How to Install Surround Sound

home theater complete with a surround-sound system
  • 8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 450
What You'll Need
Paddle bit
2-pair 12-gauge low-voltage speaker wire
Wire strippers
Five speakers
Fishing wire
9-volt battery
Surround-sound receiver
Optical, digital-coaxial, or HDMI cable
Speaker mounts
Low-voltage cut-in box
Drywall or keyhole saw

Have you ever wanted a theater-quality movie experience without paying theater prices? By installing a surround-sound system in your home, you can watch movies and listen to music with true environmental sound that will come at you from all directions. Install surround sound in your home in just a day by following these steps.

Step 1 – Select the System

Before you can install a surround-sound system, you have to purchase one first. You can buy either an inclusive, packaged system, or you can buy the components separately. To choose the best surround-sound system, consider different speaker materials.

If you purchase parts separately, start with the surround-sound receiver, and then purchase the speakers. If you opt to include satellite speakers, which are small speakers designed to be installed on a wall, you will also need to buy speaker mounts.

Step 2 – Select the Speaker Locations

You can vary the locations of the speakers to some degree. The most appropriate location for the center speaker is either directly below or above the television. The left and right front speakers should be placed 5-10 feet from the left and right sides of the TV. The surround left and right speakers should be placed behind the left and right of your seating location.

Step 3 – Make Your Cuts

Select a location directly behind the location where you will be installing the receiver. Then, use a low-voltage cut-in box to make an outline in the wall where there are no studs, and cut it out using a keyhole saw. Cut small holes in the locations where the speakers will be mounted.

Step 4 – Run the Wires

Run the wires in either the attic or the basement. Use a drill and a paddle bit to drill a hole directly into the wall in the stud bays, where your speakers will be mounted, and into the wall where the hole you cut out for the receiver is mounted. Run the wire from each individual speaker location to the location where the receiver will be placed.

Running Wire Through Walls

To run the wire through the walls, use fishing tape. Guide the tape with the wires through the wall into the appropriate spaces.

Step 5 – Install the Speakers

Install the speaker mounts to the walls. When installing the mounts, you should try to hit studs. If you can't find any, you can use drywall anchors. Connect the wires to the speakers, and connect the speakers to the speaker mounts.

Step 6 – Finish the Installation

Install your low-voltage cut-in box where your speaker wires are coming in for the receiver. You can leave it open, or you can install a cover plate with a 2-inch hole.

Connecting Wires to the Speakers

Strip the speaker wire, and connect the wires to a 9-volt battery. This will generate a clicking sound to help you determine which speaker is which. Connect each speaker to the appropriate connector on the receiver.

Connecting the Receiver and Testing the System

Then, connect the receiver to your DVD player or cable box, using your digital audio connector — an HDMI, digital-coaxial, or optical cable. Finally, connect the power and test the system.

If you love your new surround-sound system in your home, you'll love it in your car, too. Install surround-sound speakers in your vehicle with ease.