Whole House & Home Theater Design & Prewire

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Cynthia Binder, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. Cynthia Binder

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    I'm new to the forum and would appreciate advice about prewiring for a whole house distribution system and a theatre room for a house undergoing a total remodel. I am mainly an audio person and have purchased components with that in mind. This is my first foray into home theater and I want to do it right. I am upgrading from a 2 channel system, so most of this is totally foreign to me.

    I am interested in using a multizone receiver(s) to run the whole house system. I have 9 pairs of Phase Technology CI-40V in-wall speakers and 2 sets of Phase Tech Spacia speakers that I want to use in separate rooms. I am considering using the Niles ZR-4630 receiver(s) with the Intellipad Ci Solo and Numeric keypads. Would it be best to use two receivers (6 zones each) or one receiver with a 12 channel amp? I am also open to other systems, but want something that is very user friendly.

    I am using Ixos 14/4 speaker wire for the whole house system. For the home theater/stereo system I have B&W 803s for the front and 805s for the rear and a HTM2 center. I have MIT Terminator 2 bi-wires for the front. Is it wise to bury this in the wall for a clean appearance or should it be left exposed from the receiver if possible? What would you recommend for in-wall wire to bi-wire the rears?

    I have a Velodyne HGS-15 sub. How should this be wired? My local installer suggested RG-6, but the manual says to use speaker wire for a speaker-level connection to my receiver. The instructions are also showing that you should go from the right and left sub outputs to satellite speakers. I don't understand this because I thought the rear 805s should be bi-wired from the receiver. I want to hear the musicality of the system, and not let the sub override. My main focus on the theater will be concert DVDs.

    I plan to continue using my Denon DP-47 turntable with moving coil cartridge. Can you recommend a good unit that will make it work with the new receivers?

    Thanks for giving this novice input on doing it right the first time!
     
  2. scott>sau

    scott>sau Stunt Coordinator

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    Cynthia welcome to the forum. You sound far from a novice. Niles is very user friendly. The 12-channel amp is reccomended and less problematic than dual 6-channels. You could bury the speaker wire in the wall. Just make your home run with an open decora wall plate near your electronics. I have wired distrubuted audio with 16/2 the lengths of a large home. Maybe it's pschological, but our system is wired with 12AWG. I suggest by-passing the high-level speaker wire method to fire up your sub. Using RG6Q (quad sheilded) coax for low-level input is better. It is one way, or the other with sub wiring. Use the coax method and wiring the 805s will be a charm. I recommend using one, or two subwoofers in mono and implementing the Bass Management feature in your processor. It will splice the sub well with the mains and not make it seem bass heavy. It will sound great with music and home theater. Bass Management creates five, or seven full-range speakers with identical 20-20KHz response. As far as your last question I do not know.
    Hope this helps a little.
    Scott
     
  3. Cynthia Binder

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    Hi Scott --

    Thanks for the advice. Am I understanding that you are recommending using RG-6 to bi-wire the rear surround speakers instead of speaker wire? Don't mean to sound dumb, but I am just finally upgrading from my mid 80s Luxman 2-channel stereo and all the theater stuff is just blowing my mind!!!

    Regarding the distribution amp, I need 12 zones and the Niles unit only has 6 zones. Am I right in thinking that is 24 channels? My local installer suggested 2 options. Use 2 ZR-4630 units ganged together (Niles says you can do up to 3) or one ZR-4630 with a Niles SI-1230 12 channel amp to handle the additional zones. He is wanting big $$$ to install this stuff because he claims it is too complex to do it yourself.

    I have already run Cat5e to all keypad locations and the Ixos speaker wire to the speakers. I want the home theater to be stand alone, so I am going to use a separate DirecTV receiver, DVD player, etc as my source components for the whole house system so they can operate independently (these are in the family room). I ran 6 Cat5e and 10 RG-6 cables from the family room to my equipment area so that I can input the signal. How hard is this stuff to hookup and how do you know whether to use Cat5e or the RG-6 to send the signal?

    Would you wire the home theater for 5.1 or go for 7.1 since the walls are all open? (I don't have the stuff to use it now).

    Maybe this is too complex for a newbie. Your thoughts are appreciated.

    Cynthia
     
  4. scott>sau

    scott>sau Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow Cynthia, you sound beyond a newbie! Every home I have prewired I have only used RG6Q for the sub input cable. All the rest of the coax was in structured cable. www.swhowto.com
    True, Niles is some complex stuff. You may want to run all the structured cable and distributed audio yourself, but let them button up the Niles at the home run. Just label everything well. CAT5e, or CAT6 is perfect for networking and also keypads and IR repeaters if you ever go that route. I would just keep the 75 ohm coaxial cable for DSS, cable and sub input cable.
    I always try to persuade fellow home theater buffs to wire for 7.1 Someday, (we hope) a dicrete 7.1 surround sound format will arrive on DVD. Until then preamp/processors like Lexicons have 8-channel outputs from their Logic 7 processing. It is some much more fun being surrounded by more sound from back sound along with side sound.
     

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