Wiring for Surround Sound

Wiring for Surround Sound

If you are like most people, you love the intense, spine-tingling impact that sound has on you when you watch a movie at the theater, and who doesn’t! It’s great to feel the power of a jet soaring overhead, or a Tyrannosaurus Rex taking step after crushing step towards you. For families who want a more engaging cinema experience at home, the good news is, retrofitting older homes for a surround sound can be done. Wires can be routed through your attic or walls, and when necessary wires and cables can be run along the exterior of a home.

Running the Wires Through your Walls or Ceiling

For those who want their wires totally hidden, run your wires through your walls or ceiling. Explore your crawlspace, or attic to help you identity which walls carry water pipes and electrical wires. And, detect which way your joists run to figure out where empty space between studs might be. You may want to invest in a stud finder to help you distinguish different types of obstacles you might run into. Things like studs, AC cables, and pipes are a few of the things you want to be aware of before you start cutting holes.

Be prepared to cut and patch holes, shut off power, and make sure you know where your main water shut-off valve is located just in case you puncture a water pipe. How you choose to run your wire depends on your level of expertise. While running your wires, and cables through the wall or ceiling is the best way to totally hide them, other options if done right can give you almost the same effect. You can choose to either route wire around a doorframe or along baseboards, for full concealment it is best to use baseboard and door trim to do so.

Wiring for Surround Sound

Wire and Cables

If you are going to install in-wall speakers, make sure the wire is rated for in-wall installation. In-wall speaker wire is rated by its gauge (thickness) and strands (conductors), for example: 16/2 is 16-gauage wire with 2 conductors, and 14/4 is 14-gauge wire with 4 conductors. For shorter runs, less than 50 feet use 16-gauge wire, and for longer runs use 14-gauge wire. After you have decided where to route your wire, you’ll need a wiring map that includes all of the speakers, cables, brackets, and any other items you will be installing.

To pass 4K or HDR video over long distances, it’s important for you to consider your options. 4K video resolution is nearly 8.3 megapixels. That is a ton of data to move down a wire! If you want smoother 4K resolutions at 60Hz (60p or 60 fps), you must have the right solution. That said HDMI sources and destination devices should be no more than 15 feet apart for the best results. Things like high-speed fiber optic HDMI cable, network cable, baluns, and 4K Ultra HD base extenders offer ways to pass audio and video signals over long distances.

Speaker & Subwoofer

wall-mounted plate speaker and subwoofer connections for a surround system

Universal Wall Plate

Universal Wall Plate

Signal & Power Wall Plate

Signal & Power Wall Plate

Wall Plates and Brackets

After you have determined the type and amount of wire and cable you will be using, you will need to decide on how many and what type of wall plates and brackets you will need. There are wall-mounted plates that accommodate the speaker and subwoofer connections for a surround system. And there are universal wall plates that give you an entry point or exit point for any type of in-wall wire. Additionally, there are plates that come packaged as kits for hiding both signal as well as power.

Surround Sound System Installation Contractor

No matter what type surround sound system you desire, Shultz Audio Video can provide the assistance you need to create an entertainment experience like no other. The key to a successful surround sound installation project is working with the right company. Retrofitting older homes for a surround sound can be done, wires can be routed through your attic or walls, and when necessary wires and cables can be run along the exterior of a home. Retrofit installations require thinking outside of the box. The type of thinking that sees beyond the missing wire and the low vaulted ceilings in your attic. When you are ready add a surround sound system, look to Shultz Audio Video for the best solutions. Our products and installation services are backed by our guarantee, to provide the very best products and services in San Diego. Contact us today at (760) 505-7461 for a free in-home consultation.