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How To: Wire for Wall or Ceiling Speakers

Step 1

Determine which rooms or areas you wish to provide sound, keeping any outdoor areas in mind. This will determine whether you select a 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 pair Speaker Selector.

Step 2

Visualize where the furniture and fixtures will be placed in order to identify optimum speaker and decorator jack plate locations. Generally, in areas where there isn’t a centralized seating or listening/viewing position, ceiling speakers are best.

If there is a defined listening/viewing position such as a sofa, the speakers should be wall mounted facing the defined listening/viewing position. In Home Theater applications you can incorporate 4, 6, even as many as 8 speakers for ultimate surround sound systems.



InwallTech SS4R
Speaker Selector

Step 3

Decide in which room the Stereo System (Receiver/Amp, CD, Cassette, etc.), will be located. This will be the Home Run location to which all of the remote speaker wiring will be run.

In the wall area here (behind the stereo equipment), you can optionally mount the Decorator Style Banana Jack Plates or Binding Post Plates. These terminate the wiring from the in-wall or in-ceiling speakers to one main location.


Shop Wall Plates Here

Step 4

In each room, determine where to position the Decorator Style Autoformer Volume Control(s). It is necessary to install one volume control for each pair of speakers. While the maximum volume for the entire building will be set from your centralized receiver/amplifier, each room’s relative volume level is controlled by its own localized volume control.

The volume controls mount in standard deep “J” boxes or low voltage rings.


Inwalltech VC2100R Volume Control
InwallTech VC2100R
Volume Control


Step 5

Try to run wire to all the locations you think a speaker may go. Note that the wire is run in adjacent stud bays to allow movement either left or right or up or down on the same wall. You must use a CL2 or CL3-rated wire to meet the building regulations. While there are many types of wire that are of a heavy enough gauge to carry the audio signal, if they are not CL2 or CL3-rated, they will not be approved in the electrical inspection process.

The difference between regular speaker wire, like the kind you see with clear jackets, is the jacket itself. CL2 or better wire will have a jacket that doesn’t burn as easily or release toxins making it safer to use in-wall. All of your wires in the walls of your house have to have this property. The common practice is to run four conductor wires from the location of the speaker switcher to each volume control. Then, from each volume control to each of the two associated speakers, a 2-conductor wire should be run.

Each speaker requires a “+” and a “-” wire. Use at least 16 gauge wire, and if the “runs” exceed 100 feet, use 14 gauge wire. Wire of 18 or smaller gauge can cause overheating of your amplifier or in extreme conditions may even damage the amplifier.

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