Newbie - Need help in deciding the cabling for Speaker system

Brendas

Standard Member
Dear members, I am new to this forum and do not know much about speakers. However I always had a thought of having a good sound system but never had a room for it. Now I am getting my house extension done and adding a Living room about 20 feet by 16 feet and want to install a speaker system. My budget will be about 1500-2000 quid (some flexibility there).

With that is mind I need to finalise the cables while the extension is happening. The electrician will be onsite in next couple of days and I need to finalise this and then order the cable. The speakers will be used for TV viewing, Movies and of course listening to music .

I have read some posts in this forum and have done research here and based on that I am thinking on a 5.1 system. Have attached lay out of the room and the placement I am thinking. As I am new first of all I am not sure if 5.1 is right for me or if the placement of speakers are right. please suggest.

I am planning to have a small cabinet below the TV to hold AVR and other gadgets.

For cables this is what I understand, please let me know if my thinking is right:

1. Run individual cables to each speakers from the AVR - Speaker cable, not sure which cable
2. Run a cable from AVR to Subwoofer - Subwoofer cable not sure which one
3. Run a Cat 5/6 from router to AVR
4. Run 2 HDMI from AVR to TV (1 additional for backup)

Is there any other cable that I need to consider. Please help. Once the cabling is done then I will need help in selecting the speakers. Not sure abt size, whether satellite or book shelf or Tower.

Thank you so much for the help in advance.
Cable help.jpg
 

gibbsy

Moderator
First and foremost make sure your electrician doesn't run any audio cables alongside mains cable, it must be in a separate run. There is no need to spend a fortune on cable, Van Damme Blue is a very popular and respected speaker cable. There is really only need to chase out the rears unless you really want to go for a clean look at the front as well. If you chase out all then label them for ease of identification.

The sub woofer cable is a single RCA to RCA that comes in different lengths, often referred to a sub woofer cable in adverts.

As for the speakers themselves floorstanders need room to breath, so you will have to keep them out of the corners. In this respect standmounts on good stands can be by far the better option, especially as the bass will be picked up by the sub-woofer.

Does your budget include a receiver as well. With your room and potential speakers positioning within your layout I don't think you can go higher than 5.1 on your floor layout. I believe the Denon X3500 at £500 is an absolute steal at almost half price. That would leave you £1500 for speakers and sub which is a fairly healthy budget.

 

Brendas

Standard Member
Thank you gibbsy for the suggestion. Please explain more on electrician should not run speaker cables alongside mains. Do you mean the electric and speaker wire should not be coming together but has to be few inches away from each other. The cables are coming through the ceiling. Sorry also what does chase out the rear mean - flush fixed to the wall?
 

mushii

Well-known Member
Chase out means to remove the plaster to leave a track / groove or chase to bury the cable in. The cable is fixed into the chase then re-plastered, hence hiding the majority of the cable.

Be careful about putting an AVR inside a ‘small’ cabinet. They generate quite a lot oh heat and unless their is sufficient airflow inside the cabinet it can cause the AVR to overheat and cut-out. Placing speaker cable in very close proximity in long parallel runs can cause an induced current in the speaker cable, which can lead to diminished sound performance or even cause the speakers to hum. This induced current can also damage the circuitry in your AVR. Hence mains cables and low voltage (speaker cables) should be separated.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Speaker placement - see the Dolby Layout Guide, ideally you have 'side' Surrounds in a 5.1 system. 5.1 Surround Speakers Setup | Dolby Laboratories

Loudspeakers - as gibbsy says it is often better to go with 'limited' range 'satellite' speakers plus a Sub when space is at a premium.

Cables - your electrician needs to ensure the speaker cables do not run close to power cables (150mm min separation) and cross each other at 90 degrees if they do have to cross.

You will find the TV and Centre Speaker will be lower than expected if you set them to suit your seated ear level so work out placement before you decide on a suitable AV cabinet.

