Contact us
Close contact box
Connect ID #
321 606 64
Connect ID #
321 606 64
All finished with your chat session?

We’ll email you a transcript of this conversation for your records.

Our contact center is currently closed.

Please enter your name.  
Please enter a valid email address. Why is this required?
Please enter your US phone number.  

For Tech Support, call 1-888-292-2575

Thank you, !
Our conversation will be emailed to
Chat Advisor Image

Your Advisor,

More about me
Please enter a question  
Don't wait on hold. We'll call you back when it's your turn to talk with the next available .
Please enter your name  
Please enter your phone number  

Please enter a message  

Calls may be recorded for training and quality control purposes.

We are located in Virginia USA.

In-wall and ceiling speaker placement and installation

For home theatre or music

Planning a new in-wall or in-ceiling speaker system for your home? A do-it-yourself install can be a rewarding experience that also saves you money. This guide will help you get started.

We’ll give you some tips on where to place your speakers. Then we’ll explore a typical installation.

If you're still shopping for your gear, check out our in-ceiling and in-wall speaker buying guide.

A pair of overhead speakers in a kitchen

A pair of well-placed speakers fills small rooms with pleasing background music.

Speaker placement

It’s important to have a clear plan before you begin your install. Good speakers placed in their ideal locations may sound better than excellent speakers in the wrong spots.

In-ceiling placement for background music

Planning a system that's mainly for background music? Aim for balanced sound throughout your space. It’s better to have too many speakers than too few. If the speakers are too far apart, you'll have music playing too loudly in some parts of the room and too quietly in other spots.

Living room with two pairs of overhead speakers

Use two pairs of speakers for balanced sound in larger rooms. We recommend installing in-wall and ceiling speakers at least 18-24 inches away from an adjacent wall or ceiling.

Stereo-input speaker placement

Sometimes you want music overhead but have room for just one speaker. The solution? A stereo-input speaker, which plays both the left and right channels of your music.

A stereo-input speaker is a great way to add background music to a small space. Or you may want several stereo-input speakers in a hallway or an odd-shaped room that's not well suited for stereo pairs.

A stereo-input speaker in a bathroom

A centrally located stereo-input speaker is a great fit for the bathroom. It produces both channels of your stereo music source from a single location.

Stereo input speakers in a hallway

Want background music in a long, narrow hallway? Install a stereo-input speaker at each end for balanced sound throughout the space.

In-wall placement for dedicated music listening

Creating a space where sitting and listening to music is the main focus? In-wall speakers positioned at ear level recreate the live sound experience.

Try to place your left and right speakers the same distance from each other as they are from your prime listening seat. This gives you balanced, focused sound.

A pair of in-wall speakers

Setting up a music listening room? Space your ear-level speakers the same distance from each other as they are from you for the best sound.

Speaker placement for home theater

Is your home theater going to be in your living room or family room? Or will it be in a media room that’s used only for watching movies or sporting events?

The ideal in-wall speaker placement in both rooms is about the same. The height of the left- and right-channel speakers may vary, depending on what activities take place in your room.

Speaker placement in a mixed-use room

Say you’re entertaining in your living room, and want to play music for your guests. You want your front and rear in-wall speakers at about ear level when standing. This elevated placement gives you great music performance as people are moving around. It also gives you immersive sound effects when you watch a movie.

It's tempting to install the in-wall speakers right beside the TV for aesthetic reasons. But your system will sound better if the front speakers are spread out. If you can, place your front left and right speakers the same distance apart from each other as they are from your prime viewing seat. This gives you a wide front soundstage that simulates a theater.

5.1-channel surround sound system

In a mixed-usage room you want your front and rear in-wall speakers at about ear level when standing.

Placement in a dedicated theater room

Speaker placement in a dedicated theater room follows the same guidelines as above, except for the speaker height. Since you're not using the room for anything else, you want each speaker at ear level (or slightly higher) when seated. This gives you the best surround sound experience.

Illustration of all ear level in-wall speakers in a theater room

Building a dedicated home theater room? Install your in-wall speakers at about ear level when seated for the best sound.

Center channel speaker placement

Dialogue is clearer and easier to understand when your center channel is at ear level when you’re seated. But, your TV looks best when its middle line is at eye level.

Choosing the center channel and TV mounting locations calls for a balance between the two factors. Decide the height for both before installing either one. You might find taping up cardboard cutouts of each helpful for determining the best spots.

In most installs, the center channel goes under the TV. Try to leave at least a few inches of space between the top of the center channel and the bottom of your TV. This prevents the TV from blocking some of the center channel's sound .

Surround speakers placement

If you’re using rear surround speakers, face them toward the front of the room, as illustrated above. If you’re using side surrounds, aim them toward each other. If your speakers' tweeters can swivel, aim them toward your seating position.

Your surround speakers should be spaced about the same distance apart as the front left and right speakers. We recommend installing in-wall and ceiling speakers at least 18-24 inches away from an adjacent wall or ceiling.

