New Home AV wiring

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Anderson, Feb 10, 2002.

  1. Brian Anderson

    Brian Anderson Auditioning

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    Hello all,

    First, I am very impressed with the professionalism of this forum. I have been looking for HT info on the net for the past few weeks and finally ran across this forum, and it is just what I was looking for.

    My wife and I are building a home (spec) and I will be doing my own wiring for speakers and Enet before the sheetrock crew gets started. I have a question regarding length of runs. First, the TV nook is over the fireplace (it can hold a 40 inch diagonal TV) in the living room, and htis is where we want the AV equipment to be. The bonus room will be a play room/guest room. Alongside the fireplace are floor to ceiling built-in bookcases. My wife's preference is to place the AV equipment in an antique cabinet of some sort along the wall opposite the TV nook. Therefore, I would like any advice regarding the cable runs: my plan is to use CAT5 cables for audio and video signals from the cabinet back to the TV nook. We do not currently have a home theater system, it will come in the next few years and I want to wire the room for flexibility. Can CAT5 be used for long (30 foot) video runs (component or S-video)? I plan to purchase a DVD player as well as either a receiver/speaker system or HTiB (like the Kenwood that has been discussed in some of the forum threads).

    Finally, if the cable runs are too long for high quality component video connections, I plan to use the built-ins for the AV equipment. Caveat: I will need to install doors on the shelves that will hold the equipment. What type of ventilation is required for home AV equipment enclosed in a built-in shelving unit?

    FYI: I play bass guitar (low end is important to me) and also engineer for live and recorded applications. I have experience in wiring for pro sound as well as sound system design for church applications. So I understand some aspects of sound system design. Home Theater is a new area to me, which is why I am posting to this forum. Thanks for an advice!!

    Brian
     
  2. Jeff Aguilar

    Jeff Aguilar Stunt Coordinator

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    I had my house wired for sound when it was built. The installer did not use Cat 5. For the speakers I had a shielded in-wall speaker wire used and for all my video (component & composite) runs he used RG-6. Works great. All of my gear is in the den while the TV and speakers are in the family room.
    Chris White has a great site for making RCA cables from RG-6. Check it out atChris White's do-it-yourself page
    Jeff Aguilar
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi brian!
    welcome to htf! [​IMG]
    i'm not sure, but i always thought cat-5 cabling was for pc application only. i don't see those "skinny" wires being able to hold the audio/video signals. unless i'm thinking of a different kind of cabling.
    i know some people make dedicated wiring bundles that usually have coax, composite, telephone, signal wire, romex, etc. i wonder if something like that would work for you...
    also, there's a installation forum here...if you don't get a lot of feedback ask a moderator to move this thread there...you may have better luck.
    just wondering: doesn't spec means you're building and financing the house yourself?
    in any case, since you have the opportunity now, think about wiring for the future. i'd run dedicated a/v wiring to every location i think i may need in the future. make sure you run all the cabling types (composite, component, s-video, etc) and that you run speaker wire to all your possible locations (rear wall, side wall, front, center). also, you may want to consider where you'll put a subwoofer and run a coax to that location too!
     
  4. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Brian Cat5 is not appropriate for audio and video distribution. I'd run 16/4 or 14/4 CL3 rated speaker wire for audio and the appropriate cables (S-Video, Component, RG6, etc.) for video.
     
  5. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    When you say Spec, does that mean you are your own contractor? Good, then.

    I bring it up because I heard a story this morning about a subdivision unit homebuyer who ran Cat5 after hours. When the Florsheim Co. builder found it, they ripped it all out, so THEIR subs cud run it...
     
  6. Brian Anderson

    Brian Anderson Auditioning

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    Thanks for the responses,

    I know that I need to run speaker (12-14 ga) wire for the audio runs after the amplifiers. I have some audio runs that will be line level signals from the AV cabinet back tot he television. I had read somewhere, and also had discussions with some people, that CAT5 could be used for audio (line level) and video signals. From what I have seen here, CAT5 is not appropriate for video. I had planned on running speaker wire where appropriate.

    I will probably post this question (revised) to the interconnect forum.

    My understanding of a spec home is we buy it once it is done, we are not the contractor, but we can pick colors and some custom features. I do have approval fromt he builder to run my own CAT5 and AV cabling. THanks for the help,

    Brian
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Brian: forget the Cat5 for anything but computer networking.

    The "Cat5" based speaker wire involves taking the individual wires out of the sheath and brading them over and over again until you get close to 12 ga diameter. It's NOT running a single run of Cat5 and using it for speaker wire.

    You should re-post this question in the "Building a Home Theater Area" fourm.
     
  8. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    There's really no need to repost this question in any of the other forums. You've gotten the answers already, you won't get anything different in the other forums.

    The biggest problem with Cat5 is that it isn't shielded. You can use RG-6 coax cable for all your video and line level audio runs...yes, even S-video. There are adapters on the market to let you easily convert 2 coax cables into 1 S-video cable.
     
  9. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Brian,

    For conducting a line level signal you should run 22/2 or 22/4 conductor wire. Regards.
     
  10. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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  11. Brian Anderson

    Brian Anderson Auditioning

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    Hello all,

    I think I have opened up a can of worms here. A few points of clarification may be in order:

    1. I understand, and understood before I posted, that CAT% could not be used for speaker runs. I know this from 20 years of running sound and playing bass guitar semi-professionally. It was never my intention to run CAT5 for speakers. I plan to run 12 gauge speaker wire for all speaker runs.

    2. In the pro audio world, audio cable (not speaker cable) is generally two or three conductor cable. Balanced runs use three conductors, and unbalanced use two. BOTH are shielded, the two conductor cable has a stranded shield wire wrapping around the signal wire that is used as the drain and the shiled. Three conductor wire has a hot, cold, and separate shield that is tied to ground. So, when I mentioned aduio runs, I was thinking in these terms. My understanding is that CAT5 is shielded cable (twisted pair configuraiton provides shielding in a similar manner as the two conductor wire. It is also my understanding that very few consumer audio products offer balanced input and output options, so all line level signals shoould be run using two cionductor shielded cable. In the pro auido world, balanced lines prevent just about all interference, provded all components in the signal chain are connected with balanced cables and can support balanced signals. My main question here is, can CAT5 suffice for audio runs (non-speaker) in your experience. Theoretically it should work, but I wanted to know if anyone has information on signal degradation over longer runs using CAT5.

    3. Video cabling: It is obvious from this forum that I cannot run video over CAT5, but has anyone actually tried it? If so, how did it work? I guess I am looking for someone to tell me that the physics don't work out for video to run on CAT5.

    Sorry for the unclear post to begin with. Thanks,

    Brian
     

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