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altima00's Avatar altima00 08:24 PM 03-18-2013
Hello,

We've bought a new house, and it's already built with all the walls up.

The only wiring it has is one cat5e cable to each room, and it comes down to the basement to a central location.

I want to wire in ceiling speakers on my first floor, and second floor. I also want to run more cat5e cables to each room on both floors in case I ever need them for future use.

I have a closet on my first floor, and right above I have a closet on the 2nd floor and they line up.

I will run a pvc pipe in the corner of the closet from the attic to the basement. All of the audio wires and cat5e cables on the 2nd floor will go up to the attic and then down to the basement through the pvc pipe and then to the central location.

Now, on the first floor, what is the preferred method to run that wiring? My basement is unfinished, so where ever I want to install a speaker, should I just drop that wire into the basement? I will have speaker wires coming down from all over the basement, and then I can lead them along the ceiling to my central location.

Also, should I install 1 pvc pipe and run cat5e and speaker wire together, or install 2 side-by-side and run them separately?


I have made a post in another section detailing my set up. I've included the link below for more info on how my set up will be.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1463977/need-help-selecting-an-amp


TIA!

Phil17108's Avatar Phil17108 08:49 PM 03-18-2013
I would run 3 pvc drops. What are you going to do about power for your systems? If you are going to hang panels on walls you may want to put outlets behind them along with any cables you want. I built a separate wire loom for my place with a central panel and a one switch disable. Not a cable or power cord on the floor anywhere in the home.
altima00's Avatar altima00 09:06 PM 03-18-2013
Thank you for the quick reply.

When the speaker wire comes down to the basement, each zone will be connected to its own amp to power the speakers. Each amp will have its own airport express for audio input.

Initially, I was thinking about getting an AudioSource AMP100 for each zone, but now I am second guessing that.

I can always buy equipment and install it overtime, so it is more important to get the wiring done.

Will the set up I mentioned work, or will I still need a 3rd pvc pipe for power? Even if the speaker wires from the attic are connected to an amp in the basement?
Phil17108's Avatar Phil17108 09:11 PM 03-18-2013
PVC is cheap and its always good to have something you don't need than not have it and need it.
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad 04:21 AM 03-19-2013
It's OK to run speaker cables, category cables, and any DC power cables in the same conduit.

But beware of undersizing the PVC conduit. Adding cables one at a time is much more difficult than all at once. Use the largest conduit that you can, and as many as you can.

Rigid conduit (gray schedule 40) would be cheaper than flex conduit. Fire rated caulk for floor penetrations.
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad 04:24 AM 03-19-2013
Since you have the luxury of time, you could install conduit runs as you need them. Start with 1 2" conduit, fill it up, then add another run of conduit.
blueplate's Avatar blueplate 05:33 AM 03-19-2013
I'd side with running two to three conduits up to the attic all at once. Do it now, while you have the energy!

You're right on target with running the 2nd floor cables all the way to the attic, then drop them in from above.

For the first floor, yes, drop the wiring into the basement ceiling and then use a good staple to secure it. Better yet, if money is no object, and you have the time, buy and install 50' or 100' of cable tray and mount it in the basement ceiling between the joists.

In my install, the joists weren't running the way I wanted, so I had to either staple/cable tie at the bottom of the joists, or along the central support beam that runs down the middle of the basement, as high as possible.

One option I didn't recognize until later was that in my basement, there were exposed heating ducts (square, sheet metal ducts). Routing along the top of these would have kept the cables completely out of sight. But, it was an unfinished basement and (1) I wasn't worried enough to redo it and (2) wasn't sure about whether it's acceptable to have Cat-5e cable in long-term contact with a heat duct. That could be a good routing path, but if you do that, make sure it's okay first.
altima00's Avatar altima00 08:40 AM 03-19-2013
Thank you for all the help.

I have one last question which has to do with wiring the home theater system.

For all my zones, the speakers connect to an amp, which gets input from the airport express.

But for the family room, where the home theater system will be, how can I wire that so when the TV is on, it will use the surround sound, but when it is off, then those speakers are available to be used by an airport express.

When I want the TV to use surround sound, I can turn on the receiver which is in the family room next to the TV... but when I want to use those speakers with the airport express then it should not matter if the receiver is on or off.

I was thinking, I still run all the speaker wire from the home theater system to the central location and connect them to an amp. I also run wire from the receiver in the family room to the central location, and put it as 1 input to the amp, and the airport express as 2nd input.

Is this the correct way to do this?
jautor's Avatar jautor 09:11 AM 03-19-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by altima00 View Post

But for the family room, where the home theater system will be, how can I wire that so when the TV is on, it will use the surround sound, but when it is off, then those speakers are available to be used by an airport express.

When I want the TV to use surround sound, I can turn on the receiver which is in the family room next to the TV... but when I want to use those speakers with the airport express then it should not matter if the receiver is on or off.

Russound has a nice local source interrupt speaker switch with music-sense for exactly this purpose...



http://www.russound.com/product_detail.php?i=1769


Jeff
altima00's Avatar altima00 10:09 AM 03-19-2013
Since the Russound selector above only has 2 speaker output, I will not be able to make use of all the 5 speakers in surround sound with airport express, but if I get 2 of the automatic selectors can I make use of at least 4?

