How to control "whole home audio" zones and Sonos ZP90? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

So I've come to a conclusion that I will include a Sonos ZP90 in our home audio setup.

My problem is, it's approaching time to wire the house up with audio cable and ethernet cable, and I'm not quite sure how to CONTROL them. We've decided on 4 locations that speakers are going.

5.1 in living room
5.1 in master bed
2 weatherproof speakers in master bath
2 weatherproof speakers on back porch

To me, this seems like 4 separate zones. Without spending $2,000 on a receiver, I would think the only way to accomplish this would be 2 separate 2 zone receivers? But then what about the ZP90, it can only connect to 1?

Would I be better off with a home theater PC and have all wires terminate there? I've also seen people using amplifiers, speakers selectors, and volume controls, etc. but that seems crazy!

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks :/
BC
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 12:07 PM
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Assuming this is a retrofit and not new construction...

If you want 5.1 in both the living room and Master, and have essentially a 2nd zone near each, I think two AVR's with built-in 2nd zone support would be the best solution. Then get a ZP90 for each of those two systems.

Control for both the Sonos and the AVRs can be accomplished with iDevices (two apps, one for Sonos and one for the AVR to control volume/source).

Jeff


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post #3 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Im sorry I didn't mention, it IS new construction! Hopefully this simplifies things and makes me realize I'm over thinking it.
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post #4 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2210 View Post

I've also seen people using amplifiers, speakers selectors, and volume controls, etc. but that seems crazy!

How so? I think those are exactly what you need. At the very least you need an amp or few. The Sonos won't be able to push all of the speakers.
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by scl23enn4m3 View Post

How so? I think those are exactly what you need. At the very least you need an amp or few. The Sonos won't be able to push all of the speakers.

OK, maybe not super crazy. I've done several car audio installs, several rooms and simple setups, but never an entire house that I wanted to have elegant control over. I imagine its because I'm not very familiar with home audio equipment, still doing some mad research!
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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By the way, Jautor, your theater is phenomenal!
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2210 View Post

Im sorry I didn't mention, it IS new construction! Hopefully this simplifies things and makes me realize I'm over thinking it.

Well, no, doesn't simplify it as it opens up a lot of other considerations.

You should be pre-wiring the house for "whole house audio" distribution, and then adding some cabling/links on top of that scheme to allow for a basic AVR-based setup like I described above. But you absolutely want to get the wiring in place, especially for speakers and keypads, to enable you to "grow into" a whole house setup.

Which means home-run speaker wire, looped through keypad/volume control locations in each zone, and a cat5e wire in parallel to the keypad. (We really should make a sticky with this info - I've typed that sentence too many times)

Then you'll want to add some additional speaker wire from the areas where you may have an AVR that will feed its "2nd zone". So an additional speaker run (4-conductor) from the central closet to each of the MBR and the Family room. That will allow you to feed speakers from those locations (the AVR) to any other speaker(s) in the house, by connecting the lines back in the central closet.

The reason to do that is that now, if you add a whole house audio system, you've got all the wiring back at the central closet done correctly.

Also, you can use an "local source interrupt" device to share speakers (like in-ceiling surrounds) between a whole house (party music) system and an AVR's surround use.

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By the way, Jautor, your theater is phenomenal!

Thanks! It's what happens when you hang out in the forum too long...

Jeff


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post #8 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Well, no, doesn't simplify it as it opens up a lot of other considerations.

You should be pre-wiring the house for "whole house audio" distribution, and then adding some cabling/links on top of that scheme to allow for a basic AVR-based setup like I described above. But you absolutely want to get the wiring in place, especially for speakers and keypads, to enable you to "grow into" a whole house setup.

Which means home-run speaker wire, looped through keypad/volume control locations in each zone, and a cat5e wire in parallel to the keypad. (We really should make a sticky with this info - I've typed that sentence too many times)

Then you'll want to add some additional speaker wire from the areas where you may have an AVR that will feed its "2nd zone". So an additional speaker run (4-conductor) from the central closet to each of the MBR and the Family room. That will allow you to feed speakers from those locations (the AVR) to any other speaker(s) in the house, by connecting the lines back in the central closet.

The reason to do that is that now, if you add a whole house audio system, you've got all the wiring back at the central closet done correctly.

Also, you can use an "local source interrupt" device to share speakers (like in-ceiling surrounds) between a whole house (party music) system and an AVR's surround use.



Thanks! It's what happens when you hang out in the forum too long...

Jeff

Sweet! Very nice post. Starting to make a little more sense. Doesn't seem that adding the volume controls will be very difficult, and they seem necessary! I've only seen the volume control "knobs" and "sliders." Is that what you mean by keypad? I'll be spending the rest of the afternoon Googling this reply! Hmm...local source interrupt. Is that like a source selector? Wonder if I can find a similar diagram around the forums...
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2210 View Post

Sweet! Very nice post. Starting to make a little more sense. Doesn't seem that adding the volume controls will be very difficult, and they seem necessary! I've only seen the volume control "knobs" and "sliders." Is that what you mean by keypad?

Whole house systems can be implemented with fixed output multi-channel amps, and the zones trimmed with volume controls, or it can be a "system" with a variable-volume output and a "keypad" control device in the zone. The wiring scheme I described allows for either type of system to be used, which is why it is recommended.

