Here’s my room. I wanted to connect my surround speakers behind the couch. The stereo is to the left of the TV just out of the photo.
I had already run wires up to the TV and through to the main right speaker (by the left-most window). But wasn’t sure how best to wire the surrounds.
I did consider going through the walls— cutting up the drywall and/or removing the baseboard and cutting a channel in either the backside of the baseboard or the drywall/studs. But that seemed like too much destruction.
I decided to go with flat speaker cable and run it along my baseboard.
Choosing the Wire
I started at one of the big-box stores, figured I’d patronize the physical store if they had a decent selection and had samples available.
They had just one kind in the store (I did ask if they had others) and no samples. So I left. The one kind they had was Acoustic Research Microflat cable. Couldn’t figure out what gauge, probably 18. This was a 50′ roll for $55.
The big drag with this: the cable is for just 1 speaker. I needed to drive two speakers (left and right surround) and wanted to run both sets of wires along one wall. So first I’d need two of these spools (now we’re up to $110) and I would need to be careful to line up the two cables next to each other or on top of each other along the baseboard so it looked reasonable. Forget it.
Some Googling showed some other promising options. First I searched for Monster Cable. They have a line of SuperFlat wire, but it turns out to not be super flat at all. I found this stuff called Flatwire from DeCorp that looked really nice. Super thin. Cons: still need two runs of cable, plus it requires painting (unless you like the copper look), and doesn’t include ready-to-stick adhesive on one side. Both of these last two could be ideal for some installs— if you need to do lots of 90 degree turns, you wouldn’t want paint/adhesive on there. But I didn’t want to deal with adhesive or painting. Next.
The best product I could find for me was Taperwire.
The clincher– they make a 4-strand cable, so you run one wire that drives both surround speakers. It comes with adhesive on the back, and the other side is white.
I purchased through Sewell Direct, listed on Taperwire’s site as an authorized dealer (Amazon didn’t list the 4-strand option). The price was $55 for 50′, and you only need 1 spool since it includes 4 strands. So it’s cheaper, and I only have to run one strip, and comes already white and with the adhesive on the back. Perfect. [Update 12/5/08: Looks like the price went up, their site now lists the spool at $79. Still cheaper than 2 spools of anything else. Update 6/16/09: Price went up again to $109. Bummer.]
By the way, Sewell Direct was great— they sell this wire in white or clear, 2 strands or 4, 16 or 18 gauge, and in tons of different lengths from 10-100′. I had a little trouble finding exactly what I wanted (4-strand, 18 gauge, white, 50′)— Sewell had live chat support via their web site that was extremely quick and helpful. I placed my order.
It arrived in a few days. Here’s the spool:
Here’s a close-up of the outside:
And here’s a close-up of the inside– you can see the 4 strands of wire: