cheapest/best multi zone audio? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-13-2010, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for the cheapest way to install speakers in 5+ zones. It needs to be all in-wall so something like sonos wouldn't work well. I'd like to be able to listen to whats playing from my reciever, Music off HTPC, FM radio and maybe an ipod. I have 2 recievers currently, newer pioneer elite and HK AVR 345. The HK has ABUS and abus has multi source keypads but I'm unsure if I can select multi sources from the HK (ie. watch tv using the reciever while listening to source 3).


I have girder with netremote and their mediabridge on a couple computers (living room and den). I can easily change zone from living room to den and play music off each computer but was looking for a cheaper way then buying more pc's just to play music.
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-13-2010, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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So my main questions are:
Can I listen to a source on my HK reciever while having a ABUS keypad listening to another source connected to the reciever?

If I do end up with buying a couple pc's, would I also need to buy amps or something to be able to power 4+ speakers.

I don't need sourround sound or anything, I'd just like decent sounding speakers throughout the house with enough power for a party.
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-14-2010, 08:31 AM
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Sonos makes a device that can be used with in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. You can put the zp80 (I think that's the one) amps in the closet.


This is the thread describing the setup:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...php?p=18541174

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post #4 of 15 Old 07-14-2010, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Sono's just doesn't seem to interest me for some reason. plus they're like $300 per zp80.

I'm thinking on leaving the living room and den on seperate systems and just creating a "zone" for the whole house. I'm thinking on using volume dials to seperate the volumes between the areas (hallways, kitchen and dining room, outside front, outside back, garage) then having an amp power all these speakers.
Hallways 4
Kitchen area 4
outside back 4
outside front 2
garage 4

What would be the cheapest way to provide power and decent sound to all these speakers? I don't need high quality stuff just something powerful and hopefully can save on energy. 90% of the time I'll only have 1 or 2 areas on at a time but would like to be able to power everything for parties.
Would something like a 12 channel amp be better than 5x 4 channel amps?
Or could I just use a super large 1 channel amp and split everything?
If I use 5 seperate amps would I save electricity since 3 of them will only be powered 10%?
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-15-2010, 07:59 AM
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A multichannel amp would be ideal, for playing a single source throughout the home, to multiple zones.

A distributed audio system like Sonos, Nuvo Essentia, Russound C-Series, Niles Intellicontrol allows you to play different songs in different rooms, and may provide song/artist info locally, at a controller or in-wall keypad.

Splitting the signal from a 2 channel amp or AVR to multiple zones, using a speaker selector box, would be cheaper, but would decrease the wattage available to each zone. This setup has worked well for me for the last few years, but now I'm installing a Nuvo system. The volume has not been a problem with my 2 channel amp setup, to 6 zones. I want the ability to play different sources in each zone, control from each zone, and see the artist/song info in each zone.

You can use a speaker connector block in place of a speaker selector box if you use in-wall impedance-matched volume controls.

Crutchfield has some good distributed audio diagrams.

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post #6 of 15 Old 07-15-2010, 08:21 AM
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I don't know if I'm in what I'd call a similar situation... but here's what I've got to offer from the fruits of my research (I think this is going in a direction that Neurorad alluded to towards the end of his post):

My Situation: I have many old speakers (older bookshelf-power-level type speaker) lying around and want to get them up (in wall) in various 'zones' of the house. I have various sources of sound I'd like to be able to choose from but I'm not picky if it's digital or analog ... as the components I want to drive the sound have various options (ex. Directv receiver with TOSLINK/SPDIF as well as rca component out that I believe are both 'active' at all times).

I've checked out On-Q LYRIQ Cat 5 systems since I'm a bit of a Cat5 junkie but even fairly older models are $300+ (ebay) to get into the solution and would have to spend more on additional components to get multiple inputs into the system.

I think I've settled into the following approach: Buy a Sherwood RX-5502 receiver for like $125 bucks. Some functions are quite basic but may be bells and whistles enough to be what I need:

Basics:
- old school (phono jack label? me likey) ...
- all inputs are RCA component
- no ability to change or customize the input display from 'phono, cd' etc
we're definitely not switching HDMI and stuff like that with this receiver

Bells:
- 100 watts x 4 in Multi-room mode (so I'm presuming this is strong enough for sending music, tv throughout the home to listen to... as opposed to dance to if you know what I mean)
- It can run 4 separate speaker pairs separately by design... using remote or at receiver. You can essentially toggle through selection of 1 to all 4 speakers running at a given time
- Audio sources can be split into 2 'zones': a Room 1 (speaker pair A,B) and a Room 2 (speaker pair C,D)
- Looks like a simple to use remote which will help my wife/kids a lot


So, for me where I need 4 speaker pairs in 2 'zones' (Zone 1 = a garage set of speakers, and a back deck... places where I don't mind that the source will always be the same for those 2... AND Zone 2 = kitchen, upstairs great room... places where I don't mind that the source will always be the same) this seems to work and is low cost of entry.

