Romex + Stranded speaker wire for long run? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys, is it more economical to use a long run of romex (over 50') for each of 2 speakers throught the attic for another zone, and then extend the ends with speaker wire, either soldering the connections or using end caps? Using CL2 rated for this would take 2 runs of 2-conductor, or one run of 4 conductor. Cheers.

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post #2 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 07:36 AM
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Get in-wall rated speaker wire from Monoprice - much cheaper than most every other place.

I would never recommend using Romex for speaker wire (or any application other than AC power), just for the inspection/safety issues it could raise.

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post #3 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Get in-wall rated speaker wire from Monoprice - much cheaper than most every other place.

I would never recommend using Romex for speaker wire (or any application other than AC power), just for the inspection/safety issues it could raise.

Jeff

Well, there is definitely no safety "issues", perhaps a perceived safety issue Yeah, I have been a loyal MP customer for years now, but a roll of 250' may be costly in shipping, duty, etc (weight), to Canada. But functionality/signal-wise, there shouldn't be any problems, right?

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post #4 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 10:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Get in-wall rated speaker wire from Monoprice - much cheaper than most every other place.

I would never recommend using Romex for speaker wire (or any application other than AC power), just for the inspection/safety issues it could raise.

Jeff

Inspection issue, not really, until you go to sell the home. Safety yes, when someone mistakes it for electrical cable and connects it to a 120vac feed.
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post #5 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 10:46 AM
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Safety yes, when someone mistakes it for electrical cable and connects it to a 120vac feed.

Someone who randomely connects an unknown cable to a source of power deserves whatever they get.
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post #6 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 12:43 PM
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Romex makes for great speaker wire. The only problem is it's too thick to terminate to connectors. It will snap off banana jacks when pushed into the box. So you just make a 16awg stranded pigtail here.

As far as the NEC, I'm not sure. It might be a problem because Romex as speaker wire is not it's "intended use" - that's NEC verbage. I once used fire alarm cable, 16awg all jacketed teflon, for some in wall speakers in a facility and the inspector red tagged it. You can't use fire alarm cable for anything but fire alarms. In a home however it's probably going to be OK but ask first.

In general Romex is never allowed in commercial work with perhaps an exception for small stores and strip mall offices in smaller cities.

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post #7 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

Someone who randomely connects an unknown cable to a source of power deserves whatever they get.

LOL. yeah all Romex is 120vac and all white wires are neutral in a residential job!

You know, Romex as low voltage cabling is actually safer IMO. Future contractors will assume it's 120+ volts and treat it with that respect. No drywaller thinks twice about nailing through speaker or network cabling!

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post #8 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caper_1 View Post

Well, there is definitely no safety "issues", perhaps a perceived safety issue Yeah, I have been a loyal MP customer for years now, but a roll of 250' may be costly in shipping, duty, etc (weight), to Canada. But functionality/signal-wise, there shouldn't be any problems, right?

Perception is reality when it comes to inspection/safety. No, no problems with functionality, but I would never do it in my home. Why risk any issues during construction/inspection/resale when the 'right' cable shouldn't be much difference in cost?

Have you priced speaker wire locally at a hardware/ Home Depot? Not talking Best Buy / Monster cable here.

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post #9 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 03:48 PM
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I wouldn't use romex for speakers. Nothing wrong with using it for speakers, but if there is in-wall rated speaker wire available at a good price, why not use the right tool for the job?

If you do insist on using romex, install it as if it was carrying line voltage. No hidden splices or junctions; staples according to code; proper boxes for the termination points, etc..

IMO it's just safer and better to use speaker wire for running speakers.
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post #10 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 04:35 PM
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My first choice for in-wall speaker cables is always 14AWG by 3 plus ground Romex®. Connect the Red & Black wires together for one 11AWG lead, then the White & bare wire together for the other. This has a higher in-wall rating than the less demanding CL2 or CL3 low voltage ratings. No electrician that you want in your house would connect AC line voltage to a obvious special purpose cable like this.

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post #11 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 05:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post

My first choice for in-wall speaker cables is always 14AWG by 3 plus ground Romex®. Connect the Red & Black wires together for one 11AWG lead, then the White & bare wire together for the other. This has a higher in-wall rating than the less demanding CL2 or CL3 low voltage ratings. No electrician that you want in your house would connect AC line voltage to a obvious special purpose cable like this.

