Building a new home - Advice/Suggestions on WHA - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 09-14-2013, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Looking for your thoughts on my planned setup for a new house we're having built. I've done a lot of reading and studying, hopefully I'm getting close. I'm going to be able to pull all the low voltage wire myself so I want to plan it out and do it right the first time. Below is mainly focused on WHA, as I have another set of plans pulled together for networking and video.

The plan here is to pre-wire only. I'll add the speakers and controls in the next year or so, after things get settled. All wires will be run to a central location in the unfinished basement. I'll get my A/V/networking room setup later but hope to have everything run there for when I'm ready.

WHA is new to me and I'm not sure about the different zones I planned out. I'm open to suggestions on if I should change the way I have the zones mapped. Zone 5 would be garage and outside speakers, (Assuming I can setup two different volume controls for one zone. Most of the volume controls would be simple ones, but I do see myself wanting more advanced control pannels at some of the locations. I'll run wires to all of them so that I'm set for control pannels in the future.

My goals are:
  • Run wire so that I'm mostly setup for the future
  • Each zone would have it's own volume control so that I'm not blasting music from one room in another that doens't want to hear it.
  • Audio from the TV (TV will be over fireplace) could be pushed out to the whole house so I can hear the game when I'm out of the room.

Questions:
  • Suggestions on current locations/zones of speakers?
  • Would it be correct to assume that one volume control can control more than 2 speakers? (Such as in the Kitchen, Keeping Room and Nook?)
  • Is the best plan to run 16-4 and Cat5e from A/V room to each volume control, and 16-2 from volume control to each speaker?
  • In the Owners bath, I plan to install a TV on the extrior wall to the left of the tub. I also plan to put the STB from the Owners Suite in the back walk in closet. How complicated will I be making things if I try to share the feed from the Owners Suite to the bathroom and have the audio, from the TV to play on the ceiling speakers in the bathroom. I'd also like the bathroom speakers to play music from other sources from the A/V room in the basement. I'm open to suggestions on this one. My main goal would be to allow me to watch TV while we're in the bathroom, but have it over the main speakers so we can hear it through the ceiling speakers.

Some items to note:
  • Yes, the TV over the fireplace isn't the best idea, but not much I can do since we've already got most of the walls built. Also plan on having a real theater room in the basement in the future, so I'll deal with it until then.
  • Will run conduit to as many locations as possible.
  • Cat5e for network drops will be run also, another plan pulled together for that.


Really appreciate any advice or comments. TIA!!





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post #2 of 3 Old 09-14-2013, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pj_farmer View Post

WHA is new to me and I'm not sure about the different zones I planned out. I'm open to suggestions on if I should change the way I have the zones mapped. Zone 5 would be garage and outside speakers, (Assuming I can setup two different volume controls for one zone.

That will depend on the system, but you should wire each room as its own zone - home run all the speakers. It will be easier to combine zones at the rack or in software if the system supports it.
Quote:
Audio from the TV (TV will be over fireplace) could be pushed out to the whole house so I can hear the game when I'm out of the room.

Audio will come from the set-top box, so you'll need a wire pathway from wherever that set-top box will be to the WHA system. If they aren't co-located in the wiring closet, a cat5e wire can be used with baluns, or a pair of RG59 / RG6 runs will do the job.
Quote:
Suggestions on current locations/zones of speakers?

Especially since you're doing the labor - wire more zones. It will never be this cheap or easy again. While you have most of the areas covered, you didn't do the upstairs bedrooms. You may have skipped them because they would be "easy to do later". I did that, too. Still took me a full day+ (by myself) to add two upstairs bedrooms after the fact. Would have taken like an hour or less in pre-wire. And a lot less hassle. Wire is cheap, and you're buying spools already...

Most of your placements look fine, some observations:
  • How do you think you'll use the art gallery zone? Do you really want to consume a zone for folks walking between rooms?
  • Same question for the pair outside the master bath - If those are tied to the bedroom pair, what's the purpose?
  • Family room WHA speakers can do double duty as surround channels with the proper wiring to allow the switching to occur. So either combine them to a single pair, or turn that zone into a 7.1 surround / WHA setup. You can also just pipe the audio from the WHA system to your AVR as a source input. Easier to use if you put a WHA keypad in that room i9 I didn't, wish I had).
  • Separate the garage from any outdoor zone - you don't want to mix indoor / outdoor zones.
  • In bedrooms, same comment as the family room - you can use the in-ceiling speakers for WHA and surround channels if the wiring is done. I've done this in my bedroom and it works great - you move the WHA speakers over the head of the bed, assuming there will be a TV on an opposite wall... Which isn't a bad place for the WHA speakers, either.
  • You don't show volume control / keypads in every room. You should absolutely wire every room as its own zone.
  • I know you're just showing WHA and not video - but don't forget to wire for video in the laundry room and garage!
Quote:
Would it be correct to assume that one volume control can control more than 2 speakers? (Such as in the Kitchen, Keeping Room and Nook?)

Depends on the system, but probably. However, you should wire each room as its own zone with volume controls.
Quote:
Is the best plan to run 16-4 and Cat5e from A/V room to each volume control, and 16-2 from volume control to each speaker?

Yes, that is the recommended / standard CEA wiring pattern.
Quote:
In the Owners bath, I plan to install a TV on the extrior wall to the left of the tub. I also plan to put the STB from the Owners Suite in the back walk in closet. How complicated will I be making things if I try to share the feed from the Owners Suite to the bathroom and have the audio, from the TV to play on the ceiling speakers in the bathroom. I'd also like the bathroom speakers to play music from other sources from the A/V room in the basement. I'm open to suggestions on this one. My main goal would be to allow me to watch TV while we're in the bathroom, but have it over the main speakers so we can hear it through the ceiling speakers.

Can be done, just need to wire the sources (set-top) to the WHA system. Note that audio playing through a TV and through a WHA system from the same set-top may not be in sync because of delays in the TV. I use this functionality most mornings. TV in the master bedroom on with the news, source is a set-top box distributed from the wiring closet. Audio goes to an AVR for the TV, but is also a source on the WHA system so I can hear the same thing in the bathroom. (The bathroom is wired for TV, haven't done that as the WHA functionality works great)
Quote:
Yes, the TV over the fireplace isn't the best idea, but not much I can do since we've already got most of the walls built..

Ick. Move the fireplace to the angled corner of the room and free up that whole wall. Since it's a gas fireplace it may not be a big deal to move it now... Would give you a lot more options for built-in cabinets, etc. as well...
Quote:
Cat5e for network drops will be run also, another plan pulled together for that.

Should probably run cat6 for at least some of the runs since the cost delta is so low now. And run tons of category wire regardless.

I hope you've got a decent time window to do this install - have you done this type of work before? It will take 2-3 people with 'moderate' experience several days to do this. Don't expect to do it all in a single weekend, for example. Triple that time or more if you do the work by yourself.
Quote:
Also plan on having a real theater room in the basement in the future, so I'll deal with it until then

Ah, the basement! Makes the theater plan so much easier... biggrin.gif Just do plan out the basic room area(s) now, as if you don't put the plans in place, the builder and the subs will throw ducts, pipes, columns, equipment and everything else all over the basement and muck up any decent ceiling plan. Getting that right now will save you a ton of money and frustration / compromise when you can get to the theater.

Hope that helps,

Jeff


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post #3 of 3 Old 09-15-2013, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
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As usual, a very thorough response Jeff, really appreciate the time you took in reviewing and providing your feedback!

I'm still trying to digest it all and figure out a way to get my plans listed so I have something to work from that's organized.
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