Funky speaker setup??? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 12-31-2012, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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UPDATED
We moved into a new house a while back and I'm finally getting around to setting up the home theater system. There are existing in-wall speakers, but I'm a little confused on their placement and the wiring and could use some assistance. All the connections for the speakers run into a built-in cabinet and the TV location is directly adjacent on the wall. I'm running a Harmon Kardon AVR 1700 (just purchased).

So the basic setup is a 5.1, but the speaker layout is kinda weird. Picture 1 shows the layout.

Picture 1: Layout



There are 3 in-wall speakers and 2 in-ceiling speakers and they are as follows:

Speaker 1: center speaker (I assume), I can't get the grill of to determine make/model. This speaker doesn't have a 'normal' speaker connection (see below) and I can't figure out how to hook it up.


Speakers 2&3: In-wall, both are brand JBL


Speakers 4&5: In-ceiling, Pioneer S-910's.


I guess i am unsure of how the entire system was designed as it doesn't fit the typical layout? When I wire my speakers to my AVR, which one's should I put in which spot?

Now the really tricky part, I only have wires for 4 of the speakers; I am missing the wires for what I assume is center speaker, above the TV. I have some plates with RCA connections, and it appears I could hook to the speakers either via the RCA connections, or by the loose wires, but again, on this primary plate, the connections for the center speaker are absent (pic. 4). It doesn't appear to be an oversight, as the system was likely professionally installed and it looks pretty clean. I have a 2nd plate that runs the old AV connections out to the TV, with a matching plate where the TV hooks in on the wall (picture 5); on this plate, there are RCA jacks that say "power base" and "to c/speaker". I assume the power base if for the subwoofer that I'll need to purchase and the "to c/speaker" is for the center speaker??? But why in the heck does the center speaker connect off of this AV plate? How would I hook this into my AVR? Any ideas? I'm totally confused!

Picture 4: speaker plate

Picture 5: AV Plate (in cabinet) with matching plate above TV: Notice "power base" and "to c/speaker" jacks...



Could anyone offer any assistance/advice? I'm a little confused on this whole thing.
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post #2 of 8 Old 12-31-2012, 05:54 PM
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It's certainly confusing - post a diagram showing the locations of all the speakers. Close-ups of the speakers without room context doesn't help us...

These may not be a setup for surround sound, or perhaps only one pair was used (with bookshelf speakers, perhaps). If so, the "other" pair may have been for background audio use (whole house audio-style). The other possibility might be a misguided installation of a 6-channel setup (3 surounds and one center, in this case).

The "power bass" would be properly labeled "subwoofer", but he meant a powered subwoofer, which would take the .1 output from an AVR. The "to C speaker" would indicate that is for the center channel - wherever it goes (one of the in-walls?).

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post #3 of 8 Old 12-31-2012, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll try and get a diagram up asap, any ideas on what programs to best use for that?

I don't believe that the setup was for any background, whole-house audio, but I could be wrong I suppose.

Is it common to run the center channel through an RCA cable when all the other speakers are run traditionally? Seems weird. How would one hook that up to the AVR?

UPDATED FIRST POST WITH INFORMATION.
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-01-2013, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingnutty1 View Post

I'll try and get a diagram up asap, any ideas on what programs to best use for that?

Ok, that helps - now, where exactly are those two connection plates? I think I understand what's being done, but the placement of those connection plates will confirm it...

I believe the speaker above the TV is the center, the L/R were left as freestanding towers / bookshelf models, the two in-walls are poorly placed surrounds, and the in-ceiling were used for background / whole-house audio. I'd guess the previous homeowner had the TV more angled toward the center of the room, with a diagonal seating arrangement, such that the two surround channels on opposite walls pointed (kinda) the ends. Misguided attempt, I'd consider abandoning them, or start thinking about moving them and patching some drywall... Is there access (attic) above the room?
Quote:
I don't believe that the setup was for any background, whole-house audio, but I could be wrong I suppose.

If the connection plates are where I think they are, I think the ceiling speakers were for whole-house. There's connections there for speakers in other rooms, too.
Quote:
Is it common to run the center channel through an RCA cable when all the other speakers are run traditionally? Seems weird. How would one hook that up to the AVR?

Not common, but can be done. Just need to connect the speaker wire to an RCA jack. These typically are soldered on, with the signal on the center connector (+) and the (-) on the sleeve.

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post #5 of 8 Old 01-01-2013, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Connection plates are both in the cabinet, about 18" apart.

You may be right about the ceiling speakers, but I'm still not so sure as the only other set of speakers in the house (besides a rudimentary intercom) were in a 'hot tub room' that has since been converted to a bedroom and those speakers were removed by the 2nd owner, there were no speakers in the kitchen, dining, upstairs, etc.

At this point, a complete re-arrangement/re-do just isn't gonna be feasible for us (we have twins on the way and aren't going to invest too much finanically in the current system in the forseeable future), so I'd like to at least scrape together what I currently have, which should at least be better than the simple tv speakers we would otherwise use.

I took off both RCA plates.

In the main plate, picture 4, the RCA's were all abandoned and the wires re-wired to speaker wire to extend to an AVR (see the white wires extending downward in the picture). But again,only wire for 4 of the living room speakers are present, speakers #2-5.

The 2nd RCA plate, picture 5, the RCA jacks labeled "powered bass" and "c/speaker" are both fed from one wire; the black goes to the top RCA, red to the bottom RCA and the neutral (I suppose), goes to a post. So, now I am assuming that this wire powers the single speaker above the TV (the center), can I re-wire this with speaker wire and connect directly into the center speaker port on my AVR? Is there a way to determine if it is an actual powered bass? I don't want to wreck my AVR by hooking a powered bass into the center speaker port?
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-01-2013, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingnutty1 View Post

You may be right about the ceiling speakers, but I'm still not so sure as the only other set of speakers in the house (besides a rudimentary intercom) were in a 'hot tub room' that has since been converted to a bedroom and those speakers were removed by the 2nd owner, there were no speakers in the kitchen, dining, upstairs, etc.

I meant "whole house audio" in terms of usage - "multi-zone" may have been a better word choice.
Quote:
The 2nd RCA plate, picture 5, the RCA jacks labeled "powered bass" and "c/speaker" are both fed from one wire; the black goes to the top RCA, red to the bottom RCA and the neutral (I suppose), goes to a post. So, now I am assuming that this wire powers the single speaker above the TV (the center), can I re-wire this with speaker wire and connect directly into the center speaker port on my AVR?

I'd just clip the wires off the bottom (center channel) RCA and 'neutral', splice to speaker wire and run to an AVR like the rest of the speakers. There should be two wires to the center speaker - connect speaker wire to them and disconnect them from the plate entirely. Better yet, replace that whole plate with a 2-gang speaker connection plate if you want to make it look nice.
Quote:
Is there a way to determine if it is an actual powered bass? I don't want to wreck my AVR by hooking a powered bass into the center speaker port?

There's nothing there. That jack should lead to another plate with an RCA, which you'd connected to a self-contained, amplifier-buit-in (aka "powered") subwoofer. If you replace the main speaker plate(s) with a keystone (modular kit) faceplate, you can put an RCA jack there to lead to the subwoofer, if you have one. Is the "powered bass" output plate somewhere useful?

Jeff

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post #7 of 8 Old 01-01-2013, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks all for your patience and assistance:)

I took the RCA plate off the center speaker and cut the wires and spliced to new speaker wire to extend to the AVR and hooked to the AVR and the speaker works. The cable from the center speaker had 3 wires (red, black, ground), so I connected as follows to new speaker wire: red: red and ground, black: black, sound right, or can I just leave the ground unconnected?

This whole thing is a hack job to be sure, but I'll plug it all in and see if it is workable until we decide to upgrade speakers and redo it all at some point in the future...not looking immanent as we have twins due in a few months:cool:

What would be your recommondations on making the system most functional at this point without a complete tear-out? I could add a speaker or two and then disconnect one of the existing speakers I suppose? Any ideas?
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-01-2013, 07:33 PM
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Do you have any speakers? You definitely need a L/R. Perhaps the in-walls were intended for use as L/Rs, but that placement is awful. If you have an L/R, use them.

As for the rest, you could use the two in-walls for surround L/R (not sure if it would be even usable, but at least worth a try).

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