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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i am helping a friend setup his surround sound system and i have a question about volume control knobs.


this is a new house, so all of the zones are wired for speakers and each zone has a box for a volume knob.


i have never installed a volume control knob, would the wires go from the receiver to the volume control and then the volume control to the speakers?


this is not the exact knob, but it looks like this...

 

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Yup. Home runs all ganged at receiver (messy) or at a remote location with one or more direct feeds from receiver (better). Then each volume control to the pair of speakers in its room. Get on Russound or one of the other whole-house audio sites and download some install manuals so you know what's what. Good luck.


williak
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
the thing is, the house is all wired up ready to go.


i pulled off one of the covers where the boxes are supposed to go to and all i saw were cat5e wires. can you use cat5e for speaker wire? i work with cat5 all the time...phones and home networking, punch down blocks, etc...but i have never seen cat5e for speaker wires.
 

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If you have speakers, GENTLY pry off the mesh covers (read the manual for the speaker brand and model - it's online) and determine EXACTLY how the speakers are wired. Which wire(s) to L, which wire(s) to R; daisy-chained or homerunned to the volume control? While you're in there, get the exact model and serial number from the speaker and then download everything about it from the web. Then account for all cables at volume control and at home run location somewhere in the house (look for where phone, data, video come in). Then simply decide what level of functionality is desired from the system, purchase the necessary components, install them, test them, document the system and voila!


OR,


Once you have figured EVERYTHING out, get on your cell phone and tell your friend he will need to get on his and call in a professional since you don't know the first thing about whole-house audio and will most certainly end up costing him gobs more money than any professional would. In addition, your friendship will be lost and you will both be miserable about the whole affair.


Your choice. Best of luck.


williak
 

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You should talk to your friend. It is a new house they should

be able to tell how the house was wired. If I opened a box with

cat5/6 wire I'd assume it was for computer networking - that

is what is was designed for - yes you can use it for other purposes.

Until you know where these wires go and what they were designed

for you are just swimming in the dark. They could be used for speakers,

or they could be used for control. Who knows!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by williak /forum/post/15532817


If you have speakers, GENTLY pry off the mesh covers (read the manual for the speaker brand and model - it's online) and determine EXACTLY how the speakers are wired. Which wire(s) to L, which wire(s) to R; daisy-chained or homerunned to the volume control? While you're in there, get the exact model and serial number from the speaker and then download everything about it from the web. Then account for all cables at volume control and at home run location somewhere in the house (look for where phone, data, video come in). Then simply decide what level of functionality is desired from the system, purchase the necessary components, install them, test them, document the system and voila!


OR,


Once you have figured EVERYTHING out, get on your cell phone and tell your friend he will need to get on his and call in a professional since you don't know the first thing about whole-house audio and will most certainly end up costing him gobs more money than any professional would. In addition, your friendship will be lost and you will both be miserable about the whole affair.


Your choice. Best of luck.


williak


i agree.


the house is all wired up, no speakers at the house, just cable behind the wall. in the drywall, they have cutouts where the speakers will go.


i will NOT do this knowing what i just read, trust me.


i just had a simple question on how the volume controls are wired. he doesn't have the volume controls, if he did, i would have just gone to his house to look at it.


i just wanted to get some general information. he wanted to avoid paying someone xxx bucks an hour if all he had to do was wire up the control knob with speaker wire already there.


again, it looks like there are more variables to consider and i appreciate all the help in the thread. i am leaving it to a pro this time. hopefully he will still let me take care of the phones and internet stuff
.
 

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What you need to do is ask your friend how the house is actually wired, otherwise you won't know what you're capable of doing.


if there is only cat5 at the volume control locations there are kind of two possibilities.


First possibility benefits you if you are cheap and con't care much about zone audio: electrician was an idiot and wired the speakers for volume controls with cat5 instead of speaker wire. In this scenario, cat5 goes through VC location to speakers. USe the cat5 as speaker wire. Not ideal, but you're stuck with it, and it's the cheap way.


Second possibility: whoever wired the house planned a more complex system using keypads, which control a whole-house system which is all home run, apparently (given you only found cat5 at VC locations) NOT looped through the VC location. If the cat5 terminates at the keypad location and the speaker wire is elsewhere, you basically have to go with a whole-house system using keypads to control each zone since you cannot use volume controls unless you can locate the speaker wire in the walls and cut in volume controls there.


But the permutations of volume controls are endless depending on what kind of volume control, how it is controlled by the system(if at all), how many speakers are being driven off a single amp (impedance matching VCs), how they're setup, etc. Without knowing how the house is wired, or what system is being designed for it, not really much specifics anyone can help you with. Suggest you hire a pro, or figure out all the details if you want to do DIY yourself.
 

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Quote:
i have never installed a volume control knob, would the wires go from the receiver to the volume control and then the volume control to the speakers?

But to answer your question, if you had one stereo amplifier, and one pair of speakers, yes the speaker wire gets connected to the AMP IN on the VC, then out to the speakers. Pretty simple.


