When installing speakers in a home or commercial building, speaker wires should be run in the wall instead of in surface-mount raceways. Using special brackets, they can be mounted directly into the structure of the wall before drywall is hung.
Typically in-wall speaker wire is made with 12AWG – 2 conductor cable. For additional security, 14AWG – 4 conductor cables are also available.
You don’t need to be an audiophile to appreciate the importance of quality speaker wire — it’s the conduit that connects amplifiers and speakers. But you do need to know what to look for and how to get the most from your in wall speaker system.
First, you need to consider the cable gauge. A lower gauge like 12 or 14 indicates a thicker wire, and thicker wire is better for long runs between speakers and audio sources.
Another consideration is the type of conductor. Typically, inexpensive speaker cables use one + and one – conductor parallel to each other. However, most top-tier in wall speaker wires are made with twisted conductors.
Twisted conductors are less susceptible to picking up noise (common mode noise rejection), which is important for home theater systems. They also reduce the inductance of the cable, which is essential for a smooth audio signal to reach the speakers.
The quality of in wall speaker wire determines the performance of your audio system. Poorly designed cables distort sound signals by adding noise and distortion, making them less effective.
Investing in better cable is a worthwhile investment for your audio system. More expensive cables use better-conducting materials; these are often made using higher purity coppers, which reduce the amount of oxygen in the molten metal. This reduces the rate of corrosion in the copper and also lowers resistance in your speakers for better overall audio performance.
Our 500-ft CL2 rated 16/4 speaker wire cable features 102 strands of 0.16mm copper clad aluminum CCA conductors. This cable fits banana plugs, spade tips or bent pin connectors for compatibility with speakers, A/V receivers, amplifiers and other professional sound applications.
In-wall speaker wire is commonly double insulated for fire safety. However, this type of insulation can cause problems with sound quality. It can change the color of the sound and dampen it.
If you are installing speakers into your ceiling, the best way to ensure that the insulation doesn’t interfere with your sound is to remove a square or rectangle of it before installing the speaker. Alternatively, if you have blown-in insulation in your attic, you can also construct a speaker box to reduce the amount of insulation that will be coming in contact with your speakers.
The easiest method for running cabling through a wall is to use a fish tape or electrical snake. Bend one end at a 180 degree angle and run it along a stud, using the stud as your guide.
When installing a speaker wire it’s important to use a jacket. This protects the conductors from damage and also helps prevent oxidation caused by exposure to a variety of atmospheric conditions.
A jacket can be made from a number of different materials including PVC or plastic. Most in wall speaker wire is made from copper and is a stranded cable, meaning it is made up of smaller strands of copper rather than one large twisted wire.
Another important consideration is the type of cable you use for your in-wall wiring. You can find a wide range of cables that will work well for your needs.
In wall speaker wire should always have a CL-3 rating stamped on the outer jacket, this indicates that the jacket is safe to pull through the walls. It should also be Plenum rated to meet the fire codes of your area.
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