Speaker cable install nightmare!

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by jslater, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. jslater

    jslater
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    Hi All,

    Today was supposed to be a happy day ;) The builders finally finished the cinema room in the loft and, whilst I was busy cleaning the speaker cables from all the paint and dust, I discovered this horror show hidden behind the brush plate.

    To say I'm distraught right now is an understandment... Having been charged a substantial amount for them to channel the cables behind the wall and to then find this mess (which they failed to tell me about) cobbled together with 5p electrical connector strips beggars belief. It looks to me they've slipped with an electical device as some have only 1 side of the cable cut.

    So, I know that splicing a speaker cable is a serious compromise at best, but does any one have any good recommendations at to what to do here, or if there's even a decent enough solution to extend? How much of a compromise is it going to be with the sound - connections being QED anniversary XT cable running to Kef R300 fronts, R300 backs, and ci130QR ceiling speaker?

    Worst case is they'll have to channel out the wall and lay new cables which is obviously going to be a very expensive option for them.

    Any advice gratefully received.

    Thanks.
     

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  2. xar

    xar
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    That's a disaster mate. Have you tried them to see if they actually work?
     
  3. MIKEVO

    MIKEVO
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    I would be seriously pee'd off if someone took advantage of me, by doing this bodge without my permission.
    In reality, the sound won't be affected, short term.
    Long term, the screws will become loose, hence, mains cables are not allowed to be sunk into walls in this manner, they have to be crimped for 17th edition regs.

    But that aside, this is your AV system with lots of current and low voltage and is actually more demanding than a mains installation.
    The contractor is blatantly taking advantage of their customer.
    Soldering and heat shrinking (properly with high quality solder and glue infused heatshrink) is probably the best remedial solution, if you had made the error yourself.

    Personally, I would get them back and change all cables with no joins and do all remedial work.

    Dont pay them and take them to small claims court if they don't comply.

    I am not surprised you are angry, I have a mate who is an electrical contractor and he would phone me for advice in these circumstances and there would be no joins allowed. 100%. :nono:
     
  4. adam-burnley

    adam-burnley
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    What a nightmare :thumbsdow

    Are the cables just chased in or fed through conduit (which might allow them to be pulled through and replaced)?

    I agree with the other posts, it should be the builders responsibility to make good.
     
  5. jslater

    jslater
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    Thanks guys, I guess (and knew this) you've confirmed my worst fears.

    Adam, re the conduit, they nailed it so tight to the wall, there's simply no leeway or a way to channel through other cables. Plus, I think two (certainly at least one) are for the ceiling speakers, which have been pinned down to the joists way behind the plasterboard. Only way would be to re-channel...

    In addition, I had my hi-fi cables (2x 6m Naim at £30/m) perfectly spaced out, as in the right amount of slack at both source and destination end. Came back after a weeks' holiday, and they'd pulled it all through so one side had 3m+ on the floor. So now I have imblalanced L/R cable lengths as there was no way to feed it back into the wall unless i want cable mess sprawled all over the floor.

    To add insult to injury, they charged me extra to lay all the cables, and not exactly cheap either. I simply should have done it myself as I know I would have taken the time and effort (not that it's exactly hard) to get it right.

    Agreed though, and thanks for all your thoughts - it's essentially the builder's responsibility to make good on a simply terrible install.
     
  6. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Not a cable I would choose to 'install' - and definitely not an ideal installation if you prescribe to QED's specifications/marketing.

    I guess it'll come down to what guidance was provided to the builders - it looks like they have 'done what they usually do'.

    Hopefully you can come to an agreeable fix.

    Joe
     
  7. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    Did you give the builders ‘exact and clear’ instruction on how they should deal, lay, handle, fix or otherwise how they should handle the cable/s if they should come into contact with them in any way whatsoever ?

    I gave mine precise and clear instruction and told them in no uncertain terms that it would cost them extra money if they didn’t do exactly what I asked.

    I know what’s right, they don’t, unless clearly told.
     
  8. jamieu

    jamieu
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    I'd be pissed off too, but honestly take MIKEVO's advice, solder and heat shrink them (with high quality solder and glue infused heatshrink), feed them back into the wall and forget about them. Not wanting to start a 'speaker cable thread' but honestly, laws of physics, you're not going to notice any audible difference between a joined and unjoined cable once it's hidden away and you've forgotten it's there.

