New construction - Whole house A/V distribution with in ceiling speakers- Need Advise - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 12-07-2013, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello experts -

 

This is my first post and I am a novice as far as wholes house AV automation is concerned. We are build a 2 story 5300+ sqft house and should be ready by late spring / summer.

 

I got couple of quotes from a control 4 dealer and another AV professional. Control4 quoted me about $50K and other guy around $25K.

 

Here is what I am trying to do. Please advice what I need and the best options.

 

Home theater setup 5.1 in great room

Home theater set up 7.1 in bonus room 2nd floor

TV in guest bedroom - 1st floor

TV - master bedroom - 2nd floor

 

I am planning to put all in ceiling speakers through out the house. Here is what I am planning to accomplish :

 

Just have 2-3 zones for audio

Can we watch different channels in different tv's / rooms with just one dish tv satellite receiver. If so , what needs ( equipments) to be done ?

They have sons included in proposal for audio source.  Do I really need sonos when I can play music from A/V receivers using airplay. I'll be playing music only from my iPhone or iPads. Pandoras, spottily etc are available on apps or comes with AV receivers.

do I need amplifiers for zoning ? Some of the high need AV receivers have multi zone options like Pioneer elite SC 79 and others.

Do you think I should just ask my low voltage guy to prewire and buy equipment etc online at good price and save some money.

I want to hide all my AV receivers, dish receivers, Blue ray, etc in the basement and run everything from there. What is a home run ? I need one centralized location in basement to run all my stuff. Please advise some best options and list of equipments I need for this project.

 

Also any good suggestions on in ceiling speakers. I want some good quality speakers with heavy bass. Some good value for money and not very expensive / high end stuff. One of the pro suggested to use dual voice coil in ceiling speakers through out the house with 14X4 wire for good sound. Is this a good approach ?

 

Thanks !

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post #2 of 30 Old 12-07-2013, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by journeyguy View Post

This is my first post and I am a novice as far as wholes house AV automation is concerned. We are build a 2 story 5300+ sqft house and should be ready by late spring / summer.

I got couple of quotes from a control 4 dealer and another AV professional. Control4 quoted me about $50K and other guy around $25K.

Quotes for what, exactly? $25-50k obviously includes more than the bit of AV distribution you mention below...

You need to ask yourself how much you want to get into this stuff on your own. It will take quite a bit of time to learn enough to do a full distributed AV setup on your own. A large house "ready by late spring" doesn't give you much time (probably a month or two at the most) to get everything figured out, wiring-wise. Once the drywall goes on, you're out of time.
Quote:
Here is what I am trying to do. Please advice what I need and the best options.

Home theater setup 5.1 in great room
Home theater set up 7.1 in bonus room 2nd floor
TV in guest bedroom - 1st floor
TV - master bedroom - 2nd floor

I am planning to put all in ceiling speakers through out the house. Here is what I am planning to accomplish

Don't do in-ceiling speakers for ANY TV / home theater LCR channels. You'll regret that - especially for a "home theater" setup. Surround channels can go in the ceiling if it makes sense (and in non-dedicated spaces, it typically does).
Quote:
Just have 2-3 zones for audio

5300 square feet begs for more than 2-3 zones of whole-house audio. At least the pre-wiring.
Quote:
Can we watch different channels in different tv's / rooms with just one dish tv satellite receiver. If so , what needs ( equipments) to be done ?

You need at least one set-top box PER simultaneous channel / viewer. If you want to watch three different things throughout the house at the same time, you'd need at least three boxes. Rule of thumb for set-top boxes in distributed setups is one per family member and adjust from there. Note that with most providers offering whole-house-DVR solutions, it may not make sense to install a true "distributed video" setup, from an economic / ease-of-use viewpoint.
Quote:
They have sons included in proposal for audio source.  Do I really need sonos when I can play music from A/V receivers using airplay. I'll be playing music only from my iPhone or iPads. Pandoras, spottily etc are available on apps or comes with AV receivers.

Sonos is a generally a much better solution than relying on Airplay. Primary reason is that it doesn't tie up the mobile device for music. Multitasking apps can allow that, but it's no where near as "clean"...
Quote:
do I need amplifiers for zoning ? Some of the high need AV receivers have multi zone options like Pioneer elite SC 79 and others.

