In-ceiling full house speaker system, need assistance!

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by GodspeedFx, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. GodspeedFx

    GodspeedFx Auditioning

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    Ok, before I get into the meat of the subject, a little background. I'm a computer technician that works for a small company (I am the only technician currently) and the owner of the company just built a new house. I don't think the electrician that he hired to wire the house for speakers knew much about home theater systems (nor do I, although I have set up plenty of mounted/standalone 7.1 systems and I know enough to charge people to set them up).

    He wants me to hook up all the speakers in the house as well as put in 3 volume control knobs (AudioSource AE100VC Impedance Matching Volume Control, already have them and I know how to install them) however here is where the first problem starts. For the 2 speakers on his deck, there is only 1 speaker input cable wired to the location of the volume control. I need one input for EACH SPEAKER but I'm not experienced enough to run another cable through the walls myself and he says that he doesn't want to have to do it either. Is there some sort of amplified splitter that I can get so I can turn that one input into two so I can power both speakers? Do I even NEED an amplified splitter or can I just split the wire and still power both speakers without damaging anything? That is my first question. The receiver outputs say 8-16 ohms.

    Secondly, I need advice on what sort of source he needs for these speakers. He currently has an old sony receiver that supports 7 speakers (4 main, 3 surround as labelled, 8-16 ohms) and I suppose that I could change the settings so that each speaker gets the same volume level, but is such a receiver the best idea? Is there some sort of base system that he should use between t he receiver and speakers to ensure that each speaker receives the same volume level or is an actual 7.1 receiver the way to go?

    I'm a little out of my element here so I'm doing what I've done all my life when I can't figure something out--asking some experts =) Thanks for taking the time to read this!

    -Adam
     
  2. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    So, are the deck speakers wired parallel or series?

    No there is no such thing as an "amplified splitter" for this purpose. It would simply be called an amplifier.

    You can use any AVR/amp you want to use.

    What is the goal here? The same sound all over the house? Different sources in different rooms?

    "Old Sony AVR that supports 7 speakers" doesn't compute. As there are no old 7.1 AVRs as 7.1 hasn't existed that long.
     
  3. GodspeedFx

    GodspeedFx Auditioning

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    The goal is to have one source with equal volume to all speakers but also being able to use the volume control knobs I'm installing to change volume levels in different areas of the house.

    Regarding parallel or series, that is a good question... I didn't do the wiring so I'm not exactly sure =/ All I know is that there are 3 cables coming from the wall where he wants the volume control for the deck and I assumed that it was 1 for each speaker and 1 input, but I suppose I need to find that out. At the source point, there are enough speaker wires coming out to have one for each speaker in the house (one extra, actually) so I think it's safe to say that they are wired in parallel at this point.

    I'm sorry for the confusion about the receiver--I said old when I should have said used. He had it in storage along with a few other receivers. I didn't see a place on the back of it for a sub which I thought was strange, but it does have 7 spots for the speaker cables (+ and -).

    I doubt I'll be able to keep all the hardware in the wall at this point if I need to install an amplifier (since I'm assuming it's parallel) so I need to keep it small.

    Here are my 2 questions:
    Is there such a thing as a small amplifier that just turns 1 input into 2 outputs?
    If the speakers happen to be wired in serial, I don't need an amplifier, correct? (this is a long shot because there ARE 3 cables at the volume control)
     
  4. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Is there such a thing as a small amplifier that just turns 1 input into 2 outputs?
    You need to find out what this one area is before you do anything. It makes zero sense to not know if the speakers are wired in parallel or series and be asking to split signal. Either you split signal to two different wires, or the speakers are ran series or parallel and you aren't splitting anything. Period.
    If the speakers happen to be wired in serial, I don't need an amplifier, correct? (this is a long shot because there ARE 3 cables* at the volume control)
    This question is pointless. (Edit: Matter of fact, the mere fact you asked this question means the home owner needs to get the originating electrician involved. And you shouldn't do anything further. You charge people to do this...and asked this question?)
    *There ARE 3 cables.
    What does that mean? 3 pairs of wires? A pair on one side and two singles on the other side? What?
     
  5. GodspeedFx

    GodspeedFx Auditioning

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    I don't charge people to do this--my boss asked if I could take a look and get it hooked up for him and I said I would give it a try. I've never done anything like this before. I do simple home theater stuff like setting up a surround system/dvr/bluray/etc to a receiver and calibrating the speakers, but it's not my actual job description.. like I said, I'm a computer technician.

    I thought this was a forum for beginners? Haha.

    When I say 3 cables, I mean 3 pairs of cables (+ and -). My boss told me that the speakers are wired in serial but that didn't make sense to me since there are 9 pairs of speaker cables at the source point and he only has 7 speakers.. if they were wired in serial, there shouldn't be that many.. hell, there is no setup in which there should be that many, lol.

