Newbie Questions Help Appreciated

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sonny Sangemino, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. Sonny Sangemino

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    This is my first post and after reviewing several threads I was hoping to gleen some info from your successes (and yes your mistakes too [​IMG] ) My wife has recently surprised the hell out of me and suggested that we buy a larger tv as we are not out as much now that we have a 1 year old. (also convinced her that BLUE'S CLUE'S is way cooler when it's REAL big) We ended up picking a 43" HITACHI 43FDX11B (wife did not like the 16:9 aspect ratio sigh) We already have a Panasonic RV31 DVD player, an ENERGY ES-8 100 watt powered subwoofer and (the weak link in my AV infatuation) an AIWA NSX-V90 bookshelf Surround sound system.
    My dilemma, we are currently finishing a portion of the basement as a Home Theatre 17' x 20'. The building process has given rise to several questions.
    1- We are planning to install a drywall ceiling as we are most likely moving within the next couple of years (less $$$s now) I want to insulate the room for sound and acheive good accoustic results as cheap as possible. How should we do the walls and ceiling?
    2- This AIWA system has really flimsy speaker wire. I plan to run the speaker wire for the rear channels before drywalling. What guage wire should I use in the walls? i hope to upgrade the sound system by the fall.
    3- Should I crack the speakers (sealed crappy units) and solder in higher guage wire? Or sould I just run the Higher guage stuff through the wall to a plate and just attach Banana clips to the existing wires on the speakers.
    I am really new to this scene..essentially just a guy who has dabbled a small amount, but I am eager to learn. Your tips and reccomendations are appreciated.
    Sonny
     
  2. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    Hi Sonny. Welcome to the wacky world of HTF. Hey, does your wife have a sister??[​IMG] Just kidding.
    I don't know squat about sound insulation. Have you browsed the "Building Your Home Theater" section?
    The gauge of wire you should run in the wall depends on the length. The most common distances (i.e. less than 100 feet) can be done with 12 gauge speaker wire that is really cheap at Home Depot (about .30c per foot). Lots of people use it. I bought Sound King 12 gauge from partsexpress.com for a similar price. If you have super high end electronics, on a quality scale from 1-10, .30c/foot may get you to 9, $3/foot may get you to 9.5, and $30/foot may get you to 9.9.
    I also have an Aiwa bookshelf system that I now have in my nursery (I have a 6 week old girl). It's perfect for playing lullaby CDs while trying to get her to sleep. If your system is like mine, the speakers don't have connectors. The flimsy speaker wire just runs straight into the cabinet. I don't think you would hear much benefit from "tweaking" the system with thicker gauge wire. There are probably other cheap components in the system and upgrading the wire (especially for such short distance) probably wouldn't be worth the effort, not to mention the fact that thicker gauge might not fit into the spring clips on the receiver.
    Of course the real answer is to get yourself a real HT system, at least one of the HT in a Box like the Kenwood 504 that people talk about. I think it would run about $700 for receiver and speakers and would really make Blue's Clues shine.
     
  3. Mark O'Donnell

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  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I also suggest running 12 ga.

    You should run 3 sets of speaker wires to the rear (the third is to handle that rear-center speaker that is becoming popular).

    A run of speaker wire to the sides of the room is a nice hedge for side, rather than rear, speakers.

    You should also find the corner with the two longest, un-broken walls and run RG6 coax here to use as a long subwoofer cable.

    As projectors are becoming cheap, you might want to locate a beam in the ceiling near the rear and put:

    - An electrical outlet to power the projector

    - A run of SVideo cable

    - A run of HD/Progressive Video grade RG6 coax

    - A run of Composite video.

    Have the electrical outlet wired up, but just leave the ends of the cables going to a electrical outlet box and dont bother putting connectors on the ends. Save that for later. Use a blank wall-plate cover to tidy things up.

    Check the "Building a Home Theater Area" fourm for more tips.

    Good Luck.
     
  5. Sonny Sangemino

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    Thanks for your tips...I am checking out the website right now and am finding it helpful. Thanks for the nudge in the right direction.
    In regards to the Stereo speakers would you recomend that I just run the 12 awg through the walls and then connect to the existing speaker wire? What type of clips or connectors should I use? should I bother with actual component plates for the rears or just fish the wire?
    I have the guy framing the room On Friday January 18th and drywall is going up next week [​IMG]
     
  6. Mark O'Donnell

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  7. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i'd follow bob's advice.

    run wires to all the spots he specified. you may even want to run a fourth wire to your rear wall, just in case you go to a 4-speaker rear setup.

    i'd put up some wall-plate connectors with the binding posts on them...i think Niles makes a bunch of stuff like this, but i think you may even find something at rat-shack. imo, having the plate provides a nice, finished look.

    i don't remember if there is a certain type of wire that should be used for in-wall...DEFINITELY FIND OUT!
     
  8. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    There is some speaker wire with a Plenum outer jacket that is fire-resistant. There is a fear that if your house burns down and the insurance company discovers the ordinary speaker wire in the walls, they may use this as an excuse to invalidate any claim you make with them. (Insurance companies are NOT in the business of paying out on claims).

    You should run the wires through electrical outlet box's. Pull several extra feet of wire into the room so you can wire things up with a un-broken wire. Buy some blank wall-outlet covers and cut holes/slot to feed the wire through to create a nice looking installation.

    Later, you can always cut the wires off near the box and buy the outlet-covers with binding posts on them to make them look nice, but still be usable for the next owners.

    A Deluxe install would be to run flexable PVC pipe (3 inch or so) from behind your equipment to the other side of the room. Run a fish-wire/rope through this even after you pull all your wires through so you can pull more wires through years from now.

    Some more thoughts: Make sure you have extra electrical outlets, and make sure they are all on the same "leg" of your AC service. You can even go as far as having separate circuit-breakers for each plug. Also make sure that the electrical outlet panel is very-strongly grounded.
     
  9. Sonny Sangemino

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    I really appreciate the wealth of knowledge that you guys are prepared to share. You are thinking way ahead to my future 7.1 channel system (I have heard there is no known cure for the HT sickness that infects us all [​IMG] ) while I am still debating ac-3. Point made though fish the wire either way. Thanks for the tips and keep an y helpful tidbits coming.
    Sonny
     

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