Pre-Wired New Home Configuration and Setup - Feedback and Comments Please... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Dear AVS Experts,

I have come here for your sage advice. I'd like to think of myself as a planner and as I take delivery of my new home, this is no different regarding setting up the entire home audio!

My new home will have a total of 7 different pre-wired zones (All 5 bedrooms, kitchen/nook, living/dining room areas). That is, in-ceiling pre-wire connected to a wall plate with speaker wire and carried down to the basement with the rest of my A/V equipment. I was thinking of a standard rotary volume controller more than likely (more on that later).

First, the speaker setup, I was thinking of purchasing either the Polk R60i's or possibly the Yamaha's seen here. Note both would be in the 6.5" model. After some research I found these as both budget, yet strong performance friendly speakers. Are there any suggestions otherwise that I should also consider?

As for the setup, I was leaning towards purchasing separate Apple Airport Express devices for each zone along with their own small amps for each. The reason for this was it would provide me the flexibility to push different media to different zones. Mind you, I currently have approximately 8 iOS devices in our home which could push content via AirPlay and thought this would be most convenient. I looked into multi-zone amps however thought that would be overkill based on the price (if I recall, 4 zones was the most I saw in an amp) and felt if the receiver goes bad, my entire setup is shot. Separate budget friendly amps made more sense. Any suggestions to power the speakers mentioned above?

Lastly, am I making the most use of a pre-wired home correctly? I mentioned above about using a rotary volume controller however I have seen those multi-input selected outlets (Where you can select AM/FM/iPod/Aux for example). How exactly is that wired down in my setup to the basement and what type of amp would be used with this? I would obviously like to get the most out of my setup since the pre-wire wasn't exactly cheap but I also want the flexibility.

All comments are welcome and I will continue to read through other threads on this forum for advice. I hope to create a Visio or some type of diagram with the setup if I find some time.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 10:56 AM
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There's lots of threads right here to read about all your options.

Run a cat5e cable to your volume control locations as well, so that you can use keypad-based systems as well.

Look at the Sonos Connect:Amp over an Airport Express-based (EDIT) solution, as the Sonos is a source as well as the amp and control piece. Rather than restricting use to a library stored on an iOS device or the hassle of loading individual apps and having only one person able to control each zone...


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post #3 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Jeff,

I appreciate your response and I am researching quite a bit on this forum. In particular a thread started by "My Dream" in his research between Nuvo and Russound with many of your comments in between.

Agreed on the CAT-5 to the keypads and that should be there. I opted not to go with the builder's Russound or On Q Lyric systems. Just too overpriced and figured I could handle these decisions if it was pre-wired.

I am looking for flexibility so will continue to do my research while others have any suggestions.

Thanks!
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 11:37 AM
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I am looking for flexibility so will continue to do my research while others have any suggestions.

As Jeff suggested, definitely look at the Sonos Connect Amp. Most flexible solution out there. And one amp can power 2 sets of speakers. So, to be cost effective, you could spend $1000 and get 2 connect amps, thus powering up to 4 rooms (8 speakers). And, if you want to expand later, pick up another connect amp.
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Look at the Sonos Connect:Amp over an Airport solution, as the Sonos is a source as well as the amp and control piece. Rather than restricting use to a library stored on an iOS device or the hassle of loading individual apps and having only one person able to control each zone...

jautor,

Am I to understand you to mean an Apple Airport Extreme Wireless network to be an Airport solution?

I too prefer a Sonos solution with audio files stored on a harddrive and using an iOS device (OP has several) with a Sonos app downloaded as the UI. Rather than multiple Airport Expresses which will each require a receiver/integrated amp per zone. You may accomplish different media to different zones with Sonos by adding a source to the Connect:Amp's "analog audio in" input.
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

jautor,

Am I to understand you to mean an Apple Airport Extreme Wireless network to be an Airport solution?

I too prefer a Sonos solution with audio files stored on a harddrive and using an iOS device (OP has several) with a Sonos app downloaded as the UI. Rather than multiple Airport Expresses which will each require a receiver/integrated amp per zone. You may accomplish different media to different zones with Sonos by adding a source to the Connect:Amp's "analog audio in" input.

No, I meant the Airport Express - use whatever wireless infrastructure makes you happy...


