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Wiring for surround sound?

This is a discussion on Wiring for surround sound? within the XDTalk Chatter Box forums, part of the XD Talk category; Install conduit for everything - it will make everything easier in case you need to replace a cable. Run speaker cable (get it from monoprice ...


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Old 05-25-2012, 12:47 PM   #11
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Install conduit for everything - it will make everything easier in case you need to replace a cable.

Run speaker cable (get it from monoprice in bulk) to everywhere you think you might have speakers. Run cat6 to every room and I'd go ahead and do HDMI as well.

Don't forget possible subwoofer placement and run cables for them too
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:16 PM   #12
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Start putting your ideas on paper with measuments and refine with your changes. You will have changes after looking at lay outs and costs. Reasearch suppliers that specialize is the wiring, terminations, and fixture faceplates if needed. The Crutchfield site might be of some use in getting ideas. I wouldn't use conduit unless required by the building code it will run the price up significantly.
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by partdeux View Post
14g lamp cord bought in large rolls is sufficient.

IF the ends corrode, just strip a little off and and reconnect. It's not going corrode inside the insulation .
Actually not true. First most codes stipulate you have to use wire that is specced for in-wall

You don't have to buy expensive cable but it has to meet code.

Also, I have seen cable corrode inside the insulation. Cheap stuff from Lowes, just like you are describing.

Monocable and bluejeanscable are both good cheap online dealers for quality cable.
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:54 PM   #14
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When you have a house built there are blueprints drwn up for different parts.
Structural, electrical and mechanical and elevations.

When I had my house built in FL, I had to make entries on the electrical plans so the electrician could run and place the wiring where it needed to be before the sheetrock was done. At the same time I supplied the wire I wanted used and the speakers I wanted installed at each location.

If you use quality products the elctrician will appreciate your input as his job will be easier. I used Belden cable for my speaker wiring. It is easier to pull the least amount of wire, I bought jacketed cable. this made the pulls easier for the electrician.

Or you can let them supply the product and request quality stuff.
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:14 PM   #15
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Let your electrician, plumber and mechanical guys have at it first. If they have to work around you and your wires, you can jack up your prices possibly or they might just go right through your work and your going to have to do it twice, or three times. You can have your turn when they are done, before the drywallers come in. Keep in mind that there will be inspections throughout the process and you can be the cause of some of those little red stickers (violations). Keep your low voltage wires out of the holes the AC wires use. Use fire-stop caulk where needed. Don't compromise the structure (framing) by drilling any-size holes just anywhere you think is convenient. Not trying to scare you off at all - just work with/around the pros.
+1. Always wait on the electricians, plumbers and HVAC guys to clear out. If you run something where they need to be they will fix it with snips.
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Dal1as View Post
Actually not true. First most codes stipulate you have to use wire that is specced for in-wall

You don't have to buy expensive cable but it has to meet code.

Also, I have seen cable corrode inside the insulation. Cheap stuff from Lowes, just like you are describing.

Monocable and bluejeanscable are both good cheap online dealers for quality cable.
Are you confusing commercial building code with residential? Some communities may require teflon coated material, but I don't think std code requires it. My city inspector said it was not required.

I've had plain old zip cord running to outdoor speakers completely exposed to the weather for over 5 years, and other than every year or so needing to strip back an inch or so to get to clean copper, never had an issue. In my new house, I'm going on 2.5 years, and haven't done a dang thing yet. Only because I made some Cat5 braided main speaker wire, did I through away 20 year old zip cord... it still looked great.

BTW, the braided cable was a fun project, and while people sell that crap for $20 per foot, it made ZERO difference

Bluejeanscable is a good company... bit pricey. I tend to buy most of that kind of stuff from parts express. My current indoor speakers are all run using some really expensive cable they had on clearance. No way I would ever pay the retail price for this stuff, but it's essentially 10g, thin strand, high purity copper. I did not notice a difference, but the price was good.
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:18 PM   #17
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I used to install home theaters for a living. I am a THX certified installer, and work with sound/media on a weekly basis in large arenas. So here are a few tips.

You will need to run cable for the following:
1. Center Channel
2. L and R front channels
3. Subwoofer
4. L and R (if running 7.1 surround, I'd run them anyway since someday you might want to upgrade)
5. L and R rear channels
6. 3 HDMI cables minimum to your flat panel display.(if hanging on wall)
7. Power to the flat panel.(if hanging on wall)
8. Composite cables to the flat panel (most things are HDMI now, but if you don't run these you will probably find some obscure item you want to connect that only has composite outputs..there are others too like s-video, etc.)
9. Coaxial cable to cable or satellite.
10. HDMI cables to bedrooms/bathrooms/garage/etc. (anywhere you want to send the video/audio feed other than the theater)
11. Speaker wire to the patio, pool area, garage.

