New house: $900 audio prewire - worth it?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Bryce_L, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. Bryce_L

    Bryce_L Auditioning

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    Hi everyone, I'm new here. I am purchasing a new 4-bedroom house under construction, and the builder wants $900 for a basic (4 speaker) audio prewire option. This price includes 16-gauge wiring, 4 speaker locations and one volume control in the family room. They are also throwing in some crappy speakers in the master bedroom and patio, but I don't want them, and they won't give me credit for deleting these.

    The family room opens to the kitchen and breakfast nook, so it won't be a dedicated listening/HT room. The house is single story, and will have 10' ceilings throughout. My ears aren't that picky, and I generally like to buy the "best-bang-for-the-buck" equipment that's a step up from your average mass-produced stuff at Best Buy or Circuit City.

    So, based on my circumstances, do you think the $900 audio prewire package is worth the $$$, or is it better to do a custom solution afterwards? I could either have a custom shop put in an in-wall speaker package, or install a custom cabinet and hang the rear speakers, or place them on stands behind the couch.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
     
  2. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Bryce:

    Sure doesn't sound like it to me. I would tell him that you are going to bring in your own people or tell him that you will just do it yourself and see what he says. He may tell you that you can't do it yourself or something like that. But for that price you could do several rooms and I wouldn't pay that.

    Parker
     
  3. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    I second what Packy said.

    Is the wire inside the speaker wire made of gold? sheesh.
     
  4. Stephen Heidt

    Stephen Heidt Auditioning

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    Will you have attic access above the area that you are considering pre-wiring? If so, I don't think it's even a question - like the others said, DON'T pay for it. You can either do it yourself (it's pretty easy to do) or pay someone to do it for a small fraction of that $900. And even if there is no attic access, then it would be harder to do, but I still think you could get someone to do it for much less than $900 after-the-fact. I think the builder is just lazy and doesn't really want to do it, so he gave you a ridiculously high estimate and figured if you took it, then fine, he'd do it and make an obscene profit.
     
  5. BrianWA

    BrianWA Auditioning

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    I just had a 5.1 prewired in my new construction home for $240.00 with a $30.00 dollar upgrade for 14 gauge wire.
     
  6. Glen C

    Glen C Stunt Coordinator

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    do it later. there is little chance you know what you want and where before moving in. nevermind $900 is crazy.
     
  7. Bryce_L

    Bryce_L Auditioning

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    Thanks for all the comments. I also thought $900 seemed rather expensive for simple prewiring, so it's good that y'all validated my opinion.

    The house will have attic space, as it is cottage-style with a trapezoidal shaped roof. Come to think of it, it should be relatively easy to string some wire when I'm ready to install the home theater system. And Glen is right, I won't know how I want to situate the system until after I've lived in the house for a while.

    I can see why the builder wants to charge a rip-off price for these things. He just wants to move on and build more houses as quickly as possible, and is only willing to do these custom upgrades if there's a high profit margin involved.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  8. GrahamTAK

    GrahamTAK Extra

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    The benefits of being able to roll the cost into your morgage, and having everything "a go" when you move in is a benefit. You must be thinking of that... I was. And for that, I would be willing to pay a few $ more.

    However, $900 (US$??) is not a few. As everyone said, that's car-razy.
     
  9. Bryce_L

    Bryce_L Auditioning

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    No, $900 Pesos.

    Just kidding! Yes, it's $900 USD, and at that price point it makes sense to pass up on it at this time.
     
  10. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Do what I did!

    They were not raping me as bad as that but it was still overprioed for me. If it is a subdivision (Cookie cutter neigborhood) as they call them, then they will NOT allow you to do your own or hire outside work.

    Here is what you do. Ask to be informed of when the wiring inspection will be done (you want to walk through with them). This is the last inspection before drywall. Or, when it is getting close, find out when drywall is going to be done. Drywall is done almost immediately following that last inspection - so don't let time slip on you.

    Anyway, go in a day before drywall and do it yourself. Very simple really, I did the theater room and and a few other rooms for the cost of a new drill bit and the wire. (about $45 for me). I ran wire for 10 speakers for that!

    Anyway, no one will notice! The drywallers don't have a clue as to what should and should not be there. They simply drywall over everything including your wire.

    Leave about rwo feet of wire at every termination point and simply double it over and staple in place. Be sure to take pictures so you can count studs to your wire locations.

    When you move in all you have to do is then cut out a small hole where you terminated the wire and put in after-construction low voltage wire boxes. Feed the wire through and use whatever face plates you desire.

    Very easy and very cheap. Don't be timid about it if you are worried about the builder discovering you. They will never know. And if they actually did, then you are really out nothing except maybe a little embarrasment.


    C. Ryan


    Oh and I should add that you need to use insulated in-wall rated wiring. No sense in not being to code while you are at it. If you are going from one floor to the next, you should also use a fire resistant caulk in the holes you create in the studs.

    This is all available at Home Depot. Took me about an hour and a half to run all the wire I needed. That was me taking my time with my wife helping out.
     
  11. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    WHAT A RIPOFF!! And, the contractor needs to hear that you know he's making an outrageous profit. I can envision lots of people (thousands) getting screwed like this since most won't know the actual cost of wire and the little time required (compared to the A/C wiring).

    CRyan gave you great advice. Even if you don't feel 100% comfortable doing it yourself, you could pay an electrician or someone with the correct experience $100 cash to do it and you'd be good to go.
     

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