Placement for Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X™ overhead speakers

Planning to use overhead speakers for special effects? For Atmos systems, Dolby recommends using four in-ceiling speakers. One pair located in front of your listening position, and a second pair behind it. If your system can only accommodate one pair of speakers, mount them slightly in front of where you’ll be listening.

Don’t worry if your speaker placement isn’t perfect. Your Atmos-enabled receiver’s auto calibration system will help dial in the sound. Check out Dolby's speaker setup guide for a deep dive into Atmos speaker placement.

Illustration of overhead in-ceiling speakers in a surround system

Adding a pair of overhead speaker channels to your system? Place them slightly in front of your seats for immersive sound effects.

Preparing for the installation

Making sure you have the right tools on hand helps ensure a smooth installation. Below is a list of the tools used in a typical install. Check the owner's manuals of your speakers to see if anything else is required.

  • drywall saw
  • utility knife
  • wire stripper
  • level
  • stud finder
  • screwdriver
  • masking tape
  • pencil
  • measuring tape
  • drill and bits
  • Shop Vac®

Use UL-rated wire for your in-wall or in-ceiling speakers

It's important that you use speaker wire that's approved for in-wall runs. You want UL-rated wire that's labeled CL2 or CL3. Check out our in-wall wiring guide for more info.

Confirm your speaker locations with a stud finder

After you map out your speaker locations, make sure there’s enough space in the wall or ceiling to accommodate them.

Identify any potential hazards behind the wall or ceiling. Use a high-quality stud finder that can detect metal pipes, AC wires, and other obstacles hidden behind your walls.

Photo of stud finder being used.

Self-installing? It's worth investing in a high-quality stud finder that can detect obstacles hidden behind your walls. (Photo courtesy of Zircon.)

Do a thorough check behind the walls

Try to inspect as much as possible without making a hole. See if you can detect which way joists run and where empty wall space between studs might be.

You’re looking for wall locations that are empty of pipes and electrical wires. You may not know what's behind the wall with absolute certainty, so you might have to cut and patch exploratory holes.

Start with a pilot hole

In an existing room, you'll want to drill a pilot hole to determine if each of your speaker locations will work. This lets you explore the space behind the wall or ceiling to make sure there isn’t anything there.

Before you begin, turn off the power in areas you'll be working to avoid electric shock. Then drill a small hole in the middle of where you want to place your speaker. Use caution when drilling so you don't plunge your bit into a pipe or electrical conduit.

Illustration of pilot hole being tested.

A pilot hole lets you explore the space behind the wall to make sure there isn’t anything surprising there.

Explore the area

Insert a sturdy wire (like a bent coat hanger) into the pilot hole. If there might be power lines behind the wall near your pilot hole, wrap the exploratory wire with electrical tape.

Explore the surrounding area. Make sure there's enough room for the speaker, and that there’s nothing in the way. Check your speaker’s mounting dimensions to make sure there's enough space to accommodate it.

Confirm your speaker locations before you cut

Don't cut any drywall until you've drilled pilot holes and checked all of your desired speaker locations. If one of your locations doesn't work out, you might want to move one or more of them.

Use rough-in brackets to map out your speaker locations

Rough-in brackets are very helpful if you’re working with new construction. They're also useful if you're renovating an existing room where the old drywall has been removed.

These brackets mount between two studs or joists. Your drywall hanger will cut the speaker holes for you.

Rough-in bracket being installed.

Rough-in brackets let you easily mark where each speaker will go before the wall goes up. They also give your speaker a sturdy bracing between two studs.

Keep the sound where you want it

Your speakers may have another room located adjacent to them. Consider in-wall or in-ceiling speakers that have a back-box to limit the sound that leaks through. Back-boxes improve bass response by providing a sealed enclosure around the speaker. They also keep dust and dirt out as well.

Installing your new speakers

Cutting drywall and mounting the speakers

In this video, Crutchfield A/V expert Norm gives step-by-step instructions. We encourage a thorough viewing since he goes into detail about the entire installation process. After you check it out, scroll down for some additional tips.

Beware of the dust

Cutting into drywall and plaster creates a fair amount of dust. Cover any furniture near your installation before you begin your work. It’s helpful to have someone hold the vacuum hose under the drywall saw as you cut. This eliminates a lot of the dust clouds that are generated during installation.

Plaster and lath walls

If your house has plaster-and-lath walls or ceilings, installing your speakers will be more complicated. Plaster tends to crack and crumble easily, so you should be prepared to do some touch-up work.

Running in-wall wire could be particularly challenging. It may be worth running out-of-wall wire, and using carpets, cabinetry, and other spaces to hide it. See our article on home A/V cable management for more ideas.

Drop ceiling installation

Installing speakers in a drop ceiling is different than a normal drywall installation. Drop ceiling panels often aren’t strong enough to support the weight of in-ceiling speakers.

Reinforce where the speaker is mounted with a large piece of plywood above the foam panel. Mount it to the cross braces, and then cut the speaker opening into both the plywood and the drop ceiling.

For high-quality pressboard drop ceilings, you'll be able to cut directly into the sturdy ceiling panels.

