Speaker wire

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Customer wants us to wire for surround sound. what is the standard type wire for roughing in for speakers?
speaker wire? :)

really it can be any kind of wire you want to use. there is nothing about speakers that requires any special wiring.

there are practical considerations though. for instance, if you decided to use THHN it would work fine but to do it in a code legal way might be harder than if you just bought speaker cable.

there is also the issue of connecting it up. you can buy speaker cable that has banana plugs factory connected if that is how your stuff hooks up. much easier if you do not have to add the plugs yourself.

I think these are going to be class 2 circuits.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
really it can be any kind of wire you want to use.

Except the NEC requires it to be listed to be able to run in walls and ceilings. Usually it would be CL2 listed, printed on the jacket.

Many cables sold as speaker wire as well as zip cord, etc. is not allowed to be used to wire buildings. It's not listed for the purppose.

-Hal
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Except the NEC requires it to be listed to be able to run in walls and ceilings. Usually it would be CL2 listed, printed on the jacket.

Many cables sold as speaker wire as well as zip cord, etc. is not allowed to be used to wire buildings. It's not listed for the purppose.

-Hal
I did mention practical considerations in doing it in a code legal way. Pretty sure I also mentioned the class 2 issue.

But if you could figure out how to do it code legal there is nothing preventing you from using nm.

As for being listed for the purpose I don't recall there are any cables listed as speaker wire. You would normally just use a class 2 cable of some sort.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Crutchfield has listed cable for in wall installation for speaker and sound systems. Rated to CL3. Has many varieties available. Also has other components for installation.

AudioQuest SLiP-DB 14/4 In-wall Speaker Cable​

I like this part of the description of this cable.

  • directional arrows on jacket tell you which way the signal should flow for the best sound
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
I like this part of the description of this cable.

  • directional arrows on jacket tell you which way the signal should flow for the best sound
First you made me laugh. I wonder though if the twisted pairing could influence the ability of conductance in a way to be "interpreted" as "signal flow" restriction?
 

SceneryDriver

Senior Member
Location
NJ
Occupation
Electrical and Automation Designer
I like this part of the description of this cable.

  • directional arrows on jacket tell you which way the signal should flow for the best sound
Or, if you don't want to get ripped off, this stuff works just as well though it doesn't have the fancy directional arrows:




SceneryDriver
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
I was going to suggestion Monoprice as well. I used them for my home theater and they seem to have the lowest price.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I usually use jacketed cable from HD for speakers and LED lighting, available in different gauges and 2 or 4 wires:

1626906774715.png

Another source for speaker wire, especially outdoors, is landscape-lighting wire, relatively cheap for the sizes.
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
Wire size is important, too.

I wire for whole house sound (Sonos systems) sometimes, and the lengths get pretty long.

Last house was approx 75 feet to Master Bed, 65 feet to Master Bath, 75 feet to den, 50 feet to living room and kitchen, 35 feet in basement.

I use 12ga for those long runs, 14ga for everything else. I've never sized according to any charts, but I found this one. It looks about right
 

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GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Placerville, CA, USA
Occupation
Retired PV System Designer
I usually use jacketed cable from HD for speakers and LED lighting, available in different gauges and 2 or 4 wires:

View attachment 2557278

Another source for speaker wire, especially outdoors, is landscape-lighting wire, relatively cheap for the sizes.
I assume there is a CL2 or other marking somewhere, even if it does not appear on the label?
 

retirede

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
Wire size is important, too.

I wire for whole house sound (Sonos systems) sometimes, and the lengths get pretty long.

Last house was approx 75 feet to Master Bed, 65 feet to Master Bath, 75 feet to den, 50 feet to living room and kitchen, 35 feet in basement.

I use 12ga for those long runs, 14ga for everything else. I've never sized according to any charts, but I found this one. It looks about right

That chart doesn’t take power into account. For a very high power application, those sizes may be inadequate.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
In my home theater, I have a 300w/ch on my main speakers, bi-wired, and 200w/ch on the other five. I use 12g. for everything.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
That's a lot of sound
WHAT?!
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Yes, it is. Plus, my main speakers have 15" powered subs at 300w/ch, for a total of 2200 watts cont.

I built the stack in the wall, and supplied it with an 8-circuit 50a sub-panel. Room lights on and off:

1626928602296.png 1626928633683.png
 
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