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sonofthetonsured 10-04-2007 06:20 PM

wiring unfinished room for surround sound
hey everyone. i am in the process of finishing a basement, and was looking to wire it up for surround sound. could someone maybe give me the low-down on what to put where (or short of that, send me to a site giving a simple A to Z on the subject)? at the moment, i have all the walls studded out and wired up for electrical, including an electrical outlet in the center of the wall where the plasma will hang. now, i'm assuming i also need an outlet box behind where each speaker will sit/hang, and some kind of a/v outlets, correct? any help would be greatly appreciated, as i am obviously a novice in this kind of work.
thanks in advance.

renfrey 10-05-2007 10:03 AM


I am not too sure about sites with specific instructions, but I'll try to help a bit.

A good site to purchase your required items at a fair price is
(wall plates, speakers, wire, etc.)

Basically, figure the speakers your going to use (in-wall or normal?). If in wall, then choose your in-wall speakers of choice first and get the mount (if required) before you drywall. It's good to get the whole speaker before you drywall, just to make sure everything will fit nicely. If you are using normal speakers then you can just place low-voltage boxes where you want the speaker wall-plates (use a double gange for where they all run back to).

For speaker placement, your best bet is to check the manual of your receiver. You may not be able to stick to it perfectly, but do the best you can with what you have. Usually they will give you positions and even heights.

As for speaker wire, there are a few choices; You can get special in-wall speaker wire, which is generally special because it is round and is normally plenum. Plenum mainly refers to the fire rating (among other things, but this is the main reason for it). To use it or not is your choice, you may want to check your local codes, but I doubt that they will require it in residential use. Many people just use regular speaker wire. The only downside to this is that if it does deteriorate over time.....very painful to replace. An alternative is to use a few CAT5 Plenum rated cables (computer cables, plenum rated). The downside to this is that you would have to run three or four runs to each speaker, and then tie all the solid colour wires together and tie the striped wires together (on both ends). 3 or 4 runs of CAT5 plenum cable per speaker will give you a decent wire guage.

As for everything else, just imagine everything that you will have installed (or plan to in the future), and then imagine what connections and power will be required, then make sure you have the correct outlets planned. And don't forget your sub! If it is self powered, then you will have to make sure that you have an RCA cable running to where you will want it placed, and a power outlet nearby.

And finally....try your best to keep any audio cable a couple of feet away from your power cables.

Hope that helps a bit. If you have any other more specific questions, please ask!

Good Luck and Have Fun! :thumbup:


sonofthetonsured 10-05-2007 07:49 PM

hey renfrey
thanks, that does help quite a bit. i won't be doing any of the work for another week or so, at which point i'm sure i'll run into a situation i'm unsure about, so you'll probably hear from me again.
thanks again

kingkip 10-09-2007 03:48 PM

Another good source for cable is good wire at cheap prices. You don't necessarily need an outlet box at every speak location, the wires can come right out of the wall through a blank faceplate. Depends on the look you're going for, how often you plan on swapping speaks etc.

Check out there are some good articles that will give you basic layout.

sonofthetonsured 10-11-2007 04:23 PM

keep audio wires away from electrical?
about keeping my audio wires away from the electrical wires- i'm going to run wires from each speaker back to the receiver, making sure to keep each run away from the electric, but once it gets back there, the double-gang plate that ties them all together looks like it will have to go within a foot of the electrical outlet that the reciever will be running off of. is this a big deal, or should i not have any problems as long as i'm not running lengths of audio close to and parallel to any electrical?

sonofthetonsured 10-11-2007 04:25 PM

oh and thanks for the site, kingkip.

steve1234 10-11-2007 05:27 PM

Doing the same thing with my whole house. I have about the same input for speakers as already shown above. However, the more I researched on my project the more I started to be a believer in "plan for the future". I've run my fair share of wiring in finished rooms, and it's not that fun. I will be "future-proofing" my house with additional communication wiring that is not currently needed, but maybe someday. Doing it when the walls are only studs is the time to do it.

Take the free advice for what it's worth....:)

The real reason for the reply is to post this site:

They have a "learn" section with some really good information on running cables for all house structured wiring, including audio. I found the info very informative. I have not yet purchased anything so I can't comment on their service, delivery, or pricing....yet. Good luck.

renfrey 10-12-2007 08:07 AM

I don't think that you will have much of an issue if any at all once you get the wires back to the receiver area, as long as they are not in the same box. The only real concern is just as you figured; running them parallel to power for distances (close to each other).

Planning for the future is deffinetly a good idea. The number of times I have punched holes in my walls for new wires along with the same number of times I get grief from my wife....makes me cringe each time I come to do it again. Next time I might try it while she is sleeping:laughing: .

I have ordered once from hometech, and I had no problem with the service, the prices were good, plus the delivery was quick. But I only ordered from there once.

sonofthetonsured 10-15-2007 07:52 AM

thanks to everyone who took the time to help. i got all the wires ran and the drywall is up, so now i just have to test it out.. here's to hopin'

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