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post #7 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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In looking at the Sonos system, I found this spec on the Amp page:

TONE AND VOLUME CONTROLS ADJUSTABLE FOR EACH ROOM. Optimize sound performance for each room using room-specific bass, treble, balance, and loudness controls. Adjust volume by individual room or by groups of rooms

What volume controls would one use in the wall in a Sonos system? I was intrigued by the functionality to play FM radio as I do listen on occasion. I liked something like the Lync's keypad (LCD readout) or even the Nuvo's. Call me superficial but presentation is also important. smile.gif Had even thought as possibly mounting an iOS device into the wall which I could also take out and on the go if needed be.

I always thought it was kind of silly that the amp could only handle 2 zones. Any reason they couldn't just come up with an 8 channel amp? Sorry for being all over the place my mind is a bit scatter-brained at the moment (My wife and I just welcomed our first child
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 02:03 PM
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What volume controls would one use in the wall in a Sonos system?

Something like this: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10903&cs_id=1090301&p_id=8243&seq=1&format=2

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I was intrigued by the functionality to play FM radio as I do listen on occasion

Most FM stations are available via the internet, and thus can be played by Sonos.

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Had even thought as possibly mounting an iOS device into the wall which I could also take out and on the go if needed be.

Can do that with Sonos. NuVo and Russound have dedicated in-wall keypads.

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I always thought it was kind of silly that the amp could only handle 2 zones. Any reason they couldn't just come up with an 8 channel amp?

Sonos has no interest in that. Their system is meant to be dispursed throughout the home, creating a stronger proprietary mesh network. NuVo, Russound and HTD all have 8+ channel amps. However, it's not uncommon for someone to place 3+ Sonos amps in an A/V closet.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinsfanin1979 View Post

In looking at the Sonos system, I found this spec on the Amp page:

TONE AND VOLUME CONTROLS ADJUSTABLE FOR EACH ROOM. Optimize sound performance for each room using room-specific bass, treble, balance, and loudness controls. Adjust volume by individual room or by groups of rooms

What volume controls would one use in the wall in a Sonos system? I was intrigued by the functionality to play FM radio as I do listen on occasion. I liked something like the Lync's keypad (LCD readout) or even the Nuvo's. Call me superficial but presentation is also important. smile.gif Had even thought as possibly mounting an iOS device into the wall which I could also take out and on the go if needed be.

You're confusing the wall-mounted keypad / controllers with simple volume controls. The only in-wall controls you'd use with a Sonos setup by itself is a simple volume control. If you attach a Sonos Connect unit as a SOURCE to a whole-house-audio system, then the keypads / in-wall controllers come into play. But they are all part of a system, not an add-on (there are some ancient exceptions not worth mentioning).
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I always thought it was kind of silly that the amp could only handle 2 zones. Any reason they couldn't just come up with an 8 channel amp? Sorry for being all over the place my mind is a bit scatter-brained at the moment (My wife and I just welcomed our first child

You're confusing an amp with a multi-room system. Amp takes one signal in to one signal out, which can be split to a number of speakers (in different zones) with some additional equipment. A multi-room whole-house-audio system has independent amps for each room, with switching between multiple sources, individual volume control, etc. Take a look at the systems on the HTD.com site for good examples.

Jeff


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post #10 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 02:40 PM
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Those rotary volume dials are awful, I thought we got rid of them 10 years ago. One of the reason to utilize current technology is to get the stuff of the wall, wipe away the wall acne. You may control the volume with the Sonons remote, android or iOS device or for heavens sake walk over the device and manually control the volume.
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-22-2013, 02:45 PM
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One of the reason to utilize current technology is to get the stuff of the wall, wipe away the wall acne.

Sometimes it's easier to walk over to the wall and adjust the volume. I'm not saying that's my preference, but they still provide a useful function.
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post #12 of 18 Old 02-25-2013, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your comments and insight. I would have to agree with Gramin, that is, I don't like the rotary volume controls however I do see their use.

I have decided to go with a Sonos AMP (ZP120) to start to power my kitchen/breakfast room and first floor office. This will get my feet wet so to speak with Sonos. As opposed to rotary, can anyone recommend an LCD volume control in a single gang? Or any other pleasant looking volume controllers?

Lastly, any feedback regarding my speakers. Are they too little or a good set for my current application?

Thanks!
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post #13 of 18 Old 02-25-2013, 06:50 AM
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In-wall volume control

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22volume+control%22&hl=en&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS501US501&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=K3krUfCXDoHT0wHJw4D4AQ&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=2133&bih=1190#hl=en&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS501US501&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=%22volume+control%22+%22in-wall%22&oq=%22volume+control%22+%22in-wall%22&gs_l=img.3...17074.22738.2.23001.7.7.0.0.0.0.36.169.7.7.0...0.0...1c.1.4.img.RXkbjmyRCQE&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42768644,d.dmQ&fp=fe18c80edb6e7ea5&biw=2133&bih=1190

I replaced 7 in-wall VCs with Nuvo keypads, most moved to eye height. Will move the rest when painting.

