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post #1 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I began planning a whole house audio system in early 2007 as I had just moved into a new house. Half of the basement is unfinished so I decided I should think about running wires to the rooms above while I could. I also have a large detached garage that I was going to begin finishing on the inside. This provided me with the opportunity to run wires there as well.

Before I knew it, my wiring job turned into a full blown whole house (and garage) audio project. I will use this thread to document the system including pictures of key areas in the system.

The audio system that I chose was the NetStreams DigiLinx IP based system. This seemed like a very flexible system as all devices communicate with each via my home network. This allows me the ability to locate equipment anywhere in the house as long as I have a network connection available. It also has the advantage of locating the speaker amps as close to the speakers as possible (within reason) to eliminate signal loss and degredation. Each touchscreen/keypad in the system has intercom capability so this will prove to be a valuable feature especially between the house and garage.

In order to buy/install the DigiLinx equipment I had to go through their dealer network; however, I worked it out with my dealer so that I could run the cable and install the devices. All the dealer really has to do is help me configure the system. Listed below is the equipment that I'm starting out with:

7 zone system:

6 - 20Watt speaker amps (SpeakerLinx)
1 - 50 Watt speaker amp
2 - 3.8" in-wall touch screens
3 - 10 button keypads
1 - IR controller w/ 10 button remote
1 - programmable media converter (MediaLinx)
1 - 24 port high speed ethernet switch (SwitchLinx)
1 - 8 output DC power supply (PowerLinx)
1 - Parasound programmable Z-tuner (AM/FM tuner)
1 - PC running Windows XP Pro
1 - 19" 20U swingout rack
7pr Sonance speakers 621, 622, 623 symphony series

Add-ons:
I have recently expanded the system to include additional sources. A PC streaming Internet content and the NetStreams Streaming Music Manager (SMM100). Details on page two.


More Add-ons:
I have added another zone and upgraded existing zones to the high wattage amplifier. I am also adding video distribution equipment and remote control capabilities. Details on page two.


Setting Up Remote Control:
I have figured out how to control the system with a Harmony universal remote. Details on page two.


In the next series of posts, I will detail the installation of the various cable runs required for the system.

I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.
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post #2 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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This is where all of the Cat5e, Coax, and 16-4 power wiring terminates in a basement mechanical room.
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post #3 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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While I was at it, I decided to run extra Cat5e cables for PC network connections as well as future IP video equipment. Many of these wires terminate at TV locations in each room. If I decide not to go with IP video I can still utilize the Cat5e wire using a matrix switch and baluns.

I bought a 19" swingout rack. This rack makes it very convenient to get to the back side of the equipment. The rack is made by Quest and can swing out from either side.

I have terminated most of the wires to two 24 port Cat5e patch panels.
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post #4 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I printed on white shrink tubing to mark all of the wires. I marked them by their location on the patch panel and the room that they terminate in.
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post #5 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
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This is the front view of the rack. With an IP system, all of the various devices are connected on the network via a high speed Ethernet switch. Note all of the patch cables from the patch panel to the switch. These cables essentially tie all of the wires from the various rooms together.



Power for all of the remote equipment comes from the 16-4 wires connected to the power supply (PowerLinx)
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post #6 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
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This is the Cat5 tester that I used to test each wire run. This tester tests wire mapping, attenuation, return loss and a host of other important tests. I was able to borrow the tester from the IT dept at the company that I work for. It proved to be an invaluable tool as I found a few badly terminated connections.

