The Best Way to Mount Rear Surround Sound Speakers

You've spent thousands on your incredible James Cameron-certified home theater. Movies look beautiful; the sound is amazing. But every time you step out to refill the popcorn bucket, you risk knocking over those damn stands jammed in the back of the room, holding your rear-channel speakers.

Time to get those suckers off the floor and onto the wall where they belong.

Your house is the biggest gadget of all. Home Mod shows you how to recharge it, clear its cache, and update its operating systems.

You Should Do This If:

You have a home theater, period. You've already optimized the rear speakers' positions for the sweetest sound quality. At this point, the way you support or mount your speakers shouldn't affect how they sound. It will just improve the system's appearance and the room's function.

Moment of Satisfaction:

Walking behind the couch and not stumbling over a f@#$ing stand.

Biggest Pain in the Ass:

Positioning the speakers at the ideal location for both sound and aesthetics.

Materials and Tools Required

  • Surround sound speakers with rear- or bottom-facing 1/4"-20 or #10-32 threaded mounting points

  • Speaker cable

  • Speaker mounts (we opted for the PanaVise 105108B)

  • Mounting hardware (often included with mounts)
  • Stud finder
  • 
Cordless drill
 with a 1/4-inch or 5/16-inch drill bit

  • Phillips #2 screwdriver or power bit

  • Combination wire stripper and cutter (if installing with new cables)

Difficulty and Cost

Difficulty: About a 2 out of 10. If you have ever mounted shelves to a wall, you should be able to tackle this project with ease.

Cost: Brackets run about $12 apiece.

Building It

The Best Way to Mount Rear Surround Sound Speakers

1. Choose your mounts. If you have a 5.1 or 7.1 home theater surround sound setup, shop around for small wall mounts. Satellite speakers are fairly small and light, so they don't require heavy duty brackets or mounting hardware. Speaker mounts with 8-10 pound ratings should suffice for most satellite speakers.

This may sound obvious, but you should also make sure that your speakers can be wall-mounted. Cheap satellite speakers often have keyhole mounting slots, which are not compatible with mounting brackets. (You can just drive a screw into the wall and mount your speaker on that—but it's not ideal.) Some have no mounting points at all. The following instructions are for speakers that feature threaded mounting points. If you're shopping for rear-channel speakers, you might want to pick a set that has a threaded mount. It will make your life better.

The mounts shown in this project are PanaVise stud-mount brackets, model 105108B, which offer tilt, turn, and rotation adjustability.

The Best Way to Mount Rear Surround Sound Speakers

2. Plan the location. Once you start making holes in the wall, there is no turning back, so plan your speaker placement carefully. Ideally, you're going to want your speakers spaced evenly apart, with your television and seating area in the center. (For ease of demonstration, these photos depict a speaker being mounted to a loose 2x4. Because I am not tearing up my wall for you. No offense.)

Front speakers should be at the same height as each other, and the same goes for the rear speakers. Keep speakers at least one to two feet away from corners.

Make sure your speaker cables can comfortably reach your speakers at their new locations. A good rule of thumb for sizing your cables is to measure the length of the planned path and add 15 percent for wiggle room. It is usually easier to wire your speakers before mounting them to the wall.

3. Mount the brackets.

The following steps should be used as a rough guideline. Always follow the instructions that come with your speaker mounting kits.

If mounting speakers to drywall or other hollow wall panels, use a stud finder to ensure there are no electrical conduits, pipes, or other hazards back there.

Use a speaker mount as a template to mark mounting hole locations. If you're mounting more than 2 speakers, it will be easier to make a template out of cardboard.

Drill a 5/16-inch hole in drywall, or 1/4-inch x 2-inch-long hole into a solid wood stud. If drilling into brick or masonry, you'll need a hammer drill and 1/4-inch masonry drill bit. Clean out the holes and then insert the appropriate wall anchors.

Use Toggler AF6 anchors (included in the PanaVise hardware kit) when mounting the speaker bracket to solid materials such as wood or masonry. These anchors require 1/4-inch holes. You may need to gently tap the anchors in with a light hammer.

When mounting the speaker bracket to drywall or paneling, use Toggler TB hollow-wall anchors (also included in the PanaVise hardware kit). These anchors require 5/16-inch holes. To install these anchors, fold them closed and then push them into the hole. Once the anchors are flush with the wall, use the included key to pop the anchors open.

The Best Way to Mount Rear Surround Sound Speakers

4. Hang the speakers. A threaded stud—basically a screw shank with no head—makes the connection between the mounting bracket and the speaker itself. The PanaVise kit includes threaded studs with two diameter options. Look for a female threaded opening on the back side of the speaker to determine which size threaded stud you should use. Most satellites have 1/4-inch-20 or #10-32 threads.

The Best Way to Mount Rear Surround Sound Speakers

Insert the stud into the speaker mount and turn it until it bottoms-out. Attach the satellite speaker to the end of the threaded stud. Lightly hand-tighten it and be sure not to over-tighten. If your mounting hardware kit comes with a safety strap, install the strap first to make sure the speaker doesn't fall while you adjust it.

The Best Way to Mount Rear Surround Sound Speakers

Fit the loose speaker wires into the backs of the speakers. Place the speaker and threaded stud mount into position against the bracket. Secure the speaker using the included 2-inch-long mounting screws. Adjust the angle of each speaker as desired.

5. Conceal your cables.
You generally have to make the choice whether to route speaker cables inside of or along the wall before starting the wall-mounting procedure, but you can always change your mind later. Many mounting brackets have a hole through which you can feed cable into the wall. Even if the wire enters the wall at the mount and exits a few feet below, make sure you use cables rated for in-wall use. Blue Jean Cable's 12-gauge Belden 5000-series speaker wire is a good option

The simplest and quickest method is to route your speaker cables straight down to the floor, and then around the room along the baseboard or edge.

The Best Way to Mount Rear Surround Sound Speakers

6. Check the connections. Vibration should not be an issue. But this is a great opportunity for a test run: After installation, watch something with lots of booming explosions. Then check and retighten wall-mount and pivot adjustment fasteners.

Everything still in order? Congratulations, you are done!


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Stuart Deutsch is the editor of the tool blog Toolguyd. Follow him @ToolGuyd on Twitter.

image: Shutterstock/Rashavskyi