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post #1 of 23 Old 07-09-2013, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I am trying to figure out what the current whole home audio options are.  About 12 years ago I wired my entire home for a future whole home audio system.  I ran 2 speaker wire pairs and a cat5e cable to a box in every room.  Speaker wires run from those boxes into the ceiling.  All of this wiring is terminated at a rack in my home theater.

 

At the time I had planned on running something like a Russound system with a keypad in every room.  I no longer care about having a bunch of sources.  If I could just access my digital music collection on my network, and possibly satellite radio (not necessary), I would be fine.  Ultimately I would like the ability to browse the music library from any room (maybe a phone or tablet?) and start it playing in that room.  An in-wall keypad would be fine, but not necessary.

 

With all of the newer options for playing digital must (airport express, sonos, etc), just trying to figure out what my options are.

 

I am looking at 6-12 zones (depending on cost).

 

Does anyone have any suggestions?

 

Thanks,

Nick

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post #2 of 23 Old 07-09-2013, 02:17 PM
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Sonos and Nuvo are your best options. My preference is Sonos as I don't need/want in wall keypads. But if you want them, look at Nuvo. Coming in behind those two are Russound and HTD.
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post #3 of 23 Old 07-09-2013, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info.  With Sonos, can I use a central amp that feeds multiple zones, or do I have to have an amp in each room?

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post #4 of 23 Old 07-09-2013, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NGiovas View Post

Thanks for the info.  With Sonos, can I use a central amp that feeds multiple zones, or do I have to have an amp in each room?

A Sonos Connect can be attached as a source to any WHA system or multi-zone amp...

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post #5 of 23 Old 07-10-2013, 03:45 PM
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I looked at both of the same options and went with Sonos. I am really happy with it. To get maximum enjoyment from the system, you need a Sonos box for each zone. This allows each zone to have an independent (or grouped of you choose) audio source with adjustable volume from your phone or tablet. It can get costly, but for me it was well worth it and made more sense than Nuvo for my needs.

My setup is five zones. I have a Sonos Connect that hooks into my main AVR for the main living area. The AVR powers the speakers in that zone. For the other four zones, I have in ceiling speakers that are all home run wired back to my central AVR closet. Each zone is connected to its own Sonos Connect Amp which provides the power to the speakers. While you could go with a central amp to distribute the sound to multiple zones, you lose the independent source selection and independent Zoe volume control from your phone or tablet, and it is these two features that really make Sonos what it is (that and the big range of source material).

You can get creative with the Sonos if need be. As an example, I have my porch TV audio fed to my Sonos as a line-in input. Sonos allows that zone to auto detect and switch from music to the TV audio and it automatically adjusts to the correct volume. Very cool and hugely useful for my family who wouldn't know how to fool around with input and audio switching.

Hope this helps.
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post #6 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 02:20 AM
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I agree with cjones88, that is the best way to install a sonos system. But if budget constraints outweigh system usability, look at an HTD mid level system with a single sonos connect. This is one source, six zone and not as easy to control, but half the price as six connect:amps.
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post #7 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 02:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Sonos looks great, but if I want 12 zones it would cost $6,000 for the amps alone.  Then I would have to have 12 Sonos boxes stacked behind my rack.  At that point, it seems like Nuvo would be a much more practical system.

 

Is there someplace to buy Sonos for less than full retail?

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post #8 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 04:40 AM
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I have not found a dealer that sells for less than full retail. There are a couple guys who sell on ebay for a very slight discount. I used Amazon for three of my boxes and acquired the rest one by one on Craigslist where you can usually get $100 off retail for slightly used from someone. If you have 12 zones, I agree completely that it is a huge expense to go Sonos and you may be better off with Nuvo or another alternative. When I was looking for my solution, I was shocked that Sonos didn't offer a true whole home solution that could feed multiple zone signals to a dedicated power amp. I know a lot of people have asked for such a solution, but it seems that at the moment Sonos is more focused on modular solutions.
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post #9 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 01:12 PM
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It seems to me that having a Sonos box for every member in the household would be enough and then something like the MC-66 from HTD and amps of your choice based on the needs of each zone would be just about right. Unlikely you would need to have 12 zones playing different music at any given time. If you could route your sonos to wherever you are, other family members could do the same. When having a party 1 box could be routed to everywhere, or use the line in to put "the big game TV audio" in certain locations with music sent elsewhere.

