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Powering a whole house system...what should I buy?
13 replies to this topic
Posted December 04 2012 - 09:38 AM
First, I know very little about anything stereo related ~ that is my husband's department. But, I am trying to be a good wife and surprise him with an updated/ whole house system. So far, I Have purchased: (2) Def Tech 8060 tower speakers, (2) ProMonitor 800's, and a 8040 Center for the main listening area. I intend to move the current KEF K-series bookshelf speakers and rears into the middle of the house, and will add (2 - 4) Def Tech 6500 Outdoor speakers to the lanai. Now, the problem is I need to buy a receiver to power all of this as 3 separte zones. There will be a TV connected to the 8060's setup. I have no idea about anything related to recievers and it sounds like an impossible task for one receiver. Any suggestions??? Or do I also need to start adding other components like amps, or bi-amping, or..... HELP?!?!?:confused:
Posted December 04 2012 - 09:46 AM
What is your budget? Onkyo makes a couple 9.2 and so does Denon. http://www.amazon.co...heater receiver http://www.amazon.co...ds=onkyo nr1010 That Denon is 2 model years old(long story short...the tsunami in Japan still has Denon behind the 8 ball) so it is missing some stuff the 3010 brings to the table. What "stuff" do you want used whole home??? cd player, NAS, internet based music? The more you tell us about what the sources are...the more we can help.
Posted December 04 2012 - 03:49 PM
At this point I am going to assume that I am certainly in the $2000- $2500 price range....at least. Ideally don't want to spend more than that. Primarily we are utilizing a Sony scd-ce595 cd changer. We do have an ipod docking station and may look into upgrading to the ipod touch. Minimal Pandora use, but my husband isn't really into that. Samsung LCD TV & BluRay, but really movie surround is not nearly as important as listening to music. I would like to be able to access Sirius/XM at some point in the future. We listen to alot of live recordings that my husband downloads (Grateful Dead / Jam Bands). They all live on his computer in another room- would be nice if we could wirelessly access them (though that would be yet a whole other thing I know nothing about), but at the moment I have just added them to the ipod as a convienence to connect to the stereo. I have looked at the Yamaha 3020 and the Pioneer Elite sc-67 that the Best Buy guy recommended, but audiophile reviews seem to mention both as being "bright." Both seem to suggest that can be controled. Def Tech suggests Onkyo brand "because they be "cool" receivers vs. "warm." I don't really know what a cool, warm, or bright receiver sounds like. I just know I want to close my eyes and feel like I am right there in the concert. I think the bigest issue seems to be the speakers. Ultimately I want to have 5+ speaker surround sound in 2 separate rooms with 2-4 outdor speakers....and be able to play it all at the same time (blaringly loud!). Because of the differences in quality & power output in the 3 separate zones, I would like to be able to control sound volume and tonal adjustments independently for each zone. I attempted to talk to the people at Pioneer today, but they kept saying that i could only run mono and not surround off of all of the secondary channels. I don't really understand that or why exactly that matters. So, room # 1: (2) Def Tech 8060's- 300W (2) Def Tech ProMonitor 800's- 10-150W (1) Def Tech 8040 center- 20-200W TV/ Bluray CD player & ipod dock room #2: (2) KEF K120's- 10-100W (2) ? random rear surround speakers? *future: (1) Def Tech ProCenter 2000- 10-250W *future: (1) Def Tech subwoofer cube or soundbar outdoor: (2- 4) Def Tech AW6500's- 10-200W
Posted December 04 2012 - 11:46 PM
Since you've looked at the 3020 and SC67(which shows me you know what you are getting into) that brings to the table the Onkyo 5010.(yeah I know it is $3000...but...it has no peer by anyone else....except maybe the "long in the tooth" Denon 5308) As for Apple use...the Yamaha and Elite bring more to the table than Onkyo does(Onkyo does its Apple playback via the front USB...more on that later).. Overall, Onkyo has the best networking. They've been doing it longer and their V-tuner arrangement is something the rest of the industry needs to just start copying. Yamaha, paired with an Ipad or the Touch has "control"(essentially you use your touch as a "system remote"...has its problems...but when it works...fabulous. Pioneer/Elite has this as well, but the Yamaha on-screen is easier to use). The Elite doesn't have as good of networking