Home Theater Design – Home Theater Speakers

Home Theater Design – Home Theater Speakers

DIY Home Theater Design - The Best Home Theater Speakers For The Money

When you’re designing your home theater, it’s best to look at both, your amplifier and speakers at the same time.

Each one affects the other, so researching them both at the same time will help you make the best choice for both.  This article will focus on home theater speakers. For more details about the amplifier, make sure to check out the article in this series on the amplifier.

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What Was I Looking For In Home Theater Speakers

The initial search criteria was simple, quality speakers and a reasonable price.

After a lot of searching, I soon realized I needed to find a reasonable price above anything else. These things are expensive!

If money was no object, I would go with Klipsch speakers. But those were many thousands of dollars, way outa my budget.

Now back to the search criteria. They needed to be affordable, in-wall, and a strong enough wattage that I could feel the sound from them. I figured a couple of hundred watts would be in the right ballpark.

I wanted in-wall speakers because I liked the finished look it gives.

To me, having speaker enclosures hanging around the room doesn’t give it as much of a finished look.

The Speakers

I did a good amount of searching, but honestly, the prices I kept coming up with were knocking the wind out of my sails.

Then I came across a company called Acoustic Audio. They had sets of in-wall speakers that were very reasonably priced.

Now I’m sure these speakers wouldn’t compare to the high-end speakers I kept finding in my searches. But, at less than 1/10th the cost they were the right choice for me.

The speakers I chose are the Acoustic Audio HD728 7.2 Home Theater Speaker System. There is an HD726 model as well, which is the same amount of speakers, just smaller speakers with a bit less power.

I’m pleased with these speakers; they sound and look great.

One thing that they don’t mention on Amazon’s listing was the rotatable tweeters. All the tweeters rotate, to get high pitched sounds directed at the listener.

I have a few tips with these speakers that I’ll share. In the end, these speakers are great once you follow the tips.

Designing a Home Theater - Home Theater Speakers - acoustic audio hd728 in wall speakers

The Speakers I Chose

The speakers are the Acoustic Audio HD728 in-wall home theater 7.2 surround 8 inch speaker system.

They work great for me, just follow the tips I have below and you are sure to have the same results!

Acoustic Audio HD728 in-Wall/Ceiling Home Theater 7.2 Surround 8″ Speaker System

Tips For These Speakers

I have a bunch of tips for the Acoustic Audio hd728 speakers. As I said, I really like these speakers, and the tweaks I used helped make them an even better purchase.

Don’t Judge The Speakers Until They Are In The Walls

When the speakers came in the mail, I did what most people do when they receive their speakers. At least I hope I’m not the only one that did this. 🙂

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning, I was dying to see what the speaker sounded like. So I ran to the movie theater and plugged them in without installing them in the walls.

It was a bit of a buzz kill – the speaker sounded like they were all tweet with no woof.

Luckily I didn’t act on impulse and return them. The thing to keep in mind with any speaker is they can only provide bass when there is some sort of air resistance. The speakers need an enclosure around them for air resistance.

In the case of in-wall speakers, they use the walls themselves to provide that resistance.

Once the speakers were in the walls, the mid-tones and deep basses came out, and the sound was great!

Home Theater Speakers – The Placement

The speaker placement took some time to figure out. Between the surround sound aspect of it and which speaker should go where it was a lot to put together.

Unfortunately, the speakers I bought don’t really specify which speaker is for what.

I did a lot of digging around in posts, forums, and reviews. With some process of elimination, I figured out where each speaker should go.

If you also buy one of the Acoustic Audio speaker systems, this will help you save hours on guesswork.

The Acoustic Audio speaker system I bought was the HD728. Acoustic Audio has several speaker packages, but they all seem to use the same speakers.

Here are the speakers the Acoustic Audio hd728 system came with and where I installed them.

(4) HD800 Front In-Wall Speakers – These are the rectangular speakers – I used them as the Front Left and Right speakers and the Front Left and Right presence speakers (in the ceiling)

(2) HD8 Rear In-Ceiling Speakers – The smaller round speakers with a round frame – I used these as the rear left and right surround speakers.

(1) HD6c Dedicated In-Wall Center Channel Speaker – The long rectangular speaker – it goes under the projector screen.

(2) HDS10 Dedicated 10-inch In-Wall Passive Subwoofers – The larger round speakers – Some posts said spreading the deep bass around the room makes the sound more immersive. So I put one in the bottom front right of the projector wall, and the other in the platform floor. Behind the back row of chairs.

I used the surround sound amplifier documentation a lot to figure out the speaker layout.

The layout I used is 5.2.2:

  • 5 surround sound speakers (Front left and right, back left and right and center)
  • 2 subwoofers (in the floor in the back and in the projector wall in the front)
  • 2 presence speakers (in the ceiling in the front, just a little in front of the front row of chairs)

Below are a couple of diagrams that show the speaker placement.

Designing a Home Theater - Home Theater Speakers - The Speaker Layout or placement - Top View
Designing a Home Theater - Home Theater Speakers - The Speaker Layout or placement  - Front View

Best Bang For The Boom

Part of my theater design included a platform (a.k.a. a riser) for the second and third rows. I figured I’d use the platform as an enclosure for one of the subwoofers. So I installed the back subwoofer into the platform behind the third row of seats.

