Direct Burial vs In-Wall for Outside use. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 07-22-2014, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Direct Burial vs In-Wall for Outside use.

I will be working on the next stage of my outdoor setup shortly. My current outdoor speakers are attached to the house(under eaves & Carport) and I used 'in-wall' speaker wire with rubber grommets and heatshrink tubing.

The next stage, will be for the fire pit. It is near my wellhouse, and I was going to mount two pairs of speakers under it's eaves. One set facing North, and the other South. This should cover the majority of my backyard, or at least the most popular spot...near the firepit.

The Wellhouse is about 50' from the house. Plus the run will need to go up the outside wall about 10', and into the house about 15'. Rough estimate is 75', but you never know, so I figure another 5 to 10' and trim the excess later. That makes the run 85' from one end to the other.

Since I am placing two pairs of speakers in the same general area, I was looking at 4gang direct burial cable. I am having difficulty locating it in 12g or 14g for an acceptable price.

However, can I use 'in-wall' speaker cable for such runs?

I know that In-wall cable is fire resistant, but how about moisture? I am in FL, so no need to worry about freezing, and I still plan on burring it about 12" to 10" deep.

Moisture/humidity/monsoon type rains/Hurricanes are the biggest obstacles that I can see.

Can anyone relate any stories about using in-wall cables underground?

Assuming the housing isn't compromised, would it work? I know direct burial cables have thicker insulation and seem 'tighter' around the actual speaker wire, I just want to see if this is a viable alternative.

Suggestions, comments, etc...?

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post #2 of 39 Old 07-22-2014, 11:16 AM
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If you are going to bury the cable, then use direct burial cable. There are chemicals in soil that may attack some plastics. The direct burial is designed and tested against this. Just use the proper cable for the application. In-wall wire is not intended for direct burial.

For speakers you could use 14or 12ga type UF Romex electrical wire. Or use multi-conductor 18ga sprinkler cable and double up wires for less resistance. I think you can buy sprinkler wire with up to seven conductors.

About the worst thing you could do is to buy "audiophile" speaker wire and bury it.

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post #3 of 39 Old 07-22-2014, 08:31 PM
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post #4 of 39 Old 07-22-2014, 08:51 PM
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Would a conduit run be out of the question? Not sure how galvenized steel would hold up under ground, but you could do a few runs of wire and maybe a Cat6 cable for an additional router (for outside wifi/streaming media)...

Meh, just a thought...

If not conduit, PVC?
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post #5 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popalock View Post
Would a conduit run be out of the question? Not sure how galvenized steel would hold up under ground, but you could do a few runs of wire and maybe a Cat6 cable for an additional router (for outside wifi/streaming media)...

Meh, just a thought...

If not conduit, PVC?
PVC conduit would be the best choice and is what is typically used underground. If he wants to go to that trouble, then you can run in-wall or any wire you want inside the conduit.

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post #6 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 05:27 AM
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Popalock's idea of also adding a cat 6 is a good one. I have a cat 5e on my patio and speakers connected to the B connection of my receiver. I added a Component AV / Audio Extender to my Dish Hopper. The Hopper's IR / RF Remote allows me to change channels thru walls. I have to get off my butt and aim the remote thru the French Door at the receiver to adjust the audio since it's remote is IR. Sometimes I just use the TV's speakers if I'm lazy that day.

Also, use PVC like Glimmie said if you plan on using conduit. The only thing I worry about is if water gets into it. Once it gets in, it ain't going away. Even if the cable is designed for outdoors, I wonder if the cable constantly being in water will shorten its life.

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post #7 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post

Moisture/humidity/monsoon type rains/Hurricanes are the biggest obstacles that I can see.

Can anyone relate any stories about using in-wall cables underground?
I did electrical work in a church building that was built in 1953. There had been repeated problems with leaking in the basement but water never stood for more than a day or two.

About 50 years later we had some outlets that stopped working. We used the existing wiring to pull new wires. Examination of the old wires showed that even though the plastic insulation was still intact (and in good enough shape to pull the new wires) parts of the conductors in the old copper wire had been corroded away. They were simply gone from stretches of the insulation.

Normally we don't think of copper as corroding, but if there is a source of voltage involved, there can be severe corrosion.

We also don't think of plastic insulation as being water-permeable, but give it a few years and...

The thing I would worry about with outdoor conduit is that it would fill with water and never completely drain.
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post #8 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
We also don't think of plastic insulation as being water-permeable, but give it a few years and...

