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#410233 - 02/14/15 01:57 PM Building the AV Sound room
MatManhasgone Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/06/14
Posts: 1030
Loc: Lost in the great wide yonder
If I listen to my wife and get all the other things done around the house first, then I will probably be old and deaf before I get around to building my AV Sound Room. So F&#! it, I am starting it now so I can get some enjoyment out of it.

I have carved out a small section of my basement that will be mine. I have about 17' x 15' with 8.5' ceilings. I have been working in my mind on how to get it done for quite some time and slowly slipping in a piece of equipment here and there hopefully under the radar.. (but she clearly knows about the speakers).

in my past house, I had a large 60" RPTV and located the AV receiver overtop of it. Sound wise it was ok but the level of speakers that I was using clearly were no where near what I have today. In order to minimize the backlash, I have learnt from that experience that all cables and connectors need to be hidden or else SWMBO gets very loud. The flip side to this is that once inside the walls it's very hard to change/upgrade to the next prevailing standard. That might not be a big thing if nothing ever broke or became so obsolete to be impractical to still use.

(Remembering back to the days of SVHS replaced by component made totally obsolete by HDMI 1.0 -- now we are at 2.0 and who knows if we will suddenly switch over to DisplayPort for 8k TV's)

So one of my design criteria was to make this setup upgradable to the new standards that I see myself buying into. To facilitate this, I thought it best to run some form of conduit around the outside of the room to pull wires through. The most cost effective one was pvc central vac tubing. Low cost and easy to get parts for.



In the corner of the room there is my electrical panel that will need to be boxed off. I thought it would be also a great place to terminate all my networking cabled as well and just get everything into a single panel area.

Now after thinking about it some more, trying to run all my speaker cables though there as well as the HDMI, toslink, and a pair of RCA there is not going to be any room left in side the conduit. Right now I don't have a replacement TV for this room. My initial thought was to bring back my big RPTV that is on loan to my parents (more that it's a bugger to move and it never made it from my new house).

For speakers, I have the LFR1100, so there are essentially 6 pairs of wire for them, + 2 pairs center. Now would you run an extra 4 pairs to cover the 11.x spec to add in optional Height and Wide front speakers??

For the rears, I have some QS8 for the two side walls and some small directional energy CS mini speakers (4) that I had for surround sound in the last house. My current receiver has support for 7.1 so I will probably hook them up. But do I run spare cable runs to the back to cover optional high + ear level rear surrounds and a couple more for a center rear channel? Running wire now it very cheep compared to trying to fish it after the walls have gone up.

Then there is the side of cable lengths. if you believe the snake oil side of speaker wires (BTW I am pulling 12 gauge) you should have all the speaker pairs with equal lenghts of wire. So if it takes 15' of wire to get to the left front speaker from your amp, then the right front speaker should also have 15' of wire even if the run only needs 8'. This gets compoundly difficult when pulling spare sets and with speakers like the LFR's that have 2 pairs each and could take bi-wiring if you wanted to.

Then I put the question of would the speaker wires really need to be in a conduit at all as if I pull a spare set of wires, then you have some fault tolerance or ability for speaker upgrades if new tech requires more lines.

I know that my AV room is never going to get to the level that most of the posters here seem to build to. I simply don't have the cashflow to fund that level.. but good idea's are always welcome.



Edited by oakvillematt (02/14/15 02:02 PM)
_________________________
Anthem: AVM60
Axiom: ADA1000, LFR1100, VP180, QS8, EP500, M3, M3comp
AudioSource: Amp One/A

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#410236 - 02/14/15 03:47 PM Re: Building the AV Sound room [Re: MatManhasgone]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6147
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Having equal length speaker wires is a bit too snake-oily for me.

Anyways, here's one argument for conduit:

When my house was being built I made quick random guesses at where the speakers and electronics would end up, and had the electrician pull wires and install outlet boxes in all the appropriate locations. That went fine.

Then a different crew was finishing the wood floor (2x6 T&G on beams) and in the process the amplifier ends of the speaker wires all got caught in the floor polisher, whereupon they were variously pulled out of the wall, stretched, snapped or just friction-burned. I could have raised a stink but by then I had already decided that I wanted the electronics in a different location so wouldn't be using the wires anyways.

