A contractor is quoting me $100 per location for running 16 gauge audio
wiring in my new home which is being built by the main contractor. A
"location" is basically a single room, with two speaker locations, a
volume control location, and wiring all locations to one central location.
Only the wiring is included, not the volume control knobs.
I have 12 locations which turns out to be $1200.
Does this sound reasonable?
I need to ask the contractor if conduit can be installed as well for
future wiring changes/updates. I'm hoping this does not affect the cost
Any help appreciated.
70 volt wiring is commonly used in distributed sound systems in business
and churches. It is NOT commonly used in home systems. Mainly because
the home theater type amps a lot of these use do NOT have 70 volt
speaker outputs. With the proper commercial type 70 v output amps it
could be done.
You are correct, you can use a smaller gauge wire on a 70 volt type
system. But the amps on the front end and distribution may cost you
more. Of course with 12 locations it could skew the equation.
Is there a speaker in the toilet lid? ;)
There are many custom home theater manufacturers that make multi channel
straight impedance amps for applications such as this. Along with a key
pad in each room that can control volume and select the source for that
room only. Now were talking the big bucks. You pay for what you get.
The bottom line here is you pick the front end, and then put in the type
of wiring and speakers to match.
You simply match a transformer at the amplifier output to bump the 8 ohm up
to a 70v line distribution level.
It takes no special gear except the addition of the above mentioned
transformer at the amplifier, and impedance matching transformers at each
speaker location--and the speakers are as commoin as dirt.
Step up--step down.....
Our residence has a mix of 8 ohm, 25.5v and 70.7 v distribution covering
nearly 9 acres total, audible from any point on the property--the amplifiers
being the lowly bogen c20, the right of way also happening to be along a
Now, I dont give a rats ass as to what might be the latest greatest on the
market, I just suggested installing a system that is inexpensive and
expandable and which has been proven through close to a centuries worth of
practical application in commercial use--after all, it wasnt me that came up
with the notion of feeding audio to some 12 rooms, this was in fact the
original posters idea, although I have done exactly the same thing myself,
and rather successfully, IMO
On the other hand, I could have suggested gold plated conductors be used
instead......at 6 gage no less......
Nikko erm alphaII powr amp.
Matching preamp and fm......
Bass bins are the electrovoice sentry IV B--folded horns 2 x 10in altec
compression woofers in each.
Lacking crossovers, I wound my own, many years ago, simple butterworth 2
way, IIRC.... 500hz....
The horns are the altec 1105 with some altec driver--nice but still I dont
get the dispersion I would like in this room.....you still need to be sittng
directly in the line of fire to really hear the high frequency reproduction
these are capable of.
Sadly, I have basically become utterly deaf in my right ear--likely as a
direct result of noise exposure due to my customary line of work, and so my
interest in stereo high fidelity has waned somewhat over the last decade or
So, anyone using compressed air blasts in their daily work routine should
heed my warning....
If that's the black series with the rack mount ears, AFAIRC that's was
pretty nice solid gear. KInd of in line with what the old pioneer spec 2
The old voice of the theater was stock at 500 HZ. That is a little low
for some horn/driver combos. An old A7 system would blow you our of your
house with 50 watts. Someone is reproducing them now at some
I don't remember a 1105 at all. How big was it and what did it look
like?. Did it use a bolt on two flange 1" driver?
Hell, these kids drive around in there boom boom cars at such a loud
level i am surprised the windows don't pop out or the sheet metal deform
from the flexing.
Shooting some compressed air up someone's posterior can have some
If the walls are still open, sounds damn steep to me. I'd buy a couple reels
of lamp cord (of a thicker gauge), and run it myself for a couple hundred.
Now if this is a last-minute add-in on your part, and the walls are already
rocked and mudded, it doesn't sound that unreasonable. Fishing and slotting
and patching drywall are all a PITA.
$100 a room is not really out of line if he is buying the wall plates and
hardware for 3 drops a room.
It is academic anyway. That is what it costs and it will cost a lot more after
Builders WILL NOT let you wire your own. It ain't your house, until you close.
If we ignored all the other reasons they don't want you there you still have
the liability issue.
If you fall off a ladder in their house you could sue their ass off and that is
plenty of a reason why they won't let you in. If they do they are morons who
might be out of business before they finish your house because someone else
Unless you are the prime contractor....which seems most likely the case
Give us a break nimrod......and maybe read up on real estate and
contracting laws while your at it.....
Thinkin about buying ( or building ) a spec home are ya ???
And why do you think that stereo wiring does not have to comply with the
NEC also? The wire needs to have a fire rated jacket to be run in walls
without conduit. Most zip cord is NOT listed for this purpose.
You can buy proper jacketed cord for this purpose though. IT should have
a rating of CM, CMR, CMP, CL2, CL3 or such on it. Home chepo may even
have it. Any good electronics sound contractor will have it or have
access to it.
Home prewire can be a pain. depending on the other trades, it may not be
a one trip install for the installer. And that guys has to have
insurance and overhead too. $100 may be expensive or cheap depending on
where you are.
This will cost more for conduit but if you ask for type ENT (Smurf tube) it
shouldn't be that bad. This is actually a lot easier to push wire through than
metal. You may just want them to stub up the conduit into the attic or basement
so you have more flexibility.
The thing is he's got a monopoly. And builders make money doing
If you take it to news:comp.home.automation, you'll find the
standard mantra is if you can prewire, a couple cat5, 1-2 coax
to 2 opposite walls on each room covers you well (Cat5 runs phone
just fine). 2 coax in a tv room (eg. throw the DVD signal up to
plug it into your bedroom tv).
At the least, a conduit from upstairs to downstairs is a Good Thing.
Speaker? I use zip cord (lamp cord) for speakers. You'd want
something rated for in-wall, but 16gauge is fine. Have enough wires.
2pair goes to the wall for Vol control, then 1 pair each to the
If you're going to run 12 pair of speakers, you'll be dropping $3k on
amplifiers that can do that, easily - likely more.
got bored with all the bs on this. Simple on house under construction
$100 per room for 16 gage wire = bend over and grin.
Use standard 12 gage Use fused lpads at all outlets for individual
sound leveling use high efficiency drivers be sure to wire
speakers in series & parallel so as to present 8 ohm load to amp.
wires and lpads should cost no more than $ 30 per room for materials.
just do a bit of reading at tech audio sites such as
The estimate does not look unreasonable to me. Your location is actually
three different cable pulls, so it makes it even cheaper, though it might
have been $100 per each pull, too. That would greatly depend of what part
of the country you are in.
So, if I got your description right, that would be 12 rooms with wiring
for 24 speakers and 12 volume controls. This makes it a rather large
installation with very likely quite some architectural details to work
around. It almost sounds like the guy is low-balling it, really. Watch out
for the quality of his work!
The conduit is definitely going to add to the costs. It is hard to tell
how much, but be prepared.
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