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Speaker Cable and hiding it

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by chrisw, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. chrisw

    chrisw
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    I'm just about to put down a wood floor in my lounge and 'er indoors is not very happy with the idea of having cabling running all over the place.

    Two questions:

    1) does anyone have a suggestion as to what I can do with my cabling to make it look neat / not visible (yet still accessable)

    2) can anyone recommend some reasonably flat / small bi-wire speaker cable that is fairly cheap?

    I'm thinking about maybe trying to hinge the skirting boards and hide it behind there, but to be honest my DIY skills are probably not up to it - anyone tried anything similar before?

    Ta

    Chris
     
  2. Astaroth

    Astaroth
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    In a previous property I had laminate wood flooring so there was a small extra part attached to the skirting to cover up the gap for expansion - behind this and partially in the expansion gap there was plent of room to get the wire in. Whilst 'getting to it' would not have been overly easy it would only be a few tack that needed to be pulled out but the one time I did want to pull it out I just attached string to one end and pulled the wire out from the other. When wanting to put the new wire in it was just attach the wire to the string and pull the string through and vola.

    I did consider putting flat cable under the laminate but was concerned that it would be much more difficult to get to than running it in a gap. All the bi-wire speaker I found wasnt ideal as it becomes very wide but running to sets of "normal" wire is exactly the same effect but is more flexible for fitting in a small gap. With my experience it has never been more expensive to get the 2 runs and in many cases cheaper.
     
  3. magrillz

    magrillz
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    Hi Chris,

    I have recently laid a wooden floor in our lounge and dining room and we ended up running the cables under parts of the floor where necessary and behind the skirting where possible. the cables then pop out from a cut out in the skirting and for the rears we channelled the cables into the walls. This was my only option (as far as I'm aware) and although I will have to leave behind the cables when I move the end result is worth it.

    Had to do the same with a 7m HDMI cable which wasn't cheap. My speaker cable is QED Silver Anni so it's not the most expensive cable I know but still gutted to have to leave it behind.

    I remeber with the HDMI my friend/carpenter had to cut a groove in the underside of the floor as the HDMI cable was too thick and the floor would have been un-even.

    I know this does'nt necessarily answer your exact questions but thought it might help.

    Cheers

    Mat
     
  4. chrisw

    chrisw
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    Cheers for your responses. I think my major concern is spending either too much time and money trying to do this, or, more likely, screwing up bits of my house to try and hide a few cables...

    If only the quality of wireless speakers was better :)
     
  5. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    Argos is selling flat speaker cable off cheap as end of lines.

    Hitachi 10m Flat Speaker Cable.
    Was £14.99 Cat. No. 5343652

    £ 9.98


    Suitable for use with all types of domestic speakers.

    Oxygen free copper wire for superior sound reproduction.

    Can be laid under carpet.

    Cable supplied with bare ends and adhesive strips.



    Please note this is a clearance line and stocks are strictly limited.


     
  6. corvettez06

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    My friend has wood floor in his main theater room and behind the couch he has the two rear speakers. So he's got this island with the two rear speakers out in the middle of the floor. To get around laying wire places, they drilled a hole where the couch was and ran the speaker wire thru it and under the house to where the TV and receiver was and then drilled a hole underneath the TV cabinet and ran the speaker cable up and out. It works good if you never move your couch/listening position or speakers.

    As for speaker wire, I'd get non-RadioShack labeled speaker wire made by Monster Cable, Audioquest, or Acoustic Research. There are others too that would work good. I mention these because these work out better than RadioShack (which is the same as electrical cord). Hope this helps out, it would help out the sounding of your speakers.
     
  7. guli

    guli
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    what's wrong with electical cord? Electrical cord as speakers cable are superb!

    Alex
     
  8. corvettez06

    corvettez06
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    Well, there are good things and bad things about electrical cord:

    The good: huge 14 gauge copper cable! With lots of rubber on the outside! Meant to hold lots of energy and you'd probably never have to worry about putting any amount of energy thru it until it reaches something like 2000 watts.

    The bad: that cable is designed to hold electricity, not to hold high quality audio. If you think about it, electricity is just there so the quality of it isn't that important to most people. Audio is one of the biggest things that people demand high quality from. So just because it's big and thick doesn't mean that it's the highest quality stuff out there.

