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Bought my very first home, and looking for beginner advice for home audio, but having no luck. Can you help? (1 Viewer)

StoneHouse

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I'm a novice at this stuff but my wife and I bought our first home and I'm ready for some help! I'm feeling lost seeking advice and Googled this forum, really hoping for some quality help. Here's a few points. Our upstairs has a room I'm making a theater room, this room is NOT the room I'm asking advice for today. For that room I'll do some standard 5.1 setup.

I'm asking advice for our living room. My current home theater setup is this:
  • Denon AVR-S540BT receiver
  • Dayton audio speakers, one center (C452-Air), two front L and R (B452), a sub and two rears that I bought about a year ago for maybe ~$450.
This new house has rear-speaker areas that I can't easily run audio wiring through, not even through walls (I've asked experts) and it would be ugly to run wire there. As a result I'm considering new living room home audio. Here are my three options.


1. Keep my living room surround setup, but replace the rear left and right speakers with Bluetooth speakers with something like Klipsch R-51pm. I have no idea what those are but one person suggested them, supposedly this would work? They're expensive, this would be $500 and don't necessarily want to spend $500 just on rear Bluetooth speakers. If this idea is good, I may ask for a suggestion for a lower priced rear left and right Bluetooth speaker, and I'm just assuming Bluetooth works with my existing Denon AVR-S540BT receiver.


2. Buy a Sonos Playbar. They're selling them at Costco on sale for like $560. Then buy their subwoofer which I saw was like $600 and some rear L and R speakers for the full setup for another $350 ish. This whole setup is expensive, I don't necessarily want to spend it but.. I guess I could.. This setup also has a REALLY cool benefit I heard about, it can connect to my phone and play music via bluetooth. Also, I could buy some random speakers (supposedly?) and place them throughout my house, they'd connect via wifi, and I could have some speakers play the same music throughout my house, including in my basement.
2a. Is this setup going to sound better than my current living room setup (Denon + Dayton) I have? It's significantly more expensive, somebody told me it would sound better. Would it?
2b. If I pick this setup, can somebody tell me which Sonos rear L and R speakers I'd buy, and which sub? I think I saw they only have one sub.
2c. Is the thing I heard about buying random speakers and having them all connect via wifi true? If so, this option seems cool, I do have a basement I'd like to have music.


3. I do the same as #2, except I buy the Arc. I watched a Youtube video and it does look tempting, I may get the Arc if you suggest option 2.


Thanks guys, everything I said here is stuff I just recently heard so please connect me if it's inaccurate.
 

Sam Posten

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Welcome to HTF. You, like many readers here, are chasing a unicorn. Everyone wants Bluetooth surround sound to be great, but so far it is not. Maybe you can piece together a system that will work for you but there won't be a lot of success stories from us here to guide you.

My recommendation is to hire a professional and pull wires. I know that's not what you want to hear but it's the most practical.
 

JohnRice

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The problem is that "wireless" doesn't exist in the sense you want to use it here. Sure, audio can be sent wirelessly, but speakers still need power, and that requires wires for power. Each speaker needs power, or as in the case of the Kilpsch speakers you mentioned, only one speaker needs power, but then a wire needs to go from it to the other speaker.

What you want simply doesn't exist.

So, you can do a 3.1 system with wires only in the front, if it isn't possible to run wires to the surrounds. There are also flat, surface mount wires that are something like tape, which can be almost invisible.

I don't know what you mean by "the Arc". The only Arc I'm aware of is audio return channel (ARC) which is a way to send audio from a TV back to your sound system, but there's nothing wireless about it.
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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The fact of the matter is, Bluetooth is about the worst wireless platform out there. It’s unreliable because it works on the crowded 2.4 gHz frequency band, and really - do you want to go through the hassle of pairing everything up every time you want to use the system?

The only reliable wireless gear comes from the pro audio field. The cheapest transmitter / receiver system available will set you back $250. And you still need an outboard amplifier for the remote speakers. Youu’ll also need an AVR that has pre-amp outputs for the transmitter However, it appears that your Denon does not have any, so you’re shot right out of the hole on that one.

Another option is to go with a Denon HEOS or Yamaha MusiCast AVR that can use their wireless for the back speakers (check the specs carefully, not all of their receiver do this). The problem there is that they are both closed systems that only work with their wireless speakers. If you happen to think they sound bad – tough luck. And as John mentioned, they still have to be plugged into the wall somewhere.

Re your #2 question, you’ve moved from home theater to whole-house audio for that one. I don’t know about all of Sonos’ offerings, but if you want something they have that will work with an AVR’s Zone 2 line-level outputs. However, it appears that your Denon does not have any Zone 2 outputs, so you’re shot right out of the hole on that one, too.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

StoneHouse

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The problem is that "wireless" doesn't exist in the sense you want to use it here. Sure, audio can be sent wirelessly, but speakers still need power, and that requires wires for power. Each speaker needs power, or as in the case of the Kilpsch speakers you mentioned, only one speaker needs power, but then a wire needs to go from it to the other speaker.

