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Want to wire speakers through the wall, best cable type to use?


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19 replies to this topic

#1 of 20 OFFLINE   hokuto

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Posted December 05 2006 - 11:57 AM

Hey everyone, Totally new at this. I'm in an apartment, have a decent JVC home theatre. The surround speakers connect using the standard speaker wire, the sub uses the RCA type jack. Not sure the name for the speaker wire, but its the one where you cut it, twist the metal showing, then insert by pressing down on the red and black connectors inserting the wire and letting go so it presses down. Here's my question. I just bought a house, the basement is unfinished, so I want to wire it up. The TV is at one end of the room, the stereo is at the other. I want to run the wire under the floor to the other side, and then have nice looking wall boxes to have them connect. Is it enough if I just purchase a good quality cable of the same type and do it that way? Eventually I'd like to upgrade to something like the BOSE system, but not sure if that connects differently. Just need some advice on how I should set this up and whether it's best to use the cables I have or some other option. Thanks!

#2 of 20 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted December 05 2006 - 04:31 PM

I ran all the cabling for my HT as they were building my current house. I made sure to use in-wall speaker wire that would pass inspection. Regular wire can act as a wick if a fire happens and could cause major insurance problems. FYI, I got my speaker wire from home depot.
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#3 of 20 OFFLINE   homthtr

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Posted December 05 2006 - 05:11 PM

Wire should be 16/2 or 14/2 CL2 Rated for inwall installation. Code Requires this for fire purposes. It's nice you have an unfinished basement as that will make running the wires through the basement easy. The hard part is getting it into the wallsPosted Image If you are not comfortable with this I would hire a local installation company. I would also suggest going with inwall speaker instead of anything with the BOSE name on it. Bose is not compatable with anything other than bose for the most part.. and is very overpriced and over rated.

You can get a fantastic A/V receiver and all you inwalls including installation for what you would pay for a bose system.

#4 of 20 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted December 05 2006 - 05:34 PM

I agree with everything said above. Use in-wall rated speaker wire. Spools can be bought from www.partsexpress.com

I suggest you run things to electrical wall outlet box's - but dont buy the wall-plate covers with binding posts. Pull enough wire to create an un-broken run from amp to speakers. Buy blank wall plates and drill holes for a custom look. You can always cut the wires later and buy the expensive wall-plates with binding posts - but not at first. Breaks in the wire have to be trimmed back every 2 years and are sources of loose connections (on both sides of the plates). Having a un-broken run is not much more expensive and gives you options for later.

Make sure to run 3 wires to the front and 3 wires to the back.

Label, Label, Label. Radio shack sells some nice wire-labels that cover the writing area with tape. Label every foot of exposed wire. Use a simple A, B, C type of label. Years from now you will thank me. Posted Image

Subwoofer: buy ordinary CATV coax cable and once-again: pull enough to create an un-broken run. You can add "F" connectors and "F-to-RCA-male" adaptors to create a long RCA cable.

Find the corner of your room with the 2 longest, un-broken walls and plan to put the sub here. Pull enough coax to go 1/2 the length of one of the walls. Somewhere shorter than that is likely the best location for the sub.

WARNING: keep the speaker wires separate from the subwoofer cable. Speaker wires carry power, but subwoofer cable carries line-level signals. You dont want these running together for long lengths.

You may also want to run telephone wire to your equipment rack. Many CATV and SAT box's want a telephone connection so you can order pay-per-view.

Hope this helps.

#5 of 20 OFFLINE   hokuto

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Posted December 06 2006 - 12:33 AM

Wow that's all great advice thanks so much! Never really thought of doing the blank wall plate idea but that's probably the best. I just didn't want to have a hole in my wall with cables coming out. No one will see the wall, so the blank plate is definitely the best option. I didn't know inwall speakers existed, looking online they don't seem too expensive. How do they aim the sound though if they are flat against the wall? Just curious how people set these up, do you usually put the rear right and left on either side of the couch where regular speakers would go, or put them higher or? Anyone know of anywhere with pics of a setup?

#6 of 20 OFFLINE   homthtr

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Posted December 06 2006 - 04:26 PM

Posted Image

Posted Image

#7 of 20 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted December 06 2006 - 05:23 PM

Many of the better in-wall brands have tweeters that can 'point' a bit to focus on the primary seating position. But for in walls, I would hire an experienced installer. A few years ago I heard that installs were ~$150 per speaker with an extra charge if the wall was an exterior wall (because of the need to fight with insulation and extra braces).

#8 of 20 OFFLINE   homthtr

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Posted December 06 2006 - 06:03 PM

That's about the correct price as we charge. Not to promote the compition, but Circut city is now offering installation services. I don't know how well trained their "installers" are... but they do have a new installation department called "Firedog" Personally I would hire a local home theater specialist instead of a big box retail store. This is something new for Circut city so if anyone has had any experience with their services please follow up....

http://www.firedog.com/ht_install.html

They claim for $549 they will
Home theater installation packages Basic Deluxe Premium
Price $169.99 $349.99 $549.99
Connect all new and existing A/V components
Remote consolidation
Demonstrate operation of system 15 min. 15 min. 15 min.
Speakers mounted in-wall or on the wall 2 up to 5
Conceal speaker wires 2 5
Approximate installation time 1-2 hours 2-3 hours 3-4 hours

Flat panel wall mount & home theater installation packages Basic Deluxe Premium
TV under 30" price $349.99 $549.99 $699.99
TV over 30" price $449.99 $649.99 $799.99
Install customer purchased bracket
Mount TV on wall or above fireplace
Connect all new and existing A/V components
Remote consolidation
Demonstrate operation of system 15 min. 15 min. 15 min.
Speakers mounted in-wall or on the wall 2 up to 5
Conceal speaker wires 2 5
Approximate installation time 3-5 hours 4-6 hours 5-8 hours

Add a single speaker
Price $89.99


I've worked for Big Box Retailers in the past. Sometimes you'll get someone that knows what they are doing and sometimes you get what you pay for...Posted Image

Guess that's why we have our own custom company that deals with only custom installations.