Fine tuning your speakers

Once your speakers are installed, you're ready to make any final adjustments. If you have aimable tweeters, direct them toward your seats before installing the speaker grilles.

Check for tone controls on the speaker. If the speaker is within a foot of a corner, set the bass controls to the "minus" or "cut" position. If the room doesn’t have a lot of upholstered furniture to absorb sound, set the treble control to the minus/cut position.

Learn more about room acoustics and treatments here.

Personalized advice from our team of experts

Have questions about planning your new system? Our expert Advisors know the gear inside and out. Contact us today.

Free lifetime tech support is included with your Crutchfield purchase.

  • Steve Langerock from Spicewood

    Posted on 8/23/2021

    I know this is an old thread, but thought I would post in the hope it's still checked. I am setting up an Atmos system, and will have 2 overhead speakers set in about 2' from the outer walls (the room is long, but only 11' wide) just in front of the main seating. For the rear surround, I have on-surface directional speakers that I can ceiling mount or wall mount, but the wall mount would only be (about) a foot below the ceiling, and they might look a bit out of place as they would be about a foot above sconce lighting. Is there still an advantage in the wall mount even though it is so close to the ceiling...or do I simply ceiling mount and point them down at the seating area? Thanks, Steve

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 8/26/2021

    Hi Steve, thanks for reaching out. That's a sweet system you have in the works!

    In your shoes I'd try to mount your rear surrounds on the wall, provided they won't look too out of place cosmetically. Bringing those tweeters even a foot or two closer to your ears will help strengthen the impact of those awesome rear sound effects.

    That said, ceiling mounting is certainly an option, and if you need to go that direction your receiver or pre/pro's calibration system will take care of timing, output level, and equalization. You'll be in fine shape either way. Best of luck with the build, and please let me know if you have any other questions!
  • Nick from Montreal

    Posted on 2/28/2021

    Hello, I will be renovating a room and going from a gyproc ceiling to a drop ceiling. I have 4 Klipsch CDT3650C-II along with the roughin brackets. If the drop ceiling is about 3"-4" from the joists, attaching the rough-in brackets to the joists and then cutting the tile still seems like dog ears from the speakers won't "grab" rough-in kit. Options to solve for that?

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 3/3/2021

    Hi Nick, in your shoes I would better brace the drop ceiling tiles instead of mounting the rough-in brackets directly to the joist. Plywood is an excellent choice for this.

    If your ceiling tiles are 2'x2', then I'd used 3/8" or 1/2" plywood. If the tiles are 2'x4', then 1/2" is recommended.

    Note that 3/4" plywood is often too thick — the clamps on the back of the speaker may not have enough reach to cover the tile and plywood together.
  • Alfred Rivera from Selden

    Posted on 1/10/2021

    Great advice for ceiling speakers installation! You forgot to mention one important factor in speaker connection.... It is having them "in-phase".

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 1/14/2021

    Thanks for your kind words, Alfred. And yes, every speaker in a home theater system should be wired in-phase with one another!
  • Mike Curnutt from HEMET

    Posted on 11/12/2020

    You can pick up a 20 or 30 foot inspection scope on Amazon. Drill your pilot hole and run the scope through to get a real good idea of what is behind the wall/ceiling.

  • Jim Panozzo from Griffith, IN

    Posted on 11/6/2020

    Hi! I actually have two questions. First, I have a Denon AVR-X3600H receiver and currently have a 5 speaker set up with all Klipsch speakers and a Klipsch sub-woofer. I want to install 4 ceiling speakers to incorporate the Dolby Atmos sound. Do you suggest I stay with Klipsch for the ceiling speakers, or is it OK to mix in a different brand, like Sonos or something else? Also, my ceiling is unfinished...just painted black. Although I have easy access to the joist, I'm not sure if I need to add a piece of wood between the joist's in order to mount the ceiling speakers, or maybe a rough-in bracket will work. Appreciate any suggestions you have and thank you so much for you time!!

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 11/6/2020

    Hi Jim, that's a sweet setup you have there. Personally, I'd stick with Klipsch for your overhead channels. Both the CDT-3650-C-II and the Klipsch CDT-3800-C II are solid choices that will keep your system "voice-matched" with horn-loaded tweeters in each location. It's not a deal-breaker to go with a different brand, but personally, I'd stay with Klipsch if it were my system.

    As for the bracing or rough-in kits: I don't think they're necessary unless you have a drop-ceiling or something along those lines. If you have a conventional drywall ceiling you'll be fine just using the speaker's built-in mounting ears.

    I'm excited for you — having an Atmos system is an absolute blast!
  • David L Brumbaugh from Alachua

    Posted on 9/14/2020

    with only a small dedicated media room 12 across, can I put rear surrounds for atmos in the wall right behind the seating ? Anticipate a couch for seating.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 9/14/2020

    Hi David, thanks for reaching out. You can certainly put your rear surrounds in the wall behind your couch. That's the way my home theater system is setup, and I love how it sounds. That said, I don't know how well that location would work for Atmos channels specifically, since the recommended placement for those overhead channels is above and in front of the listening position. I'd advise against that placement if you can avoid it.

