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In wall cabling for In-wall/In-Ceiling speakers

 

Mary
Unregistered guest
I am planning to do an inwall cabling of my new house which currently under construction. I am thinking of buying monster 16/2 U/L CL3 inwall cables. While browsing at Home Depot, Lowe's I found US manufactured 16/2 U/L CL3 cables are sold at half the price. Certainly, I don't want to take a chance of poor quality/inferior wire after I am done with the wiring of Wall/Ceiling speakers. Anyway, I am not planning to install expensive speakers.

Anyone please advise. I am really confused.

Thanks
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 1103
Registered: Dec-03
Home Depot and Lowe's are wise choices. Go with 12 to 14 gauge wires.
 

Mary
Unregistered guest
Berny,
Thank you. I will get 12 or 14 gauge wires which are still cheaper compared to Monster 16/2. Home depot and Lowe's sell unshielded type. Does unshielded means that it is prone to pickup other interferences? Why is monster cable so expensive compared to one in HD/ Lowes?
Thanks
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 1106
Registered: Dec-03
The only time you really need to worry about interference is when using audio patch cables.
Monster cable is so expensive because of the marketing. I really don't want to get too much into the why's because we have some devout wire zealots in this forum who will at one point or another, chime in and preach about other things.
Enjoy the music!
cheers
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Do make certain the cable you purchase is meant to run in walls and attics. You want something that will not crack over time from heat and age and a wire that will not speed the ascent of a flame if there is a fire.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Shantao

Post Number: 37
Registered: Apr-04
You definitely want to run something that is CL2 or CL3 rated. I would check the building code with your local town/city/village and make sure what you are running will meet code. I also would run 14 guage rather than that 16 if possible if the runs are to be more than 20feet.

I have used this wire for several in-wall/ceiling installs http://www.impactacoustics.com/product.asp?cat%5Fid=207&sku=43088
is pretty decent, 14-2, CL2 rated and is 49.00 for 250 feet, which is a good deal.


Hope that helps.
 

Mary
Unregistered guest
I really appreciate you all for the advise on this topic. Shan, I visited the impactacoustics website, but if I include shipping it costs too much as I require around 500 ft 16/2 and 500 ft 16/4.

I finally got down to the home depot and got 500 ft of cables (which the label reads inwall 16/2 CL3 U/L) at $65. I may also wish to get 16/4 CL3 U/L for stereo dual-voice coil speakers. Am I pretty safe going with this? Vigne, how can ensure that the cables won't ware out due to heat and cold?

Thanks
 

Bronze Member
Username: Shantao

Post Number: 41
Registered: Apr-04
If the cable is UL2 or UL3 rated it is rated for in wall use and should be heat/cold and meet fire code so that should be fine. I have used the 4 wire conducter for stereo dual coils and it worked fine.

Don't know what to say about the guage, 16 will probably work fine, but my preference is usually 14, and 12 if I am going and real distance. The problem with long runs of 16 is that the resistance of the wire becomes an issue, increasing the ohm load that the amp sees. If memory serves, you add about .40 ohms per hundred feet of cable with 16 guage wire. For long runs, when I only had 16 guage wire available, I ran 2 strands of 16 and twisted the +'s and -'s at each end essentially doubling the amount of wire and making it 13 guage. Not knowing your layout and how long the runs are, etc, it is hard to offer any constructive advise, but good luck on the project.
 

Mary
Unregistered guest
Hi Shan,

I have a Yamaha receiver with 80w per channel. I am planning to use the B set of speakers to power 6-8 pair or dual-coil inwall speakers. I also planning to buy impedence matching speaker selector which I will be placing it between 30-40ft range from the receiver. The speakers will be installed between 30-40ft from the speaker selector. If this is the case do I require 14awg. I thought 14awg is overkill for 80w.

Also can you recommend good speaker selectors for 6-8 pairs of speakers.

 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
The gauge of the wire is about the length of the cable run not the wattage of the amplifier.
If you are running less than 100' you will be OK with 16 AWG but if you are going to buy something different you might consider a thicker cable. Buying thicker cable means it is harder to pull through the walls, however. A solution is the four conductor cable that can be twisted to increase gauge. It also allows a "spare" wire if one of the four gets damaged while installing.

