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New Home Theater - Wiring Advice

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by ukchris, May 19, 2019.

  1. ukchris

    ukchris Auditioning

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    Hello! New user here hoping to get some advice and guidance. I am currently starting a project to finish my attic and plan to make it a combined rec space and home theater. The floorplan is a 38' x 28' colonial so a 45 degree roof pitch up to a 7' flat ceiling with a staircase splitting the room roughly in half. As such my proposed space will be roughly 20' square.

    My tentative plan is to have an electric screen recessed in the new ceiling at one end of the room, when down it'll cover the window, I'll add blinds if that is not sufficient light blocking. I aim to have projector wiring in the ceiling and initially use an Epson HD projector that I already have (throw distance etc to be determined).

    While I'd welcome any guidance people care to share my main dilemma is around wiring for now. As the space is not yet framed I want to make sure I have flexibility for wiring and surround sound. Should I assume speaker connections in all four corners, a sub and a center connection below (or above?) the screen? I have not researched or decided on a receiver / speaker setup which will probably be clear from my questions.

    a) Should I run 14/4 from a corner location where I'd locate equipment, will that be sufficient for all M may want to do or should I consider conduit through which I can snake wires later?

    b) Are there advantages / disadvantages to planning in wall/ceiling speakers vs wall or ceiling mounted?

    c) Should I put receptacles in proposed the speaker locations to provide flexibility for later or just leave my wires in known spots behind the drywall?

    If it matters I don't see this being overdone, I'd given the cost involved in the initial finishing I'd likely start out with a reasonably priced home theater system but tend to think it makes sense to design with flexibility in mind for the future. While I am familiar with regular projectors, wiring etc. my only real home theater experience has been with an Onkyo set I had a number of years ago in an unfinished basement. Thoughts on an initial setup for sound and switching would be welcome, I'll likely want to have a Roku and a cable box connected and maybe two outputs so I can choose TV/Projector as circumstances dictate.

    Very much appreciate any guidance and tips!

    Chris.
     
  2. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Lead Actor
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    Here is my suggestion given your situation. I would prewire your cat6 ethernet and run two seperate cables using one for a ethernet switch and having the other cable as backup. Then I would run inwall rated 14gage speaker wire for every run, I like AudioQuest but you can get what ever you would like. I would run two wires for your left, center and right just incase you decide to biamp the front three channels at any point. Wire is not wicked expensive so no mater if your set on a 5.1, 5.2, 5.1.2, 5.2.2, 5.1.4, 7.1.2, 7.2.4 or what ever combination you will be prewired! Since your not framed yet and even if your going to run conduit it doesn't hurt to run everything right off the bat! I would run cable for a subwoofer in every corner and in the middle of the side walls. Sure your not going to run that many subwoofers but that is not the point. The point is you will be able to connected it anywhere you need to place it and add subwoofers as you see fit and the wires are already run. Run speaker wire for multiple surround speakers per surround channel. Also run speaker wire to possible outdoor speaker placement for alternate zone 2 or 3 audio from your receiver or preamp/processor. You can decide if you want to fish extra wire later or with a project starting from scratch do all the wiring including extra placement ahead of time. This also adds value down the road if and when you decide you need to move because the next owner will not have to wire anything and it is a good selling point.

    As far as inwall speakers go I would only use them for surrounds and only if you know your seating or sofa will never move! Many inwall speaker grills can be painted to match your walls which makes it nice and making speakers disappear can enhance wife approval. Depending on your ceiling however you may or may not be able to use inwall speakers but make sure the tweeter is adjustable to aim at the listening area. I see you want a Ruku streaming box but also check out the 4K Apple TV. I resisted streaming for many years and I just recently purchased a 4K Apple TV and it works really good and the picture quality is very good as well. I belive you can get the Ruku app as well not to mention Movies Anywhere and Vudu for the Apple TV plus other apps. And I would like to suggest checking out Marantz for your receiver if you will be in the market for a new one. Depending on your budget Sony 4K projectors have come way down in price so you may want to consider them as many projectors are still quasi 4K.

    This is my set up and maybe it will give you ideas.

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  3. ukchris

    ukchris Auditioning

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    Dave,

    Thank you for your reply, good guidance and great recommendations. I have a few observations in response and (of course) a couple of follow up questions.

    With regard to equipment I intend on flexibility, I'll likely finish up with Cable, Roku, Apple TV and maybe PS4/XBox etc, I think my main concern there is plenty of HDMI ports on the receiver. I will run hard wired ethernet and a switch to the equipment area to make sure I have the nest signal possible - will likely have a wifi mesh router in the room but figure I may as well hard wire were I can.

    My #1 goal is getting the right cables inside the walls / ceiling, are you recommending running ethernet and speaker cable to each speaker point? Easy enough to do just curious as I hadn't expected to need/want ethernet at the speaker mounts. Should I also be planning 110v outlets at each point? Honestly not sure which speakers are powered or not, I assume a sub would be powered...?

    The bigger deliberation is how to terminate, if I'm going to out proper outlets in I'd rather mount them before the drywall - if for example I'm going to terminate as female banana plug "outlets" or would you leave bare wire behind the wall and use a trim piece to tidy them up? I have mut in retrofit will plates with the "brush opening" before, just not sure as to the best way to terminate to maintain flexibility. Do most setups use banana plugs rather than bare wire / posts?

    I have attached a (rough) diagram of the space, it is a pretty typical attic - or about 3/5 of the space to be more specific, the screen will come down in front of the window in the end wall, I am assuming equipment to the left of it in a corner by the knee wall or nearer the middle. Should I run wire to each back corner, back middle, front left, right and middle? i.e. Do the corners and middle back and middle front cover it?

    My dilemma over in wall speakers or wall mounted comes from height/space. There will be a knee wall roughly 3' high then a 45 degree slope up to a flat 7' ceiling. I could mount speakers to the sloped wall but I don't think I can ceiling mount as the entry will be to one side and there's probably not enough room to walk under them. I think my choices are in the wall (ceiling, on the sloping wall or the knee wall) or mounted lower (midway down the slope or near the floor).

    Does that make sense?

    Very much appreciate your help :) thanks again.
     

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  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Install conduit with fish line for the projector. That allows you to run HDMI today for HD and be able to upgrade to whatever cable is needed when you upgrade video in the future.

    Floor or wall speakers are preferred to ceiling mounted for basic surround. Ceiling in my experience gives the weakest sense of surround out of a 5.1 type system.

    Running wire to speaker locations with installed wall plates and connectors is the right way to go.

    Lacking specifics, I refer you to the Dolby speaker setup guide. Follow their recommendations for your target speaker setup (5.1 or 7.2.4 or whatever) as possible.
    https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/surround-sound-speaker-setup/5-1-setup.html
     
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  5. ukchris

    ukchris Auditioning

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    As this is an attic and will have 45 degree sloped (upper) walls would speakers set in to the angled portion make sense? Not sure hor adjustable they are but I tend to think it'd give more "across/down" whereas in the ceiling they primarily point down...?
     
  6. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    What's important is NOT where the speakers are angled, but where they are physically located. Surround speakers should be slightly (1-2 ft.) above ear level for a 5-7.1 system, and at ear level for an Atmos system, with height speakers overhead, in the ceiling. Putting them higher won't work as well, and aiming them down makes no difference in where the sound comes from. Its very common to make the flawed suggestion that speakers can be placed too high, as long as they are aimed down at the listener, but that's just plain wrong. the sound comes from where it comes from. Angling the speakers doesn't change that.
     
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