Six zone audio with future expansion - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-01-2010, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey everybody,

I'm trying to help a friend of mine not go the Best Buy route.

He built his house himself. He wired six rooms with a pair speakers each. He also ran cabling for volume control for each room - just low voltage, not Cat5e.

He also needs a modest surround system in the living room where his AV closet for the house is located.

HTD would be awesome had he installed CAT5e.

He is not an audiophile, wants best bang for the buck.

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 19 Old 01-01-2010, 01:25 PM
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The guy sounds pretty handy. Attic above, or basement below? How easy would it be to add ethernet cables?

Most receivers could drive 6 speakers, for background music, using impedance-matched volume controls located in each room. Could control the receiver with an RF remote.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #3 of 19 Old 01-01-2010, 03:10 PM
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How many conductors are in his low-volt wire - assuming you meant a separate wire, not the speaker wire... Hopefully it's at least 4, which would be enough to do wired-IR control panels. If he's got 8 conductors, he's probably good to go with any of the systems. They specify cat5, but we're talking kilobit data rates, not megabits, so they'll probably work without issues...

Jeff

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post #4 of 19 Old 01-02-2010, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

Thanks for the quick replies. I'm not sure what wire he has in there for the volume control; I'll find out today.

Yes, he is handy and he does have both attic and basement access, though the basement has a finished ceiling

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post #5 of 19 Old 01-02-2010, 03:00 PM
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Usually very easy to add ethernet cable for keypads from an attic above.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #6 of 19 Old 01-04-2010, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry it's taken me so long to get back. The house is two stories. Dropping ethernet to two of the zones from the attic to the second floor is no problem. It's going up from the basement to the four zones on the first floor that would be the pain.

I checked with him and he just has 16 gauge speaker wire for the volume control.
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-04-2010, 03:55 PM
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Well, the next question is, how much flexibility does he want? Meaning, does he want to have different sources playing in different rooms, or the same thing in every zone (with local on/off/volume)?

He could do something like a NuVo system and use the wireless keypad (remote), but that will add up in cost quickly... Perhaps Sonos or just an A/V receiver, RF remote(s) and impedence-matching volume controls.

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post #8 of 19 Old 01-04-2010, 04:28 PM
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Are all of the speaker wires running to a common wiring closet, or are the amps in each room with the volume control ?
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post #9 of 19 Old 01-04-2010, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Everything is running to a closet and he only wants volume control in each room.

He explained how the speakers were wired and I'm confused. I think I'm over my head.

He said each speaker cable had four wires. Two of those wires were used for the first speaker and then the other speaker piggybacked off of that first speaker. Huh? What about the two other wires?

He lives about two hours away. I guess I need to go look at it.
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post #10 of 19 Old 01-04-2010, 07:37 PM
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It's easier/cheaper to run one wire when possible, so it's typical to run a 4-conductor wire to the volume control, then two 2-conductor wires to the speakers.

Now, hopefully he's looped the 4-conductor wire through the volume control location before going to the first speaker. The 'piggyback' would be the 2-wire from the end of the 4-conductor cable (at the first speaker) to the other speaker...

It's better to run 2-conductor wires from the volume control to each speaker, for the simple reason that it otherwise gets confusing when someone else looks at these things. But it will certainly still work.

Jeff

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post #11 of 19 Old 01-05-2010, 03:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Jeff,

It appears he has looped it before the first speaker. So assuming he sticks with this, what are his options?

He wants 6 rooms with volume control. Anything else, like multiple sources / zones is gravy.

I do appreciate the help.

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post #12 of 19 Old 01-06-2010, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Since Jeff helped me understand the wiring, I assume a $20 volume control would like this would work:

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-560

What, then, would be the most bang for the buck as far as a six zone amp?

Thanks,

Herb
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post #13 of 19 Old 01-06-2010, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb View Post

Since Jeff helped me understand the wiring, I assume a $20 volume control would like this would work:

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-560

What, then, would be the most bang for the buck as far as a six zone amp?

Thanks,

Herb

Yep, that's what he needs... I don't think you want a six-zone amp, though, unless he wants to have multiple (different) sources simultaneously. Since the volume controls will impedance-match, and each zone can be turned on/off, just hook up an A/V receiver to all 6 pairs, and connect whatever source(s) to the receiver. That's the best bang for buck.

Jeff

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post #14 of 19 Old 01-06-2010, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Jeff,

Bear with me... I've built my own little home theater, but never done multiroom stuff. Please forgive the naive questions.

So he gets a basic AV receiver and hooks all six pairs of wires to the left & right terminals? How is this done? Twist all the +s and -s together?

He'll be able to have all six rooms on simultaneously?
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post #15 of 19 Old 01-06-2010, 02:10 PM
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A little more elegant using a speaker connecting block.


Impedance matching in-wall volume controls, 1 in each zone, completes the setup.

If you want more power to each pair of speakers, alternate amplification would be appropriate. I've been using an old AVR as an amp for 6 zones, run off of the line out of zone 2 of my primary AVR.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #16 of 19 Old 01-07-2010, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Neurorad,

Awesome. Your setup explains it.


My list so far. Everybody please feel free to add to it or make suggestions:

Onkyo TX-SR607 - $400
PS3 or BD-P3600 - $299
6 Dayton Volume Controls - $120
Harmony One - $200
Niles VCS-HUB8 - $70
Various cables (Monoprice) - $40
_____________________________

around $1150 now without the 5.1 speakers for the living room.

BB was pushing the Klipsch HD Theater 500. Are there any better 5.1 systems for $600?

I'm clueless when it comes to smaller speakers. My theater doesn't have to be wife / living room friendly like this setup probably needs to be.

Best Buy had quoted my friend $4700 for 6 room volume control and a 5.1 surround system minus display. Absolutely ridiculous. The $225 for 2 HDMI cables, a sub cable and an RCA cable is laughable. So is the $200 for setting up a 2.1 speaker system.


Thanks again
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post #17 of 19 Old 01-07-2010, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Just discovered the SBS-01 for $799

That would put him at $1950. I don't know if they'll work size / decor wise.

I also found the Onkyo 607 & Klipsch HD500 bundled for $935

That would put him at about $1700
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post #18 of 19 Old 01-07-2010, 07:44 AM
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Using an AVR for amplification for 6 zones has it's costs - low watts/zone. If it's just for background music, it should be OK - but be forewarned. The best solution would be a multichannel amp.

That seems pricey for a speaker distribution block - other brands to consider would be Xantech, Pheonix, Russound, Nuvo. I currently use an impedance matching speaker selector box, since my 15 year old VC's are not impedance matching.

Relevant thread to powering multiple zones from an AVR. It's a couple years old, and the OP was kind of a noob, but cut him some slack.

I'm ditching my current setup for a system with keypads, FWIW. Sound has been fine, just want better control.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #19 of 19 Old 01-07-2010, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Neurorad,

So a used Sonamp 260 MKII seems the way to go?

Which keypad system are you looking at?

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