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Hmm...local source interrupt. Is that like a source selector?

Not a source selector - sources are selected by the system. LSI is the best term available, although it goes by a number of names - NuVo uses the LSI term for the device to allow one set of speakers to be shared by both a "local" AVR and whole house system.

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Wonder if I can find a similar diagram around the forums...

I'll save 'ya the googling...



Jeff


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post #10 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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You've been a tremendous help, Jeff! I just want to say I appreciate your willingness to help and your knowledge of the subject.

That diagram helps clear things up! I believe I'm starting to understand my options. I also feel I may be over thinking this. I can only imagine how complicated it can get if you're putting audio in 8-10 rooms!! I'll be leaving work shortly and Ill have time to do some research and collect my thoughts when I get home. Seems it wont be difficult to setup, but it crept up on me! I'll probably be running wire this weekend.

Edit: The house isn't extremely large. Its a 3/2, ~1600 sqft. From your original reply, that sounds still to be the easiest. 2 AVR's and 2 Sonos Connects. That's $700 in Sonos equipment!!! Would you still say so? The zones would not be very far at all from each other. Did you say an app would control an AVR's volume? I wonder if I would have control over both ZP90's with 1 app.

I guess that way I could get around having to install extra amplifiers/volume control or keypad solution?

Is this similar? http://www.outdoorspeakerdepot.com/m...oom-audio.html
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post #11 of 14 Old 04-25-2012, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2210 View Post

That diagram helps clear things up! I believe I'm starting to understand my options. I also feel I may be over thinking this. I can only imagine how complicated it can get if you're putting audio in 8-10 rooms!!

Really, it's the transition from 2 or 3 zones to >3 where most of the complexity occurs. Adding the 8th or 10th zone is just a matter of money...

Quote:


Edit: The house isn't extremely large. Its a 3/2, ~1600 sqft. From your original reply, that sounds still to be the easiest.

Ah, ok, so with those 2+2 zones, you may be covered. I'd still recommend home running all the speaker wire to a central place (along with cat5e's for control), but that central place can be your family room AVR location, as that could easily be the location for a small whole-house setup in the future, and simplifies your immediate wiring needs.

Quote:


2 AVR's and 2 Sonos Connects. That's $700 in Sonos equipment!!! Would you still say so? The zones would not be very far at all from each other.

You can always start out with one Sonos and pipe the output (digital or analog) to both the family room AVR and over to your bedroom system. Just need (cheapest) 2x RG59's, or a cat5e (plus baluns) between the two locations.

Quote:


Did you say an app would control an AVR's volume? I wonder if I would have control over both ZP90's with 1 app.

Multiple Sonos units are all controlled with the Sonos App. Volume from the analog output(s) are likely available there too (need to check that). Major brand AVRs with Internet functionality (Pandora, etc.) also have apps for controlling the AVR, which would include the Zone2 support.

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I guess that way I could get around having to install extra amplifiers/volume control or keypad solution?

Yes, but since you're wiring new, plan for the potential. If you're not going to need volume controls or keypads now, you can bury the wire in the wall, document their location, and drywall as normal. If you need those later, pull out the photos, and punch through the drywall... Or you can install a blank plate over them now (depends really on your odds of upgrading and how much the blank plates bother you).

Is this similar? http://www.outdoorspeakerdepot.com/m...oom-audio.html[/quote]

That's a basic multi-room setup, yes. But doesn't solve your 5.1 setup for the MBR.

Jeff


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post #12 of 14 Old 04-26-2012, 04:05 PM
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Btw, do consider whether you really need 4 zones, or is it just 4 speaker locations? E.g. I have 7 speaker locaitons, but only 2 zones. Zones will be defined by 1) how many places you want to have different sources/songs playing simultaneously, 2) you want convenient way to control them wihtout using selectors and/or volume controls.

Also, to save space and money, have you considered ZP120 which has an amp bult in and connects straight to the speakers? You may want ZP90 for the media room, and ZP120 for other locaitons. One ZP120 is capable of connecting to two speaker pairs at a time.

Just to throw some ideas, my setup is ZP120 -> central 5-way selector switch (to route signal to various rooms) -> 2-way local audio/whole-house audio selector switch in each room (so I can use speakers for in-room tv or whole-house audio) -> rotary volume control -> speakers. This way I have volume control on the iphone app as well as in-wall if required. I also routed a CAT-5e wire to each room control location for future use, but haven't used it so far.

Hope this helps.
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post #13 of 14 Old 04-27-2012, 12:05 AM
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Just wondering why you want a Sonos in your system?


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post #14 of 14 Old 04-27-2012, 07:46 AM
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Just wondering why you want a Sonos in your system?

Actually, that is a good question - if you haven't bought the AVR(s) yet, newer ones have a lot of the Internet services already (Pandora, Internet Radio, etc.). So you may not even need one.

That said, however, the user interface on some of the AVRs, especially for navigating digital libraries (ala DLNA), can be horrendous... And Sonos will very likely be faster to add new services / features. Don't expect anything "new" to be added to an AVR after you buy it.

Back to the budget thing - you might just get a decent receiver, which will have those functions built-in anyway, and see how that works for you. You can always add a Sonos as a source later.

Jeff


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