In-Wall Speaker Wire

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Gates, Aug 16, 2001.

  1. Dave Gates

    Dave Gates Agent

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    Hello all,
    This is only my 2nd post, but I have been browsing this forum since February, when I decided to build a HT/Rec Room in my basement. I already had some of my initial construction questions answered, just by reading most of the past threads in the Building a Home Theater Area.
    However, I still have some questions concerning in-wall speaker wire. I'll list all the pre wiring tips I plan on using for my HT, and then give my specific questions.
    POWER
    (1) 20amp dedicated circuit for equipment (no lights).
    (1) 20amp dedicated circuit for sub (on same leg of panel as equip).
    (1) Power conditioner in equipment rack.
    Commercial grade outlets.
    VIDEO SIGNAL
    (4) RG6, quad shielded (1-Dish In, 1-Cable/OTA, 1-Feed Out, 1-Spare).
    Gold plated F connectors.
    Gold plated wall plates.
    TELECOM
    (1) Phone line for DSS.
    (2) Cat5 lines for future use.
    Wall plates.
    SPEAKER WIRE
    To meet code, I need to install the UL listed wire for in-wall use. I will be terminating the wires at wallplates to meet the WAF [​IMG] and keep the walls looking clean for resale someday. I plan on pre wiring for a 7.1 set up, with a couple of extra runs for bass shakers. [​IMG] The HT area will be approx 17' long x 12' wide. Also, I plan on buying the wire in bulk (500 ft), so I want to use the same wire for the R/L speakers as I do for the surrounds.
    Here are my questions:
    Which type of speaker wire would you recommend?
    A) 14-ga, 2 conductor
    B) 12-ga, 2 conductor
    C) 14-ga, 4 conductor
    D) 12-ga, 4 conductor
    From some of the other posts I have read, I was planning on using the 14-ga, 4 conductor for a couple of reasons. First, my runs are not long enough to realy need the 12-ga wire. Secondly, the 4 conductor allows me the option to bi-amp/bi-wire my surrounds, or just use the 4 conductors as 2 conductors which is essentially a larger conductor than a 12-ga wire.
    Does this sound reasonable?
    Which brand of wire do you recommend? Monster? Liberty? Acoustic Research? I would consider Better Cables, but they do not make an in-wall wire. [​IMG]
    Feel free to give any other suggstions, or comments.
    Thanks in advance.
    Dave
     
  2. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    First, I will comment on what I feel is missing (IMHO):
    1. Subwoofer and/or bass shaker lines to various locations.
    If you will have an active sub, I recommend using RG-6 cable for these. Probably 4 locations: Front L, Front R, Rear L, and Rear R. You never know where the sub will work or "look" the best. If you already know where the sub is going to be, then just one location.
    If you will have a passive sub, this means more speaker cable from the amp to the sub location.
    Next general comments:
    1. Have an idea of what 7.1 system you are going to use in order to allow for proper placement of the rear and surround speakers.
    2. Make sure that you are using copper RG-6 cable for the subwoofer connection.
    3. I would recommend 14-4 speaker cable. AudioAdvisor has some very good AR-Pro 14-4 cable for in-wall use. No, it is not top of the line, but it is very good. BTW - two 14's equal one 11.
    Good Luck,
    Mike
     
  3. andyg

    andyg Agent

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    I would also go with the 14-4 UL rates for in-wall use. This will allow you more flexibility if you want to bi-wire in the future. Go with the RG-6 quad copper core as suggested. This is the set I ran to every section of the room I built (All corners plus an extra set in the front middle and rear of the room.)
    1 14-4
    1 RG-6 quad
    1 Cat5
    As a network installer, I have found with my experience you can never overwire. My rule of thumb is find out the number of connections you need and double it....
    ---Andy Garabedian
     
