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Looking to ome audio, multiple rooms. So many options I'm not even sure where to start.


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#1 of 9 OFFLINE   criticalthinker

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Posted April 24 2012 - 03:18 AM

Good morning all, I'm skilled with electrical, carpentry, mechanical etc, but I am a total newbie when it comes to home audio systems and all the options available. I'd really appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction. We are in the process of buying a house that we'd like to equip before actually moving in. That way we can do whatever needs to be done with the walls and wiring and such before painting and moving in. At out current residence we have nothing more than an LCD tv, DVD player, Comcast cable box, and Apple AirPort. Up until now we've played most music on our Macbooks and iPhones in whatever rooms we happen to be in. We've heard about systems that allow people to play music in different rooms, but we're not even sure what they are called or where to begin learning about them. Here's what we would like to accomplish at the new house:
  • wire the dozen or so rooms with speakers. The rooms range in size from 23 x 16 down to 12 x 12. One with a cathedral ceiling.
  • wire the outside partially covered patio with speakers
  • the ability to turn the speakers on and off or adjust the volume in each room. A panel on the wall in each room perhaps. Unless there's a better way.
  • unless there's an "affordable" way to enable occupants in each room to select different music we're ok with having the same music play throughout the house
  • be able to select two audio sources: streaming audio from the Internet from sites such as Pandora, and via docking an iProduct. We could put together a small server to access the Internet and serve as the source for streaming audio. Something tells me these days there is a better way to do that.
  • possibly a third source, the TV audio out, but frankly it's more a nice-to-have than a must-have.
We love music but we don't care about ultra high fidelity. We're simply looking for decent quality, decent volume, and long-lasting durability. While we're fine with docking an iPhone, selecting some music and leaving it be, we are curious what options there are to remotely access and control things such as audio streaming and iStuff via touchscreens or remote controls. What is the proper terminology to describe a system of this type? And where should we begin learning about the options? Any recommendations for possible components or design/plannng issues we need to think about? What sort of budget should be set aside for the components/hardware? I'll do most of the labor myself. Thank you all in advance. I'm glad there's a forum for these topics. I wasn't sure where to go to get answers. Kind regards, J

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted April 24 2012 - 04:10 AM

Hi Joe, welcome to HTF! I can't answer most of your questions, but I have one for you...have you considered an Apple TV? It will allow you access to your iTunes library and you can control it through the remote app on your iDevices. I don't think it does Pandora, although I believe the similar Roku does. The Apple TV has HDMI and optical digital outputs, can be accessed by wired ethernet or wifi. The Rokus come in several flavors.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   criticalthinker

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Posted April 24 2012 - 04:19 AM

Hi Steve, thank you and nice to "meet" you. I heard about Roku and definitely considered Apple TV as an option. If I can configure this system to use Apple TV as another source it'd be great. Does make me wonder if Apple TV can support multiple different targets simultaneously. I will have to research that. As I began to research some of my questions I wondered what people call these systems. Home entertainment? Seems more elaborate than typical home theater. Kind regards, J

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted April 24 2012 - 04:27 AM

I believe you are looking for Whole House Audio. I've seen systems like you have described, you might check out Smarthome.com to see if they list anything. The Apple TV works on a single target in my setup...a single TV via HDMI, A/V receiver with optical digital input, and the Apple TV. I also have a Roku, but so far have only hooked it up to the same TV via HDMI. I believe that a whole house audio system would allow you to plug in an Apple TV and distribute it to the entire house, although you might lose the video.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Martino

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Posted April 24 2012 - 05:09 AM

These guys do whole house audio at a decent price...and from their site, will give you free advise on what you can do.... "If you are in new construction, take advantage of our FREE "Send Us Your Plans" service to receive a complete whole-house audio plan that you and/or your builder can use as a guide." http://www.htd.com/P...ole-House-Audio

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   criticalthinker

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Posted April 24 2012 - 05:44 AM

Thank you both so much. I will look into both.

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted April 24 2012 - 05:51 AM

Check out Sonos - http://www.sonos.com/ All rooms play different song or sources or synch them up or just synch up a couple. It's as flexible as you want to be. Watch a few of the videos on their You Tube channel.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   criticalthinker

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Posted April 25 2012 - 01:43 AM

Wow that is an interesting option Robert, thanks. Love the wireless capability. What I love even more is the ability to easily take this with us should we ever sell the place. Not that there wouldn't be better options on the market by then, but it's nice to know we'd have the option to non-destructively remove the system.

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted April 25 2012 - 03:11 AM

I haven't gotten one yet but I am definitely thinking about it. I already have my entire CD collection stored on a hard drive in a lossless format so that should be pretty easy to play. A lot of my favorite radio stations come through I "heart" Radio. If they had an alarm clock function, I'd get the basic kit for the bedroom right now.