The thing I would worry about with outdoor conduit is that it would fill with water and never completely drain.
Maybe the OP can run conduit and/or PVC and set up an access point (or two) where he could service the pipe with an air compressor.

I imagine having a service point at one end of his run, and a valve at the other end that he can open to release any moisture build up.

I don't know...just thinking out loud. Not sure how practical that would be. Sounds good in my imagination.


 

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post #9 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popalock View Post
Maybe the OP can run conduit and/or PVC and set up an access point (or two) where he could service the pipe with an air compressor.

I imagine having a service point at one end of his run, and a valve at the other end that he can open to release any moisture build up.

I don't know...just thinking out loud. Not sure how practical that would be. Sounds good in my imagination.

I was thinking that if you terminated one end of the conduit inside the house next to a drain and made it the low point and sloped it all down hill a little it would keep itself drained.
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post #10 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post
I will be working on the next stage of my outdoor setup shortly. My current outdoor speakers are attached to the house(under eaves & Carport) and I used 'in-wall' speaker wire with rubber grommets and heatshrink tubing.

The next stage, will be for the fire pit. It is near my wellhouse, and I was going to mount two pairs of speakers under it's eaves. One set facing North, and the other South. This should cover the majority of my backyard, or at least the most popular spot...near the firepit.

The Wellhouse is about 50' from the house. Plus the run will need to go up the outside wall about 10', and into the house about 15'. Rough estimate is 75', but you never know, so I figure another 5 to 10' and trim the excess later. That makes the run 85' from one end to the other.

Since I am placing two pairs of speakers in the same general area, I was looking at 4gang direct burial cable. I am having difficulty locating it in 12g or 14g for an acceptable price.

However, can I use 'in-wall' speaker cable for such runs?

I know that In-wall cable is fire resistant, but how about moisture? I am in FL, so no need to worry about freezing, and I still plan on burring it about 12" to 10" deep.

Moisture/humidity/monsoon type rains/Hurricanes are the biggest obstacles that I can see.

Can anyone relate any stories about using in-wall cables underground?

Assuming the housing isn't compromised, would it work? I know direct burial cables have thicker insulation and seem 'tighter' around the actual speaker wire, I just want to see if this is a viable alternative.

Suggestions, comments, etc...?
I used direct burial cable from here:
http://www.outdoorspeakerdepot.com/o...ire-cable.html
(I think 14 ga), a pair of 2 conductor 70 foot runs. I live in Phoenix so moisture isn't the issue it would be in Florida. I honestly don't think the price is prohibitive especially if you consider the amount of work you are doing to run the cable. You certainly don't want any problems after the fact, and have to dig things up. Get the direct burial.

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post #11 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
I was thinking that if you terminated one end of the conduit inside the house next to a drain and made it the low point and sloped it all down hill a little it would keep itself drained.
Damn you with your fancy common sense voodoo arnyk...

 

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post #12 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 10:38 AM
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Use burial if you burry it because the jacket is designed to withstand the elements and often there is a wick inside that wicks away moisture if it gets inside and manages such things.
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post #13 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popalock View Post
Maybe the OP can run conduit and/or PVC and set up an access point (or two) where he could service the pipe with an air compressor.

I imagine having a service point at one end of his run, and a valve at the other end that he can open to release any moisture build up.

I don't know...just thinking out loud. Not sure how practical that would be. Sounds good in my imagination.

If you use the proper PVC glue and primer, available at any hardware store, it's not going to leak. If you live an a newer home, your line out to the water main is probably PVC as well as any buried electrical or communications cables well will be in PVC conduit.

P.S. If you do use PVC, make sure you use electrical type (usually gray) 90 & 45 degree bends. Wire won't pull through plumbing fittings well at all and will most likely be damaged. As this is low voltage, if you want to save a little money you could use SCH40 plumbing PVC pipe as it's compatable with the gray fittings but the cost isn't that much more to use the proper gray electrical PVC.

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post #14 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 12:39 PM
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If you use the proper PVC glue and primer, available at any hardware store, it's not going to leak. If you live an a newer home, your line out to the water main is probably PVC as well as any buried electrical or communications cables well will be in PVC conduit.

