How to Add Surround Sound to a Previously Built Room




Have you wanted to add surround sound to a room but found you would have to rip apart your walls or make holes in the ceiling? Well here is a somewhat easy way to put in the wires with out doing any major reconstruction, or any at all!

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Step 1: Placing the Speakers

Deciding where you want the speakers is based on personal preference and on getting the best sound.

If you want the speakers for music like I did you can put them anywhere you want as long as you can hear them.

But, if you want them for a surround sound setup like a home theater you need to position them in a logical way. The center channel and front left and right need to go on or near you TV like i did our home theater set up. As you can see in the picture there is a speaker to the left, the right and the center speaker in the center of the TV. The rear speakers need to go behind where you are sitting, such as your couch. They sell stands for about $30 each, or you can mount the speaker to the wall like i did. (please note this is for a 5.1 channel set up). For a 7.1 Channel set up it would be exactly the same except the rear channels are different. The 4 and 5 channels are at the side of your head, or the sides of the couch and the 6 and 7 channels are behind like in the 5 channel set up.

The Subwoofer is the easiest part of the whole set up. It can go anywhere in the room because low frequencies are impossible to detect where they are coming from with the human ear. The best spot though is next to your TV or computer screen. Make sure not to put the subwoofer touching the TV or computer screen though because it will cause the set to resonate and it will rattle. I had this problem when i installed mine in my room becuse it was touching the wall and it would shake the pictures on it and was very annoying so i moved it to the top of my filing cabinet.

Step 2: Running the Wires

This by far is the hardest step and the most time consuming. It took me over 2 hours to do our home theater and 1 hour to finish my room. Since it is the non destructive way we will be running the wire through the trim on the wall going around the room and around the doorway. It is not as hard as it sounds though with a few simple tools, some time, and alot of patience it can be accomplished by anyone.

Clear Scotch Tape (Optional)
A Old or Unused CD or A Ruler Or a Home Made Jig (See Next Step)
Speaker Wire ($14.95 at Walmart for 75 feet)
Home Theater System or Stereo System ($199.95 Phillips 5.1, $150.95 RCA 5.1 at Walmart, or use your own choice)

Start by putting the audio reciever where you want it to be, this will be pretty permanent unless you want to redo alot of wires! Second if you havent placed your speakers or figured out where you want them do that now! If you need help look at the first step.

So you know there will be places where the wire will show a little but you barely notice if you buy the wire to match the color of the wood. Also some systems come with pre-wired speakers like mine did, there is no problem with cutting the wire and splicing in a section of the wire you bought. It WILL NOT affect the sound quality at all just make sure you find a good spot to do it because it makes the wire wider and it will be easier if you can hide the wire behind like a stand or bed or even at the top of the door where very few people will see.

Now the fun part. To start you can start at either the receiver, or start from the speaker. Bring the wire down to the trim area from where you chose to put it. My wires went behind my dresser where i put one of them and the other went behind my night stand where i put the other one and the front channels all sat on my desk so the wires went behind the desk and my subwoofer's wire went behind the filing cabinet it was on.

After you have done that line the wire up with the crack in between the wall and the trim, or base board and use either the CD, ruler or jig to push it in. If it won't fit and you arent afraid of seeing the wire just use a little scotch tape on the wire until you can find a section it will fit in. If you don't want to see the wire you can use a metal ruler and GENTLY stick it into the crack between the wall and trim and GENTLY pry the trim until the area is wide enough. Keep doing this all the way to the receiver or a doorway.

Doorways aren't too difficult but are a little trickier than the regular trim. First, the corner going from the floor trim to the door trim. You can either leave a little cross section of wire like in my picture or you can stick it in like the rest of the trim. Just keep going around the door. When you get to the top of the door, there are two options. You can get a stool and stick the wire in at the top like everything else, or the easier option is just lightly tape it up top like in my picture. This is possible because how many people can see the top of the door frame and how many people and inspecting the top of the frame???

When you get to the receiver with all of your speaker wire (you can put two wires in one trim board) hook every thing up and get ready for some music or movie viewing in surround sound without all the wall surgery or nasty looking wires running haphazardly over your floor.

See my next steps if you want to mount speakers to the wall or make the wire placing jig.

Step 3: The Jig

The Jig is a simple little piece of thin metal with a small curve at the top for fitting in tight space or a handle. My jig I found pre-made in my basement but you can make one just like it by bending a thin piece of tin or steel

Step 4: Mounting Speakers to the Wall

Mounting the speakers are not too hard if you know what you are doing. You will need a Awl, Sheetrock mounter plastic things, a screw and a screw driver or drill. What you need to do is pick the area where you would like it to go. First you need to drill or poke a hole for the speaker wires to go. It might take a while to line up the place you want to drill with the hole for the cords or you can leave a little of the cord sticking out

Sorry i dont have any pictures though...

Step 5: Enjoy

Hope you enjoy your new surround system!

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    11 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Ps sorry for errors or bad grammar .. I'm a tech that what's happens lim


    4 years ago

    Hi my name is chris and I hope this helps .. I did not read all of the posts but I've been installing custom home theater..full home alarm or smart home systems,,.. Blah blah who cares but I know u guys know about sound bouncing off walls and sound travels back... So sounds is vibrating air ... Blahs blah!!!! So what I am saying The best place for a sub is by the main sitting area so you can feel te vibrations of the movie more then hear them .. So when THX came out was with the first jarassic park came out cause when a raptor poped out ,, sounds like it right there .. So I've been hooked to audio...


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Quick note here:
    Some people can discern where sub-woofer frequencies are coming from. Most people can't, but here's why:
    Your ear can hear pretty much any frequency. It's your brain that filters out unnecessary frequencies. If you strain to hear specific frequencies your brain will automatically adjust what it is "listening to" so that in encompasses those frequencies. You don't have any more or less hearing... just a different range. I had this happen to me... just in the opposite way... I was straining to hear high feedback, so now I can hear high feedback before anyone else, but I have trouble understanding regular conversation frequencies. (I can hear them... it's just hard to understand. Also, I can't hear low-end feedback as well, but that doesn't sneak up on you like high end... when low end starts you usually have less than a second before it reaches critical.) So now I can mix great... but I just can't understand what anyone is saying... ;)

    4 replies
    thegeekecurious youth

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, it is annoying. The other problem is that unless you are constantly explaining it to people, they think you are hard of hearing and shouldn't be running a sound system! :(

    thegeekecurious youth

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Ya... But if you are talking to a perspective paying client, they will not take a chance on you, since there are usually a few other people wanting the job. You have to explain it to them, and even then you need some good references. :) I actually just got back from watching a play that a group that usually hires me was putting on, they didn't hire me this show because the facility they were renting space from required them to use the facility's tech people, but I met the facility's tech director, and he said "oh, I was really looking forward to meeting you! All the parent volunteers were constantly saying that they wished you were here to help solve all their problems! Do you have a business card for when I need an extra person?" That is so good when you can get a recommendation like that! :) Otherwise you will never be paid to prove them wrong! :(


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I have the same system, its sounds well overall, just have to break them in for the first time to get the best quality