Home renovation project - audio distribution advice - AVS Forum
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rlucky's Avatar rlucky 07:58 AM 08-15-2011
I'm in the middle of a home renovation and need advice on how to proceed with wiring. Right now all the walls are open and all 5 zones were prewired with either wall-mount or in-ceiling 16/2 wires from speakers straight to a central location. The distance at most is about 55 ft. The initial plan was to have an audio control device such as an Aton DLA6 to control the distribution. The audio cables do occasionally cross power cabling, but my electrician and a colleague suggest that the insulation is much improved that interference is rarely an issue. I have read articles about this and if you wish to share thoughts, please let me know. My real question is, I have been reading about Digi5 systems and like the idea of having more granular control and also plugging in additional devices. I have extra CAT6 and audio wiring and am wondering if I should pre-wire for a Digi5 solution as well? Anyone make the transition from a star topology to Digi5? I know the star topology will distribute more wattage which is appealing. I just thought it would be wise to prepare for the "trend" and if later, I wish to invest in a Digi5 solution, my home would be ready. I've seriously looked at sonos solutions, but tough to justify the cost (i also would think hardwire would give better quality/performance although Digi5 would do the same analog-digital conversion, no?) Once the walls are sealed (any day now)...well you know the story! Maybe the Digi5 attracts the geek in me or is it overkill? Takers? Thanks in advance!

Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad 08:08 AM 08-15-2011
Yes, add category cables to potential keypad locations now, for possible future use.

Digi5 cabling - category cable to the keypad, amp at the keypad, and speaker cables to speakers - is the same wiring as for a typical ABus system. There are many besides Digi5 to choose from.

If you want the higher wattage of central amps, with keypad control, there are systems that would match that configuration from Russound, Nuvo, and others, which would be an upgrade to your current setup.

Insulation of 110V and low voltage cables has not been significantly improved, but if the cables cross at right angles, and the 110V cable isn't powering a motor, then there probably won't be much interference.

The additional category cable would be very useful for 'futureproofing', IMO.

Edit - One of the best reasons to have a keypad in each zone is to provide metadata (song, artist info) at the keypad. The other big reason is fast, local control.
rlucky's Avatar rlucky 01:36 PM 08-15-2011
Thanks for the tip Neurorad. After looking at the Russound system, I was impressed. If I were to expand to the intercom, i would need to run at least two CAT cables to each location. I'll look at the Nuvo solution as well but overall, I should run the CAT and extra 16/2 from each speaker to the panels. Any recommendations quick comparisons between each distributed audio system? Cheers.
canuck_fr's Avatar canuck_fr 02:28 PM 08-15-2011
Take a look at my personal bang for the buck favorite: Home theater direct.
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad 03:12 PM 08-15-2011
Originally Posted by rlucky View Post
but overall, I should run the CAT and extra 16/2 from each speaker to the panels.
not sure what you mean - extra 16/2? 16/4 from the wiring closet to the keypad, 16/2 from the KP to each speaker. Or, 16/4 from the wiring closet to the KP, couple feet of slack at the keypad, and then continue the 16/4 to the first speaker, and then continue the 16/4 to the 2nd speaker. Or, 16/2 from the wiring closet to each speaker. Category cable from the wiring closet to the KP, x2 if you might consider an intercom also, now or in the future. This 'CEA 2040' wiring configuration Standard covers you for both ABus and centrally amplified systems.

Originally Posted by rlucky View Post
Any recommendations quick comparisons between each distributed audio system? Cheers.
Nuvo Simplese - good $
Nuvo Essentia - very good $$
Nuvo Grand Concerto - best $$$
(Russound ABus - you know what this is)
Russound C-Series - very good $$
Russound E-Series - best $$$$

Budget for a music server, it's the best source component and may obviate the need for additional components. Both the Russound and Nuvo music servers use technology from Autonomic Controls, and would be comparable (in my limited experience).

These are the systems from Nuvo and Russound, many others to choose from. You can find the manuals online, read before you buy. Buy when you're ready to install, not during prewire. Technology changes rapidly. You may need to source the music system from a local dealer to get the programming software, especially for the Russound E-Series.

I bought my Nuvo Grand Concerto and MPS4E music server from Automated Outlet. I really don't know much about Russound's systems. Call by phone for pricing - I think AO also carries Russound. Make sure you buy from an authorized distributor or local dealer. The local dealers may give you comparable pricing, and may provide installation and/or troubleshooting and/or programming. Ideally, these systems would be programmed with software, don't know how you would get the software, ask the local dealer/distributor/installer.
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