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Multi-zone receiver (4 zones - 1 with 7.1 surround)

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Burrito, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. Burrito

    Burrito New Member

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    For now, I'm really just interested in getting music going throughout the house (but I'd like to have the option of adding on other equipment (TV etc) when I can afford it). In our "main" room we have 7 speakers (3 in the front, 2 center, and 2 rear), in our bedroom we have 4 speakers (all evenly spaced in the four "corners" of the room), on the front porch there are 2 speakers, and on the back porch there are 2 speakers.
    So really all I want for now is to find something that I can use to switch the different zones on or off.
    ie: I may want my bedroom and "main" room on at the same time, or my bedroom and front porch, or the front and back porches, or all 4 zones etc.
    what makes this tricky is that only two of the zones are the same (front and back porch each with 2 speakers). I did some searching on newegg and couldn't find anything that seemed to do what I want, so I'm guessing that I'll need a few components to make this magic happen, but I don't know what...
    I'd like to utilize all of the speakers (all 7 in the main room, 4 in the bedroom, 2 on the front porch, 2 on the back porch), but have the ability to turn an entire zone off or on depending on where I am.
    Again, for now, I just want to be able to play music but I do want this to be scalable for when I do want to plug the satellite receiver in, DVD in, Xbox in, etc etc.
    Whatever I find, needs to have the ability to plug an android phone in (with a headphone jack), an ipod (again headphone jack is fine), ipad (headphone jack).
    can someone point me in the right direction (links would be fantastic) to components that I need to buy?
    tia
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Well-Known Member

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    You need a receiver with 3 additional zones. I've seen them but they are rare and in my opinion, expensive.
    Since you are using the 7 amps in the receiver you will need external amps top power each zone. Parts Express has some digital T amps for about $50 each that may work for you. If you want only background music then they should have enough power.
    How will you control the main receiver from each location? Do you want different sources playing in each zone? Would you want to use a zone without any sound in the main 7.1 room?
    Also, Sonos has some equipment that might work as well. Get a cheaper receiver with no additional zones and use the Sonos system everywhere else. http://www.sonos.com
     
  3. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    You should go with a wirelss distribution system instead. There are various ways to do this. I use the new AppleTVs to distribute to 5 systems throughout the house. Music is installed on iTunes on a central computer and can be streamed to any or all systems, or each room can choose its own music (or anythng else available on iTunes) as well as other things like NetFlix streaming. Then you have a receiver or just an amp with some kind of volume control for each system. Trying to control that many systems wth a receiver will never work as well as you would like. One great thing about this system is it can be controlled with the remote that comes with the ATV but the greatest flexibility is running the system with an iPad/iPhone or iPod Touch.
    The whole system is pretty amazing. There are options from other companies and each has its limitations. For instance, right now I am posting this with my iPad while I watch yesterday's episode of Face the Nation which I have subscribed to free on iTunes.
     
  4. laraz

    laraz Member

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    I have a kind of a similar arrangement and worked it out this way (buying my components as I write this):
    1. Main room (HT): Onkyo TX-NR809 (7.2 + zone2/zone 3)
    2. Since this receiver has two pre-amp zones, I will connect preamp zone 2 to this amplifier from Parts Express http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-812, and get my 4 outdoor speakers hooked up in parallel to it (they're 8 ohms speakers, and since this amp is 4 ohms capable, it's possible - and its 150Wx2 is more than enough) - this amp doesn't need to be switched on and off as it has an auto-on/off upon detecting a signal, all I need to do is control zone 2 in my Onkyo AVR, using my android phone from wherever I am
    3. The receiver also has a preamp Zone3, which I am planning to use in a similar way, but since it'll be going to a signle room I might use a smaller T amplifier like the ones that Robert kindly suggested for around 50$
    4. For the other rooms, and although all of these rooms are wired with Cat5e and so I can use a multi-zone module such as Nuvo or Aton with keypads in every room, I decided to use Sonos wireless "Connect Amp" modules, because of their networking capability/internet radio, remote app from my android (or any device including computers) so it's much more 'comfortable'. You need to use these if you are using in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, as this is an amplifier that gets the signal wireless from your system. You can do this two ways. Either have all the sonos connect amps situated in a central location and have wireless speakers running into them (this is what I am doing for two rooms as I also have speakers wires from there going to a central location in the basement), or have one in every room, and connect it to the speaker wire jacks in ur walls.
    If you are not using in-wall or in-ceilings speakers, then you can go with a cheaper option, which is to buy the Play-3 or Play-5 Sonos players. These are HIFI powerful and nice wireless speakers, you can put one in each room, and they are all connected through your wireless network.
    Good luck :)
     
  5. laraz

    laraz Member

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    I actually found another good amp solution for your outdoors (and mine too :)) for a reasonable price - http://www.outdoorspeakerdepot.com/rxduso4pasps.html (it's 10$ cheaper in OSD vs Parts Express) - it's already two zones, with 100w per channel/4 ohms, or 70w/8ohm), and is more versatile than the other amp I mentioned.
     
  6. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    Regarding the Class-T amps, even the little $22 Lepai at parts-express is amazingly good. It won't shake the walls, but it in no way is limited to background use. I tried one of them out for a large (20'x60') room at work with Polk 30s and it really kicks and sounds excellent. Far more power than needed for work music in that large room.
     
  7. Bigbeam

    Bigbeam New Member

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    I just bought a Pioneer VSX-1027-K receiver with 2 zone support. Found this thread because I am contemplating upgrading (aka trying to find) to something with more zone support. Why? I just installed the the Pioneer app on my Samsung S3 phone and wow is all I can say. i have total control of my system from anywhere in the house and in my backyard. Right now I'm streaming internet radio to zone 2 in my home office while my wife watches tv in the living room and I have complete control of the receiver (there are tons of settings you can change - its better than going through setup on the tv).
    Basement is still unfinished so not a big deal to add more speakers / zones - would like 4 zones in total but haven't found something yet. Any recommendations? Sonos is nice but looks a bit pricey plus I want to use my own speakers not theirs (I can add to existing systems but at $400/system is too much). Would be great is pioneer added an multizone amplifier that had the same connectivity with the phone app. Phone app is really the key to the whole think IMO.
     
  8. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Elite is Pioneer's "upper" brand. To get what you want is going to cost $1600+ in the AVR.
     

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