Joe
 

Brendas

Standard Member
Many thanks for the suggestion Joe and mushii. In terms of the cables have to run. Have I included all needed. As it is a new extension the ceiling is completely bare hence want to make sure that all the cables are done before plasterboard etc are placed. Thanks again for your inputs, greatly appreciate them.
 

mushii

Well-known Member
If it were me, i would also run in 2 or 4 Atmos speaker cables into the ceiling. Even if you do not want Atmos at the moment, you may want them later. I would also run 2 x Cat6 to the rear of the TV and 4 Cat6 to where your AVR is going. Better to cable everything, as it is quicker and more reliable. Given the changes in HDMI technology I would run a (chased in) 40mm square trunk, between the back of the TV and where the AVR is going, do not plaster in the HDMI cables. This will also allow for any other cables (Toslink?) to be run between the TV and the AVR should you need them.

All of the Network cables could be run back to a small switch near to your router.

Additionally, I am not sure how good your wifi will be in your new extension, so I would run an additional Cat6 into your ceiling, in-case you wish to install a ceiling mounted Wireless access point, such as a Ubiquiti Unifi. Again, you dont have to use it now, but may want to use it later.

Measure and record on a drawing, where all of the ceiling cables are. So you can leave them in the ceiling until you need them. When you want to access them, they are easy to find.

Have you allowed for a power socket behind the TV (make it a double)?

You will want at least 3 x Double electrical sockets behind the AVR Cabinet
 

Brendas

Standard Member
Thank you so much Mushii. Grateful to you for the advise.

Only one last point where should be the position of the 4 atmos is it back. Also is the same speaker cable going to be used for Atmos as well.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Thank you so much Mushii. Grateful to you for the advise.

Only one last point where should be the position of the 4 atmos is it back. Also is the same speaker cable going to be used for Atmos as well.
No difference in any cable for Atmos, use the same as all your other speakers. For placement follow this guide as closely as possible.
 

Brendas

Standard Member
No difference in any cable for Atmos, use the same as all your other speakers. For placement follow this guide as closely as possible.
Thanks again Gibbsy. Sorry to ask you again but I went through the Dolby set up guide and looked at 5.1.2 and 5.1.4. However in the diagrams they show only 5 speakers. Then they say the front left and right are dolby enabled. Do we add two new speaker in this set or it is still 5. Same with 5.1.4, what I understood is that now the 2 fronts and 2 surrounds become dolby enabled. Is this the correct understanding or in actual 2 or 4 speakers are really added. If they are added where are they placed. Thanks for the help.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Dolby enabled is what I have, KEF R50s. They are upfiring modules which are placed on top of my front speakers. My wife doesn't trust my DIY skills for making holes in the ceiling. I'm very good at destroying things either by design or accident.:)
 

Brendas

Standard Member
Thanks Gibbsy and Joe. I think have all the info to be able to get the wiring done. Two more questions.
1. Pls find attached back of the room photo that I clicked just now, this is behind the sofa and the wall opposite to TV wall. For the two surround/ back speakers I have two options first I can put it in the big wall just behind the sofa.....and the second option is to put in the small side walls next to the bifold/sliding door. The angle from seating position will be less on the side wall but just by small. Pls suggest which one is better option 1 or 2
2. What should be the height of these speakers from the finished floor

Thanks again
 

Attachments

gibbsy

Moderator
I think either position would be fine, the side wall probably the best as it would be easier to angle with the correct wall bracket. However, both your proposed positions are too high for an Atmos layout. They need to be just above seated head height. Being that high you may have to look at the safety factor and where they are going to be the less intrusive into the living space.
 

Brendas

Standard Member
Thank you gibbsy. The lounge is sorted. Thank you so much I will update on how it is coming up.

Upon thinking more realised we have a new bed room coming up (size 15 feet by 10 feet) on top of this lounge and we will add a TV in that room as well. In addition there is a small reception room (11 feet by 10 feet) just next to this lounge and we will have a TV in that room for kids. What is the best way to manage sound system here. Do we just add soundbar or there is a better way to connect some speakers from the lounge AVR?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Thank you gibbsy. The lounge is sorted. Thank you so much I will update on how it is coming up.

