budget whole house music system w/HT? researched. requesting validation &/or advice - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-12-2008, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
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What do I need for my budget whole-house music system? I'm a bit of a n00b to this (somewhat), but I read a lot and do the research and have an IT background.

I have a Yamaha RX-V663 - I think I can only have two zones with this, correct? Basically that means the whole house can play only the same one channel of music if I am using the HT in the living room, correct?

I have 12' ceilings.
- I would like HT setup in the living room (PICTURE OF LIVING ROOM HERE), which is wired for fronts and rears (no center, but there are built-ins so I could put one somewhere, as well as have bookshelf fronts instead of in-ceiling - seeking counsel on this as well)
- two speakers wired with volume controls in each of 3 bedrooms, office, dining room and patio

I've done some hours of research and am requesting validation or alternative recommendations:

Although I haven't concluded yet, the price/performance for the Moniprice in-ceiling speakers is tempting, at least for whole-house music applications. I've read the following threads (among others) in their entirety:
Monoprice in-wall, in-ceiling speakers
Recommended In-Ceiling Speakers

I would like to have a bit better home theater front and surrounds, something directional, perhaps I should consider something like this?:
ICE870 Kevlar LCR Home Theatre 8" Ceiling Speaker or Emphasys CL85 8" 175-Watt LCR 2-Way In-Ceiling Speaker

The rooms/areas are wired for volume controls, but I have also noticed volume controls have specs of their own, not sure how much this matters, I was just looking for inexpensive (like THESE for $18 or THIS cool sliding switch for $21), but not sure what I should get (does the switch wattage matter? the resistance?). Are there smarter alternatives that are better quality (if it makes a difference) or a bit more but have selection options like high-end systems or something? Perhaps my standard wiring wouldn't support it (not sure what the wiring that was done, it came with the house, I figure it is just normal but not sure what types are done, it certainly isn't cat5).

I really appreciate any assistance.
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-15-2008, 07:15 AM
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In regards to speakers - i would suggest you take a look at HTD.com - I have done my entire new home with them and been exceptionally happy, and the prices are very good. Actually did my dedicated HT with their gear - sounds awesome!.
As far as a projector goes, I purchased the EPSON 1080UB - (after much reading debate, etc) bought from ProjectorPoint.com - actually had a package with screen - as well as a rebate, extra bulb and extended warranty.
Your other issue (whole house control) can be expensive. From what I gathered SONOS is a good solution, though can get pricey. I elected to run my HT with my Yammie VX661 (7:1) and bought another Yammie that runs my office / pool Table-bar area. I split those into 2 zones 5:1 in the office and 4 in ceiling speakers over the pool table. I split by using a Monster Cable selector - which enabled me to add my work out area as well as have a spare pair for the out side. I am confident some of the more astute audio guys will poo poo whatI have done, but my opinion is that audio is what you and your ear likes, what one does means little to another. Plus we had just dropped $130K in baslemt build out and another $70K in landscaping - so I kept a closer eye on things.
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-15-2008, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgmish View Post

I elected to run my HT with my Yammie VX661 (7:1) and bought another Yammie that runs my office / pool Table-bar area. I split those into 2 zones 5:1 in the office and 4 in ceiling speakers over the pool table. I split by using a Monster Cable selector ....

Thanks for the advice, mgmish! Much appreciated. What do the 7:1 and 5:1 ratio's mean? Sorry for such a n00b question. I assume you mean that many areas to one output/zone on the receiver?

I'll check out HTD.com. I don't need anything fancy like SONOS, but I do at least need volume controls... I'm a bit confused as to how the volume controls effect sound (they have a wattage rating) and what I should be getting.

Did the monster cable selector require you to switch manually for different music in your various areas or is it just replicating the outputs among the different speakers?
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-14-2009, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, I am ready to pull the trigger. I still need help:

For a decent HT (I have a sub and center, but must use in-ceiling for the front and rears 5.1), should I use Monoprice or try the Mirage OMNICAN 5 for the living room (PICTURE OF LIVING ROOM HERE)? For that matter, should I put these Mirage OMNICAN 5's throughout the whole house?

What do I use for the volume control knobs? Does the resistance and stuff matter?

I have the Yamaha RX-V663 and 7 zones. I don't mind the TV playing on one and all the others playing on another, but how do I do this and split the audio out?

I really appreciate the help, I have searched a lot and there is so much info, it can become difficult to narrow it all down. Thanks in advance!
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-14-2009, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b8b View Post

What do the 7:1 and 5:1 ratio's mean? Sorry for such a n00b question. I assume you mean that many areas to one output/zone on the receiver?

I'll check out HTD.com. I don't need anything fancy like SONOS, but I do at least need volume controls... I'm a bit confused as to how the volume controls effect sound (they have a wattage rating) and what I should be getting.

