Tips & Tricks


 Welcome to the “Tips and Tricks Page”
(what to do when you’re stumped)
 
Okay… if you’re looking at this page you must have a question or two, no problem.
 
Cutting the hole?
 
This might seem a bit trivial but most people would use the outside of the template to mark their holes. I prefer to use the inside part. It’s solid and doesn’t move around.  Another trick… if you need to find the middle fold it into quarters and then you have the centre.
 
As for cutting, a knife or drywall saw works but I like to use a jigsaw. It is a bit messier but I find I get more control and don’t tear apart the drywall. Be careful not to nick any wires hiding behind the drywall. I also cut a small hole first so I can put my fingers in and push away any speaker wires that might be bungled up inside the wall.
 
Cut the hole too close to the stud?
 
Don’t sweat it, the mounting tabs generally need ¾” (2cm), however, since the speaker doesn’t weigh much and there are four tabs for a round speaker and six tabs for a rectangular speaker, you can cheat a little on one tab – all it really needs is ¼” (1cm). Also the speaker frame is very stiff so if one tab isn’t used it will still lay flat on the wall or ceiling.
 
You can solve your problem four ways in order of recommendation
1.    Take the template and move it over a ¼” (1cm) so you can shift the speaker over and have less bite on the side closest to the stud.
2.    Unscrew the tab and trim it down so it is smaller, giving you the room you need (don’t forget to screw it back on). Remember not to tighten that tab as much since it has a smaller footprint and it is closer to the edge. It could dig in and damage the drywall if cranked super tight.
3.    Trim the tunnel that the tab swings on. Remove the tab, trim the right side of the tunnel with a file or die grinder (dremel) so the tab swings further when the mounting screw is tightened.
4.    If all else fails, with the speaker grill removed, put a screw sideways through the plastic frame of the speaker assembly into the 2 x 4 stud. Keep the screw modest in size since the speaker doesn’t weigh much.
 
Can’t remember which wire is which?
 
So… you didn’t mark your wires? Don’t worry, I’ve done that too. Here is the best little bit of smarts ever. You need a 1.5V battery, AA, C or D cell, NOTHING bigger than 1.5V, in this case, more isn’t better (that goes for you too Tim the toolman Taylor).
  1. Follow the wiring diagrams from the “wiring plans” tab
  2. Connect the wires to the speaker and mount it
  3. Call a friend or spouse so they can share in your misery
  4. Now that you have connected the wires to the speaker go to where the volume control will be and strip all the wires. Take the 1.5V battery and systematically pick a pair and connect and disconnect the battery across a pair of wires, you will hear a clicking at one of the speakers. Shazamm… you have just identified the speaker wire. If you don’t hear clicking, then you’re trying the wires that go to the stereo and you now know which ones those are. 
My speakers don’t have a lot of bass sound?
 
One thing that is very common when people first start hooking up speakers is, not paying complete attention to the wiring diagrams. A speaker will work if the red wire is connected to the black terminal instead of the red to the red. What happens is that speaker is out of phase. Since stereo needs two speakers working together, if one speaker is in phase and the other isn’t, one speaker is pushing and the other is pulling. In other words they are fighting each other. It doesn’t hurt the speaker or the stereo; it means that you won’t have as much bass. The trick to fix it is, just go back and double check that you have followed the wiring diagram. The difference in sound is amazing!
 
There is a way to double check that the pair of speakers are in phase: play some music like top 40 (not rap or hip hop since there is too much bass in that type of music for this test and don’t use classical either because it usually doesn’t have enough bass). 
  1. Stand in the middle of the room between the two speakers in question. 
  2. Have someone else move the balance control on the stereo from right to left. If the speakers are out of phase, you will definitely notice more bass in the music when listening to one speaker (or the other) as compared to when both are playing. Go back to check that you followed the wiring diagram correctly.
  3. If they are in phase, then you should notice slightly more bass when both speakers are playing and less with only one playing. 
  4. To double check, just like using the battery to figure out which wire is which… while using the battery, if the speaker cone goes out, then the positive terminal on the battery is on the positive terminal of the speaker. If the cone pulls in then the positive battery terminal is on the negative speaker terminal.
How do I paint the speakers?
 
The speakers and frames can be painted quite easily. I usually use latex paint (oil is okay too) and a roller and I paint them before I mount them.
  1. Remove the grills from the speakers by putting a sharp pointy thing in a hole and gently pry against the frame and the grill to lift it. You might have to use that technical plan in a few spots so you don’t tweak the grill.
  2. Remove the piece of foam too (don’t paint the foam)
  3. Use a dry roller (very little amount of paint) and roll the paint evenly onto the grill and speaker frame. I find it best to do two coats.
  4. If you find that the little holes in the grill are plugged by the paint, take a toothpick and clear the paint from each hole or just blow the paint out with your breath. In both cases do it while the paint is still wet.
  5. Wait for the paint to fully dry on the wall and the speaker before you mount the speakers. Give it a day.
Should I build a box around the speaker? Not needed
 
All the Ready2Rock speakers are designed for about 3 cu ft enclosure (box). That is about the size of a 16” center 2 x 4 wall, eight feet high. If it’s bigger, like in the ceiling with the back of the speaker in the attic, that’s great too. The trick is to have a little insulation behind the speaker in the wall or a batt of insulation over the speaker in the attic. A fluffy yet stuffy piece of insulation in the wall maybe 16” x 16” x 2” helps with the sound. Don’t cram it in tight…just something to deaden the sound a bit.
  