Actually it would be the next guy that moves in that would do it. Just always mark on the sheathing as to what the purpose is. Now of course using 14/3 works even better than 14/2, due to the ground wire is only shielded by paper wrapping vs. thermoelectric jacket like the rest of the wires in the jacket.
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post #12 of 28 Old 04-16-2012, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

Now of course using 14/3 works even better than 14/2, due to the ground wire is only shielded by paper wrapping vs. thermoelectric jacket like the rest of the wires in the jacket.

Why is that? Please don't tell us you're one of those that believe the insulation in a speaker cable affects the audio quality? How about the insulation color? Some believe that too makes an audible difference!

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post #13 of 28 Old 04-17-2012, 03:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Romex makes for great speaker wire. The only problem is it's too thick to terminate to connectors. It will snap off banana jacks when pushed into the box. So you just make a 16awg stranded pigtail here.

As far as the NEC, I'm not sure. It might be a problem because Romex as speaker wire is not it's "intended use" - that's NEC verbage. I once used fire alarm cable, 16awg all jacketed teflon, for some in wall speakers in a facility and the inspector red tagged it. You can't use fire alarm cable for anything but fire alarms. In a home however it's probably going to be OK but ask first.

In general Romex is never allowed in commercial work with perhaps an exception for small stores and strip mall offices in smaller cities.

Yeah, that's what I planned on doing, terminating the ends with speaker wire for the last few feet. I was also planning on tagging the wire in the attic with info, and as another option, I could easily remove the whole thing if I was going to sell: would only take a minute to climb into the attic and pull it out. I will check some pricing, and if there is a large difference, I will investigate further. Thanks for the replies guys.

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post #14 of 28 Old 04-17-2012, 04:09 AM
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I can picture having to replace the Romex with in-wall rated speaker cable, when you go to sell the house.

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post #15 of 28 Old 04-17-2012, 04:19 AM
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Now of course using 14/3 works even better than 14/2,

He already said he was using 14/3....why suggest it again? I guess you couldn't comprehend the post.

Quote:
paper wrapping vs. thermoelectric jacket

Once again, you gleefully reveal your lack of knowledge. Thermoelectric? You mean Thermoplastic...
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post #16 of 28 Old 04-17-2012, 05:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I can picture having to replace the Romex with in-wall rated speaker cable, when you go to sell the house.

No. It is a VERY unusual run for a 2nd zone. I would remove completely, not replace. The only reason I am considering this is because of recent renos that have gone way over budget, as well as buying some Energy VS-Surrounds that carried a hefty shipping charge, which was sort of a splurge purchase.

JUst checked MP and it is $48 to ship 100' of 4-conductor, for a total of about $90.
Local 14/3 Romex is $70 for 100'. Not much difference. If I could get wholesale on some Romex, it might be worth it.

I guess we are done here for now. Thanks for the tip on 14/3 because that would have been more economical than 2 runs of 14/2.

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post #17 of 28 Old 04-17-2012, 05:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

Inspection issue, not really, until you go to sell the home. Safety yes, when someone mistakes it for electrical cable and connects it to a 120vac feed.

What? Who in their right mind would connect SPEAKER wire to a high voltage source? Remember in my OP I said I would extend the romex using speaker wire, so that is what you would see at the ends, protruding form the walls...

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post #18 of 28 Old 04-17-2012, 06:29 AM
 
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Caper, you would not be surprised of some of the hack jobs I have seen, along with the fact that there are people out there that would think that is electrical, not for something else. i would even not give it a second guess, if I came across it.
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post #19 of 28 Old 04-17-2012, 07:32 AM
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As mentioned, anyone whoi connects a cable to a aource of power with out knowing what it is or where the other end is connected, deserves what they get.

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i would even not give it a second guess, if I came across it.

You're not typical, you're a very 'special' case.
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post #20 of 28 Old 04-17-2012, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

Caper, you would not be surprised of some of the hack jobs I have seen, along with the fact that there are people out there that would think that is electrical, not for something else. i would even not give it a second guess, if I came across it.

I still don't see the issue here. OK so some future electrician finds a run of Romex in the wall and assumes it's power. Why would he cut it and connect it to another power source. If he wants to tap power from this run he would no doubt probe the wires and find it's not 120vac.

