Need advice for home video & audio wiring - diagram included - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-14-2012, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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First of all, I learned a lot from the posts here. I've read quite a bit, but I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to A/V world.

Since I have a new house to wire, I drew the following wiring chart based on my limited knowledge. I am sure there are many mistakes so I wish I can get advice from experts..

For the most part, the chart should be self-explanatory. What I want to achieve is basically
  • share the video sources to other rooms as shown
  • set up a "whole house background music system" that plays iTunes music at two zones (family and dining)
  • Projector and HDTV at basement won't be turned on at the same time
  • HDTV at master bedroom and HDTV at master bath share the same source all the time

Questions
  • Does the diagram below work?
  • Do the HDTV and Projector at basement get audio out of the AVR? If not, how to enable audio for the HDTV at least?
  • it is acceptable that the stereos at family & dining on 1st floor always play the same music, but can I just turn on one of them or both of them?
  • if the AVR is being used for 7.1 Audio, can I still use it for the stereo music at the same time?
  • I wonder if it is possible control the AVR (network enabled) to achieve the desired feature above. I heard that there are some iPhone/iPad apps that allows you to control the AVR via WLAN. It is a little undesirable if I have to use an AVR app to turn on or set up AVR first and then use the Airplay app to play the iTunes music.
  • The sat box that I have only has RCA output. Is there any adapter to convert it to HDMI to connect it to the HDMI matrix?
  • The HDMI common denominator problem: If the HDTV at family room has only 2 ch. audio, does it mean that the 7.1 AVR won't get full audio input all the time? Or that only happens when the HDTV uses the same source as the AVR?
  • Will the 1:2 HDMI splitter work given that the input is from HDMI matrix output?
  • Any caveats or idea to improve the setup?

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post #2 of 8 Old 07-14-2012, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gh0001 View Post

Since I have a new house to wire, I drew the following wiring chart based on my limited knowledge. I am sure there are many mistakes so I wish I can get advice from experts..

That's a good start! You should definitely concentrate on the pre-wire aspects of the house at this point. Equipment selection can wait...
Quote:
[*] Does the diagram below work?

Yes, with some caveats. Whatever you do, home run all of your wiring, add some more wire until you think you have too much, and then add a bit more...
Quote:
[*] Do the HDTV and Projector at basement get audio out of the AVR? If not, how to enable audio for the HDTV at least?

Projector doesn't need audio. Many AVRs have dual HDMI (mirrored) outputs, with audio passed on one output.
Quote:
[*] it is acceptable that the stereos at family & dining on 1st floor always play the same music, but can I just turn on one of them or both of them?

Don't know, is that acceptable to you? If the rooms are open to each other, it's probably fine. But home run all your speaker wires individually so that you can change your mind later if you upgrade to a "whole house audio" system.
Quote:
[*] if the AVR is being used for 7.1 Audio, can I still use it for the stereo music at the same time?

If you mean on the 7.1 setup, yes - either in 2-channel mode or in an "all channel stereo" mode. AVRs with Zone2 outputs are stereo only and are independent of what's being played in the main zone. Note however that most AVRs only route analog audio to their Zone2 outputs, so you may need to run RCA analog audio cables in parallel for digital / HDMI sources.
Quote:
[*] I wonder if it is possible control the AVR (network enabled) to achieve the desired feature above. I heard that there are some iPhone/iPad apps that allows you to control the AVR via WLAN. It is a little undesirable if I have to use an AVR app to turn on or set up AVR first and then use the Airplay app to play the iTunes music.

Correct. You can also use the media browsing (DLNA) support in many AVRs instead of iTunes, which would keep you in the same app, but quite frankly, the usability of those setups isn't so hot...

If you want "good" control / usability of whole house zones, you'll want to look at systems designed for that purpose. Depending on what you want, that could be as simple as a Sonos unit to feed two rooms (maybe with an external auto-on/off amplifier), or could be a full Whole House Audio system.

While you've got the walls open, seriously consider running speaker and control (cat5e) wires to other rooms in the house, so that if you want to do a WHA system in the future, you can without tearing into the walls.
Quote:
[*] The sat box that I have only has RCA output. Is there any adapter to convert it to HDMI to connect it to the HDMI matrix?

There are, but you'd be much better off upgrading that receiver to a modern one with HDMI. If by "sat" you mean a DirecTV / Dish box, you might be able to get an upgrade for free... And the results will be far superior to converting anything to HDMI.
Quote:
[*] The HDMI common denominator problem: If the HDTV at family room has only 2 ch. audio, does it mean that the 7.1 AVR won't get full audio input all the time? Or that only happens when the HDTV uses the same source as the AVR?

Correct - and how much you'll have to reboot / power cycle / unplug will depend on all the specific model's behavior. I would highly recommend dedicating 5.1 sources to your theater and duplicating them for the "rest of the house". A cheap BD player and one more Apple TV solves the issue...
Quote:
[*] Will the 1:2 HDMI splitter work given that the input is from HDMI matrix output?

Yes, but again, home run all the cables, so that splitter should be in the basement with the matrix.