  4. Phil Iott

    Phil Iott Auditioning

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    I have a question along these lines as well. I am mounting my surrounds on the wall in my living room and will be running the wires under the floor in the basement from one side of the room to the other. The speakers will be mounted about 5-6 feet up on the walls. My only problem is that I need some way to cover up the holes that I will have to drill for the speaker wire. I don't really want to put a whole wall plate with banana jacks up there, it seems too large and intrusive. I'd like to find some kind of round plastic or rubber gromet about 3/4 or 1 inch in diameter just to run the wire through the middle so it looks clean. Does anyone know if a product like that exists and where I might find it? If not, how did you handle the in-wall wire issue in your theater? Thanks.
    ------------------
    My DVDs
     
  5. Dave Gates

    Dave Gates Agent

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    Mike & Andy,
    Thanks for the replies.
    I've never owned a subwoofer before, so I never had to hook one up. I assumed I would just have to run speaker wire and power (it will be a powered sub), to the possible sub locations. Why the RG-6? Is it better than speaker wire, or is that how powered subs are connected?
    I was planning on getting Polk speakers, surrounds and powered sub, but now I am seriously considering one of the powered SVS subs that everyone keeps raving about. I do not know what kind of connections either one of these subs has, so any help would be appreciated.
    Phil,
    Take a look at this link, for all types of grommets: http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/searchr...Page=2&?&DID=6
    Dave
     
  6. Phil Iott

    Phil Iott Auditioning

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    Thanks Dave, I ended up ordering some grommets from this place: http://www.mockett.com/
    They have all kinds of cool stuff.
    Phil
    ------------------
    My DVDs
     
  7. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    I apologize if this is simplified, but I'll do my best...
    A powered subwoofer (on with a built-in amp) can take signals one of two ways:
    1. The most common using current day amplifiers is through a standard patch cord with RCA or phono-plug ends. An "RCA" style end is the same type that is used to connect all types of equipment to the receiver (CD players, tape decks, phono's, etc.). Most current amplifiers (or receivers) have a "sub-out" jack on the back of the unit. Using a standard patch cord (RCA style ends) to connect the receiver to the sub (which will hae the same type of input connection) the low level bass signals are sent to the subwoofer. At that point the sub amplifies the signal and reproduces bass. This type of input is called "line-level", since it preceeds the amplifier section.
    2. If you don't have a receiver with a "sub-out" jack, you would need to use the speaker level connections, which are connected much the same way as a speaker (speaker wire with +/- connections). The sub takes this amplified signal and converts it to low level bass line-level signals for the sub's amp to reamplify and reproduce.
    All powered subs that you would consider buying will have a line-level connection. The question is, "What receiver are you going to use, and does it have a sub-out connection?"
    If you are using a receiver with Dolby Digital decoding built-in, it is required to have a sub-out. The sub-out is the .1 of the 5.1 channels.
    Hopefully this helps explain why you would want RCA-type lines and connectors for the sub.
    Good Luck,
    Mike
     
  8. Dave Gates

    Dave Gates Agent

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    Mike,
    I am an engineer, so I wouldn’t call your answer simplistic, but rather I’d call it detailed, and just what I was looking for in a reply. Thanks! However, I am still confused about the suggestion you made in your first post in this thread, about the use of RG-6 cable in the wall for runs to the possible Sub locations.
    I have not decided on the specific equipment I will be getting, but right now I am researching the receivers in the Kenwood Sovereign and Sony ES lines. The ones that I have looked at so far, all have a “sub-out” jack, with the RCA style connector.
    Here is where I am still getting confused. How do I go from a female RCA connector on the receiver, to a female RG-6 connector on the wall plate? Then how to I get from the female RG-6 connector on another wall plate, to a female RCA connector on the Sub? Aren’t the center pins on RCA cables larger than the center pins on RG-6 cables with F-connectors?
    I looked in my trusty Crutchfield catalog, and found the MonsterBass 300 Subwoofer cable, which does not look like it will plug into an RG-6 wall plate. Am I missing something here? Is there a different wall plate/connector for the RG-6 that I should plan on using, which will accept a male RCA plug?
    Thanks again,
    Dave
     
