Multi-Room, Single Source Simple Audio? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-07-2012, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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We are renovating our 1938, two story, pier and beam home and I would like to add multi-room audio throughout the 1st floor. I want a simple system, do not need multi source in each room.

I am having a media cabinet built in the living room that will house a television and surround receiver. I'm planning on 5.1 audio in this room. I would like to add the multi-room equipment in the same cabinet as the surround receiver.

In addition to the speakers in the living room I would like to add in ceiling speakers in 4 other rooms (dining, kitchen, den and outdoor patio).

I would like to be able to turn each room on/off and also control the volume in each room. The 4-rooms only need to be capable of single-source because I'm only using the multi-room speakers for background music. I would, however, like the option to play the living room surround either independently or same source as the other rooms.

Ie. I want to have a football game going in the living room on the surround sound and music playing throughout the house. Then I want to be able to turn off the football game and have music playing in the living room on the surround and throughout the house.

What is the easiest way to get this done? Do I need to wire remotes in every room or can the volume be controlled with an IDevice?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-07-2012, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
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My current plan is to have a basic 2 channel stereo receiver in addition to the 5.1 surround receiver. I will run speaker wire to an impedence matching volume control and 1 or 2 speakers for each room. This appears to get the job done but does it allow me to listen to the same music on the surround receiver and throughout the house? Does it allow me to listen to the TV through the surround and music throughout the rest of the house?

This seems like a very low tech design that has been around for many years, just wondering if there is anything new on the market that could get the job done easier.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-07-2012, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ccampb1346 View Post

My current plan is to have a basic 2 channel stereo receiver in addition to the 5.1 surround receiver. I will run speaker wire to an impedence matching volume control and 1 or 2 speakers for each room. This appears to get the job done but does it allow me to listen to the same music on the surround receiver and throughout the house? Does it allow me to listen to the TV through the surround and music throughout the rest of the house?

Run the analog audio outputs from each source to your stereo receiver for the zones, and the digital audio/HDMI to your surround receiver. That will give you the ability to play the same source in local / zones at the same time. Note that for DD sources the audio may be slightly out of sync with the analog (but probably not enough to worry about).

If you're renovating such that you're able to run wires to these zones, do it correctly even though you're planning on a simple system now. Run a cat5e cable in parallel to the home-run speaker wire to the volume control locations in each zone. That will set you up for any of the whole house audio systems.

Jeff

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post #4 of 13 Old 10-08-2012, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Run the analog audio outputs from each source to your stereo receiver for the zones, and the digital audio/HDMI to your surround receiver. That will give you the ability to play the same source in local / zones at the same time. Note that for DD sources the audio may be slightly out of sync with the analog (but probably not enough to worry about).
If you're renovating such that you're able to run wires to these zones, do it correctly even though you're planning on a simple system now. Run a cat5e cable in parallel to the home-run speaker wire to the volume control locations in each zone. That will set you up for any of the whole house audio systems.
Jeff

It seems there are two ways to go on this basic setup. I can make a run of wire from an external amp or basic 2 channel receiver around the house down to impedence matching volume controls and then run the wires up from the volume controls to the in ceiling speakers. The second option looks like I can get a multi-zone speaker selector with volume control on each zone (ATM-7 or Aton DLA6) and make 4 runs of speaker wire to each set of in ceiling speakers. For remote control in each room it looks like their are options for these speaker selectors to interface with Idevices.

Since I'm having an electrician install recessed lighting throughout the house it really isn't anymore work to put volume controls in each room if that's the best way to go.

On the first setup, would there just be one speaker wire that leaves the receiver and travels to each of the rooms in a daisy chain or do I need a seperate wire leaving the receiver for each room? If it's daisy chain that might be more advantageous to me for simplicity and keeping in mind this is old construction.

On the second setup, would I still need an external amp or second receiver to push the multi-room speakers?
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-08-2012, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccampb1346 View Post

It seems there are two ways to go on this basic setup. I can make a run of wire from an external amp or basic 2 channel receiver around the house down to impedence matching volume controls and then run the wires up from the volume controls to the in ceiling speakers. The second option looks like I can get a multi-zone speaker selector with volume control on each zone (ATM-7 or Aton DLA6) and make 4 runs of speaker wire to each set of in ceiling speakers. For remote control in each room it looks like their are options for these speaker selectors to interface with Idevices.

