Reviewing a home audio quote for family - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-22-2012, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I wanted to bounce this quote off someone who knew better before I proceed with giving advice to my Aunt.

Background: Her home was wired for in-ceiling speakers with volume controls in the rooms during construction, including outdoor speakers. She apparently had another room added after the fact, and she mentioned that after that, the sound wasn't very good in other rooms (not loud enough I guess) and didn't really work outside (although it did when I was just there going over this). It looks like the whole house connects via one wall plate, which is currently connected to an old Onkyo receiver. I should have pulled the model, but it doesn't exactly appear to be the top end of the line.

She wants to get rid of that poor performance, and be able to use an iPad to control everything. I guess she also wanted to add some in-wall speakers in a room for TV that could have a different source simultaneously while music is in the ceiling in another room.

My initial thought about the volume issue was that she just didn't have enough juice after she added those extra speakers. I imagine any time she would use the outdoor speakers for entertaining, she'd also have speakers elsewhere in the house going too, meaning she needed every watt that receiver could kick out. There just simply wasn't enough. She probably has at least 15 speakers I can think of.

She contacted a A/V pro to draw something up and she sent me the proposal. I was thinking he would propose a high-end multi-zone AVR with an app to control via iPad. Then an Apple TV could control her music if she wanted.

Instead, he is proposing Sonos products. Here is the proposal:
- Sonos Connect Amp to connect to whole home speakers
- Sonos Bridge for router
- Sonos Controller for control of music source and volume for whole house.
- Verify that volume controls match impedance, replace if necessary.

- Another Sonos Connect Amp for the outdoor speakers. The way he wrote the quote, it looks like the outdoor speakers have their own connections on the wall.

- Another Sonos Connect Amp for new family room in-wall speakers.

Now I know Sonos products are supposed to be pretty good, but I was wondering if they are really the right product for a whole home system. Really the first one. The Connect Amp is 2x55W @ 8 ohms, and it is going to need to drive 13-14 ceiling speakers (if the outdoors have their own amp)? It just sounds like too much to ask of that device. Connect it to two outdoor speakers and it is probably well suited. I'm also thinking that Sonos Controller is redundant if you have an iPad? The Sonos site makes it seem like an iPad can control everything, and it described the controller as....a way to control everything.

So, long winded message, but does anyone have another direction to go? Or do they think this A/V guy's proposal sounds like it would work. It is probably about $3k for all the Sonos stuff and his time to put install. That does buy a nice "traditional" AVR, but it might also not do everything she wants since it isn't all wired that way. Or maybe $2k for a strong AVR with two zones (one indoor, one outdoor) then add a Sonos Connect on top of it, with a Connect Amp for the extra in-wall speakers in the family room? My Aunt isn't an audiophile, she just wants a system that works, so that is what I am trying to figure out. Thanks for reading if you made it this far, and thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-22-2012, 07:57 PM
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Yeah, you don't need the Sonos controller if she's got an iPad (and it's been discontinued, anyway). For the "big group" of speakers, assuming the impedance matching is taken care of, I'd probably use a Connect with an external amp for that many speakers. You might try buying just two Sonos Connect:Amps, try one for that zone, and then decide. Then you could get etiher one more Connect:Amp for the family room, or move the one over and replace it with a Connect + external amp.

From a usability standpoint, Sonos is one of the best, certainly hard to beat for the price.

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post #3 of 10 Old 05-23-2012, 04:40 PM
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How those speakers are wired is important. You can't drive that many speakers without knowing how they're wired. What sort of volume controls are involved?

A sonos setup would likely work but it'll probably need another amp to drive the speakers. So don't bother getting the Connect:Amp, just the plain Connect unit with it's line-out levels would work.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-24-2012, 03:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post

How those speakers are wired is important. You can't drive that many speakers without knowing how they're wired. What sort of volume controls are involved?

A sonos setup would likely work but it'll probably need another amp to drive the speakers. So don't bother getting the Connect:Amp, just the plain Connect unit with it's line-out levels would work.

Yeah, get as many connect units as you want, and a multi-channel amp like Dayton Audio MA1240a, HTD DMA-1240 or similar.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-24-2012, 07:14 AM
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We have 13 zones of Sonos, each with its own Connect:Amp. When guests are staying its quite common to have different music playing in different zones.

The Sonos controller is "nicer" in one way then using an iPad, iPod, etc - when you pick up the Sonos controller its ready to go - nothing to unlock, nothing to start, etc.

I like having the Sonos controllers (one per zone here) but I guess they didn't sell. When they die I don't know what I will replace them with - bunch of iPods I suppose.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-24-2012, 08:46 AM
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It would also depend on if your aunt can use the Sonos interface. I know of many (slightly) older people that have a tough time with it.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-24-2012, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifor View Post

It would also depend on if your aunt can use the Sonos interface. I know of many (slightly) older people that have a tough time with it.

Just curious - do you mean "have a tough time with it" as in the Sonos app itself and it's UI, or just the whole using a touchscreen / app / digital music / Internet sources generally? In other words - do you think folks would have similar difficulty with any app, or is there something *more* confusing about the Sonos implementation?

(I assume it's *any*, but would like to hear your take)

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post #8 of 10 Old 05-24-2012, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. My Aunt should be able to handle the interface.

I am not sure how the house is wired. Like I said in the original post, I was surprised to see everything is just connected to the wall plate with speaker connections. I believer her current receiver is just stereo. I'd hope the pro would be able to figure that out. The existing volume controls are just the knob type in each room.

I'll tell her the Sonos Controller could be useful, but she probably doesn't need it, and to ask her guy about why he didn't recommend a separate amp.

One more question from users, is the Sonos system pretty stable? Meaning it stays connected? Or am I going to be going over there and trouble shooting the wifi end of it 3 weeks after it is installed? Her router is pretty stable right now, so that shouldn't be an issue.

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post #9 of 10 Old 05-24-2012, 05:15 PM
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Each Sonos Connect, etc becomes part of the Sonos wireless network.

One device needs a hardwired connection to your existing network.

The Sonos Bridge is only needed to extend the Sonos wireless network if the placement of the existing Sonos Connects, etc don't provide enough coverage.

For instance ALL of my Sonos Connects are in the basement in the A/V "closet" so I have 4 Bridges placed around the house so the Sonos controllers have something to connect to.

So you don't need a Bridge until you have determined that you do.

The system is stable. I have 13 zones. We have guests all summer and often during the other times of the year. The Sonos system get a lot of use and other then the software/firmware updates need no attention - it just works.

You should discuss with your Aunt the benefits (if any) of being able to have different areas playing different music. For excample, in my case each guest bedroom has a dedicated Connect and Controller so the folks using that room can listen to music of their choosing.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-24-2012, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Just curious - do you mean "have a tough time with it" as in the Sonos app itself and it's UI, or just the whole using a touchscreen / app / digital music / Internet sources generally? In other words - do you think folks would have similar difficulty with any app, or is there something *more* confusing about the Sonos implementation?

(I assume it's *any*, but would like to hear your take)

It's the only iPad based controller i have done. Most of my stuff consist of second zone receivers feeding a seperate amp. Therefore, the house music is controlled by the remote, not an iPad.
On the Sonos app, I had to explain that the left side is the room, the center is what is playing and the right side is your library or sources. It's was a little difficult for a couple that was around 60, but they eventually got it, they just don't ever use different sources, I had to set up a Pandora account for them and start listing their favourite bands. They just use mix on Pandora now.
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