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  1. #1

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    Question Outdoor speaker wire - gauge question

    I've read some of the posts in this forum regarding Outdoor speaker wire, I am sure I havent' read them all--but I still have some looming questions. Forgive me if I missed the posts that already discusses my questions-just point me to them as necessary.

    Although probably irrellevant to the question or answer, I am using Polk Atrium 45s. I set them up on my old AVR (on Speaker B).
    I mounted them on the split rail fence posts on eiother side of my pool. I like the positioning--you get good stereo separation when in the normal seating area, and you can still hear them nice from all areas of the pool without them being too loud for anybody (since there is no seating area near the speakers), only those in the pool would hear them louder. When I had them mounted under the deck, it just didn't work at all.
    I don't have any wire buried yet, just playing around with positioning and wire routing still. Eventually I'll add an outdoor volume control, and/or perhaps an IR repeater
    I'm painting them Hunter Green now, when its all done I'll post some pics.

    Anyway back to my questions:
    The farthest speaker (from the AVR) requires about about 125' of cable. This allows for some routing to hide the wire. The closer speaker probably is about 75'.
    I understand that longer lengths require thicker gauges, but 'longer' seems to be subjective (whats the cutoff of when I should switch from 16 to 14, etc).
    With respect to outdoor wiring, what is the best guage wire to get for these lengths. Since I am not concerned about subtle nuances as I would be in my Home Theater, etc, I still want to get the best sound I can from them (cost:performace ratio). I wasn't sure if the guage was 'as' important here, especially since the power to the speakers is not as high as in my HT. I was thinking about using 14 or 12. Is that right? or would 16 be good enough?
    Oh I should note that while the AVR has 5 way binding posts for the main speakers, it only has spring clips for the Speaker B connection. Not sure if that has any bearing on guage capacity, but I do plan on upgrading the system in the future-perhaps another Onkyo SR805 so I can make better use of zones, etc.

    Do I need to use 125' of cable on the closer speaker to make both runs equal length or is that unnecessary in this application?

    Do I need to treat the cable at the binding posts with a blob of silicon or anything for weather proofing?

    And finally, what makes Direct Burial cable, well, directly buriable(sp?)? What is the goal here-can one use CL2 rated wire instead, or perhaps just plain jane indoor speaker wire or even lamp cord?
    My plan was to bury this in the mulched area amonst existing low voltage lighting. Perhaps just below the surface-essentially just covered by the mulch. I wasn't planning on running conduit or trenching-that's just too big a task right now (having a big party this Sat). There is no digging or garden tools or equipment being used in or near the area (no weed wackers, etc).


    Thanks all.
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    Pool: Atrium 60's/45's

  2. #2

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    12 ga will work, but with a run that long you will lose some high frequency content due to capacitance and inductance of the wire, no matter what gauge you use.

    You do not need to make them the same length.

    What makes outdoor cable? Generally it's just the jacket. Regular zip cord, or CL2 will eventually crack due to weather. As far as protection, I always just use a little dielectric grease on outdoor connections.

  3. #3

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    Default Got some wire

    arrghh I hate it when that happens-Just spent all that time posting a reponse, thought it posted, but apparently got lost-well here we go again....the abridged version ;)...

    Thanks William,
    Due to my time constraint (needed for a party on Sat) I don't have the immediate leisure to order and wait for shipping. I was going to just use some really cheap stuff for the party, and order some better later, but then I stumbled upon a bulk spool of 14awg at Lowes that is comparable in price at least with the monoprice cables, I went with it. Sadly its a bright yellow jacket, so I'll have to work extra hard at hiding it.

    What I got is a 500' spool of CL3 rated 14awg (14/2) cable for ~$130. Its by Coleman Cable Inc, branded as Signal Electronic Cable, and while not noted on the box, the website categorizes it as ClearSignal™ Contractor Grade Speaker Cables. Only choices available (of any brand) were 16 and 14 awg (on lengths over 100')

    Interestingly enough, even though its not mentioned on the box anywhere, the jacket has DIRECT BURY printed on it. Since it has PVC insulation and a PVC jacket, I would venture to guess that any cable with similar characteristics can also be used outside/directly buried. No?

