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10 Things You Need to Know About Ceiling Speakers Before You Install
Written by installers, for installers! We cover the most important things to consider before purchasing and installing your ceiling speakers.
Ceiling speakers are designed to be a permanent, long-term audio solution that will provide you with excellent, aesthetically-pleasing sound for many years to come. That’s why it’s critical you’ve chosen the right quality of speaker as well as thought about how they will be installed. To install ceiling speakers, you must be able to gain access behind the walls/ceilings, and once everything is installed, we do not want there to be any unwanted surprises! We have picked 10 things that every installer/customer should be aware of before they install the speaker into the ceiling.
1. How many ceiling speakers do I need?
Being one of the most commonly asked questions, we thought it would be prudent to give our recommendations. As for the most part, ceiling speakers are sold in pairs, with a view to setting them up as a left and right stereo pair. One of the most important things about audio is the consistency of sound. For larger spaces, we feel to balance audio levels better it is sensible to add 4 smaller speakers than 2 larger speakers. Each Sonos Connect:Amp can power up to 4 mono ceiling speakers so many people choose to install 4 ceiling speakers in a square configuration whenever there is plenty of space to do this.
2. Where’s the best place to position them?
Generally speaking, it is best to position the ceiling speakers at equal distance apart from each wall, along the width of the room. We understand some customers may have awkwardly shaped room layouts, which can make it hard to know where the best place to position them would be. In this scenario, it may be worth choosing a ceiling speaker with an angleable tweeter to direct the sound to the rooms most habitable areas. For more information, please contact our team of specialists who can study your floor plan and see what would be best, where.
3. Do ceiling speakers need mains power?
No, ceiling speakers are passive speakers which mean they do not have built-in amplifiers which require power but instead receive their power via speaker cable that is run from an external amplifier. This is achieved by wiring each ceiling speaker up to the binding posts on the Amp. We recommend using the Sonos Connect:Amp for the best user experience. Connect:Amps allow the user to assign each Connect:Amp their respective room name and audio can be grouped wirelessly to any or all rooms using the easy-to-use Sonos app. The Connect:Amp itself then requires a mains power connection and a consistent WiFi connection.
4. Do I need mono or single stereo speakers?
Traditionally, ceiling speakers have been designed to work with amplifiers that understand left and right channel only, so you would always buy a pair of ceiling speakers, to set up as a stereo pair. This is still the case as this is how they will be wired to the Connect:Amp. However, in some cases, it’s just not practical to install a pair of ceiling speakers for lack of ceiling space. This is particularly common in bathrooms or other smaller sized rooms. To overcome this, the single stereo speaker was born to offer a left and right channel out of a single speaker, preserving space and opening up the options to have music in more rooms. A single Connect:Amp is capable of powering either 4 mono speakers or 2 stereo speakers.
To wire a single stereo speaker, you should wire 2 cables to it, not 1, unless you are using 4 core speaker cable (more details below).
We commonly see the mistake of installers installing a single cable for a single speaker, and this is unfortunately not correct.
A diagram can be seen below for how to wire your ceiling speakers.
5. Which speaker cable should I use with my ceiling speakers?
For the majority of installs, we recommend 16 gauge 2 core speaker cable. Being the industry standard and sufficient for most installs. The only time you may need to run better quality cable is if you are running it over longer distances than approximately over 35
For the majority of installs, we recommend 16 gauge 2 core speaker cable. Being the industry standard and sufficient for most installs. The only time you may need to run better quality cable is if you are running it over longer distances than approximately over 35 metres. The audio signal can degenerate if it travels too far affecting the sound quality. In this case, we would suggest upgrading to 14 gauge. Cable should be installed in a parallel configuration.
What is 4 core speaker cable?
4 core speaker cable is four cores of speaker cable bundled in one outer sheath. This type of cable is particularly useful for single stereo installs as only one cable run is required instead of two.
6. Do I need ceiling speaker hoods?
A speaker hood engulfs the back of the speaker to prevent the spread of fire within the ceiling void. Another benefit of a speaker hood is that they are designed to provide a form of back box to enhance sound and prevent a certain amount of sound leakage. That means you can keep your upstairs neighbours happier for longer if you turn the volume up!
Please check with your builder/installer whether a fire hood is required for your ceiling speakers in your particular building. “Low smoke / zero halogen” speaker cable may also be necessary.
7. Can ceiling speakers be installed in high-humidity environments such as a kitchen or bathroom?
Most of the ceiling speakers we supply are steam and humidity resistant which means, as long as they do not get wet, are excellent in a bathroom and kitchen environment. Please check with your electrician if you are unsure.
For more on installing a speaker in your bathroom, read our dedicated blog.
8. Can ceiling speakers be painted to match my room?
All of the ceiling speakers on our website have white paintable grilles, allowing you to match the speaker to your environment.
9. How slim should the ceiling speakers be?
If the amount of depth you have in the ceiling void (behind the plasterboard) is very low, there are options available for slim and ultra-slim ceiling speakers. The very least amount of mounting depth you’ll need is 36mm. Please use our filter on our website to find the most suitable speaker for you.
10. Can I use voice control to play music through my ceiling speakers?
Yes, this is now possible with the help of an Amazon Echo device. Simply plug in an Echo device to your desired room you’d like the ability to voice control your system, help Alexa to discover your Sonos devices in the Sonos app and follow the on-screen set up to get started. Then try saying “Alexa, play my favourite Spotify playlist”.
For more help on setting Alexa up to work with your Sonos network, read more here.
Need any help?
It’s important to get it right first time, so should you have any questions, big or small, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our advisors.
ABOUT SMART HOME SOUNDS
Smart Home Sounds is a UK Sonos specialist dedicated to filling homes with the joy of music, one room at a time!
We provide expert advice on the full Sonos range, from the voice-controlled Sonos One to a Sonos wireless home cinema system with PLAYBAR, SUB, and 2 x PLAY:1s all with free next day delivery and a 6 year extended warranty.