Speaker of the House and Shop

Sam and I designed most of the audio system last year when we were running wires in the walls. Since neither of us are audiophiles (yet), this project involved some intense internet research over a short period of time.

We designed the apartment’s sound system for two main situations- (1) watching movies and (2) listening to music. The receiver that controls both setups is located at the front of the room by the TV. For entertainment mode (1), we’ll have speakers at the front of the room by the TV and two speakers in the ceiling above the couch.

view looking down

For music mode (2), the two in-ceiling speakers will be on as well as two wall-mounted speakers in the kitchen. The speakers by the TV will be off. The kitchen speakers will be hidden in cabinets on either sides of the stove.

We had to pick the location of the speakers before we got insulation and drywall. This involved researching speakers, speaker spacing, wire types, and precisely locating a couch that we don’t have yet.

I ordered a pair of 8 inch Yamaha speakers (NS-IC800) for the ceiling.

And Sam ordered these- I thought they were fun hats.

Actually, the foam top hats go in the ceiling to house the speakers and box out the insulation. Sam mounted the top hats in the ceiling, about 7 ft apart from each other, and ran 16 gauge wire up to them.

The drywall crew cut perfect holes out for them, and our speakers fit right in. They were easy to install and came with white magnetic covers. We hooked up an old stereo to test them. They work! The new speakers sound great, even without a subwoofer and all the bells and whistles.

We used the same 16 gauge wire for the kitchen speakers. We calculated the shortest route to speakers from the receiver, which is located in the opposite corner of the room. There were many obstacles like steel beams and windows we factored in to finding the best route. Luckily that wire is fairly inexpensive.

We don’t have the kitchen speakers yet, but they go in the upper cabinets that are missing doors. The speaker placement should allow us to hear music over the loud vent, a battle we’ve been losing for years. The kitchen speakers are also directed towards the kitchen table, where we’ll spend a lot of time.

In addition to speaker wire, we ran RCA cable in the wall to connect our record player to the main audio system.

Similar to the apartment, we ran speaker wire in the walls to four corners of the shop. The main receiver for that system is by the west door. We used 12 gauge wire for the shop since the speakers are larger and the wire runs were longer.

Sam also had the brilliant idea of running wire between the apartment and the shop, allowing us to play the same music in both spaces. They can also play music independently.

Sam designed the audio system for the shop. He settled on four used speakers from “Reverb”. They are JLB Control 30 speakers, and they are big! They each arrived in a box the size of me. They supposedly came from a music store, but they are large enough to have been in a small concert venue.

They came with mounting brackets, which Sam attached to the black crane beams.

Sam used the scissor lift to carry the 50 lb speakers up to the brackets. He angled them slightly downward towards the center of the room.

Sam also purchased a small bluetooth receiver, a Furman power conditioner, a mixer (Shure Mix-a-lot!), and an amplifier (shown from top to bottom in the photo below).

Time for the ultimate test…

The shop speakers put out some serious noise! They sound great too. There is a slight echo in a few locations, but that is already resolving itself as we put more objects in the shop.

Who wants to come for a dance party?!

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