That was a fantastic way to get a whole lotta boom out of that subwoofer!

The entire platform (second and third row) shakes when that subwoofer kicks in.

If you have a riser in your theater, I’d recommend doing the same thing to get a better theater experience.

Seriously, It’s better than going to the movies. The entire riser is the encloser for the speaker, so it’ s like you’re sitting on the speaker case.

Designing a Home Theater - Home Theater Speakers - acoustic audio hd728 - The Back Subwoofer

Buy Good Quality Speaker Wire

I read in many many links that a good speaker wire has a lot of impact on the speaker’s performance.

Inferior speaker wire will affect even the best speakers in the world.

The wiring that came with the speakers was incredibly thin wire. Do not use that wire.

Luckily I listened to the articles I read and ran 14AWG wiring to all the speakers.

My setup required me to crawl into the attic above the movie theater to run the speaker wires.

Going into crawl spaces is not my idea of fun. If I was going to into the crawl space, I was making sure that I was going to use the right speaker wire right off the bat.

Designing a Home Theater - Home Theater Speakers - Cable Matters 14 AWG CL2 in Wall Rated 100 feet Speaker Wire

The Speaker Wire I Bought

Cable Matters 14 AWG CL2 in Wall Rated Oxygen-Free Bare Copper 2 Conductor Speaker Wire (Speaker Cable) 100 Feet

In Ceiling/Wall Speakers Are Great But….

I loved the clean look of speakers in the walls and ceiling without the speaker boxes. For me, the boxes are eye-sores.
A gotcha with ceiling and wall speakers is where you install them. They need to be between studs, and that is not always possible.
In my case, I had studs that were right in the middle of where I was going to put the wall speakers. Both in the front and the back of the rooms.
My workaround for the front was to build a speaker enclosure around the projector screen.
In the end, it gave the wall a beautiful look, but of course, it was much more work than just making a hole for the speaker in the drywall.
I had read an Amazon review for the speakers that recommended making a plywood box and putting the box in the wall. They said the plywood gave much more depth to the speakers.
Ultimately, my speakers ended up being in plywood boxes, and the bass from the speakers is fantastic.
I keep telling myself it’s the plywood that made the difference. To feel better about having to build out the boxes.
For the back wall, I didn’t want to build out large boxes. What I did instead is make small boxes, and I angled them, so they didn’t look too strange. I also made a hole in the drywall to give the speakers more air space to work with.
Having them angled also directed the sound into the center of the room better.

The Front Speaker Enclosures

Here are the details for the front speaker enclosure, in case you’d like to do something similar for your setup.

The enclosure is constructed of 3/4″ OSB plywood, with 1/2 drywall covering it.

The Dividers

The front enclosure is one big box, that’s divided into three sections. That way, each speaker has its own air space.

I figured it was a good thing to do to prevent the speakers from interfering with each other.

The double gray lines show where I put the section dividers, which are also made of 3/4″ pieces of OSB plywood.

Designing a Home Theater - Home Theater Speakers - The Front Speaker Enclosure and speaker layout or placement - Front View
Designing a Home Theater - Home Theater Speakers - The Front Speaker Enclosure - Top View

Speaker Enclosure For The Back Speakers

The boxes for the back were pretty simple. They also needed a box because the studs didn’t line up where I wanted to place the back speakers.

For the back speakers, they were butting up to the ceiling and the wall. Because of that, they only needed plywood for the face and the bottom.

The plywood for the face of the speaker is 12″ x 12″. The bottom of the box including the face is 6″ x 12″ x 11″

Here are some pics of the back speaker enclosure. Because there wasn’t enough air space created by the box, I cut out the drywall hidden behind the speaker box. It gave the speakers a little more space to work with.

Designing a Home Theater - Home Theater Speakers - acoustic audio hd728 - The Back Speaker Enclosure - Front View
Designing a Home Theater - Home Theater Speakers - acoustic audio hd728 - The Back Speaker Enclosure - Bottom View

A Modification To The Plastic Clips

One thing the manufacturer did skimp out on is the plastic clip that holds the speakers in place.

I ended up modifying the clips to make it easy for the clips to open and close.

Without the modification, the plastic clips can break when installing the speaker.

The Modification

Unmodified, the plastic clips catch the edging of the plastic speaker frame. If you continue to screw it in, the plastic where the screw head sits will break (ask me how I know that).

The modification is simple. Once done, you’ll be able to screw and unscrew the speakers without a problem.

It’s only a matter of removing the corner of plastic and angling it, so it directs the clip where to go.

Do that to each clip, on each speaker, and you’ll be all set.

Cut This Corner Out

Designing a Home Theater - Home Theater Speakers - acoustic audio hd728 - Cut This Plastic Corner Of The Speaker

Choosing The Right Home Theater Speakers

I hope the information in this article helps you with your choice for home theater speakers.

These speakers are fantastic. I’m sure there are other speakers out there that are even better, but for the money – these speakers can’t be beaten!

Are you planning on getting the same speakers?  What speakers are you thinking of getting instead?

Let me what you think about them in the comments below.

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DIY Home Theater Design - The Best Home Theater Speakers For The Money