Do I have to buy THX speaker wire?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim_Leech, Dec 2, 2002.

  1. Jim_Leech

    Jim_Leech Auditioning

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    I am building my first house and have the ooportunity to run wires before the walls are put up. I have begun shopping around for speaker wire and have learned that I need CL3/CL4 rated. I think I'm also correct in stating the lower the gauge the better the wire?? So I should go with 12 gauge but does it need to be THX certified? Does this really make a difference?

    Thank you,
    Jim
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Jim. Welcome to HTF!
    I'm not a believer in exotic copper. And while Lucas has my respect for creating the THX spec to improve our movie experience, getting the THX label on wire is more marketing than science.
    So, no. Dont pay extra for the THX logo on your speaker wires.
    But I will suggest:
    - You run 12 ga wire to each side of your HT room for 7.1 side speakers.
    - You run 3 sets of 12 ga wire to the rears so you are ready for the rear-center speaker.
    - Zig-Zag the wires inside the walls and tack them down with insulated staples inserted only about half way. If you need more slack later, tug the exposed end to pop the first staple and you get several inches more wire. Tug again for more.
    - Run all wires through plastic electrical outlet box's. While you CAN buy wall-plates with binding posts, dont do this to start. Use blank wall-plates that you drill holes through and pull enough wire to create an un-broken path between the electronics and speakers. Later, you can trim the wires off at the walls and install plates with posts for a neater look.
    We also have a HT Constuction and Interiors fourm which has a lot of good information. Spend a few hours there and you may get some neat ideas.
    Enjoy your stay.
     
  3. Jim_Leech

    Jim_Leech Auditioning

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    Thanks for your help! I'm so glad I found this forum. I'm like a kid in a candy store!

    One other question, I've noticed a wide array of prices. Are there any brands of speaker wire I should STAY AWAY from?

    Thanks again,

    Jim
     
  4. Brian Ruth

    Brian Ruth Supporting Actor

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    Jim...
    STAY AWAY FROM BOSE. That's probably the best advice I can give. [​IMG]
     
  5. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I'm using a 12 guage in wall approved wire that you can buy from Home Depot. Its the one with a ugly green outer cover...it works well for my needs and is affordable....which is important since I've got several hundred feet of the stuff now[​IMG]
     
  6. Jim_Leech

    Jim_Leech Auditioning

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    Thanks! Maybe I'll give that a try. I just don't want whatever I put in there to go bad. I can only imagine the nightmare that would be.

    Jim
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I don't think the THX specification for wire guarantees its not going bad. I have though been unsuccessful in determining what the specification is though. If someone has a link, I'd appreciate reading about it.
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Stunt Coordinator

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    Welcome Jim!

    I finished my speaker wiring about 3 weeks ago. I used grey jacketed 14 gauge audio hookup wire from Home Depot rated as UL approved with a CL3R stamp. Manufactured by Carol in the US of A. Good for an in-wall installation. The nice thing was that it is a twisted (in this case twisted is a good thing) pair of red and black wires so it is easy to keep the phasing correct. I would have used 12 gauge if they had it in stock, but 14 gauge isn't anything to sneeze at.

    Oh yea, measure your wire length generously, then add at least 20 percent.
     
  9. Mark McGill

    Mark McGill Stunt Coordinator

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    I just installed 14g for my rear speakers. Purchased 500ft of THX monster cable off ebay for about .35ft. It is rated for rears a max of 60ft. I will probably go for something heavier ie. 12g for the front speakers. The home depot stuff looked good, but for a little more mooola I thought the ebay thing was good.
     
  10. Aaron Whitaker

    Aaron Whitaker Stunt Coordinator

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    There's also the custom route. I built my own speaker wires using Cat-5e wire and am very happy with it. There are many places on the web where they have different designs for building speaker wires. A lot of them use Cat5, some don't. It would be time consuming braiding the wire for long runs but it might be a little bit better sonically than just using regular copper strand wires that are commonplace in the cheap speaker wires that are sold in stores.

    The method I used was to take three strands of Cat5 and braid them together somewhat tightly and then I used 1 1/2 of the wires for positive and 1 1/2 for negative. You could also contruct them as bi-wires if you want to. Just a thought.
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Stunt Coordinator

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    Aaron,
    I have seen a couple of posts where Cat 5 wire was used for speakers. I'm not an EE, but Cat 5 is only 24 ga wire, even three strands would not make it an equivalent 20 ga wire, way too small for what most would recommend for speaker wire. Although I recall a post where a respected audio mag did a blind sound test and most could not tell the difference between fat and skinny speaker wire, which really flies in the face of common thinking, especially by guys trying to sell high end speaker wire big enough to jump start the space shuttle.

    Can someone more knowledgable comment?
     
  12. Aaron Whitaker

    Aaron Whitaker Stunt Coordinator

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    Here is where I got info for building the cat-5's. I did the FFRC ones but braided them in a tighter weave. I might try and do the Triple T's and see if there is any sonic difference. The big reason I chose Cat5 over regular speaker cables is because they are solid core copper and not stranded.
    http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/diycables.html
     
  13. Ole

    Ole Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, after reading the review of the braided Cat 5 cables at tnt-audio.com from your reference (rather good thickness?) I guess this level of sonic definition is a little out of my league! Sounds like a fine wine review. Gosh, and I almost said if you want solid wires, why not just use some 12-2 romex house wiring.

    "Listening to these cables with an extremely revealing system, they sported a well extended and articulated bass range, a polite and never-invading midrange, cold-leaning mid frequencies, yet with rather good thickness, sharply glossy mid-highs, and very refined and accurate extreme highs."
     
  14. GeorgeTW

    GeorgeTW Stunt Coordinator

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    If you wanted to braid strands of Cat-5 cable, why didn't you consider Kimber Cable? Same thing, has been out for years, and is more durable than propeller head stuff.
     
  15. Aaron Whitaker

    Aaron Whitaker Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes it is the same as the Kimber cable but much cheaper to do yourself and I like doing things myself. I built my own flexy rack and am proud of my work. Down the road I want to build my own speakers using Adire kits. I think it's fun to build it yourself but only if it's cheaper. I bought some handmade silver interconnects off of ebay because it would cost the same or more for me to do it.
     
  16. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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  17. Ted Drain

    Ted Drain Agent

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    Check out Parts Express. They have 12 ga CL3 rated speaker wire for $20/100'.
    12 ga CL3 in wall speaker wire
    I use this stuff for most of my speakers and it works fine.
     

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