    If you do go in-wall for your rear surrounds, I'd place them up high — about two feet from the ceiling. So if you have 9' ceilings for example, I'd have the top of each surround speaker at 7'. This will give you nice immersive surround effects. But since the speakers will be up high they will also sound like height speakers, too. Just a suggestion to try to make the most of your space!

    Please let me know if you have any other questions, and keep me posted on your install!
  • S T from HAMILTON, Ohio

    Posted on 6/6/2020

    I do not have room for on wall or in wall speakers, would 2 ft above the top of the tv be too far away for angled ceiling speakers to work.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 6/15/2020

    Hi ST, two feet above your TV should be fine in terms of keeping the sound relatively connected to what you're seeing. I'd be sure to go with a model that has an aimable tweeter so that you can direct the highs toward you.
  • paul from Chicago

    Posted on 4/22/2020

    Hi, regarding installing ceiling speakers into drop ceiling tiles - I do have more dense/less flimsy ceiling tiles (I believe they're pressboard, as mentioned in this article). Just to be certain, I wanted to add backing/support, like plywood to prevent sagging. However, since I have a lot of spare ceiling tiles, could I just use a second tile for a secondary support? In other words, double ceiling tiles instead on one ceiling tile and one plywood piece. Thanks for your time!

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 4/24/2020

    Hi Paul, thanks for your question. If you double-up the tiles it will probably look okay early on, but you run the risk of it sagging over time. I'd avoid that if possible.

    In your shoes, I'd use 1/4" luan behind the drop tile, which will allow the speaker's mounting lets to get a firm grip against the surface without pressing into it (like can happen with the drop tiles). Plyboard would also work well as a backing option, too.
  • Bert Cochran from Las Vegas

    Posted on 4/19/2020

    My home is pre-wired for 6 ceiling mount speakers. What type speaker should be used in the 4 corner and two center locations?

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 4/20/2020

    Hi Bert, thanks for reaching out. Can you tell me a little more about your system? Is this for music, home theater, or both?
  • Craig Shapiro from Southampton

    Posted on 4/14/2020

    I have a 110 inch projector screen. The in wall center channel is below it and on each side is the right and left speaker in wall. I have 4 ceiling speakers. 2 are about 4 feet in front the screen and the other 2 are right behind the main sitting area. I have an onkyo Rz-810 receiver. I've had this set-up for about 3 years. When I do the set-up on the receiver, should I use any of the ceiling speakers as height speakers? Or would it be better to have them as front and rear surrounds. Lastly, would it be worth it to add any more speakers? If so, where would they go? Thanks for all your help. Craig

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 4/19/2020

    Hi Craig, thanks for reaching out. The TX-RZ810 is an excellent receiver and is well-suited for a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos setup. I'd select the overhead speakers behind you as your surround channels, and use the pair of ceiling speakers in front of the screen as Atmos channels. Assuming you still have the auto-calibration microphone, the '810 will measure the distance and output levels accordingly.

    Your receiver can support up to seven speakers, so you won't be able to add additional channels without either upgrading to a nine-channel model or adding an outboard amp.

    That said, if you're looking to upgrade performance, consider adding a second sub (or upgrading to a bigger, more powerful model). I've found that upping my bass output makes a huge difference in the emotional impact that movies have! Feel free to give us a shout if you'd like a hand picking the right sub for your room.
  • Rodney from Greenbelt, MD

    Posted on 2/16/2020

    The wall into which I want to install speakers is about 10 inches away from the outer wall behind it. Do I need to do something to prevent the sound from bouncing all around that 10-inch gap? There will be insulation, but not 10 inches worth, so there will still be some open space behind the insulation, if that makes any sense. Thanks.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 2/24/2020

    Hi Rodney, part of the answer depends on the series of speaker that you're using. Ideally, a speaker with a built-in back-box is the best option. This protects the back of the speaker, and also provides an acoustic chamber for consistent sound no matter what the space looks like inside the wall.

    If you're not using a back-box, about 5" or so of insulation should be plenty. We recommend using the same amount of insulation for every speaker location; if one location is packed full, and a second location in the same room has very little insulation, then the difference in bass response will be easy to hear.

    I hope that helps! Feel free to give us a shout if you'd like some help choosing speakers.
  • VICTOR ROBEIRI from Queens Village

    Posted on 1/21/2020

    Hello, I have a tenant above my livingroom where I'm installing in 5.1 wall speakers. 3 in front, and the other 2 can be behind the sofa or placed in the ceiling. Is noise leaking still possible even if the ceiling speakers are enclosed? Should I just avoid in ceiling insulation altogether? I don't want noise to be an issue for the tenants upstairs.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 1/23/2020

    Hi Victor, if you have a tenant directly above where your home theater will be I would avoid in-ceiling speakers. Even with speakers that have back-boxes, there will inevitably be some audio bleedthrough. I'd stick with in-wall, on-wall, or floor-based speakers for this system.
  • Darrell from Bobcaygeon

    Posted on 11/23/2019

    Our family room is 30x22 with an 18' cathedral ceiling. We are wanting to add 2 rear in-ceiling surround speakers on the slope of the cathedral ceiling and eliminate the 2 rear surround bookshelf speakers. Current speakers are Definitive Technology - 2 rear surround bookshelf speakers, 2 front atmos bookshelf speakers, 1 center channel speaker, and 1 subwoofer. (one side wall is almost all glass). What speakers do you recommend on a budget? Do we need more speakers?

