How To Soundproof Your Ceiling Speakers At Home


Looking at a beautifully designed room can bring a homeowner joy while sitting in the space. An eyesore for a room with television is the wires that come with it. Finding a solution for the wire clutter is not a one size fits all task. Depending on how the particular homeowner wants to tackle the challenge, there is an array of options. The best way to have your room free of wire clutter is to hide the wires in the walls or ceiling. 

How to soundproof your ceiling speakers at home? There are two ways to soundproof in-ceiling speakers. There is the DIY route where you build a backer box for your speaker. The other way is that you can buy a soundproof enclosure for your speaker. 

Whichever way you chose, the installation process requires the ceiling to be cut. Cutting the ceiling is not an easy task. On top of the difficulty of cutting the ceiling, running the wires internally can easily become overwhelming and more complicated. The final product is a room that looks good, and space is saved by putting the speaker in the ceiling. For a simple way to control your music or movie volume in each room, installing an in-wall volume control is recommended. 

The Types Of Ceiling Speakers

There are three types of ceiling speakers, passive, active, and self-enclosed ceiling speakers. The biggest difference is that passive speakers require an amplifier and active speakers have a built-in amplifier and Bluetooth connectivity. For your speaker, you need to make sure that your speaker and amplifier are well matched. Pay attention to the wattage as to not blow out the speaker when you turn up the volume. 

Self-enclosed speakers are larger than other types of speakers. They are around 8 to 9 inches deep. The extra inches are because of the extra-large woofers they have built around them. Enclosed speakers offer excellent bass performance. The enclosed speakers pose an installation problem due to the size, before purchasing check the measurements to make sure they will fit in your ceiling.

A passive ceiling speaker is the most common and does not need to be connected to a separate amplifier before you can enjoy your music or television. A benefit to the passive ceiling speaker is that it doesn’t restrict you in terms of usage. Passive speakers come in various sizes, variety of brands, price, and sound quality. With this freedom, you can pair it with different amplifiers that come in multiple sizes, variety of brands, price, and sound quality. 

Active ceiling speakers are marketed as “plug & play.” The “plug & play” description means that they pair with your device and are ready once you turn them on. The active speakers are used mostly in kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and decks. They are easy and cost-effective, which is attractive to consumers. 

Another benefit is that you can pair or connect three pairs of speakers for more spacious rooms in your home. Connecting multiple pairs requires multiple systems and link cables, which start to add up in the more spacious rooms. A blessing and a curse of active speakers is the amplifier, and Bluetooth receivers are built in the speaker, which restricts you on the size. It is now possible with an Amazon Echo or Google Home device to control the ceiling speakers with your voice.

The Problem With In-Ceiling Speakers

Watching a movie on a fantastic home theater system is a luxury; not all of us can afford it. The experience of watching a film in a home theater is truly immersive. Movie buffs love being able to feel like they are in the movie. The action and dramatics pull you into the story more when you are watching in surround sound. Those with those home theater systems prefer the experience than being surrounded by people at the movie theater.

Setting up that home theater system involves what seems like endless wires. High-quality speakers take up a lot of space in the room, and hiding those wires is not a small task. In-ceiling speakers are the best ideal solution for this because you can hide the cables in the walls where your guest can’t see them. A disadvantage of hiding your speakers and their wires inside the ceiling is the loss of sound quality. 

One reason why the sound quality is diminished in the in-ceiling speakers is that the back of the speaker is not shielded or covered inside the wall. The sound from the speakers can then travel through the ceiling into the room above it. Having the sound travel to either side or above is not ideal. You could wake up a sleeping baby, annoying your roommate, or cause your neighbor to leave passive-aggressive notes on your door. 

[Related Article: Soundproofing Walls: 8 Cheap Ways to Make It Happen]

How To Solve The In-Ceiling Speaker Problem

To solve this problem, you can create an airtight enclosure so that the sound will be contained in the area where then television sits. The in-ceiling backer box should not be more than five inches in depth. Five inches is the maximum because ceilings have 2X6 framing. The DIY way needs some specific equipment and skill to accomplish. With the backer box, if you already have the equipment, you can cut down on the bottom line amount. 

The airtight in-ceiling backer box will deaden the sound of the speaker significantly. The backer box way, you can customize to make the soundproofing more efficient. To make it more soundproof, you have the option of adding in two layers with a damping compound in between. Adding in those layers will allow you to increase the volume without disturbing whoever is trying to sleep above you.

There are many people out there that cannot commit to a project like building a backer box. Luckily for those of us without the skill to DIY, there are other options available. The open market has ready-made soundproof enclosures dedicated to in-ceiling speakers. It can be daunting to choose the right soundproof enclosure. There are many options out there and a wide range of costs. There are top recommended ones that you can choose, having it custom built to your speaker’s dimensions would be ideal. 

Step-by-Step Instructions To Build Your Backer Box

  1. The first thing you need to do is to measure the dimensions of the speaker you are building the backer box for.
  2. The next thing you need to do is take 2X4 wood and measure out the dimensions on the wood. 
  3. Using a circular or table saw, cut two pieces matching the length and two matching the breadth of the measurements you took of the speaker.
  4. After the pieces are cut, use a nail gun or screws to fasten them and build the frame for the speaker.
  5. Once the frame is ready, place it on a medium-density fibreboard (MDF) or oriented strand board (OSB) sheet. When the frame is on the sheet, trace the outline of the frame with a pencil. 
  6. Using a table saw cut out the MDF or OSB along the pencil lines. This cut portion is the lid of the backer box. 
  7. Using screws, fix the lid on to the frame. 
  8. The backer box is now open-ended. To feed the wires through, drill a hole on the frame for the wires of the speaker. 
  9. Now put the backer box in place and fix it to the drywall. 
  10. While fixing to the drywall, ensure there is no air gap between the frame of the backer box and the drywall. 
  11. Finally, you can seal the gaps by applying acoustic caulk and putty pads to close the holes for wires.