The complex part is what the amp is, how that's controlled, how many speakers are off one amp, what kind of VC it is, and then what the wiring in the actual house is and what that is capable of supporting. It gets complex and expensive real fast if it's a big system. If it's one amp, one VC, it's pretty much dumb and anyone can do it. But it doesn't sound like that's the case here at all, given all you have to work with, it SEEMS is cat5 to what sound like keypad locations, not VC locations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd /forum/post/15533032


You should talk to your friend. It is a new house they should

be able to tell how the house was wired. If I opened a box with

cat5/6 wire I'd assume it was for computer networking - that

is what is was designed for - yes you can use it for other purposes.

Until you know where these wires go and what they were designed

for you are just swimming in the dark. They could be used for speakers,

or they could be used for control. Who knows!

we already talked, i told him that i will gladly setup his home network/phones and terminate all those wires, but that is about it...i told him he should just call the guy that ran the cables to have him finish everything off.


we went to his family room and took off a blank wall cover. there was an HDMI cable (goes to the basement) and 5 cat5e cables. 1 for each speaker hole in the wall.


the low voltage guy must be using the cat5 for speaker wire. that is all i can think of, since the room has 5 speaker locations and 5 cat wires. unless there was another room with speaker wires, i dont really know what is going on.


the basement where everything is going to terminate to was all cat5 and not labeled. phones, home audio, rg6 for cable in all the rooms, etc... i would assume that the main receiver is going to be in the control room and all the speakers would have to get wired into the main receiver. either way, i already told him i dont feel comfortable doing it and as i stated above i still offered to do the networking/phones.


in the entire house, i did not see ANY speaker cable.



anyway, thanks for the input guys. in case anyone is interested, i will update the thread once he calls in the low voltage guy that did the wiring.


on a side note....do any of you guys run cable and NOT label it? i thought that was very odd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles /forum/post/15549948


What you need to do is ask your friend how the house is actually wired, otherwise you won't know what you're capable of doing.


if there is only cat5 at the volume control locations there are kind of two possibilities.


First possibility benefits you if you are cheap and con't care much about zone audio: electrician was an idiot and wired the speakers for volume controls with cat5 instead of speaker wire. In this scenario, cat5 goes through VC location to speakers. USe the cat5 as speaker wire. Not ideal, but you're stuck with it, and it's the cheap way.


Second possibility: whoever wired the house planned a more complex system using keypads, which control a whole-house system which is all home run, apparently (given you only found cat5 at VC locations) NOT looped through the VC location. If the cat5 terminates at the keypad location and the speaker wire is elsewhere, you basically have to go with a whole-house system using keypads to control each zone since you cannot use volume controls unless you can locate the speaker wire in the walls and cut in volume controls there.


But the permutations of volume controls are endless depending on what kind of volume control, how it is controlled by the system(if at all), how many speakers are being driven off a single amp (impedance matching VCs), how they're setup, etc. Without knowing how the house is wired, or what system is being designed for it, not really much specifics anyone can help you with. Suggest you hire a pro, or figure out all the details if you want to do DIY yourself.


good post. this is basically what i told my friend as well. he thinks the low voltage guy purposely didn't label cables so that HE would have to be called back to finish the job. i have no idea. but once i saw some of the diagrams i told him that the low voltage guy could have ran certain cables for specific equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles /forum/post/15566424


If he ran cat5 for speaker wiring, I wouldn't have that guy come back, obviously...

well, that is one reason that got me thinking....how the hell would this be wired anyway...?


like i said, the control room in the basement didn't have any speaker wire and that's where he wants his amp, receiver, digital cable box, etc...


i am curious to see what the final result is.


it would really suck if the low voltage guy misunderstood what needed to be installed in the house.
 

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They may have been planning a 70v system for the house, in which case, the cat5 will work fine. But they should've run speaker wire from the j-box where the VC is to the speaker locations. They ran HDMI and ethernet? But no component cable? I think i'd ask for a refund honestly, the LV guy should probably have his license revoked. That's pretty improper wiring... Unless it specifically stated in the design spec from him for a 70v system, then yeah, well, you're stuck... Don't know of many 70v HT style setups, but i have seen some Niles audio stuff do 70v.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by goobenet /forum/post/15570558


They may have been planning a 70v system for the house, in which case, the cat5 will work fine. But they should've run speaker wire from the j-box where the VC is to the speaker locations. They ran HDMI and ethernet? But no component cable? I think i'd ask for a refund honestly, the LV guy should probably have his license revoked. That's pretty improper wiring... Unless it specifically stated in the design spec from him for a 70v system, then yeah, well, you're stuck... Don't know of many 70v HT style setups, but i have seen some Niles audio stuff do 70v.

yeah, not sure. i would hope that my friend would know what type of system is being installed. then again, maybe he is clueless. apparently, that seems to be the case here.


Tom
 

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Have your friend call the guy and get a detailed quote to completely finish out the system - everything purchased, installed, tested, programmed, and warranteed. By seeing which components and functionality are specified, it should be a simple matter to determine both what goes where and whether the installer was on the up and up. With the quote in hand, you and your friend will have something to move forward with. Good luck.

williak
 
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