What you want simply doesn't exist.

So, you can do a 3.1 system with wires only in the front, if it isn't possible to run wires to the surrounds. There are also flat, surface mount wires that are something like tape, which can be almost invisible.

I don't know what you mean by "the Arc". The only Arc I'm aware of is audio return channel (ARC) which is a way to send audio from a TV back to your sound system, but there's nothing wireless about it.


Hey! So, I also signed up at another forum because I'm really struggling to find help. You say what I'm looking for doesn't exist, however... on the other forum, somebody linked me to this.

Amazon productedit: this may not let me post links so the title of the adapter piece on amazon is:
Amphony 1700 Wireless Speaker Kit with one Wireless Amplifier, 2x40 Watts, 300ft range


They said supposedly you can just buy rear speakers that have a power plug, and then plug in this adapter to the receiver then to each speaker.

Why wouldn't this work?

Also, the Arc is Sono's Arc, it's their brand new soundbar. Supposedly really high quality. If the above adapters won't work, who on this forum would know if the Sonos Arc, plus their sub and their two rear speakers would be an improvement (a total of $1,900)? Wouldn't that be an improvement over my current $400 setup, and also be wireless?
 

StoneHouse

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The fact of the matter is, Bluetooth is about the worst wireless platform out there. It’s unreliable because it works on the crowded 2.4 gHz frequency band, and really - do you want to go through the hassle of pairing everything up every time you want to use the system?

The only reliable wireless gear comes from the pro audio field. The cheapest transmitter / receiver system available will set you back $250. And you still need an outboard amplifier for the remote speakers. Youu’ll also need an AVR that has pre-amp outputs for the transmitter However, it appears that your Denon does not have any, so you’re shot right out of the hole on that one.

Another option is to go with a Denon HEOS or Yamaha MusiCast AVR that can use their wireless for the back speakers (check the specs carefully, not all of their receiver do this). The problem there is that they are both closed systems that only work with their wireless speakers. If you happen to think they sound bad – tough luck. And as John mentioned, they still have to be plugged into the wall somewhere.

Re your #2 question, you’ve moved from home theater to whole-house audio for that one. I don’t know about all of Sonos’ offerings, but if you want something they have that will work with an AVR’s Zone 2 line-level outputs. However, it appears that your Denon does not have any Zone 2 outputs, so you’re shot right out of the hole on that one, too.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

Thanks Wayne. I do have outlets right where the rear L and R speakers can go, just can't easily get an audio cable there. I've spoken to 3 professional installers who say they can't get audio cabling through the walls there.

All this difficulty and it's so hard to get answers.

Why not just get the Sonos Arc? I hate spending $1,900 for their Arc, sub, and rear L and R speakers but hey at least that way I would have rear speakers and could add onto it for full-house audio. I've had one person say that setup would be superior to my setup, and another person say it wouldn't. If you could, could you review the setup (my current and the Sonos Arc + Sonos Sub + Sonos R and L rear speakers) and let me know your thoughts?
 

StoneHouse

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Welcome to HTF. You, like many readers here, are chasing a unicorn. Everyone wants Bluetooth surround sound to be great, but so far it is not. Maybe you can piece together a system that will work for you but there won't be a lot of success stories from us here to guide you.

My recommendation is to hire a professional and pull wires. I know that's not what you want to hear but it's the most practical.

I already contacted 3 professional installers who said they can't get wiring through the walls in my place, that's the issue. I just want rear left and right speakers lol.

My current setup is fine, but can't get the audio wiring there. I DO have outlets in the areas I want the rear L and R speakers.

Somebody recommend I buy these: Amazon product
"
Amphony 1700 Wireless Speaker Kit with one Wireless Amplifier, 2x40 Watts, 300ft range"

There's the title of the Amazon post in case it won't let me post the URL, can you check that out?

Why couldn't I buy two of these, and two rear speakers with power cords, and plug these adapters into the speakers and my receiver, would that not work?
 

Al.Anderson

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If I wanted to get wiring into walls I'd use an electrician, not an installer.
But to your request, Axiom makes great speakers and has a number of wireless offerings:
 

JohnRice

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Just a generic "wireless" speaker isn't typically suitable for this particular use. Maybe some can be adapted.

What I find is that people hear "wireless" and they think that means completely without any wires running to the speaker, and that's just not the case. In my book, there are almost always vastly superior solutions to trying to get something wireless for this particular situation. However, if someone is absolutely intent on finding something that might work, ignoring the many down sides, then they are certainly free to do so. Like I said, the negatives seem to vastly outweigh the benefits.
 

