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5.1 surround sound speakers into one wire?

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (Not Computer-Related)' started by NewLifer89, Oct 29, 2018.

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  1. NewLifer89

    NewLifer89 Thread Starter

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    Hey all. So I have a 5.1 surround sound system in my office. The audio in comes from my desktop PC. Its a 3.5mm male to a double RCA. I am trying to clean up the speaker wires a bit and not wanting to run 5 speaker wires to the back to the receiver. I don't use the system as a true surround sound. It only runs in a 2.1. So I was wondering if I could run all the speaker wires to one larger gauged speaker wire and run just that one wire to the receiver. I installed this system before the knowledge of running the wires in parallel or series and I am not wanting to change it all up. I know speakers dont use much power so I am hoping this will work... I drew up a tacky diagram.. hopefully this helps..

    Thanks
     

    Attached Files:

  2. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    You'll need to run a minimum of 2 speaker wires (+/- pairs) to the speakers. If you only run one single cable, you lose stereo and would have to pick which channel to send back; either the left or right. If you go with the 2 speaker cable route for L/R stereo, you have to wire the speakers in series for both the L and R side. Wiring in parallel will drop the impedance load the receiver sees which would be extremely taxing on the amplifier section of the receiver. Dropping the impedance load causes the amplifier to supply more current which many mass market receivers/amplifiers are not able to do. At best, the receiver/amplifier goes into protection mode. At worst, the receiver/amplifier fails due to the strain of driving that speaker load. Since you're going this route, you can ditch the 5th speaker which is presumably the center channel.
     
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  3. NewLifer89

    NewLifer89 Thread Starter

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    I already have the speakers ran and wired. Each speaker has a 2 strand speaker wire going to the back of the receiver. What I wanted to do was cut back the 5 different speaker wires to a point where they all come together and splice in just one piece of speaker wire. All the positives from each speaker to the positive on the bigger gauged wire and all the neg together to the larger gauged wire. I just want to make sure the receiver can handle that.
     
  4. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    And that's what I'm saying. You can't combine all 5 channels into one and expect the same separation in sound going to each speaker. Since you're only sending a stereo signal to the receiver, you're only putting out stereo to the speakers. With the receiver and not sure how you're running it, you could possibly have discrete audio being sent to each speaker with synthesized surround such as Dolby Pro Logic. You're not dealing with a digital signal where you can mix all the audio together and break it out down stream. Nor are you dealing with an analog multiplexing setup which you can have discrete analog signals being sent on the same cable.

    Plus from what I can understand what you want to do, your description is going to only send one channel of sound to all the speakers and they'll be wired in parallel which as I said above is a big no no.
     
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  5. NewLifer89

    NewLifer89 Thread Starter

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    Ok. So I am assuming its best to just leave it the way it was. I dont run it at surround sound anyway. I run it as 2.1 sound. All 5 speakers play at the same time at the same volume. But I guess I will just keep it like I had it.
     
  6. Drabdr

    Drabdr Moderator

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    Good morning!

    So you have five speakers. These speakers are wired into some type of receiver. The receiver gets a signal from the computer. currently you have five sets of wires going from the receiver to the speakers. Correct?

    Now, you state it only runs in 2.1. How is that? Is the receiver you are using only 2.1 stereo?
    Is the drawing you provided (nicely done, by the way) how it's wired up now?

    What is the impedance rating on the speakers and the receiver? ZX10guy is exactly correct. You need to take caution in how it's wired up; or you could damage some equipment.
     
  7. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    His reference to 2.1 is the audio coming from his computer is just basic stereo. The receiver (at least all current model receivers) has different surround modes. Some of these surround modes attempt to create a surround effect from a basic stereo audio input. An example of a surround mode which does this is Dolby Prologic which I referenced above.
     
    Drabdr likes this.
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