The wiring is very similar for both. Home run the speaker wire, loop it through a (potential) volume control / keypad location in the zone/room on its way to the in-ceiling speakers. Run a cat5e to the keypad location as well.

Aton doesn't have a direct way to be controlled with an iDevice. Can be done with 3rd party products. If you're looking at that product, seriously consider their remote keypad controls.
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Since I'm having an electrician install recessed lighting throughout the house it really isn't anymore work to put volume controls in each room if that's the best way to go.

It's more the "box" where the volume control goes - you may not use a physical device there, just a splice (if you use the Aton, for example).
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On the first setup, would there just be one speaker wire that leaves the receiver and travels to each of the rooms in a daisy chain or do I need a seperate wire leaving the receiver for each room? If it's daisy chain that might be more advantageous to me for simplicity and keeping in mind this is old construction.
On the second setup, would I still need an external amp or second receiver to push the multi-room speakers?

In all cases you home run the speaker wire from each room back to a central location.

The two options you list have the same basic architecture, only the location of the volume control circuitry is different. You'll need an amplifier in either case (stereo receiver)...

Jeff
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-08-2012, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Is there a way to daisy chain the 4 additional zones (dining, kitchen, den and outdoor patio) and still have the ability to adjust volume control independently in each zone(either local or back at the main cabinet) instead of the home-run? This would be an easier run considering that this is existing construction, old house.

I realize it wouldn't be future proof if you wanted multi-source by room later down the road.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-08-2012, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccampb1346 View Post

Is there a way to daisy chain the 4 additional zones (dining, kitchen, den and outdoor patio) and still have the ability to adjust volume control independently in each zone(either local or back at the main cabinet) instead of the home-run? This would be an easier run considering that this is existing construction, old house.
I realize it wouldn't be future proof if you wanted multi-source by room later down the road.

I don't see how a daisy chain approach would be any easier, and is very limiting for any future upgrades. If you can home-run from one room, and can get from there to other rooms (as you would by daisy chaining), you can pull all the cables through the same path. Nobody said the home runs have to be optimal... biggrin.gif

Daisy-chaining would limit you to one-source, one-amplifier solutions, and will require in-room impedance matching volume controls. If you're going through the effort to retrofit a whole house audio system, limiting yourself to that solution long-term IMO is a bad idea.

Jeff
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-08-2012, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

I don't see how a daisy chain approach would be any easier, and is very limiting for any future upgrades. If you can home-run from one room, and can get from there to other rooms (as you would by daisy chaining), you can pull all the cables through the same path. Nobody said the home runs have to be optimal... biggrin.gif
Daisy-chaining would limit you to one-source, one-amplifier solutions, and will require in-room impedance matching volume controls. If you're going through the effort to retrofit a whole house audio system, limiting yourself to that solution long-term IMO is a bad idea.
Jeff

Ok, fine, I'll home run them all... and thank you later.

In keeping the cost of entry low, is it best to run (OPTION A) the impedence matching volume control in each room or (OPTION B) add another piece (or two) in the media cabinet where I could control each zone (on/off/volume)?

Assuming this equipment is placed in the same cabinet as the rest of the home theater equipment (thinking Denon 2112 CI):

Option A requires: external amp or basic 2 channel receiver, home run and loop the volume control in each room, install impedence matching volume control

Option B requires: external amp or basic 2 channel receiver, speaker selector (like ATM-7 or Aton DLA6), extra gear to make Idevice friendly, home run directly to speakers

I'm leaning towards Option B because I like the idea of controlling the volume from one remote source like an iPad and not having to run the extra wire to the control in each room.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-08-2012, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ccampb1346 View Post

Ok, fine, I'll home run them all... and thank you later.

smile.gif
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In keeping the cost of entry low, is it best to run (OPTION A) the impedence matching volume control in each room or (OPTION B) add another piece (or two) in the media cabinet where I could control each zone (on/off/volume)?

