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Speaker Cable = line-out/in cable?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Can I use speaker cable as line-in/line-out cable? If not, what can I use to make a really long (100ft) rca (red/white) to a line-in cable?

Here's why I ask: I am setting up an outdoor speaker system. I am using the following setup. speakers(outside)->speaker cable (~100ft)->reciever (inside house) -> speaker cable (~100ft)-> universal ipod dock (line-in) (outside)

It seems a little convoluted but this has been the only solution I could figure out to have an outdoor system that I could use my ipod and control from the outside. I would just have to bring out the dock outside (thinking about buying velcro to stick it somewhere semi-perm.), remote and iphone and that's it.

A big issue is the length of wire I need, I have a large back yard leading up to the pool area.
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSeru View Post
Can I use speaker cable as line-in/line-out cable? If not, what can I use to make a really long (100ft) rca (red/white) to a line-in cable?
No you can't. Well, technically you can, but for many reasons the short answer is no you can't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSeru View Post
Here's why I ask: I am setting up an outdoor speaker system. I am using the following setup. speakers(outside)->speaker cable (~100ft)->reciever (inside house) -> speaker cable (~100ft)-> universal ipod dock (line-in) (outside)

It seems a little convoluted but this has been the only solution I could figure out to have an outdoor system that I could use my ipod and control from the outside. I would just have to bring out the dock outside (thinking about buying velcro to stick it somewhere semi-perm.), remote and iphone and that's it.
You will be able to get music out of your speakers. The following just addresses why you may not be able to get quality sound out of your setup.
I'll list some of the problems you're going to encounter.
The resistance in a 100' run of speaker cables is going to be high enough that the treble and bass in your speakers will be quite attenuated unless you use decent quality cables that look like garden hoses (10 awg or thicker). Thicker cable = lower resistance. Lower awg = thicker gauge wire. Your receiver should also be pretty ballsy if you want to crank up the volume (depending on the efficiency of your speakers) since the resistance will still be a little high. There's also a chance that your highs and lows may be slightly out of phase.
If your speaker cables are going to be exposed to the weather they are also going to corrode. This will lead to higher resistance and distortion, and you'll probably have to replace them annually.

The problems with a 100' interconnect are worse. It will be a 100' radio antenna. In order to help combat this the cable has to be shielded and of a geometry resistant to RFI, like star quad microphone cable. The downside to this is that the capacitance will very high which will severely roll off the high frequencies. Recording studios get around this by using balanced interconnects, which you can't. An interconnect should really be 30' max and even that's too long.

If you can somehow make the cable runs shorter (especially the interconnect) it would be a lot cheaper and sound better. If you're just going to use an ipod as a source, could you buy a second hand amp/receiver just for this purpose and locate it closer?

Anyway, assuming that you still want to go ahead, for a long interconnect you could use Canare L-4E6S or Mogami 2534 neglex star quad cable with rca's at each end. You would then connect this to a short Y cable consisting of 2 female rca's to a male mini, then to your Ipod.
You should use stranded 99.9 % pure copper wire of at least 10 awg for 100',
11 awg for 80', 12 awg for 60'. It won't be audiophile, but is the minimum that would sound decent.
If you could get the length down to around 40'-45' you could use cheap HD14 bulk power cord from Home Depot. It's a 14 awg 3 wire cable. 2 wires would go to the - speaker connection and 1 to the + and sounds surprisingly decent.
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSeru View Post
Can I use speaker cable as line-in/line-out cable? If not, what can I use to make a really long (100ft) rca (red/white) to a line-in cable?
You can. As long as you equip the cable with the correct connectors in both ends (RCA, XLR, ..).
That said, you are much better of using a cable dedicated for signal cable use.
post #4 of 11
The 100ft speaker cable is fine. Preferably around 12g or thicker. In-wall speaker wiring run several hundred feet without any issues.

