We’re building a new home and I’ve decided that I’m going to do the audio part of the structured wiring myself.  Some interesting things I’ve learning in my research:

  • Cable runs should all terminate in a single location.  This makes it easy to re-configure your audio system to do all sorts of nifty things.  Note that this applies equally well to ethernet/coax wiring.
  • Run conduit first, then run your wires within the conduit.  This makes it easier to add extra runs as necessary later.
  • Volume controls are expensive.  The cheapest ones I found were at Home Depot for $40, regular $80.  At Soundsaround, they run from $120-200+!
  • Home audio wiring in the walls should use fire-rated cabling.  This stuff won’t catch or carry a fire throughout your house.
  • RG6 coax should be adequate to carry 2.2 GHz signals, required for the DishProPlus “two satellite transponders on one wire” technology.  The ExpressVu boxes are supposed to have support for this built-in - it’s nice to cut the number of outside runs in half.

I found a good 300 m spool of 14 gauge, 2-conductor wire at Rona Revy for $189.00.  With any luck, this should give me enough cable to wire the whole house.

I’m still trying to find a good way to run a bunch of wires from the attic to the basement in the two level house.  There doesn’t seem to be a single wall that runs from top to bottom that I can hijack for a straight conduit run.  It might be easier to see this when the framing has started.  The audio wires are surprisingly thick - the 14 gauge wire seems to be nearly as thick as a standard cat5 cable.

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