I HIGHLY recommend using a in-wall junction box that has terminals for each thing you want to wire up inside the wall. Don't just run them out the drywall or out of the bottom of the wall. You can get terminal boxes that contain all the female HDMI, female speaker, coax and power outlets.

Ignore any idiot that says you need monster wire. Its not worth the money, and is a scam. Just use rated in-wall speaker wire. You may want to consider adding HDMI repeater/amplifiers in the HDMI lines. The amps won't be needed in most homes, unless you are running long multi-room HDMI cables. Anything over a 50ft run....add a HDMI amp/repeater. If its over 100ft...dont even run it, it won't be worth squat.

If you are hanging a large flat-panel, use the right mount, and make sure when you install it, you put ALL the bolts into a stud. I would recommend having the framer double stud or box in the area you plan to put the TV. 60" LED/LCD/Plasma screens weigh well over 100lbs in some cases. It needs a solid mount. Don't skimp on the mount. Children have been killed by falling flat panels. Actually, anything that is heavy and hanging....mount it solid. Overkill here is ok.

If you are running a projection....same thing...mount the screen on the studs. Make sure the framer/electrician puts in a power outlet box with double studs in the ceiling for the projector mount, and power options. It needs to be SOLID. You should be able to hang from the power box. If its not solid...the subwoofer will shake the mount/projector and make your picture look like crap. You can install a junction box for your connections.

I recommend installing soundproofing before the drywall goes up. There are a bunch of options here. Not only will this keep your theater sound in the theater, but it also helps to eliminate unwanted buzz or vibrations from inside the wall that ruin the sound.

If you are installing audio/video equipment in a closet, or enclosed area it needs ventilation, and lots of it. It needs a good high volume fan unit, that will pull the heat out of the equipment. Make sure it has somewhere to get air too...and filtered air works best since it will keep dust out of your equipment.

I HIGHLY recommend getting a filtered power supply for your gear. Not just a surge protector, but an actual FILTERED power supply. LED/LCD/Plasma panels are susceptible to power spikes...the displays are usually ok, but spikes can fry the power supply in the unit. The filtered power supply will take care of this, in addition...it gets rid of power issues that can cause interference problems.

Choose your lighting carefully. Not only which lights you plan to use, but their locations as well. Cheaply made lights will vibrate and drive you nuts, not to mention you will be changing bulbs constantly as the subwoofer blows them out. Choose solid well made wall sconces, and in-ceiling lights. LED's are fantastic as well. Stay far away from any lighting that hangs off the ceiling. Ceiling fans are a big NO too. Be aware of their positioning too. Lights that are in the wrong place, will reflect off the screen, or put annoying shadows/reflections in the room. Dimmer switches (especially remote operated) are really nice.

Let me know if you need anymore help.
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:38 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by partdeux View Post
Are you confusing commercial building code with residential? Some communities may require teflon coated material, but I don't think std code requires it. My city inspector said it was not required.
.
No, residential code.

I know all about the cable wars and such and agree with you. Just wanted to mention that their may be code issues with running a non rated wire through walls.

What's funny is even the wire I found that had corroded from within probably didn't sound any different than any high priced speaker cable.
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Old 05-25-2012, 05:54 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Dal1as View Post
No, residential code.

I know all about the cable wars and such and agree with you. Just wanted to mention that their may be code issues with running a non rated wire through walls.

What's funny is even the wire I found that had corroded from within probably didn't sound any different than any high priced speaker cable.
I still wouldn't want it corroded. Corroded copper is not nearly as conductive. Most of the signal is actually propagated at the surface of the wire. Silver is the "gold" standard () but that gets expensive. Silver will corrode (tarnish), but silver oxide is actually an excellent conductor). Supposedly "tinned" copper is a good alternative, conducts well, and won't corrode easily. I'd check out some Belden products.

Belden CDT Inc Belden 1316SB 12 AWG Stranded Tinned Copper Speaker Cable- 1000ft Speaker Wire & Cable Bulk at Markertek.com
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Old 05-25-2012, 06:13 PM   #20
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Don't just run 2-wire cable. You can pull less footage if you run quad jacketed to the longer run locations make a drop for the one channel and continue on to the next. Four wires in a single pull is way easier then running two sets of pairs...IMO.
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