    I'm going to tell him that he needs to have the original electrician come out and hook it up because I'm getting conflicting information and none of the cables are labeled or anything. There is actually tape on them but most of them have question marks written on the tape--lol.

    Thanks for your help even though it was a bit aggressive and demeaning.. it's alright--I can take it =)
     
  6. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    You said you charge people in the first post...

    "nor do I, although I have set up plenty of mounted/standalone 7.1 systems and I know enough to charge people to set them up"

    Charging people for your services and asking a high school electrical question is disingenuous.

    How would series vs parallel even come close to this question...
    " If the speakers happen to be wired in serial, I don't need an amplifier, correct?"

    Do you even understand what an inline volume control does?
     
  7. GodspeedFx

    GodspeedFx Auditioning

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    Did I mention anything about charging people for wiring their house for in-wall speakers? I didn't. It's not very hard to set up a pre-made surround system, and even if it isn't pre-made, all I've ever had to do was make sure ohms matched between the receiver and speakers. I've never had to do anything like this before, and I would never charge someone to do something I wasn't confident about. Mainly I help people who find those kinds of tasks daunting (making all of their components work through the receiver, programming remotes, etc..) I've actually learned a good deal about the electrical side of things by your responses and some research.

    I'm not aware of many highschools who offer electrical engineering classes, though.. haha. Maybe a trade school =) I realize now that my question was dumb because neither one would need to be split--I was assuming that parallel meant each speaker had it's own run to the source, but I now know that isn't the case! =)

    I understand what an inline volume control does and I'm aware of the need for impedence matching as well.. I'm just not an electrician. I'm sure I could figure it out with a bit of time and a few tips, but I certainly wouldn't describe myself as efficient in this case.. lol.

    I appreciate the help, but you don't have to be so aggressive.. this is a beginners forum. If I went to a forum labeled "High Voltage Electrical Engineering Discussion" and didn't know the difference between serial and parallel, THEN I would expect that kind of tone.. but I didn't! Tone it down a bit man =) I'm just here to get some help--that's all.
     
  8. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    For this particular fiasco(one pair leading to a spot, with two more leading from it)...

    I'd connect a negative and positive together with a wire nut, then connect the remaining positive and negative to "something" to provide power. You can use an inline volume control and just connect half of it.

    Where these wires end up(where the master amp is) needs to be labelled. You could pick up a small boombox, or something with speaker terminals, and hook them up to see where sound comes from. If nothing comes out of a pair of wires...the electrician fubar'd.

    Are speakers already in the ceiling?
     
  9. GodspeedFx

    GodspeedFx Auditioning

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    Aye, all the speakers are already in place which is why this is so annoying! That sounds like a good idea--I guess I'll have to just use trial and error to figure out what wires match up to the source wires. I can't even tell which pair is coming from the source and which pair are from the speakers, haha.. no label = no fun.

    Thanks for the tip!
     
  10. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    There should be no "speaker wires" from a "source".(sources don't power speakers. Amplifiers do. You are confusing yourself...and anybody trying to help you by confusing source with amplifier)

    All speaker wires should lead to a speaker. Unless there is another spot where amps go...and this "spot you refer to" is meant for a speaker matrix/switch.
     
  11. GodspeedFx

    GodspeedFx Auditioning

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    Ah, my bad. Still working on the terminology.

    When I say source, I mean the receiver--there is a small boombox hooked up to it for now.

    All of the speakers go to their respective volume control spots (there are 3 spots) and then a cable pair runs from each volume control spot to the hole in the wall where the receiver is. 2 of the volume control spots only control 1 speaker, so there are only 2 cable pairs at each of those. The third volume control spot (the deck) has 2 speakers and there are 3 cable pairs at that one (one pair for each end of the serial setup, if thats how they are even setup, and one pair going to the receiver). The rest of the speakers (3) are run straight to the receiver.

    How any of them are set up in serial (besides the 2 deck speakers) is beyond me, but that's what I was told is the case, and that's why I'm going to have the electrician who ran the wires come in and finish it. It just doesn't make any sense that there are 9 cable pairs coming out of the wall at the receiver when there are only 7 speakers and at least 2 of them are in serial.

    If I had been there or actually ran the wire myself, this would be a different story, but as it stands I don't feel comfortable hooking anything up until I either talk to the electrician or pass the job on to him completely. I just have no idea what's going on behind the walls =/

    I really appreciate your continued help.. thanks for putting up with such a blatant amature! I'll update this thread if I end up figuring it out.. boss is out of town so we'll see what he wants to do when he gets back.
     

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