best way to do whole house audio

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by mylan, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I had a house built last year and knew I wanted a whole house music installed but the money ran out doing upgrades to other areas in the house. Here is what I now have: speaker cable ran to ceiling locations in kitchen, porch, and master bathroom, cat5 and speaker wire ran to future keypad/volume controls (have a blank wall plate over the holes)and speakers installed in the ceiling in the greatroom using an old receiver.
    I had the cable bundle pulled to a cabinent in the greatroom
    thinking I would use a receiver to power all speakers but now I have been reading that the receiver's amps will not power all speakers (four pairs). I cannot think of a time when all will be in use at the same time, maybe three out of the four though. Any ideas or personal experiences would be helpful.
     
  2. Brian Osborne

    Brian Osborne Stunt Coordinator

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    What kind of amp do you have? If you have 2 zones on it you may be able to pull it off. Your amp may be able to push 2 speakers off of one output.
    what is the output ratings on the amp? watts? at what ohm? does it do dual zones? Even my mid grade sony from 7 years ago has dual zones. It says it'll do 6 ohm, but I'd feel comfortable putting 2 small 8 ohm speakers on it.

    Another option would be use your pre-amp outputs and use a second powered amp for some of the speakers. This would also give you seperate control over some of the speakers.
     
  3. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I was thinking of using an old Yamaha 2092 that I want to move from the theater. It is a 100 watt per ch.x5 and two 25W front effects channels. Its amps should be ok, and I think it is zone two equipped but not like todays receivers are.
    My worry was if the receiver could handle the load, what other equipment would I have to get ( a switcher ) or would I be better off going to a Niles or a Russound audio whole house controller with keypads and what the difference in cost would be.
     
  4. John Titan

    John Titan Stunt Coordinator

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    Take a look at the A-bus system by russound. The volume controllers have little amps in the already to power the speakers (not reference level I assure you )good enough for back round music. It also allows different rooms to play different sources. A hub gets connected to the sources and then all you have to run is a single cat-5 to each volume control. It also has IR capability ( you can use a remote at any volume control to change volume, sources, etc.
     
  5. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    Yes, I had looked into those as well after seeing it installed in a model home but wondered if it would drive speakers to a decent level. I'm not looking for reference level but I would like to crank it on occasion, and probably need more juice for the porch speakers seeing as I would like to hear it around the pool.
     
  6. John Titan

    John Titan Stunt Coordinator

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    I guess your best bet would be to use a multi channel amp to drive them then. Like a 12 channel to do 6 stereo pairs. I know russound and Niles makes them there pretty expensive though. Or maybe use the A-bus for the house and drive the porch speaker off of your a/v receiver.I think the a-bus v-control amplifiers are about 15-30 watts per channel so they wouldn't go very loud.
     
  7. Nick-R

    Nick-R Agent

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    the cheapest way to go would be to run the same signal to all rooms, then put a volume control in each. that way you don't need a real expensive amp.
     
  8. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    That would work, I really do not see the need for different zones anyway. Would I still need a switcher or selector. How would I hook this up?
     
  9. John Titan

    John Titan Stunt Coordinator

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    If you just want to run a bunch of speakers off your amp just get a speaker selector at radio shack. Just hook up your L/R channel into the selector and them you'll be able to run a couple pairs with it. I thought you we're looking for a more discrete way of doing it. Some speaker selectors allow you to control the volume of each set of speakers but you have keep going back to the selector to change the volume. If the selector doesn't have separate volumes then every speaker will play the same loudness no matter where you are. Which to me can be annoying. If I want the speakers loud on the deck for instance I would have to turn them all up which make the one you have in the house very loud. If you already have the wires run and have an extra receiver then do what I did just run the L/R channels into the connecting blocks(EZB-1+EZB-2 from russound), then run speaker wires to each volume control in each room (ALTX-2d from russound). They're impedance matching so you can run 8-pairs of 8 ohm speakers without a selector and without damaging the receiver(the v-controls keeps the ohm load at 8 ohms even with 8-pairs)They'll play pretty loud even outside on your porch especially with efficient speakers.
     
  10. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    Thank you, that was exactly what I wanted. Seems to be kinda a pain in the ass jumping throgh hoops thing but it beats a $2,000 zoned system. I guess now I need to establish a budget for speakers. I have RBH in the greatroom now that sound decent albeit lean on bass that my installer got for $180/pair.
     
  11. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    Since this post, I have been researching Niles and Russound and their amps are rated for 30 and 40 WPC, jeez thats no better than A-BUS.
     
  12. John Titan

    John Titan Stunt Coordinator

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    dB--watts
    92 -1
    95 -2
    98 -4
    101 -8
    104 -16
    107 -32
    If you get efficient enough speakers 30-40 watts will be pretty loud as you see. I never really turn up my deck speakers to loud because they get in the way of conversation but 107 dB is pretty loud.
     
  13. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I see your point. On that scale, A-Bus might be ok, as you can see i'm still rolling this around the ole noggin.
    I have a smallish master bath with two speakers planned so 10 or so watts would be ok there. Same thing for the kitchen (two speakers)that would open into the greatroom where I would want the most sound.
    I've looked into your volume controls, they look like they'd work fine, just hate to not use that cat5 I ran to the keypad locations.
     
  14. John Titan

    John Titan Stunt Coordinator

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    Using the cat-5 would save you some work. But at least you have the holes in the studs and so forth so it's just a matter of fishing the new wires trough. When I put my system in I used radio shack single point stereo speakers in most of the rooms (they were about 45$ each ). I wasn't expecting much but was pleasantly surprised(they go pretty loud and don't sound half bad for the money). I'm the type of person who's inpatient so I wanted the system up and running as soon as possible. I was looking at getting polk but at 200$ a pair I wasn't willing to wait that long to save the money to get them. 1600$-vs-360$ easy math IMO
     
  15. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    Yes, i'm impatient too. We've been in our house for a year now and i'm getting tired of looking at those blank wall plates. For speakers, i was looking into Bostons or SpeakerCraft but may go with matching RBH like the greatroom pair, standing at the kitchen bar I am four ft. away from where they would go so they should be more than enough. Oh, failed to mention, I did run speaker wire in addition to the cat5.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. John Titan

    John Titan Stunt Coordinator

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    Your in good shape then. Good luck. Let me know how it turns out.
     
  17. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I will, it may be a couple months, need to find a replacement receiver for the H.T. room so I can move out the old Yamaha. I think its amps are better than my wife's old Yamaha (circa 1988) that we're using now for the greatroom audio. I'm going down to Hi Fi Buy's now. I'm thinking of going with a new Denon 2807 (ships in March) for the H.T. but there is no time like the present to visit my favorite store.
     
  18. Brian>:)

    Brian>:) Auditioning

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    fyi, I have a whole house audio system for sale on the hardware page. search for channel plus mds-6
     
  19. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    Thanks Brain, looks good but out of my budget a bit. Since I have the receiver already, all I have to get is volume controls and speakers.
     
  20. Brian>:)

    Brian>:) Auditioning

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    I am upgrading as well. If you maybe want to email me an offer I am sure I could crack. [email protected] I can also send pics. your receiver could be the radio and you could add 5 more sources! [​IMG]
     

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