Best cable for surround speakers

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dean_M, Feb 12, 2002.

  1. Dean_M

    Dean_M Second Unit

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    I have no way of running concealed wire to my surrounds in my livingroom because of the tile floors, so I'm going to have to run it through the walls with cable. I've read some of the posts and websites on the subject, but I'm still a little confused as to what type of cable to use. I don't think I need the high dollar stuff like Canare but I would like to run coax, unless someone has a better alternative. Which type of coax should I use - RG6 or RG59? Where's the cheapest place to buy it? I only need about 100 feet or so.

    Dean
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Dean. Welcome to HTF! [​IMG]
    All the posts you see about coax are talking about "line-level" signals. These are weak, un-powered signals between electronics. The coax encases the signal wire in a pipe to protect the signal.
    Your surround speakers take "Powered" or "Amplified" audio signals. You use speaker wire for this.
    For long runs, you should use 12 ga wire. You should also run 3 sets of speaker wires to the rears to prepare for that rear-center speaker that is slowly becoming popular.
    You can buy good 12 ga speaker wire and simply use it. But some insurance companies may refuse your claim if they find plain wire in your house after it burns down. So you may want to find in-wall rated speaker wire. Check your local Home Depot/Hardware store.
    Good Luck.
     
  3. Dean_M

    Dean_M Second Unit

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    Thanks Bob! The wire runs are going to be about 30 feet from receiver to speaker. I found some 4 conductor 14 ga. in-wall speaker wire at Parts Express http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...=2909&CATID=56. I was planning on bi-wiring the rear Infinity IL30's like I've done with my other speakers. Would 14 ga. wire be sufficient for this application, or should I step up to 12 ga.?
    Dean
     
  4. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    I used the exact same wire (only the 2 conductor type) for my Polk f/x300i's. It's quality wire for a good price. My runs were 33 feet. Just make sure you make each run of equal length.
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Some speaker sites recommend:

    1-10 feet: 16 ga

    10-20 feet: 14 ga

    20 feet + : 12 ga

    The problem is that a long run of wire will "slant" the sound. It reduces the higher-frequency sounds a LOT more than the lower ones. The thicker wire reduces, but does not eliminate the problem.

    But for the rear channels of a HT system, this is acceptiable. Critical/precise/important sounds dont usually go to the rears.

    Equal Length Issue: Uhhhh ... thats a bit of an audio myth that you need equal length wires. A few years back someone did the math and found you needed a difference of 80 feet to get a 1% phase shift. So add a foot or so for later trimming, but dont worry about exact lengths for speaker wires.

    Video cables...thats a different story.

    Good Luck.
     

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