How to Soundproof In-Wall In-Ceiling Speakers – DIY Backer Box


Nothing quite makes a room look better than having speakers actually placed inside the ceilings and walls. It saves space, makes everything look more professionally done, and is not always as hard as it might appear.

Yes, it takes a little bit of time to do it the right way, but it is usually worth it in the end. Just saving that amount of space alone is something that a lot of people can get behind so that they have room for other things.

Unfortunately, not everyone puts in the amount of effort needed to properly soundproof in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. What is the right way to do it? Read on to see how people are making their home look and sound a little more like a professional setup.

Disadvantages With Inside Ceilings and Walls Speakers

The biggest issue that people find when soundproofing is the fact that sound goes from one room to the other fairly easily if no proper techniques are used. The speakers are right up against the walls and ceiling, so there is no room for the sound to be muffled in a traditional way. Instead, it easily leaks to the other room, causing quite a bit of vibration as well.

There is also the fact that being in-wall and in-ceiling can cause a loss of sound quality. If they are not properly installed, the speakers will not provide the same type of sound people are looking for.

In the end, they are located in a cavity that is surrounded by two layers of drywall. Unless things are done properly, it’s going to hurt the sound rather than help it. Too deep inside the wall, and the speakers will not have the chance to project as they should.

Best DIY Ways to Soundproof In-Ceiling And In-Wall Speakers

It takes a few extra steps, which is why some people will not try to do it themselves. Instead, they will look to hire someone who knows a little bit more about the nuances of getting everything just right.

For those who do want to possibly pursue soundproofing the speakers themselves, there are two different options to consider. The first is much more of a barebones, do-it-yourself option, but there is additional customization. The second option helps to cut down on steps.

1. DIY Backer Boxes

Backer-Box for In-Ceiling Speakers and Pot Lights

Building backer boxes (Home Depot Link) for speakers allows people to use an airtight enclosure to contain the sound for the only room they are designed for. A backer box is usually only going to be at most 3 inches deep into the walls, and up to 5 inches deep in ceilings. This is so it does not come too close to the other side of the wall.

How are these boxes created? There is a step-by-step process to make something that works for each type of speaker out there. With some basic material, most should be able to throw something together.

Step 1

Measure the dimensions of the speaker. The box should be a very tight fit for the speaker itself to go inside.

Step 2

Use 2 x 4 wood to cut identical pieces to match up with the length and width of the speaker. This works particularly well for speakers going into the ceiling, but the wood will need to be split up a bit for walls so that there is enough space. Making the wood 2 x 3 is the best way to do that.

Step 3

Fasten the pieces of wood to the frame by using either a nail gun or screws.

Step 4

Use MDF (Home Depot Link)or OSB (Home Depot Link) as a way to add a lid to the backer box. Trace the outline of the frame on the sheet of material, and then cut it to size. Use screws to put the lid onto the frame.

Step 5

At this point, there is an open-ended backer box for people to take a look at. Simply drill a hole in the frame so that wires can go through to the speaker.

Once that is settled, put the backer box into the cavity of the ceiling or wall. Try to make sure that there is as small of an air gap between the frame of the box and the drywall as possible.

If there is any space, seal up any gaps with acoustic caulk so that sound does not leak.

Step 6

There are some people who will be satisfied with the backer box as it is, but there are ways to soundproof it even better. One way to do that is to use multiple layers of MDF or OSB so that it is harder for sale to pass through.

This can be done without any compound, but a lot of people will use Green Glue Noise Damping Compound to help with this.

Click here for Green Glue Noise Proofing Compound from Home Depot.

Also, make sure to measure everything as accurately as possible. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but even a little bit of space can make a big difference. No one wants to be in a situation where they are trying to close gaps well after the entire installation process.

2. In-Wall Speaker Enclosure

in-wall speaker enclosure

The first option is very much a do-it-yourself project, but it does not always have to be that difficult for those wanting to spend a little less time. Finding ready-made soundproofing closures can save a lot of time and energy, making it very easy to put everything forward as well.

Companies such as Dynamat and Klipsch have some great options for people who want to have professional sounding speakers in their walls and ceilings. They are pretty inexpensive, and they pack a lot of sound in the materials into a small profile. This speaker enclosures are going to be a little more expensive than a do-it-yourself option, but it does save time.

It is important when shopping for these enclosures to find the right fit because no one wants to have their speakers not comfortably sit inside the enclosures. Even if there is just a little bit of rattling, it can cause a lot of trouble overall.

Dynabox In-Wall Speaker Enclosure

While some people do like the fact that these enclosures come ready-made, some are not exactly blown away by their soundproofing ability. It does not offer a lot of options as far as customization is concerned, so it might not work for everyone.

That is why a lot of people have turned to make their own because they can dictate just how much soundproofing material was added to the mix. It is problematic for some people to really get everything situated the right way, especially if the speakers are a little bit bigger.

When creating a backer box, adding two or even three layers of material is a very effective way to make something sound better in the room, and quieter in the adjacent room. There is also the ability to create inner walls in the box to strengthen overall soundproofing as well.

Installing Either Option

No matter what option a person ultimately goes with, there is something that is the same for both methods. A person must cut holes into the drywall and ceiling to fit these boxes and enclosures in properly. It might seem like a relatively easy task of measuring and then cutting, but it certainly is not super easy to pull off.

In the end, a lot of people ultimately decide to go with a professional to cut these holes, since they can be messed up and very costly to repair if needed. No one wants to be put into that situation, so at least getting a professional will more than likely allow things to be done right the first time.

There is also the process of running wires through the walls so that they can connect properly. It is a little bit easier now that there are some wireless options available, but it is still something that needs consideration. Doing this with new construction is a lot more straightforward, but it is a challenge for those who are dealing with older homes they are trying to update.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

It definitely looks great at the end, but putting anything into the walls or ceiling can turn out to be a pretty lengthy task. No one wants to do it without putting a lot of effort into getting it just right. If it is not done correctly, the sound is not going to be that great, it is not going to look good, and it is going to cost money for no reason.

Try to lay out as much as possible before even getting started. Having an organized look before starting is going to make things a lot easier overall. It takes a lot of planning to get speakers set up just the right way.

Remember that the speakers should actually enhance the sound in the room when setting up properly. If it does not seem like an improvement, make some adjustments to the box or enclosure to make sure that everything is set up correctly.

It might take some subtle tweaking here and there, but most people will ultimately feel like it is worth that extra bit of effort.

Finally, do not be afraid to make changes after the fact. The more a person does themselves, the harder it is to get just right the first time. It is perfectly fine to feel like there is a need for bigger speakers or a better box overall. If the wiring and speakers are already set up, it is a lot easier to make some changes at the end.

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