You need an "amp" somewhere. Can certainly use built-in amps within an AVR, but back to my earlier point, you shouldn't be looking at solutions for 2-3 zones max given the size of the house.
Quote:
Do you think I should just ask my low voltage guy to prewire and buy equipment etc online at good price and save some money.

Doing lots of pre-wire is a good thing. If you're serious about learning all of this yourself to DIY, concentrate on all the pre-wiring topics and worry about the gear later. You have to get the pre-wiring done right the first time.
Quote:
I want to hide all my AV receivers, dish receivers, Blue ray, etc in the basement and run everything from there. What is a home run ? I need one centralized location in basement to run all my stuff. Please advise some best options and list of equipments I need for this project.

You need to do a ton of reading in this forum... Remotely locating equipment is relatively easy, once the wiring is in place.


Jeff

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post #3 of 30 Old 12-07-2013, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Any good in ceiling speakers , brand , model # ? Are dual voice coil throughout the house good choice ?

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post #4 of 30 Old 12-07-2013, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by journeyguy View Post

Any good in ceiling speakers , brand , model # ?

You're getting ahead of yourself...

Lots of good brands / models. Many folks here are very happy with the ultra-cheap Monoprice units. In general, 8" speakers will sound better than 6.5" or smaller ones. Polk, Definitive Tech and Boston Acoustics are all brands I've used and like.
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Are dual voice coil throughout the house good choice ?

No. You should plan for stereo pairs in most rooms. DVC speakers are good for very small spaces or hallways.

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post #5 of 30 Old 12-09-2013, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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How many Cat 6/7 , hdmi, COAX cable run needed per TV location ? Should I go with CAT 7 to future proof ?

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post #6 of 30 Old 12-09-2013, 06:06 PM
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We use control4 only and stream our internet radio with Tunein and Rhapsody.

VSX-53, VSX-51,VSX-81 Pioneer Elites and Denon 1611
James loudspeaker inwalls main and future theater
Control4
Other speaker zones DefTech, Polk, Russound, Boston Acoustics
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post #7 of 30 Old 12-09-2013, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by journeyguy View Post

How many Cat 6/7 , hdmi, COAX cable run needed per TV location ? Should I go with CAT 7 to future proof ?

Cat6 is plenty good for the foreseeable future. Future proof would be flex conduit runs to display locations.

For a display location: 2 category, 1 RG6 minimum. Better: 3 category, 2 RG6.

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post #8 of 30 Old 12-09-2013, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post


Cat6 is plenty good for the foreseeable future. Future proof would be flex conduit runs to display locations.

For a display location: 2 category, 1 RG6 minimum. Better: 3 category, 2 RG6.

So I'll have one tv in great room with 5.1 home theater , guest BR with TV , Master bedroom tv, bonus room projector with 7.1 home theater. So all should have 3 CAT 6, 2RG6 per TV. ? What will these be used for ?

What is flex conduit and how many I need ?

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post #9 of 30 Old 12-09-2013, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by journeyguy View Post

So I'll have one tv in great room with 5.1 home theater , guest BR with TV , Master bedroom tv, bonus room projector with 7.1 home theater. So all should have 3 CAT 6, 2RG6 per TV. ?

That's what I would do (and did...)
Quote:
What will these be used for ?

1-2 Cat6 for HDMI-over-category, 1 for Ethernet / IR/ Audio / "future"
1 RG6 for cable/sat (set-top box), 1 for OTA or another video provider, radio / XM, etc.
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What is flex conduit and how many I need ?

http://www.carlonsales.com/techinfo/installationtraining/IT-7F72.pdf

One drop per display location - all you need is a pathway to an attic or crawlspace, so that future cables can be dropped through the empty conduit. If the display location is on an interior wall and accessible from above/below, the conduit isn't critical. It's for those 1st floor spaces in 2-floor homes where you won't be able to add cables "easily" years from now.

Jeff

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post #10 of 30 Old 12-10-2013, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
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So I'll be wall mounting the TV's so all this CAT 6, hdmi, RG6 will go behind tv on a wall plate ? Won his look ugly everywhere ? Any better solution from aesthetic point?
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post #11 of 30 Old 12-10-2013, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by journeyguy View Post

So I'll be wall mounting the TV's so all this CAT 6, hdmi, RG6 will go behind tv on a wall plate ? Won his look ugly everywhere ? Any better solution from aesthetic point?

Arlington TV Box behind the TV, so that all low-volt / power is hidden behind the display.

