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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I am having a new home built. It is going to be pre-wired today. I am a little worried about this part. The subcontractor that is doing the wiring offers a surround sound pre-wire for a relatively cheap $155. I am getting 3 of these packages. They include 4 speakers pre-wires and a subwoofer. They don't include the center which is fine by me. I am actually having them do the 4 pre-wires as the 4 surround speakers since I can run the fronts and center myself. Anyways..... I was a little worried about the subwoofer pre-wire. The person I met with labeled the subwoofer location as speaker. I also asked him specifically if the subwoofer pre-wire was an RCA type connector. He hesitated and then said yes. Later that afternoon I was at a local hi-fi retailer. I was chatting with the salesperson that I usually deal with. I mentioned the name of the company that was doing my pre-wire. He told me to watch them since he has been in to clean up their wiring screwups before. He said that they often use regular speaker wire for the sub.

My question is: How can I easily distinguish an unterminated subwoofer cable from a CL-3 speaker wire? This might seem like a silly question but I just am not sure what I will see. Also, it will be pitch black when I go up after work today and the drywall should be going up this week so I need to be on top of them. And if they do use speaker wire instead of a subwoofer wire what argument should i use with them? I am guessing that the speaker wire won't offer the proper resistance and shielding.


Any help would be appreicated,

Dino
 

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Usually the sub-woofer cable is an RCA type of connection, if you're using it for LFE from your receiver. I've never heard of using regular speaker wire to go TO the sub, except for a non-powered sub.


One more thing, make sure they're using good quality wire. When I had our house built the electrician installed crappy wire that I eventually had to tear out. If I had it to do all over again, I would have had 12 ga in-wall run through the house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I figured that I wouldn't be getting the best speaker cable. I am not too picky for those setups. For my dedicated home theater I will complete the wiring.

As for the subwoofer wire I was probably a little unclear. I was thinking more along the lines of that they would use speaker wire and terminate it with an RCA connector. My fear was that the speaker wire wouldn't provide the proper resistance (50 or 75 Ohm I can never remember) and that it might be prone to electrical interference since I would be sending a line level signal through it.


Joe_M, I see that you are a Marylander. I wonder if we are talking about the same company. ;)


Dino
 

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Dino,


My recommendation would be to bag the wiring entirely. Have your sub quote conduit and pull strings only. Absolutely future-proof. Good luck with your new digs.


Austin
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Austin,

I already tried the conduit route (Asked about a conduit from the basement to the top floor so that I could pull network cable in the future) and they said they don't do that. They said I would have to work with the plumber to have conduit installed. I am not too pressed about the highest quality speaker wire because the rooms they are pre-wiring are not critical listening rooms (Bedroom, rec room and family room) and the most critical speakers on these setups (fronts and center) I will wire myself. I would never have them do something like my home theater. The same company is doing my alarm, RG6 and network cabling.


Dino
 

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A sub pre-wire will probably look like a coaxial video cable but if they use speaker wire you should be able to see a seperate red and black wire within the outer cover....is this what you are asking?
 

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Hi Dino,


I agree it's a pain to get some of these guys to do what you want them to. I'd still pursue it, though. There's some wild stuff on the horizon - whole house audio networks bolted up to music and video servers either onsite or remote. There are also speakers in existence today that have their own amps and are connected to the processor with line-level signals. I can easily imagine twisted pair (network) cabling connecting the AV network to speakers transmitting digital signals which the speakers then convert internally to produce sound. And who knows what control cabling is around the corner? If it were me, I'd pull rank on the sub and DEMAND conduit - if the wire guy won't do it, get the plumber to put in a bunch of PVC. You'll sleep better.


Austin

Quote:
Originally posted by DinoT
Austin,

I already tried the conduit route (Asked about a conduit from the basement to the top floor so that I could pull network cable in the future) and they said they don't do that. They said I would have to work with the plumber to have conduit installed. I am not too pressed about the highest quality speaker wire because the rooms they are pre-wiring are not critical listening rooms (Bedroom, rec room and family room) and the most critical speakers on these setups (fronts and center) I will wire myself. I would never have them do something like my home theater. The same company is doing my alarm, RG6 and network cabling.


Dino
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Max,

Yours was the last post regarding the fact that the subwoofer prewire looks like coax I read before visiting the house. Well looks like is an understatement. Coax is exactly what they did use. RG-6 to be exact. Now I have to find out if that will be acceptable or if I should have them rip it out. If I have them replace it I need to give them a technical reason.


Dino
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've poked around a little and found that using RG-6 is a common practice for a long in-wall subwoofer run by custom installers.

I also noticed that they used 4-conductor 16 Awg (65 strand) wire for each speaker run. This is the minimum I would accept. Not sure why the 4 conductor. But I guess that I could combine 2 wires each for + and -, don't know what that brings the gauge to but it is lower than 16.


Thanks for the help.

Dino
 

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My pre-wire for the sub is RG-6 and it works fine. I was concerned and asked a lot of questions about it, including on this forum.


Greg
 
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