Need Help with Simple 6 Zone Audio Only System - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-30-2013, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been looking into various ways to accomplish my goals but keep coming up confused. I'm usually quite good at this sort of thing but I seem to be missing something here. Maybe age is just catching up to me...

I'll bullet point my wants/needs.

  • I would like 5- 6 zones with 2 speakers/zone
  • I want to control it with my iPhone within my home network with the ability to use the same iPhone as a source as I stream Sirius, MOG and Pandora through it now (have a nice library of my own tunes too
  • No further sources other than the iPhone are necessary as I have separate systems for my video needs
  • I want to control on/off AND volume to each zone independently through the iPhone

Here are the parameters I have to work with:

  • I have an existing home and can't run cat5 to each zone (thus the need for the simple iPhone control.
  • I can have all speaker wires begin at the same place thus a single multi-channel amp can work.


I'm sure there is a simple solution to this and likely much lower in price than I'm being quoted by 2 installers which are both around $4K.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Steve
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-30-2013, 04:49 PM
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5-6- Sonos Connect:Amp units for each zone, or two NuVo P3100 units. Both will use your existing library, and handle the streaming themselves, so you don't have to keep your iPhone busy (just use it for remote control). And each zone is then capable of listening to different sources...

Both solutions come out around the same $3k-ish price range. Not counting speakers.

Cheaper solutions will require swapping between multiple apps for control and streaming. But that can be done for ~$1100 with an HTD controller/amp, the HTDNet unit for iPhone control, and an Apple Airport Express as a single source.

If you have volume controls in the zones, you could just do a single amp, Airport Express source and a speaker selector...

Jeff
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-01-2013, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

5-6- Sonos Connect:Amp units for each zone, or two NuVo P3100 units. Both will use your existing library, and handle the streaming themselves, so you don't have to keep your iPhone busy (just use it for remote control). And each zone is then capable of listening to different sources...

Both solutions come out around the same $3k-ish price range. Not counting speakers.

Cheaper solutions will require swapping between multiple apps for control and streaming. But that can be done for ~$1100 with an HTD controller/amp, the HTDNet unit for iPhone control, and an Apple Airport Express as a single source.

If you have volume controls in the zones, you could just do a single amp, Airport Express source and a speaker selector...

Jeff

Jeff, I'm possibly in a similar situation as the OP. I have a few zones and want to control everything through either my iPhone, or my wife's iPhone (I assume 2 iPhones can both be used, just at different times?).

If I were able to have volume controls in the zones (still seeing if I could do that) - could you please recommend volume controls, a single amp that could power six 2-speaker zones, and a speaker selector to use in that situation? Also, would that setup have the ability to later add additional sources should I want that?

On a personal note, thank you so much for all of your help with everyone's questions in this forum. I notice that you are extremely knowledgeable in this field and you seem genuinely happy to help those less knowledgeable with their specific situations over and over. Thank you for your help.
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-01-2013, 06:58 AM
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Sonos

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post #5 of 15 Old 07-01-2013, 07:59 AM
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If you have volume controls in every room, you don't need a speaker selector.

There are 12 channel amps from different vendors: HTD, Parts Express, Sherbourn that will do the trick.

If you can put volume controls, don't purchase the Monoprice which are hit & miss (mostly miss). The HTD ones are reliable.

Have fun.
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-01-2013, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mteastham View Post

Jeff, I'm possibly in a similar situation as the OP. I have a few zones and want to control everything through either my iPhone, or my wife's iPhone (I assume 2 iPhones can both be used, just at different times?).

These products can handle multiple connections from device, generally.
Quote:
If I were able to have volume controls in the zones (still seeing if I could do that) - could you please recommend volume controls, a single amp that could power six 2-speaker zones, and a speaker selector to use in that situation? Also, would that setup have the ability to later add additional sources should I want that?

As Canuck said, the HTD controls have been well-reviewed, the Monoprice ones not so much. And the choice between a single amp or a 12-channel one is a question of future expansion. If you want to add multiple source support later, HTD has a standalone controller you can pair with a multichannel amp, making that an easier upgrade path. Or you can go with an inexpensive 2-channel amp, and either re-purpose or sell it in the future (less money up front). Canuck is also correct that you don't need a speaker selector if you have volume controls - the connections can just be spliced together in parallel. But in a 2-channel amp setup you need an impedance matching circuit somewhere in the chain. As many folks come here with volume controls of unknown quality - I usually suggest a selector just for convenience and to ensure there's a functional impedance matching circuit...
Quote:
On a personal note, thank you so much for all of your help with everyone's questions in this forum. I notice that you are extremely knowledgeable in this field and you seem genuinely happy to help those less knowledgeable with their specific situations over and over. Thank you for your help.

You're welcome! Gotta give back to the forum for all the knowledge gained over the years - and there's only a few of us DIY'ers that hang out in this forum on a regular basis.

Jeff

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post #7 of 15 Old 07-07-2013, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Jeff. I decided to start with a single P3100 with 3 zones to see how it works out. If well (as expected), I'll add a 2nd P3100 into the system. It appears quite easy to just pig-tail it into the 1st.
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-17-2013, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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The P3100 arrived late last week and within 30 minutes, I was up and running. I liked it so much, I've already ordered the 2nd unit to complete my set-up. The 5 zones initially considered did not include a family room which is currently set-up with a separate 5.1 system and now I'm wondering if I can add it as well. My plan would be to use the rears of the 5.1 system as zone 6 of my Nuvo unit. That leads to the question of whether 1 set of speakers can be hooked directly to 2 separate amplifier sources or whether a switch would need to be put in the system. If a switch is needed, are there any automatic sensing types that would keep me from manually switching? I'm sure this would be better asked in another forum but felt i would ask here 1st.