Volume controls may be a bit cheaper, but that's the only good thing about them...
Quote:
Assuming this equipment is placed in the same cabinet as the rest of the home theater equipment (thinking Denon 2112 CI):
Option A requires: external amp or basic 2 channel receiver, home run and loop the volume control in each room, install impedence matching volume control
Option B requires: external amp or basic 2 channel receiver, speaker selector (like ATM-7 or Aton DLA6), extra gear to make Idevice friendly, home run directly to speakers
I'm leaning towards Option B because I like the idea of controlling the volume from one remote source like an iPad and not having to run the extra wire to the control in each room.

Regardless, loop the speaker wire through a volume control/keypad location with a cat5e, or, if that is going to be a lot of extra work, just run a cat5e to a future keypad location in each room instead. You don't have to expose those wires with a box/wallplate, you can just document their location and bury them behind the drywall.

Option B is certainly the better approach - with cost being the only disadvantage...

Jeff
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-08-2012, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Option B is certainly the better approach - with cost being the only disadvantage...
Jeff

Let's go with Option B, and plan on 4 zones outside of the home theater room.
5.1 in the living room
Z1 - 2 speakers in the dining room (in ceiling)
Z2 - 2 speakers in the kitchen (in ceiling)
Z3 - 2 speakers in the den (in ceiling)
Z4 - 2 speakers on the patio (under eave)

I will need:
home theater receiver driving 5.1 in living room with a zone 2 pre-out (planning on Denon 2112 CI)

external amp or second receiver (planning on 2nd receiver)
-What would be a good 2nd receiver that could power 3 sets of in ceiling speakers (http://www.amazon.com/NXG-Technology-NX-C8-2-ENC-X-In-Ceiling-Enclosed/dp/B0067O4S6K) and 1 set of outdoor speakers (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10904&cs_id=1090405&p_id=6971&seq=1&format=2&ref=cj)

speaker selector
-What would be a good speaker selector for 4 zones that allows to control the volume of each zone independently? I would also like to control remotely through an iDevice (iPad) if possible.
- If selector cannot be controlled remotely with iDevice then what gear needs to be added?

What else do I need?
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post #11 of 13 Old 10-08-2012, 05:43 PM
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  • Aton DLA4
  • AudioSource AMP110 or something similar
  • iRule, Global Cache iTach, GC Xantech compatibility cable

iDevice control for a speaker selector is going to be roll-your-own. By the time you do all that, a mid-level HTD.com system with their iDevice control unit/app seems attractive.

Personally, I'd go the Aton route with their in-room keypads and skip the iDevice control - you'll end up switching apps back and forth from iRule and whatever remote controlled source you're using (Sonos, AVR, streamer, etc.)

Jeff
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post #12 of 13 Old 10-09-2012, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

  • Aton DLA4
  • AudioSource AMP110 or something similar
  • iRule, Global Cache iTach, GC Xantech compatibility cable
iDevice control for a speaker selector is going to be roll-your-own. By the time you do all that, a mid-level HTD.com system with their iDevice control unit/app seems attractive.
Personally, I'd go the Aton route with their in-room keypads and skip the iDevice control - you'll end up switching apps back and forth from iRule and whatever remote controlled source you're using (Sonos, AVR, streamer, etc.)
Jeff

What about the Russound CLA4? Price seems comparable to the combined total of the gear listed above.
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post #13 of 13 Old 10-10-2012, 09:28 AM
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What about the Russound CLA4? Price seems comparable to the combined total of the gear listed above.

(CA4)

It certainly fits the bill from a feature set, and gives a lot more flexibility since it's a true multi-source WHA setup... I hadn't looked at that product before, at the 'street' pricing, it's a very competitive WHA setup. In comparison to an HTD setup, it's a good comparison, with the 4 vs. 6 zone support being the biggest difference (but price/zone very similar). The HTD setup has considerably more power per zone (probably only a real issue for large spaces or outdoors).

If you're only going to need 4 zones - I think that's a fine solution for the cost...

Jeff

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