There is an awesome article that talks about testing Cat5e wiring for audio/video applications here.
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post #7 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is one of the speaker amps called SpeakerLinx used in the system. This device gets the synchronized digital audio signal (stream) from the network and converts it to an amplified analog signal for the speakers. A 10 button keypad can also connect to this device for local room control.
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post #8 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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This is the top of the conduit running up through the wall between the house and the garage. I ran a pull wire in the pipe so that future wire runs will be easy. The bottom of this pipe goes to the basement where the wires run between the floor joist until they terminate at the rack.
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post #9 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are SpeakerLinx amps for four of the seven rooms. Although it is best to mount them as close to the speakers as possible it wasn't going to be easy to terminate the wires at each speaker location so I decided to compromise and terminate them in a central location in the attic. Note the shrink tubing wire labels on this as well. The blue wires are the Cat5e network wires and the white wires are for speaker runs. The grey wires are for the DC power.
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post #10 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I had to cut some drywall in the garage to install the conduit to run wires in. This will make it super easy to add wires in the future.
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post #11 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are the speakers installed in the master bedroom. I used the Sonance 621TR ceiling speakers here. The nice thing about these speakers is that you can tilt the speaker cone under the grill to aim the sound in whichever direction makes sense for the room. I also painted the speaker grills to match the ceiling color. Home Depot sells little rechargeable cO2 paint sprayers that I used to spray the interior house paint. It took a few tries to get the paint thinned just right so that it would spray cleanly.
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post #12 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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When the house was built, speaker wire was installed in the vaulted ceiling in the livingroom. Good thing because it would have been impossible to do it now without cutting drywall. The wires were located behind cover plates in the ceiling.

The speaker wires terminated behind the TV location instead of the attic but this was not a problem because the SpeakerLinx devices are small enough that they can be mounted in walls. I mounted one behind the entertainment center in the living room. I ran 5 Cat5e cables to the entertainment center location as well as two power wires.

Here are the speakers installed in the livingroom. Again I painted the grills to match the ceiling. They are hardly noticable. In this room I used the higher quality Sonance 623T speakers.
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post #13 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a shot of one of the touchscreens (called TouchLinx) mounted in the wall. NetStreams has a variety of coverplates to match the decor. This one is mounted in the master bathroom and can be used to control both the master bedroom and the bathroom. Actually, any TouchLinx can control any and every room's audio.

The beauty of these touchscreens is that they do not have to be connected to a SpeakerLink or the speakers. They simply connect to the network via a Cat5e home run wire connected to the Ethernet switch. This allows flexibility in where it can be mounted.
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post #14 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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One of my zones will be the detached garage. Luckily the home builder had enough forethought to install several conduits underground between the house and the garage. This shot shows the Cat5e and power wires running under the floor in the house into the conduit that runs to the garage.

I will post more about the detached garage later.
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post #15 of 47 Old 12-21-2007, 08:51 PM
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Heck of a project, looks like you put a lot of thought behind it
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post #16 of 47 Old 12-22-2007, 08:19 AM
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You are a smart cookie. Looks like alot of thought and work to me.
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post #17 of 47 Old 12-23-2007, 05:40 PM
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It must be the era that one grows up in, don't think I would have the courage to tackle such a project. Nice work as always. How much did you have to teach to companies techs?
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post #18 of 47 Old 12-25-2007, 12:25 PM
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pmilin,
wonderful install on this system! I only hope mine comes out as nice when I move in next month to my new home with Netstreams! I just hope I covered as many bases as you seem to have done.
I'll probably be asking you some questions as time goes on about getting the most out of mine,hope you don't mind!
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post #19 of 47 Old 12-25-2007, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slapshot View Post

pmilin,
wonderful install on this system! I only hope mine comes out as nice when I move in next month to my new home with Netstreams! I just hope I covered as many bases as you seem to have done.
I'll probably be asking you some questions as time goes on about getting the most out of mine,hope you don't mind!

Thanks. No problem ask away. That is the reason why I put information up here in the first place. When I was doing my system there wasn't much information about it other than what NetStreams web site had. I hope this post helps you so that when you have yours done you will at least have some idea of what to expect.

P.S. Make sure that you get a copy of the NetStreams project file from your dealer. This file has all of your settings unique to your installation in it. I think it is a good idea for you to have a copy in your possession.
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post #20 of 47 Old 12-26-2007, 08:23 AM
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Thanks for the tip!
I actually was thinking of something like that,so I wouldn't be constantly asking HIM on my configuration. $

I like that rack you have,do you like that one better than the Middle Atlantic offerings? On price maybe?
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post #21 of 47 Old 12-26-2007, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I liked it due to price mostly. The swing out design is a great space saving idea because you don't have to leave room around and behind the rack to get to the back of it. Just decide which way you want it to open and run all (or most) of your wire on the hinged side. I got the rack from MB Electronics for $137. You do need a wall to mount it on though.

