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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am finishing my basement and my contractor says he has plenty of experience with running speaker wire, etc. Do I need an expert to do this? How complicated is it to run speaker wire? I have been talking to an A/V consultant, but his rates are obviously much higher than my contractor. My A/V consultant claims that the contractor might damage the wires by bending them, etc.


If a speaker wire is damaged, is the result an all-or-nothing type of effect (audio will or will not work). Or can the wire still work, but have degradation that is not easily identifiable?


If this is really something left best to the professionals, then I will do that. But I just need to be well-informed so I can make the right decision about who should do this type of work.


I know a lot of people whose general contractors ran speaker wire, installed speakers, etc and they are all enjoying their home theaters and a/v equipment just fine. I don't want to be the sucker that overpayed to do something that may be fairly straightforward (no offense to professionals that view this forum). After all, I have to consider my budget too.
 

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Need to provide a bit more info--specifically whether you will have a drop ceiling or finished sheetrock ceiling. If a drop ceiling, it is pretty easy to run speaker wire yourself even after everything is "finished" then down behind the plasterboard to whatever exit point you wish drilled with a keyhole or whatever. If you are planning on sheetrock ceiling, much more difficult afterward, since sheerock affixed to joists. . .


I don't see why you couldn't pick up 250 feet or so of CL2 12 guage from monoprice or equivalent and run it youself. Unless you are making crazy and repeated tight turns, i would think it hard to damage it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcoyne /forum/post/20780075


Need to provide a bit more info--specifically whether you will have a drop ceiling or finished sheetrock ceiling. If a drop ceiling, it is pretty easy to run speaker wire yourself even after everything is "finished" then down behind the plasterboard to whatever exit point you wish drilled with a keyhole or whatever. If you are planning on sheetrock ceiling, much more difficult afterward, since sheerock affixed to joists. . .


I don't see why you couldn't pick up 250 feet or so of CL2 12 guage from monoprice or equivalent and run it youself. Unless you are making crazy and repeated tight turns, i would think it hard to damage it.

This is going to be all drywall/sheetrock. No drop ceiling or panels.
 

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Either you or the contractor can do it. But do get the 12 AWG CL-2 rated wire from monoprice.
 

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Bending speaker wires won't harm them; even if they're tied in a knot.
The worst case scenario is if the bare wire touches metal, as in a nail penetrates the insulation or the two conductors short together. Although coax and other fragile cables do have a "minimum bend radius" that should not be exceeded, that is not really the case with speaker wire, unless you use some exotic stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5seonds /forum/post/20781043


Get the 12. You don't want to have to re-run different in-wall wire later.

I am only running the speaker wire less than 35-40 feet. Why would I need 12 gauge for that?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackrain /forum/post/20781136


I am only running the speaker wire less than 35-40 feet. Why would I need 12 gauge for that?

12 gage is a good size too have...it's just preference for most and its CL2 rated for In wall use....but with your 35-40 foot run I would use no less than 14 gage....:) ....when you run wire for long runs you need a thicker cable....I'm not going too get into the science of it but that's just common practice with wire...:)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by psgcdn /forum/post/20782732


40 feet, assuming 4-ohms at some frequencies... 14 AWG minimum according to Roger Russell's table.
Go for 12!
http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable

+1


Rarely in this hobby can you make a decision whereby a potential problem is averted with 100% certainty. This is one of those situations; get the appropriate cable. You will entirely avoid any potential issue associated with undersized speaker cabling. 35-40 feet is a very long speaker cable run.



Make the right choice, proceed to other issues and never look back.


Good luck
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH /forum/post/20787372


+1


Rarely in this hobby can you make a decision whereby a potential problem is averted with 100% certainty. This is one of those situations; get the appropriate cable. You will entirely avoid any potential issue associated with undersized speaker cabling. 35-40 feet is a very long speaker cable run.



Make the right choice, proceed to other issues and never look back.


Good luck

Can't agree more with 12AWG--plus if you are outlaying for a new finished basement, the extra money "saved" by going to 16AWG from 12 is trivial
 

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12 or 14 awg will work. Make sure the wire is not solid. Few speaker wires are solid, but be sure.


