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Hiding speaker wires?

8659 Views 14 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  JimP
i have to run 2 pair of 16awg speaker wire on each side of room. Are there products or techniques to help hide the wireing?
any tips appreciated!
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This is going to depend a lot on the construction of the room.

I basically ran speaker wire (there is a flat kind, by the way) under carpeting to get to a spot where there was no wall to drop wire into. Unfortunately, I can feel the wire under the carpet everytime I walk over it. Given the alternatives(there weren't any), it was still my best choice.
Agreed. I have no idea of where they need to be, if you're doing floor or wall mount speakers, are you going across any doorways, is in an exterior or interior wall? Is there a basment below or attic above? All of those things can be good or bad things depending.

There are plastic cable channels or trunking (you may use a different name in the US) that have a snap-on, full length cover. Sold in roughly 8 feeet lengths. Usually offered in white plastic and available in many different sizes. Hollow plastic skirting board is available to run cables around a room.

If the floor is boarded with a crawl space then cable can be run under the floor to exit just behind the speaker. If the crawl space is too shallow to crawl in then it is possible to lift one floorboard near the speakers then use the stiffness of an electricians draw tape to push the tape across under the floor to the system rack. Lift another short length of board beside the system rack to tie the cable onto the drawtape then pull the cables back through to the speaker position. Most cables (except Naim NACA5) are far too floppy to push any distance across a room under the floor against natural friction.

If the floor forms a ceiling for the basement or cellar then the cable could be run that way but would be visible in the basement/cellar. You could use this route if the floors are made of concrete and you have easy access below.

If you have a boarded floor but no access to the room beneath then it may be possible to run the cable between the floor joists by lifting only a short length of board at each end. But this would depend which way the joists run. If you have to drill every joist then you'll have to lift boards right across the room in two places to reach the speaker positions.

As mentioned before; several maufacturers sell completely flat (ribbon) speaker cable. Prices vary according to source and taste. Flat cables seem like the easiest option if you have a fitted carpet in the HT/music room.
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I always fish the walls to the attic or crawl space then cut over to the location and fish the wall back to the location and add a wall jack etc...
Ok. thanks for the tips. You seeded some notions for me.

I have cement slab floor and no attic space in this room. So no options to use attic or under room access. There is a small space under the baseboard where it meets the carpet but I think it will be tough to push 2 pair of 16awg in that gap.

I think my best option would be to replace the baseboard with some of the contoured MDF molding and cut a slot out of the back baseboard for the wireing to fit betwee it and the wall. THen to punch access holes to snake the wire vertically from baseboard the 6 to 8 feet to the speaker location. Ill have two in walls and two on wall speakers. Since the wire is stiff as you mention, and with that short length I should have good luck pushing the wire down between wall board and insulation. Between wall board and insullation paper backing should make it easy.

The the baseboard could be a build up also meaning the lower part can be thicker giving more roomy access for wires with a cut out slot.

Keeping the wire on one side of the room eases a complication for a part of the room that is not walled (step down from entry) but increases the length of the speakers runs. In that case I can still keep everything on one side but increase the wire size to 12 awg (in line with whats recommended for the speaker vs distance) or even double up the 16 awg I have since there will be ample room behind the baseboard buildups with slotted backs.

Whoever thought buying a new TV would end up being so much work!

thanks again for the tips!
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The cable channels that Chrisbee were talking about are made by Panduit in the states. Can be quite expensive, and not a very pretty install. The best way to run the wire in your case would be to remove the baseboards, and try to get the wires under the drywall. Be careful wire nailing those suckers back on.
The cable channels that Chrisbee were talking about are made by Panduit in the states. Can be quite expensive, and not a very pretty install. The best way to run the wire in your case would be to remove the baseboards, and try to get the wires under the drywall. Be careful wire nailing those suckers back on.
The white plastic channels I was referring to are quite cheap and used by electricians where cables can't be sunk into the wall. Doing a quick conversion in my head I'd say about 5-15 dollars per 8ft length depending on size. I do agree that they aren't the prettiest things on earth. Whether they are better than bare cables running round the room is a matter of taste. Raising the skirtings slightly would allow a plastic channel (with snap on cover) to be run along underneath where it would be all but invisible. If there was ever any need to change or examine the cables they would be easily accessible without tools and without removing the skirting boards.

BTW: Running twin cables to provide more copper wire cross section on long runs might raise a problem with capacitance.
We use the cable channels where I work and use it when we can't run LAN drops down certain walls. It is expensive for us, because we have to buy the box, rather than the single piece.
I too think running behind the baseboard is your best option. I really hate the look of those plastic channels.
I know people usually don't recommend running wires behind drywall b/c it's a PITA. However, I have very easy access to the attic above the room where I want to install my rear speakers. I also have very easy access to the wall behind my TV and receiver. I think the biggest challenge will be fishing the wires through the wall. Can anyone offer tips of special tools I can use to simplify the job? Also, what kind of wiring do you recommend for in-wall use? Thanks!
Someday I’m going to re-work this article and move it to this Forum, but in the meantime this should point you in the right direction. You want to use CL-2 or -3 wire that's rated for in-wall installation.

Running speaker wire in-wall

Down here in Oz, we have a product called Yellow-tongue flooring. I'm sure you will have something similar in the U.S, it is a compressed particleboard sheet, grooved lengthways down both edges and is used as flooring. One of the edges has a strip of yellow plastic (the tongue) approx' 15mm wide and 4mm thick, pressed into it. It is this strip that you want. The local hardware specialist should have a stack of the flooring material, or if you swing by a construction site, a builder might be discarding some of the plastic strip as they don't need it on the last sheet. With only a small hole in the drywall, you can tape the speaker wires to the end of the plastic strip, poke it up the inside of the wall and into the ceiling cavity. The strip is flexible enough to make a reasonably tight turn, and also strong enough to be pushed up without collapsing back on itself. We cut the strip down to size and pushed all nine strips with wires attached through the drywall and up into the ceiling cavity. Then pushed one strip of plastic up into the ceiling cavity from the receivers(amplifiers) location. Once up in the roof, we gathered all the strips of yellow tongue together and ran them to where the strip from the receiver is. Removed all speaker wires from their respective strips of plastic, and attached all of them to the strip from the receiver. Now back in the theater room, you can pull all the wires down the inside if the wall and out to the back of the receiver. We used the same method to run all wires for other zones, projector, tv and video through the walls and ceiling. This method was by far the easiest we have come accross and really cut down on buying asprin.
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Never seen anything like that specifically here. The 'tougue' of the tongue in groove is an intergal part of the sheet itself and not a separate part. Too bad - sounds like it worked well for you.

........or just use an electricians pull wire.

Oh, by the way, when cutting hole in the wall to locate your wires, avoid going above/below or left/right of existing electrical outlets and light fixtures as that is where the electrical wires are located. You could find this project very shocking, illuminating, drop dead fun, kicking,(does it end?)
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