The Audio Upgrade Part 3: Installing Flatwire 5.1 Surround Sound Wiring

The Audio Upgrade Part 3: Installing Flatwire 5.1 Surround Sound Wiring

Dec 5, 2008

Previously, I documented installing a wall plate for the rear speakers . This week we're back to the installation of the Flatwire system, all with the plans of making the wires disappear...

We wanted to let the glue that we applied in the first part of this series sit for a few weeks before covering up the Flatwire because we wanted to see if the glue held. Sometimes these sprays are not as sticky in the long term as you might like. We did find a little releasing here and there, but that might have had something to do with how conservatively we applied it. Make sure you make good use of the amount of spray that comes with this kit.

Another thing we would do differently next time is spread the wire out a little. We have several lines of wires running parallel and adjacent to each other to keep everything together. This may seem a tidy idea, but an issue came up when we wanted to start with the putty: we now have a large swath of space that relies entirely on glue to adhere it to the wall. Another way of looking at it is to imagine if you glued a poster up to your wall and later plastered over it.

The plaster would not have a lot of contact with the wall to keep it there over time and would rely entirely on the glue holding up the poster to keep it on the wall. If we had spread each wire out by a few inches, we would have been able to use more of the wall to adhere the putty to, creating a more solid connection.

Never fear; we employed a simple solution to this problem...

We nailed and stapled the mesh tape (which comes with the kit in copious quantities) through the non-wire parts of the wire (the clear insulation). We are sure this is not ideal, but it was either that or redo everything. Frankly, we like the wires where they are because the mud can be smoothed up into the ceiling and is totally undetectable. Having them all together creates a more consistent surface and as is visible from the pics- the wires travel in a straight line for the entire path.

Also make sure you remove things like vents and so forth from the walls to get a smooth finish. Otherwise the putty will submerge those and look awkward.

We used some putty we got from the Orange Store and an aluminum spreader.

This was just a piece of aluminum we had lying around the garage. Home Depot sells plastic ones, so if you dont have one, get it with the putty. Oh, we didn't need much mud, so we bought 'er premixed. You gotta spread 'er on in very thin, wide coats to help assimilate 'er into the wall plane. This way, sanding will be short and dust will be minimal.

Make sure you leave a couple inches of wire sticking out on the end of each run so that you can insert them into the speaker terminal boxes (also come with the kit).

A short obituary: last night we lost a projector. It was the one we were going to be using for this project when it was all done. We are very sad and not sure about what kind of replacement to get for it... we will wait 'til we are done grieving to address that one.

Anyway, this Flatwire 5.1 Surround Sound system is still delivering more than we expected, so stay tuned for more excitement!

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