*originally published on ManMade before they were purchased/merged with Esquire and the content removed.
The following home stereo wiring tips can save you a great amount of time and trouble when installing your home stereo gear. Although these systems can be very labor-intensive to install, the resulting system is worth the work.
1.Consider in-wall installation. Although installing stereo gear in the wall is more expensive, speakers look better when not adorned with unsystematic wires.
2.Choose the correct speaker wire gauge. Speaker wire gauge contributes a great deal to the quality of your stereo gear. Wire is measured in AWG (American Wire Gauge), where lower AWG numbers represent thinker wire. Thicker wire provides the best quality sound; most speakers require and AWG of 12 to 16.The thinnest wire that should ever be used has and AWG of 18.
3.Make wiring distances short. Electronic signals become weaker as distance increases, leading to decreased stereo quality. If you must wire for long distances, choose a thicker wire with a lower AWG rating. Although these wires are more expensive, they can carry sounds over longer distances.
4.Run wiring under carpet. Even if you are not planning on replacing your carpet, there are still ways to run the wire under it. Obtaining the proper gear is important; a specialty device called “under carpet tape” is necessary, as well as wiring made especially for under carpet applications. If you are willing to do a little extra work, then you can efficiently and discretely run a wire from your stereo to speakers in other areas of your room.
5.Flat ribbon wire tape can be an alternative to drilling. The next home stereo wiring tip applies whenever you have to mount a speaker over a surface that you cannot easily drill through, such as a window. White ribbon wire is available that can easily be disguised under wallpaper or camouflaged against a whitewall. It may be hard to find, however, so check with a couple of stores.
6.When cutting wire, overestimate. Whenever you need to cut wire to run it, overestimate the distance needed. Unexpected twists and turns are common in walls and ceilings and take up morewire distance that you may anticipate.This home stereo wiring tip will prevent you from having to cut an entirely new length of wire.
7.Install PVC conduits. Using PVC conduits is a great home stereo wiring tip, especially if you plan on running wire outside or through a crawlspace. These cheap pipes help protect the wire and make adding additional wires easy. Be sure to buy conduits that are big enough to fit multiple wires to allow for additions later.
8.Before placing speakers, make sure you are happy with the sound quality. Naturally, speaker gear for you home stereo will sound different in different parts of the room. Before drilling, have someone hold up the speakers where you plan on placing them. Experiment with different locations to get the perfect sound.
9.Consider installing speakers outside. Outside speakers can be a great addition to any home stereo system. Although the initial wiring may be tricky, the results are worth the work. Wire is available that is designer to travel underground, but be sure to use a PVC conduit.
10.Know when to call an expert. The last home stereo wiring tip is probably the most important. Drilling incorrect holes or wiring the stereo system incorrectly can cost thousands in repairs. If you ever feel like you are taking a chance when installing something, call an expert. The up-front cost will be much cheaper than having to rewire the whole house because you accidently drilled into an electrical conduit.
Home Theater Magazine
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