If I had used conduit I could have probably fished a new string through and pulled replacement wires. Spare wires probably wouldn't have helped although I guess there was a non-zero chance that only one wire per pair would have been done in by the polisher.

On the other hand even conduit wouldn't have helped after I decided to move the electronics, so give electronics positioning some careful thought and remember that an IR extender (which I didn't know existed during the initial design) can make a out-of-the-way locations become usable.

Don't forget to wire for Atmos smile
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#410237 - 02/14/15 03:50 PM Re: Building the AV Sound room [Re: MatManhasgone]
Serenity_then Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 1572
Loc: PEI, Canada
Cable lengths matching does not matter on a house scale. On a 12AWG wire you are in great shape. Volt drop will not be an issue. As for snake oil theory, belden measures wave propogation in cables with reference to the speed of light. Really fast stuff. Properly sized, 15ft vs 100ft of spkr cable doesnt matter at all.

When I throw the main switch in a massive warehouse all the lights strike at the exact same time. smile Electron flow is virtually instantaneous.

In my room I ran 2 conduit to ensure flixibility for later. Exact same 2" vac line. Great stuff and cheap. Welcome to the madness that is building an AV space. laugh
_________________________
Trevor. Cold turkey. Thanks guys. Cheers.

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#410240 - 02/14/15 08:46 PM Re: Building the AV Sound room [Re: MatManhasgone]
MatManhasgone Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/06/14
Posts: 1030
Loc: Lost in the great wide yonder
The size of the room pretty much dictates what can be put where. The only parts that actually have any chance of moving around is if/when I buy some real subs for the room.

The cost of running the pcv is minimal, but you need to figure out what makes sense. When it comes to the ATMOS thing.. I don't know if this is really a tech that I want to consider. There is no way right now that I can look into putting speakers in the ceiling, and considering that is the point that sounds reaches the upstairs rooms. Through the walls makes no real difference for me as I am in the basement.

My thought was to no even bother putting in pot lights, but rather going with a solid double layer gyprock ceiling with no holes in it, and instead for lighting going with that flex strip LED lighting that runs on 12V and have it wrap around the outside of the room perimeter. That will light up the ceiling space to give even light cast across the room without any holes for sound to travel up.

Now if I did ever get into ATMOS or more likely what DTS develops, I will have 4 channels of speaker wire running for the hight speakers already, and it's just a case of mounting something like the wall mount M2's or M3's and surface mount them to the ceiling. Then you can put the wire for them surface mount in those neat plastic tracks from the front and back wall connectors.

I was planning on having some form of ceiling sound treatment anyways so the speakers could blend in with those.

The really hard part of trying to fit actual speakers into the ceiling is knowing what is where behind the plaster. Short of a good map and measurements along with some digital photographs it's good luck for something in the future. In short unless you are installing them now when it's going up, then it's just not likely to happen. I have a 100 amp line through one side of the ceiling, and 2 natural gas lines that need to be worried about. Then there is all the whole house worth of electrical cables in a scattered array. Surface mount gives you easy access to place speakers just about anywhere. With a double layer you can use a few of those ez-ancor drywall screws and have more than enough strength to hold those speakers.
_________________________
Anthem: AVM60
Axiom: ADA1000, LFR1100, VP180, QS8, EP500, M3, M3comp
AudioSource: Amp One/A

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#410241 - 02/14/15 09:46 PM Re: Building the AV Sound room [Re: MatManhasgone]
Serenity_then Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 1572
Loc: PEI, Canada
You can add wall sconces to add room light coverage. Toggle bolts are stronger than easy anchors for on ceiling mounting. Its pretty daunting at first. Once you break it down and take it step by step its not too bad. Step by step is easier to budget for and still have a life too. smile
_________________________
Trevor. Cold turkey. Thanks guys. Cheers.

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#410245 - 02/15/15 12:34 PM Re: Building the AV Sound room [Re: MatManhasgone]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6147
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Sounds like a good plan... and you've pretty much talked me out of suggesting you run conduit.

Are you thinking about wall plates with banana jacks or actually running the wires out a hole to your speakers ? After thinking about it a bit it's the "wires hanging out of the wall" part I don't like, since that's what makes them vulnerable to damage and puts you in a situation where you might want longer wires later.
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#410251 - 02/15/15 03:20 PM Re: Building the AV Sound room [Re: bridgman]
MatManhasgone Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/06/14
Posts: 1030
Loc: Lost in the great wide yonder
I am in the stuck side to that part. Go with banana plugs or not.