How Many Ceiling Speakers Do I Need Per room 

Ceiling speakers come in pairs, one playing the left channel of audio and the other playing the right channel. With the two speakers, the result is stereo sound. It is generally recommended that for rooms larget than 3X3 meters, one pair of ceiling speakers is needed for a balanced sound. Rooms that are bigger than 5X5 meters require two pairs of speakers for a balanced sound.

There are times where a room is a confined space of a lot less than the 3X3 meters (IE: bathroom or small bedroom). In this case, a single speaker would provide enough sound for it to be balanced in the room. The single speaker would need to be explicitly designed for single use. The speaker has two tweeters on the single unit to produce the left and right channels on its own. 

Where Do I Position Them

A single stereo speaker should be placed in the center of the ceiling for the best distribution of sound. At times the exact center is unavailable, it should be as close to the center as possible. Placing two speakers and the listener’s head should form an equilateral triangle. To accomplish this, you will need to take into account where your sitting area is in your room. 

Symmetrical speaker placement does not refer to room dimensions but the center to center distance of the speakers from each other and the listener. For two or more speakers, then the optimal place is an equal distance apart from each other and at least six-and-a-half feet away from each other. The listener would then be in the center that the speakers surround the listener creates.

[Related Article: How to Soundproof a Room from Outside Noise]

Do My Ceiling Speakers Need Fire Hoods

A fire hood submerges the back of the speaker to prevent the spread of a fire within the ceiling. If there is a room above where you a fire hood is a legal requirement, the fire hood will preserve the integrity of the ceilings should a fire happen.

Fire hoods provide a back box to enhance sounds and prevent sound leakage. Before installation, check to see if a fire hood is required for your speakers in your home or building. 

The Importance Of Wires And Cables

You must use the speaker wire that is approved for in-ceiling speakers. Check out ceiling wiring guides for assistance on choosing the correct wires. Most use UL-rated wire labeled CL2 or CL3. For the majority of the in-ceiling speakers can use 16 gauge two core speaker cables. These cables are considered to be the industry standard and sufficient for most installation of speakers.

If You Have Access To Your Ceiling Joists

What is great about new construction is that you have access to the wall studs and the ceiling joists. Having access to these joists lets you use pre-construction brackets. They are more stable and secure for mounting the speakers. They act as a speaker placeholder when the drywall is being cut, so you do not have to re-cut the drywall to get to the speaker.

Can I Buy The Same Speakers I Used For My Home For My Business

Speakers geared towards working in your home are not well suited for a business setting. Whether you own a store, restaurant, or other commercial types of business, they are louder than your home.

Companies that have customers coming and going and congregating are most likely louder than your most rambunxious house party. It is recommended that you consult with a specialist about the type of business, so you chose the right speaker for the kind of place you own.

How Much Is This Going To Set Me Back

Your budget should be guided by the sound quality you desire in the room you are placing the speakers. There are budget speakers, and they do well for background listening. If you are passionate about music and want to be able to immerse yourself in the music and jam, a higher-quality speaker will deliver a concert-like experience.

If an expert is helping you, you must be open and honest about your goals for each room. Once the person has an idea of what you desire, they can more easily help choose the right equipment for you to be satisfied. 

Now that you figured out which speakers are right for you, now what? The next cost to consider is labor. Do you want to install the speakers yourself or hire someone? If you opt to hire someone to install them, there will be labor costs involved. Depending on where you live, the skill of the person you employ, and other factors can make the cost of labor vary greatly.

Bathroom Speakers

Not all speakers are created equal. What you have in your bedroom might not be compatible with what you need for your bathroom. Rooms like the kitchen and bathrooms are high-humidity environments. For electronics, humidity is recommended to be kept around 40-60 percent.

The moisture causes condensation, which gets inside the electronic device. Condensation on metallic parts causes corrosion. The water plus dust that gets into the device clog vents and other components, which prevents the device from cooling itself.

Some speakers use heavy-duty materials that hold up better to the humidity in a bathroom or sauna. Heavy-duty materials are also ideal for the ceiling of a covered porch for listening to music outside. Portable waterproof speakers are one of the most convenient. 

Importance Of Voice-Matching

Each speaker brand has subtle qualities that are unique to them. The subtle qualities make for auto “voicing.” For example, if you were waiting for a room blue, you would use the same shade of blue on all four walls.

You would not paint one wall with one can of paint and paint others with a different can. Even if the color mixture were only slightly different when you painted, you would be able to notice the subtle difference. Speaker voice-matching is the same.

You would want all your speakers in your room to be the same brand. The consistency of the brand will bring the sound together. If one speaker is a different brand, even if close, you would be able to hear a difference. 

It’s All About That Bass

No home theater would be complete without a subwoofer for the low sounds. The bass helps provide the rhythmic foundation. The rhythmic pulse is crucial for you to hear the beat and feel the music.

Without it, the time structure will fall apart. Without time structure, the other instruments are no longer confined to beat or harmony. In the film, the bass creates and amplifies the tension in the scene. The instrumental clues push the plot forward without any other information to the audience.

If you want a completely invisible system, install your subwoofer into your wall or floor. The hidden subs get their power from an external amplifier. 

Can Ceiling Speakers Be Painted To Match My Room

How we paint and decorate our rooms is part of expressing ourselves. Our particular style and taste mirrored in our homes are what make us feel content in our environment. In line with knowing that tastes and style differ; You can get ceiling speakers that have white spray-paintable grills.

Paintable grills allow you to match your speaker to fit your room. Depending on ceiling depth, and taste, ultra-slim speakers are an option to match your space further. 

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