Niles Audio BG525 User Manual

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I N S T A L L A T I O N & O P E R A T I O N G U I D E








Thank you for choosing a Blueprint Series® In-WallLoudspeaker from Niles. With proper installation and operation, you'll enjoy years oftrouble-freeuse.

Niles manufactures the industry's most complete line of custom installation components and accessories for audio/video systems. For a free full-linecatalog write:Niles, Catalog Request, P.O. Box 160818, Miami, Florida 33116-0818



















































The BG Background group of Blueprint Series® Loudspeakers offers a product expressly designed for quality background music reproduction. This speaker is perfect for hallways, laundry rooms, entryways or other areas where critical listening is unlikely and cost is a major influence in the purchase decision.

A complete, installed pair of BG-525In-WallLoudspeakers consists of three components:


2.525 Bracket Kit

3.525 Frame/Grille Kit

Features and Benefits


The PointSource driver of the BG-525is constructed with a woven fiber cone supported by a treated foam surround. This gives the driver rigidity for fast transients. The frequency response curve of the PointSource driver has been carefully shaped for Background Music reproduction. It has a rich sound much more suitable for low volume listening than traditional speakers. The single driver configuration gives effective coverage over a wide area allowing great latitude in terms of speaker placement.

X-Matrix Reinforced Baffle

The X-Matrixbaffle design uses specially molded ribs to add rigidity to the baffle assembly. The end result is better bass and improved midrange detail.

Absolutely Flush to the Wall Appearance

The unique mounting system of the BG loudspeakers powerfully clamps the frame to the bracket, sandwiching the wall material between them. Because the clamping action is totally uniform around the frame, there are no shadows or gaps between the wall and the frame. Additionally, the Niles mounting system is carefully optimized to stiffen the surrounding drywall and prevent it from resonating. You hear only the music, not the drywall.

Easy Retrofit Installation in your Existing Home

Designed for ease of installation, the Niles mounting system makes retrofit installations simple and fast. A supplied template assures fast and accurate hole cutting. The bracket slips behind the drywall and the screws secure the frame to the bracket,

Benefits and Features


Benefits and Features

sandwiching the drywall between them. The speaker baffle attaches to the frame, and the grille mounts over the speaker.

Three Stage Installation System for Remodels or New Construction

You install only the parts you need for a particular stage of construction. When the framing and wiring are finished, you install the bracket. After the drywall is up, but before the painter begins to paint, you install theframe and provide the rustproof aluminumgrilles to the painter so that they can be painted to match the surroundings. Only when construction is completely finished do you put the valuablespeaker in the wall. You don’t have to mask or prep the speaker for painting, and worries about theft during the final phases of construction are never an issue!

Eight Ohm Impedance

The speakers are designed to be placed in multi-roomsystems with many pairs of speakers. The eight ohm impedance is a very easy electrical load for most amplifiers. This allows many pairs of BG speakers to be wired to a single amplifier using a Niles speaker selection system.

Low Diffraction, Paintable Aluminum Grilles

BG speakers are available with aluminum grilles. The painted aluminum grille has hundreds of precisely sized perforations, creating an acoustically transparent grille.

Infrared Sensor Mount

The speaker baffle has a locator designed for the Niles MS-1MicroSensor,™ a miniature infrared sensor. TheMS-1installs discreetly behind the aluminum grille and therefore minimizes wall clutter in your home. When you want to control your equipment, you simply point your remote control at the speaker from up to 15 feet away.


Figure 1

New Construction Wings



Speaker Baffle

IR Knockout


Considerations Installation

Installation Considerations

Recommended Amplifier Power

For satisfactory performance, we recommend an amplifier with a power rating of five to fifty watts for the BG-525.Curiously, most speakers are not damaged by large amplifiers but by small amplifiers. If your system is playing loudly, a small amplifier will run out of power very quickly. When an amplifier runs out of power it creates damaging “clipping” distortion. A large amplifier will play at the same volume without distorting. See the section on operating the speakers for more information about clipping distortion.