From a clean line look side of things, it makes a lot more sense to have a plate and then you can move the speaker around however much you like and all you need is to adjust the leads to the plate on the wall. Want to clean up around a speaker.. you can unplug it from the wall and move it away with no chance of damaging what is inside the wall.

On the flip side to that... again, who knows if this is just selling snake oil, but every connector that you add into the mix is your slight loss of signal or introduction of noise. The question comes to play is how much?

On the receiver/amp end.. if I have run a whole whack of extra cables out to the different parts of the room, sure is much nicer to have a collection of corresponding face plates grouped into the array of matching speaker plates at the other end. So you know that this group of 8 plugs are your surround speakers, and this other set are reserved for your ATMOS. You only need to plug in a patch between the wall and the amp for the speakers that you are driving. Makes it more neat and tidy.

The down side to the face plate for everything comes when you have a whole whack of wires. On a single decora plate you can fit 8 plugs (4 speakers).

So for my setup, the front L&R takes up 2 spots.
C + spare + front L&R ATMOS 1 spot
Sur L & R + 2 rear C 1 spot
Rear Sur L&R + rear L&R ATMOS 1 spot

So I have in total 5 sets. They make a 4 gang plate, but I have not seen a 5. So then you have to figure out how your are going to break them up into a 2 and 3 group. You want them to look logical.
_________________________
Anthem: AVM60
Axiom: ADA1000, LFR1100, VP180, QS8, EP500, M3, M3comp
AudioSource: Amp One/A

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#410253 - 02/15/15 04:19 PM Re: Building the AV Sound room [Re: MatManhasgone]
Serenity_then Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 1572
Loc: PEI, Canada
Why not just use a 5.1 or 7.1 wallplate that mounts to a 2 gang device box? Then add a blank plate with keystones you can configure however you like. They use them for data jacks but you can get coaxial and speaker keystones just as well at HD or lowes.

For more room you can use a deep 4x4 with a 2 gang plaster ring. Done it lots before and works great.

As for bananas vs bare wire affecting audio, I have used bananas ever since I got "serious" about audio and they are an added cost for sure. If you get the kind with a locking tip and a set screw on the wire connector, and use anti-ox on the wire to connector joint, you will have a zero maintenence, trouble free connection until the archaeologists exhume your system 1000 years from now. laugh Bananas make terminations on the back of crowded AVRs a breeze! Totally recommend. As for SQ affected: totally bogus.

I use the sewell brand plugs. They are clones of the high end ones and are an awesome value.
_________________________
Trevor. Cold turkey. Thanks guys. Cheers.

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#410259 - 02/15/15 08:29 PM Re: Building the AV Sound room [Re: Serenity_then]
MatManhasgone Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/06/14
Posts: 1030
Loc: Lost in the great wide yonder
Originally Posted By: Serenity_Now
Why not just use a 5.1 or 7.1 wallplate that mounts to a 2 gang device box? Then add a blank plate with keystones you can configure however you like. They use them for data jacks but you can get coaxial and speaker keystones just as well at HD or lowes.


My mistake, I actually have 5 pairs on a single plate.. Thanks monoprice


So I am pretty good for that part. I have to make sure of how many of these plates that I have ordered. I also do have the keystone ones with 2 and 4 openings to cover me. For the front speakers, I need to decide if I am running 3 or 4 pairs, so I can either a 6 plate keystone or one of these 8 plate too.
_________________________
Anthem: AVM60
Axiom: ADA1000, LFR1100, VP180, QS8, EP500, M3, M3comp
AudioSource: Amp One/A

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#410263 - 02/16/15 11:06 AM Re: Building the AV Sound room [Re: MatManhasgone]
chesseroo Offline
axiomite

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 5197
Loc: western canada
Originally Posted By: oakvillematt

On the flip side to that... again, who knows if this is just selling snake oil, but every connector that you add into the mix is your slight loss of signal or introduction of noise.

You're first inclination is correct.
This is marketing bunk used to sell more expensive wire that allegedly removes such unproven problems.
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"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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