Upon thinking more realised we have a new bed room coming up (size 15 feet by 10 feet) on top of this lounge and we will add a TV in that room as well. In addition there is a small reception room (11 feet by 10 feet) just next to this lounge and we will have a TV in that room for kids. What is the best way to manage sound system here. Do we just add soundbar or there is a better way to connect some speakers from the lounge AVR?
@Joe Fernand is more qualified to give this kind of answer.
 

mushii

Well-known Member
Honestly you are going to add a lot of unnecessary expense trying to connect back to the AVR. I would buy a soundbar and have done with it, honestly.
 

Brendas

Standard Member
Honestly you are going to add a lot of unnecessary expense trying to connect back to the AVR. I would buy a soundbar and have done with it, honestly.
Ok Mushii, thanks. Just to give you better idea in the first diagram I shared, study is the one that we will use as a reception so one TV in that and on top of the AVR side is the bed room that will have another TV. I did some googling and understood that for Soundbar, there is no extra cabling required probably just power and then HDMI between TV and Soundbar. In this case probably the sky cable will directly go to the TV. Both soundbar and TV will be new so all latest connection. Hope this configuration and cabling is fine.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Are you aiming to ‘share’ any of your Source devices across the three ‘zones’ or will you have individual Source devices for each zone?

Joe
 

Brendas

Standard Member
Are you aiming to ‘share’ any of your Source devices across the three ‘zones’ or will you have individual Source devices for each zone?

Joe
Sorry Joe what does the source devise mean. Is it the AVR? I am just after something that is practical and advisable from experts like you. Typically what is the advise for situation like this. Thanks again for the help.
 

Brendas

Standard Member
First and foremost make sure your electrician doesn't run any audio cables alongside mains cable, it must be in a separate run. There is no need to spend a fortune on cable, Van Damme Blue is a very popular and respected speaker cable. There is really only need to chase out the rears unless you really want to go for a clean look at the front as well. If you chase out all then label them for ease of identification.

Was looking at Van damme and there are multiple options. I searched the old thread and think Van Damme Blue series Studio Grade 2 x 2.50mm 2 core twin-ax could be the one you suggested. just wanted to confirm before ordering as it comes in different mm. Also do you suggest any specific place to get this or it is a case of googling and finding someone
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Was looking at Van damme and there are multiple options. I searched the old thread and think Van Damme Blue series Studio Grade 2 x 2.50mm 2 core twin-ax could be the one you suggested. just wanted to confirm before ordering as it comes in different mm. Also do you suggest any specific place to get this or it is a case of googling and finding someone
I'm going to what members have recommended, I've never really bought a lot of cable as I've always blagged it as part of a deal. My surrounds were connected by QED Micro with no problems and Audioquest Slip 14/2, which is no longer available.

 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
VanDamme Blue Series - due to its 'twin-axial' construction (it bends in all directions) it is easy to install, we supply it at fixed lengths via our web shop or you can drop us an email and we can sort out custom lengths for you.

Blue Series 2x2.5mm - is what we use on all installs, VanDamme Archives - The Media Factory

Source - you mention SKY is that SKY+ HD or SKY Q and are you wanting to share a single box in all Zones? What other Source devices do you have (Blu-ray, Xbox etc) and again are they one per room or are you expecting to 'share' them across multiple rooms?

Joe
 

Brendas

Standard Member
Many thanks Joe. Unfortunately I never had a setup like that before hence not able to decide what is best. But in terms of usage think the lounge one will be fully loaded with blu ray sky box etc. The small reception room that is marked as study in the first diagram will have mostly kids stuff so thinking a sky plus PS4 plus something for movies. The bed room that is on top of the lounge will be primarily movie plus may be sky. In terms of how to set up - frankly not sure.Whether to share or have dedicated, any suggestion on best practice will be welcome. For Van Damm. I will get in touch.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Shared Sources - opens up a new discussion around signal distribution and control of devices.

Dedicated Sources - makes for a 'simpler' and usually more user friendly/useful setup.

Both options are possible so 'best practice' is really what will work best for you and the family.

Happy to talk over ideas if you want to get in touch.

