wiring new house: speakers, cat5, TV stuff

tracey_bFebruary 1, 2010

Is there a good website that leads you through the basics of what you need to do / have for whole-house audio, etc.?

Our new house is about to get started, and we'd like to have speakers in most rooms and the proper cable setup, etc. To help save money, we'd like to try to do most of this ourselves.

For stereo throughout the house, can you have it run off a "regular" stereo or do you need something more (the handle the multiple speakers, etc.)? What do most people do?

Thanks so much for any ideas, tips, suggestions you might have!


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You'll need an amp that can power any/all of the speakers, and some sort of impedance matching component to put between your amp and the speakers so you don't burn out your amp driving those speakers.

The impedance matching device can either be an impedance-matching speaker selector box that you can locate where all the speaker wires home run to, or you can install an impedance matching volume control in each room of your house.

With ethernet and computers there are myriad options out there. But on a low budget, you can hardwire the house with a few spools of 14ga speaker wire, which is DIY, ceiling or wall speakers, which are DIY, your existing stereo (if the amp is up to snuff), and the aforementioned impedance matching device. If you install volume controllers for each room, they are DIY install and are about $30-$40 each.

Tangent alert:

I just bought a Sonos setup. Started with a 2-unit set-up, then once I gave it a trial run, I bought three more components. I absolutely love it, and use the 5 components to play music in 7 rooms. The same or different music in each room. With Pandora and Rhapsody, I think my two 400-CD jukeboxes may not be seeing much action.

The Sonos remotes are fabulous. I also downloaded a free application to use an iTouch as a controller, but it's not as nifty as the Sonos remote.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 12:32AM
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Thanks for the information, mongoct. I checked out Sonos, too....sounds wonderful but quite expensive, but at least it could be added after the fact (no wires).

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 11:43AM
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My build just had the low voltage roughed in. It's about $30 a run plus termination costs. I could have conceivably done it myself but had to consider the construction schedule, my own time constraints with a full time job and decision making/trouble shooting with the rest of the project.

The same sub did cable TV, telephone, satellite, security wiring, doorbell/intercom and vacuum rough in. I'll do my own speaker wire for surround speakers and zoned audio.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 8:55PM
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Thanks for the website, Dyno. After looking at it, though, I think it might be over my head. I'd be the one having to have it all planned out, then hoping my husband's schedule (and mood!) would work out at whatever time this would need to be done. $30 a run would add up, though!


    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 3:07PM
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I ended with 12 or 13 runs of Cat5e. With all the security wiring, cable tv, etc, the total will be in the $2500-3000 range for the rough in and termination costs.

In our area, a low voltage inspection is now required....which is mostly a money grab by the local gov't but still, someone will inspect and issue a pass/fail. The vac guy came in at the same time so they stayed out of each other's way.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 1:58PM
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