Got a ridiculous (for me) AV quote! Please help advise me design a cost effective set-up - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 03-19-2013, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
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We are building a house which should be ready to move in in a few weeks. Have been meeting with AV people for the past few months and I explained my AV needs and allowed budget. The house was pre-wired. I just received a 47k proposal for equipment and installation (not including TVs) which is almost 10x what I had explained my budget and needs. needless to say, I do not plan on speaking with him any further because he clearly did not understand what my needs and limits are.

I am trying to quickly assemble a plan based on what I have read and what I had suggested to my prior AV person.

My goal:
Distributed audio
12 speaker pairs
9 pairs of ceiling speakers (probably speakercraft Aim 7)
2 pairs of rock speakers (existing)
1 pair of directional speakers
two 12 channel Dayton Audio MA1240 amps (each running six speaker sets)
three Sonos connects

Video:
Direct TV genie box in AV closet
4-5 remote min SAT boxes in different rooms (all access central Direct TV DVR)

any additional suggestions or tweaks to add?

Thanks:)
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-19-2013, 09:47 PM
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How are you controlling the audio zones in terms of volume and on/off? Those Dayton amps are just amps, not a Whole House Audio system... Same question about the Sonos units - you can connect them to the amps, but it will be a fixed source for each zone - you can't switch between them.

Was there pre-wiring done for keypads for the WHA system?

Jeff

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post #3 of 20 Old 03-20-2013, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Jeff,
Thanks so much for your reply.

I am a bit better than a novice, but far from knowledgeable particularly with rhe rapidly evolving technology, so please bear with my ignorance if I am making an obviously stupid assumption.

As I understand it, this is what I had planned-
Each 12 channel Dayton amp (ie Dayton amp A) has six zones, each zone will be wired to 2 speakers --so Amp A will have six sets of speakers (set 1-6) in various house locations. Each zone (speaker set) has a selector to select either BUS-1 or BUS-2 or direct line in input to that zone. Each channel also has a volume control for a set volume to equalize sound. If I understand correctly, the Bus-1/Bus-2/Line in switch allows me to select one of three sources for each zone, so if I wanted zones 1-3 to all play Bus-1, and Zone 4-5 to play Bus-2 and zone 6 to play a different lin-ine source, the selector buttons allow me to do this. Additionally the Bus Output from Dayton Amp "A" can be linked to Dayton Amp "B" so you can share a single source across 12 zones, ie for a part. I plan to hook up two sonos connects to each Dayton amp. I also plan to occasionally use a CD player or Ipod player connected to a particular line as needed.

Is this feasible?

here is a link to the Dayton Amp:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-815

Thanks for your thoughts:)
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post #4 of 20 Old 03-20-2013, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinTex View Post

Each 12 channel Dayton amp (ie Dayton amp A) has six zones, each zone will be wired to 2 speakers --so Amp A will have six sets of speakers (set 1-6) in various house locations. Each zone (speaker set) has a selector to select either BUS-1 or BUS-2 or direct line in input to that zone. Each channel also has a volume control for a set volume to equalize sound. If I understand correctly, the Bus-1/Bus-2/Line in switch allows me to select one of three sources for each zone, so if I wanted zones 1-3 to all play Bus-1, and Zone 4-5 to play Bus-2 and zone 6 to play a different lin-ine source, the selector buttons allow me to do this. Additionally the Bus Output from Dayton Amp "A" can be linked to Dayton Amp "B" so you can share a single source across 12 zones, ie for a part. I plan to hook up two sonos connects to each Dayton amp. I also plan to occasionally use a CD player or Ipod player connected to a particular line as needed.

Is this feasible?

Feasible, yes. Practical or usable, no.

The controls for the amp are all intended to be set-and-forget, a fixed setup for a commercial environment, or to be paired with a multi-zone (WHA) controller. The latter is what you want to go with it. As it stands, you'd be hard-coding each zone to a specific source, at a set volume. Want to play the same source in other zones, you'd have to turn the amp off, get behind it, and throw the switches around. Similar issue if you want to raise/lower the volume in a zone. Not going to be able to do it "remotely".

Add a controller on top of those amps - the HTD controllers would be a good place to start, and now you'll have something. Ability to choose sources and volume for any zone at any time in any combination. And if you want to squeeze 9 zones into a 6-zone controller, some logical "pairing" can probably do that - avoiding the cost of a larger system or an expansion chassis,...

Adding a WHA controller won't break the budget, but it will give you a proper WHA setup that you'll use all the time...