P.S. If you do use PVC, make sure you use electrical type (usually gray) 90 & 45 degree bends. Wire won't pull through plumbing fittings well at all and will most likely be damaged. As this is low voltage, if you want to save a little money you could use SCH40 plumbing PVC pipe as it's compatable with the gray fittings but the cost isn't that much more to use the proper gray electrical PVC.
Or you could dig a trench and throw direct burial cable in and cover it up. Why make it more complicated (and probably more expensive)?
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post #15 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for everyone's input.

The house is uphill form the Wellhouse and firepit, so access point(s) can easily be made at the wellhouse or house.

I was planning on using PVC where the wire runs up the side of the house and an elbow joint for where it enters the house.

I guess the difference in price for running PVC all the way from the house to the wellhouse would be vs the additional price for direct burial.

I was looking at 12g or 14g(4gang) and doubling it up for a total of 8 lines.

Cat 5e is an interesting idea. My current AVR/remote is IR and RF, but it needs fresh batteries to be used from the firepit.

IF I run a PVC conduit from the house to the wellhouse, would the type of speaker wire matter? It will still be buried 10" to 12" deep. It will be sloped downhill to the wellhouse, so I could leave it open or also make an access point at the house side to attach an air compressor and 'Blow out' periodically.

Quite a few good ideas, Keep 'em coming.
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post #16 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 01:10 PM
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IMO I go with pvc conduit due to being able to use in-wall cable (which you may already have) plus the ability to run additional cables in the future. such as cat5/6 or additional speaker cable.
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post #17 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Oakley View Post
Or you could dig a trench and throw direct burial cable in and cover it up. Why make it more complicated (and probably more expensive)?
This.

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post #18 of 39 Old 07-23-2014, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post
Thank you for everyone's input.

The house is uphill form the Wellhouse and firepit, so access point(s) can easily be made at the wellhouse or house.

I was planning on using PVC where the wire runs up the side of the house and an elbow joint for where it enters the house.

I guess the difference in price for running PVC all the way from the house to the wellhouse would be vs the additional price for direct burial.

I was looking at 12g or 14g(4gang) and doubling it up for a total of 8 lines.

Cat 5e is an interesting idea. My current AVR/remote is IR and RF, but it needs fresh batteries to be used from the firepit.

IF I run a PVC conduit from the house to the wellhouse, would the type of speaker wire matter? It will still be buried 10" to 12" deep. It will be sloped downhill to the wellhouse, so I could leave it open or also make an access point at the house side to attach an air compressor and 'Blow out' periodically.

Quite a few good ideas, Keep 'em coming.
If the wire is in dry conduit, it doesn't matter what kind of wire it is. And with proper installation, the conduit should stay dry. But the "blow out" facility is also a good idea.

The only reason to use conduit is future flexibility. You can add or replace wires as needed. You need to dig a trench either way. If you do go with conduit I would use 3/4in minimum. 1 inch is better.

Depending where you live, 12in may not be deep enough for the frost line. Loose wire can 'ride' the frost line. PVC may crack. And code says 18in minimum for primary electrical but as speakers are low voltage, this can be relaxed.

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Come on guys, how many people are going to blow out their conduit with a air compressor? Conduit is a good idea if you plan on upgrading in the future.

Otherwise, just buy direct burial and be done with it.

I hate shovels.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
I was thinking that if you terminated one end of the conduit inside the house next to a drain and made it the low point and sloped it all down hill a little it would keep itself drained.
Hey, now that's a practical thought!
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Come on guys, how many people are going to blow out their conduit with a air compressor? Conduit is a good idea if you plan on upgrading in the future.

Otherwise, just buy direct burial and be done with it.

I hate shovels.
Agree completely. Also, if you think you might add something later (like lights, electric), add the cable while the trench is open. Cable's cheap compared to the cost and effort of re-digging.

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There is already electric out to the wellhouse. The well pump is 220v and there is a 110v box, that I use on rare occasions, Boombox, power tools, etc...

This weekend, I am going to price out PVC, and the electrical grade grey PVC, to see if the price is negligible. Since I'll be in Home Depot, I'll price out there direct burial wire, but as mentioned I need 4gang and plan on doubling it, which is where the price issue came in.

I have enough in-wall for one run, left over from my last project. However, I agree, I only want to dig the trench once, so that is why I am weighing all of my options.

Also I want to have as much of a direct run as possible. Ideally, I will have a complete run from the speakers to the wall plate, then just use 12g 'jumpers' from the wall plate to the Speaker selector. I already have 12g from my 'B' speaker outs on the AVR to the 'in' on the Speaker selector. This has worked fine for the two pairs of outdoor speakers that I am currently using(for front porch/carport and backporch).

