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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is somewhat of a breakout question from a previous post of mine. My old (first) post was at least a book in length, so I figured I'd make this short and sweet.


I'm looking to have some form of whole-house audio. The speaker wire that runs from my central location to each volume/control plate, and then from there to each speaker wire... does it need to be shielded?


Also, I understand that 18 AWG is the minimum. I've seen in threads that some recommend 18, 16 or 14 AWG. Which should I be using... and where can I find it locally or online?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by AnimEric


I'm looking to have some form of whole-house audio. The speaker wire that runs from my central location to each volume/control plate, and then from there to each speaker wire... does it need to be shielded?


Also, I understand that 18 AWG is the minimum. I've seen in threads that some recommend 18, 16 or 14 AWG. Which should I be using... and where can I find it locally or online?
No, it does not need to be shielded. There are many places to by inwall speaker wire: partsexpress, Home depot, lowes, etc.
 

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The gage of the wire depends on the length of the run and technically on the power of the amplifier driving the speaker. There is an equation for calculating the minimum wire gage for a particular speaker run. But my organization skills leave something to be desired and I cannot find my reference book. It calculates the necessary wire gage for a system where your wire has x resistance, y number of feet, and amplifier of z watts and how many watts you need at the speaker.) Perhaps someone else can supply the equation. I used to calculate wire gages all the time until it dawned on me that for most every application 16 gage wire were required. If you runs under 200 ft 16 gage wire is what I would use. For home theaters and critical listening environments we use 14 gage. I would use no wire smaller than 16 gage for speakers.


Alan
 

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Alan is right. And Eric it is important that the wire is fire-rated for in-wall use. www.libertycable.com in Colorado Springs is a great place to get distributed audio wire. 16/4 to a VC, then 16/2 jumpers of to the second in-ceiling, or in-wall speaker is pretty standard. You could even go with all 12AWG THX "certified" wire, but 16 AWG, 2 conductor is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys. I'll shoot for 16 AWG as my runs should all be well short of 200 feet each. I will also look for some 4-conductor speaker wire bonded with a CAT5e for future-readyness on the keypads/VCs.


Now... all I need to figure out is what kind of VC/keypads to use and if I should do in-wall/in-ceiling speakers or wall mounted. But I have threads for those questions over in the Speakers forum.
 

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Generally keeping insertion loss to under 5% is recommended for critical listening areas like HT. So a 4 ohm speaker should have no more than 0.2 ohms of wire. My house was run with 14G to all the ceiling speakers, but I don't think any real engineering was done to pick the wire (it's a spec house).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by hometheaterguy
16/4 to a VC, then 16/2 jumpers of to the second in-ceiling, or in-wall speaker is pretty standard.
Boy...at the risk of sounding stupid...


Would two runs of 16/2 to the VC be the same as one run of 16/4?


Tom
 

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I just run the 4-conductor to the VC and jump 2-conductor from it to save money. Either way will do.
 
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