Building new home. How should I wire for media? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 32 Old 02-25-2020, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Building new home. How should I wire for media?

I'm building a new home. I have a media room which is 14' x 13'. I plan to have a wall mounted TV and surround sound. I'm not sure how I should wire for it though. At the moment, I have a 7.1 setup. Should I wire just for that, or should I wire for more such as a Dolby Atmos setup with options for speakers in the ceiling? I'm not particularly picky about my sound. Most movies I watch are only in 5.1 right now. Will there be another standard down the road, do you think?

I'm fairly ignorant to the details of it all, what gauge of wire to use, wall mounting brackets, etc. So all the detail you can give would be helpful.
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-25-2020, 07:43 PM
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Start here:

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/speaker-...des/index.html

Look up the 5.x.4 and 7.x.4 configurations (with actual in-ceiling speakers). This should give you specifics for speaker positioning.

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/sp...tup-guide.html

As to speaker gauge, it depends on the speakers and the distance. Consult the chart in this link:

http://www.audiogurus.com/learn/cabl...cable-gauge/49

BTW, be sure you are using CL2 rated (in-wall) speaker wire for any runs that go in a wall, ceiling, floor.

That will get you started. Only 1,274 more decisions to go!
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post #3 of 32 Old 02-25-2020, 08:01 PM
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Hard to think about future expansion but try.
Run Cat6 cables everywhere. Cheap no, costly later when remodeling.
HDMI cables? Remote repeaters? Interconnect location for subs with 120V outlets.
Wi-fi location? Solar panels and backup batteries in the near future?
Big enough main panel breaker and buss bar in the panel.
Sound isolation?

Fiber to the house?
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post #4 of 32 Old 02-25-2020, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Hard to think about future expansion but try.
Run Cat6 cables everywhere. Cheap no, costly later when remodeling.
HDMI cables? Remote repeaters? Interconnect location for subs with 120V outlets.
Wi-fi location? Solar panels and backup batteries in the near future?
Big enough main panel breaker and buss bar in the panel.
Sound isolation?

Fiber to the house?
I'm just talking for the stereo in that one room. Should I bother with more speakers, or just go with 7.1 and be happy?

Do people wire HDMI cables through their walls? I guess for a projector or TV maybe? I don't think I'll worry about that.

What's a remote repeater? Interconnect location for subs with 120v outlets? I don't know what that even means.
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post #5 of 32 Old 02-25-2020, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Start here:

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/speaker-...des/index.html

Look up the 5.x.4 and 7.x.4 configurations (with actual in-ceiling speakers). This should give you specifics for speaker positioning.

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/sp...tup-guide.html

As to speaker gauge, it depends on the speakers and the distance. Consult the chart in this link:

http://www.audiogurus.com/learn/cabl...cable-gauge/49

BTW, be sure you are using CL2 rated (in-wall) speaker wire for any runs that go in a wall, ceiling, floor.

That will get you started. Only 1,274 more decisions to go!
That's good information, but I'm looking for recommendations on whether something more than a 7.1, or even 5.1 setup is really worth the trouble. Also, what if I change my setup in the future? That's quite likely. I'll probably get some different speakers and receiver as time goes on. Or should I just set up for a specific rating of speakers and then just stick with that going forward? I'll be in this home for the rest of my days most likely (40-50 years).
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post #6 of 32 Old 02-26-2020, 12:35 AM
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It doesn't hurt to wire for say, 7.2.4 even if all you plan for is 5.1. It doesn't hurt to have a few more pairs added because it's easy to do it under construction. Once the walls are up it's a lot harder to add later on.

Just like it's relatively safe to wire at least two runs of cat6 to every room - maybe four to places like the living room and such that could use more. And maybe a couple to central areas on each floor for your wifi. Doesn't hurt to have it all planned in.
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post #7 of 32 Old 02-26-2020, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boge View Post
I'm just talking for the stereo in that one room. Should I bother with more speakers, or just go with 7.1 and be happy?

Do people wire HDMI cables through their walls? I guess for a projector or TV maybe? I don't think I'll worry about that.

What's a remote repeater? Interconnect location for subs with 120v outlets? I don't know what that even means.
As stated, plan for more especially if you are planning a long life there. 7.2.4, and use what you want now and when the itch comes the other speaker locations are set to mount speakers
instead of remodeling for more wire.
Some people run HDMI in walls. It is cheap when the walls are just studs showing.
Remote repeater are small sensors to an audio system if you don't have direct site to them, like it may be behind you, of a projector, yes.