Incorporating a Local Volume Control

In a multi-roomsystem there is one indispensible control for trueconvenience—alocal volume control. It allows you to adjust the volume of the speakers without leaving the room.

Plan to wire the system so that each pair of speakers has its own volume control built into the wall (think of a volume control as a dimmer switch for sound).

Niles makes a wide range of high performance indoor and outdoor volume controls. They are available in Standard or Decora® style cover plates (just like your


Considerations Installation

light switches and dimmers). Volume controls are connected in line with the speaker, so you must connect the wire from the amplifier to the volume control and then from the volume control to the speaker.

Speaker Wire

Use 2-conductorspeaker wire when connecting BG speakers to your receiver or amplifier. For most applications, we recommend you use 16 or 18 gauge wire. For wiring runs longer than 80 feet we recommend 14 gauge wire. The spring loaded terminals of the BG speakers will accommodate up to 14 gauge wire directly. Larger sizes can be accommodated via pin connectors.

trol all of the functions of your system from the room with the remote pair of speakers. Niles makes a number of IR sensors which install in the wall, in the ceiling, in cabinetry, on tabletops, or even behind the grille of your Niles BG speakers.

An IR sensor requires that a dedicated 2-conductorshielded wire (West Penn D291 or equivalent) run from each sensor location to the main equipment location. This wire is normally run beside the speaker wire at the same time. Typically, the sensor is placed in a location that faces your listening position. Most remote controls will have an effective line of sight range of 18 to 30 feet with any Niles sen-


Wire size is expressed by its AWG (American Wire Gauge) number. The lower the number, the larger the wire, i.e. twelve AWG is physically larger than fourteen AWG.

When you run wire inside walls, special jacketing (CL-2orCL-3)is required to both protect the wire and for fire prevention. In some areas conduit is required. For atrouble-freeinstallation, low voltage wire, such as speaker wire, must be run in accordance with the National Electrical Code and any applicable provisions of the local building code. If you are unsure of the correct installation techniques, wire jacket or type of conduit to use, consult a professional audio/video installer, your building contractor, or the local building and inspection department.

Incorporating a Remote Control

If you are planning to use a stereo system with a hand held IR remote control, consider the advantages of installing a Niles IR Repeater system. You are able to con-

sor placed in a wall, ceiling, on a cabinet or tabletop. However, when you place a Niles MS-1MicroSensor behind the perforated aluminum grille of a speaker the effective range is reduced to 9 to 15 feet.

Insulating the Wall Cavity

For best performance from your speakers fill the wall cavity behind the speaker with fiberglass insulation (e.g. R-19unbatted insulation). Try to keep the same amount of insulation for each speaker, particularly in the same room, for consistent bass response.


Speaker Placement

The Boundary Effect

Corners can affect the bass response of the speaker powerfully! This is called the boundary effect. You will emphasize particular bass frequencies and cancel out other bass frequencies when you place speakers close to the wall/ceiling boundary or a corner wall boundary. This can make the speaker sound excessively boomy and inaccurate to some listeners, while to others it just seems like more bass sound. A good rule of thumb is if you always listen to your current pair of speakers with the bass turned up, you’ll enjoy corner placement. If you keep your tone controls at neutral, try to keep the speakers at least one or two feet from the boundaries of the room.

Placement for Varying Listening Positions

If you want the freedom to sit anywhere in a room facing any direction, and/or find that you prefer the “all around you” sound of some car stereos to a conventional “sound stage” facing you, consider the speaker placement techniques professional installers use in restaurants and bars. They place speakers in an array around the listening area, so that the music is always surrounding you, regardless of the direction you face.

The rule of thumb is to add one pair of speakers for every 100 to 200 square feet of listening area. Curiously, this is not so that you can play the music louder, but so that you can play it softer! When you have only one pair of speakers in a large room you will notice that when the sound is perfect in one part of the room, it is too loud near the speakers. By placing more than one pair in the room you will avoid these “hot spots” of loud

sound and you will create still more sonic ambiance while maintaining clarity and a rich sound everywhere.

