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Installation of in-ceiling speakers in a home that is pre-wired.

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I don't have a ton of AV experience, so this is probably a lame question, but here it goes.

I have all the logistics worked out on how to get things wired up, but what I can't decide on is how to handle the actual low-voltage box.

I have a house that is pre-wired for in-ceiling speakers. I have a blank plate in the ceiling covering a low-voltage box with plenty of speaker wire in the ceiling. I can't decide if it is a good idea or not to cut out the low-voltage box and place the cut-out for the speaker in the exact same spot or move the speaker cutout over one joist and leave the blank up there. The blanks are in a good spot for the speakers, so location isn't an issue. I just wasn't sure if it was bad form one way or the other to cutout the low voltage box or leave it in.

My instinct says rip it out, but I wanted to see if anyone else had any input.

Thanks
post #2 of 25
And that's why I hate when the pre-wire setup uses the boxes instead of burying and documenting "future" speaker locations.

I'd rip it out, and if you cut the speaker hole carefully, positioning the box at the edge of the circle (because it's next to a joist), you may be able to install the speaker without any patching. The trim ring can cover the part adjacent to the joist. But that assumes there's nothing else in the way in that joist bay.

Perhaps one of the pro's can chime in with better technique, too. I hate seeing boxes used where we know that the eventual goal is an in-wall/ceiling installation...

Jeff
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input.

It looks like the trim ring will just barely cover the corner portion of the box cut-out.

I think rip it out is the winner. Good excuse to use the reciprocating saw.

Thanks again.
post #4 of 25
Sawzall is probably a serious overkill for that job! Get a drywall saw, you don't want to do a lot of damage accidentally!

post #5 of 25
After cutting a dozen holes with a handsaw, I was wishing I'd had a sawzall. Cutting up drywall overhead was not something my shoulders were accustomed to, and I was pretty miserable by the end. The handsaw got the job done, though.
post #6 of 25
Don't use a sawzall, they can be too hard to control, and as Jeff said you do not want to clip anything that's above like an electrical wire, then you will be screwed. Use a hand drywall saw, especially if you are going to try to cut out the LV box. Once you have the hole cut out around the LV box and you can see nothing in the way go ahead and use the sawzall if you want to cut thru the nails or screws that hold the LV box in place
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slider_09 View Post

Don't use a sawzall, they can be too hard to control, and as Jeff said you do not want to clip anything that's above like an electrical wire, then you will be screwed. Use a hand drywall saw, especially if you are going to try to cut out the LV box. Once you have the hole cut out around the LV box and you can see nothing in the way go ahead and use the sawzall if you want to cut thru the nails or screws that hold the LV box in place

+1! Oh yeah, if you meant sawzall for freeing the box, sure - but use a handsaw on the drywall until you get a clean shot! smile.gif
post #8 of 25
Start in the room that has the least traffic, for practice. Learning curve.

Cut the first speaker hole, then install the speaker. Then the second hole, and the second speaker. Then the third hole, etc. Your cuts may change based on how the speakers install.

Don't cut all the holes, and then install all the speakers.

Use eye protection. Drywall dust sucks.

If you enjoy buying tools, might want to check out projected laser guides, to perfectly align the speakers. But if you're considering leaving blank plates in your ceiling, don't bother.
post #9 of 25
Don't use a Sawzall to remove the LV rings, or cut drywall.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Don't use a Sawzall to remove the LV rings, or cut drywall.

Definately not for the cutting drywall, what's you reason for not using it to cut out the LV ring? If the LV ring is nailed in, it would be easier to use sawzall then to pry out the nail with a hammer.
post #11 of 25
I'd use a long screwdriver to pry it out, if nailed in. Pry away from the stud only, not back and forth, to avoid damaging the adjacent drywall. Takes 10 seconds. Leave it in the ceiling.
post #12 of 25
Prying on the ring itself and not the nails, makes sense! I was thinking prying out the nails themselves. Ya, leave the sawzall in its case.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice.

I ended up using the sawzall to cut the tabs(that connect the box to the nails) off the lv box , drywall saw to cut the hole, then once I had more room I just pryed the nails out.

The diameter of the trim ring was just large enough to cover the hard corners created by the lv box side that was adjacent to the joist.

Everything looks good so far, one room to go. On that note, the last room I need to do has blown-in insulation in the ceiling. Should I be looking for some sort of housing for the speaker so the insulation does gook up the speaker internals? The speakers are Polk rc60i if that makes a difference.