Think about it. It could be a switch leg. It could be a 240v for a room air conditioner outlet or baseboard heater. Even if it is 120v power, what phase is it from and why would you back feed it?

Yes, there are hacks out there but no competent electrician is going to blindly re-purpose that wire unless he knows it is a clear run.

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post #21 of 28 Old 04-18-2012, 03:56 AM
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You asked for opinions; you are getting them. Please don't use Romex for speaker wire. There's a reason they make a product called--get this--speaker wire! Use the right tool for the job. Surely no one would get confused down the road & do something dangerous with the Romex. But you want to hook up speakers, so use speaker wire.

I've seen idiot electricians & idiot DIY'ers (one not need look far around here). Use the correct material.
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post #22 of 28 Old 04-18-2012, 04:02 AM
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If the speaker cables weren't in-wall, I'd say that Romex would be great.

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post #23 of 28 Old 04-18-2012, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cshepard View Post

You asked for opinions; you are getting them. Please don't use Romex for speaker wire. There's a reason they make a product called--get this--speaker wire! Use the right tool for the job. Surely no one would get confused down the road & do something dangerous with the Romex. But you want to hook up speakers, so use speaker wire.

I've seen idiot electricians & idiot DIY'ers (one not need look far around here). Use the correct material.

Well said.

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post #24 of 28 Old 04-18-2012, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cshepard View Post

You asked for opinions; you are getting them. Please don't use Romex for speaker wire. There's a reason they make a product called--get this--speaker wire! Use the right tool for the job. Surely no one would get confused down the road & do something dangerous with the Romex. But you want to hook up speakers, so use speaker wire.

I've seen idiot electricians & idiot DIY'ers (one not need look far around here). Use the correct material.

I wouldn't use it either for the mechanical reasons I already indicated. It's too stiff. But from an electrical viewpoint there is nothing wrong with Romex for speaker wire. It's electrical ratings are above the requirements for class 2wiring.

I got news for you. In many movie theaters speaker wires are ordinary THHN electrical wire in conduit. It's allowed to be exposed for a foot at the speaker and inside the amp rack.

Like a I said before, the only inspection issue could be a very code savy inspector citing the "intended use" clause. And I don't even know if that applies to this application.

And if I ever wire my outdoor areas for sound, I am going to use 18ga sprinkler wire! It's UV resistant, low cost, and perfectly acceptable as speaker wire.

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post #25 of 28 Old 04-19-2012, 03:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cshepard View Post

You asked for opinions; you are getting them. Please don't use Romex for speaker wire. There's a reason they make a product called--get this--speaker wire! Use the right tool for the job. Surely no one would get confused down the road & do something dangerous with the Romex. But you want to hook up speakers, so use speaker wire.

I've seen idiot electricians & idiot DIY'ers (one not need look far around here). Use the correct material.

I am not worried about "confusion" down the road or any of that. I was concerned about the signal reaching the speaker without degradation. The correct material, as you say, is copper.

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Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

If the speaker cables weren't in-wall, I'd say that Romex would be great.

yes, Romex would be acceptable for this application, I agree.

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Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

I wouldn't use it either for the mechanical reasons I already indicated. It's too stiff.

Not if you extend the ends with stranded once it exits the wall.

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post #26 of 28 Old 05-01-2012, 11:12 PM
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For very long runs, Romex makes for a very fine speaker cable indeed. Please read this great article by John Allen regarding the benefits of using Romex compared to stranded.


http://www.hps4000.com/pages/spksamps/speaker_wire.pdf
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post #27 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 05:07 PM
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Romex for low voltage applications IN WALL = Bad idea

I've even seen contractors try and use line voltage marked wire for low voltage to try and get around inspectors (and the NEC) saying you can't run low voltage and line voltage in the same space (hole, conduit, or raceway).

You should be using something rated for CL2 or CL3 for low-voltage applications. The substitution charts do not show 600V rated wire as a suitable alternative (again, for good reason).

If you want to use it outside of the wall because you are too cheap or just like to be unconventional - go for it.

Carl

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post #28 of 28 Old 05-02-2012, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post

No electrician that you want in your house would connect AC line voltage to a obvious special purpose cable like this.

No low voltage contractor that I would want in ANYONE'S house would use Romex as speaker wire.
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