While you asked for that room only, the ret of the house may need pre-planning so minimize remodeling in a few years, oh I should have pre-wired for that.
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post #8 of 32 Old 02-26-2020, 10:24 AM
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Yes, wire for 7.2.4, then all the options will be available to you in the future. Running wire is relatively cheap at this stage of your construction. After everything is finished, it's a lot more costly and annoying to run more wire. If not sure of the future speakers, just use the worst case scenario for your wire. Then you are covered, no matter the speaker. As to which configuration is better, most folks commenting here feel that 5.x.4 is > 7.x.

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post #9 of 32 Old 02-26-2020, 10:59 AM
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I'd also suggest that you run conduit for the in-wall wire/cable runs. That will make adding or changing/replacing cables when necessary in the future much easier.
Note: Be sure to include "pull strings" in the conduit during installation.
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post #10 of 32 Old 02-26-2020, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Pardon my ignorance again, but what do I do about the extra wires that I won't be using? Do I connect them into an outlet anyway and then just not have anything connected to it for the time? I'm not sure I want unused speaker outlets visible on my ceiling.

What gauge wiring is safe to use if I'm not sure the load of speakers I might end up with going forward? 12?
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Measure where the wires are in the ceiling locations. Write down the coordinates and put them in a location where you won't forget.
When/if you need access to them, remeasure the coordinates and cut the hole to access the wires and mount the speaker(s).


14 AWG speaker wire should be more than adequate for all the speakers.



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post #12 of 32 Old 02-26-2020, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
I'd also suggest that you run conduit for the in-wall wire/cable runs. That will make adding or changing/replacing cables when necessary in the future much easier.
Note: Be sure to include "pull strings" in the conduit during installation.
Make sure you use large enough conduit. I ran my Cat5 cable through 1/2" conduit and added the connectors afterwards. I then wanted to pull one out to put a longer one in, and the connector prevented me! Use at least 3/4" or, perhaps, even 1".
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post #13 of 32 Old 02-26-2020, 01:12 PM
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Just leave the unused speaker wire in a bundle near the eventual position of the speakers. Be sure to leave plenty of slack (10 feet? Wire is cheap.), in case your intended speaker position changes due to speaker type, change in furniture layout, etc ... nothing will show until you install the speakers.

Have the receiver side of the wire already connected and labeled. Also, label the speaker end of the wire so you remain consistent with the connections.

For instance, use something like these in the wall behind your receiver:

https://www.amazon.com/Fosmon-Quad-S...2751635&sr=8-9

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post #14 of 32 Old 02-26-2020, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boge View Post
I'm not sure I want unused speaker outlets visible on my ceiling.
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Just leave the unused speaker wire in a bundle near the eventual position of the speakers. Be sure to leave plenty of slack (10 feet? Wire is cheap.), in case your intended speaker position changes due to speaker type, change in furniture layout, etc ...
10' ?? That's a bit generous for a anticipated ceiling installation.


As for floor speakers, I'd rather see an unused wallplate as opposed to 10' bundles laying around. (And so would my wife. )



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post #15 of 32 Old 02-26-2020, 01:39 PM
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10' ?? That's a bit generous for a anticipated ceiling installation.


As for floor speakers, I'd rather see an unused wallplate as opposed to 10' bundles laying around. (And so would my wife. )
Laying around INSIDE the ceiling. Nobody will see anything. Floor speakers you just cut to length. Drinking early today?
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Quote:
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Laying around INSIDE the ceiling. Nobody will see anything. Floor speakers you just cut to length.
And again... 10' slack for in-ceiling Atmos speakers is a bit generous in a 13'x14' room.



Just sayin'.



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post #17 of 32 Old 02-26-2020, 10:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I get what you're both saying. Even if there is 10' of extra length (yeah, likely too much), you never know what the situation might end up and I could always just cut the extra down.

But, I think I've got a great idea of what I'll go with. Thanks, fellas.
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post #18 of 32 Old 02-27-2020, 12:19 AM
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You can always run the speaker cable to a box and have it covered with a blanking plate. When you do the installation you can replace it with a binding post plate to look neat and professional. Ceiling runs may be put into a ceiling junction box and covered with a blanking plate. This lets you have a mounting point for your speaker since those junction boxes are meant to hold things like ceiling fans and such up as well.

Blanking plates are a nicer way to hide the cable ends and let you put nice covers over them once you terminate the cabling.
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post #19 of 32 Old 02-27-2020, 02:46 AM
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It doesn't hurt to wire for say, 7.2.4 even if all you plan for is 5.1. It doesn't hurt to have a few more pairs added because it's easy to do it under construction. Once the walls are up it's a lot harder to add later on.