What do I do if I want to install speakers but my room is already finished? Here are some guidelines.
 
Okay, how handy do you feel? Retro fitting speakers can be fairly easy most of the time; sometimes not so easy. If you have an attic or a crawl space you should be good. This type of project isn’t for the faint of heart. Feeling good so far? Okay...on to the next consideration.
 
Before we go any further you have to realize that there are some risks involved. If you have done some retrofitting before, this really isn’t much different than installing a light fixture and a wall switch. I can give you some tips to help, but personal knowledge is your best plan of attack. Don’t forget to check with your local building authority for any code requirements and to find out if you will need a permit. Because this is a low voltage installation (basically no constant voltage) code requirements are usually not terribly strict, but that doesn’t mean that you can cut corners. Read on to learn more about the proper steps.
 
Attic, crawl space or unfinished basement
 
You will need some basic tools and supplies, including a stud finder, wire, fish tape, electricians tape, drywall or jig saw and cable clamps, in addition to your speaker cable, speakers and volume control boxes. Once you have these items:
 
  1. Locate where you want the speakers to go in the wall or ceiling, then double check that there is nothing in the way like ducts or wires. Same goes for where you plan to put the volume control in the wall. An electronic stud finder will make it a lot easier to locate the studs.
  2. Once you have located your mounting locations, cut a small hole in the wall large enough to get a look with a flashlight and feel with your fingers to make sure there is the room you expected.
  3. Mark the holes with a template and start cutting for the speakers. Once the holes are cut, you‘ll know if you are right!!!
  4. For the volume control, use a single jiffy box and cut the back off of it, or buy a Caddie Clip like the ones used in the telephone and cable industry. Because you are using it for speaker cable, not 110V wire, this is acceptable in most cases (again make sure it meets code). Cut the hole in the drywall for the jiffy box and now you have a way to get your hand into the wall to help with running cable.
  5. Knowing where to drill in the top or bottom plate of the wall to get your cable into the attic or crawl space is a skill that you most likely have. If not measure once, twice and a third time before you make the move. Remember, if you are slightly off and drill in to the drywall… it can always be patched.
  6. As for fishing wires, here are a few tips. 
    • Buy a fish tape! They are worth the cost, since they are longer than a coat hanger and being a flat item it helps to twist cables around into holes.
    • When attaching cable onto the fish tape, overlap the speaker cable by a minimum of 6” / 13cm and use black electricians tape. Electricians tape sticks really well and you can stretch it so you can use less tape keeping the bump of the cable on the fish tape low.
    • Unless you have a very understanding spouse, call a friend over to give you a hand
    • Do your kids have some walkie talkies? They are a great tool when you are in the crawl space and your helper is inside the nice warm comfortable house. It sure beats yelling “pull it back an inch” only to get an answer “yeah, this sure is a cinch.”
    • Use four conductor cable. It means you only have to run one cable for both speakers, not two.  
  1. If you are installing a pair of ceiling speakers with a volume control for that one room and running the cable through the attic, you’ll see how easy it really is.
  2. Since that was so easy, and you want to put speakers into other rooms as well, I would suggest doing a home run for each room. In other words… run a speaker cable from the stereo to each room. 
  3. Don’t forget to install our RVC-5A volume control in every room (see the “Wiring Plans” tab). It not only allows you to control the volume for each room, but it automatically level matches the system keeping your stereo happy. Use our RVC-J8 junction box to make the connection of all your wires to your stereo neat and tidy, easy too.
No attic or crawl space
 
Let’s learn from the cable TV industry. If you ask them for an outlet in a room they normally run the cable on the outside of the house and drill through the wall to where the new jack is located. This maybe isn’t the normal way of doing things, but it has worked for the cable guys for years. Once the wire is tied up and painted on the out side of the house… you never really see it.
 
As for the tricks, follow the above steps 1 to 4. 
  1. Once you have the holes in the walls cut for the speakers, drill a small pilot hole from inside to the outside to make sure it is in the best place visually. If it is, then enlarge the hole for the four conductor speaker cable. Since you don’t have access to the ceiling then I guess ceiling speakers are out of the question
  2. For the RVC-5A volume control follow steps 1 to 4 in the previous section
  3. Run the cable from the outside of the house into the holes for the volume control and the speaker holes
  4. Once the cable is run and nicely tied up, make sure it is well caulked for weather proofing.
  5. One thing to keep in mind… since you are using four conductor cable, you will need to run the cable from the volume control to one speaker and then back outside to the next speaker. (see the “Wiring Plans” tab)
I hope these tips have helped. If you have any other questions or would like to add something, please drop us a note at the “contact us” page.
 
Now go and make beautiful music…because you’re Ready2Rock!