I'm looking into Wall Mount Impedance Matching Speaker Slide Volume Control Switches to see if using those would allow me to
A) manipulate sound level independently in each zone or at each speaker pair
and/or
B) allow me to add a couple more spare speakers in some other areas of the home.
That of course starts jacking up cost to where some other approach might make more sense

If anyone has experience with the impedance matching speaker switches (neurorad?)... or any other feedback on above.... I'd greatly appreciate a referral to some info, a better idea, or a quick tutorial
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post #7 of 15 Old 07-15-2010, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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12 channel amps are like $600-1200 which seems a little crazy. I planned on using the impedance matched volume controls.
If I have all speakers running at 100% and I turn off a zone, will it make the other zones louder?
Would a 1 channel 400w amp use the same power as 4x100w 1 channel amps?
If I have a 400w amp but only have 1 zone on using like 50w max would the amp use less power?

I'm really focusing on energy savings and am trying to find the cheapest both in cost and in operating costs for this to work.
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-15-2010, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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So I can just buy some cheap $100 1000w 2ch home audio amplifier then use a couple speaker connecter blocks and wire it up to a few impedance matched volume controllers ($17) http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...#specification
Then wire it up to the speaker. So when I want to listen to music I just turn the knob and it'll play.

This way I just won't have the ability to select seperate sources or remotely turn on/off the speakers.

If I buy this ($400) instead of the volume controls
http://www.smarthome.com/8855/ATON-4...Control/p.aspx
I could just use my remote to turn on/off each zone and not need to worry about leaving speakers on. Then I wouldn't have to put in volume controls.
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-15-2010, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinm0424 View Post

12 channel amps are like $600-1200 which seems a little crazy. I planned on using the impedance matched volume controls.

If I have all speakers running at 100% and I turn off a zone, will it make the other zones louder?
No

Would a 1 channel 400w amp use the same power as 4x100w 1 channel amps?
Depends upon the amp design.
Also note that the volume controls must be rated for the amp power, not the speaker power. Few impedance matching volume controls are rated for more than 100W, so that would be the limit for the amp feeding the controls.


If I have a 400w amp but only have 1 zone on using like 50w max would the amp use less power?
Yes, but likely not much. The power used at typical listening levels (not loud rock) is generally only a few watts.

I'm really focusing on energy savings and am trying to find the cheapest both in cost and in operating costs for this to work.
The largest power user is likely the quiescent power of the amp with no output. The best for this are switching (Class D) type power amps.

Switching audio amps are not common in HiFi units but are used in some home distribution systems such as NuVo, precisely to save power. If you Google class D amps you will find more info on that.

Carl
Curmudgeon Elektroniker
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-15-2010, 10:33 PM
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http://www.htd.com/ do some distributed audio equipment on the lower end of the price scale. They also do a 12 channel amp you can buy separately if you don't want the rest.
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post #11 of 15 Old 07-16-2010, 05:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't understand the point in buying a 35w x12channel amp(420w max) for $700+ when I can buy a 1000w 2 channel for $150.

If I use impedence matching volume controls is there any difference?
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post #12 of 15 Old 07-16-2010, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinm0424 View Post

If I buy this ($400) instead of the volume controls
http://www.smarthome.com/8855/ATON-4...Control/p.aspx
I could just use my remote to turn on/off each zone and not need to worry about leaving speakers on. Then I wouldn't have to put in volume controls.

You'd also need a distributed IR system, to use the IR remotes in each zone.

Edit - unless I'm missing something....

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 #13 of 15 Old 07-16-2010, 07:33 AM
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I don't know about energy savings - not sure how much power is used with the amp turned on, and the VCs turned down.

I've been using an old AVR I got for free to power my 6 zones, through an impedance matching speaker selector. The old in-wall VCs I have are not impedance matched. When I turn down the volume in 1 area, the other areas volumes are not affected.

Check Craigslist for $50 old AVRs, if you want super cheap. Make sure you have impedance matching somewhere in your setup - at the VCs, or using a speaker selector box.

If you're installing the VCs and speakers in-wall (and in-ceiling), you should run an ethernet cable (cat5e or cat6) to each VC location (from the wiring closet/cabinet), for future upgrading to a system that uses in-wall keypads (which allow source selection, volume control, and may provide song info). The keypads are usually positioned at eye level, and VCs lower on the wall, so just having the cable in the general vicinity of the VC would be good. In other words, the keypad will be higher on the wall than the VC.

Edit - if you're installing in-wall volume controls, then it would be easy to install the distributed IR system, with the IR receiver incorporated into the VC, or next to it in its own Decora opening (double gang plate). Turn the music off from the bed with the remote. I'm pretty sure that there are some IR-controlled VCs out there, that would allow you to just control that zone's volume, without a distributed IR system.

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 #14 of 15 Old 07-16-2010, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I control all IR with a universal rf remote so I don't need to worry about ir passthrough. I'll have an extra Harman Kardon avr-345 which is 7x55w but I'm assuming that's only for surround. I'm don't think i can wire it up to just be stereo through each channel.


I believe that amp's only draw as much power as needed and its most efficient the closer it is to max. So if 10 50w speakers are at 50% they'll only use 250w. This is just a guess. maybe I'll hookup my killawatt to my reciever and see how much it draws.
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post #15 of 15 Old 08-25-2014, 06:32 AM
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Exclamation coaxial cable or RCA audio cable

want to buy VSX-323-K model, but my concern is that can I provide input audio from another room(away from 30feet) by coaxial cable (or only RCA audio cable required). 2nd, for output can I use coaxial cable (30 feet) for bathroom (without amplifier) without any qauality comromize.
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