Routing cables through the walls

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by Anish, Nov 23, 2003.

  1. Anish

    Anish Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi,

    We are building a new house (our first house!) in the next few months and I want to run speaker cables through the walls before they are put up. I have a basic question about how this will all work. If I run speaker wire through the walls, what type of outlet will I have to get and what hardware would I need to get the wire to the outlet? I am assuming that I will need the female end of a banana plug or something in the outlet and crimp the wire into the back of the outlet from the wall?

    Also, would I need to have 2 sets of outlets per speaker (ie, one outlet for the speaker end and one outlet for the receiver end of it)? Am I being descriptive enough here?

    Some ideas and pics would help me out a lot!

    Thank you.

    Anish
     
  2. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Anish,

    I assume this is a tract house, not a custom home? (I can't imagine getting acustom home as your first,but stranger things have happened I'm sure).

    Are you planning on going in and running the wires yourslef? If so, think again. You will not be allowed in to the house without the builder present, and they won't let you work on the house (for many reasons). If they see that you've done work on your own, they'll most likely tear it out.

    Your in-wall speaker wiring will have to be certain types and installed in particular ways in order to meet local electrical codes.

    I recommend having professionals do the work. Ask your builder, and tell them what you have in mind. They may have a way to accomodate you, this stuff is not very uncommon these days.
     
  3. Anish

    Anish Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Philip,

    By tract house if you mean, that we pick from a builder's plans then you are correct. I made minor modifications that do not affect the structure, except for maybe widening the garage, which will actually not affect the interior. We are still waiting for the approval on all that.

    As for running speaker wires through the walls, I think this builder will let me do so. However if he offers a service of an electrician to put all that stuff in, I'd let them do it - but with my choice of wires of course.

    However assuming I was to do this myself and they let me, I have an understanding of what wires I need, since I already have them in my apartment now, however they are not wired into the walls in my apartment now. I wanted to see what the wall outlets would look like for the speaker inputs and the receiver outputs.

    Thanks.

    Anish
     
  4. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Unless they are specifically designed and meet electrical code as in-wall wires, you won't be able to use anything that you have.

    You can find wall plates and such at http://www.partsexpress.com/ . Ask your builder if they have a contractor for low voltage wiring. In my situation, the builder uses a local company with lots of home theater installation experience, they sell a "data cabling" package that works great for my uses. They install speaker cables, put the wall plates on the wall, and cables to the attic, cat 5 all over the place, etc. etc. etc.
     
  5. Anish

    Anish Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for the suggestion Philip. I will talk to the builder before I proceed. The cables will have to be laid on floor 1.5 where the family room is (halfway between the main floor and the 2nd floor).

    I can always do the basement myself, next year when we finish the basement.
     
  6. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 1999
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    6,610
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    Wayne
    Anish,

    You mentioned running the wire “through the walls.” The accepted method is to run the wire up the wall and through a hole in the header board, across the ceiling, and down the wall again at the other end. This uses more wire, but it is easier than running “through” the wall – i.e., drilling and fishing the wire between dozens of studs between points A and B.

    Depending on your local codes, you’ll probably need speaker wire rated for in-wall use.

    Actually I prefer to use straight-through connections – i.e., enough length is left at both ends to go directly to the receiver and the speaker. This results in fewer termination points, and it saves money (no specialty wall plates and extra banana plugs to buy). Unfortunately this is hard to accomplish in a new construction situation, because this means you have long tails hanging out of the wall and they often get intentionally cut off or damaged by the workers.

    Thus in your situation the per-location terminations are probably your best bet. So, to answer your questions:

     
  7. Anish

    Anish Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi Wayne,

    I didn't really think about direct connections. I guess that would be optimal for sound quality and less signal distortion, to have no terminations in between, like banana plugs in the walls and such. I will see if I can run (or have them run) straight through cables maybe in the later stages of the building process before the walls go up. That way the cables go directly into my speakers and receiver and there is less interference in between.

    Or will having banana plugs in the walls not deteriorate the signal at all, when compared to direct connection?

    I saw those wall outlets on parts express too... that's exactly what I had in mind if I do go that route. But then my mind doesn't stop there. What are my other possibilities - little wall speakers in every room; remote control units; etc... where does it stop! What else can I do?? haha.

    I don't want to have it all built and then get a brilliant idea afterwards!
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 1999
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    6,610
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    Wayne
    Anish,

    Using the banana plates won’t degrade the sound in any way. It will work just fine. It’s just that the number of terminations per speaker jumps from four to twelve; that’s what I don’t like.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. Ray Stericker

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I am interested in this situation also. I was going to use direct connections for my speakers, but I am wondering about the other low voltage wiring behind my TV. I will have network, phone, and coax(x2). How to I terminate all this neatly. I did something similar for my wife's exercise room and used a wall plate with 6 snap in jacks. It worked, but I found it very crowded in a single electrical box. Does anyone make some sort of plate for a bigger box? At home depot they only had the wall plate in single box size.

    Ray
     
  10. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2001
    Messages:
    963
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ray, they make plates for double gang and triple gang boxes - or at least they'll make the parts so you can custom make your own wall plate. I'm going to redo the RG6 wiring underneath my first floor (it's nice to have a full sized unfinished basement) and am looking for a double gang plate with 4 F-connector connections on it - or the parts to make them myself.

    As for speaking wiring in-wall, I've also done my first floor only and used wall plate termination points using the Radio Shack stuff with the little bracket mounts instead of old world gang boxes. It does increase the number of connections but it also allows you the flexibility to move things in the future and all you have to do is make another patch cable. If your walls are still open then doing this wiring is easy - just make sure to get CL2/CL3 rated in-wall wire - you could probably ask the electrician at the site for any local code requirements but this should be sufficient.

    cheers,


    --tom
     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
     

Share This Page