I'm still in the planning stages for my WHA journey. I have DTV/PS3/XBMC in a 4x4 matrix sent to 4 TVs and controlled by iRule. I've got a sonos connect hooked up to an old receiver and sent to 2 sets of speakers currently. I like the way it integrates so far and could see adding a couple more and an amp and being set.

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post #10 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Now that looks interesting.  So if I understand correctly, the MC-66 would give me 6 zones.  If I hook up one Sonos per family member (4 in my case), each family member could listen to their Sonos/source in any of the 6 zones.  Is that correct?

 

How do you switch zones?  If I am in the kitchen listening to music and I want to move to the bedroom, can I tell the amp to switch to the bedroom speakers using a mobile app?

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post #11 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NGiovas View Post

Now that looks interesting.  So if I understand correctly, the MC-66 would give me 6 zones.  If I hook up one Sonos per family member (4 in my case), each family member could listen to their Sonos/source in any of the 6 zones.  Is that correct?

 

How do you switch zones?  If I am in the kitchen listening to music and I want to move to the bedroom, can I tell the amp to switch to the bedroom speakers using a mobile app?

 

Even better yet, can I use something like iRule to do everything for me?  Can I select the zone and then the song to play all from iRule, or do I need to switch apps?

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post #12 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 02:00 PM
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I use iRule with android in my current set up I hit my living room button which goes to my living room home page where I select music, this turns on zone 2 of my denon amp which has the speakers in the lving room connected to it. on the music page I have buttons than can launch outside apps for Sonos and jRiver media center's gizmo app. It feels really integrated because of the android version of iRule being able to launch any outside app. I launch Sonos app and select what I want to list to, then a simple press or 2 of the back button and I'm right back in iRule for volume control as needed. iRule can easily control the MCA-66 (the one with both amp and source selection), similarly to how my zone 2 works with my 1 Sonos. I have the digital out on the sonus connected to my main AVR so can listen in the theater or the lving room and the L/R analog out to an old receiver for other location. I can't listen to different things in each zone, but can have them all going at the same time or individually. Adding more Sonos boxes would increase the ability to make changes. I use Gizmo to play my jRiver media center stuff via Sonos as the sonos box shows up as a DLNA player that jriver can send stuff too. Sonos can access the same files on my network, but I have so many custom playlists and smart playlists (like random country album, 4&5 Star rated Rock songs, etc.) that I find it easier to play my personal collection through sonos via jriver and use the sonos app for internet and local radio.

i love iRule btw, been on board since they launched and have grown with them. I have no experience with their Sonos module as I don't have a new enough iOS device that uses it. I'm becoming and exclusive android household.

Hope that helps.

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post #13 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.  That is a huge help.  I have also been using iRule since the beginning.  I haven't made any updates in a long time.  I was only using it in my family, but now that my dedicated theater is almost done, I have plans to integrate the theater, whole house sound and home automation (HAI, zwave).

 

I am planning to use a multi zone pre-amp in theater.  Maybe I will try out a couple of Sonos boxes and set up one or two zones.  I can then test it out for streaming music and see how I like it.  If it works well, I can add the additional amps, etc. and expand the system.  A multi zone amp/controller with a Sonos for each of us would be perfect.

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post #14 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 02:30 PM
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iRule has a Sonos integration module, so you can use that in conjunction with the HTD.Net product to get to a roughly single-app solution.

One Sonos "source" per family member, regardless of the number of zones supported, is an excellent rule of thumb.

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post #15 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 02:42 PM
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I'm in a similar situation on my new build. I am strictly iOS though. Is there any benefit of using a Sonos as a source vs an Apple TV? I'm leaning towards HTD or Russond for distribution. I want the ability to use wall mounted keypads and mobile devices to control it.
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post #16 of 23 Old 07-11-2013, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stewp97 View Post

I'm in a similar situation on my new build. I am strictly iOS though. Is there any benefit of using a Sonos as a source vs an Apple TV? I'm leaning towards HTD or Russond for distribution. I want the ability to use wall mounted keypads and mobile devices to control it.

The advantage of the Sonos vs. an Apple Airport Express or ATV (I prefer the AE for this purpose - easier to deal with) is that the Sonos is hosting the connection. You're only using the iOS / mobile device as a remote control. AirPlay solutions mean you're streaming the audio from your iOS device, tying it up on that "app", consuming its battery, etc.