Thanks again.
post #14 of 25
Yes, you will need an enclosure to keep the insulation out. Did they use a LV box there? I'm guessing a regular single gang electrical box was used. Maybe not tho. I don't know where you live, but do you have a vapour barrier to worry about in your ceiling? If you do, you will have to ensure that you maintain the integrity of the vapour barrier.
post #15 of 25
I installed about 10 speakers in an insulated attic in my house. It was all new construction but it will be the same for you also ( mabey a little harder) I picked up " poly hats" they are made for pot lights. After you cat the speaker hole you will need to squeeze it up and though siting on top of the poly. The hats are much bigger than you will need but won't matter. Then tape the sides of the poly hat down with " tuck tape" ( red and really sticky. Made for poly splices). Small pieces are easier to handle and as long as all the hole are sealed it won't mater. I then took some batt insulation and filled up the space in the poly hat. Before the speaker goes in, hollow out where it will go so the speaker fits easily and won't compress the insulation.
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the heads-up. I couldn't find any poly hats at my local orange or blue home improvement store, so I decided to give these a shot:

http://amzn.com/B000PELN0C

Reasonably priced and well reviewed, so hopefully they work out. I'm hoping to get into it this weekend, so we'll see what I find.
post #17 of 25
I've read of some people using free grocery bags, which will never degrade, to keep out the insulation.
post #18 of 25
I'm in the same boat and need to protect the speakers from blown-in insulation, but would also like to improve the sound quality. I found the DynaBox product but am not sure how well they work to improve the sound quality. Any one have any experience with them or another product?

http://www.dynamat.com/products_architectural_dynabox.html
Edited by gsDogz - 3/5/13 at 3:35pm
post #19 of 25
If you have attic access above, you can build back boxes for the in-ceiling speakers. Superior to Dynamat, IMO. You're not concerned with sound transmission, and you can use the ideal box volume.

The speaker manufacturer will provide you with an ideal back box volume or dimensions, for your speaker model.

Use plywood, MDF, or OSB.

I used pipe strap between the joists to fasten them down; my boxes were taller than the joists.

252346_front200.jpg

I used wood glue and nails to construct the boxes.
post #20 of 25
Yup, where I do have access I'm building back boxes. But for our kitchen/famly room we have a vaulted ceiling with no access. So I'll need to use a dynabox or something like that. The dynabox looks like a good solution in this case, but I have yet to try it.
post #21 of 25
If you haven't chosen speakers yet, you can buy ones with integrated rear enclosures.

cpc-gs.large.jpg

http://www.monitoraudiousa.com/products/ci-series/cp/cpc-gs/
post #22 of 25
Sorry, I should have given a bit more background info unfortunately remodel is done. Pre-wired homerun to media closet and speakers installed. I'm wiring up the rack now.

I should have done more planning before drywall went up and build back boxes in the vaulted ceiling. Building back boxes for speakers over the bedrooms is easy with access from the attic. But for the vaulted ceiling I'm trying to come up with a solution I'm happy with and the DynaBox is the best potential solution I've seen so far. I agree with you, not as good as building a back box, but I think that option has left the building. smile.gif
Edited by gsDogz - 3/8/13 at 2:41pm
post #23 of 25
Since this topic was on ceiling speakers. I wondered if the experts or the OP can comment on how far his front LCR ceiling speakers were installed from the front wall, projector screen, or TV? I am installing a drop down screen in the ceiling and am forced to put in angled ceiling speakers. I'm debating on how close to the drop down screen I should place my front speakers. The joist placement is somewhat of a limiting factor of how close I can get it.

I taped some paper on the ceiling to get a visual, but I'm seeking second opinions. The two dots in front of the speaker is the joist and my second option is to move the speaker closer to the couch. Thanks in advance. -Peter


post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
My setup was just for plain old audio, not hooked up to a home theater in anyway, so i wouldn't be able to advise.

I do have another question for the few folks that mentioned installing the speakers with blown-in insulation.

It looks like I won't be able to easily get attic access. I had planned to go up there to scoop away some of the insulation before i started cutting. There's a maze of trusses and to make it a bit more challenging, the prewired blanks are in the recessed tray ceiling portion of the room, so I have a hunch the framing to support the tray probably won't support me wink.gif.

So my question is, for anyone who couldn't get into the attic, any advice on how to handle the rain of insulation that will inevitably want to dump on me? Any tips that might not seem that obvious?

Thanks for the help.
post #25 of 25
My tray ceilings support my weight, but your mileage may vary.

You could hire someone to do it.

You'd probably want to climb into the attic at least once, eventually, to replace the insulation that is lost when cutting from below.

Do you have a pic of the 'prewired blank'? Is that a new construction speaker bracket? Can you find the edges of it with a stud finder?

I've never used these construction brackets, but I'm curious about them. I wonder where the speaker cable is located, in relation to the bracket; could the cable be cut with a keyhole saw?
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