Just like it's relatively safe to wire at least two runs of cat6 to every room - maybe four to places like the living room and such that could use more. And maybe a couple to central areas on each floor for your wifi. Doesn't hurt to have it all planned in.
No need for cat5. Wireless technology has made that obsolete now. I did that 20 years back and stopped using it 10 years back

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post #20 of 32 Old 02-27-2020, 02:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boge View Post
Pardon my ignorance again, but what do I do about the extra wires that I won't be using? Do I connect them into an outlet anyway and then just not have anything connected to it for the time? I'm not sure I want unused speaker outlets visible on my ceiling.



What gauge wiring is safe to use if I'm not sure the load of speakers I might end up with going forward? 12?
Just leave the speaker wires behind the wall. No connection needed

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post #21 of 32 Old 02-27-2020, 04:32 AM
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No need for cat5. Wireless technology has made that obsolete now. I did that 20 years back and stopped using it 10 years back

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I'd still run Cat6 to key spots where AV and computer equipment will be, or could potentially be. You can then run HDMI over ethernet if desired, or hard wire your networked items to get much more solid connections to your AV equipment. But run Cat6, not Cat5.

Also, as has been mentioned, run the blue plastic conduit, which is pretty inexpensive, to any boxes or areas you might want to eventually rerun, or add wire to. It makes the job so much easier if you have that in place. If you have a basement or attic, even just running the conduits in the walls and then stub to that open space, gives a lot of future flexibility.

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post #22 of 32 Old 02-27-2020, 04:53 AM
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I'd still run Cat6 to key spots where AV and computer equipment will be, or could potentially be. You can then run HDMI over ethernet if desired, or hard wire your networked items to get much more solid connections to your AV equipment. But run Cat6, not Cat5.

Also, as has been mentioned, run the blue plastic conduit, which is pretty inexpensive, to any boxes or areas you might want to eventually rerun, or add wire to. It makes the job so much easier if you have that in place. If you have a basement or attic, even just running the conduits in the walls and then stub to that open space, gives a lot of future flexibility.

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I ran all kinds of wires 20 years back but never used 90 percent of them. So like your idea of conduit. At least in the places where beams are perpendicular to direction of the wire.

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post #23 of 32 Old 02-27-2020, 05:06 AM
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Yes, conduit is cheap and offers total flexibility, without having to run wire when you're not sure what, and even if, you might want at any location at any point. And 3/4" is better than 1/2"...again just for flexibility, and ease of pulling wire, especially where equipment might go.

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post #24 of 32 Old 02-28-2020, 01:15 AM
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And run more power plugs than you think you'll need. You never know where you might want to plug something in and nothing's more annoying for the wife than the permanent extension cord running along the wall because you needed a gizmo there. Yes you could stuff it in a conduit, but they are big bulky and consume a ton of space in a conduit. Plus it's not legal to run low and high voltage lines together unless the low voltage cables are high voltage rated.

Include power to the seats as well - you never know if you want to invest in fancy powered seats, seats with tactile speakers in them, massaging seats, or a basic seat that comes with convenience outlets for stuff like laptops and such. Yes you could run an extension cord across the floor, but why not plan for it? At least with power it requires a certified electrician to install so it's even more of a pain.
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post #25 of 32 Old 02-28-2020, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Great insight here, guys! Thank you!
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post #26 of 32 Old 02-28-2020, 12:05 PM
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Coming from someone who has wired houses for every type of electrical signals possible for the last 15 years, pull any and everything you might want while the walls are open. You’re already making the investment in the cable to pull all you can. What can be done in minutes now can take hours or days after Sheetrock.
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post #27 of 32 Old 02-28-2020, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernCA View Post
No need for cat5. Wireless technology has made that obsolete now. I did that 20 years back and stopped using it 10 years back

...
Yes, but. reliability and speed is better with cables and can, at his stage of construction, reach everywhere in the house.

Forgot to mention garage as well. Wish I had one in the garage as wi-fi is very weak in the far corner.
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post #28 of 32 Old 03-01-2020, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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What about wiring things up for smart home features?
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post #29 of 32 Old 03-01-2020, 12:07 PM
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What about wiring things up for smart home features?
Run Cat6 to anticipated locations or depend on wireless. Your call.



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post #30 of 32 Old 03-01-2020, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Run Cat6 to anticipated locations or depend on wireless. Your call.
How do things like your lights and security system all connect up?
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