Is it necessary to keep wire lengths consistent?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rob Landolfi, Mar 24, 2002.

  1. Rob Landolfi

    Rob Landolfi Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey everyone,

    In planning my system, I was wondering what the best way to determine wire length to each of the speakers was... do you measure for each of the center/fronts and use the longest of the measurements for all three to keep them the same length, or do you use only the length you need for each speaker to accomplish the connection thereby having the shortest run for each? Is there any concern for any type of timing issues?

    For the surrounds, the lengths will be longer than for the center/fronts... should they be the same for both surrounds, or can they just be the length required to complete the connection? I can't imagine that having/hiding extra wire length is useful in either case, but wanted to be sure before I started putting things together. Thanks.
     
  2. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    789
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  3. Rob Landolfi

    Rob Landolfi Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Brian,

    Thanks for the clarification. That helps me a great deal.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Some speaker sites recommend the following gauge wire based on length of run:

    1-10 feet: 16 ga

    10-20 feet: 14 ga

    20+ feet: 12 ga

    But most of us buy a spool of 12 ga wire and use it everywhere.

    I would leave a few feet extra in gentle curves until you find the final resting place for your speakers. Then cut with a foot or so extra of slack so you can move things around without pulling things apart.

    Radio Shack has 2 products that might be usefull to you:

    Dual banana plugs: xxx-308 - These are great for behind the speakers (but buy 1 set and make sure your speakers accept the spacing).

    Single Banana Plugs: xxx-306 - These work for odd-spacing, and for behind your receiver where the dual plugs might stick out too far.

    These are both great time savers and make it easy to do a neat job.:_

    They also sell some pin-connectors if your receiver has spring clips instead of binding posts.
     
  5. Rob Landolfi

    Rob Landolfi Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Bob,

    Thanks for the elaboration. I am planning on buying enough 12-ga wire to complete the entire wiring job. I need to get the in-wall certified wire as the run to my surrounds will be cleanest that way, and I'll keep everything the same. Home Depot/Lowes has it for a great price.

    Your banana plugs info was great... I am going to go with them had been wondering about the dual vs single plugs. The duals seem to offer a bit of durability/speed advantages, and I don't forsee any spacing problems with the back end of my (soon to be purchased) receiver. But like you pointed out, I will check with a pair of duals before buying all I need. Have a good one, and thanks for the advice!
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Oh, you are running In-Wall!
    Make sure to run 3 sets of speaker wires to the rear - dont forget that rear-center speaker that is becoming popular.
    Also, if the corner with the longest un-broken walls is at the rear, run some RG6 coax (yes, the CATV stuff) to the rear to drive a subwoofer. If not, you can use it to drive bass-shakers/tactile tranducers under your couch.
    (The extra wire is cheap compared to the labor to run it.
    Good Luck.
     
  7. Rob Landolfi

    Rob Landolfi Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Bob,

    Again, great info! My in-wall run won't be too difficult as I was able to pull the existing cable-TV run back through it and I passed a nylon line back through as a "place holder". I'll run my surround wires back through, and set up banana plug wall plates to finish everything off.

    My room isn't too large, approx 18X20, and we're planning on the standard 5.1 set-up. If I do go to a sixth channel, it's only my labor involved as far as wiring is concerned.

    There is just so much to think about! As for the subwoofer, I'm fairly limited in my placement and it will start out "up front" pretty much where any set-up diagram I've found so far shows them. I don't think that I'll have the opportunity to put it on a back wall, though your mention of using the RG-6 is intriguing since that is where my longest un-broken wall is located... you're talking about the bass port facing down the wall, correct? My up-front location is just outside the mains (they're to be mounted on the outside of our entertainment center) facing the audience. There is open space "outboard" of the sub (viewing room as a "bumpout" where the wall would normally be). Though it may not be the absolute ideal location, I think it will work rather well. I'll try some different front placements, and if I'm not satisfied, I'll investigate a potential rear-set up in the future. I appreciate your input!
     
  8. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Subwoofer Placement: You hear direct sound & wall reflections with a sub. For movies, you often want the maximum wall reflections for the enhanced experience. This means you put the sub in a corner (called "corner-loading"). The best corner is usually at the intersection of the 2 longest, un-broken walls. This is sometimes at the rear, sometimes at the front.
    Running Wires: My advice would be to pull enough wire to provide a un-broken run from your receiver to your speakers. Run everything through electrical outlet box's. Buy blank face-plates and drill holes for the wires to poke through. This gives you a un-broken path, yet still looks nice.
    Later, you can cut the wires of near the walls and install wall-plates with binding posts if you decide to move/abandon the wires.
    So this gives you the best install (and is cheaper) [​IMG]
    Great idea leaving the "fish rope" for more wire.
     
  9. Mike H Wizard

    Mike H Wizard Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2002
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Guys,

    I have a Question about this part of Bob's reply:

    "Also, if the corner with the longest un-broken walls is at the rear, run some RG6 coax (yes, the CATV stuff) to the rear to drive a subwoofer."

    Could you please try and explain this to me? If you run the RG6 coax (CATV Stuff), how can you hook this up to the subwoofer, do you need a special connector of some sort?

    Thank you in advance,

    Mike
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Mike.

    Your subwoofer cable IS coaxial. If you cut one, it would look just like your CATV coax.

    You can crimp/solder RCA plugs onto RG6 coax and make your own long subwoofer cable. You can also put on ordinary CATV "F" connectors and buy "F-to-RCA Male" adaptors at RAdio Shack.

