Whole house audio - retrofit options - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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What I want is a whole house audio system, in-wall/in-ceiling speakers with keypads for each zone (6-8 zones)

I have had a few installers say that they could wire my house (retrofit) and some others who don't think its worth it considering holes through joists and what not.
Upstairs is still doable with the attic space. But downstairs seems difficult per some installers. I do respect their opinion as they know what they are doing and of course being honest Vs. over committing.

It's a 3 year old house, so still kind of new. The only thing I have going (not a lot) is, every room is wired for Cat 5s that are homerun to the attic.

This whole thing gives me a bad taste and so looking into other options:
1. Russound Collage - Is this proven technology? How good is it in terms of sources etc. Looks like the keypads run $849, speakers are extra
2. Sonos - I guess theya re a no brainer, but they don't have keypads which is a must for me. Also, the speakers need power and most sockets need to be pulled up for better speaker placement.
3. Nuvo Renovia - Nuvo is a reputed brand, but I haven't heard of any reviews on this system. Also, I don't think they come with keypads

I kick myself for not wiring while building the house. How could I not do it..grr

Anyways, as always, appreciate your expert inputs.
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post #2 of 10 Old 08-07-2012, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by iAusio80 View Post

But downstairs seems difficult per some installers.

Well, I would consider that a fact... Having no access from above makes it "difficult" to get speakers into the ceiling... But certainly can be done. Just plan for some drywall repair. If you haven't painted the rooms (meaning - are they all "builder neutral beige"), you might take the opportunity to do that as the repairs are done...
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Nuvo Renovia - Nuvo is a reputed brand, but I haven't heard of any reviews on this system. Also, I don't think they come with keypads

Yeah, we don't hear much about it - but it does seem to fit your needs quite well. The Renovia amp sits flush on the wall in the zone and is wired to A/C power, speakers, and any one of the NuVo keypad (single/double gang, even the color LCD). You can see this in the Renovia brochure on their website.
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I kick myself for not wiring while building the house. How could I not do it..grr

Keep kicking. A few more times should do it. Then kick yourself in the wallet. biggrin.gif

Jeff

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post #3 of 10 Old 08-08-2012, 09:29 AM
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I've been looking hard at the HTD stuff. I have a split level, so I have some attic access. It will still be difficult, but do-able, I hope eek.gif
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post #4 of 10 Old 08-08-2012, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Thx Jautor ;-)

Some follow-up questions:

1. I understand its difficult for you\anyone to confirm, but are you suggesting that I talk more professional A\V installers and see if they agree to add wiring?
The last person, again, I respect them, said it's a very tough job & not worthwhile pursuing it. Some others were ok to do it. That why I was looking at retrofit whole audio options.
I don't have any referrals per se (not antisocial, but none of my friends have done it), so I'd have to rely on online reviews.

Any suggestion for decent (not high $$ folks) A\V installers in Irving\Dallas, TX area?

2. Any inputs on the Russound Collage?

Lack of reviews suggest that I am in the minority as most people seem to have pre-wired or managed to add it later.
However, if its worth it, I don't mind having a de-centralized approach in terms of wiring but still be able handle the zones via keypads.

I was pursuing the HTD option as well, but it comes back to wiring problem. If I could get it wired, I might as well go for a Nuvo set-up with nicer keypads (metadata and what not)..

Thx!
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post #5 of 10 Old 08-08-2012, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iAusio80 View Post

1. I understand its difficult for you\anyone to confirm, but are you suggesting that I talk more professional A\V installers and see if they agree to add wiring? The last person, again, I respect them, said it's a very tough job & not worthwhile pursuing it. Some others were ok to do it. That why I was looking at retrofit whole audio options.

The only difference between a retrofit and "new construction" is that the drywall is in place, and has been textured and painted. The level of difficulty is in how much of that do you have to tear into to get the wires run. Impossible to say how much work that is without seeing the plans/space. If folks are turning down that business, it's probably because they expect you to balk at the cost to do it.

If you can get a good / cheap drywall guy lined up, then you can let the A/V guys off the hook as to drywall repair. Which is why I asked if the rooms had been really painted / decorated. Running the wire isn't the problem - repairing the mess it makes is what will scare the guys away - since it could become an unbounded cost problem for them. So if you take the repairs off their hands (not their problem), you might get a different answer.
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I don't have any referrals per se (not antisocial, but none of my friends have done it), so I'd have to rely on online reviews.
Any suggestion for decent (not high $$ folks) A\V installers in Irving\Dallas, TX area?
2. Any inputs on the Russound Collage?

Nope, sorry, no help on either topic. There are members around from the Dallas area though, that hopefully can chime in... (hint: put your location in your use profile so folks can know your location without you having to mention it to get local advice)
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I was pursuing the HTD option as well, but it comes back to wiring problem. If I could get it wired, I might as well go for a Nuvo set-up with nicer keypads (metadata and what not)..

Yeah, if you're going to go through all the retrofit wiring cost/trouble to get keypads, not getting full metadata would be a shame.

Jeff

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post #6 of 10 Old 08-09-2012, 09:25 AM
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As jautor said, the main obstacle to retrofitting cables is paint and texture. If I'm going to have a room painted, I'll tear up the walls as much as I please to add cables; I have a good and cheap drywall repair guy available.

I too wouldn't be surprised if the installers change their mind about the retrofit, if you take care of the drywall repairs and painting.

I'm very happy with my Nuvo system, much of which was retrofitted.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #7 of 10 Old 08-11-2012, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Update: I just realized that all the rooms are pre-wired with Cat 5e Vs. only Coax.
All wires are home run to teh attic.

Does this qualify for an A-Bus system and/or an IP based audio system like NetStreams?

Any good recos on A-Bus system with LCD wall-controllers? Any reviews on NetStreams systems?

Any other suggestions on leveraging existing set-up before going to Sonos?

Thx
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post #8 of 10 Old 08-13-2012, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iAusio80 View Post

Update: I just realized that all the rooms are pre-wired with Cat 5e Vs. only Coax.
All wires are home run to teh attic.
Does this qualify for an A-Bus system and/or an IP based audio system like NetStreams?
Any good recos on A-Bus system with LCD wall-controllers? Any reviews on NetStreams systems?
Any other suggestions on leveraging existing set-up before going to Sonos?
Thx

Neurorad, Jautor - If you could please review this - Would highly appreciate your comments!
Looks like all rooms and pre-wired with Cat 5e and Coax

Thx
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post #9 of 10 Old 08-13-2012, 04:49 AM
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ABus and Digi-5 use a category cable to the KP, and then speaker wires from the KP to the speakers. Retrofitting this would be more difficult than another more conventional system.

Do you have a basement or crawlspace?

Feasability of a retrofit depends much on your house and room layouts.

In wall speakers might be easier than in-ceiling speakers, for some of the rooms.

ANY house is amenable to retrofitting any cables. It just depends on how many holes need to be cut, and how tolerant you are of repair work.

The installer can take his time, and carefully plan each cable run to minimize the amount of damage. Could take several days' work if he's super careful. Or he could do it all in day, with complete disregard for drywall. Drywall repair is prob much cheaper than the added cost of the CI's careful planning.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #10 of 10 Old 08-13-2012, 08:01 AM
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+1... Having category cable to the room may not be helpful for a WHA retrofit. The cables have to be where you'll want the keypads. It may help by removing some difficult runs, but as Neurorad said, can't really say without seeing the house...

The Digi-5 stuff is "better" and newer than the A-Bus, but I'm not aware of any of those systems that have display keypads - certainly nothing with metadata support.

Jeff

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