    Can anybody comment on this brand and model of cable?
    Since I have enough of it-is it good enough/recommended/barely audible- to use for my main HT setup for the surrounds and rears (avg 35'-50' each)? I would be replacing my Monster XP 16awg(?) non-CL rated wires.

    Full text printed on the jacket:
    COLEMAN CABLE 94642 14 AWG 2/C C(ETL)US (ETL CODE) TYPE CM/CL3 FPL/PLTC DIRECT BURIAL AUDIO CABLE SUN RES -- TYPE CMH FT1
    Here are the specs:

    Conductor 14 AWG Bare Copper
    99.97% OFC
    Stranding 41/30
    Insulation Material PVC
    Insulation Thickness 0.009'' Nom.
    Insulated Conductor Diameter 0.092'' Nom.
    Number of Conductors 2
    Lay Length 3.00'' Nom.
    Core Wrap None
    Jacket Material PVC (Tubed)
    Jacket Thickness 0.020'' Nom.
    Overall Cable Diameter 0.224'' Nom.
    Flame Rating UL 1581 Vertical Tray Flame Test
    Temperature Rating -20C to 60C
    Operating Voltage 300 V RMS Max.
    Capacitance Between Conductors @ 1 KHz 27 pF/ft Nom.
    Capacitance Between Conductors to Shield @ 1 KHz -----
    DC Resistance per Conductor @ 20C 2.53 Ohms/1M' Nom.[/
    Last edited by mmadden28; 07-31-2008 at 01:12 AM.
    ____________________
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    HT:Onkyo 805, Emotiva XPA-5, Mitsu 52" 1080p DLP / polkaudio RTi12, CSIa6, FXi3, uPro4K
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    Pool: Atrium 60's/45's

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamM2 View Post
    12 ga will work, but with a run that long you will lose some high frequency content due to capacitance and inductance of the wire, no matter what gauge you use.

    You do not need to make them the same length.

    What makes outdoor cable? Generally it's just the jacket. Regular zip cord, or CL2 will eventually crack due to weather. As far as protection, I always just use a little dielectric grease on outdoor connections.
    I'd post, but he said it all;)
    Ben
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  5. #5

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    That dog'll hunt. Don't worry to much about the HF loss. You won't notice it where your going to lose it. As far as the length, the signal propagation is at near light speed, you won't notice the delay, either.

  6. #6
    stereo_luver
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    4-0 should do the trick.

    Chuck

  7. #7

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    Default Same Setup, Different Issue...

    Just to tag on to this thread...a related question. I have 2 outdoor speakers...about 75 and 120 length of speaker wire each. The brand is 12 AWG Monster XP (left over from my previous house). Although I know the receiver is possibly under-powered, the outdoor speakers are roughly 1/2 as loud as the indoor speakers on the same reciever. Do you guys think:
    1. This wire is all-wrong for the application...or should it be 10AWG and
    2. Is this just an issue will an underpowered receiver (Yamaha RX360).
    or both 1 and 2 above...
    Please advise, because I am considering re-running the wire...

  8. #8

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    I noticed the same loudness difference between the Atrium 45s and the KLH rock speakers I was expermenting with. The KLHs were much louder than the Atriums (at the same voume and source settings) but not near as well defined (to my ear). I just attributed that to the different speaker efficiencies.
    Atrium 45s being 89dB adn the KLHs being 87dB, but then I should expect the opposite no? Also when I have the inside speaks on at the same time, they are definately much louder then the outside--and they are Polk RM30's also rated at 89dB.

    In my case I was using the same 18awg test wire for the outside, but Monster XP 16 for the inside wire.
    My plan was to just buy a new AVR with zones and control the zones' volume separately-unless of course someone has an answer to that.
    Last edited by mmadden28; 07-31-2008 at 09:06 AM.
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    HT:Onkyo 805, Emotiva XPA-5, Mitsu 52" 1080p DLP / polkaudio RTi12, CSIa6, FXi3, uPro4K
    2-chnl : Pio DV-46AV (SACD), Dodd ELP, Emotiva XPA-1s, XPA-2, Odyssey Khartago, LSi9, SDA-SRS 2 , SB Duet, MSB & Monarchy DACs, Yamaha PX3 TT, SAE Tuner...
    Pool: Atrium 60's/45's

  9. #9

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    Just a WAG on the outdoor "loudness" -
    It is probably just a reduction in perceived loudness due to the extreme reduction in reflected sound when outdoors. I notice the same thing when I take a little radio from the garage out to the yard while working.