You'll probably find you'll get way more personal attention from a smaller custom company, but for the money I'd give circutcity a try. They are less then what we charge for most installs. I just don't know what their techs experience is and I'm sure that will vary in every installation just as satellite installers, sometimes you get someone good and sometimes you get an idiot.

#9 of 20 OFFLINE   hokuto

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Posted December 06 2006 - 11:34 PM

Thanks for the pics and tips. I'm in Canada, so no Circuit City. Not to insult anyone because I do like the setup, but personally I think I honestly prefer the look of very small black speakers like the BOSE ones or similar either near the celing with the cables in the wall, or just on nice floor stands. I find those white in wall speakers look kind of like air vents or something. Maybe if they were black I'd like it more. I'll have to look into it though, right now the dimensions of my living room are less than ideal. It's more long and narrow, so it's really had to have a proper home theatre set up going, so don't really want to spend all the money on getting a pro to do installation for that. However, my basement is unfinished which I do plan on finishing, so for that then I'll probably look at the in wall route, or see what other options there are since I can really set it up properly.

#10 of 20 OFFLINE   mylan

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Posted December 07 2006 - 02:21 AM

I think before I would buy Bose I would paint the in-walls to match your wall color, I have even seen some that were wallpapered over with the grille holes punched out.
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#11 of 20 OFFLINE   homthtr

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Posted December 07 2006 - 08:02 AM


Inwall speakers are paintable. You have to dilute your paint 8/1 to avoid clogging the holes in the grill but the turn out fantastic!

Posted Image
Can you find both speakers?

#12 of 20 OFFLINE   anthony.j

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Posted December 07 2006 - 03:29 PM

uuhmm....I guess this is too late of a question but what we did with mine was run 12 gauge in wall rated wire for all speaker locations including the subwoofer. so is this good enough?

#13 of 20 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted December 08 2006 - 12:27 PM

for the speakers it is great. But for a self-powered sub-woofer you want coax or a long RCA cable. If you run speaker wire to a sub - you have to: - Run speaker wire from the L/R output to the L/R input on the sub - Run more speaker wire from the L/R output of the sub to your L/R speakers This way, the sub wiill strip off the low-frequency sounds it wants and pass the rest to your L/R speakers.

#14 of 20 OFFLINE   JeremyLG

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Posted January 07 2007 - 02:16 AM

Bob - Lot's of good advice. I'm benefiting a lot from this posts. I'm finally installing my rear speakers at a pre-owned home I bought. The blank wall plates sound like a great idea, save lots of cost and result in the un-broken wire run to the speakers. Thank you, Jeremy

#15 of 20 OFFLINE   C&K

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Posted January 09 2007 - 03:42 AM

What is the difference between in-wall and regular speaker wire? I have regular speaker wire running through my attic and down to a box in the wall...I would hate to have to replace it all, since thats a lot of wire. But is this really a fire hazard? I thought it would basically be a low-voltage no-worry deal.

#16 of 20 OFFLINE   Paul Padilla

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Posted January 09 2007 - 03:53 AM

Not a fire hazard per se, just an "if you were to ever get inspected" hazard. IIRC, fire rated wire has been tested not to contribute to an existing fire...not be fire proof.
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#17 of 20 OFFLINE   Paul Padilla

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Posted January 09 2007 - 04:06 AM

BTW...my hat is in with the in-wall or in-ceiling vs. anything Bose. Enclosures and grills are always paintable for the very reason you're concerned.

Those are amazing pics above of the cherubs hiding the speakers. Mine aren't nearly that elaborate, but they were painted to match my celing color...a warm yellow...and you really have to look to notice them. "Hide the technology" was the edict from the wife.
I'm a ****ing idiot 'cause I can't make a lamp?
No, you're a genius 'cause you can't make a lamp.
What do you know about trigonometry?
I could care less about trigonometry.
Did you know without trigonometry there would be no engineering? Without lamps there'd be no light.

#18 of 20 OFFLINE   C&K

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Posted January 09 2007 - 04:09 AM

Thanks, Paul.

#19 of 20 OFFLINE   sclevela

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Posted January 12 2007 - 08:05 AM

very new to this forum ........... but could someone recommend a good in wall speaker and or some speakers that u can mount to the sides and bottom of a plasma with the omni mount brackets....... por favor

#20 of 20 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted January 12 2007 - 12:47 PM

Here is the issue: your house burns down. Your insurance company is NOT in the business of paying out claims discovers you used ordinary speaker wire in the walls. They then say that the improper insulation acted like a 'fuse' and spread the fire. Then they claim the fire department could have saved the house if the fire had not spread so quickly and deny your claim. This is a bit of an urban legend, but I have talked to people who have had huge hassles getting their insurance company to pay claims. They look for the most flimsy excuses to avoid paying.




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