as Onkyo(but nobody does) and isn't as flashy as the Yamaha. But it brings something else to the table the other two don't. HDMI Zone 4. That feature by itself...if you'll use it...is worth ignoring everything else. This brings(if you use the HDMI all over the house) to the table...each zone has access to the AVRs set-up menu...which means you can fine-tune the sound...in each room...IN each room. Now about Onkyo using the USB for Apple instead of Airplay. Airplay and 2nd zone(which is what you are doing) don't play well. Many AVR require Airplay to be operational in Zone 1 to be used in Zone 2. Which completely defeats the whole point of a Multi-Zone receiver. No, I do not know if the Yamaha 3020 or SC67 are beholden to that "problem". I use Apple via Bluetooth through this... http://www.amazon.co... music receiver So, when it come to Airplay, I'm not as knowledgeable as others. But the 2nd zone is a constant cause of consternation on every "audio forum" you care to find. So, make sure Airplay will do your 2nd/3rd zone...like you want it to...or Airplay compatibility won't matter. Back to the USB for Onkyo. Onkyo includes two. When you connect your Ipod to the USB, it is available all over the house. That is why Onkyo hasn't jumped on the "Airplay bandwagon". The USB works for Blackberry and Droid as well. IT would also be worth your while to visit a store that sells this... http://integrahometh...&m=DTR-70.4&p=i (they have a store locator) Yes that is the "brother" to the Onkyo 3010. But Onkyo customer service lately has been lax(to say the least). Integra is in a totally different league. At the price you are already at, the cost premium to buy the Integra won't be much...but the fact you have to buy it in a store where they know what they are doing...will be worth the extra cost by itself. And, more than likely, when you find the place near you that sells it...they'll probably sell the Denon 4311, Elite SC67 and the Yamaha 3020 as well, so you won't have to deal with the "I think I know what I'm doing" people at Magnolia.
Posted December 12 2012 - 06:14 AM
THANKS!! So much to think about! I think I might just print out your response and give THAT to my husband for Xmas and make him do the final selection It's the thought that counts, right?!? I really appreciate all of your insight schan1269!!
Posted December 13 2012 - 11:42 AM
OK, now Best Buy is suggesting possibly power down from the sc67 to an sc65 and adding a Russound 12 channel power amplifier and then daisy-chaining the speakers. What do you think??
Posted December 13 2012 - 11:50 AM
Well, sounds like you lucked out with a Magnolia sales/clerk that actually has half a brain cell. The "exterior amp" would make integration much simpler. And, depending on what controls that(that would be an audio matrix) then you can have even more flexibility. If you add in an audio matrix(and how much of one depends solely on what you want to be able to do), than your "zones" from the AVR(any AVR) go right into the matrix. Then the matrix is how you pick "what goes where". If you get a matrix with "more inputs than you have zones in the AVR"...then you can plug in Ipods/CD players/streaming devices straight into the matrix...bypassing the AVR altogether. Like say you just want "the same music all over the house" from a PC. You connect the PC straight to the matrix...and the AVR doesn't even have to be involved.
Posted December 13 2012 - 11:55 AM
By the way, there are 12 channel(6, 8, 10 as well) amps with the matrix built into the amp. Or you can buy the matrix separately.
Posted December 13 2012 - 02:13 PM
ummmm... what's an AVR? any suggestions as to what would be a good external amp that includes a matrix? or does it really make much difference if it included or separate?
Posted December 13 2012 - 03:22 PM
Audio/Video Receiver. If you "need" 12 channel(for 6 pairs of speakers...) I would stick with that as a separate amp. Most matrix are based on... 1x2/4/6/8 2x2/4/6/8 4x4/6/8 So, if you did find a 12(which would be 6 outputs) channel matrix/amp combo...it would cost $3000+. Or you buy...(and yes this one is over kill with 8 inputs and 8 outputs...but the price is right) http://www.amazon.co...omposite matrix and http://www.amazon.co...annel amplifier Edit: All you really need is a 4x6 audio/video matrix. Preferably composite* video, but you might find component video only. Amazon isn't the easiest place to search stuff, cause quite a bit of the stuff you are looking at is specialty store. *and yes I know you are running audio only...matrix like this don't exist in "audio only". You'll just not use the video...or you could in the future...