Hope that helps,

Jeff

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post #5 of 20 Old 03-21-2013, 04:35 AM
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Feasible but not very flexible. Those bus and volume settings are meant to be set and forget and are not really intended to be touched after initial installation. They will be dip switches (bus selection) and knobs (volume normalization) on the back of the amp. Unless you have very easy access to the back of the amps this will become annoying very quickly and slightly less quickly even if you do. At a minimum you should decide what zone should have access to what sonos connect and set them upon install. You Should have volume controls in line from the amp to each speaker in the room so you can control volume or turn off each zone if not needed. With 12 speaker pairs im assuming a good portion will be bedrooms and you dont want bedrooms coming on anytime you want to hear music in the kitchen.

Great thing about sonos is you can add to it over time easily. You can add connects as budget allows and seperate zones if desired for independent control.

I've seen so many whole house audio systems never get used due to lack of flexibility and ease of use.
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post #6 of 20 Old 03-21-2013, 04:37 AM
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oops. read this last night then went to bed. left the window open and replied this morning. didnt see jautors response.
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post #7 of 20 Old 03-23-2013, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Jautor and Techphil,
Thank you for your responses. I think I understand your point regarding the purpose of the amp volume controls as being mainly to equalize volume in various zones for (semi) permanent setting and not practical for easily and conveniently increasing/decreasing volume. I believe I will be primarily using Sonos as the source for our audio and anticipate connecting 1-2 to each amp. With this in mind, I was under the impression that the Sonos connect allows me via the sonos iphone app to change volume remotely. Is this correct?

The demo I was shown demonstrated the ability via iphone sonos app, to view each zone, and select a particular zone, choose song, to play in one/more zones and change volume either in a particular zone or across multiple or all zones. In addition to amps, sonos connect, and the iphone app, what other equipment would I need to do this?

You have suggested wall volume controls. Since drywall is in place and because I prefer a cleaner look
What other volume control alternatives do you suggest?? I am including a copy of what the AV contractor had suggested for my AV closet -- not sure how much of it I really need.

Thanks,



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post #8 of 20 Old 03-23-2013, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinTex View Post

Jautor and Techphil,
Thank you for your responses. I think I understand your point regarding the purpose of the amp volume controls as being mainly to equalize volume in various zones for (semi) permanent setting and not practical for easily and conveniently increasing/decreasing volume. I believe I will be primarily using Sonos as the source for our audio and anticipate connecting 1-2 to each amp. With this in mind, I was under the impression that the Sonos connect allows me via the sonos iphone app to change volume remotely. Is this correct?

Yes, the Sonos Connect can be set for fixed or variable output, so you can control the volume from the app.
Quote:
The demo I was shown demonstrated the ability via iphone sonos app, to view each zone, and select a particular zone, choose song, to play in one/more zones and change volume either in a particular zone or across multiple or all zones. In addition to amps, sonos connect, and the iphone app, what other equipment would I need to do this?

Each "zone" in that demo was a separate Sonos unit. Using an external amp connected to a Sonos, you've enlarged the zone to include multiple rooms. But those rooms are all part of the same zone, when it comes to source selection and volume control.
Quote:
You have suggested wall volume controls. Since drywall is in place and because I prefer a cleaner look
What other volume control alternatives do you suggest??

Ditch the amps, centrally install one Sonos:Connect Amp per room (zone). Probably a total of six units. If there are rooms that are open to each other, combine those and reduce the zone count.
Quote:
I am including a copy of what the AV contractor had suggested for my AV closet -- not sure how much of it I really need.

Can't really tell from Page 2. Need to see Page 1 where all the important stuff is. I don't see anything on Page 2 that I wouldn't expect from a professional installer, and their pricing on a lot of the stuff there is "reasonable". The networking and Internet-controlled power gear is expensive, but if you expect a dealer to manage this setup for you, they're doing it right.

Jeff

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post #9 of 20 Old 03-23-2013, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Yes, the Sonos Connect can be set for fixed or variable output, so you can control the volume from the app.
Each "zone" in that demo was a separate Sonos unit. Using an external amp connected to a Sonos, you've enlarged the zone to include multiple rooms. But those rooms are all part of the same zone, when it comes to source selection and volume control.
Ditch the amps, centrally install one Sonos:Connect Amp per room (zone). Probably a total of six units. If there are rooms that are open to each other, combine those and reduce the zone count.
Can't really tell from Page 2. Need to see Page 1 where all the important stuff is. I don't see anything on Page 2 that I wouldn't expect from a professional installer, and their pricing on a lot of the stuff there is "reasonable". The networking and Internet-controlled power gear is expensive, but if you expect a dealer to manage this setup for you, they're doing it right.