I have looked at 'Sprinkler' wire/cable, but most are 24g or 28g. Since the run will be about 85', the gauges that I can find seem to be too small. Based on my needed length, I should go 12g, but I think that I will use 14g. 16g may even be acceptable, but 14g seems like a happy medium.

On a side note, my backyard speakers cover the area directly behind the house. The planned south facing speakers on the wellhouse will be about 50' away from the covered backyard area. Being outdoor speakers, sound dissipates fast and I don't think there will be any major cancellations, however, when all proposed speakers are on, will there be a delay or an echo from the different listening areas?

Does anyone with different outdoor 'Zones' have any input on these type of effects?
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post #23 of 39 Old 07-24-2014, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post
There is already electric out to the wellhouse. The well pump is 220v and there is a 110v box, that I use on rare occasions, Boombox, power tools, etc...

This weekend, I am going to price out PVC, and the electrical grade grey PVC, to see if the price is negligible. Since I'll be in Home Depot, I'll price out there direct burial wire, but as mentioned I need 4gang and plan on doubling it, which is where the price issue came in.

I have enough in-wall for one run, left over from my last project. However, I agree, I only want to dig the trench once, so that is why I am weighing all of my options.

Also I want to have as much of a direct run as possible. Ideally, I will have a complete run from the speakers to the wall plate, then just use 12g 'jumpers' from the wall plate to the Speaker selector. I already have 12g from my 'B' speaker outs on the AVR to the 'in' on the Speaker selector. This has worked fine for the two pairs of outdoor speakers that I am currently using(for front porch/carport and backporch).

I have looked at 'Sprinkler' wire/cable, but most are 24g or 28g. Since the run will be about 85', the gauges that I can find seem to be too small. Based on my needed length, I should go 12g, but I think that I will use 14g. 16g may even be acceptable, but 14g seems like a happy medium.
Maybe this will help.

Speaker Wire Selector Assistant

Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post
On a side note, my backyard speakers cover the area directly behind the house. The planned south facing speakers on the wellhouse will be about 50' away from the covered backyard area. Being outdoor speakers, sound dissipates fast and I don't think there will be any major cancellations, however, when all proposed speakers are on, will there be a delay or an echo from the different listening areas?

Does anyone with different outdoor 'Zones' have any input on these type of effects?

I don't see how you will be able to get around avoiding sound "echo" or "delay" with the distances you are referring too. Even if you were to use some sort of DSP (digital sound processing) to optimize the timing of each "zone" at one location in your yard, as soon as you move to another spot in your yard, everything would be even more out of whack than if you just left it alone to begin with. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if someone else could weigh in with more helpful info. Just not too sure how common multiple outdoor zones are in these parts?

You are going to get reflections from your house, ground (concrete slab?), privacy fence, etc...and playing at moderate to loud levels will amplify this effect unless you go out of your way to attempt to experiment with acoustical treatments outside.... <----As awesome as that would be, it is an ENTIRELY different beast that many more knowledgeable people than I could help you with.

 

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post #24 of 39 Old 07-24-2014, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Maybe this will help.

Speaker Wire Selector Assistant




I don't see how you will be able to get around avoiding sound "echo" or "delay" with the distances you are referring too. Even if you were to use some sort of DSP (digital sound processing) to optimize the timing of each "zone" at one location in your yard, as soon as you move to another spot in your yard, everything would be even more out of whack than if you just left it alone to begin with. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if someone else could weigh in with more helpful info. Just not too sure how common multiple outdoor zones are in these parts?

You are going to get reflections from your house, ground (concrete slab?), privacy fence, etc...and playing at moderate to loud levels will amplify this effect unless you go out of your way to attempt to experiment with acoustical treatments outside.... <----As awesome as that would be, it is an ENTIRELY different beast that many more knowledgeable people than I could help you with.

Linky Bookmarked, THANX! That is an awesome link, seriously, thank you!

Currently, the backyard speakers have a very small echo from a privacy fence about 35' away. However, I really don't play those that loud, just for grilling and when watching the kids play. Same goes for the front porch/carport area. There, it is more of an echo, or just 'boomy' due to the carport slab and echo form under the house, but then again, that is normally quiet compared to everything else that is going on.