I like the newer 8x10" model:



That's what I did in the majority of rooms when I built my house... If there won't be a TV there immediately, they have blanking plates, or you just cover it with a picture...

Jeff

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post #12 of 30 Old 12-10-2013, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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You are awesome Jeff. I think I need to discuss with you in detail as whaI am trying to accomplish. Do you provide consultation over the phone / email? Thanks !
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post #13 of 30 Old 12-13-2013, 03:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Does the Nuvo concerto comes with color keypad 3.6 ? If so how many. ?
How much does the whole set concerto, mps4 , color keypads cost ? I would need. One key pad per floor ...or more. Does it have airplay ? How do I play from iphone , ipad with Nuvo set up. ?
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post #14 of 30 Old 12-13-2013, 05:59 AM
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Does the Nuvo concerto comes with color keypad 3.6 ? If so how many. ?

The Grand Concerto unit is offered in a kit with 6 OLED keypads, and I believe a bundle with 6 keypads plus 6 pairs of NuVo AP speakers. The color keypads have to be purchased as a separate line item (unless they've started offering a new bundle - haven't heard of one).
Quote:
How much does the whole set concerto, mps4 , color keypads cost ? I would need. One key pad per floor ...or more. Does it have airplay ? How do I play from iphone , ipad with Nuvo set up. ?

You want one keypad per zone - maybe upgrade / add one or two "important" zones to the color touchscreens.

I believe MSRP on the GC with six keypads is $4199, MPS4 is $2499-2799 (something in that range), and each color touchscreen $899-999... Note that the MPS4 has a capable mobile / tablet app ($50?), which I'd suggest using before upgrading zones to the color touchscreen.

The GC doesn't support Airplay directly, but a $99 Airport Express attached as a source will get that job done - but note there's no metadata on that. The only thing you should need that for anyway would be a streaming service that the MPS4 doesn't support.

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post #15 of 30 Old 12-18-2013, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Arlington TV Box behind the TV, so that all low-volt / power is hidden behind the display.


That's what I did in the majority of rooms when I built my house... If there won't be a TV there immediately, they have blanking plates, or you just cover it with a picture...

Jeff

Did you include anything near the floor where typical electrical outlets are? I am thinking some such as a scoop plate with conduit that goes to the bottom of this box so you can hook up something later that isn't wall mounted such as DVD player, game console, etc
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post #16 of 30 Old 12-18-2013, 11:40 PM
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Did you include anything near the floor where typical electrical outlets are? I am thinking some such as a scoop plate with conduit that goes to the bottom of this box so you can hook up something later that isn't wall mounted such as DVD player, game console, etc

I didn't because I was centralizing my video sources (mostly), but yes, a scoop plate and a known path between the TVbox and the plate is a very good idea... A short piece of flex conduit between those points would make it very easy to connect local sources and keep everything hidden.

Jeff

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post #17 of 30 Old 12-19-2013, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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No I haven't thought about how to connect BD or a PS4 to a tv in great room or second floor if all my stuff is in basement ?
Can you show me some pics of scoop plate ? I will be centralizing / distributing everything from basement but BD / PS4. So need to hide somewhere in closet and run HDMI to the back of the TV.
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post #18 of 30 Old 12-19-2013, 08:01 AM
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I am no expert and I'm at a similar place to you in my build. I expect I will be pre-wiring in a couple of weeks.

I'm not sure if "scoop plate" is the right word or not but I remember reading that term somewhere - maybe here. Here is a picture:


It seems Arlington sells them.
http://www.aifittings.com/catalog/communications/the-scoop-reversible-cable-entrance-plates-with-removable-lower-plate/CER2
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post #19 of 30 Old 12-19-2013, 10:31 AM
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"Scoop plate" is the correct term (which may be a trademark of Arlington, so also "bulk entry") - the Arlington one is nice because it's reversible so the scoop is inside the wall, which for exposed locations is probably the better choice. If it's at a rack or other hidden location, the external scoop orientation is easier to use...

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post #20 of 30 Old 12-20-2013, 06:03 AM
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The photo above is actually of a bullnose vs. a scoop plate.

I think that what is really needed here is a goal. It seems like there are a lot of questions being asked that are quickly getting into the details of how things are done, but the overall goal still seems to be missing.

TV in 4 rooms... Okay.

