There’s one thing that plagues every great speaker setup. One piece of equipment that every system needs, but every decorator dreads.
Sure, there’s a glut of technologies that rely on everything from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth to a proprietary signal blend that allow your best speakers to run without them. But, every true audiophile knows that if you’re going to get the best sound from your speakers, you’re going to need good wiring.
How do you get the best sound from your system while keeping your home from becoming a giant trip hazard? Let’s take a look at 4 simple ways to hide your cables.
Putting speaker cable in-wall can be one of the best and toughest ways to hide cabling. It’s one of the best because it completely hides your cable, and one of the worst because it can be tough to do (especially the first time), and doesn’t work for cables not near your receiver or amplifier.
Make sure you use cable UL rated for in-wall installation. Many state and county building codes require it — so make sure to check before you go forward with this type of installation.
Pros: Cables are invisible and unobtrusive, but still remain accessible.
Cons: Can be difficult to do, especially the first time, and may not be an option for renters.
When people talk about in-ceiling installation, it’s a bit misleading. Unless you’re willing to rip apart your entire ceiling (or plan ahead during new construction) in-ceiling speaker cable installation usually means something more similar to in-attic installation.
While you do still go through your ceiling, generally speaking, you only do it at two points: once where the cable goes up, and once where the cable goes down. Since it will be going into a wall (even if for a brief period) make sure you have an in-wall rated cable.
Pros: Somewhat simple to do, easy to access your cables later if there’s a problem or if you need to change where they’re going, and the cables are well-hidden.
Cons: Requires cutting into the ceiling and avoiding wires and structural supports. If your house is built for efficiency, this can compromise that, and if you live in a rental house or apartment, it may not be an option.
Baseboard and Along Ceiling
The baseboards in your home may not seem like they’d make prime cable hiding locations, but it can be one of the easiest paths to follow. There are two schools of thought when it comes to baseboards. You can run the cable along the baseboard, and use fasteners to keep it secured, or (if you’re feeling industrious) you can run it just behind the baseboards. For the ceiling, you can put it out of the way by following where the wall and ceiling join, or just run it straight back.
If you run it along the baseboards or ceiling, you may want to look into cabling that you can paint over to better camouflage it. If you run it behind the baseboards, make sure you get a cable that’s either rated for in-wall use, or pad out the wire so that when you put the baseboard back over it, you don’t risk damaging the connection.
Pros: Simple to do, easy to access wires later (unless they’re behind the baseboard).
Cons: Not as well hidden as other options, behind-baseboard options may require some additional skills and tools.
Sometimes, masking the presence of your cables is the best you can hope for. Whether it’s because you can’t modify the space you’re living in, or find yourself re-arranging your setup quite a bit, using your home decor to hide cabling is an easy option (unless you’re going for a minimalist decorating style that is).
Run cables under couches and chairs, along the edges of end tables, and use area rugs to keep your cables hidden. You can even put up pictures to mask them on the walls (although, if you can hang pictures, you can often run wires in-wall). The biggest thing to remember with this method is that cables can be trip hazards — high traffic areas are the best areas to use rugs, or to somehow mask out the cables so they’re not loose.
Pros: Very easy to do, doesn’t require significant additional investment or home improvement skills.
Cons: The least hidden method, cables can sometimes become trip hazards in high traffic areas.
Do you have a unique way that you run cables for your best speakers? Let us know in the comments.