Sonos vs. HTD.com whole house audio - must decide this weekend! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-23-2010, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi there,

I am a total newbie looking for comments on both of these systems.

Here is what we'd like to do in an apartment that has been gutted - all speakers mentioned will be buried in the walls (not ceiling - our apt. building doesn't allow), and the contractor said that he wants to close the walls "in a week" so we need to hurry and decide! Ok, so here is our plan:

1. Have a TV in the LR - does not need surround sound, but b/c it is a super-thin flat panel it definitely needs speakers. We'll have a bluray, Tivo, and yes, a VCR (too many old home movies that haven't been digitized!) but they will be located in a closet in the hall.

2. Be able to play music in the LR. It is next door to the DR, so throw a couple of speakers in the DR, too, and pipe the same music in. (They are very open rooms, and this is an apartment, so I can't imagine having different stuff in the LR and DR - they can be on the same channel, but for instance if someone is watching TV in the LR, I would like to silence the speakers in the DR.)

3. At the same time, be able to play a different song or talk radio in the kitchen.

4. Also, put speakers in the master bedroom and master bath. It would be fine for them to be on the same channel, but they must have different volume controls.

HTD can do all of this, and I think Sonos can, too.

I am looking to find out the pros and cons of each.

When I asked HTD about playing music from my computer, wirelessly, they said, yes, I can just plug an airport into one of their input jacks. Also, HTD is coming out with new wall switches that will also function as intercoms. Don't know if that is good or bad.

With HTD, all my components would sit in a closet, and there would be a control panel the size of a double lightswitch on the wall in each room that is wired for sound. The speaker wire and CAT-5 cable would all run back to this closet.

With Sonos, they said I could also run everything back to that closet, OR, get another Sonos box and stick it in a closet in the master bedroom (which is at the other end of the apartment) and just run my bed/bath wires to that location. They made it sound like this would save me money somehow (less labor to run wires, maybe?)

Is it a pain to have to always carry your iphone around to control Sonos? Do you like having a touchpad in each room as with HTD or Russound? Or is that something that will become obsolete with fast changing technology and look bad? Or require an expensive upgrade?

Lastly, how much does Sonos run in the above configuration for 5 - 6 zones?
HTD.com quoted me about $2000 - 2500 plus installation, depending on whether I go with their mid-level or higher end system.

Please, anyone, I'm open to comments!

Thanks.
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-23-2010, 07:49 AM
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The short and sweet answer: Sonos

Many WHA systems feature in-wall controllers. I bought into this concept with my first system without thinking things through completely. Now I have Sonos.

When sitting and watching TV, do you step over to the wall and control your TV from a wall mounted device? Or do you use a remote?

Why should WHA be any different?

With Sonos you can use the Sonos remote (old or new), an iPod Touch, an iPad or a PC.

Also Sonos provides many sources of online content, such as Pandora. Pandora is my wife's favorite source.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-23-2010, 11:08 AM
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^ What he said.

Another thing to consider, this is an apartment. The more you build in, the more you have to remove if/when you move. Assuming you want a long-term view, here is how I would do it:

Install in-ceiling speakers in all zones. Run wire from speaker to a impedance-matching volume control switch keypad on the wall, and from there to an amp selector switch next to it also on the wall. One connection from the switch goes to local speaker connections in the room, another goes to a central location where you may want to house any central equipment. This will give you the flexibility to choose localized or central setup now and in future. You may skip the amp selector switch in master bath (but still have a separate volume coltrol) and route it to amp switch in the bedroom. I would also run a Cat5 (or Cat6) wire from each keypad location to the central location for future use, but not required in current setup.

The Sonos units can then be kept either locally or in a central location - I have them all centralized in a closet just so I don't have components all over the place. The ZP120 can run 2 pairs of 8 ohm speakers (so 4 individual speakers) simulataneously. You can buy as many ZP120 as separate zones you want, and use impedance matching VC settings to connect even more than 2 pairs to single Zp120 if required. I have 2 sets of 3 pairs and they do just fine.

The big plus of Sonos is how it can access all kinds of sources from that single unit - computer, radio (am and fm), rhapsody, pandora and many more. In fact, I moved all my music from computer to a NAS drive, and Sonos can access it including all itunes playlists I have without requiring a computer to be on. The iphone app provides all the functionality the Sonos controllers have and works superbly. With HTD and Express - I used Express in the past, but it got frequent hiccups and such. Sonos has been working flawlessly for last 2 months.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-23-2010, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I love the idea of being able to take the Sonos with us when we move. When we bought this apt, the plan was to stay for 10 yrs, but you never know.

My spouse actually has old vinyl records & a turntable. Forgot to ask, but that could be another input to the Sonos, right?
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-23-2010, 01:07 PM
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Yes each unit has one set of inputs that are then available to any/all zones.

Another option is to just get the Sonos S5 units for rooms - so don't have to install any speakers or run any wires. And makes it even more flexible and portable. I have heard the quality is decent but haven't used it myself.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-23-2010, 06:07 PM
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Sonos all the way, the S5 is a good quality piece
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-04-2010, 08:21 PM
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+1 SONOS
especially living in an apartment
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post #8 of 9 Old 12-12-2010, 10:28 AM
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What is a "NAS" drive and how would I incorporate one into my home PC for use with SONOS?
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-12-2010, 11:46 AM
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it is Network Attached Storage. The beauty of Sonos is that it accesses your own digital music from the network (typically would be a computer) but if the collection gets moved to a NAS, the computer does not even have to be around for Sonos to access the music. You just set it up as a "Share" on Sonos.
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