Do NOT use a speaker cable as your 100ft interconnect. Speaker cables are HORRIBLE interconnects. Like Nightowl said, that's basically a 100ft antenna from your ipod to your receiver. Studio's use balanced interconnects for this reason, but you can still attenuate most of the noise using a well-shielded cable.. star-quad configuration is your best bet. Canare L-4E6S would be my first choice. Effective 18g per channel, and about $50 for 100ft. There is no reason you should need a 10g cable for an interconnect, regardless of how long. It only increases the cable's capacitance and the impedance of your receiver is probably several thousand times higher than that of your cable.

Instead of taking a line-out signal, I would take the buffered signal from the headphone-out.

Edit:
100ft 10g speaker cable would run you probably around $100, and $50 for the interconnect wire. It makes much more sense to build a 120w gainclone amp for under $100, and avoid the hassle regarding the cables.
post #5 of 11
I'd look into streaming music over your LAN, it'll work out cheaper than long RCA or speaker cables, and will sound better.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the information. I do really appriciate it.

I think I am going to try out this for a solution: Amazon.com: Audio Unlimited Wireless Speakers with Remote (SPK-VELO-001): Electronics

It sounds like I would need a lot cable...and my requirements are: weatherproof and ability to control music from outside. This wireless solution seems like the easy way out and I can still connect and use the iPod Universal dock's remote to control music.

I realize that this isn't going to yeild the "best" audio quality but with littl kids running around this system is going to be mainly used for background music while at pool and gardening.


If I go back to the wired solution, would these suffice to use for the line-in to the dock? For only $13.30 each when QTY 50+ purchased - PREMIUM 2 RCA Plug/2 RCA Plug M/M 22AWG Cable - 100ft | RCA Audio Cables
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSeru View Post
Thanks for the information. I do really appriciate it.

I think I am going to try out this for a solution: Amazon.com: Audio Unlimited Wireless Speakers with Remote (SPK-VELO-001): Electronics

It sounds like I would need a lot cable...and my requirements are: weatherproof and ability to control music from outside. This wireless solution seems like the easy way out and I can still connect and use the iPod Universal dock's remote to control music.

I realize that this isn't going to yeild the "best" audio quality but with littl kids running around this system is going to be mainly used for background music while at pool and gardening.


If I go back to the wired solution, would these suffice to use for the line-in to the dock? For only $13.30 each when QTY 50+ purchased - PREMIUM 2 RCA Plug/2 RCA Plug M/M 22AWG Cable - 100ft | RCA Audio Cables
I have no experience with wireless speakers so I can't help you there.
As far as the interconnects go, they would physically work. You'll definitely pick up some of whatever rfi is in your area since 75 ohm coaxial cable (even shielded) is a good antenna.
post #8 of 11
I'm not a big fan of using 200ft of cable between your ipod and speakers.

The audio-unlimited speakers look alright, but I'm not a big fan of wireless audio either. The ones you listed converts music to mono before transmitting, runs off batteries, and wireless audio devices I've used has a lot of interference from other wireless devices.

Why don't you get a nice set of powered speakers for around the same price? It will run directly off your ipod and a power outlet, and theres some very decent ones at around $100-200.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesL View Post
I'm not a big fan of using 200ft of cable between your ipod and speakers.

The audio-unlimited speakers look alright, but I'm not a big fan of wireless audio either. The ones you listed converts music to mono before transmitting, runs off batteries, and wireless audio devices I've used has a lot of interference from other wireless devices.

Why don't you get a nice set of powered speakers for around the same price? It will run directly off your ipod and a power outlet, and theres some very decent ones at around $100-200.
Powered outdoor speakers? Please advise. I could hook those up to an airport express, if I wanted to.
post #10 of 11
Get active speakers connected to an airport express or something, connected to your computer. Then control your PC's iTunes from your garden using your iPhone over the wireless network.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mellows View Post
Get active speakers connected to an airport express or something, connected to your computer. Then control your PC's iTunes from your garden using your iPhone over the wireless network.
I have not been able to find active self-powered outdoor speakers. Otherwise, I would use that solution.
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