    The terminal blocks will be fine too, but there is a chance of them coming lose or oxidising longer term, so probably best to solder and heat shrink.

    Unless it's a high end custom installer, in which case they should know better and you have every right to ask them to redo the job. I would probably see if I could get the builders to acknowledge their mistake—it may be that they genuinely don't see it as a mistake—and knock some money off the bill, you'll probably have more immediate luck there.

    But don't stay up at night fretting about it, sonically it won't make a damm bit of difference.

    But yeah, I know what it feels like to come home and find builders have irreversible messed up installing something you have very carefully and specifically chosen, in the short term it really niggles even if long term it makes no real difference. So I do feel your pain/annoyance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  9. John7

    John7
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    That is silver cable and will oxidise quickly. I would not be happy with screw type cable connectors. Ideally, I wouldn’t want any joins in them. They should be soldered/sleeved up as a minimum IMHO.

    Also, you appear to have some missing insulation and should repair this in case of short circuits.

    Personally I’d want them replaced with new - it’s not cheap cable.
     
  10. Seriously Ltd

    Seriously Ltd
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    This is why we run all of our cables when working with main contractors on site.

    It isn’t the end of the world. As has been said the cables can be soldered and heat shrink wrapped. Audio quality will not be affected in anyway. Don’t worry about the uneven lengths either as it won’t make any difference.

    If cable is being run in wall it needs to be LSZH and comply with CPR regs which I don’t know if the QED cable complies with as it’s not designed for this use.

    [email protected]
     
  11. John7

    John7
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    AFAIK it is not a requirement to install LSZH wiring in a private dwelling. As it seems to be a loft conversion as well, presumably Building Control would be involved and sanctioned the wiring specification?
     
  12. citywalker

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    Looks like builders didn't know what they were doing - lack of instruction.
    If they were instructed or they claimed to be the professionals and know what they were doing, so no need more instructions.
    In this case I would claim money back, all of it for cable installation and some more for crappy work. And solder yourself those wires, you will be fine.
    If they are not happy about it, then tell them, that other option is rebuild everything for free + new cables.
     
  13. Seriously Ltd

    Seriously Ltd
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    CPR regulations also apply to domestic residential dwellings.
     
  14. URL

    URL
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    I would not worry, as has been said above, get them soldered and heath shrink sleeve over them and put it down to experience. You will never notice the difference. Dont leave the barrier strip in there.

    David
     
  15. MIKEVO

    MIKEVO
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  16. jslater

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    Hi All,

    Apols for the lack of detail the last couple of days, been a bit crazy here.

    So, the retailer I bought all the AV gear dropped everything off on wednesday and he reckoned he could fix with just proper joining with silver solder and heat shield over the top.

    Let the builder know that's the way I was going to go (as well as the obvious terse complaint) and, in fairness to him, he said he'd re-run all the cables that were broken and make good the walls.

    So, my quandry is should I now smash up the loft again (given that at least a couple of the cables are to ceiling speakers) and run the risk of an imperfect plaster finish (the plasterer did an amazing job), or go the easy route and re-solder.

    Whilst I would obviously want perfection for the cables, I'm kind of thinking I'm going to compromise the finish of the whole loft and, given that I've not even heard it all set up before, would I truly noticed the difference of a joined cable Vs straight through?

    Bit of a quandry tbh, but I'm leaning towards joining due to additional mess + potentially messed up walls instead.

    Grateful for thoughts as always!

    Cheers.
     
  17. jslater

    jslater
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    As for the CPR regulations, was completely unaware of that, plus retailer I bought it off (well known one that sometimes posts here) never mentioned it.

    Too late now anyway as it's all behind plasterboard...
     
  18. jslater

    jslater
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    @citywalker they were very well instructed too. I was very specific about how I wanted the cables laid, and how much to leave as flex from the brush plates. I had to adjust & gudie them several times (even getting them to make sure the cables were running in the right direction). Basicaly he used his electrician to fit and, clearly, doesn't really know what he was doing when it comes to audio.
     
  19. MIKEVO

    MIKEVO
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    @jslater, Well, if you believe the X-Tube claims made by QED, which may or may not be hype, they will be affected by having soldered joins in the cable, so I would start again, with new cables at the correct continuous length.

