HT Speaker Wiring

Old 04-29-02, 08:05 PM
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HT Speaker Wiring

What is the perferred sequence for connection of the receiver to the front and surround speakers?

My plan of attack sequence is Receiver - Connector - Speaker Wire (in wall) - Wall terminal - Connector - Speaker Wire (out of wall) - Connector - Speaker. Is this correct?

Also, I have seen all types of connectors. Banana connectors, screw posts, etc. Which is the best? Can a DIY handle the soldering types of connectors?

Thanks for any input.

Old 04-30-02, 08:54 AM
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My suggestions: Forget the fancy plugs and go with direct wiring.

Just my opinion here, but cosmetic considerations aside, why the need to use fancy (hint: expensive) connectors at all? Anything additional in the signal path certainly won't improve the sound, it may actually degrade it.

Why not simply run the wires in the walls from receiver to speakers, pop the wire out a hole just big enough for the wire to come through, and then connect to the speakers? At the receiver end, just bring all the wires out of the wall through a mud ring, backless box, or whatever. Directly connect them to your receiver. Once your receiver is inside the cabinet, who is going to see the wires anyway? Why put an expensive, tricked-out wall plate in the wall just to have it covered up by the receiver?

If cosmetic concerns are high on the list, you may have no choice but to spend the money. I give my clients the choice: fancy connectors or simple-wire-through hole. 95% go the simple wire route.

my 2 cents.
Old 04-30-02, 11:24 AM
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Doctorhifi - you have once again helped me enormously. I took your previous suggestion on the Satellite Splitter and put it to good use. My system was installed this weekend, with splitter, and I now have a whole house full of satellite-ness.

Another riddle: My wife wants we to install four seperate sets of speakers throughout our basement (one being outside). My home theater speakers will be on the main, but my receiver has a "b" speaker switch on it. What is the most effective way to drive all of these speaker sets?

I have seen these "multi speaker" distribution centers. Are these effective? Do you recommend any brand? What a bout volume controls? Thanks again.

Old 05-01-02, 08:21 AM
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I have a suggestion for this. First, I don't recommend using your surround sound receiver to power the other speakers. Two reasons. First, most receivers (even though they have a speaker B position) just are not designed to run more than the main speakers and perhaps one remote pair. The second reason has to do with the logistics of use. Image all your speakers hooked into this receiver. Now you turn up the volume knob on the receiver...all the speaker's volume goes up. Now you decide you want a bit more sound outside...well, you turn the receiver volume up again and now its good and loud outside, but it is way too loud inside.

You can put a volume control in-line for each pair of speakers. However, the volume controls will only play sound at the volume level determined by the receiver's volume knob. In my experience, there is just no way to make this work very well.

What I suggest is this: Find yourself another receiver to power the other speakers (the four pair you mentioned). Add to this receiver a speaker selector (Niles audio makes a nice one- HDL-4 or SPS-4) and volume controls in the wall for each pair of speakers. Share your source components (CD, tape, etc) between the two receivers using simple y-cord audio cables.

The benefits of this approach are two-fold. First, the surround system can be played at any volume you want without affecting the other speakers. Second, you can listen to different sources in the theater and on the other speakers. This can be very nice when, for example, you are watching a movie in surround sound, but someone is outside and wants to listen to the radio or a disc. No problem with the described setup.

As far as the second receiver is concerned, I have many clients that already have an old or unused stereo receiver floating around. Perhaps you do as well. Otherwise, you can find decent stereo only receivers being sold all the time as people upgrade to surround sound. Personally, I come across these all the time. People practically give them away.

Hope this possible approach gives you food for thought.
Old 05-02-02, 07:43 AM
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Thanks Dr., that was just what I was looking for!

Would you use 4-conductor wire throughtout? or just to untill you reach the volume control? I quess you could use 2-cond to the speakers.

How do you terminate the 4-cond wire when you only need 2 of the cond?

Thanks again!

What part of MN are you in?
Old 05-02-02, 08:50 AM
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I'm in St. Louis Park.

You are correct to run 4 cond. to the VC then 2 cond. from the VC to each speaker. If you choose to run 4-cond from the VC to each speaker, you just don't use 2 of the conductors. I have seem some guys open up a long section of 4-cond and separate the conductors, running 2 to each speaker. This is a lot of work, but if you don't want to waste wire can be done.

I forgot to mention in my last post that you could use impedence matching volume controls in place of a speaker switcher is you want.

Hope this all helps. Do you think spring is finally here?

Old 05-02-02, 09:38 AM
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Spring for me? (St. Louis) YES! You? Maybe not so much! My brother owns a resort near int. falls and the ice MAY be melted on the lake mid month

Another riddle for you:

I am going back and forth on the placement of my surrounds for my HT. I have a rectangular room, with the main seating basically at the back corners of the room. My seating is about 6" off of the side wall and 2' off of the back wall. Where would you suggest I place the my surrounds (4"x8" speakers)? On the side wall? Corners? Rear wall? How high would I mount them? If I mount them to the side of the seating, they would basically be above the listener. I have also considered prewiring the rear for future "rear stereo/circle surrounds" so I dont know if that would get in the way.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

Old 05-02-02, 10:38 AM
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You have a tricky situation.

If you want to invest in new surround speakers, skip the next sentence.

If not, I would opt to mount your existing speakers on the floor firing at the side or rear wall. Another option is to mount them nearer the ceiling, pointing slightly down and towards the back wall. See my paragraph about dipole speakers below for the rational behind my suggestion.

If you want to consider new surround speakers, these are the options I would narrow it down to:

1. Dipolar speakers mounted on the side walls.
2. Bracket mounted speakers mounted on the side or rear walls, aimed to reflect sound (maybe yours will work?)
3. In-ceiling speakers mounted above and slightly behind the seating area aimed to reflect sound
4. In-wall speakers mounted on the side walls, aimed to reflect sound.
You see a common theme here: aimed to reflect sound.

Since you are so close to side and rear walls, you have the problem of proximity effect. This is where your ears and brain tell you EXACTLY where the rear sound is coming from, which is esssentially the WRONG effect (opinion). You want to create the illusion of sound from the rear coming from somewhere (like off to the right somewhere, and slightly behind where you are sitting), but you dont want your ears to tell your brain exactly where it is coming from (from my rear right surround speaker 6 feet off the floor and 2 feet away from me). There are differing opinions on this, but I hold to this conviction that in your situation a dipole would provide the best sound coverage.

Dipolar speakers look and act differently from conventional speakers. If you look at a dipole (as you are facing it) you would see speakers on the left and right sides instead of drivers on the front of the speaker facing you, like regular speakers. When you mount the speakers on the wall, the twin sets of drivers are facing the front of the room and the back of the room. Dipolar speakers fire information both to the front and back of the room at opposing times of each other, reflecting off the walls and into the room. These speakers create a null or cancellation zone within your viewing area. The 'null' needs to be in the proper place, which means the dipoles must be mounted on the wall in-line with your ears when you are sitting. You won't hear any direct sound coming from the speaker (there are no drivers pointed at your ears) only sound reflected along the side walls. Many excellent articles have been written about dipolar speakers and placement, I just cant remember where to have you look for these.

All other choices listed above could work as well, but you wont be able to get away from proximity effect if you cant properly aime the sound for reflection (my opinion). In-ceiling speakers provide a tidy solution: flushmounted in the ceiling they are barely noticable, and some models pivot in the ceiling so you could bounce the sound off the rear/side wall to avoid proximity effect.

Many experts wiser than I have debated about proper speaker choice/placement issues. Search the web and you will come across some.

Sorry for the long winded response.


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