To install a speaker in a wall, you’ll also need to run, or “fish,” its wires through the walls. Here are a few tips to make the job easier without causing damage to room surfaces. (The same basic approach also works for data cables.)
1. Take the easy path. Run wires between the studs, not through them. Go down into the basement or up into the attic, where you can then route the wires easily in any direction.
2. Inspect the stud bay. After you cut the hole where the speaker will be mounted, check the bay for wires or pipes. You don’t want to drill into them accidentally.
3. Drill through the plates. To reach the basement, drill a 1/4-inch access hole in the wall directly below the hole for the speaker and about 8 inches from the floor. Poke a 1/8-by-18-inch feeler bit through this hole and drill a pilot hole down through the base plate. In the basement, mark the bit’s location, then pull it out and use a 3/4-inch bit to drill straight up through the pilot hole. To reach the attic, drill an access hole in the wall about 8 inches below the ceiling and then use the feeler bit to drill up through the wall’s top plate. Where the bit enters the attic, drill down with a 3/4-inch bit. Repeat the process at the stud bay closest to the amplifier.
4. Fish the wire. Head to the basement or attic with fish tape, a coil of flat, springy steel with a hook on one end. Stick the hook through the hole in the plate and up to the hole in the wall near the amplifier. Using stretchy electrical tape, attach the end of the wire to the fish tape in two places, as shown in the photo at right. Pull the tape and wire through the plate. Then, at the hole nearest the speaker, cut the wire off the tape, turn the tape around, and retape the wire so you can push it through the plate to the speaker hole.
5. Follow up. Anchor the exposed wire to the joists with Romex staples. Fill the holes in the plate with a fire-stop sealant and spackle over the holes in the wall.
Tip: Household electrical cables emit electromagnetic waves that degrade the signal in speaker wires, so keep them at least 6 inches away from each other.