  • Jon from Cambridge

    Posted on 5/21/2019

    Quick question: For in-ceiling speakers, you recommend 18-24 inches of setback from any adjacent wall. I've got a small room, and when combined with navigating joists and strapping (and a 9 inch speaker cutout), every inch counts in my application. With that in mind, is the suggested 18-24 inch setback measured from the center of the speaker, or from the edge of the woofer? I am hoping it's the former, but suspect it's the latter. Thanks again.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 5/23/2019

    Hi Jon, if you can get 18" away from the wall (measured from the center of the speaker) you'll be in great shape. The big reason for this is to reduce sonic reflections. If your speakers are too close to an adjacent wall the sound waves that that bounce off of it will affect what you're hearing.

    This is especially important if you're doing an Atmos system, where pinpoint sound effects are carefully arranged within the movie's soundtrack.

  • Andre from Sao Paulo/Brazil

    Posted on 11/9/2018

    Great explanations! Thanks!

  • Greg from Denver

    Posted on 9/24/2018

    Thanks for the article! The information was very helpful. Does Crutchfield have specialists on staff who can provide specific recommendations on in-wall and in-ceiling speaker placement given the layout of my room? Thanks again!

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/19/2018

    Hi Mark, I'm glad to help. The short answer is yes! The longer answer is that installing insulation behind your speaker has three main benefits:

    First, it helps reduce the amount of sound that can "leak" into the next room by acting as a sort of sonic barrier. It's worth noting that if sound containment is a priority, I recommend considering speakers that have a built-in back-box.

    Another benefit of insulation is that it helps improve the speaker's bass response. If the woofer is 5-1/4" or larger, then the addition of insulation directly behind the speaker can help the bass sound cleaner and clearer (especially the mid-bass).

    Finally, if some speaker locations have insulation and some don't, adding the same kind and amount of insulation behind the speakers that don't already have it will help even out the bass response for all of the speakers. This helps avoid some speakers sounding differently than others — the goal being to have fairly consistent bass response from all of your speakers.

    One last note: if you stuff too much insulation behind the speaker, then the amount of bass that the speaker can produce is lowered, since the amount of free air behind the speaker will have been reduced too much. So use insulation, but don't pack it in too tightly :)

  • Mark from Morgan Hill

    Posted on 4/18/2018

    What's your take on insulation behind the in-wall speakers? About to install an 11.1 system and 7 of the speakers will be in wall. 3 of them are external walls where there will already be insulation, but the other 4 will be on internal walls. Should I drop a chunk of insulation behind those 4 speakers during the install?

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/15/2017

    Hi Keith, the center channel doesn't need to be in-wall in that scenario, though you'll want to make sure you choose a center channel that matches well with your left and right speakers (give us a shout if you want some help choosing that). Try to place your center channel as close to ear level as you can, so the dialogue doesn't feel disconnected from what you're seeing on the screen.

    As for the left and right speaker "imaging," many in-wall speakers have pivoting tweeters. This lets you change the angle that the tweeter is firing, so that you can direct its sound towards you. Each room's acoustics are different, so I recommend experimenting with the tweeter angle to see what sounds the best in your space.

  • Keith from Williford

    Posted on 11/15/2017

    If the front right & left speakers are in-wall, does the center channel speaker need to be in-wall also? If that's the desired arrangement, my center speaker would have to be just below the ceiling (8 ft). I thought it should be near the TV screen, either above or below. Also, your articles say the front right & left speakers should be aimed at the desired listening position, but how is that possible with in-wall speakers?.

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/25/2017

    Hi Jason, from what you've described I think in-ceiling rear speakers will be your best option. They'll provide the most evenly distributed surround effects for your L-shaped seating. You can always reduce the output level of those channels if they feel overwhelming relative to the front channels.

    I'm going to put you in touch with one of our advisors who will help you select the right gear for your new system.

  • Jason from KEARNEY

    Posted on 9/25/2017

    We are remodeling our basement and are looking to add some in-wall and/or in-ceiling speakers for surround sound for movies and sporting events (thinking 5.1). Our room has 3 walls. Looking from the couch the walls are front, left, and back. We plan to put the center, left, and right speakers in the front wall but our L-shaped couch goes against the left and back walls. Where should we place our other two speakers? I was thinking in the ceiling (close to the back wall) but don't know if the sound coming straight down will be too much for those sitting on the couch. Room is torn down to studs right now so any placement is available.

