Do It Yourself: How To Mount A Speaker On The Ceiling

Ceiling mounts for bookshelf speakers are simple to install and allow you to enjoy great sound while maintaining a discreet look.

Dreaming of Surround Sound?

If you've dreamed of having a sound system done "right," you've probably given a lot of thought to where to place the speakers. The options are numerous: you can simply set bookshelf speakers on top of furniture, you can set the speakers on floor stands, you can get a wireless system, or you can get speakers set in to the ceiling or wall. If you set the speakers on top of furniture, though, you likely won't get the best possible sound; floor stands may get in your way, and wireless systems and set-in speakers are more expensive and often don't offer the same quality of sound as conventional systems. Fortunately, there is another option. You can achieve great sound while maintaining a discreet look by mounting the speakers on the ceiling using special brackets.

Choosing the Mounts

Your first step is selecting the right mounts. There are a wide variety of mounts on the market, in an equally wide variety of price ranges. There are three major factors that you'll want to consider: the weight of the speakers, the style of the speakers, and the aesthetics of the mounts. Mounts are available individually or in packages of five, the most common number of speakers; the package of five will generally include four brackets for "satellite" speakers and one for the special center speaker. The owner's manual for your speakers will let you know how much weight the mounts you purchase must be able to support, so you can match that weight with the weight given on the package of mounts. Bookshelf speakers are generally quite standard and most mounts will fit them; if you have special or unusual speakers (for instance, in a cube shape), you will need to find mounts to match them.

Aesthetically, the choices are impressive. Ceiling mounts are available in silver, black, white, and off-white, to name a few, and in both metal and plastic. Select a mount that will not only support the weight of your speakers and fit with them, but will also blend into the background.

Installing the Speakers and Mounts

Your second step will be running the wires for your system. Presumably, if you'll be mounting speakers on the ceiling you will run the wires up the wall and into your attic; consider employing a professional for this task, especially if you do not have a cable jack nearby to work with. An advantage of mounting your speakers on the ceiling, instead of on a wall, is that you can drop the wire directly from the ceiling to the speaker, a simpler procedure than when the wire must be brought down into the wall.

Once the wires are in the attic, mounting the speakers is quite simple. If you have purchased good sturdy brackets, you should not need to find a ceiling stud unless your speakers are very heavy. You will need a drill, a screwdriver, a bent coat hanger, a helper, and mounting hardware (your speaker mounts will most likely come with wall anchors and screws). For each mount, determine where you would like to place it. Send your helper into the attic with a roll of tape, and drill a small hole just behind where the mount will be. Stick your bent coat hanger up into the attic so your helper can find it. He or she then tapes the wire to the bent coat hanger, and you draw it slowly down.

Speaker mounts usually come in two parts which fit together: one part attaches to the ceiling, and the other part to the speaker. All mounts are different, so you will need to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully for attachment. You will probably need to drill a pilot hole for a plastic wall anchor before attaching the mounts to the ceilings with screws; the wall anchor is what allows the ceiling to support the weight of the speakers when they are not attached to a joist. There may be more than one set of instructions for attaching the mounts to the speakers; look closely at the backs of your speakers and select the correct instructions for their configuration. Again, it will probably attach with screws.

Once you have attached these two parts, all that's left is to snap them together following the manufacturer's instructions, connect the wires to the backs of the speakers, and enjoy your great new sound.

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