Jeff

The amount of spot on advice you give is immeasurable. And how you're patient with folks who should be advised to just fix the mess they've made I don't know. I stick my head in this area of the site once or twice a week so I'm not a regular but I think I'm going to start a jautor fund, you deserve it.
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post #10 of 20 Old 03-23-2013, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Ditch the amps, centrally install one Sonos:Connect Amp per room (zone). Probably a total of six units. If there are rooms that are open to each other, combine those and reduce the zone count.
Jeff

I plan to have 12 sets of speakers hooked up in various areas ( 18 ceiling speakers, 4 rock speakers, and 2 directional speakers).
Because of driving so many speakers, I had thought that I would get better power using sonos connects and a separate amp. What is the advantage/disadvantage of multiple sonos connect amps being connected to my speakers? Also are 6 sonos connect amps sufficiently powerful to run 24 speakers concurrently?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Can't really tell from Page 2. Need to see Page 1 where all the important stuff is. I don't see anything on Page 2 that I wouldn't expect from a professional installer, and their pricing on a lot of the stuff there is "reasonable". The networking and Internet-controlled power gear is expensive, but if you expect a dealer to manage this setup for you, they're doing it right.
Jeff

Besides having a wireless/wired router and 1-2 WAP to run a network and provide connectivity for sonos and for my computer network, are there some other features/components I need?

Thanks for you input .... really helpful!
Also I appreciate your comments and insights regarding the AV vendor. Glad to hear confirmation their prices are reasonable - they are nice people -- just way way past my budget ... not sure they really listened to my stated limitations.
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post #11 of 20 Old 03-24-2013, 06:57 AM
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Just from being around the remote central forums and from seeing past threads on this forum, I doubt you're going to find an AV vendor who will touch this for anywhere near $5k (I think you mentioned this as your budget earlier).

I think what they are trying to do is anchor you with the much higher, but correct price to install a distributed audio system to the specs that you mentioned.
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post #12 of 20 Old 03-24-2013, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

The amount of spot on advice you give is immeasurable. And how you're patient with folks who should be advised to just fix the mess they've made I don't know. I stick my head in this area of the site once or twice a week so I'm not a regular but I think I'm going to start a jautor fund, you deserve it.

Thanks Shep! I learned a lot over the years from reading posts here, and enjoy helping folks willing to listen! The best part of the forum setup is that once someone reveals "they can't be taught", it's really simple to just ignore the thread... Wish it worked that easily in "the real world". biggrin.gif

Jeff

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post #13 of 20 Old 03-24-2013, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinTex View Post

I plan to have 12 sets of speakers hooked up in various areas ( 18 ceiling speakers, 4 rock speakers, and 2 directional speakers).
Because of driving so many speakers, I had thought that I would get better power using sonos connects and a separate amp. What is the advantage/disadvantage of multiple sonos connect amps being connected to my speakers? Also are 6 sonos connect amps sufficiently powerful to run 24 speakers concurrently?

The Sonos Connct:Amp is much larger than the channels of the Dayton or any of the WHA systems. So anything you think those amps could do, a Sonos amp can do better... How many you should have, what zones to combine, do you need a much larger amp for your outdoor zone - those are all system design questions we can't answer with general advice. And "designing the whole system" is part of what the dealers charge for! smile.gif
Quote:
Besides having a wireless/wired router and 1-2 WAP to run a network and provide connectivity for sonos and for my computer network, are there some other features/components I need?

If you're going to install/maintain your network stuff and you understand all of it, there's not much else you need. But if you're not going to talk on that role, and want help with setup/maintenance of the network - you need the better gear that allows the dealer to provide service. Which means the "business class" (i.e. not the cheap consumer-grade stuff we all use) gear and remote access support.
Quote:
Also I appreciate your comments and insights regarding the AV vendor. Glad to hear confirmation their prices are reasonable - they are nice people -- just way way past my budget ... not sure they really listened to my stated limitations.

Yeah, coming back with a 10x quote is bad, but it depends on how far off you were in your "needs" vs. price - given the choice I would come back with a quote that would meet the requirements - and see what the client thinks of the actual price (they may have just not understood the costs, but be willing to spend to get their requirements met). As hd54321 said, if $5k is really your budget, the dealer is probably going to recommend some simple Sonos zones and speakers for a subset of those zones. Even DIY it will be hard to piece together a usable system for a 9-10 zone WHA for that budget.

Jeff

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post #14 of 20 Old 03-24-2013, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinTex View Post

Glad to hear confirmation their prices are reasonable - they are nice people -- just way way past my budget ... not sure they really listened to my stated limitations.

A second glance at your equipment list would cost approx $4000, the price sheet you attached is not legible. Your desire is unrealistic to your set budget.

I'd love a Porsche 911, and I'd like to spend $40k for the 2013 model.
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post #15 of 20 Old 03-24-2013, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

I'd love a Porsche 911, and I'd like to spend $40k for the 2013 model.

