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speaker wire in attic

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Old 03-26-2014, 11:21 AM   #1  
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Default speaker wire in attic

Picked up a Samsung HTIB the other day for the living room (have a Bose in another room). I need to extend the rear speaker wires to about 50' so I can run them up a wall, across the attic floor, and down the rear wall. About 18' of the 50' will be in the attic. The speaker wire is thin (probably 20 or 22 gauge), but is OK for this application/system.

I live in Florida on the ocean (a hot and corrosive environment). It can probably get north of 120 degrees in that attic in the summer, and then there is the salt air. Should I put the speaker wire in a raceway or conduit in the attic to protect it? If so, do you you guys have a recommendation as to what? As info, there is unprotected Romex lying all over the attic, and it's been that way since 1968 with no issues. But the Romex is 12 gauge or better.

All opinions welcome. I just dont want to have to replace that run of wire in a few years if the environment craps it out.

Thanks.
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:27 AM   #2  
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I would be more concerned about the gauge of that wire for a run that long over the weathering.


Speaker Impedance 8 Ohm Load 4 Ohm Load
Wire Gauge Distance (ft) Distance (ft)
18 AWG 10 5
16 AWG 20 10
14 AWG 35 18
12 AWG 60 30
10 AWG 100 50

Last edited by jkkyler; 03-26-2014 at 11:30 AM..
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:35 AM   #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkkyler View Post
I would be more concerned about the gauge of that wire for a run that long over the weathering.
That is the gauge that came with the HTIB, with connectors (probably proprietary) on the receiver end. This is a cheap 3ohm system. The rear wires are about 30', and I'll need to splice about 20' more. So adding gauge thickness to the last 20' does not buy much.

BTW, I've already added the 20 extra feet for a total of 50' in the room, and have been listening to it for a couple of days. Dont notice any difference from when it was the shorter 30'. But obviously I want to hide all that wire - hence my question.
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Old 03-26-2014, 05:56 PM   #4  
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You may not hear a difference but the thinner and longer the cable is the higher the DC resistance will be, add too much thin stuff and that 3 ohm systems load will be higher then it should be.

I run 14 to 12 gauge (for the long runs) to everything on my sound surround system
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:22 PM   #5  
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Default My own non-HT remote speaker installation venture

Quote:
Originally Posted by blmqzjc View Post
Picked up a Samsung HTIB the other day for the living room (have a Bose in another room). I need to extend the rear speaker wires to about 50' so I can run them up a wall, across the attic floor, and down the rear wall. About 18' of the 50' will be in the attic. The speaker wire is thin (probably 20 or 22 gauge), but is OK for this application/system.
--clip-- etc...
Quote:
All opinions welcome. I just dont want to have to replace that run of wire in a few years if the environment craps it out.

Thanks.
I'll pass on the results of my own research into this issue as I am engaged in a similar revision of my own speaker configuration. At least it should be some food for thought for you and others engaged in remote speaker installation.

First off, IMO, 50 ft is way too long for your current awg. You will/should notice a marked dilution of low frequency sensitivity delivered at the speaker. Even 16 awg is probably too thin but it still comes down to your own ear and what it can actually detect whether investing in heavier cable is worthwhile or not. One thing is for certain: if the atmosphere DOES begin to attack anywhere along the cable pathway... the heavier the cable, the less noticeable will be any corrosion on the output to your ear.

In my own project, I finally settled on a roll of 14/4 from Monoprice (100 ft roll cost me around 40 USD, for comparison... they said it was sale price but who really knows, eh?), a low-end supplier of speaker cabling. There is a benefit to be gained from using 4-conductor wire, especially in longer runs, if the separate conductors spiral around each other. But 2 runs of 14/2 work just fine, just less audiophilic IMO. I've checked and your 50 ft run should be fine as well. My run is only 35 feet but also an in-wall/in-attic installation. My problem is Micky Mouse and inconsiderate family gnawing just about everything in sight in the attic. Standard 110v Romex doesn't present much of a problem since death by electrocution serves as an adequate deterrent. But the low-voltage speaker signal is another issue especially with the relatively light jacketing used in speaker cabling. I recommend 1/2" PVC conduit (3/8" works fine, but you'll pay a premium price to find/purchase it), either rigid or flex to solve the problem of controlling any potentially "abrasive" effects to the cable whether due to rodents or the coastal atmosphere itself. Also, running in conduit will maintain a healthy minimum bend radius of the cable itself (considering 4-conductor cable here). Keep in mind that cable as stiff as 14/4 can be PUSHED through the conduit rather easily while the thinner wire needs to be PULLED.

As far as locating the cable run with respect to the domestic house wiring, try to maintain as much distance as possible in parallel routing and avoid crossing over as much as you can. I've read that a minimum 3 foot distance is recommended but I suspect that would be an "ideal" situation. Other sources have indicated 3 to 4 inch minimum is sufficient so I'd go with that suggestion myself. Again, these are only guidelines which may require some leniency depending on how your current wiring is arranged in the home.

I also recommend setting up a binding post plate on the wall to plug the short run from the amp to the beginning of the in-wall route (I used 2 short 6' pieces of the 14/4 with merged pairs resulting in an effective 11 awg run to the wall, terminated with banana plugs and placed about 2' away from the 110v receptacle in the immediate vicinity... possibly overkill... dunno, but it works really nice.) I made my own 2-channel binding post plate for about 8 bucks 'cuz I'm unwilling to fork out the 20 USD for a manufactured one, and 4-channels would be even more expensive.

One thing I would recommend (especially in your case) would be to use shrink tubing over any solder joints to make the cabling run as hermetic as humanly possible. The effort to run 50 feet of new cable is certainly worth investing the extra time for peace of mind and reliability. I would also brush on a dab of conductive grease to coat all wire connections (but that advice is coming from a dyed-in-the-wool neurotic so take it with a grain of sea salt... please).

BTW...

My own 35-foot ancillary speaker run ends in the master bath with a pair of Bose 201's suspended from the ceiling aimed at the bath enclosure (very little room to place them on shelves anywhere). So now, today, all those sour notes singing in the shower are drowned out by High Fidelity stereo majesty. Just love those mighty mini 201's!

Last edited by Chipster2; 04-03-2014 at 09:29 PM..
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