Anyone with experience using Taperwire? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-29-2012, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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After finally pulling the trigger on the purchase of an Epson 5010 on Cyber Monday, I can now turn my attention to setting up my 5.1 surround.

The first hurdle I hit out of the gate is how best to address the crossing of a hallway? Attached is a picture of the situation. I can't go over and it would be far too much work and wire to go around, so, I am looking to go under (the carpet that is). I know going under the carpet is not the preferred approach, but it is the direction that I am choosing to go.

A 10ft length for each conductor should do the trick with connector boxes on either side.

With that being said, I am inquiring with the forum about anyone's experience or opinion regarding the use of Taperwire or Flatwire products for this application.

In particular I am looking at:

For connecting Subwoofer: http://www.flatwireready.com/products/audio_products/subwoofer_wire.html

For connecting center, left and right: product: 216-WT/CL/BLK website: http://www.taperwire.com/speakerwire.html

My concerns are two-fold:

1) Will these products result in an acceptable level of performance?

2) Are these products durable enough to be placed under carpet with a moderate amount of foot traffic? (They both appear to be somewhat frail looking).


I appreciate your time and feedback.

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post #2 of 11 Old 11-29-2012, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Runkle View Post

Will these products result in an acceptable level of performance?

As long as the effective wire gauge is adequate it should be fine. But don't get flat wire whose conductors are adjacent flat side to flat side. The two surfaces should be side by side. In other words, you don't want this:

______
______

But this is okay:

______ ______

I assume such wire will be durable under a carpet.

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post #3 of 11 Old 11-29-2012, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

...you don't want this:
______
______
...because it makes a big capacitor which can roll off the highs.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-29-2012, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
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2) Are these products durable enough to be placed under carpet with a moderate amount of foot traffic?
People do it all the time, but speaker cable is not designed to go under carpet. The prodblem is the copper work hardens every time it is bent. Sooner or later it will break. The jacket will also abraded. Whether you will have problems or not depends on your circumstances. If you can put it between the underlayment and the pad you will be better off then putting it between the pad and the carpet.
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-29-2012, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

...you don't want this:
______
______
...because it makes a big capacitor which can roll off the highs.

Actually, it would take one heck of a long flat cable to make a capacitor big enough to cause that to happen. The problem that Ethan is worried about is simply a matter of the appearance of a bulge in the carpet!
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-29-2012, 02:50 PM
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50' might give you something on the order of a microfarad depending on construction. That is about 1000 times what zip cord would give you, and greater than the high capacitance boutique cables that have been shown to have issues in the past.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-30-2012, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

The problem that Ethan is worried about is simply a matter of the appearance of a bulge in the carpet!

With parallel conductors the capacitance could be great enough to cause problems with a poorly designed amplifier. I haven't seen this personally, but a good friend of mine who is very knowledgeable told me he saw an expensive boutique power amp self-oscillate when connected to that type of wire. Boom, there go your tweeters! biggrin.gif

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post #8 of 11 Old 11-30-2012, 11:43 AM
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I would never put wires under carpet, not without some sort of channel. Wear and breakage, not to mention replacement, can cause problems. Wires are not designed to be walked upon (with few exceptions). Office supply stores and networking places sell runners that are essentially rubber strips with a channel in them for wires. You can get them in different colors (though probably have to special order anything but black).

Regarding capacitance, Taperwire appears to be side-by-side though I cannot tell about your subwoofer wire. In any event, 1 uF over 50' = 20 nF per foot; that is a very high capacitance for speaker wires, I think higher than anything I have seen except the wovern type. (Ethan: At CES 1980-something, Cobra cables and the new $4k Infinity switching amp made an explosive combination!) I am used to seeing in the 20 - 30 pF/ft range for interconnects, and not much different for speaker cables. Again, woven/interleaved types aside. Two 1" wide strips stacked on top of each other with 10 mils between would give you maybe 300 pF/ft depending on fringing and the insulator (dielectic) used, or about 15 nF total for 50 feet. Taperwire should be much, much lower.

I do not know what is on the left side; could you run the wires over there? Seems like there would be a lot of stair traffic in and out of the room; I would route where traffic is least when running along the floor. No way to go up, maybe in a molding at the back corner, then along the ceiling and drop down beind the speakers?

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post #9 of 11 Old 12-01-2012, 04:08 PM
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Hey Charlie,

In the house we used to live in I had speaker wire running under-carpet across one of the busiest walkways in the house for 17 years, with no problems whatsoever. It was regular zip-cord speaker wire like you have in your picture, not any flat stuff. You could feel it underfoot if you weren’t wearing any shoes, but that’s about it.

The biggest challenge will be getting the wire across that wide opening. I’ve had mixed results getting across smaller openings no bigger than a standard doorway: Pushing a stiff wire under the carpet with the end bent back to help keep it from snagging the carpet pad, the last time I tried it I managed to snag the pad anyway, and made a bunched-up mess underneath the carpet. It might be worth your while and money to get a professional carpet installer in there to take up the carpet across the doorway and more importantly, get it back down correctly. You can cut an opening in the tack strip where the wires (would otherwise) cross over it.

Personally I wouldn’t use that flat sub wire, because it doesn’t appear to be shielded. I’d suggest getting a long, cheap RCA cable from a place like Monoprice or Parts Express. I say “cheap” because they tend to be relatively thin compared to “premium” cables, which are usually thick. The cheap cables I’ve dissected had decent shielding; their only real problem is that their RCA’s are so-so. If you know now to solder, it would be easy enough to upgrade the connectors.

Regards,
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-01-2012, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post

I would never put wires under carpet, not without some sort of channel. Wear and breakage, not to mention replacement, can cause problems.

Back in the day I needed to run a cable across a wood parquet floor that was situated on a solid concrete slab on the ground. The only alternative to over the floor was up the walls, across the ceiliing, etc. But that was all wet plaster over steel lath over steel beam construction which I have pulled wires through for the purpose of lighting, so I know exactly what is involved.

Long story short there was a braid rug in a strategic location, so I fabricated a speaker cable out of 100 conductor computer ribbon cable. Effectively about 12 gauge. This was a heavy traffic area.

For a number of years the cable was traversed by my 4 children and us parents and other kids and adults.

Eventually the subwoofer was relocated, and the cable pulled up. No sign of wear, broken conductors, etc.
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post #11 of 11 Old 12-01-2012, 09:45 PM
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I am sure many folk have done it without problem, and in fact I have myself. I have also run into problems, however, so I tend to be cautious. The insulation on one cable dried out and cracked, leading to shorted wires under the carpet and a mess to replace, and in another case best I could tell the conductors were simply pulled apart by traffic (the wires crossed at about a 45 degree angle). May have been bad wire. Thinking back over the years (decades, whatever), I cannot recall doing many installs under carpet, probably only a handful out of the few hundred installs I worked (a paltry number for somebody doing it as a living, but I only did it a few years and installation was never my main job). I know I have seen scuffed cables and such, but honestly I can only remember the two failures; maybe they just stand out.

Another issue is that a lot of the work was commercial, and Code said no wires under carpet. May not have applied to audio cables, but we treated them the same as all other wires. I know we would get hasseled by inspectors if we ran wires across a walkway even in those protective runners.

So, given the knowledge base of Wayne and Arny, I concede this one to their superior experience. I still wouldn't do it, but that's the way I was weaned.

I agree with Wayne that if the sub cable is line level, go for standard shielded.

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