I

i_luv_pitza

Enthusiast
Hi,

I am currently wiring a residential gym and need some recommendation on the type of XLR cables to run from the wall plate in the middle of the gym all the way to the server room located in the basement. The run is about 130 feet. I'd rath use good quality/thicker cable since re-wiring would be a huge headache after the walls are finished. The closest 120v romex would probably be 1 feet away at any point in the run. This will be terminated to a wall plate with 2x XLR inputs for mic/tabletop mixer and 2x XLR outputs for additional (portable) speakers.
 
S

Speedskater

Senior Audioholic
Use a Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) cable from a major bulk cable manufacture like Belden, Canare or Mogami.
Stay away from cable companies that make special audiophile claims.
For connectors use Neutrik or SwitchCraft.
 
WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Field Marshall
“Thicker isn’t a option. You have to use in-wall rated wire for an in-wall installation. West Penn 452 is a favorite with pro-audio installation companies.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
S

Speedskater

Senior Audioholic
West Penn and Gepco are good bulk cable manufactures that are often used in the pro audio industry.
 
I

i_luv_pitza

Enthusiast
“Thicker isn’t a option. You have to use in-wall rated wire for an in-wall installation. West Penn 452 is a favorite with pro-audio installation companies.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
Yes I will definitely be getting the in-wall rated cables but I meant would gauge should I get? If I'm not mistaken, most XLR cables come in 20-26 gauges? So which is better for 130ft run?
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
For a130 ft run, if you can get the 20 gauge, I would recommend it. However, I would avoid the 24-26 sizes.
 
S

Speedskater

Senior Audioholic
From a signal perspective, for a line level cable, gauge won't matter. But for a microphone cable it might (depends on the mic).
From an availability point of view, many of the popular cables are 22AWG.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Yes I will definitely be getting the in-wall rated cables but I meant would gauge should I get? If I'm not mistaken, most XLR cables come in 20-26 gauges? So which is better for 130ft run?
For low impedance, balanced cable runs, thickness doesn't matter as much as it does for speaker wiring. Along with the West Penn, Canare, Mogami and others, Belden is another brand that makes thin cables for this application and from personal experience, it works over long distances.
 
S

Speedskater

Senior Audioholic
Finding the fire rating for cables like these is a little tricky.
They have ratings like:
NEC (UL) CM or CMR
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Finding the fire rating for cables like these is a little tricky.
They have ratings like:
NEC (UL) CM or CMR
It's not that tricky- CMR is for riser (open spaces, in walls and ceilings), CMP is for Plenum, which is used to move air from the conditioned space to the HVAC return, so it must not emit hazardous fumes or allow flame to spread faster than the prescribed rate. Ether can be used in walls and ceilings, but only CMP can pass through HVAC ducts or a plenum space (this is where the whole space above a ceiling is used for return air). Wiki has all of the specs.
 
I

i_luv_pitza

Enthusiast
This is new ICF construction and I dont need to run anything in HVAC ducts. Half of the run will actually be buried 2" in to the foam insulation thus re-wiring would be a nightmare. Thats why I wanted to use a good quality cable now so I wouldn't have to worry about it later.

I am currently looking at the following cables for the mic inputs:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/438903-REG/belden_8451_500_22_awg_stranded_2_conductor.html

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/894981-REG/Canare_l_4e6at_200m_L_4E6AT_Star_Quad_Microphone.html

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/888197-REG/Mogami_w2549_00_e_W2549_Neglex_Type_Balanced_Microphone.html

And for the speaker outputs:

http://www.gepco.com/products/proav_cable/analog_audio/spkr_perminstallBC_shld_M.htm?v=2 (Looking at the IP202AL cable)

Or

https://m.markertek.com/product/wp-25291b-1000gy/west-penn-25291b-flexible-twisted-pair-plenum-audio-cable-1000-ft-gray
 
S

Speedskater

Senior Audioholic
Thoughts:
a] Mic cable is designed to be flexible, have low handling noise and to take abuse, none of these are needed in in-wall cables.
b] Star-Quad cable is for use in harsh interference situations, like near theatrical lights.
c] All the above listed cables are good cables but designed for different uses.
d] Belden 84xx & 94xx series cables have been the industry standards for decades for in-wall and in-rack uses.
e] The fire rating only only not tricky once you know to look for the NEC (UL) CM rating.
 
