Direct wire or patch panels for in-wall speaker cables? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-04-2013, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so we're building a new house and will have in-wall/ceiling speakers and a Russound setup. I've got an 84" rack for all the gear that will be shared with the home theater stuff.

The rack has wheels but there should be enough access all around it to potentially treat it as permanent. I've got two other racks for computer gear and over the years have found it very convenient to be able to move them around a bit when changing things. Not much though, just enough to gain better access. Granted, this was usually because the space was too tiny to begin with... anyway, that's not the issue here.

The question is whether I should pull all the speaker wires directly to the back of the amps, or use a patch panel of some sort inside a work box?

I'll be adding all the AV gear after the final inspection is done by the county. The rack won't be present at that time. All I'll have will be the speaker and CAT5 control wires. I'm wondering two things, what will work better for me at inspection time, and over the long term? The CAT5 lines I could terminate into a wall-mounted patch panel. But what of the in-wall speaker wires? In my old house I ran them direct from the ceiling over the rack, secured to both, and direct to the back of the amps. This worked, as I left about 3' of slack coiled up at the top. But I'm unsure how to handle it now that it'll be part of a larger house inspection.

And, for that matter, what sort of inter-connect would I even use for speaker wire? RG6 or CAT5/6 patch panels are easy enough, but I'm not sure what to use for stranded in-wall speaker line.
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-05-2013, 11:37 AM
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I use wall plates with banana plugs
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-05-2013, 06:02 PM
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keep in mind that patch panels are holes in the wall and with your overall moderately aggressive soundproofing goals they should be addressed.
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-05-2013, 08:09 PM
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I used to use patch panels a long time ago but have completely gotten away from it. Aside from the cost of the patch panel chassis and all the little connectors, there is always a potential downside and no upside by introducing breaks in the line and additional connectors. There is a slight db drop in signal transfer, another point of potential exposure for RFI / EMI interference to enter the line...plus a lot of extra unnecessary work for something that will almost never get unplugged from the wall.

Usually inspectors don't care about low voltage except for when it comes to any penetrations that could help spread a fire. I'd check with your inspector to see what he considers is "OK" for low voltage wires to come through a wall. A relatively clean way to do it is to use a single gang low voltage plaster ring and then drill the appropriate size hole in a blank faceplate. Pull the wires through and attach the faceplate. At worst I have had an inspector request i close the gap around the wires with a bit of electrical putty and at best they don't care...at all.

The above being said, the ONLY time I use a patch panel is for a phone punchdown block. I have a digital phone system, so if I wanted to move the location of one of my digital phones within a room, all I have to do is plug the phone into the new jack within the room and move the line at the head-end from its current port location to the new port location on the punchdown block.
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-05-2013, 09:42 PM
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Speaker runs almost never change. I would skip the patch panel.

But, banana plugs work OK, pro audio guys use Neutrik Speakons commonly when they need to disconnect often. Since you won't be disconnecting, skip the speaker patch panel. I currently use terminal blocks, but am switching to Speakons.

Extra slack into a recessed low voltage wall enclosure (enter and exit enclosure through knockouts, exit drywall through nearby scoop) or behind a drywall access panel, to keep the extra service loops for future use. Can do the same for a ceiling.

I would bag the LV cables for the inspection, exiting drywall from a scoop.

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post #6 of 10 Old 03-06-2013, 08:26 AM
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what do you mean by a scoop?
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-06-2013, 10:38 AM
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-06-2013, 11:23 AM
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Hehe.





and, by 'bag the cables,' I mean place them, gently coiled, inside a big clear bag, and don't let people step on them.

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post #9 of 10 Old 03-06-2013, 02:27 PM
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What about for rough-in? Just run them into low volt boxes?
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-06-2013, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

What about for rough-in? Just run them into low volt boxes?

Yep. Actually through low voltage boxes. I normally neaten and cable tie all the wires and then, starting at the end of the bunched cables, take Saran Wrap and twirl it around the wires in a spiral until you reach the wall. Then loop the bulk of wires in a circle and cable tie. This will keep all of your wires 100% clean and readable during the construction phase (especially drywall and paint), while keeping them easy to move around by the drywallers, painters, etc. When you are ready to install the equipment you slide over the scoop (or blank plate with a hole drilled in it), slide it over the wires, cut the cable ties, cut the Saran Wrap and VOILA!!! Fresh, clean wires ready for termination.
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