Todd Erwin

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I've used this in the past, not great but it works pretty good. I even used it at my church when they asked me to set up a temporary 5.1 audio system for a movie presentation one evening. $119.99 at Best Buy
Rocketfish.jpg
 

Todd Erwin

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What I find is that people hear "wireless" and they think that means completely without any wires running to the speaker, and that's just not the case.
I think I had lost count trying to explain that to customers when I worked at a big box retail store.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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I guess you can't just cover up the wires under well placed area rugs and such (or carpeting)? And can't run them along/inside baseboards either?

As John indicated and you recognized, you're probably gonna have to run power lines to them even if you use "wireless" speakers anyway -- you're not using battery-powered speakers. So why can't you just find a way to run speaker wires to wherever those power lines would start (or thereabouts) and just run them instead of regular power lines to regular speakers (that would otherwise be "wireless")?

Technically, the speaker wires are actually also carrying power to the speakers, but w/ analog audio signals on them, not just plain power.

Heck, if no other way, maybe you can get an electrician to install speaker wires alongside the power lines for you -- those had to be done before somehow... OR maybe there's a way to run the audio signals over the existing power lines? No idea if the tech for the latter currently exists...

And failing all that, maybe just live w/ 3.1 audio for the livingroom since you're also gonna have a separate, dedicated HT room anyway...

_Man_
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Hey! So, I also signed up at another forum because I'm really struggling to find help. You say what I'm looking for doesn't exist, however... on the other forum, somebody linked me to this.

Amphony 1700 Wireless Speaker Kit with one Wireless Amplifier, 2x40 Watts, 300ft range

They said supposedly you can just buy rear speakers that have a power plug, and then plug in this adapter to the receiver then to each speaker.
That’s not the way that unit works. The wireless receiver has a built-in amplifier, which means you have to connect standard passive speakers to it. (The Rocketfish is another version of the type.) It has no line-level audio outputs that would send a signal to an active (self-powered) powered speaker. The amplifier only puts out a pitiful 20 watts per channel of clean power. Signal-to-noise ratio is nothing to write home about either, 91 dB A-weighted. With some speakers, you could get audible hiss.

The clincher is that it only has a 67% percent user approval rating (combined 4-5 star ratings). This is sadly very common with products of this type – the ones that rate high enough to seriously consider manage to get in the 80%+ range. Scanning the 1-star comments, the #1 complaint seems to be outright premature failure. This is actually unusual; the typical 1-star complaint for similar devices is unreliability of the wireless delivery – drop-outs, etc.


Also, the Arc is Sono's Arc, it's their brand new soundbar. Supposedly really high quality. If the above adapters won't work, who on this forum would know if the Sonos Arc, plus their sub and their two rear speakers would be an improvement (a total of $1,900)? Wouldn't that be an improvement over my current $400 setup, and also be wireless?
I’ve never heard your speakers, or the Sonos for that matter, so I can’t comment on whether or not the Sonos would be an audible improvement. Sonos is known for wireless reliability, which is definitely a good thing, but they have the same problem that all these proprietary ecosystems have: Their speakers are the only option you get. If you don’t like the way they sound, tough luck. Not to mention, it’s only a soundbar.

With a stand-alone receiver / transmitter system you would be able to choose whatever speakers you want, or even use your old ones. Since it looks like you’re stuck with wireless, you might as well wade through my dissertation on the subject so you’ll know what all the options are. You can find the link in my signature.

This is all pretty much moot anyway. Any receiver / transmitter system for getting sound to the back speakers requires an AVR with pre-amp outputs for the rear channels. Yours doesn’t have them, so you’re pretty much starting from scratch. But even then, you should be able to get a new AVR, wireless system and outboard amplifier for less than the price of the Sonos, especially if you get the amp used.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

Type A

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Since you have a basement this can easily be solved with traditional speaker wire. I have a crawl space, not a basement but small strategically placed holes in the floor large enough for a speaker wire has worked great for me. Heat gun the speaker wire straight and flat, glue and/or staple the wire to the wall from the floor to the speaker and then paint over to match existing wall color.
 

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ManW_TheUncool

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Since you have a basement this can easily be solved with traditional speaker wire. I have a crawl space, not a basement but small strategically placed holes in the floor large enough for a speaker wire has worked great for me. Heat gun the speaker wire straight and flat, glue and/or staple the wire to the wall from the floor to the speaker and then paint over to match existing wall color.

Hmmm... curious why you didn't just paint over the small segment of speaker wire at the baseboard too.

_Man_
 

Type A

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Baseboard color is different. I have the paint but havent got around to touching that up yet. Still need to tighten and paint the wire as it curves into the speaker shelf, fill around the hole in the floor with brown wood filler ect.

Not sure I like the shelves Im currently using for these surround channels. They were in use with another pair of speakers in a different room and a bit small for the new S1 speakers in the main theater. So Im procrastinating, do I keep and complete the existing install or create shelves a bit deeper for the S1s', havent decided yet.
 

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