    Possibly a bit harsh, but you spent a lot of money on cable. :(


    HIGH PERFORMANCE LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE DIELECTRIC

    Cuts down on the amount of audio signal energy lost due to cable capacitance

    X-TUBE™ TECHNOLOGY
    At low frequencies both X-TubeTM and conventional stranded/solid core speaker cables convey signals in a linear way. However, at high frequencies, X-TubeTMretains a near-linear signal transfer, whereas the conventional cable fails to conduct uniformly across the entire conductor area. The result is that X-TubeTM delivers greater fidelity across the audio spectrum which would other wise be lost in ordinary cables.
     
  20. jslater

    jslater
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    Thanks @mikeveo I guess the question is how much a a degradation would really come into play... yes, it won’t be perfect but if it’s only 1% ok. If it’s 50% then there’s no contest.
     
  21. jslater

    jslater
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    forgot to say, wired everything up today so will give it a test tomorrow. ofc, problem is i've got nothing to reference it against but at least I can figure out if it even works or sounds dreadful.
     
  22. 1crb1

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    I’m all for having everything 100% whenever I do anything. Some would say to ocd levels but that’s how I am.

    I would however go with option A and silver solder with airtight heat shrink over smashing all your wall up and like you say it probably won’t look the same.
    You will not hear the difference with this kind of repair if done correctly and all the Qed nonsense is just that.
    Relax and enjoy
     
  23. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Why, is this something you have read about or actually experienced ? A correctly spliced (or connected cable) shouldn't deteriorate the signal and you are not going to notice a difference in sound.

    Out of interest how are you terminating the normal end of each cable?

    Having said that I sympathise with your situation I certainly wouldn't want it. The OCD in me would wanted it ripped out and fixed. However then I would be worried that I would see the outlines of where the wires\conduit went if they didn't re-plaster the whole wall.

    As others have said my preference would be solder and heatshrink although looking at the QED website is the centre of the cable, described as polycore just a plastic insert? In which it makes the cable cheaper to produce as less copper and silver and might cause a melting issue in soldering the cable.

    Silver solder - good luck with that in that small space. You do realise the melting point of silver solder? It is somewhat higher than regular solder .... :thumbsup:

    So long as there is an electrical connection then it's going to sound fine. If you do happen to do something different then the will be a big placebo effect going on that you probably think it sounds better :)

    I had some older Silver Anniversary cables I ran for a pair of speakers in a spare room. I introduced a custom speaker switch of my own creation into the loop. This has some connector blocks with similar electrical properties to the ones currently in your wall and I haven't noticed the difference yet :)
     
  24. 1crb1

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    I’m no electronics/soldering expert but I have a cheap gas iron and have soldered silver many times and I’ve not had any difficulties to be honest?
     
  25. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Are you sure it's silver? What did you use it for?

    Silver solder is harder to do, recommend use of flux etc.

    Silver itself melts at near 1000c and silver solder is north of 700c.

    Most electric irons will top out at 400c , cheap gas irons will get to 600c. Some ones will go significantly hotter but you would buy one specifically.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  26. mb3195

    mb3195
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    Why bother even soldering? Just run a join and heatshrink over it.

    You won’t hear any difference. Think about it, how do you connect your speakers to the cable or your av receiver to the cable? You just run a bare cable to terminals.

    I’ve extended cables this way before, never have I noticed any difference in sound quality.
     
  27. ChuckMountain

    ChuckMountain
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    Two reasons, soldering is an air tight connection and prevents further oxidation.

    It's also a mechanical fixing which will prevent movement over time, heatshrink alone will not give the same mechanical protection.
     
  28. Trollslayer

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    Agreed, solder and sleeving.
    For small amounts of soldering I still use 60/40 lead/tin.
     
  29. jslater

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    Well after getting everything working today and much deliberation, I'm going to go with the solder route. Will see what arrangement I can make with the builder for some sort of refund, especially since I'm going to be saving him a fortune in rebuild costs and additional cable.

    Just couldn't go through them running new channels and seeing that imperfection show up instead.

    Thanks for all the guidance, it's been really very useful to solicit all your collective expertise.
     
  30. derekhansen

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    As the solder and heat sink solution will give you unaffected audio performance I would definitely avoid cutting out the walls for re-cabling. Making good the wall afterwards runs the risk of a far from perfect wall finish. It can be done but it’s quite a skill to get a result that cannot be seen.
     

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