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/2/2017

    Hi Bill, great questions. I don't believe Atmos channels will add any additional sense of dimensionality to your listening experience if you're already using in-ceiling speakers for the other channels.

    If you stick with your existing in-ceiling speakers, it really doesn't matter if your receiver is Atmos-enabled or not, since you probably won't engage that listening mode. The good news is most new receivers have it anyway, so it gives you some different configuration options should you change things up.

    If you can add speakers closer to ear level, your listening experience will improve — especially for the front soundstage. Having the dialogue come from where your screen is located will provide a better sense of realism.

    Feel free to give us a shout with any other questions!

  • Bill from Ithaca, NY

    Posted on 6/1/2017

    Hello, I just purchased a home with 12 foot ceilings in the living room and 5 in-ceiling speakers installed. There is also a wall jack for a powered subwoofer on the same wall where the TV will be. I've read several comments here about not using a Dolby Atmos receiver for just in-ceiling speakers. If that's the case, what features would I look for in a receiver? Or would you recommend adding additional speakers and using a Dolby Atmos receiver? Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/25/2017

    Hi Josh, that's a great question. Some companies use moisture-resistant materials in their in-ceiling speakers. But, they aren't something that is filterable within our specs.

    We've had great success with the Polk Audio RC6s stereo-input speaker. It is moisture-resistant, and a great choice for the bathroom. It gives you stereo performance from a single location. I'd install one by the sink and another by the tub to blanket the room with sound.

  • Josh from Dallas

    Posted on 4/24/2017

    Hey team - thanks as always for your insight. In-ceiling speakers in a master bath (vanity/sink) and tub area. Are most in-ceiling speakers ok for this environment or do i need to look at specifications. Vanity area is dry, but tub area will be humid.

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/20/2017

    Hi Johnny, your proposed layout makes a lot of sense to me. Yes, putting your rear overhead surrounds two feet behind you is fine. I'd space them the same width apart as your front left and right speakers (slightly wider is fine too).

    Using two subs will give you fantastic bass. Opposite corners on the same side of the room is fine. Check out our subwoofer placement guide for some detailed tips on getting the best bass possible.

  • JohnnyQ from Allentown

    Posted on 3/15/2017

    I figured out where the in wall speakers go for the front left/right and center for my basement theatre. My rear speakers have to go in the ceiling in my HVAC soffit which is about 2 feet behind the sofa. Is it ok to place the rear speakers in the ceiling 2 feet behind me? How far apart should the two speakers go? i was thinking of putting two subwoofers on the floor. They would go along the same wall as my TV and front speakers but on opposite corners. Does that make sense sound wise?

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/20/2017

    Hi Jondo, great questions. The size and layout of your room, along with which speakers you're using will determine the deal placement. I'm passing your inquiry on to our Advisors. They will be able to give you a more in-depth response that will take into account the specifics of your system.

  • Jondo from The Jop

    Posted on 1/19/2017

    I am confused about the following statement:

    "Ideally, that reflection should be at the same level as your TV screen. You can figure out how far away from the wall you should place your in-ceiling speakers by using a mirror. Mark the spot on the ceiling where you think the speaker should go, then sit in your favorite listening position. Ask a helper to hold a mirror up to the wall, moving it up or down until you can see the mark on the ceiling reflected in the mirror."

    I read elsewhere on your site that the ideal mounting height for a TV is at seated eye level. If sit down and have someone place a mirror on the wall at my eye level I will never see any part of the ceiling. How do you recommend spacing ceiling speakers where the TV is at eye level?

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/23/2016

    Hi Nic, I've passed your questions on to our Advisors. They'll reach out to get some more information about your room and your speakers. I'm sure they can help find the best layout for you!

  • Nic from Wausau

    Posted on 12/23/2016

    I have a question about 5.1.2 height speaker placement. My room is 27 feet wide with surrounds on the wall at each end of the 27 foot length. My fronts are only about 7 feet apart. Should I separate the heights by 7 feet or should I go wider and just split the room width into 3 and so 9 feet? Thoughts?

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/19/2016

    Hi Kerry, absolutely! You'll have terrific surround sound by having in-wall front speakers, and in-ceiling side and rear surrounds. In fact, I'm in the process of updating this article to reflect that exact arrangement.

  • Kerry gray from riverside

    Posted on 12/16/2016

    Question. I was thinking about using a combination in wall and in ceiling speaker locations. I didn't see a diagram for that. Is it okay to have the front/middle in wall, and the rear and middle as in ceiling?

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/5/2016

    Nathan, to get the best sound it's important that your front left and right speakers are the same distance apart from each other as they are from you. In other words, try to form an equal-sided triangle with those two speakers if you can. So if you're sitting ten feet back from the TV, each speaker would be placed five feet to either side of the center of the TV.

    What you want to avoid is placing the speakers directly to the left and right of the TV. While that looks good cosmetically, it robs you of the wide soundstage that the director intended. Feel free to give us a call for free personalized help with planning your new system.