At that price, I'd be in for a PowerBuy! biggrin.gif

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post #16 of 20 Old 03-24-2013, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

A second glance at your equipment list would cost approx $4000, the price sheet you attached is not legible. Your desire is unrealistic to your set budget.

I'd love a Porsche 911, and I'd like to spend $40k for the 2013 model.

Have a margarita and chill ...... you don't know the whole story.
My experience with these "AV pros" -- who admittedly do some VERY high-end incredible systems ---- has been an utter disaster. I think this AV contractor often deals with pro-sports and celebrity clients who have more $$$ than brains, and they basically just make it happen --- without regard to cost. I did not choose these AV guys who were recommended by my builder. Their sales person Lisa showed me a demo in a parade house that had an absolutely awesome whole house distributed AV system with Sonos, and a nice home theater with one button power for the whole system including power screen and window shades etc .... very cool. I was told a system like that cost $30k. I told the sales person (flighty girl devoid of technical knowledge) this was way overkill for what I had envisioned. She stated they would meet with me onsite before dry-wall to go over my needs and design a plan for prewire based upon my need and would help build a budget which I stated would be more in the $10-15k range.

Unfortunately, they did not coordinate with the builder and prewire was done hurriedly just before dry-wall with NO meeting and NO discussion of what I wanted my AV system to accomplish or could afford. She had a simple understanding of what rooms had TVs, and that I wanted whole house audio. I never had the opportunity to understand what my options and associated costs would be so I could CHOOSE what I wanted. Instead I was reassured it would all work out and to not worry.

Given how they have failed on multiple occasions over several months to understand my needs and associate this with a cost, I do not wish to use them -- (lack of) trust issue for me at this point.

K-Shep--- Going to your Porsche analogy, not sure you would be happy if a salesman deflected issues of cost and let you drive your 2013 Porsche off the lot and then you saw your first payment.

Sorry for the drama (cue violins off now).

So getting back to my whole house audio needs, I have 12 speaker sets in various parts of the house, in the yard, pergola and entrance-way. I do not need to have each area zoned separately. I am Ok with having 4 zones. I understand that all speakers wired to a zone must access same source at same volume. If I connect a speaker selector with volume controls I can modulate volume of attached speakers within a zone. (ie Sima SSW-L6 ES http://www.simaproducts.com/products/product_detail.php?product_id=43)

My basic options are:
1) two Dayton amps, 4 sonos connects (4 relatively fixed zones), and 12 sets of speakers, and speaker selector with volume control
or
2) six sonos connects amps (six zones) and 12 sets of speakers

Between the two basic options, Jautor, if I understood your post above, you believed the sonos connects amps would deliver more power to speakers --is that correct?
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post #17 of 20 Old 03-24-2013, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinTex View Post

Have a margarita and chill ...... you don't know the whole story.

Know I don't know the "whole story" nor do I give a hoot. So you're inviting me to have a drink? Hmmm

Perhaps you should get a clue.
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post #18 of 20 Old 03-24-2013, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinTex View Post



So getting back to my whole house audio needs, I have 12 speaker sets in various parts of the house, in the yard, pergola and entrance-way. I do not need to have each area zoned separately. I am Ok with having 4 zones. I understand that all speakers wired to a zone must access same source at same volume. If I connect a speaker selector with volume controls I can modulate volume of attached speakers within a zone. (ie Sima SSW-L6 ES http://www.simaproducts.com/products/product_detail.php?product_id=43)

My basic options are:
1) two Dayton amps, 4 sonos connects (4 relatively fixed zones), and 12 sets of speakers, and speaker selector with volume control
or
2) six sonos connects amps (six zones) and 12 sets of speakers

Between the two basic options, Jautor, if I understood your post above, you believed the sonos connects amps would deliver more power to speakers --is that correct?

If you are okay with solely remote control volume then I would do a version of option #1, but increase the number of Connects and lose the speaker selector and VC's.

B.
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post #19 of 20 Old 03-25-2013, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Brian,
Thanks for your advice. Presently the pre-wire has all speaker wire running to a central AV closet. So, even if I use the Connect amps, the volume would still only be remote. In either case, I am OK with remote volume since all family members have iphones that we can use to control.

From a perspective of powering the speakers, which set-up powers the speakers better Dayton Audio MA1240a amp (rated to run 40w/channel) running six sets of speakers OR Sonos Connect Amp running two speaker sets (55w not sure if this is PER channel or combined for 2 channels). Not sure how reliable manufacturer's specs are for comparison.

Appreciate input from anyone regarding adequate power for speakers.
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post #20 of 20 Old 03-25-2013, 09:17 PM
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If the choice is running 2 speakers on 2 amp channels vs. running 4 speakers on 2 amp channels I would go with the former.

B.
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