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Old 01-13-2009, 12:38 PM   #1
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


I posted this in electrical cause I don't give a rat's derriere about Home Theater. DH wants me to run some speaker wire in an ceiling I am about to drywall - Of COURSE, he mentions this after I insulate

My thought was to run some pvc (the grey stuff) with string pulled through it so he can make any audiophile-type changes as needed. Is this kosher? I've been perusing the code and I can find lots of stuff about low voltage/types of stereo wire approved for in wall use/ etc. But I can't get a good feeling about my plan.

Thoughts?

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Old 01-13-2009, 01:10 PM   #2
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


There is no reason you should not run the wires wherever you want in a conduit. I would not run a high(er) voltage line through the same conduit however!

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Old 01-13-2009, 07:21 PM   #3
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


A fat conduit, say 1-1/2 inches ID, is nice to be able to string video cables at a later date. Typically one would be installed from the equipment location to the middle of the ceiling for a video projector. Except I don't know the rules for where drilling large holes in joists is permitted.

Romex can be used for speaker wires.

Because this is a low voltage usage, you do not need junction boxes but splices still need to be accessible. They make (often orange colored plastic) rectangular rings the size of junction boxes to mount in drywall or on studs so cover plates can be used to cover openings in the wall.
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:11 PM   #4
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


Just in case you don't run conduit you might want to check your local codes. Some areas require the new fire rated speaker wire if it is burried in a wall or ceiling.
While you're at it, another important note for all homes.
Through the years I have had several esrvice calls for damageded low voltage wiring. In each case where it was damaged within a wall or ceiling it was the old clear insulated wire used as LV for a central vac. Each time, it was a mouse and the wire was clearly gnawed in several spots so there may be something in the clear wire they prefer.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:11 PM   #5
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


Romex is extreme overkill for speaker wires. 18 gauge is plenty for most people. Also you usually want something stranded as the vibrations can eventually cause solid wire to loosen or fail.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:13 PM   #6
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


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Originally Posted by Chemist1961 View Post
Just in case you don't run conduit you might want to check your local codes. Some areas require the new fire rated speaker wire if it is burried in a wall or ceiling.
I assume you mean plenum rated. If the ceiling space is an air return (like some drop ceilings are), then plenum insulation is required.
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:39 AM   #7
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


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Romex is extreme overkill for speaker wires. 18 gauge is plenty for most people.
I beg to differ, although I also beg to differ with the home theater folks who recommend 12 gauge speaker wire for runs over 20 feet including the part extending from the wall to the speaker cabinets.

For those who did become fixated on 12 gauge speaker wires, romex costs a lot less than monster cable although the latter looks a lot nicer if it comes out of the wall in lieu of a junction box with banana jacks.

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-14-2009 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:55 AM   #8
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


Supposedly, the monster cable provides a lower impedance at higher frequencies. When the audio system has lots of power (1,000W or higher), it can make a difference. Smaller wire may cause some distortion at higher frequencies.
In addition, low frequencies produce the highest currents in speaker wires, due to the fact that the speakers present a lower impedance at those frequencies, and it takes a lot more power to drive them at 60Hz than it does at 200Hz. Sub-woofers really pull current!

I like the concept of conduit, for expandability/changeability. You can then use THHN wires in the conduit.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:09 AM   #9
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


DH has some fancy-pants speaker wire that he wants to run temporarily, until he can buy some fancy-dancier cables.

Me, I'm tone deaf, couldn't care less how it sounds. But, I am admittedly a video snob - we're still CRT because, Wow! Sony made one heck of a nice TV. I can't bring myself to watch projection, LCD or plasma - YUCK.
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:47 AM   #10
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Supposedly, the monster cable provides a lower impedance at higher frequencies.
It's a lie. The only thing that matters is the DC resistance of the wire. Audio is close enough to DC that absolutely none of the transmission line effects are in play.

So yes gauge does matter with high power systems, but 12 gauge zip wire is exactly the same as 12 gauge monster cables, and I agree 12 gauge romex is the same too, but I really would not want to use solid wire for this for the reasons I cited earlier.

Also as I implied earlier, most home users aren't running anywhere near enough power to require 12 gauge speaker wires.
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:51 AM   #11
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Me, I'm tone deaf, couldn't care less how it sounds. But, I am admittedly a video snob - we're still CRT because, Wow! Sony made one heck of a nice TV. I can't bring myself to watch projection, LCD or plasma - YUCK.
Wait 6 months. Reports from CES are saying a new generation of LCDs are coming out soon that will be a big jump from what we have now.

I was like you for a long time, the glaring washed out brightness and bad colors of LCDs bothered me enough to stay on CRT. I eventually found one I liked enough to buy though, which says a lot because I was spoiled using $1000 prepress grade CRTs.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:05 AM   #12
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


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Originally Posted by Gigs View Post
It's a lie. The only thing that matters is the DC resistance of the wire. Audio is close enough to DC that absolutely none of the transmission line effects are in play.

So yes gauge does matter with high power systems, but 12 gauge zip wire is exactly the same as 12 gauge monster cables, and I agree 12 gauge romex is the same too, but I really would not want to use solid wire for this for the reasons I cited earlier.

Also as I implied earlier, most home users aren't running anywhere near enough power to require 12 gauge speaker wires.

Though I don't like monster, I found 75 ft of 14 awg stranded twisted pair monster audio cable for $16. Just had to pick it up for my system.

12 awg is overkill.

A $5000 10 ft audio cable is extreme overkill. With $200 stands to keep your cable off the floor. I remember that somewhere...forgot the link.
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:19 PM   #13
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


This http://www.shunmook.com/text1.htm is without a doubt my favorite ridiculous A/V expense: The Mpingo Disk! It might even make thousand dollar speaker cables seem reasonable... or not.

For the record, there are no Mpingo Disks in my house!

From their website: "The Mpingo Disc is invented by the Shun Mook team. It is made from a combination of Gaboon and Mpingo Ebony, treated with a proprietary process that gives the disc a unique property to regulate the resonance of any sonic component and its transmission. Yet this is a very simple item to use. Just place one to three disc on top of your preamp, CD transport, DA converter, turntable etc, and listen for the wonderful change in your Hi fi system. When this disc is excited by any external acoustic energy, it will resonate throughout the entire audible spectrum, thus overriding unwanted harmonic distortions and at the same enriching the musical reproduction." Emphasis, mine

Price: ? I guess, if you have to ask how much a hockey puck made of african wood costs, you can't afford it.
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Last edited by Leah Frances; 01-14-2009 at 01:21 PM. Reason: errant commas
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:37 PM   #14
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Can I run speaker wire in conduit in ceiling


Gigs,

This was not a plenum install. It was an insulated cathedral ceiling and insulated wall, but our codes may be ahead of others. I have run plenums before.

I didn't run the wire. My neighbour did,initially with heavy gauge clear speaker wire and when he went for more at HD he was told he had to undo and redo with heavy jacketed, so I assume it likely was plenum rated. He was told if it was behind drywall it had to have the NEW heavy insulation.
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Chemist1961 View Post
when he went for more at HD he was told he had to undo and redo with heavy jacketed, so I assume it likely was plenum rated. He was told if it was behind drywall it had to have the NEW heavy insulation.
Mmmm, I wouldn't have trusted anything a hardware store employee told me. They are very often wrong.

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