The surge protecting power strip and shelves came from Swell Direct. I also got the patch panels from Swell.

Actually, I got one of the shelves from IOFast.com. This shelf holds the power supply (PowerLinx) and it is a perfect fit. I recommend it over the one that I got from Swell Direct for the power supply. This shelf is made by Quest also.
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post #22 of 47 Old 01-28-2008, 05:58 AM
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Well I finally got into my house and the Netstreams installed.
Having a couple of issues with it so my dealer will be out this week to tweak it.
Love the "potential" that it has,right now I'm limited to one source,pc's as my servers using the smm100. Plan to add a network attached server,Sirius tuner,security camera's in the not too distant future,and grow the system as $ allows.
The good thing about the smm is it grabs all the music from all the pcs networked.The bad thing is,I need a lot of cleaning up to do as it's all scattered around my various pc's,with a lot of duplicated stuff, making searching rather cumbersome on the touchpanel,though I can use the keypad function to speed things up.
A work in progress.
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post #23 of 47 Old 01-29-2008, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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As I said in another thread I finally got my SMM100 music manager going. I am just streaming from a Win XP PC for now. I plan on adding a MS Home Server to the equation soon.

One thing to note when organizing your music. Make sure that the actual song files and playlist files are at least three levels deep from the share that the music manager sees. Otherwise playlists that you create won't work. I had issues getting the playlists to show up properly on the DigiLinx screens. My dealer and I had a lengthy tech support call to NetStreams and they mentioned the three level deal.
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post #24 of 47 Old 01-29-2008, 04:18 PM
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Wow, your setup is awesome! I wish my wiring were so organized.

One question: where did you get your rack (and how much, if you don't mind me asking) and associated parts? I'm looking for something exactly like what you have.

Thanks.
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post #25 of 47 Old 01-30-2008, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Take a look at my post about three posts back ^^^.
Here is a link to the post
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post12589923
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post #26 of 47 Old 01-30-2008, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmilin View Post

Take a look at my post about three posts back ^^^.
Here is a link to the post
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post12589923

Thanks, and sorry! I skipped to the end after the pictures
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post #27 of 47 Old 01-30-2008, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Renesis,

Are you going with a NetStreams system or something else?
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post #28 of 47 Old 01-31-2008, 01:24 PM
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I am running whole house audio with a Russound CAA66. I will also have home-made network (patch panel and 16 port switch), TV, phone, and Video distribution (Shinybow 4x4 component matrix). I am not sure yet how I will link the audio and video systems together, but the Russound keypads will be the IR receivers for the source equipment. I have about 4' max of wall space in a corner of the storage room where all my wires are home room, and I'd like it to be as organized as possible. Do you have any standard sized structured wiring panels, and if so, were you able to mount them to your rack? I'd like everything I have to be contained in the one rack if possible.
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post #29 of 47 Old 02-01-2008, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't have any wiring panels. I ran all of my Cat5e to the rack mount patch panel. My coax runs beside the rack and the splitters are just mounted to a board on the wall along with the phone line splitter. I was thinking of doing something a little better but I have been focusing on the network stuff lately.

I suppose you could mount a panel to the side of the rack as long as it doesn't interfere with the swing out. Alternatively, I have seen rack mount panels for coax on the Internet. I was also thinking of getting some blank panels and mounting stuff to them. This way everything would be inside the rack.
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post #30 of 47 Old 02-07-2008, 10:52 AM
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Nice setup. I like how everything is controlled over a network! Just a couple of questions.

First, what is this below the amp? It is connected to the amp by a white Cat5e cable with two more blue Cat5e cables coming out.



Also, how much did NetStreams charge you for the equipment and to help you set it up like the:

SMM100
SpeakerLinx (20 and 50 amps)
MediaLinx
PowerSupply
SwitchLinx
Touchscreen
Keypads
and Service.

Why 16-4 wire for power? Is there a reason for it? 16AWG seems big to me for low voltage. And why 4 conductor? Is there two locations on the amp that need power?

The only thing I don't like about the NetStreams is the video side of their equipment. It seems that they don't have anything for 1080p. Am I wrong? Although it seems they should and could have something soon. The wiring setup/control of the network make this option seem "smart" to me.
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