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Mike_Avant130TDI

New House - HiFi

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in 2 months my new house is built and i was looking into getting some speakers for the walls / ceilings and connecting to a central point (sky?). Has anyone else done this or can you recommend some websites as the plasterboard goes up next week and i'll like to get the cables fitted

Cheers

Mike

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See here [b&W] for a range of good in-ceiling and in-wall speakers.

For cabling, I'd recommend QED Silver Anniversary. It's a reasonable price (good if you are running long lengths) and very good quality. I'd suggest running two pairs to each speaker so you can biwire if necessary/desired. Easier to do up-front than at a later date.

If you are going to have home-cinema speakers dotted around the floor, you may want to consider wall outlets with std 4mm speaker sockets routed to a central distribution point behind where the TV/Home Cinema amp. will be sited. I did this and put the sockets at the same level as mains sockets on the wall. Looks very neat and saves having trailing cables everywhere. You can get speaker sockets from here [hiddenspeakers], and they also appear to have a good range of other stuff too which might be right up your street. I used the QED WM11 sockets.

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Do you want the whole house done or just the one room?

Some folks on here gave me some good advice and forums to search, I will see if I can find the links for you, but basically if you are going for the whole house then it can get quite complicated as you need control cables and stuff as well.

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With regards to fitting speaker cables to approximate speaker locations can be expensive especially if ur using stuff that costs around £4/metre.

I suggest u use CAT 5 cable with 4 pairs twisted together. i read some extensive reasearch crap on the net somewhere and they swore that it was just as good as OFC and if not better. Im using it right now and it is good stuff.

beerchug.gif

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The important thing is not which cable or component is best or better, but rather achieving a synergy of the different components your system is made up of. That includes cables. It may be that with one set of cables a system would be too bright, whereas another would tame it etc...

If you are starting from scratch, you would do well to select your primary source, then amp, then speakers and THEN interconnects/speaker cables. You really need to audition the entire combo as one.

Thats not to say that compatibility is a major problem, but that you could find yourself in the somewhat silly situation of choosing a major component to suit the cables when it should be the other way around.

One question is whether you are wallpapering or painting the walls? If wallpapering then look at the Nordost cables, because they are about 0.5mm thick (15-20mm wide)and a narrow 'slice' in the wall is enough to insert them and then wallpaper over without noticing. This way you could easily remove them at a later date, or replace them if a problem developed.

Most pundits seem to suggest you should budget around 10% of your system for cabling, so a £1000 Cd player gets £100 interconnects and assuming the amp+speakers to go with such would be £1000 each, £200 on speaker cables. You may find cheaper 'alternative' cabling like CAT5 which would be suitable instead of some cables, but will never match the top end stuff and may not suit your system anyway.

I would try to keep the runs as short as humanly possible - super long cables can make the very best systems sound mediocre.

Hope some of that helps - the main thing is AUDITION, AUDITION, AUDITION - ideally in your own home.

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Whatever you do don't use CAT cable for speaker signals. It cannot carry the current needed for low frequencies. I'm afraid too much fuss is made of cables. In my "previous life" I spent 20 years as an electronics engineer and the last 10 designing sound systems for clubs, bars and hotels. Personally if I was in your position, I would run 2.5mm twin and earth to the positions you want. Connectors at each end should be soldered or firmly screwed together to prevent loss.

My argument is T&E is perfectly good for bass (it normally carries 50Hz mains around the house) and is rated at 24 amps. This is suitable for a 2,000 watt amp feeding a 4 ohmm bass speaker! For rear home cinema speakers, 1mm T&E is more than adequate.

Next alternative is to use a flexible cable and leave tails from the walls in the positions you expect to put your speakers. This has the advantage of minimising connections. What I would not do is waste money on esoteric cables, especially speaker cable, and especially for long lengths buried in the wall.

The important thing is not which cable or component is best or better, but rather achieving a synergy of the different components your system is made up of. That includes cables. It may be that with one set of cables a system would be too bright, whereas another would tame it etc.

I'm sorry but a lot of this sort of stuff is just bullshit promoted by the magazines to support their advertiser mates who sell copper wire that cost pennies for mega money.

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With all due respect, the systems found in clubs, pubs & hotels could never in any way be considered audiophile quality and have very different demands to that which you would have at home.

Yes mains cable is better speaker cable than the bellwire that often comes with midi systems, but would only be suitable for budget systems at best. It would probably be fine for a sub-woofer when the main requirement is larger currents, rather than detail, distortion and harminics perhaps, and maybe acceptable for rear speakers in a cinema setup which dont carry the main signal.

