The Big Hookup

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Eugene_R, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. Eugene_R

    Eugene_R Auditioning

    Mar 10, 2000
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    I finally got my HT so now I need to get speakers to make this fiasco complete.

    My setup will consist of ONKYO TXSR501 receiver, Polk audio speakers RTi28s, CSi30, FXi50s and Polk small sub.

    My next task is buying cables and hooking it all up.

    Since I am doomed to mess this up I thought I would get advice from those that know, you here at the HTF!

    Would I be okay if I just bought a roll of Acoustic Research 16-gauge wire and cut and ran this to my speakers?

    Is there such a thing as "cabling for dummies"?

    Thanks for any opinions!
  2. Jon_Skiffington

    Jon_Skiffington Auditioning

    Nov 7, 2002
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    How long are you wire runs going to be? On my setup, the surrounds required about 40 feet or so of speaker wire each to get them around the room and under the baseboards.

    I ended up using 16 gauge wire from Home Depot, and it worked out well. Some people may recommend 12 gauge for a run of that length, but I needed some flexibility in the wire to tuck it under baseboards, around corners, etc.

    Also, I would highly recommend using spades for your speakers, and bannana plugs for your receiver if it supports them. You won't find any difference in sound quality, but I think it makes hookup and cable management quite a bit easier.

  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Hi Eugene.

    I was going to direct you to our Primer/FAQ (available from the Basics page), but a quick scan could not come up with a "Cabling for Dummies" article.

    I'll give you the short version:

    Budget: Plan for NO MORE than 10% of the equipment cost for the wires.

    Rack Layout: Receiver on the bottom. CATV/Sat receiver above this. Use the top shelf for the DVD player, then the game system, then the VCR. (Most used at the top flowing down to units you never touch).

    Now measure for cables.

    BIG MYTH: The pro's can measure things and make 1 trip to the store.

    I'm not a pro so I usually make 2 or more trips when re-wiring a system (unless I have my large box of left-over cables handy). Dont be upset if you have to make multiple trips. Take your time and do it right.

    Speaker Wire: Buy a spool of good 12 ga Oxygen Free copper speaker wire like the Sound King brand from and use it everywhere. You can get away with 16 ga for short runs, but it's usually easier to buy a spool of 12 ga and use it everywhere.

    Digital Cables: You have a choice of Toslink Optical or Coaxial-Digital. Since a Coaxial-Digital cable is just a Video cable, I prefer the Coaxial-Digital version. Buy a budget cable for about $15 for this.

    Subwoofer Cable: Any long interconnect will work for this. Just make sure the RCA plugs give a snug-fit and you will be fine. You can even make your own by buying 25' of CATV coax (pre-terminated) and 2 "F-to-RCA-Male" adaptors from Radio Shack. Total cost ~$12. (Hint: This is a handy way to play with different subwoofer positions in your room).

    Video Cables: The AR Pro series of cables and Radio Shack MegaCable/Fusion are quite good for the price. I would use these if your TV is less than 40" and standard-def. I would also use these budget cables for any "low-grade" source like VCR or CATV box.

    I also like the bundles of L/R/Video or L/R/SVideo or even Digital/SVideo sold by Radio Shack. These bundles really help reduce cable-clutter.

    For High-Def sources (component cables) the custom web sites can build you a great cable starting just under $50. These cables can rival the $220 Monster cables.

    There is more, but thats the short-version. Hope it helps.

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