You're off to a good start. Keep reading, especially the "Wiring Your House" Wiki over at cocoontech.com...

Jeff

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post #3 of 8 Old 07-14-2012, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again Jeff! some questions below.
Quote:
If you mean on the 7.1 setup, yes - either in 2-channel mode or in an "all channel stereo" mode. AVRs with Zone2 outputs are stereo only and are independent of what's being played in the main zone. Note however that most AVRs only route analog audio to their Zone2 outputs, so you may need to run RCA analog audio cables in parallel for digital / HDMI sources.
I mean if I am playing 7.1 audio at basement, can someone in dining room play the iTunes music?

From your post it seems that I need to use zone 2 for the dining room audio. Right?

If I want to be able to turn on family and dine audio independently (just on/off part, I understand they must play the same iTunes music), I will need to configure the AVR to send zone 2 to dining, zone 3 to family, and zone 2 & 3 to both get input from iTunes, right?

I don't quite understand running RCA analog audio in parallel. Did you mean running RCA + digital audio cable to family/dining? My only use case for the family/dining stereo is iTunes music so I think running analog cable should be enough?
Quote:
you want, that could be as simple as a Sonos unit to feed two rooms (maybe with an external auto-on/off amplifier), or could be a full Whole House Audio system.
that's additional cost - at least $349 additional per room for a Sonos play unit. I want to leverage the 7.1 audio. Is there any AVR that also has auto on/off capability and also easy to use for whole house audio?
Quote:
Correct - and how much you'll have to reboot / power cycle / unplug will depend on all the specific model's behavior. I would highly recommend dedicating 5.1 sources to your theater and duplicating them for the "rest of the house". A cheap BD player and one more Apple TV solves the issue...
hmmm, any workarounds other than duplicating it?
Quote:
You're off to a good start. Keep reading, especially the "Wiring Your House" Wiki over at cocoontech.com...
thanks for the info. I will check it out.
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-14-2012, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gh0001 View Post

From your post it seems that I need to use zone 2 for the dining room audio. Right?
If I want to be able to turn on family and dine audio independently (just on/off part, I understand they must play the same iTunes music), I will need to configure the AVR to send zone 2 to dining, zone 3 to family, and zone 2 & 3 to both get input from iTunes, right?

If you want independent volume and on/off capability for those rooms, they will need to be on separate zones. Note that most AVRs use "unpowered" zone 2/3 outputs, so you'll need an inexpensive external amp with auto-sensing to run those zones. I'd recommend the AudioSource AMP-100.
Quote:
I don't quite understand running RCA analog audio in parallel. Did you mean running RCA + digital audio cable to family/dining? My only use case for the family/dining stereo is iTunes music so I think running analog cable should be enough?

Run in parallel from the source device to the AVR. If the source is connected to the AVR with only a digital audio link (HDMI or Toslink), the AVR won't convert that to analog for use in the zones.
Quote:
that's additional cost - at least $349 additional per room for a Sonos play unit. I want to leverage the 7.1 audio. Is there any AVR that also has auto on/off capability and also easy to use for whole house audio?

There are more expensive AVRs that have powered zone amps, but quite frankly, the usability of a Sonos unit is orders of magnitude higher... My goal would be to make the system so easy to use that it actually gets used... I use mine many times a day, if I had to go through multiple apps and so forth, probably would only get used for "parties and special occasions"...

Quote:
hmmm, any workarounds other than duplicating it? (It == cheap video sources such as BD players and AppleTV streamers)

That *is* the cheap workaround... Inexpensive BD players are $60 or less. $99 AppleTV... Or live with stereo on those sources. You can certainly try it out on your matrix with all your displays and see how well your setup responds to the common denominator changes - and then add stuff only if necessary.

Jeff

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post #5 of 8 Old 07-15-2012, 12:07 AM - Thread Starter
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how about Denon AVR-3313CI? does it send amplified analog audio on zone 2 & 3? thanks!
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-15-2012, 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by gh0001 View Post

how about Denon AVR-3313CI? does it send amplified analog audio on zone 2 & 3? thanks!

You can get one zone (2 or 3) if you use it in 5.1 mode instead of 7.1...

RTM, page 103:

http://usa.denon.com/US/Product/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?CatId=AVReceivers(DenonNA)&PId=AVR3313CI(DenonNA)

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post #7 of 8 Old 07-15-2012, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

You can get one zone (2 or 3) if you use it in 5.1 mode instead of 7.1...
RTM, page 103:
http://usa.denon.com/US/Product/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?CatId=AVReceivers(DenonNA)&PId=AVR3313CI(DenonNA)

got it. thanks again. It should be okay if I still get 7.1 when zone 2 is not playing anything, or do I lose the 2 channel (hence only 5.1) at the main zone all the time, after assigning 2 channels to zone 2?
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-15-2012, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by gh0001 View Post

got it. thanks again. It should be okay if I still get 7.1 when zone 2 is not playing anything, or do I lose the 2 channel (hence only 5.1) at the main zone all the time, after assigning 2 channels to zone 2?

All the time. You have to choose - unless you want to unhook speakers and change the setup every time...

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