Basic Wire Question

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Patrick Fagan, May 2, 2006.

  1. Patrick Fagan

    Patrick Fagan Auditioning

    Apr 12, 2005
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    I'm not a techno-wizard. I need what I think is some simple advice. I'm about to purchase the ONKYO HT-S780 (7.1) and hook it up to a front projection Home Theatre setup in my basement. I'm pre-wiring before I put in the drywall, so I want to do the wiring right.

    What type of wires should I use? Please use layman's terms! I need all suggestions--everything from the type of speaker-wire that I need to all other connections that will give me a good sound and picture, assuming that the projector will be run through the receiver.

    Thank you in advance for your help.
  2. Marc L

    Marc L Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 8, 2006
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    since you are using the reciever for your video switching, from your equipment location I would install two sets of component cables (r,g,b), a standard RG6 coaxial cable, and two Cat 5e cables to the projector location. The Cat 5 cables are for added future flexability. It is feesable that you may only ever use just one of the component cables, but run two "just in case". The coaxial cable could be used for composite video (if needed) or an Ant feed. The Cat 5 could be modified with various ends as needed. They could be used for HDMI, S-Video, composite video, etc....

    Then from your equipment location run a standard RG6 coaxial cable to your subwoofer location...or locations. Then use 14 gauge speaker wire to your speaker locations. I would recommend running 4 conductor speaker wire, that way if you decide in the future to bi-amp your speakers, the wire is there.
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Hi Patrick.

    I'd give some slightly different advice.

    From behind your equipment I would run 3 cables to your projector:

    - 1 component cable
    - 1 SVideo cable
    - 1 Composite cable

    This will handle all your analog video needs.

    BUT - could you install 4" conduit and leave a fish-rope in place to pull more wire later?

    Here is the issue: some projectors take a DVI or HDMI input (digital). And the new High-Def DVD players only put out HDMI (because of the copy protection).

    Even if your planned projector does not take HDMI, one in the future might.

    For cables this long, a custom website is the cheap/best way to go. is a local favorite. They have many happy customers here.


    If you are planning to run in-wall, make sure the wire has fire-resistant sheath. Many building codes require this. Look for terms like "CL3" or "In Wall Rated".

    I tend to prefer 12 ga to all speakers. You can buy some good Carol brand in-wall 12 ga from

    12 ga in-wall was not common until recently. Many high-end HT systems are wired with 4-conductor, 14 ga in-wall wire. 2 of the wires are twisted together at each end to become the "+" side, and the other 2 wires become the "-" side.

    Run all your speaker wires through electrical outlet box's. Pull enough wire to create an un-broken link between your reciever and speakers. Years from now you can cut the wires off and install wall-plates with binding posts. But for now, buy $0.50 blank wall plate covers and drill your own holes. This gives you options for later.

    If you run the speaker wires in-wall, zig-zag the wire between the studs. Use insulated staples but only pound them in half way. Years from now you might need some slack so give a good tug to pop the first staple. Tug again for more.


    Make sure you have power on the ceiling for the projector. Make sure you run the video wires/conduit so they approach the projector away from the AC power.

    Make sure to install a phone-outlet behind your equipment rack. Many Sat and CATV box's want a phone outlet even if you never plan to buy Pay-Per-View movies.

    We have a whole section of the fourm: HT Construction and Interiors, that would interest you.

    Spend some time searching through old posts. Chances are there are issues/problems other members have faced you have not thought about.

    Hope this helps and let us know how the construction goes. We love the DIY stories from our members. (our wives...may not thank you however). [​IMG]
  4. jonnyMa

    jonnyMa Agent

    Feb 20, 2006
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    Im a newbie in the planning stages of my ht and this wiring business is something I am really dreading. I will have an electrician doing the wiring but I am pretty clueless on what I need. Could anyone point me in the direction of a good online guide to wiring a Ht? Thanks.

    p.s. Just a quick (slighlty stupid) question, does the dvd player, projector and speakers all connect to the receiver or does the dvd connect to the projector which connects to the receiver or is the whole thing set up some other way?
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    May 19, 2002
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    It depends on your receiver (and your preference). On a good many you can run everything from your DVD player to the receiver and then the audio from your receiver to your speakers and the video from the receiver to your projector.

    You can also connect only the audio from the DVD player to the receiver, connecting the video to the projector.

    Many receivers have multiple inputs, allowing both audio and video from multiple sources (not just DVD players).

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