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Need recommendation for speaker wire


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Brad Newton

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Posted April 30 2003 - 05:24 AM

I will be running speaker wire for the rear speakers underneath my floor via crawl space. Do I need anything special? Most of my duct work & wiring is located there - will that have any effect? What about the sub cable? I hope I don't have to run it under the floor, but I may have too.
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#2 of 9 OFFLINE   PaulT

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Posted April 30 2003 - 07:54 AM

Check your local building code to see if you are required to have CL-2 or CL-3 rated wire for 'in wall use' if you are running it in the crawl space. Keep the speaker wires away from any heating ducts and electrical wiring. A foot should be fine IMO, but the further away the better. Can you run some cheapo PVC pipe to run the wires through. It would be easier to attach the pipe to something than to staple the wire up. Go ahead and run the sub cable with the speaker wires if you have to, it's a low level signal anyway.
"One of the problems of taking things apart and seeing how they work--supposing you're trying to find out how a cat works--you take that cat apart to see how it works, what you've got in your hands is a non-working cat." -- Douglas Adams

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Brad Newton

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Posted April 30 2003 - 11:53 AM

Do I need a specific gauge of wire? Should it be shielded?
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#4 of 9 OFFLINE   PaulT

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Posted April 30 2003 - 05:49 PM

Several speaker sites recommend the gauge be based on the run-length: 1-10 ft: 16 ga 11-20 ft: 14 ga 20+ ft: 12 ga Most people here have been purchasing rolls af 12 ga and using it for all their speakers. No, it does not have to be shielded.
"One of the problems of taking things apart and seeing how they work--supposing you're trying to find out how a cat works--you take that cat apart to see how it works, what you've got in your hands is a non-working cat." -- Douglas Adams

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Win Joy Jr

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Posted May 01 2003 - 01:14 AM

Is it a powered sub? Depending on the run length, you may wish to consider shielded for the sub cable. To make it as cost effective as you can, you may wish to consider using RG-6 coax with F to RCA adapters on each end.

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted May 03 2003 - 04:33 AM

Some more advice: - Run 3 sets of speaker wires to the rears. (That rear-center channel is becoming popular). - Run RG6 wire in case you might put a subwoofer back there, or to power a separate amp to drive "Bass Shakers" under the couch. BUT: Separate the powered speaker wires from the un-powered RG6. - Run all the wires through electrical outlet box's, but DONT cut the wires to install face-plates. Pull enough wire to create a un-broken wire from amp-> speakers. Buy blank wall-plates and drill holes and thread wires through. Later, you can cut the wires and install face-plates with binding posts if you really want. - Label Label Label - put 3 labels on each end of each wire at 1, 2 & 3 feet from the end. You can use "LR, RR, RC", or a simple R1, R2, R3 scheme. When the wire is pulled, put more lables where the wires emerge from the outlet box's and then shove a few inches of wire back into the box to give you slack. Radio Shack makes some cable-labels that have tape that wraps over the writable part. If not, make sure to wrap your lables with wide scotch tape or the writing will fade over time. Hope this helps.

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Kurt_M

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Posted May 05 2003 - 10:37 AM

Having never had a HT before I am definitely a newbie but have been reading on this forum and checking out others pictures. After reading this simple post I found I know less than I thought. I am currently in the process of finishing my basement and thought I was done with the wiring. My question is does a subwoofer take a different wire than standard 12 gauge like the rest of the speakers? The reply from Bob above states to run RG6.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted May 05 2003 - 12:30 PM

[quote] My question is does a subwoofer take a different wire than standard 12 gauge like the rest of the speakers? [quote]
Yes if your subwoofer is self-powered.

You have 2 different levels of signals in your HT system:

- Speaker Level: These signals carry WATTS of power to drive motors (which is what your speakers are). You use un-shielded, thick pairs of wires to carry these signals.

- Line Level: These are low-power/un-amplified signals like your CATV signal, video signals, and signals between your components. To protect the 'weak' signals, all the wires for these signals are made from Co-Axial cable (called coax). Yes, those cables with RCA plugs look just like your CATV coax.

The line level signals run along a small center wire and this wire is encased in a mesh 'pipe' called the shield.

If you have a self-powered subwoofer, you run a cable with RCA plugs between the "LFE" jack on your receiver to the RCA input on your sub. Since this is a line-level/un-amplified signal - the cable should be coaxial.

Video and digital signals need to use a particular type of coax called "75 ohm". Many audio cables use this as well, but coax called "50 ohm" is more common.

Ordinary CATV coax is "75 ohm", but can be used to make a long subwoofer cable.

Note: while I suggest running a spare RG6 cable to the rear of your room, most people find that putting their sub in a corner in the front/behind the speakers sounds best. This is because the TV/Speakers are usually along a large, un-broken wall and subwoofers do well in this corner.

So the RG6 is an option. You dont have to do it.


PS: If you have a un-powered subwoofer, you do this:

- Run speaker wire from the L/R speakers to the sub.

- Run more speaker wire from the sub to the L/R speakers

This lets the sub strip off the sounds it wants to produce, and send the rest onto the speakers.

Hope this helps.

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   John Walker

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Posted May 08 2003 - 01:46 PM

My understanding is wire installed in a wall must be FT4 (fire rating) to meet code. Whether or not your local code requires this or you just want to run "speaker wire" is up to you. If your in a multi-dwelling unit (townhouse etc) you could be liable. Its pretty cheap to use the right wire. John




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