What cable to use for line-level audio?

Discussion in 'Accessories, Cables, and Remotes' started by BillG, Jun 1, 2003.

  1. BillG

    BillG Agent

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    I'm going to add line-level audio to the LAN/phone/cable TV outlets in my house. What kind of cable should I use and where can I get it?

    I figure I'll need something like 1500 feet to get a left/right audio pair from the wiring closet to every room, with some rooms having two sets.

    Also - where can I get a patch panel and what kind of distribution amplifier should I use?
     
  2. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Perhaps the long pause in replying here suggests members being unsure of what you're asking: You say “line-level” but the text implies two-wire speaker capability.

    You’re likely looking at (or a combination) of RG-6 coax; CAT5; and in-wall speaker wire. I am not a whole-house person, but I understand there is a multifunction (all-in-one) wire one can use here as needed. Forum admin Bob McElfresh has pointed this out in the past.

    Looking at twin-lead speaker wire, typically we gotta use in-wall or CL-2/CL-3 rated to meet the Electrical Code. This usually comes with a PVC sheath. One good source is CarolWire at partsexpress.com for approx 19cents a foot for this 12 GAUGE HANK Part 100-740.
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    EDIT it looks like Bill #2 [​IMG] dropped his in just ahead of me, so some of this is redundant...

    Hi Bill,

    You need shielded cable for line-level audio. The stuff typically sold for home audio will single-channel, so you will have to double your cable runs to get both left and right to each room.

    Alternately, a more efficient solution would be to use installation-grade mic cable typically found in pro audio installations. Mics use balanced signals, which requires two center conductors and a shield. For unbalanced home use, the two center conductors could be used as left and right, with the shield jumpered to both (the shield connection is common to both left and right in home components).

    You should be able to find suitable cable in bulk at Parts Express.

    Without more specifics, I can’t be sure what you are looking for in a patch panel. For instance, what would it be used for, audio, LAN, etc.? There are different kinds of patch panels for different applications.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. BillG

    BillG Agent

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    Thanks for the replies and sorry about not getting back sooner. I've been out of town the last few days.

    Yes, I mean line level. That's the kind of signal that goes from the audio outputs of a CD player to the preamp. I don't like the idea of switching speaker-level signals or getting a multi-multi-channel amp. I plan to put some sort of integrated amp or receiver in each room where I use the signal.

    For a patch panel I mean RCA jacks. I've already got the Cat5, Cat3 (phone) and F-connector panels installed and wired.

    Balanced wire is a good idea! Wish I'd thought of it. It should be easy to get and will be easier to pull than a pair of coax cables.
     

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