  10. #10

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    I've got the same speakers on my deck. I went with 12ga. Malibu Lighting wire. Very inexpensive compared to other 12ga. speaker wire. It's designed for underground use & gets the job done just fine.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
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    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
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    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  11. #11

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    Ya know, I breifly thought about using low voltage landscpe wiring since its direct burial, but never really followed the thought through (happend often. Where did you order your wire from?
    ____________________
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    HT:Onkyo 805, Emotiva XPA-5, Mitsu 52" 1080p DLP / polkaudio RTi12, CSIa6, FXi3, uPro4K
    2-chnl : Pio DV-46AV (SACD), Dodd ELP, Emotiva XPA-1s, XPA-2, Odyssey Khartago, LSi9, SDA-SRS 2 , SB Duet, MSB & Monarchy DACs, Yamaha PX3 TT, SAE Tuner...
    Pool: Atrium 60's/45's

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmadden28 View Post
    Ya know, I breifly thought about using low voltage landscpe wiring since its direct burial, but never really followed the thought through (happend often. Where did you order your wire from?
    Order...what order, I picked it up at my local Home Depot. I even looked at there bulk 12ga. speaker wire & the Malibu landscape 12ga. was a whole lot cheaper. Even the sales guy was surprised & didn't even think of it as a comparison. He was actually getting ready to run some outdoor speakers himself & guess which wire he's buying!!
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  13. #13

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mmadden28 View Post
    ...I'm painting them Hunter Green now, when its all done I'll post some pics....
    Well got them all wired up ready for the party tomorrow-of course its freakin going to rain right smack dab in the middle of the POOL party. This makes 3 out of 4 times now that it frickin rains on my parade! (actually that's just the pool party-it sleeted on one of our Christmas parties)

    Well anyway, so far they sound fine with the wire I got. With the low volume (mostly background for party) and the outdoor space, I can't expect incredible sound anyway (right?). Of course I would have rather gotten the 12ga, but who knows what the future holds-I expect to be putting more speakers in at some point anyway. Right now the cable is routed and buried. I even ran the cables into the basement from the outside throuh the wall right into the plenum space and to the equipment-Nothing is exposed except where they connect to the speakers.

    Here are the pics:
    First shot is the factory White color


    Then a wide shot--the speakers are about 3' up on the fence posts at the extreme edges of the pic. This position (height as well as distance from each other) sounds pretty good from the deck-even when in the pool. I get pretty good overage of the area and still experience stereo separation.
    Much harder to see now huh?


    Here is a closeup with the new color:
    Wasn't really sure which color to use, but the white was to much contrast and shouted "here I am - yep right here-no don't look at the flowers, look at me!". I had a color closer to the color of the grass, but I really didn't like it. This color is a better match to the shaded trees that are behind them which is what's seen when you're in normal position when basking or swimming. I figure they can always be painted again.




    Oh and a tip for those choosing to paint their own, if you follow the Polk directions verbatim, you will paint right over your serial number plate (they only have you mask the driver/tweeter area and the binding posts-not the SN plate). Luckily I's a fart smeller-uh er- smart feller, and spotted the err in their ways...;)

    As far as outdoor terminations go-is bare wire fine (as it stands right now)-or should I consider spades or bananas?
    Last edited by mmadden28; 08-02-2008 at 03:21 AM.
    ____________________
    This post is a natural product. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects.

    HT:Onkyo 805, Emotiva XPA-5, Mitsu 52" 1080p DLP / polkaudio RTi12, CSIa6, FXi3, uPro4K
    2-chnl : Pio DV-46AV (SACD), Dodd ELP, Emotiva XPA-1s, XPA-2, Odyssey Khartago, LSi9, SDA-SRS 2 , SB Duet, MSB & Monarchy DACs, Yamaha PX3 TT, SAE Tuner...
    Pool: Atrium 60's/45's

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