I

i_luv_pitza

Enthusiast
So I know I will have a bunch of extra cable left so I was thinking of just terminating the leftovers and make some extra XLR/RCA cables to use during events. Thus the more universal cables in my list.
 
I

i_luv_pitza

Enthusiast
Thoughts:
a] Mic cable is designed to be flexible, have low handling noise and to take abuse, none of these are needed in in-wall cables.
b] Star-Quad cable is for use in harsh interference situations, like near theatrical lights.
c] All the above listed cables are good cables but designed for different uses.
d] Belden 84xx & 94xx series cables have been the industry standards for decades for in-wall and in-rack uses.
e] The fire rating only only not tricky once you know to look for the NEC (UL) CM rating.
You're right the tricky part is the in-wall rating. I think I'll just go with West Penn 291. Has a CMR rating and is 22awg which I think would be good enough for the project.

Thanks everyone for your input!
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
This is new ICF construction and I dont need to run anything in HVAC ducts. Half of the run will actually be buried 2" in to the foam insulation thus re-wiring would be a nightmare. Thats why I wanted to use a good quality cable now so I wouldn't have to worry about it later.
By 'ICF construction', do you mean stick-frame with foam insulation sprayed into the cavities? If so, install conduit. ICF generates heat when the two components react and it can damage cabling if the foam is thick enough or the reaction is too strong. ALWAYS leave yourself a path for future changes- burying cables in this kind of construction can really bite you in places where you don't want,/need to be bitten. Unless you like that kind of thing.

Also, if the cable is going over 50', you should install some kind of junction box that allows pulling from the feed end and the conduit should be large enough to allow you to have enough space inside. Standard practice is to fill it to 65% of its volume; cable needs more space (friction increases at those places) as it bends and trying to pull more than 50' can put too much stress on the cable- Cat5e allowable maximum pulling strength is only 25 pounds.

The thing I have learned over the decades of installing cabling and equipment- ALWAYS worry about the cable and never think that it can't be damaged by someone else who's working on the project. Make it difficult to damage and if possible, pull it after the drywall is up (through your conduit) but make sure the conduit hasn't been damaged. If it is damaged, that requires repairs and the cost is charged back to whoever caused it.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
You're right the tricky part is the in-wall rating. I think I'll just go with West Penn 291. Has a CMR rating and is 22awg which I think would be good enough for the project.

Thanks everyone for your input!
FYI- Belden owns West Penn. I have used a lot of both, with equal results- some runs were 450' long.
 
I

i_luv_pitza

Enthusiast
By 'ICF construction', do you mean stick-frame with foam insulation sprayed into the cavities? If so, install conduit. ICF generates heat when the two components react and it can damage cabling if the foam is thick enough or the reaction is too strong. ALWAYS leave yourself a path for future changes- burying cables in this kind of construction can really bite you in places where you don't want,/need to be bitten. Unless you like that kind of thing.

Also, if the cable is going over 50', you should install some kind of junction box that allows pulling from the feed end and the conduit should be large enough to allow you to have enough space inside. Standard practice is to fill it to 65% of its volume; cable needs more space (friction increases at those places) as it bends and trying to pull more than 50' can put too much stress on the cable- Cat5e allowable maximum pulling strength is only 25 pounds.

The thing I have learned over the decades of installing cabling and equipment- ALWAYS worry about the cable and never think that it can't be damaged by someone else who's working on the project. Make it difficult to damage and if possible, pull it after the drywall is up (through your conduit) but make sure the conduit hasn't been damaged. If it is damaged, that requires repairs and the cost is charged back to whoever caused it.
Not quite! but yea I will be running everything in a metal conduit

 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Not quite! but yea I will be running everything in a metal conduit

The above-grade walls will be ICF?

You're gonna want to look into which kind of conduit is allowed in concrete unless wood/metal stud walls will be built and attached to the inside of the ICF. If stud walls will be added, I would use flexible conduit- it's much easier to install.
 
I

i_luv_pitza

Enthusiast
Yes, basement, 1st floor, 2nd floor all ICF. Per the contractor, all types of conduits are allowed in ICF as long as they are code compliant for in-wall applications.
 
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