Installation & Use Tips

The following tips were compiled to help install and set up your Cetacea speaker and microphone systems. These tips are meant to supplement your product's Quick Start Guide.

Speaker Location

  • Choose a location near an AC outlet (6' - 12' depending on power supply). If no outlet is nearby, 20' and 30' power extension cables are available.
  • Astronaut: Typically, the Astronaut is installed near a ceiling projector to connect multimedia audio and power.
  • Ensemble: Choose a location near the audience or where sound reinforcement is needed.
  • Orbiter: Minimize feedback by placing the speaker near the audience and away from the microphone.
  • Consider multimedia sources when choosing a location. Make sure you have the appropriate length and style speaker cables.
  • Place speakers near the audience since sound levels attenuate quickly over large distances.
  • If possible, locate speakers at least 4 feet away from vertical walls.


Do not locate speakers directly over or within 3' of the hot air created by projector exhausts.

Source Connections

  • All Cetacea speakers can be hooked up to a variety of A/V devices using stereo or mono speaker cables (3.5mm mini jack).
  • The Astronaut and Ensemble speakers have a built-in mixer which accepts up to 3 simultaneous devices (A, B, C channels).
  • Do not connect external amplifiers to Cetacea powered speakers as they could overdrive the speakers, causing distortion or premature failure.
  • Most fixed and variable line outputs are suitable sources. If distortion or other audible noise is detected, make sure the source is functioning and any applicable software is set up correctly.
  • Stereo connections: Max input voltage should not exceed 300mv per input channel.
  • Mono connections: Max input voltage should not exceed 150mv per input channel. Cetacea speakers require line level, not microphone level inputs.
  • When connecting to a fixed line output, a separate attenuator must be purchased to adjust volume. There is no remote volume control for the Ensemble or Astronaut products.
  • Do not lay source cables parallel to high power cables or place them close to fluorescent light ballasts. This may cause unwanted noise or hum.

Source Devices

All Cetacea audio systems include an external power supply. There are a few advantages to this: they save weight; allow us to upgrade as new technology becomes available; and, we can offer various styles for different installation needs.

  • "Wallwort" style power supplies have a typical brick power converter that plugs into the wall. This power supply has a 6' range.
  • "Desktop" style power supplies have an in-line power converter with removable AC cord. The AC plug takes less room in situations with tight outlet boxes. This power supply has a 12' range.
  • Plenum cables are available by request.
  • DC power extension cables are available when no AC is available in the ceiling. We often see this in short-throw projector installations.


Do not assume that proper safety grounding and electronic noise reduction are one and the same. The building electrical contractor is rarely asked to do the latter which exposes every audio installation to ground noise both on the power line as well as the signal line.

Cetacea Sound powered speakers have built in low and high voltage, thermal, and diode protection for polarity; however, ground noise can still be caused from ground loops within projectors, DVDs, and computers plugged into the same circuit. If you hear a 60 cycle hum from the speaker, try plugging it into another AC outlet either in the room or across the hall using an extension cord. If the hum is eliminated, then a different source of AC power will have to be used or an electrical contractor will have to provide a common ground for all equipment on the circuit in question.

Ground noise, hiss, and distortion can be caused on the signal line if the signal wire is connected to an improperly designed source. Projectors, personal computers, wall plates, and other devices are all suspect if it is determined this is the case.

To diagnose the noise source, first disconnect the power cord at the speaker. Second, disconnect the signal wire from the speaker. Connect another source to the speaker like a personal computer, portable CD player, or smartphone. Finally, reconnect the power cord. If the noise was eliminated, then the first signal source is suspect.

Systematically remove each source of the signal path one by one until the culprit is discovered. Once the source with the noise is discovered, find its fault through another process of elimination. Some signal sources just don't work the way they are supposed to and mislead one to think the speaker has a problem, which in fact it does not.

Noise & Distortion Problems

Do not assume that noise in the form of hum, static, pops, or distortion is the fault of the speaker. Noise is most commonly caused by multimedia sources or power issues within an installation.

  • 60 Hz ground loop / AC hum
  • Ungrounded computer docking stations or wall switch plates
  • Poorly shielded cables and custom cables
  • Corrupted or highly compressed digital or streaming files
  • Volume set too high (properly designed speakers should sound distorted at maximum volume)
  • Disable software equalization or compression algorithms such as "Bass Boost", "Cinema Sound", "Q-Sound", "Surround Sound", "Brightness", "Rock and Roll", "Blues", etc.
Laptops and Portable Devices:When installations involve a portable laptop or other device that will be disconnected from the speaker routinely, use the optional volume control to terminate the source end of the cable. Please contact us for more information.
in-line volume control

Microphone Use

Always prepare for a presentation by setting up your equipment in the room you will be speaking in beforehand. Make sure the equipment is working properly and then walk around the room.

Spend time practicing in the area of the room where you will be speaking. Listen for any unwarranted noise or feedback as you walk the room and avoid those noisy areas that cannot be eliminated by equipment adjustments.

Have a second person help you hear and make volume adjustments. In most cases, the appropriate microphone volume is when the presenter cannot hear themselves over the speakers.

Microphone Feedback

Microphones will experience feedback unless used with care. Feedback is caused by a variety of factors, including speaker and microphone placement, the room environment, and volume.


Set the appropriate volume level for your room with the help of a second person. Too high microphone volume is a common cause for feedback.

  1. Stand as far away from the speaker and audience as possible. Then adjust volume until it is loud enough for the audience to hear.
  2. Have a second person determine appropriate loudness by standing or sitting in the audience location.
  3. Walk the room and listen for feedback.
  4. Lower volume if any sign of feedback is detected.
  5. Setting the microphone volume is a balancing act. Aim for 90% walkability in the room without feedback.
Note:The appropriate audience volume level may sound low to the person with the microphone.

Speaker Placement

Microphone proximity to the speaker is a common cause of feedback. Speakers can easily be relocated with extension cables.

Room Environment

Always walk the room to detect sensitive feedback areas. In some cases, these areas will be unavoidable due to the unique properties of the room. Avoid these areas during microphone use.