Whole house audio on a tight budget - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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I am looking to put a whole house audio system in my new house. I am not looking for anything fancy, just the ability to play the radio in all zones. I am looking for 8 zones with a single source. 2 of the zones will be for outside where I am assuming I will need a little extra power to achieve desired volume. I am on an extremely tight budget. I thought about an A-bus system or just an amp with a speaker selector and volume controls in each room. Please help! drywall will be going up soon!

Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 10:38 AM
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Do the pre-wiring correctly, and you'll be able to use any of those solutions. Home run speaker wire and cat5e to a switch location in each zone, and then speaker wire from there to the speakers. And then worry about the equipment later (give you some more time to think about it). Done properly, a whole house audio system will be used every day. Done no-so-well, it will get used for special occasions only...

With eight rooms, you should be looking at something better than an amp + speaker selector. The issue is usability. You don't want to have to run around the house turning on/off zones every time you want to use another room. Especially true with outdoor zones and bedrooms.

Look at the Digi-5 systems from Xantech and Aton instead of A-Bus as they provide more power per zone, use a Sonos Connect as your source. You can get most local radio stations streaming from the Internet - although I find I'll use Internet Radio or Pandora a lot more often than local FM stations...

A Sonos Connect:Amp unit or a NuVo P200 with impedance-matching volume controls in each zone would be a decent minimal system, but usability with >3 zones, in my opinion, starts to become an issue.


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post #3 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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You said...

With eight rooms, you should be looking at something better than an amp + speaker selector. The issue is usability. You don't want to have to run around the house turning on/off zones every time you want to use another room. Especially true with outdoor zones and bedrooms.

Why is that. Can't you turn off that zone with the volume selector on the wall?
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunrast View Post

Why is that. Can't you turn off that zone with the volume selector on the wall?

Yes, you can. Repeat that eight times.

Unless you get into the habit of turning "off" each zone (by turning the volume down to zero) when you're done using the system (as opposed to just turning the source off), those zones will come on the next time you turn the system on.

For one or two zones this isn't a big deal, since it's fairly predictable which rooms will get used. But as you cross into larger systems, this will become a PITA... Especially with multiple family members. A bedroom left on can be a rude late-nigh / early-morning wakeup call, for example.

With a whole house audio system, you turn on/off each zone as you use it (or use a wireless device to control any room), so you never have to visit any zone that's not "in use" to listen to another zone (without music playing where you don't want it).

All that gets back to my point about usability. You may go through all that for a party, but not for a few minutes of casual listening. So the system will tend to get used only for special occasions. My experience...


Jeff

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post #5 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Got it. I understand your point. But I was thinking that I would leave the system (amp and source) on all of the time. May not be environmentally friendly or "good" for the amp, but I want to be able to have in on at any time I wish. Is there another way to accomplish this?

Thanks
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-20-2013, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunrast View Post

Got it. I understand your point. But I was thinking that I would leave the system (amp and source) on all of the time. May not be environmentally friendly or "good" for the amp, but I want to be able to have in on at any time I wish. Is there another way to accomplish this?

There are amps made for this purpose that have an automatic on/off feature, so the amp turns on when it senses a signal on the input, and turns off after a while after the signal stops.

But what I was really talking about was the "last state" issue with volume controls and a single, shared amp setup. If you last used the bedroom zone in the evening, and then first thing in the morning crank up the tunes on the patio, you may find yourself waking someone up who wasn't ready for that... biggrin.gif

Jeff

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