You have to deal with code. If you run the wire through wall studs, you need to make sure the hole isn't larger than 25% of the width. You also need to keep the wires at least 2" from any electrical wires. Speaker wires are considered low voltage, so as long as you do what I stated, in 99% of jurisdications, you'll be fine.


I would get everything from monoprice including keystone jacks and wall plates. If you want to do it right, get a set of 2 hole keystone wall plates and a couple of speaker keystone jacks (one red, one white) for each speaker location. For the connection to where the receiver is, I would get a 2 gang wall plate with a big hole in it to feed all the cables through.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackrain /forum/post/20781136


I am only running the speaker wire less than 35-40 feet. Why would I need 12 gauge for that?

All the reasons others have stated. Besides, we are talking about $16. That's it.
 

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Yep, fully agree with the all the replies. You do NOT want to try to pull 35' of more appropriate wire through the conduits sometime in the future. So 12 AWG right off the bat, cost difference is negligeable.
 

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Runs 50' or less, just run the 12 gauge and be done with it. You'd be surprised how good the Monoprice 12 gauge sounds. And it costs nothing to write home about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by josh6113 /forum/post/20782923


12 gage is a good size too have...it's just preference for most and its CL2 rated for In wall use....but with your 35-40 foot run I would use no less than 14 gage....:) ....when you run wire for long runs you need a thicker cable....I'm not going too get into the science of it but that's just common practice with wire...:)

Maybe I am missing something here (and everyone will now see how little I know about speaker wire), but doesn't the gauge number get smaller as the cable is thicker (larger diameter) per the website/table below?

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#wiretable

Quote:
Wire is specified by gauge numbers. A smaller number indicates a larger diameter of wire

So can someone just explain exactly why I should be going with 14 or 12 gauge? I didn't actually see anyone state a reason (other than everyone does it). Honestly, this is what my A/V consultant chose to use. I don't know why (maybe budgetary reasons, which seems silly). But when I question him on it, I don't want to look like a complete fool.


And just to make sure that everyone is on the same page, I have attached my proposed floorplan and the proposed location of the speakers (3 in the center of the screen and 2 in-ceiling just above the seating). The receiver will be in an A/V equipment room under the stairs leading down to the basement (center).

 

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Primarily because of resistance.


12 gauge wire has a resistance of 0.001588 ohms per foot. Double that for pairs or .003176 ohms per foot so 40 feet would have a resistance of 0.127 ohms.


14 gauge has a resistance of 0.0025250 ohms per foot (.00505 ohms per foot per pair). 40 feet would have a resistance of 0.202 ohms.


16 gauge wire has 0.00402 ohms per foot (.00804 ohms per foot per pair). 40 feet would have a resistance of 0.3216 ohms.


The thinner the wire, the higher the resistance. And yes, the lower the gauge, the thicker the wire. As the resistance gets higher, two things happen: more and more signal is lost to heat and impedance mismatch (amplifiers put out more power to lower impedance loads and the power "lost" in the cable is not really lost, it is dissipated as heat), and the amplifier's damping factor is affected.


Damping Factor is the ability of an amplifier to control a speaker's undesirable movement. That typically means overshoot: where the speaker continues to move in or out when it's not supposed to based on the original signal. Sort of like your car taking time to stop after you've stepped on the brakes or taking time to accelerate when you step on the gas.
 

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I'll stay out of the gauge discussion but will jump in on the wiring portion. I have seen *most* contractors and electricians mess up the speaker wiring for clients then I would like to admit. It really is simple to get it at least close and it rarely is done properly. If i had a $1 for every time a sub was wired with 16/2, a pair of rear speakers was a 16/2 loop...etc etc etc


My point is that it apparently is NOT simple for these guys to get it right because they don't know what is right. Electricians are generally the worst as they tend to wire everything like it's a 70v system.


If you go this route, I hope you know what to look for before the walls are up to make sure it was done properly. I'm not saying it can't be done right but it rarely happens in my experience over the last 10+ years. If you want it to go right, make sure you draw a very detailed (but simple) diagram for EACH wire. If you can't do this yourself, I'd probably pay the guy that is selling you the products something to map it out properly. It is much cheaper and way less of a headache to fix it now instead of after the room is finished.


Full disclosure: I sell this stuff and the labor for making it happen.
 
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