I periodically get asked what type of wiring one needs to install for an audio distribution system. I then ask a question in return on what type of system do they wish to install, to which the reply is usually “Well, what do you have available?” And so begins a discussion of various products, from the simple attenuator volume controller to the high-end multi-source, multi-zone systems. Regardless of the system to be installed, the wiring requirements remain the same: For each listening zone, home run speaker cable from the left and right speaker location back to the distribution center through the zone wall-mounted volume controller junction box AND home run a Cat5 cable alongside the speaker cable from the junction box back to the center.
The junction box is where a volume controller could be potentially located, be it an analog, attenuator-type volume controller, or a digital one, and the box allows access for both the Cat5 and speaker cables The analog VC will use the speaker wires and the digital one will use the Cat5. If a volume controller is not going to be installed, then simply connect the appropriate speaker wire pairs together, the Cat5 is left unused, and slap a blank cover over the junction box. By having the speaker cables and the Cat5 pass through the junction box, it allows you to use any type of audio distribution system out on the market today. Take a look at this diagram for wiring and application notes.
Are you interested in any of these products? Click on the products listed below and learn more about them. And I almost forgot to mention this…we have a bundled cable that has both 16-4 AND a single Cat5e. One pull of this cable per zone between the distribution center and volume control location and you are good to go!