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post #17 of 23 Old 07-12-2013, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

The advantage of the Sonos vs. an Apple Airport Express or ATV (I prefer the AE for this purpose - easier to deal with) is that the Sonos is hosting the connection. You're only using the iOS / mobile device as a remote control. AirPlay solutions mean you're streaming the audio from your iOS device, tying it up on that "app", consuming its battery, etc.

Thanks for the reply. Am I not streaming via AirPlay from an iOS device or computer to the Sonos if I want to listen to a playlist on iTunes? If that's the case I would think an AE or ATV would be the cheaper and easier way to go. For some reason I am having a hard time figuring out what all is needed to use a Sonos as a WHA system. I do want to use keypads so I've pretty much written it off anyway.
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post #18 of 23 Old 07-12-2013, 08:23 AM
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Thanks for the reply. Am I not streaming via AirPlay from an iOS device or computer to the Sonos if I want to listen to a playlist on iTunes?

No, the Sonos (and the NuVo wireless units that operate the same way) will pull content directly from your library (wherever it is located - PC/NAS/etc.) and play it without anyone else in the chain. The "app" is just a remote control - you could start a playlist and completely shut the phone off and the Sonos would continue working...

You can use a keypad-based WHA system with Sonos as a source - the "issue" is the lack of integration between the keypad and the Sonos device(s). You'll be able to select sources, control volume, etc. - but you won't be able to control the Sonos unit itself nor see metadata from it.

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post #19 of 23 Old 07-12-2013, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

No, the Sonos (and the NuVo wireless units that operate the same way) will pull content directly from your library (wherever it is located - PC/NAS/etc.) and play it without anyone else in the chain. The "app" is just a remote control - you could start a playlist and completely shut the phone off and the Sonos would continue working...

You can use a keypad-based WHA system with Sonos as a source - the "issue" is the lack of integration between the keypad and the Sonos device(s). You'll be able to select sources, control volume, etc. - but you won't be able to control the Sonos unit itself nor see metadata from it.

I didn't realize they worked that way. Thanks again for the info. Now I just need to decide if I'm going with the HDT.

BTW, sorry about hijacking your thread NGiovas!
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post #20 of 23 Old 07-16-2013, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

The advantage of the Sonos vs. an Apple Airport Express or ATV (I prefer the AE for this purpose - easier to deal with) is that the Sonos is hosting the connection. You're only using the iOS / mobile device as a remote control. AirPlay solutions mean you're streaming the audio from your iOS device, tying it up on that "app", consuming its battery, etc.
actually,

not entirely correct.
Itunes can work just like sonos with respect to using you IOS / Android device as a remote control. You don't have to Airplay from your mobile device to the AE or ATV. If you use a computer running itunes (while is overkill just to play music but is effectively the equivalent as sonos, but with different functionality), you can you use various IOS and Android remotes to remote control itunes

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post #21 of 23 Old 07-16-2013, 12:38 PM
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Try having multiple songs/streams playing in multiple Zones with iTunes or try having all or some of your Zones grouped and playing ‘in sync’.

For me I’m not 100% convinced with Sonos’s decision to ditch the CR100 and CR200 – I still use mine in preference to using the various iOS devices we have at home, I’m more likely to control the Zones from my PC or MAC than my iOS device if a CR100 or CR200 is not handy.

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post #22 of 23 Old 07-16-2013, 01:22 PM
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Itunes can work just like sonos with respect to using you IOS / Android device as a remote control. You don't have to Airplay from your mobile device to the AE or ATV. If you use a computer running itunes (while is overkill just to play music but is effectively the equivalent as sonos, but with different functionality), you can you use various IOS and Android remotes to remote control itunes

True. I was speaking for the iOS devices. I've been running this way myself for my living room setup (separate from the WHA system). In that case the iOS device is only running the Apple Remote app to control iTunes on the computer, which as you point out is essentially an overpowered Sonos...

The limitation with this setup compared to the Sonos / NuVo players is the lack of Internet services - Pandora / Spotify / etc. You can play Internet Radio through this method, but in my experience the interface to do it is a PITA.

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post #23 of 23 Old 07-16-2013, 01:27 PM
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yes Jautor, I agree, for the cheapness of Itunes and AE's , the tradeoff is the lack of streaming services.

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