  • Nathan from Avon

    Posted on 12/2/2016

    What is the recommend distance from your TV to place the left and right speakers?

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/22/2016

    Hi George, your proposed layout is definitely ideal for your space. The only wild card is how the system will sound for those that are sitting against the left wall. But that will always be tricky since it's off to one side of the TV. Does your home theater receiver offer auto-calibration for multiple seating locations? If so, that will definitely help.

    Best of luck with the new system, and feel free to give us a call if any questions come up!

  • George De Marco from Trabuco Canyon

    Posted on 11/7/2016

    Hi, we have a great room that encompasses the family room and the kitchen. So the tv and all the home theater components sit in the front of the room. Looking from the tv wall to the rear of the room, we have a left wall and rear wall, but no right wall because it becomes the kitchen from there. The ceiling is at 9 ft and the L-shaped couch is against the lef wall and back wall (we can potentially move the couch up about 2 feet towards the tv).

    I understand the front of the room speaker placement, R & L main, center and sub, but since I no "right" wall, can I mix the speakers up in this configuration: Surround backs (L & R) on rear wall - (acceptable height and width) Surrounds (L &R) - On ceiling over listening area (are these in line with Front speakers or a wider distance?) Front Presence (L & R) - On ceiling in front of Surround speakers (distance and in line with Surrounds?) Thanks.

  • Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/18/2016

    Joy, the placement recommendations will apply for your 10-ft. ceiling. Be sure that you have enough amplification power to get the volume that you're looking for since the speakers will be fairly high up. Feel free to contact one of our Advisors via phone or chat for a personalized recommendation for your room.

  • joy garcia

    Posted on 7/17/2016

    I have a 10 foot ceiling. does it have any impact on the placement recommendations above given I have the same size of the floor area as with the above example?

  • Commenter image

    Crutchfield Writing Team from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/16/2016

    Maulik, we have forwarded your inquiry to our advisors for the best answers. They'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Maulik D. from Fremont

    Posted on 5/11/2016

    Hi, I'm remodeling my home and looking to add in-wall and/or in-ceiling speakers in family room, kitchen and master bath. We're not audiophiles, looking for a very good quality system and guidance optimum placement of speakers while we're in design phase. Looking for suggestions on how to proceed with speaker placement and selecting system.

  • Commenter image

    Dave Bar from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/14/2016

    Phil, to avoid any impact on sound due to differences in wire length, I recommend using equal runs of wire on each stereo pair of speakers. If one speaker is connected with a significantly longer wire than the other, the greater resistance in the longer wire will reduce its output due to power loss. One could always use the balance or level control (if available) on the receiver or amp to compensate, but this may affect any other speakers connected as well, and would be less than ideal.

  • Phil from Auburn Hills, Mi

    Posted on 4/11/2016

    I have a 800 sqft basement that I am installing speakers into the ceiling. The receiver is off in one corner. So the wire length is considerable longer for some of the speakers than for others. I know that you have to be mindful of the wire resistance and so I will need 12 AWG. But with such large differences in wirelength, will it impact the sound from the speakers differently? Should I use the same length wire for each speaker (even if I just coil in up where it is not needed)?

  • Dan from Lakewood

    Posted on 4/9/2016

    Hi, I have a long (40x20) room and am examining speaker placement. The space has no soft objects to absorb sound. The application is background listening only with in wall placement. There is a small (8x6) mechanical room in one corner of the space so the shortest of the longer walls is approximately 32 feet. I intend to mount the speakers on this 32 foot wall but could mount one on the mechanical room wall so that one would be on the base and one on the leg of the L shape created by the connecting walls. I am also wondering, should I mount them higher on the wall or lower?

  • Commenter image

    Dave Bar from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/3/2016

    John, For help deciding what you need prior to purchasing your system, please just give our advisors a call. For help setting up the gear you already bought from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free assistance. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • John from Deer Park

    Posted on 3/3/2016

    Hello Dave - I am having some challenges with my surround sound speaker placement in my awkwardly shaped living room. Can I get some guidance from either you or anyone on your team as to where the optimal location is for my 5.1 surround sound speakers?

  • Commenter image

    Dave Bar from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/14/2016

    Jon, I must confess that I forwarded Jesal's inquiry to our advisors for further assistance (as I have done with yours). The situation that you both are in has a number of possible solutions that requires more discussion and planning than practical through a single email response. You'll be in good hands with them. Dave.

