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Old 09-25-2012, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I'm new here and I'm wondering if you can help me out.

Basically, I'm looking to install a 2.1 theatre set up, which I will later upgrade to a 5.1 system. Over the course of a few months I have been racking my brain over how to install everything. Oddly enough, I have audio engineering background so I'm not unfamiliar with the gear, but when it comes to home theater installations and my home I have absolutely no experience. And this current configuration is leaving me completely stumped with how to install this successfully.

Problem starts with the pre-existing fireplace unit as such:



As you can see the cavity in the upper section is built for the older CRT style TVs. As a result, what I'm wanting to do is block off the upper section and mount my 46" plasma and place a receiver, apple tv, blueray and Wii in the lower section. There is power and coaxial cable installed into the cavity, so everything is great there. But where I'm completely stumped is how to run the audio speaker lines. I would like to keep everything contained in the walls, but how do I manage this when this unit looks almost as bad as escaping the alcatraz?

Secondly, there are some cables installed which I'm completely unfamiliar with within the cavity. I was hoping that maybe some of you viewing this thead might know what they are and why they're there.


Within the blue cables there are much smaller color coded gauge wire. Looks like the wire used for serial computer cables.






These RCA cables are running down into the lower section of the fireplace unit. I'm completely confused as to what these are for, but seeing them marked A red/A white, B red/B white, etc., I'm assuming they're for difference audio sources (?). But I have no idea where these cables are leading to and why.


As for installing the speaker wire (if its possible to get past the fireplace unit) I was thinking that maybe running the wires through the basement as there is a floating ceiling giving me pretty good access. Are there any pitfalls doing it this way? I can only imagine how difficult it would be to try to run wire against gravity and insulation resisting it.

Anyhow, I think this is about it. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Hopefully this is doable. Actually really hope it is as this is a smaller space and locating the receiver away from the TV would be very unfortunate. Anyways, thanks for looking!

Clay
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:07 AM
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Training in professional audio is likely to cause a lot of confusion when faced with home entertainment systems wink.gif

Where does the other end of the black cable go?
I'm sure that's where the receiver and other electronics were expected to be located.

The thick black cable containing two stranded wires probably was intended for connecting a center-channel speaker to a receiver or amp. That speaker needs to be on the center-line of the display, either immediately above it or below it.

Cables terminated in red and white RCA connectors normally are intended to carry line-level analog stereo audio: red for the right channel and white for the left. The cables usually are twisted pair, with the center pin of the connector carrying the signal and the outer connection for ground. Those cables might have been intended for connecting the TV's stereo audio outputs to the receiver. If the ends you photographed are where the receiver was to go, they might be intended for connecting to a CD player and cable-TV audio output, too.

Have you tried contacting whoever was responsible for specifying the cable layout? (i.e. the previous homeowner) Their responses might help (or confuse things even worse).

For a modern home entertainment system, you need to run at least two HDMI cables from the TV to where the cable-TV box and the receiver will be located. Long HDMI cable runs (more than about 25 ft) tend to have problems. Speaker cable (typically 16 gauge for long runs) needs to be run from the receiver to the speaker locations.

Edited to add: putting a receiver or other electronics in that small slot of an enclosure is asking for trouble. Home electronics devices (especially receivers) generate a lot of heat and need to be well ventilated, typically with at least 6" of space above them, in addition to several inches of clearance on either side.

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Old 09-25-2012, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayphish View Post

Within the blue cables there are much smaller color coded gauge wire. Looks like the wire used for serial computer cables.
The blue ones are most likely Cat-5 network cables. To find out how useful they will be, you need to locate the other end. It's really great to have your network at the TV and receiver, but they'll need to connect to a net switch or router at the other end. The double black one looks like it might be a siamese cable with RG-6 coax and Cat-5 together, but I can't see the end well enough to tell.
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These RCA cables are running down into the lower section of the fireplace unit. I'm completely confused as to what these are for, but seeing them marked A red/A white, B red/B white, etc., I'm assuming they're for difference audio sources (?). But I have no idea where these cables are leading to and why.
They would have been audio and video for an older TV. You're not going to use them again.
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As for installing the speaker wire (if its possible to get past the fireplace unit) I was thinking that maybe running the wires through the basement as there is a floating ceiling giving me pretty good access. Are there any pitfalls doing it this way? I can only imagine how difficult it would be to try to run wire against gravity and insulation resisting it.
Anyhow, I think this is about it. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Hopefully this is doable. Actually really hope it is as this is a smaller space and locating the receiver away from the TV would be very unfortunate. Anyways, thanks for looking!
Clay

