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Best way to wire rear-speakers with hardwood floors/obstacles


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#1 of 11 zup28w

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Posted June 10 2009 - 01:55 PM

Hi all,

Trying to setup a 5.1 system in a open floor plan. I have my speaker locations picked out. The issue at hand is running the wire for rear-speakers. I have hardwood floors which doesn't help. I looked into plastic channeling to run along the baseboard molding but I can't with the fireplace.

I've had a couple thoughts, none of which are very easy.

a) drill holes in floor behind TV, run wires in basement ceiling, and drill additional holes in the floor to run the wire up. Then get some speaker stands.

Downside - 3 holes in floor, can't move speakers in the future

b) drill hole in floor behind TV. Run wires in basement ceiling and up into walls. Mount speakers on wall

Downside - I'm not Bob Villa, not the easiest thing to do.

c) Channel the speaker wire up the corner of the wall behind the TV. Run it along the ceiling edge. Channel the wire down the wall. Mount Speakers on wall.

Downsides - might look kinda tacky, not sure.

Any ideas or suggestions? Attached is a layout and pic of the fire place (my arch nemesis). Maybe there are some channeling solutions I don't know of. I'd also be open to suggestions on wire.

Thanks so much.

Greg

Posted Image


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#2 of 11 Jason Charlton

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Posted June 11 2009 - 02:22 AM

The good news is that you have a basement - that makes it much more likely that you'll be able to run the speaker wire in-wall (the option I would strive for the most). You can get a nice, finished look by adding electrical gang boxes with wallplates and speaker binding post terminals (Home Depot carries the Leviton QuickPort product - I've used them A LOT). A handful of patch cables and you're all set.

The tricky part will be drilling up from the basement into the wall cavity. This is made even more challenging by the fact that from your diagram, it appears that at least two of the walls in question are exterior walls, and access from below may be difficult, if even possible.

In the least, you're going to need a large (1/2"+) and pretty long (6-8" at least) drill bit (you'll be drilling through one or two layers of subfloor, plus a 2x4 base plate), a cable fish (or something long and skinny) to use to pull the cable down and back up again, and a sharp utility knife to cut through the drywall (I hope you don't have plaster walls...).

It's a doable project made a lot easier if you have a friend to help. Don't be too intimidated by it - for a beginner with some help, a day or two devoted to the project should be enough time to get it done.

If you are successful in drilling into the walls from below, 14 gauge speaker wire will be more than adequate for the runs. Monoprice.com has 100' spools of 14 gauge speaker wire for about 20 bucks (be VERY generous in estimating how much speaker wire you'll need - it goes very quickly).

Good luck with the project!

~Jason

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#3 of 11 zup28w

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Posted June 11 2009 - 03:49 AM

Hi Jason,

Thanks for the feedback. I never heard of the Leviton QuickPort stuff - very cool. You also mentioned some things I never would have thought of, e.g. extra long drill bit.

What I need to do is find a handy friend and offer him all bbq food and beer he'd want (of course, hold off on the beer until all the holes are drilled Posted Image )

Greg

#4 of 11 ShanonS

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Posted June 11 2009 - 08:40 AM

I don't see it in the note, is there a second floor above the theater? Most likely the case since you didn't mention that option to beginIf not, then why not go up into the attic and back down?

#5 of 11 zup28w

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Posted June 11 2009 - 09:24 AM

Hi Shanon,

There's a 2nd floor before the Attic. TV room is on the first floor. Unfortunately that won't work.

On a side note, is it ok to have front speakers on speaker stands (~ 30" tall) and then the rear speakers mounted high up on the walls (~ 6 ft)?

Regards,
Greg

#6 of 11 Jason Charlton

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Posted June 11 2009 - 09:57 AM

Regarding speakers, I seem to recall the rule of thumb being to try and keep the tweeters of the front speakers close to ear level (when seated). Rears at a higher elevation is preferred, actually. 24-36" above ear level is typical to produce a nice, diffuse soundfield. The surrounds in my system are probably at about 6' height.

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#7 of 11 ShanonS

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Posted June 12 2009 - 02:58 AM

That's what I figured, but just thought I'd ask. I'm trying to figure out how to wire some speakers downstairs from my theater room upstairs. I was able to run some very long wires around the attic to outside speakers, but haven't figure out the speakers in the living room.

I have always had my side and rear speakers mounted high up on the walls. Strictly speaking, that's not the right "way" to do it, but by tilting them down toward the seating area, it has worked very well for me. If you have very directional speakers, it may not work as well, but it sounds good to me with my Def Tech spearkers.

#8 of 11 zup28w

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Posted June 12 2009 - 03:22 AM

Thanks guys for all the good advice.

Greg

#9 of 11 stymie222

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Posted June 12 2009 - 04:04 AM

As an Electrician, I have used many "Flexible" wood drill bits that may be of help.

By flexible I mean that the long drive shaft can bend.

After a hole is cut (between studs) for a box, you can insert the bit into the center of the cavity and with downward pressure bend the shaft away from the wall and start drilling.

The bits are usually about 4" long, giving you enough to go through most walls and sub-floors.

I have seen the shafts as long as 8'

#10 of 11 Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted June 12 2009 - 03:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Charlton
The tricky part will be drilling up from the basement into the wall cavity.
No need to do that! Just cut your hole in the wall first for an old-work box. Then use an 18-24”-long drill bit to drill through the footer board down into the basement. Piece of cake, and no guesswork trying to come from the bottom up.
That said, the ones on the outside walls might be a challenge...

Quote:
Originally Posted by zup28w
Downside - I'm not Bob Villa, not the easiest thing to do.
Greg, check my signature for an article with tips on how to do in-wall wiring. Maybe you’ll find it helpful. Primarily dealing with attics, but under-house and basements are covered as well.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#11 of 11 zup28w

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Posted June 13 2009 - 12:49 AM

Totally impressed with all the advice that keeps coming.

Thanks everyone!

Greg





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