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Future Proof Wiring?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I was thinking today about wiring speakers--since I'm hopefully going to pull the trigger and finally start some wiring.

I know they have IP speakers but I don't have them yet. I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be great if I could use cat5e to the speakers". I figured if I was able to use cat 5 and ever wanted to switch from "regular" speakers to IP speakers, it'd be a piece of cake--just cut -n- crimp!

And according to google I may be able to do this-- or may not depending on the page I read. I'm not trying to start a flame war, just looking for a definitive answer: (EX: It's OK for X feet, etc)

Also, I saw one page that said it was fine as long as it was 2 cables per speakers and the wires were twisted around each other. Is the twisting important? Or is just the # of cables joined together that's important? If I do twist the cables together would it work for networking later on?


post #2 of 4
A better solution would be to run conduit (flexible ENT 'smurf' tubing) to each speaker location. This way if you ever wanted to run cat5e, you could just fasten it to one end of the existing speaker wire and as you pull it out, the cat5e will replace it.
post #3 of 4
Aton has a digital amp system (Digi5) that runs over Cat5 to each control pad. It's not "IP or Ethernet", but it does use Cat5 at least to the zone. A small in-wall amp is in the control pad, and then normal speaker wire to each speaker...


If you're going to run wire, I'd highly recommend you follow the CEA guidelines and run speaker wire to each zone, looped through a control pad/volume/switch location. And then a Cat5 wire to each control pad location as well. That gives you maximum flexibility for the cost of some wire. While there are other IP/Cat5 speaker setups, you might not be happy with the price or quality, and you'd certainly be much more limited in the products you can choose from...

And yes, the only future-proof wire is conduit...

post #4 of 4
Conduit would be the best solution. Next best would be to run 14 gauge speaker wire (for passive speakers), RG59 (for powered speakers), and Ca-5e (for IP speakers). Most people just run 14-gauge wire.

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