And about my statement being bullshit or not, I seem to be the only one here suggesting he actually listen and use his own ears to judge. If you were more open minded and did that you might realise that the magazines have a point. Fair enough if you cant hear a difference dont spend the extra money, but on a good system you WILL hear a difference.

Granted I am a bit of a purist/perfectionist with my own system - compromising my 'home cinema' in order to not compromise the music listening of my system by having an AV amp or more than 2 speakers, and still preferring Vinyl when possible.

You really cannot base any audio buying decision on others experiences - you need to listen for yourself.

Please dont take this as an attack, but I find your attitude of (I am right, the whole world is wrong) to be very tiresome and all too common in the 'hifi' world.

Feel free to come and dispute what I say, just dont take offence. Whatever you reply I wont say any more on the matter because I desparately dont want a flame war in such a friendly forum.

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It's no problem having a healthy reasonable argument about a topic such as this. The internet and magazines are full of this exact argument aren't they?

Unfortunately Mike does not have the luxury of being able to audition equipment as I'm sure you'd agree the only place to hear what it will truly sound like is in the room all hooked up as it will be. As he doesn't have the house yet, any audition will have to be in a different place and room geometry and construction will have an infinitely greater effect on the sound than will the difference between twin and earth or "Oki Koki 2005" cable.

Good cable is important, I completely agree, but the definition of a good cable is for it to conduct efficiently at the required frequency range with little or no attenuation or colourisation (which can be caused by capacitance or inductance).

The systems we installed in clubs were audiophile quality using mostly JBL speakers and Crown etc amplifiers. Prior to designing clubs, I worked for Olympic Sound Studios and Trident Audio. Reproductive accuracy was extremely important in those environments and we often used mains electrical cable for the speaker runs.

Please dont take this as an attack, but I find your attitude of (I am right, the whole world is wrong) to be very tiresome and all too common in the 'hifi' world. Feel free to come and dispute what I say, just dont take offence. Whatever you reply I wont say any more on the matter because I desparately dont want a flame war in such a friendly forum.

I didn't call you a bullshitter nor do I say the whole world is wrong. The jury for the cable case is still out because the issue is not black and white, there are plenty of people who justify to themselves the "10% of budget on cables" and satisfy themselves they can hear the difference in the same way some justify spending £10k on a system rather than £2k because they believe they can hear the difference.

As you say, it is a very personal issue (else why would most of the forum drive £20k cars when a £2k one could perform just as well?) but I put across my opinion from a position of experience, not because I am anti stuff I read in the magazines.

Incidentally, a spin off from my industry days, I also wrote for trade publications. A friend is currently managing director of a large UK hi-fi brand and another writes articles for leading magazines. The jist of this is I see the commercial bias with which many brands are touted. Open an Arcam box and find not even a basic lead to get you started but a leaflet instead steering you to their favoured interconnect supplier.

I agree a complete difference between bell wire and cooker cable, but I am not a supporter of the "£25 a metre" view rather than hook up with a very low impedance, good quality, low capacitance, low inductance cable. If I was needing to spec it and get something in soon, in the absence of a side by side check, I'd stick ordinary electrical cable in the wall.

Please don't be shy about countering my view, we all have a pair of ears and that is what matters most. And I don't have twin and earth in my own set up as the cables need to lay along the floor, so I used some QED or similar stranded cable for flexibility. When I read the reviews such as "Fabulous little cable, insightful and INVOLVING." - What Hi-Fi Sound and Vision magazine, I can't help smiling to myself that people really believe that a cable can be insightful or involving.

Insightful - Showing or having insight; perceptive.

Involving - To contain as a part; include. To have as a necessary feature or consequence; To connect closely and often incriminatingly; implicate: To influence or affect: To occupy or engage the interest of: To make complex or intricate; complicate.

This is speaker cable we're talking about FFS! And by definition I wouldn't want my cable to be "involving", I'd want it pinned behind the wall keeping it's mouth shut. Who writes this stuff?? Oh, forgot, my mates on the magazine payroll do! Cynical, moi?

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Yeah, sorry - I guess we just feel passionate about our sounds...

Actually I dont disagree with much of what Colin says second time around - much more reasoned arguement. Still very cynical, but then obviously impressive experience so you have to acknowledge that. notworthy.gif

Agreed that if he cant audition the stuff and doesnt know what system he wants yet, he will just have to make a random choice, and as such is probably better off not committing too much money to it, but trying to find a happy medium. Is this just for ancilliary speakers, or the main ones too?