    Depending on your system, would make a difference which speaker cable you use. I'd say basic receivers or all in one units that are using low current, high voltage (Panasonic, Technics, Sony, etc...) this would work ok. The higher up in quality of your speakers and receiver/amp I would recommend better quality speaker wire. My uncle has a Krell amp and Martin Logan speakers and so he uses 275 dollars per foot speaker wire made by Audioquest. I'm not saying you have to spend tons of money on speaker wire but if you can, get the best speaker cable you can afford for your system depending on your overall system quality. I will soon be getting a Denon receiver which will cost about 700 dollars and I have speakers totalling 1050 dollars and I think my Monster XP-CI wire will work well. It cost 80 dollars for a 100 foot roll of it. 80 cents per foot! And it's CL3 rated to go into walls (extra shielding) and is oxygen-free copper. Audioquest makes the same stuff but it's 60 cents per foot and performs just as good or better. I'd recommend getting something better than the cheap stuff for any system unless the system came with speaker cable to use. It does make a difference, it makes your system sound very clean.

    Hehe that's a huge paragraph but I hope you understand what I'm talking about. I don't know what system the guy who started this is running but I would get speaker cable accordingly. As to why not RadioShack: RadioShack advertises they have high quality copper cables that would compete with Monster's except one thing, they just repackage the electrical cable with a cool see thru rubber coating and charge inbetween electrical and Monster's stuff. So if you want to go RadioShack, you might as well just buy the electrical.

    Hope that helps you out a bit. I'm not totally against the electrical speaker wire ideal but I think once you have some of the high quality equipement, you should have higher quality speaker wire.

    Ryan
     
  9. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    I understand perfectly...... you are a prime candidate for snake oil salesmen !

    You don't put sound down a cable, you put electrical signals. The only difference between thick cable and thin cable is in the resistance, and this varies by so little that you won't even notice. If you were to pump a continuous 100W of audio into an 8 ohm speaker, the maximum current in the cable would be just under 4 Amps, and the voltage across the speaker would be just over 28 volts. Given the generous safety margins given to cables, 5A electrical flex is more than adequate for an amplifier of 100 to 200 W per channel. The reason it appears to sound better is because your brain is telling you that it must, because you have spent a lot of money on it.
     
  10. ian494

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    Chris

    B&Q do a self adhesive electrical conduit that you can stick to your skirting board. Costs about £4 for a 2 metre strip. Not as pretty as a hinged skirting board but a damn sight cheaper!!

    I have used it in my set up as I have a ceramic tiled floor and SWMBO did not want cables everywhere.

    Ian
     
  11. chrisw

    chrisw
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    Thanks Ian,

    I'm off to B&Q tonight anyway :-( so will have a look for some.
     
  12. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Chris I would use two runs of non-biwire QED Micro (£1.75 p.m). While there is a flat biwire version available it is much easier to thread single runs into tight places, and the QED micro in particular is a very stiff wire so is very easy to "stitch" behind walls/ceilings etc. I would then take care to remove the thin strips of wood covering the expansion gap between floor and skirt, push the cables through there, and then pin back on the gap covers.

    To be honest I'm not the biggest QED fan having used it and recommended it for years then finally doing a shoot out with other brands and discovering it actually delivered (to my ears) a relatively "hard" sound which I did not like. Comparitively priced Black Rhodium cables are now my favorite. However, they are solid core wire but quite "floppy" when it comes to tight stitching with them, so quite a pain in the backside to install with in situations like this.
     
  13. guli

    guli
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    Hi Ryan,

    I'll bite.

    That is such a huge pile of BS - please don't diss the power cord until you've tried it. B&Q have some Twins and earth cheap that you can buy - check the threads on this very forum too about T&E cable.


    You mentioned high quality audio going down the speaker cable. What is it? It is an electrical signal down a wire!!!!! In other words - current!

    The purpose of a cable is to transmit an electrical signal from end to end cleanly. What determines how cleanly it can transmit the signal? Cable shielding, RLC characteristics. Low R (thick) and low L makes cables such as cat5 and t&e an ideal choice.

