Zone Fever?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Ryan-Horst, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. Ryan-Horst

    Ryan-Horst Auditioning

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    Hi folks,

    Im looking to set up my house for the first time and was wondering about zones.

    My friends system is capable of playing surround sound in the living room and piping the radio out to his pool deck simultaneously and thats definitely something I want to do. However as I think about it, I start to think it would be cool to have many zones in the house..kitchen, dining room, master bedroom...etc.

    Then however I start to think how many different audio sources can you have going on at once before it gets out of hand and confusing?

    First off, I guess is what is the technological limit on commercially available systems for multiple zones..specifically with independant audio streams in each zone?

    Second, what have people found to be the most zones that is realistic to use at any given time? Before it becomes too messy sound wise or just plain easier to buy a stand alone system for another room?

    For Home theaters that do zones, is the second zone just a stereo signal or is it a surround signal? For instance, if I had a home theater set up in the living room, and a stand alone dvd in the master bedroom, could I have the sound sent to the home theater box then back to the room in surround or would I just be better off with 2 home theater systems?

    The main reason for all this is that I want to have sound throughout the house, but I want it selectable in each room and I dont want a huge electronics stack..the smaller the footprint the better.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Ryan
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Moderator

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    Welcome to the Forum Ryan!
    There’s certainly something to be said for stand-alone systems. Naturally speakers are a given either way, but the cost of installation could go along way towards the remote hardware.

    Niles Audio is one of the premier companies supplying hardware for multizone installations. Here is a link to their multizone page:
    http://www.nilesaudio.com/products/multizone.html

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. Tony Loewen

    Tony Loewen Stunt Coordinator

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    If you are good with computers, and don't mind picking up a few cheap pcs just to use as clients from a main server, than you could have as many zones as you can afford. It doesn't take a lot of horsepower to run audio, so your clients could be very cheap boxes, and wouldn't need any storage if you were running off a main server. Probably the most expensive thing would be picking up monitors. That, and you would most likely begin to suffer from upgraditis, once you learn that you can run video off the server as well. At which point you'll be beefing up the clients with faster processors and video cards.

    If that sounds like something you might be in for, check out xlobby. It's a freeware front end program for media, and it supports client/server setup. Alot of people end up with touchscreens everwhere to control pretty much everything from radio, music, hi-def upscaled video feeds, webcam feeds, control lighting, pretty much anything you can think of. Others use wireless palmpilots and laptops.

    Sky's the limit, basically, depending on your abiltiy and budget. As far as ability, there's lots of help available. Look into HTPCs and home automation, either here or over at avsforum.com. Can't help you with budget, though. [​IMG]
     
  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    some of the higher end receivers can do a good job with zones as well. my yamaha (htr-5790) can do two zones right out of the box. with an external amp, i can go up to three zones.

    some receivers (like the denon 5803?) can do two *independent* surround zones (i think up to 7.1)! [​IMG]

    ----

    so, if you want to still have zones, but not necessarily go the higher-end install route, something like the above may work for you.
     
  5. Ryan-Horst

    Ryan-Horst Auditioning

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    Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the info.

    It seems from talking to people and reading some other threads on this forum that 2 audio streams is pretty much sufficient for 99% or all people, so I dont think I need to really go hog wild on that end.

    Sending the second audio stream into multiple selectable rooms does seem worth while.

    Now that presents some problems acording to what I've read on the web.

    In order to split the zone 2 audio stream into many selectable rooms (pool deck, kitchen/dining room, den, master B-room, master bath, etc), I'd need some sort of speaker selector box, and probobly stand alone amps right?
    Plus, to make it all remote-controllable, I'd have to go out and buy/install some sort of IR repeater system and high end remote with macros to run it all?

    Thats starting to sound like a lot of boxes and install time and headache..and cash!

    At the risk of getting burned in effigy, I'd like to pose a few questions...

    There is at least one- 1 box solution to my situation. The manufacturer is apparently not very well liked around these parts...It starts with a "B" and is a four letter word...literally and apparently figuratively as well.

    Now, 100% of all the rants I've read against said company deal exclusively with speakers..well and corporate practices...

    Lets make a few assumptions before we continiue..

    Lets assume I trolled e-bay low bidding for a month or so till I found a bose lifestyle home theater..and here's the catch..with no speakers!

    Lets assume I got a reasonable low price and since its used, the corporation gets no further profits...

    Lets assume my wife has lost 75% of her hearing (therefor the sound quality is lost on her) and I have 2 pre-teen girls and between the phone ringing and the door slamming, Im going to loose most of the sound quality of a better respected system..

    So here are the questions:

    Does anyone know if its possible to run other than bose speakers with the bose lifestyle system in surround sound?

    Assuming due to the prioritized cable plug in the back of the box that I'd have to at least use the acoustimass module, could I run other than bose speakers in place of those cube speakers?

    How does the lifestyle box capabilities (actual sound processors and such) compare to other brands home theater boxes in say the sub $800 range?

    Are there any other "1 box" solutions to this made by someone else?

    Ok folks, light your torches..

    Thanks in advance,
    Ryan

    ps- please be gentle
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    [​IMG] no way are we gonna be gentle with you ryan. you may as well put your flame suit on now! [​IMG] i'm almost positive that you must use the lifestyle speakers with the lifestyle system. if i remember, i'll check this sunday (i work at bb) and see if i can check out the connections. but, like i said, i'm pretty sure it's all proprietary.

    plus, you realize each additional zone setup (amp/remote/basic speakers) runs about an additional 800 dollars...i think.

    but, i will say this. if bose suits your purposes, go for it. there really isn't anything wrong with bose stuff except the price. the reason people here don't like them is simply because, for the price you pay, you can get a much better performing system. but bose does have it's merits: simplicity and size.

    ---------

    to contrast this, think about this setup (similar to what i hope to do).

    my yamaha receiver has three zones. i plan on hooking up some xantech ir stuff (about a hundred bucks for a basic kit). i bought an external amp (to drive my other zones) for about 200 bucks. so, not including my receiver, it should cost about 300-500 bucks to get the other zones running. a really decent remote is about 100 bucks (mx-500).

    sorry, gotta run...hope that helps some....
     

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