Joe
 

Brendas

Standard Member
I would also run 2 x Cat6 to the rear of the TV and 4 Cat6 to where your AVR is going. Better to cable everything, as it is quicker and more reliable.
Hi Mushii, I had a discussion with the electrician. One point that he didn't agree and asked is why do we need 4 cat6 to where the AVR is and I cdnt answer it. He was saying as TV has the internet you do not need any network for AVR or at the max 1. I know your suggestion is more on future proofing. Ultimately I will tell him to do it but if there is a logic it is easier. Thanks
 

mushii

Well-known Member
HI @Brendas OK. Firstly electricians in general know very little about AV or AV cabling. Your electrician really should not be pushing back on customers requests, especially on something he evidently knows very little about.

The reason I recommended 2 and 4 is that most modern AVRs have devices plugged in, which would all benefit from wired network connection. For example, in my cinema room I have:

AVR - Wired
PS4 - Wired
Ultra Bluray Player - Wired
BT Youview - Wired
Nvidia Shield - Wired
Sky Box - Wired
Codi Box (CCTV) - Wired
Amazon Fire TV Box - Wired
TV - Wired

That is 9 network connections. I would always recommend and install 4 network drops to any location where AV gear is going and seldom do they not all get used. That number is based on over 20 years of doing AV / HA installs and support and advice to many AV Forum members on their builds / installs.

Originally I used to install 2 network drops, but with todays demand for data, streaming movies, video gaming and all of the above devices wanting a connection to the outside world, 4 is now generally the minimum.

Yes many of the above devices could run over wifi, but its inefficient and slow compared to a wired connection straight into a switch. It also saturates your wifi network unnecessarily, slowing it down for other devices that need a genuine wifi connection, like smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.

My advice here is free, you are paying for your electrician's time (wasting) and (ill)advice. I have never had a client complain that he has too many network sockets, it normally is the opposite, 'I wish that I had installed more when you advised me to!' Cable is cheap and easy to install at first fix. Retro fitting is harder work, time consuming and messy. The choice is yours sir.
 

Brendas

Standard Member
HI @Brendas OK. Firstly electricians in general know very little about AV or AV cabling. Your electrician really should not be pushing back on customers requests, especially on something he evidently knows very little about.

The reason I recommended 2 and 4 is that most modern AVRs have devices plugged in, which would all benefit from wired network connection. For example, in my cinema room I have:

AVR - Wired
PS4 - Wired
Ultra Bluray Player - Wired
BT Youview - Wired
Nvidia Shield - Wired
Sky Box - Wired
Codi Box (CCTV) - Wired
Amazon Fire TV Box - Wired
TV - Wired

That is 9 network connections. I would always recommend and install 4 network drops to any location where AV gear is going and seldom do they not all get used. That number is based on over 20 years of doing AV / HA installs and support and advice to many AV Forum members on their builds / installs.

Originally I used to install 2 network drops, but with todays demand for data, streaming movies, video gaming and all of the above devices wanting a connection to the outside world, 4 is now generally the minimum.

Yes many of the above devices could run over wifi, but its inefficient and slow compared to a wired connection straight into a switch. It also saturates your wifi network unnecessarily, slowing it down for other devices that need a genuine wifi connection, like smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.

My advice here is free, you are paying for your electrician's time (wasting) and (ill)advice. I have never had a client complain that he has too many network sockets, it normally is the opposite, 'I wish that I had installed more when you advised me to!' Cable is cheap and easy to install at first fix. Retro fitting is harder work, time consuming and messy. The choice is yours sir.
Your advise is gold mushii. Thank you so much for this. One last question on this. Router will not have so many network out let so I need to have a switch there and then have so many outlets right? Would one network cable to the AVR and a splitter there to split into 4 also work and have the same result or this is a rubbish idea.
 

mushii

Well-known Member
You could run a single cable to a switch, yes, but then you have another device to plug in with distracting flashing lights on it and generating heat in the AV Cabinet. Better to have a switch by the router and run 4 cables from the AVR to the switch.

305m of LSZH Copper Cat6 is currently around £100 - 30p a meter. Time to run 4 drops as compared to one drop of Cat 6 - the same.

Also always run 2 drops of Cat 5/6 to a wall outlet, never one.

Do it once, do it right.
 

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