Multi-Zone Receiver for Whole House System

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Cynthia Binder, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Cynthia Binder

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    I am doing a total remodel of my house and am installing a whole house sound system with speakers in 11 rooms. Does anyone have recommendations on good receivers? I am considering the Niles ZR-4630. Comments are appreciated, since I know very little about this and the local audio stores don't seem to be very experienced either. I am going to use separate components for the sources, so I can use the home theater independently.

    Thanks for your ideas!

    Cynthia
     
  2. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    The Niles can be a bit pricey. How about a "good" receiver of your preference with pre-outs paired with a H/K PA-4000 amp? The H/K amp can run 8 channels (4 rooms) and runs about $525 on Ebay. If you utilized an H/K receiver such as the AVR-325, you could wire your home with A-Bus controllers to control the receiver and the volume for each room. This seems like a cheaper solution than the Niles.

    The Niles that I checked out was gave you a few more zones, but the price was $2K. With the extra money, you could utilize more power amps to get the sound distributed to more areas of your home.

    Best of luck !
     
  3. Bob_Hammond

    Bob_Hammond Agent

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    Here is a writeup on what I did. email me if you have any questions.

    Bob

    I recently finished installing a whole house audio system. It turned out great and I thought I would describe it and give some pointers. My system is based on the Russound CA-6.4i multi room controller. This system allows for 4 sources to go to 6 rooms. I currently have 5 rooms hooked up and 4 sources. For my 4 sources I have radio (an old receiver), a Sony CD jukebox(CDP-CX455), XM radio (Delphi), and a connection to a cable TV box. The previous owners of the house had 1 set of ceiling speakers, and I installed 3 pairs of Definitive UIW-83 speakers. I also had a pair of Bose outdoor speakers which I used on the patio. I ordered the Russound from Home Tech Solutions http://www.hometech.com/ They had a good price and were very good to deal with. I was a bit worried about the power of the unit and based on their recommendation also ordered an external amp for my outside speakers. The unit had plenty of power for all of the inside speakers.

    When starting the first decision was where to put the equipment. It needs to be a convenient location, as well as have easy attic access. I ended up putting my equipment in a closet downstairs that was next to the garage. I then used a piece of PVC pipe as conduit from the attic into the garage and through the wall of the garage into the equipment closet. Inside the closet I had to add an electric outlet, but fortunately there was one nearby in the garage which was easily extended into the closet. I then built a flexy rack to hold the equipment. The only tricky piece of source gear was the cable TV connection. I can't get another cable connection, so I put y cables on the RCA audio out cables on the back of an existing cable box and connected coax to the y cables. I then ran 100ft of coax to the equipment closet and connected the coax to the Russound controller.

    The Russound comes with programmable remote that works with the keypads. It also comes with IR repeaters that attach from the controller to the other sources. You can then use the original remote with a keypad. The IR signal is then blasted to the source equipment from the repeaters. This works well for the CD Jukebox where the original remote is much easier to use.

    The next step was to wire each room. The Russound controller uses CAT5 cable to a keypad for each room and speaker cable to the speakers in each room. I ordered a 500ft roll of 4 conduct 14 gauge wire from partsexpress, and used every bit of it. The best I could find locally was monster for $0.95/ft. where the roll from partsexpress was only $165. The Russound keypads are very nice. They have 2 versions. The version I used was CA-LCD2 which includes a small display screen to display the source being used, as well as the volume level, and controls to change the source, volume, and to turn on the unit. They also offer another version the CA-KP2 which is cheaper, but I think the upgrade is well worth it. The Definitive speakers I used were round ceiling speakers that needed a 9 inch cutout. I started out by making a form using a 12" square piece of 1/4" hardboard. I cut out a 9 inch circle in this piece. Once I was in the attic I would find where I wanted the hole, tape the form down and then use a rotozip to cut the hole. The actual cutting takes about 30 seconds, the hard part is getting the hole where you want it. I used the location of lights and airvents to give clues as to where I was and then poked a small hole. I then want back downstairs to make sure that the small hole was where I wanted it before cutting the big hole. Cutting the hole makes a big mess, and be sure to put a drop cloth down. It wa then easy to mount the speakers, except that they had to be installed from below. I also got a special stapler from Home Depot for stapling cable. The staples have little loops to hold the cable. It helped to keep things neat in the attic. The next step was to install the keypad in each room. I tried to use existing switch spots where possible. One room had a switch for lights on a ceiling fan, but there are no lights or plans for any, so I removed that switch and installed the keypad in that location. Another room had a switch for lights and one for the ceiling fan. I was able to install a single switch with 2 controls for that equipment, and then use the other position for the keypad. I had to cut a new location in one room, and I installed a keypad outside on the porch for the outside speakers in a waterproof box. The wiring for the keypads is all CAT5 cable which I got in a 500ft box from Home Depot. On the back of the keypad you can punch down the 8 wires using a punchdown tool that Russound provides. For the end at the controller I originally tried to terminate the cable on RJ45 connectors, but found it difficult to do. I ended up getting a punch down block from a computer store for about $40 that allowed me to punch down the wires in the equipment closet. I then used short jumper cables from the punch down block to the Russound controller. This worked much better then trying to terminate on RJ45.

    All in all it worked out great. We use the system every day and love it. I was happy with all of the vendors I chose and would definitely recommend it. If you are a little bit handy and have good attic or crawl space access to the rooms you want it's really not that hard to do.

    Bob
     
  4. Kevin_Kr

    Kevin_Kr Supporting Actor

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    have you tried Audio King?
     

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