Speakers are important components of a home theater and the manner which they are placed does have effects on aesthetic and sound delivery. There are arguably two ways to have speakers placed in your home theater. It is either you place them on the ground (floor or use of tripod stand) or you have them built in walls and ceilings. Having speakers built in ceilings and walls is aesthetically pleasing but the sound quality emanating from such installation will depend on whether a backbox is attached to the speaker or not.
This begs to question of whether in-ceiling/in-wall speakers need a backbox or not. A straight forward answer is yes, they do. In fact, failure to install one would result in dilution of sound quality which becomes noise pollution in other rooms of your home. In this article, I will explain why it is important for you to use a speaker backbox for your in-ceilings and in-walls installation. I will also guide you through easy steps on how to create your own speaker backbox.
WHAT IS A SPEAKER BACKBOX?
A backbox is a device that serves the purpose of capturing and redirecting sound waves that emanate from in-ceiling/in-wall speakers. Backboxes are made from different materials including wood and plastics. Having the right backbox would not only boost sound quality but protect your speaker and provide reliable support for it.
The boost in sound quality is achievable through the function of the backbox as an acoustic dampener as well as a soundproofing object. This makes it extremely difficult for sound to escape through the ceiling or walls and spaces around them. If your home has a second floor, a backbox will ensure that the sound from your speaker does not disturb anyone sleeping comfortably in the room above you.
Asides preventing sound from escaping, a backbox ensures that Sound waves are redistributed to listeners below with amplified quality. What’s more, sound boxes help to obscure wires in ways that afford your home theater an aesthetically pleasing look.
WHEN SHOULD YOU USE A SPEAKER BACKBOX?
You should ’employ the services’ of a backbox anytime you install an in-ceiling or in-wall speaker. The benefits accrued from using backboxes – that include audio improvements, speaker protection and soundproofing – far outweighs any disadvantages of using the device. In a nutshell, a backbox makes your built-in speaker investments worthwhile.
People resort to using in-walls or in-ceiling speakers not necessarily because they aren’t other available options for home theater use. It is due to the fact that other speaker options end up occupying more space than desired. The only perceived downsides to using in-walls or in-ceiling speakers is the bad reputation attached to them. The bulk of the bad reputation is as a result of the lack of a backbox.
To get a complete picture of the benefits of a speaker backbox, just imagine living in a family home that has a basement, a main floor and possibly a second floor. When built-in speakers are installed in any of the rooms without using a backbox then you should be assured that sounds will definitely penetrate the ceilings and walls.
This means if you have a child sleeping in the room just above where the built-in speaker is installed, you will have to continually adjust the volume of the sounds all through the night with a view to preventing your kid from being disturbed as you binge-watch interesting programs on Netflix.
Did you know that a backbox does also help prevent vibration-induced dust from piling up behind your speaker? Such dust can drastically reduce the quality of sound over time. The device (backbox) does also prevent built-in speakers from falling out of the walls or ceiling once mounted.
BUILD YOUR SPEAKER BACKBOX WITH THIS EASY DIY METHOD
Yes, there are many plastic or metal back boxes available in the market for cheap prices. However, they are of questionable quality. I recommend that you follow our do-it-yourself (DIY) approach in creating a customized backbox that gives good returns for investment.
Step 1: Measure the dimensions of the speaker
The first steps in building a custom backbox is to determine your speaker dimensions through measurements of its (the speaker) face and depth.
Step 2: Cut sides from a 2×4
Procced to take measurements and cut 2×4 pieces in ways that match the already measured dimensions needed for the four sides of the backbox. A depth of 3 inches is standard for creating cavities in walls while that of a ceiling is 4-inch depth. Knowing the aforementioned is necessary to ensure that your box fits. You may also be required to make additional cuts before assembling.
Step 3: Build the Frame
When you are done cutting your frame from the 2×4, proceed to fasten them together using screws or a nail gun. It is important that the frame fits into place before you proceed with the next step.
Step 4: Measure and Cut Your Back Plate
For this step, you will be creating the rear plate for your backbox by tracing the frame’s shape on a piece of OSB or MDF. Carefully use a table saw to cut along the traced line. When all is said and done, affix the cut piece to your frame with screws or a nail gun.
Step 5: Increased Soundproofing (Optional)
If you have the desire to increase the soundproof capabilities of your backbox then consider getting a thinner OSB or MDF in addition to a damping compound. (A highly recommended compound by audiophiles is the Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound).
Just like your follow-through in step 4, trace the frame’s dimensions on two thin pieces of OSB or MDF. Thereafter, ensure that the damping compound is spread between the pieces. This is one of the surest means of ensuring that sound from your speaker doesn’t get transmitted through ceilings or walls into surrounding rooms.
Step 6: Drill Holes for the Wires
You will certainly need to drill a hole in the backbox for the purpose of running wires to and fro the speaker.
Step 7: Install Your Backbox
Last but definitely not the least step is installation of the backbox. This is really an easy step. Cut a hole in the wall (drywall of course) and ensure that the backbox snuggly fits against the inner dry wall. Don’t think much about the gaps because you can use acoustic caulk to fill it if necessary. In addition, you can use putty pads in filling the little spaces around the wire holes through which you ran cables.