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Thread: IN WALL speaker cable vs regular speaker cable

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    Default IN WALL speaker cable vs regular speaker cable

    I see a lot of ads for "In Wall" rated speaker cable, and I see plenty of ads for speaker cable that's not rated for in wall use. I ordered some of the in wall stuff, and it doesn't seem much different to regular speaker wire, why the difference?

    Gab



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    Insulation construction/rating is different, and most in wall cable is physically stronger to withstand pulling through ceilings/walls

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    For the most part, it's advertising hype. "In-wall" stuff might be double insulated with flame resistant outer jacket, might have a pest repelling agent in it. I've seen "flame retardant" insulation melt in an instant and I've seen cables with the repellent chewed by rodents. A lot of other twin cables used have similar insulation to the regular clear speaker cables and are commonly used for long cable runs and last for decades without issue. There's no legal requirement to use one or the other. I'd say choose whatever speaker cable you want to use.

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    I might get bitten here... But that's OK!!
    A lot of the time, claims like that are just Hype, though I understand, it's not always!
    I remember when HDMI first came out, and places would sell 'special' cables for say $89.95, or more!! (Mostly hype).
    Not to mention many years earlier when Colour TV came in, companies selling you a 'special' Colour TV Aerial !! (Ah-hem...)
    One small step for man... (but it wasn't me!!)

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    Nah, you guys got it all wrong.

    THIS is a speaker cable



    ...and don't forget it is all useless if you don't use proper cables for your inputs as well:
    Last edited by Uncle Fester; 06-01-22 at 04:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Fester View Post
    Nah, you guys got it all wrong.

    THIS is a speaker cable



    ...and don't forget it is all useless if you don't use proper cables for your inputs as well:
    LoL!....I can see these guys securing the exclusive rights, for the muzak speaker wiring in SpaceX's starship..."so shielded, not even cosmic radiation can affect the replay of your favorite Van Halen album!"...bwahaha...


    when HDMI first came out
    Actually OT here wrt speaker cables -- HDMI is a digital signal interface, and to to whether or not all HDMI cables are equal ...
    I know what you're saying, but it's not a 'fair' comparison to a 2srand wire you buy by the meter off a roll at your local jaycar store...or bunnings/mitre10 when you think of this wire as a building material =)

    Not to mention many years earlier when Colour TV came in, companies selling you a 'special' Colour TV Aerial
    This was really a thing, way back late 50's/early 60s, primarily in the US -- early adopters/owners of the first B&W teevee sets, often only have a very simple antenna setup, more often than not just a dipole. When colour broadcasts started, and these folks upgraded to a colour teevee set, the simple dipole antenna was no longer good enough, and replacing that with a tuned multi element antenna fixed things and signal quality like chalk and cheese. I remember walks the suburban streets in Sydney as a kid, and being able to tell which houses had a colour teevee or not, based on what teevee antenna they had affixed to their gutter/roof. Colloquially they became known as 'colour tv antennas', but of course the snake-oil salesreptiles latched onto it, and used it as a scam ad infinitum ; they're still up to it, selling '4K digital tv ready' antennas...hahaha....but again, this is OT here.

    Getting back to topic, the only difference between speaker cable made for in-wall installation rather than the traditional laying-on-floor concept, has to do with the mechanical construction of the cable, and the materials used for the outer sheath and conductor insulation. In this regard, you can compare it to CAT5 cable ; decades back when we were replacing the old ethernet coax with CAT5, you'd use the coax the pull through the CAT5 as you removed it -- the CAT5 cable itself, had a heavy/thick sheath, and a nylon strain cord in the conductor bundle, so the conductors didn't stretch while getting pulled through ceiling/floor/wall cavities. It was solid strand, and the outer sheath was rated relative to what external power sources it might be exposed to...ie; mains AC =)...and it also had a specific resistance against burning (in the case of a building fire, building mains wiring is rated the same).

    Your differences are related to those things, not the quality and/or distortion that may be incurred in speaker wiring in walls. The wikipedia article touches on this - I see that all the time with CAT5 patch cables - the sheath is soft, with a somewhat matt texture finish, and generates a lot of friction when being slide against other surfaces - the specific cable we were using, has a hard sheath, with slippery smooth outer finish ; the stuff is built for the job, same goes for speaker wire specifically designed for in-wall installation. Even so, you'd be wanting to keep the speaker wiring as far away from any mains wiring as you can get it, and you maight not need a cable with additional shielding (some purists will argue you need shielded speaker cables -anyway-, due to all the interference they're going to pick up, acting like big antennas as it were).

    -- reference CL2/CL3 (and others related), and rip-cord ; that's a seppo reference, but if one dug around a bit you'd likely find the AU equivalence (I dug around, apparently not here in AU). Perhaps a good practical experiment, would to be grab some random sections of speaker wire, and try to set them on fire and/or see how well they burn. I'm pretty sure you'll find the domestic grade speaker wire you buy at the hardware store, won't have the same fire retarding qualities of the insulation/sheathing, as speaker wire bought from you local auto-shop, made specifically for automotive use...(most automotive wiring utilizes wire with fire-retardant insulation)....then you might appreciate if you're comfortable putting something flammable in your wall =) It's not that the speaker wire itself might cause a fire, it's what's going to happen if a fire gets started elsewhere, and finds the wire.

    That all said, whether or not you think it's worth the money to buy speaker cables with these properties, primarily considered as a practice of safe building code, that's up to you =)

    The 'real' stuff without all the hype, is not that much more expensive than good quality speaker cable anyhow...ie;

    It might be a small price to pay, for the piece of mind you haven't put something in your walls that will burn and produce toxic fumes in the process ; think about it, Murphy's Law is everywhere B)

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