How to identify speaker wires?


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Old 03-29-19, 08:34 AM
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How to identify speaker wires?

I have 4 in-wall speakers, 2 front 2 rear. I removed mesh covers from 3 but the RR I cannot. Without seeing the speaker cone movement, how can I tell wire polarity?

The front ones are 6" Boston Acoustics 360 II. Cone surrounds are shot. Dated 1994. Refoam or buy new ones? Thanks
 
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Old 03-30-19, 04:21 AM
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I don't know how to check polarity of the install without looking at the wiring unless you have a very keen ear. Most speaker wire is marked. There is a line running down one side or one wire is copper colored and the other is tinned so it's silver looking. That way you can look for the line or color of the wire for polarity.

The surround foam can be replaced. Look online and see if the price for new surrounds is worth it.
 
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Old 03-30-19, 06:14 AM
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If you can see the speaker cone you can use a battery. Hold one wire on the negative terminal and touch the other to positive. Note whether the speaker goes in or out. Compare to the others so they are in phase.
 
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Old 03-30-19, 06:27 AM
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I haven't messed with things like that for a long time, but don't think that you're going to damage anything if you connect it backward, so can't you just connect that speaker and the left rear speaker and see how it sounds? If you have any buzzing or whatever flip flop at the amp and see if that solves it.
 
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Old 03-30-19, 10:13 AM
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Thank you for the tips. Maybe my ears can tell the difference between in phase and out of phase.

I found a repair kit online. Only $10 per speaker. I will try refoaming for the first time.
 
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Old 03-30-19, 10:33 AM
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I too have been playing with speakers for a very long time and can say that if you got the polarity of one wrong you would be hard pressed to really notice by how it sounds.
It is always better to do it right though and I have used the battery and test meter method to identify far away wire end ploarity.
 
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Old 03-30-19, 12:38 PM
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Opposing polarity will cancel bass signals.
Not extremely critical on smaller speakers but is important on larger ones.
 
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Old 03-30-19, 12:48 PM
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The in wall speakers of my system have a polarity switch making it very easy to change. I've played around with it and it's surprisingly difficult to tell when a speaker is out of phase. Half the time I think I notice it because I know I've set one out of phase. I'm not certain I could detect it blindly. I wish I had multiple subwoofers. It would be fun to set them out of phase and hear what happens.
 
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Old 03-30-19, 12:57 PM
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Running big sound systems the difference is very noticeable when the bass is missing.
 
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Old 03-31-19, 09:17 AM
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I would venture to guess that whoever installed the speakers originally probably followed the same wiring convention when it came to polarity for all four speakers. Thus, if the three speakers you can access indicate which conductor of the wire is connected to the positive terminal of the speaker, it's probably safe to assume the fourth speaker is wired the same way.
 
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Old 04-02-19, 11:34 PM
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Thank you for the tips. Same wiring scheme makes sense. I have yet to replace the damaged surrounds. And I will tackle the wiring. Thank you.
 
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Old 04-03-19, 05:49 AM
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If you can see the speaker cone you can use a battery. Hold one wire on the negative terminal and touch the other to positive. Note whether the speaker goes in or out. Compare to the others so they are in phase.
This is how I do it. Just quickly tap the battery. You don't want to risk blowing a voice coil (speakers dont like DC). Better to use a 1.5V AA as opposed to a 9V.
 
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Old 05-20-19, 10:18 AM
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My apology for late report. I completed the wiring per your instructions. Certainly there was a color pattern. And the 1.5V trick did help. Now all speakers are connected and working. I wish I could record the music and post it here. Thank you.
 
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Old 05-20-19, 10:52 AM
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Awesome..... good job. Thanks for letting everyone know how you made out.
 
 

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