Speaker wiring on long runs

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Old 12-15-02, 01:04 PM
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Speaker wiring on long runs

I am in the process of planning to run speaker cabling into several rooms of my house. An "audiophile" friend of mine suggested I use 14 gauge electrical wiring for the long runs. Does that make sense? (long runs are about 50-60 feet of cable)
 
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Old 12-15-02, 02:57 PM
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if i understand correctly you are putting in surround sound right......i would use a heavy speaker wire .heavier the better you will get better sound threw out the house
 
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Old 12-15-02, 06:24 PM
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Yeah, I agree, use a high-grade speaker cable, not electrical wire. Depending on the power you plan to push through these wires, and the size of the speakers, you probably won't need anything larger than a 14-gauge speaker wire.

Good luck!
 
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Old 12-16-02, 02:17 PM
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Okay, so if I understand fordman and safewatch correctly, use 14 gauge but make sure it is "speaker" wire !? I'm curious as to the difference between 14 gauge electrical and 14 gauge "speaker" wire.
 
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Old 12-16-02, 02:20 PM
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Speaker wire is typically stranded and a heck of a lot easier to work with. If you try to run solid or electrical (or romex) for speakers, you'll have a hard time doing it.

One note: make sure you don't run your wires parrallel with any electrical wires also. For best performance and sound use Shielded cable. I think someone in another topic also suggested using Coax, as it is shielded, not a bad idea.
 
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Old 12-16-02, 03:37 PM
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speaker wire

Besides it being easier to to work with ,it sure is alot cheaper
 
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Old 12-17-02, 08:20 AM
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Actually, shouldn't speaker wire that is imbedded in the wall have a UL fire jacket (CL2 or CL3 rated)? Otherwise, if there is a fire, could standard "lamp cord"-type speaker wire explode in the wall before the drywall burned?...thus, the UL rated jacket?
 
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Old 12-17-02, 09:13 AM
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Not necessarily, depends on local codes. There is speaker wire made specifically for being run inside the walls, but mostly just for performance value.
 
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Old 12-18-02, 06:53 AM
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I recommended RG6 Quad Shield w/ a solid copper core for long speaker runs. It won't be as easy to run as a stranded wire, but you'll be a lot more protected from interference (particularly on long runs) than any speaker wire you can buy. Plus it's rated for inwall installation and considerably cheaper than "high grade" speaker wire. I know several AV installation pros that use it.

Last time I checked, a 500' spool was about $125 at a local supply depot -- about twice the cost of the RG6QS steel core that you can buy at HD/Lowes.

Oh, and if you do go this route, make sure to get it in a color other than black or white (the two most common colors for standard RG6) -- that way you'll know it's a speaker/AV wire and not something to plug your cable box into!
 
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Old 12-18-02, 09:57 AM
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Pros use this? I can't say that I've heard of any in my area doing this, but this is NC. Do you use the center conductor for Pos. and the shield for Neg.? Isn't the shield a much less cummulative amount of conductor than the center conductor? And, with a solid conductor, wouldn't there be a lot of high-end signal loss due to the skin effect?...one of the major reasons that speaker wire is stranded? All of that fancy speaker wire is out there because of the difference between merely getting the signal from A to B and getting it there with minimal loss. From a hi-fi physics standpoint, of which I have some knowledge and experience, I'm not convinced that coax would be a good thing to use for speaker-level audio. Of course, maybe the avg Joe/Jane homeowner doesn't care, can't hear the diff, has crappy speakers, etc. If that's the case, nevermind.
 
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Old 12-18-02, 04:45 PM
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On a prevoius post:
"I think someone in another topic also suggested using Coax, as it is shielded, not a bad idea."

RG6 coax is rated at 75 Ohms, most speakers are 8 or maybe 16 ohms. (Correction: sh prob read 8 or 4 Ohm.)
Does this make a difference???

Another thing -
As info, I found out today, RG6 copper center conductor is not solid copper, since some small pieces stuck to a magnet. It is copper clad steel.
And this was high quality swept tested coax rated to 2400 Mgh.

Just more fuel for the fire,

fred
 

Last edited by fewalt; 12-18-02 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 12-18-02, 04:54 PM
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I'm outta this, as I've never actually tried it. I'll leave it up to Zathrus to answer these quesions. All very good points though.
 
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Old 12-18-02, 07:13 PM
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All,

Here are a few good sites to review.
Wow! Monster 12/4 speaker wire at 3 bucks a foot!

http://www.lastar.net/product.asp?ca...2709&sku=27360

http://www.hometech.com/learn/audio2.html#spwire

http://www.hometech.com/learn/spkrcbl.html#rated

Happy Holidays,
fred
 
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Old 12-19-02, 08:00 AM
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$3/foot? LOL

Here's 10 cents/foot or less (CL3 rated, #16):
http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd..._ID=2890&DID=7

Some tips:

-If you are wiring a room with speakers controlled by a volume control, run a single 14/4 wire to the volume control & then run 2 conductor wires to each speaker

-If you are wiring more than a couple pair of speakers to a receiver/amp, use a speaker switching box that has circuit "protection. Adcom and others make switches like this. EXAMPLE: http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd..._ID=4872&DID=7

-If you don't have switch with protection, use impedance-matching volume controls. These devices ensure that even though you've got a dozen pairs or more speakers hooked to one little receiver, that reciever thinks it just one pair. Of course, then there's the power issue.
 
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Old 12-26-02, 11:04 AM
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You don't use the shielding as a conductor at all -- just the center core. So yes, you get to run two coax cables per speaker. One pro that I know uses this is Dennis Erskine - www.designcinema.com . He's recommended it repeatedly over at the AVS Home Theater Building forum. More so for video runs than audio, but it's not a bad idea for audio either.

fewalt -- this is why you have to go buy solid copper core RG6. The standard stuff is, as you found out, copper clad steel, which isn't good for this application. You won't find solid copper core at HD/Lowe's -- only at electrical supply shops.

Honesty not sure about the impedence matching -- most speakers are 8 Ohm, although some high-end setups are 4 or 6 Ohm.
 
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Old 12-26-02, 06:58 PM
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Zathrus,

Gotcha on the solid copper core. It does carry signal farther, 20 to 30 percent. We get Aspen Eagle and Belden copper clad steel for our Satellite installations. It's fine for video signals.
I still question RG6 for long audio runs since they recommend 14 and sometimes 12 AWG twisted strand speaker wire. RG6 is only 18 gauge.

fred
 
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