  • Jon from MONTGOMERY

    Posted on 1/13/2016

    Dave, I would like to see that email answer sent to Jesal from NJ (sent 8/10/2015). That's almost exactly what I'm doing. Renovation with access to all stud walls and ceilings. Room is 20x25. I plan to set up the room with 7.1 to view from either end (because we just don't know...). My current system is 5.1, and I don't plan to replace it until after I know how much money is left from the renovation (I'll upgrade the speakers now since I'm leaning toward in-wall). My plan right now is to run the speaker wire for 7.1 system while the walls are open. I'll have access to the side speaker wires when I upgrade the system to 7.1. I'm looking at some Polk in-wall speakers. My problem is my wife doesn't want the speakers at ear level, and she doesn't want to be restricted as for furniture and picture placement. It would be great if I could put the center speaker in the ceiling. The room is the family room. Movies, TV and music... Thanks, Jon

  • Commenter image

    Dave Bar from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/12/2016

    Jialu, I sent your questions to our sales team for the best answer. They'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • jialu x. from eugene

    Posted on 1/11/2016

    Good year Dave, I am building a HT for the bedroom. 17.3' long by 12.4' wide by 7.8' high. My current plan is leaning towards 5.1.4 with in wall/ceiling speakers. As the trade-off of implementing a HT system in the bedroom is that the headboard is often aginst the 12.4' wide wall and it will be technically the MLP. In such case, how would you recommend on the speaker placement specifically the atmos ones in ceiling? What sizes of speakers should i consider?

  • Dennis from Santa Rosa

    Posted on 1/7/2016

    When I purchased a new build, I had them pre-wire the family room for home theater, but did not expect them to put four speaker connections in the ceiling , and not all that spread out (I didn't have any say, apparently - no one asked me). My wife thinks we'll be OK if we can tilt the speakers a bit - especially the back ones, so that sound isn't coming directly down on you. Is such a configuration going to work? Or are we better off just setting some speakers up externally and forgetting about the ceiling? The center speaker will most likely go below the TV, and the sub off in a corner.

  • Commenter image

    Dave Bar from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/28/2015

    Good question, Bill. As I recall, Dolby recommends placing your base speaker system (front, center, and surrounds) at ear level for an Atmos system. I see no issues whatsoever with the front and center speakers in your setup, but using in-ceiling surrounds may very well reduce the level of Atmos height effects that you experience. By how much is really hard to say, as we're still charting relatively new territory here. If possible, I would suggest using on-wall or in-wall surround speakers, rather than in-ceiling.

  • Bill from tuscaloosa

    Posted on 12/28/2015

    will there be enough separation for a 5.1.2 ATMOS system with the following: ATMOS enabled bookshelf speakers for Front L/R channels On wall Center Channel In-ceiling rear surround channels.

  • Commenter image

    Dave Bar from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/12/2015

    Monika, we sent your question to our sales team for the best answer. They'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Monika

    Posted on 10/11/2015

    OK a square room with all 4 walls is about this: we're refinishing our basement, picture a 3 wall room with an L shaped sofa. TV will be directly across the one part of the sofa, the other sofa side will be facing another room. How do you place speakers on this set up?

  • Commenter image

    Dave Bar from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/4/2015

    Jim, you may want to give our advisors or techs a shout to help map out your speaker placement. You should probably also be aware that Dolby does not recommend an all in-ceiling speaker installation for Atmos. In order to work properly, Atmos requires a 5.1 or 7.1 ear-level base speaker system with either two or four in-ceiling (or Atmos enabled) height speakers. If all of the speakers are mounted in the ceiling, the proper height effects cannot be reproduced.

  • Jim from Sonoma

    Posted on 9/4/2015

    I just bought the brackets from you for the 620 RT and 90 RT speakers that I will be putting in my ceiling for the atmos stereo that I will be using. Right now I'm at the 2x4 stage before sheet rock if I email you some photos and the pdf file of my lay out can you show where you would place the speakers. my wall are made out of fox ICF block and are twelve inches thick I cannot install speakers in the walls and I do not want to hang them on the wall . So my plan is to put all seven speakers in the ceiling. Any help in this subject will be greatly appreciated Jim

  • Commenter image

    Dave Bar from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/11/2015

    Jesal, we sent your question to our sales team for the best answer. They'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Jesal from NJ

    Posted on 8/10/2015

    What is the best speaker recommendation for a 7.1 system which can accommodate 2 in-wall front right and front left channel speakers, an in-ceiling center channel, and in-ceiling right and left channels, as well as in-ceiling (or in wall) right and left back channels? Is there a more optimal speaker configuration? Can Dolby Atmos be accommodated with this setup and if so, what speakers or receivers would work best? Thanks.

  • Commenter image

    Dave Bar from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/24/2015

    Sorry for the confusion, Adam. What we were trying to say is that an Atmos surround sound system consisting exclusively of in-ceiling speakers is not recommended. That's because if the entire soundtrack is being projected at you from above, Atmos won't be able to accurately recreate the "height" effects. It's perfectly fine (preferable even) to use in-ceiling speakers for the height channels in an Atmos system, just be certain to use in-wall or on-wall speakers placed at seated ear level for all of your other channels to ensure optimum Atmos height effects.

  • Adam W. from Chesapeake, VA

    Posted on 7/23/2015

    I'm confused-The section on "installing in-wall or on-wall speakers has a bullet that says "For Atmos home theaters, Dolby recommends using four ceiling speakers, with one pair located in front of your listening position and a second pair behind it." Then the section on installing in-ceiling speakers has a bullet that says "A Dolby Atmos surround sound system incorporating only in-ceiling speakers is not recommended." So which is it?