custom install- selecting speaker wires

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by trey-m, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. trey-m

    trey-m Stunt Coordinator

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    0. Hey everyone, I just discovered this forum and I love it!

    1a. I am having someone install home theater wiring in my new condo (in a day and a half from now). I told them I wanted 5 pairs of speaker wire and 1 sub coax on the front wall, and the same on the back wall. The store doing the installation told me I could save some money if I go with 2 runs of 14/4 and 1 run of 14/2 to each wall, implying that I could run 2 speakers on a single 14/4 wire. My first impression was disgust, for I thought (and still think) that quad wires serve a purpose for reducing noise and interference for a single signal. (Ha, say "single signal" 10 times fast.) Perhaps it may be applicable for bi-wiring, but not 2 distinct sources!? I am right about this?

    1b. However, after further thought, for my particular situation I wonder if it may be OK. The reason I want 5 speaker pairs on the front wall instead of 3 is because I really like my stereo speakers, but cannot afford to get a surround sound system of equivalent value. (And now you can laugh because they are only B&W 602's powered by a Rotel Integrated 970bx, but I just blew all my money on getting the condo....) What I am thinking of doing is getting a cheap HTIB like the Onkyo HT-S770 for $450 or the HK for about $700 to hold me over, but I also want my B&W's out there for listening to music, thus the 5 pairs in the front. I really only need 3 in the back for 6.1, or maybe 4 for 7.1 but I figured I'd just mimic the front wall in the back in case the next owner wants to put the screen on the back wall. (I know I'll sell the place within a few years so I want to maximize re-usability.) And finally, the question: If I put the front L surround channel and my stereo L speaker on the same 14/4 wire, only 2 of the 4 wires would ever be used at one time (because I'm either watching a movie or listening to music, but not both simultaneously), so would this make 2 speakers sharing the same wire "more okay"? (This of course assumes that my assumption from 1a above is correct.) Another way of putting it might be, if one uses only 2 channels of a quad cable, and the other 2 are not used, how is the signal effected? (Perhaps the answer might depend on whether or not the other 2 channels are hooked up to an amplifier that is powered on, even if it's not sending a signal, as opposed to simply being not connected to anything?)

    1c. As of now, I am planning to do 3 terminating plates. One big one in a tucked away corner for where the rack will be, and one plate each on the front and back wall with 5 speaker pairs and a coax. The plan is to make some speaker stands and have the wires going from the wall to speakers, so each only needs to be perhaps 2-8 feet, which I don't think would look so bad. I realize that terminating plates add a lot of extra connections, and I welcome your opinions about whether or not to even use terminating plates, or to just run the wire through directly to the speakers. (Note though that I know I will sell the condo and do want it look nice for someone who might not desire a home theater, if there is such a person. Aesthetics and the reselling factor were my main reasons for deciding on the terminating plates.)

    2. I would like to mention a philosophy of mine which I hope will guide you in answering my above questions. In all of my questions, there may be a theoretical answer, as well as a practical answer. By practical I mean, "Will I hear a difference?" Even if I come up with the money to get 600 series B&W for the theater system, and a $500-1000 receiver, my total equipment cost will still be under $3K. Please take that into consideration when trying to decide whether or not I'll be able to "hear the difference".

    Sorry this note just kept on growing longer and longer. Thanks so much in advance.
    -Trey
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Highly unlikely.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. trey-m

    trey-m Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you very much for the reply. I think I will proceed as planned.


    I'm going to venture a guess then that one can only hear a difference between 14/4 and 11/2 (for one loudspeaker) on extremely high end systems.

    Can anyone out there personally attest to being able to hear the difference between quad wires and the equivalent larger gauge 2 wire? (In a blind A/B testing environment?)

    Thanks.
     
  4. trey-m

    trey-m Stunt Coordinator

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    I just reread the quote from canare. They actually don't claim that the quad wire effects the signal to the loudspeaker. If I'm interpreting it correctly, if effects the EMI radiating from the cable to other nearby cables. So perhaps I should rephrase the question to: "Has anyone ever been able to see a difference in their video quality, by laying their video cable next to a quad speaker cable as opposed to a 2-wire speaker cable of equivalent gauge?"

    I'm laughing now at how contrived this question has become. There must be a better argument for quad cables....
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    What Wayne said.
    Yes, microphone cables for instance. For in-wall installation, code in your area may mandate the use of CL2/3 type wiring (it's a fire code thing) which is probably what your installer has in mind.
    Nice place Naperville. My son used to live there in one of those many developments situated on the golf courses.
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Pull enough wire to create a un-broken run from amp to speakers. Buy blank wall-plates and drill holes just large enough for the wires to fit through for a "custom" look. Later if you want, you can buy Decora wall plates with binding posts, but pulling the extra wire now give you the best possible hookup, and options for later.
     

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