  9. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    David,
    There are two ways that this can be accomplished, one is much easier than the other.
    First, the easiest way: One word (O.K. maybe two) Radio Shack. They sell a coupling that converts a "F" style connector (the screw-on type that is used for cable TV) to an RCA style connector.
    Assuming this set-up: RCA jack on back of receiver (Sub-out), "F" jack at wall plate by receiver, "F" jack at wall plate by sub, and RCA jack on back of sub (line-in).
    Connect your patch cord (I would forget Monster and buy Radio Shack "Gold" series, or AR-Pro series - better bang for the buck) to the receiver sub-out (or sub-in at powered woofer on the other end) and on the other end of the patch cord use the RCA-F coupler to connect to the wall plate.
    Although not necessary, I would recommend the "gold plated" couplers-less likely to corrode.
    I also recommend using copper conductor RG-6 cable. Do a search on RG-6 in the hardware section or ask about "Where to buy copper RG-6". I don't know if Ratshack carries copper conductor RG-6.
    Second method: Use RCA connctors at the end of the RG-6 cable and wall plates that have RCA jacks. I made my own cable using the methods and tools recommended by Chris White in the hardware portion of this forum. I will see if I can find the thread and come back and post a link in this reply. A couple possibly useful threads....
    http://www.bus.ucf.edu/cwhite/theater/diycable.htm
    Good Luck!
    Mike
    [Edited last by Mike O'Connell on August 28, 2001 at 08:55 AM]
     
  10. Andrew Hornfeck

    Andrew Hornfeck Auditioning

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    My new house is just underway and I've been seriously looking into wire. I found Home Depot has some excellent buys on Leviton network stuff. Also, they've got General Cat5e at $55/1000' Pull-Pak, RG-6/U Quad Shield (Carol C5785) at $57/500' Spool, and Leviton QuickPort parts for cheap!
    So, I bought the Leviton 14 box, Advanced network insert, and an extra cat5 module. I plan on running the above mentioned cables for phone, data and DSS/OTA viewing. I'm also planning on buying my 14/4 from PartsExpress at $332/1000' roll and the direct-burial for the pool speakers.
    On InfraRed, should I use Cat5e or a 22/2-shielded cable for the hardwiring? I could run both but it's senseless if you guys say...
    In FrontProjector interconnects, I'd seen the DIY page with the Canare setup and an wondering if you'd seen the NEW HQ cables available at SmartHome: http://www.smarthome.com/85106.html These are some really nice-looking cables and they're advertising them as top-of-the-line stuff.
    They've got component, composite, S-video and audio cables available in an assortment of lengths and they're all 99.994% Pure OFHC copper... In the 6M length the Canare would cost me $48 more than these, about equal on the Composite and S-video isn't available through the Canare.
    These will cost $70, 35, and 33 for $138 -- is this too cheap or just a great deal? I still have to buy a HD15-to-5BNC Double-Shielded, 25' cable from www.markertek.com for $83 for a grand total of $221. Once again... too cheap or excellent value?
    Please REPLY... I need a sanity check!
    Thanks
    Andrew
    PS I'm planning on getting Middle Atlantic rack rails, shelves, drawers, etc. from Markertek, too. I'm going with the Niles Audio In-Wall speakers for the 5 and I bought a Yamaha YST-SW800 for the lows. Any thoughts?
    [Edited last by Andrew Hornfeck on September 02, 2001 at 11:08 PM]
     
  11. Dave Gates

    Dave Gates Agent

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    Mike,
    Thanks for all the great info. I went to Radio Shack and checked out the adapter that you mentioned, and I also checked out the method recommended by Chris White. While the adapter does look like the easiest and cheapest way to connect a sub-woofer through the walls, I am going to use the Chris White method. Like you said, some initial investment, but it does look like the superior wiring method. BTW the link you provided, was one of the most detailed and informative diy wiring fabrication sites I have seen. Thanks again.
    Andrew,
    I am not planning on doing any infrared wiring nor will I be installing a FP, so I can not give you any feedback on you questions. Sorry.
    Dave Gates
     

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