7:1 and 5:1 refer to the surround sound setup for the TV. 5:1 consists of one front-center speaker, two front-side speakers, and two rear-side speakers, plus a subwoofer (hence 5:1). The 7:1 adds two rear speakers.

A volume control just adjusts the power level to the speakers. The impedance matching type controls have a transformer to adjust the impedance level of multiple speakers to match the amplifier output impedance. The power rating of the control should be at least as high as the maximum power output rating of the amplifier it's connected to, otherwise the control's transformer may saturate and overload the amp (which makes for a very unhappy amp).

If you operate most 7:1 receivers in a 5:1 mode then you have two amplifiers left which can be independently use to power 2nd zone speakers. You can generally select a different sound source for the 2nd zone.

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post #6 of 12 Old 01-15-2009, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crutschow View Post

7:1 and 5:1 refer to the surround sound setup for the TV. 5:1 consists of one front-center speaker, two front-side speakers, and two rear-side speakers, plus a subwoofer (hence 5:1). The 7:1 adds two rear speakers.

Thanks Crutschow, I thought it was 5.1/7.1 not 5:1 (colon), I guess that is where I got confused.


Quote:
Originally Posted by crutschow View Post

A volume control just adjusts the power level to the speakers. The impedance matching type controls have a transformer to adjust the impedance level of multiple speakers to match the amplifier output impedance. The power rating of the control should be at least as high as the maximum power output rating of the amplifier it's connected to...

So I obviously need to make sure the volume control impedance is the same as my amp.

So all I need to know now is:
1. I can use the one amp for all these zones - can I just put all the wires together since I am OK with the whole house (except the 5:1 in the living room) playing the same music?
2. what speakers should I get for a decent HT setup for the living room that won't break the bank? (all in-ceiling) - are the monoprice ones OK?
3. what speakers should I get for the rest of the house?
4. where should I buy inexpensive volume control?

Thanks!
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-15-2009, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b8b View Post

So I obviously need to make sure the volume control impedance is the same as my amp.

So all I need to know now is:
1. I can use the one amp for all these zones - can I just put all the wires together since I am OK with the whole house (except the 5:1 in the living room) playing the same music?
2. what speakers should I get for a decent HT setup for the living room that won't break the bank? (all in-ceiling) - are the monoprice ones OK?
3. what speakers should I get for the rest of the house?
4. where should I buy inexpensive volume control?

The volume control impedance is changed by jumpers or switches on the back of the control. It's set for the number of speakers in the house connected to one amp.

1. The speaker wires go to its volume control. Then you have a set of wires from each control, which are connected together (paralleled) at the amp. A typical control will allow you to connect up to 16 speakers to one amp.

Of course understand that the amp power is divided among all the speakers that have the volume turned up (speakers with the volume turned down obviously aren't using any power). The amp power required is thus determined by how many rooms are turned on at the same time and how loud the music is. Figure a few watts per speaker for low listening levels, and 10 watts or more for higher levels.

2.,3. Can't help you particularly on speakers. I've seen some threads on the Monoprice speakers but haven't read them. You might see what they say.

4. Try Googling "impedance matching volume control". Smarthome, for example, sells several models.

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post #8 of 12 Old 01-15-2009, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crutschow View Post

1. The speaker wires go to its volume control. Then you have a set of wires from each control, which are connected together (paralleled) at the amp. A typical control will allow you to connect up to 16 speakers to one amp.

So to make them parallelled, do I just twist the wires together and put them in the amp? Is there a trick to doing this or some type of device to hook the wires to first? Having 5-7 wires together might get a bit thick

Great information, Crutschow. Thank you once again.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-15-2009, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b8b View Post

So to make them parallelled, do I just twist the wires together and put them in the amp? Is there a trick to doing this or some type of device to hook the wires to first? Having 5-7 wires together might get a bit thick

You can buy terminal blocks that simplify the problem of tying them all together. An example is http://www.crutchfield.com/p_190VCSH...8.html?tp=2997. A cheaper way is to make jumper blocks such as http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...e=22-3894969-2.

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post #10 of 12 Old 01-15-2009, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Crutschow. However, I am not concerned by what I read in THIS thread it sounds like you can't do it this way - are you sure this will work? I checked the wiring diagram and I am not sure I can wire them up series / parallel since they span rooms. Your advice is very much appreciated.
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post #11 of 12 Old 01-15-2009, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b8b View Post

Thanks, Crutschow. However, I am not concerned by what I read in THIS thread it sounds like you can't do it this way - are you sure this will work? I checked the wiring diagram and I am not sure I can wire them up series / parallel since they span rooms. Your advice is very much appreciated.

An impedance matching volume control allows you to wire all the controls in parallel without overloading the amp. The series-parallel approach is required if you don't have such controls.

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post #12 of 12 Old 01-15-2009, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Perfect, thanks!!
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