Now, these next phase speakers will be played loud, as whenever we have a party, the two main areas are inside and the firepit. I figure that if I run into any echo/cancellation/reverb I will turn off the outside speakers closer to the house, i.e. Backyard and front porch/carport, as there will be enough sound form inside to cover the immediate areas.

The downside is those speakers are wired for the 'B' speakers and sometimes, the inside music is different from the other.

All in all, those are minor differences, that I think will be sorted out depending on the situation, i.e. causal get together vs a full blown party.

Last edited by underminded999; 07-24-2014 at 10:25 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #25 of 39 Old 07-24-2014, 11:30 AM
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Yeah, the speaker wire calculator link is excellent!

I might have missed this in all the analysis but have we ever discussed the output of the AVR and what kind of speakers are on the patio and what kind are envisioned for the well house?

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AVR: JVC RX 8040, rated @ 130WPC
Speaker Selector: ProSolutions SBX6VC, rated @ 100WPC
You can find the thread here about the Speaker Selector.
Current Outdoor speakers: BIC RtR V44-2, rated @ 80WPC.
Specs for the BIC's can be found here.

I liked the 3-way design of the BIC's. Also, the sensitivity vs WPC vs $, was appealing...plus I had a gift card to Best Buy, soo..yeah.

My Father-in-Law upgraded his older Outdoor Yamaha's to a new pair of BOSE outdoor speakers. I didn't care for the sound of either, however, I don't know the model #'s for reference.

I have heard TIC and Polk Auditoriums(again, not sure the Model #'s).

But for the price, I have been pleased with the BIC's.

I have mentioned, maybe this thread, or maybe in another, that the BIC's do not provide a lot of Bass, but for a 4" driver, you get-what you get.

Since the BIC's are rated @ 80WPC, the speaker wire calc, sez, that I could use 16g. However, I am still leaning towards 14g, to be safe.
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post #27 of 39 Old 07-24-2014, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post
...

Quite a few good ideas, Keep 'em coming.
Consider using low voltage landscape lighting wire perhaps 10 ga. Inexpensive, stranded and stands up to the elements.
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post #28 of 39 Old 07-24-2014, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post
AVR: JVC RX 8040, rated @ 130WPC
Speaker Selector: ProSolutions SBX6VC, rated @ 100WPC
You can find the thread here about the Speaker Selector.
Current Outdoor speakers: BIC RtR V44-2, rated @ 80WPC.
Specs for the BIC's can be found here.

I liked the 3-way design of the BIC's. Also, the sensitivity vs WPC vs $, was appealing...plus I had a gift card to Best Buy, soo..yeah.

My Father-in-Law upgraded his older Outdoor Yamaha's to a new pair of BOSE outdoor speakers. I didn't care for the sound of either, however, I don't know the model #'s for reference.

I have heard TIC and Polk Auditoriums(again, not sure the Model #'s).

But for the price, I have been pleased with the BIC's.

I have mentioned, maybe this thread, or maybe in another, that the BIC's do not provide a lot of Bass, but for a 4" driver, you get-what you get.

Since the BIC's are rated @ 80WPC, the speaker wire calc, sez, that I could use 16g. However, I am still leaning towards 14g, to be safe.
Do you mean you'll be using the BICs for the new locations?

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post #29 of 39 Old 07-24-2014, 04:23 PM
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Oh, and one final question: when you say "4 gang doubled up" what exactly do you mean? You have two speakers out by the well house and that's what you're going to connect, right?

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post #30 of 39 Old 07-25-2014, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Currently, I am using two pairs BIC's. One pair for the front porch/Carport, the second pair for the immediate backyard.

I am going to install two new pairs for this project. Two facing North, two facing south.

The wellhouse is 4'x4'. I am going to install them in the four corners, and am debating, if I want to make a 'swivel hinge' or just mount them flat. They come with a mounting bracket that will allow angling, but if I build a swivel hinge, then I would have more flexibility. However, my main goal for this immediate project is getting the wiring out there. I will worry about the specifics of mounting, after that.

The reason I mention that, is that is WHY I am running 8 wires, 2 four gangs.

The BIC's under the carport, are actually a bit too much. I may switch those out for something else, but that is not an immediate project.


To 'CharlesJ'. Is landscape wiring the same as direct burial? I see that it can be buried, but I am not sure if there are any other rules about landscape lighting that I am not aware of.

I appreciate everyone's interest, and thank you for your help.
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