Thanks again,

Steve
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-17-2013, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trader61 View Post

The P3100 arrived late last week and within 30 minutes, I was up and running. I liked it so much, I've already ordered the 2nd unit to complete my set-up.

I picked up a P200 last week (got a great deal on a used one), which turned out to be defective and was replaced by NuVo with a new unit. I'm still playing with it - but I agree it was extremely easy to set up and get running. (I'll probably post more thoughts on it once I've had some time to really drive it around the block).
Quote:
The 5 zones initially considered did not include a family room which is currently set-up with a separate 5.1 system and now I'm wondering if I can add it as well. My plan would be to use the rears of the 5.1 system as zone 6 of my Nuvo unit. That leads to the question of whether 1 set of speakers can be hooked directly to 2 separate amplifier sources or whether a switch would need to be put in the system. If a switch is needed, are there any automatic sensing types that would keep me from manually switching? I'm sure this would be better asked in another forum but felt i would ask here 1st.

This is the right forum!

Yep, you need an amp selector, and NuVo has a "Local Source Interrupt" built for exactly this purpose (I use one in my master bedroom for the same purpose) - but it requires a 12/24V trigger (two models) to do the switching. The wired NuVo systems have this at the keypad, but in your case, you need something automatic. Fortunately, Russound has a perfect product for this, the AB-3.2:

http://www.russound.com/product_detail.php?i=1769


Jeff

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post #10 of 15 Old 07-18-2013, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Russound has a perfect product for this, the AB-3.2:

http://www.russound.com/product_detail.php?i=1769

Hi Jeff,

I checked it out from your link and it's spot on with what I'm looking for. I'm a month out from giving it a smoke test but it should allow more freedom in my system and a simpler wiring scheme.


Thanks again!!!
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-20-2014, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, all has worked well thus far. I now have 2 P3100 units coupled with 4 of the Russound AB-3.2 switches in my system and it works pretty good. I've noticed a couple zones seam a little weak on power but it's not too bad. I've decided to add a few more zones with 2 of them being about 300' away from the system. Nuvo now has a P3500 which has more power (50W/channel vs. 20W/channel) and I suspect this would be sufficient as long as i use good wires. But I was also looking at possibly adding a 12 channel amp that would give me the higher power for the new zones but I could also use to boost the power of the current zones I feel are a bit weak. There are several of these amps on the market but my question is universal to all of them. Therefore, lets assume I'm talking about an AudioSource AMP1200. In this case, if I use the RCA outputs of a P3100 zone and connect as input on zone of the AMP1200, would the Nuvo volume control still control the final output of the AMP1200? I'm assuming that I would just keep the AMP output on a set volume, perhaps 80% or something like that.

Again, thanks for all the help. I'm enjoying the heck out of my system due to the support I've gotten here.
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-20-2014, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by trader61 View Post

I've decided to add a few more zones with 2 of them being about 300' away from the system. Nuvo now has a P3500 which has more power (50W/channel vs. 20W/channel) and I suspect this would be sufficient as long as i use good wires.

That's a very, very long run for speaker wire. Can you not place the NuVo unit for those zones closer, and connect it to the rest of the system via Ethernet? Even with 10 or 12-AWG cable those runs are very long...
Quote:
In this case, if I use the RCA outputs of a P3100 zone and connect as input on zone of the AMP1200, would the Nuvo volume control still control the final output of the AMP1200? I'm assuming that I would just keep the AMP output on a set volume, perhaps 80% or something like that.

Yes, the line output on the NuVo unit(s) can be fixed or variable. When set to fixed, IIRC, the internal amp is disconnected (so the speaker connections do not function). But in your case, you'll want the variable output so it controls volume through the app interface...

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post #13 of 15 Old 04-21-2014, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

That's a very, very long run for speaker wire. Can you not place the NuVo unit for those zones closer, and connect it to the rest of the system via Ethernet? Even with 10 or 12-AWG cable those runs are very long...

There's not much I can do. I'm going to have to bury speaker wire from my house to my pole barn and it's pretty much the only way.

Thanks for the info. I went ahead and purchased a Current Audio AMP1270 Amplifier off eBay real cheap and will give it a shot. I'll let it add power to the 6 current zones and pick up the P3500 for the last 3 zones. I'll play around with sound quality and determine which amp should power which zones.

Thanks again for the help. This forum has been an incredible resource for both my audio and video needs over the last 10 years.
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-21-2014, 09:59 PM
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There's not much I can do. I'm going to have to bury speaker wire from my house to my pole barn and it's pretty much the only way.

How many zones are in the pole barn? One P200 unit at the end of an Ethernet link with short speaker connections would be a better solution out there...

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post #15 of 15 Old 04-26-2014, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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How many zones are in the pole barn? One P200 unit at the end of an Ethernet link with short speaker connections would be a better solution out there...

I have 2 zones out to the barn. The main reason not to run cat5 instead and put the added Nuvo amp out there is twofold. First, I don't lock it and I'm pretty rural. Secondly, I have humidity issues in the spring and early summer and the situation just isn't compatible with high end electronics. I have a few collector cars and it pains me to pay for storage elsewhere while I have a 3000 sq. ft. barn with a cement floor in my own yard.

I'm contemplating building a new one and if done, I'll be sure to run the cat5 direct.
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