speaker wire deteriorates?

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I installed a bunch of in-wall speaker wire about 5-years ago when building
my home. I used a decent speaker wire from Home Depot. Unfortunately I ran
out (of both wire and energy) and had the security wiring company run the
speaker wires for last speaker pair.

Now it seems I have to crank up the amp quite a bit higher than before for
that last speaker pair.

Does speaker wire deteriorate that badly? Would they have installed
something really crummy?

Thanks.



Re: speaker wire deteriorates?
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Sounds like something might have crimped the line and shorted out the wires.
If you checked the wires without anything connected to either end you'd
probably find they're shorted or grounded.  The trick them becomes finding
where in the length of the line it's been shorted.  It may be easier to just
re-run a new line rather than trying to fix that one.  Just label each end
to keep you or future folks from trying to re-use ever again.


Re: speaker wire deteriorates?
I doubt it's a short, Bill.  That would usually cause dead silence
and/or a dead amp -- not low volume.  I'd first look for a problem with
the volume control.  They can and do fail.

Connections might also be poor (high resistance) if the installer
didn't know his job well but when that happens it usually affects one
speaker or the other rather than a left and right pair.  For the same
reason, I doubt it's the speakers themselves.  If they fail, it's not
usually two at a time.

Regards,
Robert L Bass
www.BassBurglarAlarms.com


Re: speaker wire deteriorates?
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I don't doubt it.  As I suggested, it's best to test the wire without
anything attached at either end.  This would confirm that the wire is
certainly not the problem.  Leading to checks of the volume controls next.
Thanks for pointing them out as a possible culprit.

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Like anything else, it's important to break it down into known-good parcels.
Make sure the wire's good, then the speakers, volume controls and any other
elements involved.  Something will eventually show up, and as you point out
it may well be the result of someone else's "handy work".


Re: speaker wire deteriorates?
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Make sure the wire's good, then the speakers, volume controls and any other
elements involved.  Something will eventually show up, and as you point out it
may well be the result of someone else's "handy work"...

Good point, Bill.  Since the volume control is the only single item
which affects both speakers in a given room but not those in other
rooms, I'd start my diagnostics there.  Here's an easy way to check it.
 Turn the master volume all the way down.  Turn all the other V/C units
up all the way.  Remove the suspect V/C from the wall and hot wire the
inouts to the outputs so that the amp's power is going directly to the
speakers.

Note: This will eliminate impedance protection so make certain you
start with the master V/C all the way down.

Slowly ramp the volume up to the point where music is just audible in
the other rooms.  It should be close to the same in the test room.  If
so, the V/C is probably the culprit.  If not, power off, reconnect the
V/C and start checking the speakers, conections to them, and so on back
to the amp.  Best of luck.

Regards,
Robert L Bass
www.BassBurglarAlarms.com


Re: speaker wire deteriorates?
robertlbass@comcast.net wrote:
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Make sure the wire's good, then the speakers, volume controls and any other
elements involved.  Something will eventually show up, and as you point out it
may well be the result of someone else's "handy work"...
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Another way to "test" the volume conrol is to take one from a set of
speakers that work and temporarily install it in the room with the problem.

Re: speaker wire deteriorates?

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I concur. About 45 years ago I wired a lot of restaurants, supermarkets,
office buildings, shopping centers, etc. for sound in N. California. A
partial short where a few strands from one conductor touch the other
conductor can result in low volume. It usually has a fuzzy sound as well.

Re: speaker wire deteriorates?
A "partial short" where a few strands of speaker wire are touching the
other conductor in an 8-Ohm system will usually result in total loss of
audio.  A short in a 25 or 70 Volt commercial sound system such as one
might install in a shopping center will usually pop a fuse or burn
something.

Regards,
Robert L Bass
www.BassBurglarAlarms.com


Re: speaker wire deteriorates?
itsme213 wrote:
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I'm wondering if perhaps you could detail what you've done recently (add
an additional speaker pair, new wall plate/connectors, etc.).  If none
of this applies, did the reduction in volume happen rather suddenly or
is it when you've selected this pair along with a number of others?  How
about telling us what you have installed and describe the wiring runs as
well.  What's the impedance of the speakers and amp?

Re: speaker wire deteriorates?

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ago when building
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Unfortunately I ran
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company run the
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than before for
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installed

Did they use real speaker wire, or maybe the 24 ga. stuff
they used for the alarm wiring?
Smaller wire would result in less volume.

Bob


Re: speaker wire deteriorates?
If an alarm company wired the last speaker pair it is indeed possible
that the technician simply used whatever was on the truck rather than
adequate guage speaker cable.  You can use 14 or 16 guage cable for
background level sound in most applications.  Alarm companies use lots
of 22/4 cable for keypads, sensors, etc.  This is not recommended for
speakers, especially if the run is more than 40-50 feet or if you plan
to use much power.

That said, I got the impression that everything had been working
properly until recently.  If that is the case, wire gauge is not likely
to be the cause.  OTOH, if the problem developed as soon as the alarm
company wired in the last pair, improper cable might well be the
problem.  The only solution will be to rewire that room.

Regards,
Robert L Bass
www.BassBurglarAlarms.com


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