Multi-room amp/receiver? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-20-2012, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie with A/V stuff, but I'm somewhat of a techie so I can get by with some of this stuff. I'm lost on this one though.

I just bought a house that has speakers in most of the rooms (14 pairs total, in 7 rooms, including 2 sets outside in the front and back). The previous owners left me an Integra DTM 5.3 receiver to run this setup. All 14 pairs were running off of the "A" channel, while the basement, which has in ceiling speakers (but no receiver yet) was running off of the "B" channel. A friend of mine told me that it is a fire hazard to run all 14 of those speakers off of one channel and that I need to get an Amp. So this is where I'm at right now and don't even know where to start. I don't want to invest a ton of money, but want to get something decent.

So my question is this... what's my best option for this setup? Get an amp and keep the old receiver? Get an amp and a receiver? Which amp is best? The guy at Best Buy recommended the Sonos Connect:Amp, but it will only handle 4 speakers at a time, so I'd need several of these. HELP!!

Thanks,
Kristin
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-20-2012, 11:02 AM
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Well, not exactly a fire hazard, but unless there's an impedance-matching device between the amp and all those speakers, you're going to damage/destroy that receiver in short order. Are there volume control knobs in the rooms (which can be impedance-matching)?

There are lots of ways you can go, depending on what you'd like to have, and of course, the budget. If you just bought a new house, I assume you're all out of spare money. How do you want to use this setup: what sources, do you need different things playing in different rooms at the same time, etc. ?

With that receiver and a speaker selector (with impedance matching), you can hook up all the speakers, and select which rooms you want turned on/off. There are selectors that can be remote controlled and allow for volume adjustments per room. Just note that driving all of those speakers from one receiver may not produce adequate volume, especially for the outdoor zones. This is a good one with remote control: http://www.atonhome.com/DLA6Room.html

Moving up would be a multi-channel amp to drive each room separately, which gives you individual control and more power. See HTD.com and others...

Above that is "whole house audio" systems that allow for different sources to be played in different zones simultaneously.

Whatever route you choose (and nothing wrong with starting simple and growing over time), my advice is to make sure you can control the setup remotely. I found that my multi-room and outdoor speakers didn't get used very often as I had to go to the receiver to get things started - then used an RF remote to control from that point. That's much easier to do remotely now with an iPod app and a Sonos or something similar to provide music selection.

Do some searches through this forum for whole house audio and you'll get some ideas.

Jeff


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post #3 of 6 Old 05-20-2012, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a bunch Jeff!

I do have volume control knobs in each room, which sounds like it is helpful (I'm not sure if they are impedence matching though) and I'm pretty sure they aren't remote controllable.

I'm fine with having one source playing in all of the rooms, but I get your point about being underpowered especially for the outdoor ones. Does it matter that I'm probably only going to be playing one or two rooms at a time? I totally agree about liking the remote access to be able to run Pandora/iPod/etc on the outside speakers from a phone or something instead of having to access the receiver.

After doing some more research on receivers to hook up to the downstairs TV (my HDTV setup) on the "B" channel right now, and I think I've settled on the Denon 2112ci. However, would it be better to use this to power the main system and move the Integra downstairs? I won't have a TV hooked up (or at least not an HD one) to the main system upstairs that drives all of the speakers. Just wondering! Totally new at this sound system thing
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-20-2012, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndirishkmk View Post

I do have volume control knobs in each room, which sounds like it is helpful (I'm not sure if they are impedence matching though) and I'm pretty sure they aren't remote controllable.

Unscrew one from the wall to get the make/model and post that info so you can check for sure. They're likely impedance-matching, but some of the "cheap" ones don't do a good job of it (like - not at all)...

Quote:


I'm fine with having one source playing in all of the rooms, but I get your point about being underpowered especially for the outdoor ones. Does it matter that I'm probably only going to be playing one or two rooms at a time? I totally agree about liking the remote access to be able to run Pandora/iPod/etc on the outside speakers from a phone or something instead of having to access the receiver.

Yes, turning off unused zones helps.

Quote:


After doing some more research on receivers to hook up to the downstairs TV (my HDTV setup) on the "B" channel right now, and I think I've settled on the Denon 2112ci. However, would it be better to use this to power the main system and move the Integra downstairs? I won't have a TV hooked up (or at least not an HD one) to the main system upstairs that drives all of the speakers. Just wondering! Totally new at this sound system thing

So you're going to use the receiver upstairs for speakers for your HDTV setup downstairs? (1) How are you going to control it (2) what sources, and (3) do you want a surround setup for your HDTV?

The A/B speaker terminals are just a built-in speaker selector for the L/R channels. If you want a receiver to run both a surround/HDTV setup *and* the whole-house speakers, get a receiver that has "Zone 2" support. You use the receiver's amp for the surround setup, and typically an inexpensive external amp to run the Zone 2 speakers. That way they are independently controlled (separate power, source selection and volume control), and you don't have conflicts trying to use a 5-channel setup and a 2-channel setup at the same time.m

Jeff


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post #5 of 6 Old 05-20-2012, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so I unscrewed one of the knobs and there's no make/model information at all. I pulled the entire thing out of the wall and nothing. Weird, right?? I'm wondering if they are actually the "cheap" ones!!

As for the downstairs receiver, like I said, I'm new to this, so I may not be explaining it right. The previous owner had the Integra hooked up upstairs, with the "A" channel hooked to all of the upstairs speakers (14 in all) and the "B" channel hooked up to the downstairs speakers. Now, downstairs there are wires coming out of the wall that he says I need to hook up to an additional receiver to make the downstairs surround work with my TV. Does this help? So my question is should I just move the Integra downstairs to deal with the surround and get a Denon for the whole home thing, or just use the Integra upstairs and get the Denon for the surround piece downstairs.

Thanks again for all of your help. I really appreciate you bearing with me!
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-20-2012, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndirishkmk View Post

Ok, so I unscrewed one of the knobs and there's no make/model information at all. I pulled the entire thing out of the wall and nothing. Weird, right?? I'm wondering if they are actually the "cheap" ones!!

Post a picture of "guts" side. An impedance-matching control will have some coils and a jumper/DIP switch setting (like 1x/2x/4x) to choose the impedance.

You can also check the nominal resistance at the receiver end. If the wires are all connected together, measure the resistance with a volt/ohm meter (ohms) - you should see something in the range of 4-8ohms. Each individual pair should be showing like 16 ohms (if set up correctly).

Quote:


As for the downstairs receiver, like I said, I'm new to this, so I may not be explaining it right. The previous owner had the Integra hooked up upstairs, with the "A" channel hooked to all of the upstairs speakers (14 in all) and the "B" channel hooked up to the downstairs speakers. Now, downstairs there are wires coming out of the wall that he says I need to hook up to an additional receiver to make the downstairs surround work with my TV. Does this help? So my question is should I just move the Integra downstairs to deal with the surround and get a Denon for the whole home thing, or just use the Integra upstairs and get the Denon for the surround piece downstairs.

Ok, that makes more sense - the "downstairs" speakers are in-ceiling ones for whole house audio, separate from the surround setup. That's typical and not a bad setup at all. I had to go look up the Integra model, and now see that it's a stereo receiver really designed for the use it's doing currently. It's not a surround receiver, so leave it in place. The fact that the previous owner had this particular model set up gives good evidence that the speaker setup (impedance-wise) is likely correct.

So yes, for your HDTV setup, any surround receiver will be fine, and it's completely separate...

Jeff


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