You can make listener position still less critical by using mono rather than stereo. This can be difficult to achieve with normal stereo amplifiers. However, Niles manufactures Systems Integration Amplifiers which enable one room to be wired in stereo while other rooms are wired in mono. Consult your local Niles dealer for more information.

In smaller rooms or rooms that are infrequently used, you typically can’t justify the expense of more than two speakers. Try to bracket the room with the two speakers. Diagonal placement is a very effective way to stretch the coverage pattern of two speakers. You can also compromise between direct sound (for detail and clarity) and reflected sound (the ambient or “all around you” effect). By trying to place the speakers so that they create as much reflected sound as possible, you emphasize the ambient effect. They can be up high in the wall or even down low at power outlet height, in the ceiling, near corners, or directed at reflective objects and walls. The more reflected sound there is in the room the stronger the ambient effect at low volumes. You should use moderation, however, otherwise the compromise becomes too one sided and at high volumes the sound will be blurred and less distinct.

Placement for Rear Home Theater Applications

In a home theater, the goal is to reproduce the experience of a great movie theater in our homes. The biggest difference between the two is the rear or surround speaker array in a commercial theater. Here, it is not uncommon to see twenty or thirty speakers around the audience.

Placement Speaker


Placement Speaker

This huge array of speakers assures that you will feel completely surrounded by the ambient soundtrack of the movie. Film makers try to use the “surround” soundtrack to envelope you in the environment on screen. They will place background music, rain sounds, traffic noise, etc. on the “surround” soundtrack. In a home with a single pair of speakers it is easy for the jungle sounds to sound like they are “in the middle of your head” just like headphones!

A single pair of BG Loudspeakers, properly placed, can create a very convincing simulation of an array of speakers. If you place them near a hard reflecting surface you can make one pair of speakers sound like several. Create as many reflections as possible by mounting the speaker up high in the wall so that the ceiling will act as a powerful reflector. If you place the speakers near a corner, wash the sound down a wall from a ceiling location, or mount the speakers as far away as you can from the listening area, more reflections will occur. However, all of these placement techniques require that you work your surround sound amplifier channels harder. If the surround sound system you are using has a small five or ten watt amplifier for the rear speakers, stay within five to eight feet of the listening location. If you are using a 25 to 50 watt amplifier you can mount the speakers 10 to 15 feet away from the listening location and still achieve reasonably high volume levels.

Of course, the best way to emulate the sound of multiple speakers is to use multiple speakers. In large or unusually shaped rooms this might be the only way to achieve a good effect. If you like to listen to music surround modes which emulate concert hall acoustics, more than two surround speakers will prove extraordinarily effective. With Niles BG loudspeakers it is easy to add another pair without affecting the decor of the room. However, you will need to use a much more powerful amplifier than that which is built into a typical surround sound receiver or amplifier. Niles makes a number of Systems Integration Amplifiers with proprietary features that make them uniquely suited to enhance a good surround sound system. Consult your Niles dealer for more information.




Running the Speaker Wire in New Construction

If you have doubts about whether you are capable of installing a Niles Blueprint Series speaker in your walls, consult a Niles dealer or professional installer. They have special tools, techniques, and experience to make the impossible possible. The installer can provide you with an estimate before any work is done.

Scheduling and Preparation

Plan to schedule the speaker wiring after the electrical wiring is finished. That way you can avoid wire routes which could potentially induce hum over the speaker wire. The basic rules are:

Never run speaker wire through the same hole as an electrical cable.

Never run speaker wire into the same J-boxas electrical cable.

Avoid running the speaker wire beside the electrical cable. Keep it at least three or four feet distant from any electrical power cable.

