.

Just fyi, The generally accepted color coding for speakers is red/black for right channel and white/green for left channel. I noticed you did white/black and red/green.
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Heh, I figured white and black went together better (electrical wires are normally black and white so I went off that logic smile.gif )
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HX_Guy View Post

Heh, I figured white and black went together better (electrical wires are normally black and white so I went off that logic smile.gif )

That's for high voltage! Low voltage is red/back and green/white for pairs. Then again as long as you know your color scheme that is all that matters.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-12-2013, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HX_Guy View Post

Thanks! The builder doesn't allow any custom or 3rd parties to work on the house while it's under construction because technically it's not your house yet, not until you close on the loan anyway.
Makes sense, I was thinking of something like I did but it was redoing everything not building.

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post #11 of 17 Old 08-13-2013, 01:03 AM
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Then that builder needs to find a new low voltage contractor to fulfill the homeowners wishes.
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post #12 of 17 Old 08-13-2013, 02:25 AM
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Wow, good work!

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post #13 of 17 Old 08-13-2013, 04:39 AM
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You did a great job with all of the audio equipment. Great install. But it seems as though the video part of your scheme was simply an afterthought. Did you not consider a large screen front projector? Anyway, you did a remarkable job--and I can feel all your aches and pains. Been there, done that!smile.gif
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post #14 of 17 Old 08-13-2013, 10:49 PM
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awesome install - and lucky you have an attic!! Looks good, and with the equipment choices (good job on all the deals!) I'm sure it sounds great too!
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post #15 of 17 Old 08-14-2013, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys.

@ifor: The builder does offer pre-wiring but it would have been over $2000 just to run the wires, and I'd still have to install the speakers myselff. If I went with quality speakers through them (Diamond...I assume they are quality?), it would have been over $8000 for the same setup I did for around $2500.

@palavering: The video equipement (TV, Blu-ray player) I already had. It's not too bad, though could be bigger. The TV is a Samsung 55" LED and I think the picture is fantasic, only issue is pretty bad light bleeding in all corners. Will get a 60" or 65" in the future, probabl when 4K become mainstream?
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post #16 of 17 Old 08-16-2013, 11:56 AM
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Qucik question, I see in the orignal phot you have the 5.1 surround drawn up with the front and center in the cabinet but the final picture looks as if there are speakers in the ceiling. Which ones are those?
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post #17 of 17 Old 08-21-2013, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zephed666 View Post

Qucik question, I see in the orignal phot you have the 5.1 surround drawn up with the front and center in the cabinet but the final picture looks as if there are speakers in the ceiling. Which ones are those?

I originally planned to run the front, center and right speakers in the ceiling so I ran wires for them. I then changed the setup to have the front speakers in the cabinet but since I still had the wires in the ceiling, I figured I could use the front left and front right as Front Height Speakers, which is what I did. So the 5.1 in the living room ended up as a 7.1 system with Front Height Speakers...unfortunately I have yet to find a Blu-Ray that uses those channels...all the 7.1 movies I've found so far use extra rear speakers vs front but the receiver is still able to send some signals to the Front Heights, such as rain, which is a pretty cool effect.
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