My preference for mutiple speakers is not cheap. You either get a speaker distribution box with autoformers to compensate for the varying impedance without loading down the amp or you buy an external amp with as many channels as needed for your system. The first is the most technically correct way to do a home system and ensures safe power distribution. The second is the best way to handle multiple speakers since you are using what amounts to a separate amp for each speaker and there is little opportunity to blow up an amp due to insufficient impeadnce loading. It also offers the best way to trim the volume of all speakers without loading down the amplifier. Impedance matching switches and volume controls are the cheap way out but not the best by any means.
 

Mary
Unregistered guest
Vigne,

Is a speaker distribution box different from a speaker selectors? I was thinking to go with sylvania autoformer based dual source impedence matching speaker selector.

Please advise.

Thanks

 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
What an item is called in home audio is a rather loosely agreed upon matter that varies from one manufactureer to another. A speaker selector can be just a simple switch with no protection to the amplifier at all. A distribution box can be the same device or a more sophisticated network of switches and protection devices. What the protection device amounts to may still vary considerably between companies and it can still be termed a distribution system.
The autoformer based systems are the best for a single amplifier driving multiple speakers as they will show the amplifier's output stages a constant 8 Ohm impedance load. Autoformers can be designed for extremely high quality audio performance and are always the better choice for performance than resistor based systems if more than two pairs of speakers are to be used. Resistor based systems merely load down the amplifier with approximately 20 Ohm load resistors in series with the output stages of the amp. This presents a virtual brick wall to the amp the eats up power, converts your amp's wattage into useless and harmful heat and degrades the sound quality.
The Slyvania unit is one I have not dealt with. At the suggested retail I would guess it is the better choice over a resistor based selector but there are better to be had. This is similar to buying an central air conditioning system for the house, it will pay in the long run to spend a little more now since the money spent will provide you with a product that will last, in the case of an autoformer based selector, for the rest of your life. Since autoformers do not heat up and cool down the way resistive units do, there is no reason for there to be problems with this type of selector unless you short out a circuit. Using the correct speaker cable and volume controls will mean this should not happen over the life of the system. Money spent here will pay of in the short and long run.

The autoformer based systems I have used are slightly more expensive than the Slyvania, here is a link to start you off with a Niles unit:

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-KqL6IMXjkhC/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?s=0&c=9&g=15240&I= 190msa10a&o=p&a=0&cc=01&avf=N&search=niles+audio

Here is one for Russound and some basic information you might need :

http://www.russound.com/speaker_selectors.htm

Cruise through this site for information ranging from "what is home audio distribution" to "how to run wires" :

http://www.hometech.com/audio/

Xantech is the best available but sometimes over the head of DIY installers:

http://www.xantech.com/

As the price of a multi channel amp has dropped in the past few years they have become the best overall choice for sound quality and flexiblity. Do consider that your 80 watt Yamaha, if asked to drive all speakers at the same time (easily possible with the Autoformer type distribution) will have, at best, only a few watts per speaker* to achieve volume levels that, in some cases, might require much more power to satisfy your expectations. A multi channel amp may still prove to be the most effective way to get the sound you are hoping for with the least amount of cost and problems.

*For all intents and purposes of real life every time you add another speaker to the channel output you will be halving the avialable power that each speaker can recieve. Start with 80 watts for one speaker per channel then add a second (while maintaining the same 8 Ohm load impedance through the use of autoformers) and you will have about 40 watts per speaker; three speakers will leave you with
slightly more than 20 watts per speaker. You can use a calculator to find out how much power eight speakers per channel will be able to access if all are playing at the same time. The actuall division of power is not always 1/2 but it is close enough that you can see it doesn't take long before you don't have much power to drive speakers at all.

Hope that helps.


 

Mary
Unregistered guest
Vigne,

Thank you very much for your valuable advise. Initially, I am planning to go with 3 pairs of speakers. However, the would get the house wired for extra singles/pairs with proper speaker power distribution system. Later in time, when I install other speakers, I would certainly like to go with multi channel amps.

Thanks a lot for clearing all my confusions.
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