    The idea would be something like this: You put in a "Y" connector on the LFE output of your receiver. One branch would go to your real sub. The other would go to the wire that runs behind your seating position.

    Here, you would install a amp/spare receiver. You run the coax into a spare input. The speaker output would run to Bass Shakers/Tactile Transducers under your couch. You adjust the rear amp level until the couch shakes pleasantly during action scenes.

    Does this help?
     
  11. Rob Landolfi

    Rob Landolfi Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Bob,

    Great suggestions! I hadn't ever looked for crimp-on RCA connectors to convert an RG-6 cable into a sub cable, and I was pretty much resigned to putting in banana plug wall plates for my wires... that would have resulted in 28 banana plugs ($$$$) total. One of the salesmen in a local audio store also mentioned to me awhile back about the "one continuous connection from the receiver to the speakers" and I hadn't given it much thought since then. But you're right, it is a great deal cheaper and I wouldn't introduce any unnecessary breaks in the wire. The RG-6 is a good way to test different sub locations as quantities of that are cheaper/easier to come by than pricey sub cables.

    I really thought I'd place my sub along the forward wall vice the rear wall, but you've given me something to think about. The ideal spot in your description is likely along my rear wall, and this would be a better spot for hiding, future toddler avoidance, etc. I'd like to prepare a viewing room diagram if you wouldn't mind perusing it to note some potential locations... I'm going to hit some subwoofer threads as well and see what advice is out there.
     
  12. Rob Landolfi

    Rob Landolfi Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Bob,
    I realize this is getting off the original topic, but I can find you here for the time being [​IMG]
    In researching subwoofer issues, I ran across this article: http://www.smr-home-theatre.org/Sub-woofer-Set-Up/ . The "positioning" section mentions that (summary) "normally the absolute worst place for the sub is behind the listening position" and that the goal should be to place it within three feet of the plane created by the center/mains to create a sound that doesn't fatigue the listener. I don't know about the author's "credentials" but wanted to get your thoughts on this article. From what I've seen so far, this topic is another pandora's box issue... the more you find, the more confusing it seems to get.
    I also wanted to clarify the meaning of corner loading... does the bass port fire into the corner, or out along the wall? Thanks for your patience! Have a good one.
     
  13. Mike H Wizard

    Mike H Wizard Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2002
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Good Morning Bob and Everyone Else,

    Yes your message about using coax does help, where could I purchase Bass Shakers?

    I have another question for you regarding, using RG-6 Coax for a rear Sub Woofer Cord...

    I was at Home Depot looking at RG-6 Coax and there were 2 kinds one was a quad shielded and the other was the standard 50ft RCA packaged kind.

    The Home Depot guy said that if I were to run the coax for a long distance, that it would hum.

    My question for you is; is this true or would I be fine running the 50ft standard RG-6?

    Please let me know as soon as you can, because I will be wiring my new Townhome for a Home Theater setup, probably next weekend or the weekend after that, depending on when the builders say I can go in and wire the setup...

    Thank you in advance,

    Mike
     
  14. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  15. Mike H Wizard

    Mike H Wizard Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2002
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ok Great!

    Thank you very much Bob for all of your input and information over the course I have been looking on here and thank you to everyone else...

    This forum is awesome and I have learned a lot over the course I have been on here...

    Thanks again,

    Mike
     
  16. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mike: are you getting to run the wires BEFORE the sheet rock goes up?
    If so, try this: buy a box of insulated staples. When you run the coax/speaker wires down the studs, zig-zag them on the last wall. Use the insulated staples driven in half way.
    Years from now, you may need some slack. Give the exposed wires a tug to pop the first staple - you get about 6 inches of slack. Pull again to get more.
    (Pictures of before/after are always fun .. hint hint [​IMG] )
     
  17. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 1999
    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'd run raw 20/2 wire for the sub. It will give you more flexibility in future setups. If you run RG6 you are limited in the future. By running 20/2 you can use different inputs on your sub. For instance, Triad PowerSubs have a "Theater" input that bypasses the internal volume control in the sub and the filters. The "Line Level Inputs" are L/R inputs and use the subs volume control and filters. Don't limit yourself by running only one wire. Also, although RG6 will work for a sub connection it may not be the proper cable for the job.

    I use 14/4 or 14/2 wire in my installations. 12 guage wire is simply overkill except for very few applications. Good luck.
     
  18. Mike H Wizard

    Mike H Wizard Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2002
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hello Bob and everyone again,
    Yes, I get to do the wiring before the Sheet Rock goes up, the builders hope to let me get in there to do my wiring the weekend of May 3rd through the 5th, but we will see...
    Bob with your last idea for me, could you please clarify what you mean about the below part:
     
  19. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2000
    Messages:
    3,210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Rob just a few things I learned gutting my house.

    Quad shielded coax is cheap and can be used for multiple uses.

    I ran at least (4 runs of it to each room from my main set up)

    1 for DSS or cable and 3 (right, left and video ) I run into the video input of the TV for that room. That way I can have the video playing in my front room on a TV anywhere in the house.

    Its good to put it in more than one wall, since wives like to redecorate and change the TV location (and they hate wires running across the room)

    Its cheap and easy now....later is a total pain so run more than you think you'll need

    Same with Cat 5 phone lines

    Label each cable carefully, they will all look the same when you are done

    good luck

    grant
     

Share This Page