Posted December 14 2012 - 03:42 AM
I know that the speakers and the AVR both affect the overall sound quality. Does the power amplifier also? I'm not sure what exactly I need to be looking for in a power amp. The Russound 1250 at Best Buy is an open box, so aparently is $700 off making it about $750 (same as the one on Amazon you linked). Once I add a power amp and a matrix, does that essentially "cancel out" the control features on the AVR? And if we go that route, I assume I no longer need to be looking at an 11.2 or 13.3 AVR. What will I actually need? 5.2? 7.2?
Posted December 14 2012 - 05:09 AM
There are more ways to do "home theater"(we'll leave out the "zones" for a minute...) than just "5.1". You have traditional 7.1. This would be worth pursuing IF you are going to watch(my opinion here) a minimum of 30% Blu Ray(more and more BD are coming along with 7.1 soundtracks...and BD is the only format that has it). Branching off 5.1 you have height(DPL IIz and Aud DSX) and width(Aud DSX). Some(and most in your price range) allow a simultaneous hook up of BOTH height and width...then you just "pick the sound mode" on the fly. You still need 7.1 to do height/width. If you pursue 7.1 with height/width, you need 9.1. The Denon AVR 4311... http://www.amazon.co...=denon AVR 4311 Allows simultaneous height and width(there may be more AVR now that can do it...but doing "both at the same time" is not a feature I've kept up with). Yes the 4311 is 9.1, so for it to do both simultaneous, you need an external amp to complete the 11.1. Now, for the "zones". In my opinion, the more zones the better. Zone 2 and Zone 3 are everywhere, some even have Zone 4(we'll leave out the HDMI Zone 4 on the SC67, cause that is a different flavor of Zone 4 than you are looking for)... Most Zone 3 AVR are also 7.1, and I can't think of a single 3 zone 5.1 anyway...(yeah, yeah, you'll see .2, but .2 "doesn't mean anything"...it does on the upper two Integra...but that is a topic better left if you want to buy one of those two Integra...). The idea behind more zones is so you can split up what goes where. House full of people...Main room and the kitchen are both on the game. Other rooms in the house are on "something else". You need 3 zones to accomplish that. The matrix is so you can, on the fly, pick where Zone 2 and Zone 3 go. Without the matrix...where those zones are connected to the external amp...is where they stay. So, essentially... You have 6 "rooms"....with a 3 zone feeding a matrix... 1, 2 and 3 can be on the "ipod" while 4, 5 and 6 are on the CD player...or 1 is on the Ipod, the rest are on the Directv...or 1, 3 and 5 are on the "network audio" while 2, 4 and 6 are on the Turntable(if you got one). That kind of flexibility isn't there without an external matrix... Confused yet?
Posted December 14 2012 - 05:11 AM
And to answer the other two... Does the matrix cancel out the Zone controls in an AVR? No, it adds to the flexibility. Do amps "color the sound"? (yeah, a re-phrase of your question) Technically that is a "yes". But, unless you are going to audition more than 1 amp, in your house...you won't know much difference.
Posted December 14 2012 - 09:59 AM
haha! surprisingly i am following along. i don't really picture many (if any) situations where we are really going to want multiple things going on at the same time (ie- someone is watching a movie in one zone and someone is listening to music on another). what we primarily will want is music blaring through the whole house in each zone and be able to make it sound about the same in each area (clearly, leaving out such differences as speaker quality)...mostly meaning same overall volume. They had previously told me that i should be able to accomplish that with the sc67 by utlizing the receiver functions to manually control the treble/ bass/ volume for that zone separately. just got a call from the not-nearly-so-knowledgeable-best-buy-consultant who is now recommending getting sonos connect or bridge and sonos amps for the other 2 zones. i think he just really likes sonos. alternatively, he said i should be able to get 2 or 3 (he didn't really know) 2 channel amps for each of the separate zones. in some ways, i thhink that maybe makes more sense than the single big amp and having to add the matrix, but clearly i do not know. I guess i still go back to the question of whether the amp and matrix addition "removes" the receivers functions to control the zones and if that means that i seriously do not need such a top end receiver at all. oh, yeah, then he threw in something about connecting a separate reciever to the main receiver to control other zones. I have a sony str-d515 (5.1 / 180w) receiver sitting here at my house that i am replacing....can i use that? or is that clearly not at all going to accomplish the ultimate issue which is NEED MORE POWER! oh, and i stil have the question of what the pioneer people meant when they said that the channels coming out of said sc-67 were "only mono." if i plug in two sets of speakers, will i not accomplish "surround sound."??? ahhh, schan1269.....what would i do without you??
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