    Therefore, in summary, cat5, t&e are cheap good options due to the inherent designs. Always remember this - a high quality audio signal is in the form of current. :D :D

    Alex
     
  14. chrisw

    chrisw
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    Liam, thanks for the recommendation,

    can you recommend where to get the cable you suggested? I'm sure there's tons of it on the web, but rather than wading through loads of sites trying to find it can you think of anywhere (preferably online) to get it?
     
  15. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    Haven't a clue! I'm sure a Google search will bring something up from the usual suspects.
     
  16. baldrick

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    Sadly Ryan can't go down to B & Q as he lives in America!!! This is most obvious from his info to the left of his posts but to the 'informed' reader because he said that they got 'under the house', he mentions $ per foot pricing for cable, he references to Radio Shack, and said "it works good"!!!!

    The minute I read 'works good' I had a good inclination, can you guess who used to be engaged to an American!?!?!?! ;)

    I've just posted about this (power cable): http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=238589 so if any one reading this wants to add their 2p worth then feel free?
     
  17. corvettez06

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    Thanks for your comments... I'd still prefer to spend 50-80 dollars on speaker cable in my surround sound setup like I did. It looks good (very cool and twisted with colors) and has a well known brand that people recognize (Monster Cable).

    Yes, I am an American and yes my grammar isn't perfect and I don't know what B&Q means unless it means Bar-B-Que? :D

    Good luck with your quest for forever more controversial topic of speaker wire/cable :thumbsup:

    Cheers! :thumbsup:
     
  18. baldrick

    baldrick
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    B & Q is like Loewes or Home Depot...

    You should have a search around on here for Cat 5 speaker cable because that looks pretty cool if you make it well!!!
     
  19. corvettez06

    corvettez06
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    What is strange is while I was searching for Cat 5 speaker wire to see what it was, I came across this on the same page as a guy teaching you about Cat 5 stuff:
    Electrical cord has oxygen in it. Most Monster Cable and Audioquest and all the good brands do not. Any comments on copper oxide?

    Ryan
     
  20. baldrick

    baldrick
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    I personally haven't tried the home-brew approach yet. I think that a lot of the guys on here have reached their conclusions from actually buying some cable (cat 5 of electrical), making cables and comparing the sound quality to the one they got from their 'high quality' cable!!

    Cat 5 is used because of that fact that cat 5 is a standard of cable. For a cable to be called cat 5 it must meet a certain set of requirements and these make it suitable for carrying post-amp audio signals.

    I suppose at the end of the day you've got nothing to loose by going to Home Depot, buying some heavy guage cable and trying it in your system. In fact you've got nothing to loose (a couple of dollars) and everything to gain ($80 when it comes to replacing cable) if it works.

    Look at it another way, the 'science' of car design pretty much proves that a car with the engine mounted completely behind the rear axle should not work (appalling handling etc...). The Porsche 911 has, for the last 40 years, proved that it does work. In fact the 911 works so well that they consistently get rated as one of the best cars on the road....
     
  21. corvettez06

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    Strange example using a car. lol :rotfl:

    I got an idea, let's all a) use what we currently have, b) our choise what to get when it comes time to replace it, c) help people in NEED of cable d) not argue to people that already have the cable.

    :lease:

    Ryan
     
  22. guli

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    Hi Ryan,

    I am an expert in copper sputtering, that's my main area of research for my thesis. This is what I can tell you for certain:

    Pure sputtered copper oxides almost immediately with exposure to air, forming copper oxide, but the formed copper oxide itself will make the oxidation stop, forming it as a passivation layer. The layer of copper oxide on any sheet copper will be in the range of submicrons.

    Electrical signals travel in the conductor core, and any layer of copper oxide is insignificant.

    I will say for certain that all copper exposed to air will have a thin film of copper oxide on it, exoteric speaker cables, or electrical cord. Monster and Audioquest cables that have copper in them do not escape the law of physics.

    Now, gold is another story - especially pure gold :D Guess what the IC (integrated circuit) industry use for interconnects?

    Alex
     
  23. corvettez06

    corvettez06
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    Okay you win. I already bought my cable so let's prevent other people from making a mistake.
     

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