Do you only have four rooms? Do you have 6 rooms? 10 rooms? Are there outdoors areas? The home is certainly on the larger side of things, and people often change their mind about what they want, where they want stuff, and how things should be... With that in mind, why not start with where you MAY want stuff. Not where you will, but where you MAY. This will impact wiring. It will significantly impact the wiring strategy. You may find that conduit runs make more sense to certain locations, that you want to add a fair bit of conduit, and do a bit less actual wiring.

With audio only zones, you want to consider every place you may want speakers and how you want to use them. You mentioned 2-3 zones, but then talk about wanting one thing in one room, and something different in another room, this indicates that you may not understand the very basics of how audio zones work. It's not a 'pick and choose at any one time' thing with zones. Once the bedroom and bathroom and guest room are tied in as the same audio zone, then you can't switch them to different things, ever. For them to play differently, they must be setup as independent zones from the start.

I would suggest, and I mean STRONGLY suggest, that you work with a professional on the wiring. Not only do you have a lot of wiring and considerations which must be made, you also have legal codes with drilling holes, running wires, etc. to deal with in new construction. The house will be inspected, and if you drill a hole in the wrong place then entire structural members could need to be replaced on your new construction home.

I would expect that wiring could easily run $10,000 if you really want it done right.

That is, you would have multiple cat6 cables run to TV locations, to local source locations, to keypad locations, to control locations, speaker wire run to 8+ runs, etc. My expectation would be that a team of 4-5 guys for 2-4 days would be necessary. The new construction makes everything easier, but there are still at ton of holes which need to be cut, hours of pulling (and labeling!) cable, and cleanup work. Expect no less than 120 hours of labor on this really for just the wiring, which is no less than $6,000 of labor (and that's cheap!) plus materials which is a minimum of $2,000. In all fairness, those numbers are low, and not realistic. Any professional company will have insurance, taxes, etc. to deal with and you should expect no less than the previously mentioned $10,000 and if you want more capability, then expect to pay a bit more. Finishing work can be treated completely separately. You will very likely want phone and network wiring put in as well with the A/V stuff.

Finally, consider all the extras you may want... Intercom, cameras, etc. may all be handled by the A/V guys, or they may recommend a solution which makes sense.

If you want to do this, then I suggest doing your electrical work yourself as well... Electrical is far easier than the A/V work in most homes. biggrin.gif

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post #21 of 30 Old 12-20-2013, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I am most likely to go with Control4 whole house audio video distribution. Recent owners any feedback on Control4 system ? Any issues ? Important things to consider.
As far as in ceiling speakers go for WHA , its between Episode 500/700, Proficient, Speakercraft and Monitor audio. What would be your recommendation ?
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post #22 of 30 Old 12-21-2013, 04:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Are AIM speakers for wholes house audio good idea ? If I place AIM speakers through out the house , do I get better sound Vs non AIM in ceiling speakers  ?

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post #23 of 30 Old 12-21-2013, 05:56 AM
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Depends on which speakers you are comparing them to. Ceiling speakers aren't great compared to other speakers and directional ceiling speakers are better than non-directional ceiling speakers, but they are still ceiling speakers.

Depends on the rooms they are going into and the quality you are hoping to achieve. In areas where pristine audio quality doesn't matter (bathrooms for example) then why spend a ton on really nice speakers when the room sucks?

For areas where audio really does matter, then I would endeavor for non-ceiling speaker solutions.

For areas where you must use ceiling speakers, and audio quality matters, then spending a bit more on better speakers makes a lot of sense.

Be aware of sound bleed. A ceiling speaker throws sound both down into the room, and up into spaces above it. If a bedroom is above a ceiling speaker, then that speaker really can't be used at night if someone is trying to sleep.

In-wall speakers always are a better choice for any TV/video locations.

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post #24 of 30 Old 12-21-2013, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

Depends on which speakers you are comparing them to. Ceiling speakers aren't great compared to other speakers and directional ceiling speakers are better than non-directional ceiling speakers, but they are still ceiling speakers.

Depends on the rooms they are going into and the quality you are hoping to achieve. In areas where pristine audio quality doesn't matter (bathrooms for example) then why spend a ton on really nice speakers when the room sucks?

For areas where audio really does matter, then I would endeavor for non-ceiling speaker solutions.

For areas where you must use ceiling speakers, and audio quality matters, then spending a bit more on better speakers makes a lot of sense.

Be aware of sound bleed. A ceiling speaker throws sound both down into the room, and up into spaces above it. If a bedroom is above a ceiling speaker, then that speaker really can't be used at night if someone is trying to sleep.