There are all sorts of tricks to wire installation, but your best bet might be to hire a pro to do it. Get a couple of quotes. We're an inventive and persistent bunch, and can usually get a wire where it needs to be one way or another. We also have some special tools that you won't know about or want to buy. And we have access to different kinds of wire that may work better in some cases. Might cost a little, but you'll save yourself a lot of grief.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

Long HDMI cable runs (more than about 25 ft) tend to have problems.
Not if done right with good quality stuff.
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Edited to add: putting a receiver or other electronics in that small slot of an enclosure is asking for trouble. Home electronics devices (especially receivers) generate a lot of heat and need to be well ventilated, typically with at least 6" of space above them, in addition to several inches of clearance on either side.

While I share the concern, it's actually situational. It's possible to install in low clearance, so long as you consider cooling and air flow. You can put gear in closed cabinetry too, with the same attention to air flow, either forced or convection. I wouldn't rule the shelf out, so long as you don't stack your gear and it can breath at least a little.

By the way, welcome to the forum!
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by has7738 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post

Long HDMI cable runs (more than about 25 ft) tend to have problems.
Not if done right with good quality stuff.
Exactly. Too often people start with marginal cable and then don't understand why it has intermittent problems.
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selden Ball View Post


Edited to add: putting a receiver or other electronics in that small slot of an enclosure is asking for trouble. Home electronics devices (especially receivers) generate a lot of heat and need to be well ventilated, typically with at least 6" of space above them, in addition to several inches of clearance on either side.

While I share the concern, it's actually situational. It's possible to install in low clearance, so long as you consider cooling and air flow. You can put gear in closed cabinetry too, with the same attention to air flow, either forced or convection. I wouldn't rule the shelf out, so long as you don't stack your gear and it can breath at least a little.
Right. I could be misjudging the height of the shelf. Superficially it looks like a standard-sized receiver would fit snugly with no clearance at all.

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Old 09-25-2012, 12:54 PM
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At the risk of straying off topic, the general rule of thumb with long HDMI cables is longer cables require heavier internal wire gage. Over 25' works better with 22ga internal wires. Not every supplier specifies this, though, and some thinner wires are specifically made for longer runs, and work fine. Just don't use cheap thin wires over 25'.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:14 PM
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I suspect the current configuration had the TV above the fireplace and rest of the gear elsewhere. Those cables then brought the signal to the TV. They may have had freestanding speakers around the fireplace. Talking about, that is your biggest problem, i.e. where to put your speakers.

If you want to do this yourself, my suggestion is to get a sound bar and put it underneath the Plasma and be done with it smile.gif. Later on you can decide where you would want to put stand-alone speakers. With windows on both sides of the fireplace, you really don't have good options there. And oh, with that short viewing distance you are going to get stiff neck watching TV that high! So you may want to get an articulating mount that lowers the TV some. Even then it is very suboptimal. Perhaps you would want to consider putting the TV elsewhere on top of an entertainment center with speakers on each side. Later, you can then run wires to in-wall or in-ceiling speakers for surrounds. Something to think about smile.gif.

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Old 09-25-2012, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the informative replies guys, It helps a lot.

Yea, the fireplace isn't a very good set up. And you're probably right Amir when you suggest another wall being better. Problem is the whole sitting arrangement will have to change. eek.gif Maybe the best thing to do is basically fill in the hole/hang a painting and do like you suggested and move the entertainment system to the other wall. At least this way there will be less obstructions and better options to customize the set up in the future. Running cabling in the future would probably work better too!

This whole thing is a pain!!
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