The only real problem I have is with your definition of good cable Colin:

[ QUOTE ]

the definition of a good cable is for it to conduct efficiently at the required frequency range with little or no attenuation or colourisation (which can be caused by capacitance or inductance).

[/ QUOTE ]

Trouble is that all cables are coloured arent they? And so is the hifi. Which is why they need to be matched so that they effectively cancel each other out or at least produce a colouration that you as a listener are happy with.

I have always had most of my cables either thrown in free or heavily discounted because the hifi shops often arent allowed to discount the kit much due to ongoing price control by the manufacturers. I actually use £300 worth of speaker cable, biwired - but only because when I was auditioning speakers it happenned to be the stuff they used for the demo, seemed well suited to my kit and persuaded them to throw the shop set in free as they knew me well. Tried some other sets breifly and this did sound much better than them, but didnt put too much effort into comparisons because I knew I liked the sound they produced as it is what sold the speakers to me. I probably wouldnt spend over £10 per metre otherwise, because I am sure I could have got something similar on that budget. After that you are into dimishing returns IMO.

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Changing the suject slightly. If you are building a new house and are talking about wiring, dont just think about the audio cables. Think about the whole house. Also whilst looking at Audio, do you want multiroom audio where you turn the stereo in the lounge and can hear it in other rooms in the house ?

Whilst I'm no expert on the Audio side, I do get involved in Video, Voice and Data for new homes. We also sell a lot of the video cable and connectors to the home integrators and hifi shops. There is an organisation called Cedia with lots of integrators that can help.

www.cedia.org.uk

My advice would be to flood wire your house and bring the Video, Voice (telephone) and Data cables (CAT5E) back to one central point. Then install a system shown in the link below. You can also integrate Audio into it (although its certainly not high end)

www.homenetworksciences.com

Worst case run the cable. Always there for the future. Cable is cheap.

250 meters CT100 for Video £35.00

305 meters CAT5E £21.00 max

(Data and Telephone)

Jonathan

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Thats a great idea!....just finieshed decorating and when ppl come round they wonder why i have 4 sets of CAT5e sticking out of the corner in my living room....when i tell them it all goes under my stairs to my server..?!! Blank looks i tell ya! smashfreakB.gifyelrotflmao.gif

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[/ QUOTE ] When I read the reviews such as "Fabulous little cable, insightful and INVOLVING." - What Hi-Fi Sound and Vision magazine, I can't help smiling to myself that people really believe that a cable can be insightful or involving.

Insightful - Showing or having insight; perceptive.

Involving - To contain as a part; include. To have as a necessary feature or consequence; To connect closely and often incriminatingly; implicate: To influence or affect: To occupy or engage the interest of: To make complex or intricate; complicate.

This is speaker cable we're talking about FFS! And by definition I wouldn't want my cable to be "involving", I'd want it pinned behind the wall keeping it's mouth shut. Who writes this stuff?? Oh, forgot, my mates on the magazine payroll do! Cynical, moi?

[/ QUOTE ]

I find myself having time for both arguments but coming from a backround similar to yours Colin, I do identify with your comments a little more. I chuckle about these sort of comments re speaker cable etc.

The only way to discribe an effective "HI FI" speaker cable IMO, is that it is transparent or it disappears. Talking in terms of speaker cable making music sound more involving means your concentrating on the bits that make your living room untidy and preventing music having it's magical effect on your senses, I don't just mean what your ears pick up.

I remember using good quality mains cable with a couple of Krell mono blocs (Not mine and in my sad and happily distant only Naim will do days) hooked up to a pair of Monitor Audio Floor standers what matters is that it sounded awesomwe even though we had them running with a mid price Sony Cd player.

I also used a couple of Crest Power amplifiers borrowed from my mates club before a refit and used them bridged as monoblocs and mains cable with the same MA Studio 20's.

Colin , I kid you not, they sounded incredible.

I'm pre wiring my extension for a home theatre system but I want to have decent stereo performance as well. I will probably go back to good quality mains cable terminated at wall conectors strategically placed around the room. I reckon with decent well matched components it will sound fine, I'll bet the audiofiles would not be able to tell what cable lay behind the walls."Out of site out of mind".

I'm really glad I managed to get out of this HI FI world of mysticism and recurring unresolvable argument.It serves only to damage the enjoyment of music.

Within reason though, I have noticed more tangible differences when using good interconnects. Any views Colin.

ATB.

Gez....

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Just wanted to say thanks for your advice and have spent hours going through the options. Now just need to look at my budget as the more you read the more you want tongue.gif

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