In-wall speakers always are a better choice for any TV/video locations.

I understand what you are saying and I have done enough research and knows pros and cons. I'll do in wall for front LCR for HT but rest has to be in ceiling speakers ONLY for cleaner look. My questions is I got three different quotes / opininios from professional installers, one recommend Speaker craft AIM or Monitor audio AIM speakers through out the house ( Control4 dealer), second recommends dual voice coil through out the house and third guy just the non AIM  Episode 500 / 700. Which one would be your pick ?

Are AIM or DVC speakers better ?

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post #25 of 30 Old 12-21-2013, 08:14 PM
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Forget about the guy trying to sell you AIM speakers for distributed music speakers. Absolutely no need for aim-able or directional speakers in areas where it won't matter.
Same for the person trying to sell you on DVC speakers, unless it's in a bathroom.

The person quoting you a pair of regular ceiling speakers (non-directional) would be your best bet of the three. If you want a sound in a bathroom, it's best to use a DVC speaker though.



fyi, Monitor Audio doesn't have a "AIM" speaker line. "AIM" are specific speakers made by Speakercraft, like Sony had "Trinitron" TVs in the past. Don't confuse pivoting tweeters (in almost all ceiling speakers now-a-days) to aim-able or directional speakers.
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post #26 of 30 Old 12-25-2013, 08:53 PM
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In the main surround space, good speakers are a good idea. Having amiable drivers is a plus and they are available from a number of good in-wall/ceiling manufacturers. Most manufacturers have amiable tweeters including Monoprice and Polk. There also is a certain upgrade to getting better speakers, but it's rarely night and day type of difference. The plus side is that if you get cheap speakers in your rooms, you can upgrade them later in a room or two if you like.

DVC isn't a bad idea in certain rooms. Bathrooms, and laundry rooms for example. But, I generally think that simply mixing down to mono is a much better way to do things as you will get more even audio coverage and better sound quality throughout any space which doesn't work well for 'stereo'. Dining room, living room, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Bathrooms should shoot to have a speaker installed directly above the shower or else it will be difficult to hear.

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post #27 of 30 Old 12-31-2013, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I have another dilemma for audio / video distribution.Should I keep all my equipment in the basement or I also have the option in family entertainment room on second floor in a AV closet with proper ventilation cooling system. I was thinking now as family ent room as a centralized location and not basement for two reasons : 1) convienence - changing dvd's, gaming console and proximity instead if going to unfinished basement to change DVDs or any other issues.
2) showcase all the Control4 equipment, High end AV receivers , amps etc on a rack with a glass door in the closet.

What would be pros and cons ? What would be the best option , keep everything in basement or on second floor ?
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post #28 of 30 Old 01-01-2014, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by journeyguy View Post

I have another dilemma for audio / video distribution.Should I keep all my equipment in the basement or I also have the option in family entertainment room on second floor in a AV closet with proper ventilation cooling system. I was thinking now as family ent room as a centralized location and not basement for two reasons : 1) convienence - changing dvd's, gaming console and proximity instead if going to unfinished basement to change DVDs or any other issues.
2) showcase all the Control4 equipment, High end AV receivers , amps etc on a rack with a glass door in the closet.

What would be pros and cons ? What would be the best option , keep everything in basement or on second floor ?

Anyone ???

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post #29 of 30 Old 02-15-2014, 02:31 PM
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Here are my two cents as I am thinking through the same issue... Family room is upstairs and theater and all the wiring is downstairs. I originally began with a rack of equipment on both floors. For upstairs, the primary reason was to access the Bluray player and CD player at Christmas.

However, over the past 2 years the family has pretty much gone digital... Music is streamed and steaming movies are the path of least resistance. I think that is the future... Here would be my recommendation...

1. Build out your racks and showcase the equipment downstairs in a theater room... Where the serious bluray watching will occur... Mount all your whole house equipment there too.

2. For other zones where there will be movie watching you can mount an Appletv behind each tv wired to an Ethernet connection or wireless... And the family can stream or select movies from apple of Netflix.

3. If you live in a large metro area, buy the racks on Craigslist... I like the Middle Atlantic ERK, WRK or Slim5 racks... You'll typically see the big racks listed at a significant discount to new.
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post #30 of 30 Old 02-16-2014, 04:21 PM
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journey... are you still looking for advice or consultation on your project?

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