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prewire nightmare??? (1 Viewer)


Apr 8, 2003
HI all!

I am new to these forums so Hello!!!!

couple of things.

I purchased a brand new house. The builder offered a prewire home-theater option for $650. I get the feeling I got ripped but I was stuck due to the fact the house is a two story and family room is on the first floor.

1. after pulling one of the cover plates from the wall I found what looks to be cat5 type cable for speaker wire. I am confused.... Inside the the blue exterior insulation is four small separately insulated wires I would guess around 18 ga... Is this sufficient wire for a home theater? I plan on running Klipsch in wall speaker system and have yet to choose a receiver.

which brings me to the next question. I want to install the klipsch speakers but I have read several articles that say the front channel and center channel speakers should be forward facing and to place these speakers in the ceiling pointing straight down is a mistake.

If anyone could help me answer these questions It would help me decide whether or not to go back after the builder to resolve the inadequate wiring and speaker placement.


I have other issues that I could use some help with if anyone wants to spend the time with a novice wanting to learn :D

Charles J P

Senior HTF Member
Aug 19, 2000
Omaha, NE
Real Name
CJ Paul
Well, its probably not CAT-5 cable, but rather just small guage in-wall, 4 conductor speaker wire. How small it is will give you an idea of what you can do with it. Also, you should know that any discussion of speaker wires will likel lead to a hot debate about whether they make a difference or not. I just wired my new HT room and used 16 guage in wall speaker cable by choice. Why? I had to make a comprimise. Counting my projector's video cable, all the surround cables and the mains and center, I went through at least 600' of cable wiring the room, so I made the decision to use better componant video cable for the projector and better cables for the mains, sub and center speaker, so that means I needed something pretty cheap for the surrounds. Your builder probably uses a similar philosophy. Also, based on where the cables had to be run your builder may have used 500+' of cable, so for him to even profit from the service (after subtracting his workers salary costs) he would obviously be using something that costs far less than $1 per foot. I wouldnt get too worked up unless you notice big problems after you get everything hooked up. I guess my whole ramble here is just to point out that running wires in-wall is not cheap, and the wall plates arent cheap either, so based on the fact that he can probably get decent wire at a bulk price, you probably couldnt have used much better materials even if you did it yourself for $650.

Any way, as far as mounting your front three speakers in the ceiling, it will be a comprimise. It wont ruin the whole HT, but it will be a comprimise. Especially if the speakers end up very far from the display, because it wont sound like the sound is coming from whatever is making the sound on screen. See if any local HT stores have setups similar to what you will end up with if you go in-ceiling, and see if the sound is acceptable to you. In Omaha (where I live) there is an annual show called The Street of Dreams where builders show of their mega buck houses. Many of these houses have home theaters installed that make huge comprimises in order to integrate the system into the room and place the sound and video presentation as a far second conern to the decoration scheme of the room. Now, while these comprimises would probably not be the choice I would make, the setup still sounded like a basic home theater.

Another thing to consider is that these comprimises can be especially painful if you are concerened with the utmost sound and video quality, becuase you arent just making some comprimise because you cant afford to go one step more expensive, but rather you are acutally paying more to have an integrated/hidden system which costs more and sounds worse than if you would have just bought a basic speaker package from a quality manufacturer and put the speakers on stands or wall mount brackets and run high quality wire yourself outside the walls. It all depends on what your priorities are.

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