A/V installation consultation services?! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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We're building a new 3000 square foot home in 2013. Holy cow! I'm on information overload and I need some guidance. I have yet to find a comprehensive guide or DIY instruction guide on where to start.

I have no problem paying someone a reasonable hourly rate for phone consultation on where to begin! Any suggestions out there?

My contractor is fine working with us and will allow us to do as much or as little as we like during the construction. I have a few friends/relatives that are electricians and I have a feeling that we could wire the house ourselves.

For audio, it sounds like Sonos is the easiest choice (maybe not the most deluxe or the most cost-effective, but easy and reliable I've heard).

I need to have a 30-60 minute conversation with someone to know where to start and how to proceed. Suggestions ???

PS - I built my Home Theater 6 years ago based solely upon the help of AVS Forums members, so I have the utmost confidence in you guys!
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 12:45 PM
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Put your location in your profile - you'll get better "local" advice,too.

Best place to start is the Cocoontech Wiki:

http://www.cocoontech.com/wiki/Wiring_Your_New_House_101

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 01:04 PM
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Dennis Erskine's company does whole-house LV consulting, in addition to LV design, if you're considering a remote pro, and can't find local help.

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

Give a monkey a brain and he'll swear he's the center of the universe. -Fishbone
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks!! Again, I know that there would be major variations depending on each company, but if I were to find someone local and hire them as only a CONSULTANT (not an installer), what would you expect a reasonable price/charge would be? Like $80/hour or like $400 for a one-time full consultation and plan ?? etc?
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 02:20 PM
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Are you wanting to do 100% of the work on your own? Or will you bring in someone to put together your A/V system?
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 02:25 PM
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The most important thing you can do right now is wire your home. Wire the hell out of it. Might want a speaker in hall closet? Run speaker wire there. Maybe a speaker in the corner of Living Room for when the kid is in timeout? Run a speaker cable there.

Assuming you're going to homerun it all back to a central A/V closet, you're going to want to run speaker cable to every room you could possibly want sound. And then put in 5 runs of CAT6 cable to each location that you'll want a TV. And a couple runs of CAT6 to any location that you might want an in-wall panel for selecting music / movies.
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 02:27 PM
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And if you don't mind me asking, what's your budget for this project?
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mab45 View Post

Thanks!! Again, I know that there would be major variations depending on each company, but if I were to find someone local and hire them as only a CONSULTANT (not an installer), what would you expect a reasonable price/charge would be? Like $80/hour or like $400 for a one-time full consultation and plan ?? etc?

It depends on the experience of the person, the region of the world, and how busy he/she currently is.

Some dude off Craigslist will be a fifth of the price of an experienced company that's been in the business for 15 years. I would argue that the experienced pro is worth the premium, but it depends on your level of OCD. Do you demand excellence, or are you kind of a 'wing-it' type of person?

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

Give a monkey a brain and he'll swear he's the center of the universe. -Fishbone
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your responses! No budget in mind. I'm fortunate in that I have enough resources to handle things if it gets expensive, HOWEVER, I also tend to get really into this stuff and would have no problem putting in the labor (and research) necessary to have a nice final outcome. I also tend to look for bargains and would rather spend my $$ in other areas that I'm less interested in putting my personal efforts.

Everything will be homerun to the mechanical room in my basement.

My main questions:

1. Is Sonos a reasonable option for the whole house audio? I'll have a zone in the "living room, kitchen, bedroom 1/2/3, master bathroom, study, outdoor deck, gameroom". (I might not install all zones at first, but will wire them with speaker wire for the future of course). All I'd need to do is run the speaker wire accordingly and decide later if I'll need to add amplifiers or not?

2. Gramin, why 5 runs of CAT6 to each TV location? This is one area that my knowledge is out-dated. If you'd rather not elaborate and could even point me in a direction of research, I'm happy to pick it up from your direction...

3. I wasn't planning to have a Control4 system setup myself, where the entire house is connected and automated, but I figured that I'd at least setup individual video streamers at each TV (to stream content from my central NAS drive).

4. For basic lighting and house monitoring automation, I was thinking that we could look into the basic options by Guardian and ADT. Is that silly and overpriced versus a self-contained system? We just want basic controls for our lights and garage door/etc, we're not too worried about extravagant settings. Unless of course, those settings could be had for a nice price.

If I'm in over my head, also feel free to tell me that I need to pay for a professional. I'm not sure what i'd decide, but advice like that could also be valuable... It's a $650k house and I'm a techy. I'd just rather not waste $10k-$20k on something that I could chug through myself!

Thanks!!!
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post #10 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 06:52 PM
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Listen to me.

Blue pill - hire out all the work - you will have a delightful system, for a finite amount of money, to show your friends, that that your family will enjoy for years to come.

Red pill - make this a hobby - you will spend twice as much, finding out all the cool stuff you can do, and it will never be finished.

Choose wisely.

I would choose the red pill again, but not everyone would. It is a lot of work. Pros charge a lot for good reason.

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 #11 of 14 Old 12-07-2012, 07:02 PM
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Sonos can't be controlled easily from 3rd party systems. It's designed to be controlled from Sonos apps. They don't share their control code. Some other companies have hacked it.

Check out the new Nuvo system for whole house audio. Fortunately, if you install cables correctly, can can use most any system. Wait until you you're ready to install before buying anything, and read every manual before buying.

Elk and HAI are 2 popular DIY alarm companies.

If you're not interested in investing a crap-load of time into the projects, hire out the work. Your family will appreciate it.

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

Give a monkey a brain and he'll swear he's the center of the universe. -Fishbone
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post #12 of 14 Old 12-08-2012, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your input. I'm okay with Sonos being separate from everything else if it works really well. We'd just control it from our smartphones and tablets.

I'm more concerned about not making a silly decision about how to control the video. That's why I was thinking that I could just run enough CAT6 everywhere and use individual streaming boxes at each TV location to pull content from my NAS.

And then I was thinking the home lighting and security could be separate as well.... ?

When broken down like this, it doesn't sound that challenging, but I just don't want to ignore something major either.
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post #13 of 14 Old 12-08-2012, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Sonos can't be controlled easily from 3rd party systems. It's designed to be controlled from Sonos apps.
N

That's misleading. Sonos works really with Control4 by way of a nice driver created by Extra Vegetables. I'm sure there are other examples too.
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post #14 of 14 Old 12-08-2012, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mab45 View Post

Thank you so much for your input. I'm okay with Sonos being separate from everything else if it works really well. We'd just control it from our smartphones and tablets.
And then I was thinking the home lighting and security could be separate as well.... ?
When broken down like this, it doesn't sound that challenging, but I just don't want to ignore something major either.

So you want to have an audio app, a video app, a security app, a lighting app, etc? Have fun with that. Maybe you're married & want a divorce? Seriously, at least look into something like Control4 that's an all-in-one solution.
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