Figure 2

Side-by-sidewiring is unavoidable in particular spots in every house, just move the speaker wire route away as soon as possible. If construction forces a side by side run for more than ten feet, install metal conduit or shielded speaker wire. Lowvoltage wires such as doorbells, intercoms, telephone, security, or television cannot cause interference or hum on your speaker wires, so you can safely run all of them at the same time, through the same holes,side-by-side.

Before you drill any holes, mount the speaker brackets in the desired speaker locations and mount P-ringsor open backedJ-boxeswhere thein-wallvolume controls and stereo equipment will be.

Safety First!

Wear gloves, safety goggles and head protection when drilling. Avoid nails, they ruin bits and they can create injury. Pay particular care when using “hole-hogs”and other powerful electric drills; the torque of the drill when suddenly stopped by a nail can break the wrist of a strong man.


Use a bit that is large enough for the wires you plan to run. An auger bit is the preferred bit for rough-inwiring. It will actually pull itself through the wood, so that the drill motor, not you, does most of the work. You will be drilling a lot of holes, so this is important.

Always drill the holes in the center of the stud. If you have to notch the stud or drill the hole closer than one inch from the edge of the stud, protect the wire with a nail plate (See Figure 2).

When drilling holes in ceiling joists, drill in the center of the joists and try to locate the hole near the end of the joist. DO NOT drill through a “gluelam” or any load bearing beam without the direction of your contractor.

Fundamentals Installation


Fundamentals Installation

Try to line the holes up perfectly, because it makes pulling the wire much easier. A good technique is to snap a chalk line across the face of the studs or against the bottom of the ceiling joists. Then work backward so that you can always see the holes you have already drilled. Paying careful attention to this will save you a lot of time later on!

Pulling the Cable

Pull the cable in sections (from the stereo to the volume control, from the volume control to the speaker). Start with the longest sections and use left over wire to complete the short sections. If you plan to pull many rooms at the same time through a central route, walk off the distance to each destination, add a generous fudge factor for turns and other obstacles, then cut off each section so that you have a bundle of wires you can pull at once.

Whenever you run the wire further than four and one half feet from a hole in a stud or joist (open attic space, going up walls, etc.), fasten the wire to the joists or studs using cable clamps or appropriately sized wire staples. The wire should not have large sags in it, nor should it be too tight. Try to protect the wire from being stepped on in attics or other unfinished crawl spaces. There are guard strips, raceways and conduits which can be used to protect the cable. Consult the local building code for special requirements in your area.

Concealing Speaker Wire in Existing Walls

This is actually a fairly simple task if you restrict your choice of speaker locations and wire routes to the interior walls or ceilings of your home. Interior walls in almost all North American residences are hollow, so that it is easy to flush mount speakers into them and route new speaker

cable around the house. What you see when you look at the painted wall board, plaster, or paneling is only the skin of the wall. Behind the skin is the skeleton; two-by-fourwood or metal “studs” running vertically from the floor to the ceiling in walls andtwo-by-sixor larger “joists” running horizontally in the ceilings and floors. In between the studs and the joists is the space for the wiring and plumbing of your home.

Exterior walls are different. They must insulate the house from the heat and cold outside, so they are stuffed with insulation. The national building code requires that the hollow wall space in exterior walls be broken by a horizontal stud placed between the vertical studs. This “fire blocking” makes it very difficult to retrofit long lengths of wire. In some areas of the country the exterior walls are constructed of solid masonry, and have no hollow space for speakers or wires.

Start by examining all the possible routes you might take to run the speaker wire from the speaker to the volume control and back to the stereo. Use a stud sensor or other device to locate the internal structure of the wall. You want to avoid all studs or joists. A typical route would be: from the speaker location up the inside of the wall to a new hole drilled into the top “plate” (horizontal two-by-four at the top of the inside of the wall), into the attic crawl space, then down to the volume control location through another top plate, back up to the attic, across the attic, and finally down another plate to the wall behind the stereo system itself(See Figure 3). The other very common route is through the bottom plate of the wall into an unfinished basement or crawl space.