Question about speaker connections for new house.

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Dennis Ellis, Oct 3, 2003.

  1. Dennis Ellis

    Dennis Ellis Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 2, 2001
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    I'm sure this has been asked before but I tried searching and couldn't find it.

    Wiring a new house for 5.1 surround and need to know a few things.
    I realize that it is not desirable to have "breaks" in the cables or at least minimize the "breaks" but I dn't see any other way to do this with my setup.
    What are my choices as far as how the cables are to be connected on the inside of the wall plate (in the wall)? Soldered, etc????
    What are my choices on connections on the wall plate on the outside of the wall? Springed push buttons(not sure of the technical name) or banana plugs, etc????

    I was thinkning of just buying a blank double wall plate and fabricating my own. Any input/tips/alternatives to doing this?

    I've already run the wires so all I need to do is get some plates/connectors and wait fo the sheetrock people to start.

    Thanks for any help.
  2. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator

    Jul 31, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Cees Alons

    Breaks in speaker cables can be less critical than in other connections. However the most important dangers are:
    (1) bad connection (if not all the strands are involved, the impedance may be higher at there)
    (2) pulling them loose somehow (avoid the possibility of mechanical strain)
    (3) oxydation (making the connection bad as a result of the creation of less-conductive matter)
    (4) shortcut (between the two wires).

    I'm not sure if constructing a wallplate of your own is a good idea. You may be able to build something robust enough, but good and proven solution are available (e.g. in the "power wire" category).

  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Hi Dennis.

    Run the speaker wires in a zig-zag pattern near the outlet box's. Use insulated staples to secure things, but only nail them in about half-way. Years later you may need some slack so you just give a tug and the first staple pops out - 12" more slack. Tug again to get more.

    My advice is to start by running enough wire for a un-broken connection between amp and speakers. Run everything through plastic electrical outlet box's. Buy blank wall-plates and drill holes and thread wire through the plates to create a 'custom' look.

    LABEL EVERY FOOT OR TWO on the wires near the box's!

    Later, you can cut the wires off near the box and install wall-plates with 5-way binding posts. Niles makes some nice ones.

    A break in a high-frequency cable (video/coaxial-digital) can be a problem. It's MUCH LESS of a problem for the lower-frequency audio signals carrying power. Dont get too worried about it. You want as few breaks as possible but one or two is not a disaster.

    Oxidization over the years IS a concern. The audiophile view is to "Never solder your wires". But unless you are running a high-end music system, it's not going to make any audible difference. I'd tin all the exposed copper behind the wall-plates if you decide to start with binding-posts.

    Note: There IS a magazine called "Home Theater Builder" that has various tips & plans. We even have a fourm dedicated to them and they do respond to questions.

    Hope this helps.

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