Front speakers in family room are connected to first Russound selector as output. Input A will be the amp with airport express. Input B will be front speaker output from receiver in family room.

Back speakers in family room will be connected to second Russound selector as output. Input A will be another amp with same airport express input. Input B will be back speaker output from receiver in family room.

Center speaker will be connected directly to the receiver, and will only be used by TV.


Will that setup work?
jautor's Avatar jautor 10:38 AM 03-19-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by altima00 View Post

Since the Russound selector above only has 2 speaker output, I will not be able to make use of all the 5 speakers in surround sound with airport express, but if I get 2 of the automatic selectors can I make use of at least 4?

We usually think of sharing the in-ceiling speakers (surround channels) with the WHA system. If you want to use all 5 speakers, you'll be better served by just taking a line-level output from your WHA system and adding it as a source to your AVR. Then you use the AVR's amp and all its capabilities... Trying to run multiple pairs using multiple switchers is probably not going to provide a satisfactory result.

I've done this with my system - and my family room also has it's own Airport Express as a source - I can choose either it, or any of the WHA-connected sources. You'd really only need the WHA source if you want to have the rooms synch'ed playing the same thing...

Jeff
altima00's Avatar altima00 07:27 PM 03-20-2013
Thank you for the help.

Btw, your setup in your sig is amazing.

In order to utilize the surround sound, I may just connect one airport express as an input and turn it on manually whenever necessary, as you have suggested.

Is there a similar automatic selector like the Russound one you suggested above, but instead can take 2 RCA inputs or 2 3.5mm as input . Prioritize them and output the correct one?
jautor's Avatar jautor 11:35 PM 03-20-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by altima00 View Post

Thank you for the help.

Btw, your setup in your sig is amazing.

In order to utilize the surround sound, I may just connect one airport express as an input and turn it on manually whenever necessary, as you have suggested.

Is there a similar automatic selector like the Russound one you suggested above, but instead can take 2 RCA inputs or 2 3.5mm as input . Prioritize them and output the correct one?

Thanks!

Here's one:

http://www.nilesaudio.com/product.php?prodID=SAS-1&recordID=Automated%20Switching%20Systems&categoryID=Switching%20Systems&catcdID=10&prdcdID=FG00230

But I'm not sure what that will buy you... You can just attach the WHA system's line output to any available (AUX) analog input on your AVR... Select the source on the AVR and you're done.

Jeff
altima00's Avatar altima00 08:10 AM 03-21-2013
I was looking for something like this

50-8385.jpg

So I can have 2 inputs for each zone (3.5mm jack on wall in each room and an airport express) instead of just an airport express.

I think I've got most of it planned out.

Will start ordering stuff tomorrow smile.gif
jautor's Avatar jautor 08:54 AM 03-21-2013
Oh, you mean for the zone amp, not your AVR...

Have you bought that already? If not, one of the AudioSource AMP models might be a good choice, as they have two source inputs with auto-selection built in...
altima00's Avatar altima00 09:03 AM 03-21-2013
Haven't bought it yet.

I do plan on getting the Audiosource amp100 as well, but input 1 doesn't have a time delay. So it constantly cuts out.

I was thinking of getting the auto switcher in my last post and connecting it to input 2 on the amp100, and making use of only input 2 for my audio.

Then maybe get a mic, and split it into the input 1 of every amp, to use as a pa system.
jautor's Avatar jautor 10:09 AM 03-21-2013
How many zones are you talking about? With multiple sources and a desire for a PA feature, you should start thinking WHA systems instead of a group of standalone amps.
altima00's Avatar altima00 01:41 PM 03-22-2013
I was thinking 6 zones, but also being able to expand in the future if needed. Do you have any suggestions for a WHA system?


If I go the airport express/amp for each zone route when I'm wiring my surround sound in the family room. It would make no sense to wire the speakers to my central location, and then back to the AVR in the family room, right? I can just wire the speakers directly to the AVR and connect an Apple TV to it, to include it in with the rest of the house audio. Or is it preferred to have those wires running to the central location in case of changes in the future?
jautor's Avatar jautor 02:54 PM 03-22-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by altima00 View Post

I was thinking 6 zones, but also being able to expand in the future if needed. Do you have any suggestions for a WHA system?

The usual suspects. HTD, NuVo, Russound.
Quote:
If I go the airport express/amp for each zone route when I'm wiring my surround sound in the family room. It would make no sense to wire the speakers to my central location, and then back to the AVR in the family room, right? I can just wire the speakers directly to the AVR and connect an Apple TV to it, to include it in with the rest of the house audio. Or is it preferred to have those wires running to the central location in case of changes in the future?

Surround channels, when placed in-ceiling or in-wall for non-dedicated "theater" spaces, are a special case when it comes to distributed audio. Special in that because of their placement in the room, they can serve dual purposes as both surround channels and for background/party music (coming from a WHA system). With a bit of planning and a little bit of wire, you can enable that use case...

Connecting the AVR's location to the central closet with speaker wire, and installing a "local source interrupt" device to switch the speakers between the AVR output and the WHA zone output makes this possible. Diagram showing this, specifically for a NuVo setup, but the concepts are the same for any system:



Jeff
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