New (Big Box Builder) House Help - AVS Forum
General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms > New (Big Box Builder) House Help
keithyd's Avatar keithyd 02:30 PM 10-26-2012
It has been some time since I posted on here, but you guys have always been helpful with these sort of questions. As I've gotten older the technology has changed and I don't want it to completely pass me by.

So the wife and I have put money down on a house and we are picking and choosing the over priced options to put in it and I want something to offset the cool kitchen things that she got.

I'm not a big audiophile and can't tell the difference of a $700 and a $3,000 receiver. With young kids and a current small home, I haven't had the chance to pump up the volume and really enjoy the set up like I should.

The main thing is the family room is 20x15 and I'm wanting to have a nice set up that the wife and I can listen to music when we cook, enjoy decent surround sound while we watch a movie as well as have the opportunity to listen to the music elsewhere in the house or out on the adjacent porch. We decided on a stone fireplace (direct vent) and mantle and plan to hang the TV there. Is there anything I should be concerned about with this mounting surface?

The rip off builder wants to charge $475 to run HDMI from side up to TV. $360 to prewire a 6.1 or $535 for 5.1 with AV Chase. I imagine that most people these days are putting their speakers in the ceiling is this correct? Would you do 5.1 or 6.1? There isn't a defined end of the room as it floats into the kitchen/breakfast room. Any suggestions on good ceiling speakers? Should I save my money and just do wireless speakers in the back of the room?

Would it be best to get bluetooth speakers to bounce the IPOD sound either outside or upstairs for music elsewhere? Thanks so much for the help.

yobrigidey's Avatar yobrigidey 02:52 PM 10-26-2012
Will the builder let you run your own cabling and install your own conduits? My builder did, and I saved a ton of money doing it over a weekend. I pulled all my own catv, cat6, speaker wire, and ran a couple conduits to the unfinished basement.
keithyd's Avatar keithyd 02:57 PM 10-26-2012
They are telling me no. They sub it out to a local alarm company so everyone has to get paid. I would love to just run the wire myself as it would be done right and for far less.
mistaforty's Avatar mistaforty 11:20 AM 10-27-2012
how can they tell you no (insurance/liability?) or at least allow you toget your own licensed contractor to do it? i wouldnt go with the wireless solutions I just dont completely trust them yet.
Scout's staff's Avatar Scout's staff 07:25 AM 10-28-2012
Having dealt with new construction myself, there are a couple of things to think about. 1. You do not own or have rights to the property until you close on it. The builder owns it and bears all liability as well as the responsibility to pass all inspections. 2. Although the cost may sound high (I only paid $500 to have the HDMI, component video and 7 speaker lines run - I also supplied the 35' HDMI cable and installed my own speakers after moving in), it is still much cheaper to have it done now versus trying to do it later after the construction is done. My mistake was not having a run or tube placed where the HDMI was run - I will need to open up walls to perform any kind of HDMI or other cable upgrade now.
mn_hokie's Avatar mn_hokie 09:14 PM 10-28-2012
My builder also told me no, but I did it anyway. If you're willing to do that, just be sure and cover the boxes with blank plates until after closing.
keithyd's Avatar keithyd 06:31 PM 10-29-2012
All good points. Thanks for the help. I think I will pay for them to do it. Just need to decide if I want 7.1 or 5.1 and to put them in the ceiling or on the wall. What are people doing these days?
yobrigidey's Avatar yobrigidey 07:11 PM 10-29-2012
I'd wire for more than you think you need, WAY easier to get it in now.
ket-tek's Avatar ket-tek 09:08 AM 10-30-2012
I had mine built in 07 I made it part of the deal up front that I was gonna do all the low voltage myself, the builder balked at it for a while saying the similar stuff about how his electrician knows all about automation/theater and if I wanted it I had to have him do it, but when he realized I was serious about this detail making or breaking the deal and I would find another builder he then reluctantly agreed and just said if any inspections failed or held up progress I would be responsible for whatever time/cost it incurred to the job.

Of course I didn't hold up the build at all, his trades held it up as they do on 99% of home builds, I was supposed to close in August, but it wasn't til December before it was done! Typical.

I came in on two different weekends and built sealed speaker enclosures for the inwall / ceiling speakers, preframed for a rackmount, hdmi and ir feeds for all the tv's in the various rooms, ran dual 2" conduits from attic to crawl for up to down low voltage runs later, and 2" conduit from electric panel to attic to add circuits to the bonus room later when I build it out into a entertainment room. Did all the phone, cable, shielded cat6 network , vc's, whole house speakers, ran interface feeds to the doorbell locations and camera wire to the porches, soffits, garage, and driveway.

I met the electricians over time during the build, cools guys but they told me they had no idea what I was doing, and they use crap-ass 18/2 alarm wire for speakers and cat5 for network, they don't do anything else, the customer has to supply the hdmi if they want it or any other cabling etc, and that they HATE doing any of it.

I ran wires everywhere, although I sold the ElanHD w/ Via system I had when I sold the my old house, and I did not have the home automation equipment nor the budget for the near future but having control wires to door bells, v/c locations, camera locations, and access to easily get wires to the attic or crawl and to the electric panels makes it for an easy thing to add in automation and various media devices in the future.

In the end the builder admitted to being impressed, and that he had no clue what I was doing, and he could not have provided any of what I did.

Long story short, the advice is to work out these details BEFORE YOU SIGN THE CONTRACT. Most builders will give in to keep the job, as long as you sound confident and make him understand that you know the local codes to what you can and can't do. (stuff like not drilling through pre-lam beams or pulling wire through the same holes electrical already go through, etc..)

GOOD LUCK on the new house OP, for the future additions you may just need to learn the ART OF FISHING, you can do alot with minimal damage if you really try.

PS to all: CONDUIT is the ONLY thing that is close to futureproof for wiring a new home. smile.gif
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