Common DIY Audio Video Installation Mistakes

Common DIY Audio Video Installation Mistakes

Today’s home entertainment enthusiasts and audiophiles have a fantastic selection of home theater and home stereo equipment to choose from that can really enhance the experience of watching movies or listening to music. But getting these audio video components to operate as they’re designed to do isn’t always so easy. Here at PAC-NJ, we’re often called in by customers to help tweak home theater set ups and home stereo systems when their do-it-yourself efforts have gone wrong. We’ve seen many common errors, so I’d like to offer observations on some common DIY mistakes. A lot of them fall into three broad categories: cabling, power management, and control – that is, remote control – issues. Here’s some advice about each.

Cabling: Not all wire is created equal. Inferior wire and interconnects can drastically affect picture and sound quality. Make sure you use quality audio video cable to connect your home theater and stereo. Additionally, not all wire is rated for in-wall or in ceiling use, and if installed for such purposes, can create a fire hazard. In fact, using the wrong wire in walls or ceilings for your audio video components could void your homeowners insurance. The cable rating to look for is CL3.

Power Management: Make sure you have enough power for your audio video system. Large home theater amplifiers and amplifiers for home stereos draw lots of power, and these systems should have a dedicated 20 amp circuit. Also, keep all audio and video equipment in a system on the same phase of the electrical system. This will help reduce noise issues in both the sound and picture. Of course, use appropriate surge protection. Installation-grade surge protection is far superior to the power strips you purchase from your local hardware store, and do a much better job of protecting your investment. And use UPS battery backups to protect sensitive media servers and other gear from power outages. The battery should allow you sufficient time to properly shut down the necessary audio video components so they don’t get damaged.

Control Issues: Your home entertainment system will be used much more frequently and deliver more enjoyment if it is easy to use. If you have a small home theater room, a simple universal remote control might be all you need. For larger home theaters, or house-wide audio video system, a centralized control system with two-way feedback might be what you need. And if you have young children who will be using the system, consider a simpler, less expensive remote control solution for them. You know how youngsters can be. Coming home to find peanut butter stuck to an expensive touch screen does not make for a fun day.

These are far from the only DIY mistakes our customers in Millburn, Short Hills, and throughout northern New Jersey make when trying to install a complex home entertainment system without professional help. I’ll blog about some of the other important DIY mistakes to avoid when installing home stereo and home theater packages soon.