You may want to consider 8" speakers for the larger spaces and/or where you listen most. Slightly better bass.

For most background music, 6" are just fine.

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post #14 of 18 Old 02-25-2013, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Is it my understanding that if I were to get a Connect:AMP with 2 sets of speakers (zones) installed to it, that I can only play one source of music to both speakers at the same time? I can't have 2 iOS devices playing different sets of music to my kitchen and another into the first floor office? I have to admit I am getting confused with the AMP, Connect (which I would need my own amp to power) and other terms.

EDIT: OK, further research has answered my question that it would just power two sets of speakers. If I want to play separate sources of music I may be better off getting my own amp and getting 2 Sonus Connect's. My configuration with home runs to the basement isn't necessarily conducive to get the most flexibility out of the Sonus product as opposed to audio distributed throughout the home.
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post #15 of 18 Old 02-25-2013, 10:37 AM
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For every Zone where you wish to play a 'discrete' Source (Song, Radio Station, Online Libraray, Line-in) you require a separate Zone Player.

You can easily 'group/ungroup' Zones once the system is up and running if you wish to listen to the same Source in multiple Zones.

Having 'home run' loudspeaker cables is becoming more the 'norm' with Sonos now that they have dropped the Sonos Control devices - which were better with the Zone Players Distributed around your house.

Maybe Outline what you are trying to achive with your currnet wiring will help folk give you some guidance.

Joe

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post #16 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Joe.

Apologize for the delay but took me a while to get my floorplan (only the first floor). Below, the red circles are speakers (all in-ceiling) and the blue circles are volume controllers. They are pre-wired with Cat-5 at the keypads with all wiring (CAT-5 and speaker wire going to a central closet in my basement)I have been doing some extensive research on Sonos and these forums as well. I believe I have it narrowed down that I would at least like to purchase 1 ZP120. A couple of conclusions I made:

* More than likely, I will be OK with just one source being played on all first floor speakers at a time. I think this because A) My wife isn't interested in any audio at all and B) Its just us 2 living here with no kids yet and C) If I want to add another ZP120 at a later time then that would be no problem to be able to separate out a new zone such as the study.

* I am thinking of using the Polk RC80i's or possibly even the 6.5" versions. Again this will just be background music and my family room will be pre-wired for 5.1 (It is a 2-story ceiling here but still expecting it to sound pretty good). All 8 ohm speakers.

* I went back and forth if I should get the ZP120 or get the ZP90's and my own multi-channel amp. What I am looking to possibly do is wire all 3 sets of speakers (which would have their own impedance matching volume controls) to the ZP120. If this is a BIG no/no, then I can look into a multi-channel amp however any recommendations for one which goes into auto-standby and out of it when a signal is sent? When I went on the Sonos forums I read it would be possible as long as I had the impedance matching controls and the best I could do is background music. I just want to hear others thoughts if this has been done before and knowing my setup. Again if I have to I can get an amp or even another ZP120 but wanted to see if I could avoid it if I wanted to just wire these three zones.

* Lastly, regarding the volume controls. I know rotary controls were the norm and still are however I was looking for something a bit fancier. Preferably with IR so I can easily lower the volume in my study when I am working and get a phone call for example. I had asked previously for a digital control or one with an LCD to up the "cool" factor in my home. I still have not come across anything that I like.

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post #17 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 11:22 AM
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Has this wiring already been done? Sheetrocked? I ask because if you have the opportunity, I would suggest installing stereo speaker pairs in those ceiling locations and at better locations than what are shown in your floorplan. Dual-voice-coil single speakers are best for very, very small spaces or hallways. You'll get better, more consistent sound from a pair - for example in the dining room the pair is placed along the long axis such that they're above the table and spaced equally off the center light fixture. This allows lower volume levels but better 'coverage' as everyone is roughly the same distance from the speaker(s).

Jeff


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post #18 of 18 Old 02-27-2013, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Jeff,

Unfortunately I do not. In particular, the dining room and living rooms I was told this was pretty much a standard layout (Most did not get pairs there). The ceiling in the dining room is set off with a tray which limited the options a bit because there's a pretty large light fixture in the room.

I understand what you are saying because I may possibly have to look at a single stereo speaker in those areas.

P.S. - Very jealous of your home theater setup.
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