Switching speakers between WHA and surround use - AVS Forum
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Switching speakers between WHA and surround use

I'm doing the planning for a new home build. Due to an open-plan design, there's really no good place for surround speakers for the main (Great Room) TV. So I think I need to go to in-ceiling speakers. Which is going to be interesting as the ceiling is probably going to be 12'.

Anyway, I'm also planning WHA, and would like to cut down on the total number of speakers in the ceiling, so I figured I should be able to use the surround speakers for WHA as well.

So how to switch them? If I go with a Sonos system for WHA, then I'd be using Connect:Amp units in the AV rack for those speakers. How to command the Sonos to switch sources when the HA system goes into Movie mode? Or would I be better off with a switching amplifier system like the Monoprice 10761? That at least I know I can command from the HA system via serial connection.

I probably ought to be looking at a professional system like Control4 or Crestron. For now I'm trying to get an idea of what it would cost for a DIY system so I have a baseline to compare the professional system to.
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:53 AM
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Well, search doesn't appear to be working on the new forum software yet, otherwise this would be easy to find...

There are automatic speaker switches that will sense signal - you put one of those in-line at a location where you can intercept the speaker wire runs from both systems. These units require DC power so it's usually best to just route the WHA speaker wires through the AVR location - as that makes a convenient point to get everything together.

Russound AB-3.2:

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

Speakercraft SL-1:

http://www.speakercraft.com/products...category_id=18


Jeff

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Old 06-13-2014, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I forgot those devices even existed. Thanks for the links.

All source devices for both the main TV and the WHA system will be in the same equipment rack, so locating the speaker switches shouldn't be a problem.

Thanks!

joe
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:40 PM
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Why separate them? Get a Sonos Connect and plug it into the AVR to provide WHA for that zone.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:43 PM
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...and remember that ceiling speakers bleed audio upwards without mercy. That will put a lot of audio into the rooms above or attic space. Just be aware of that if there are people (kids) who may be sleeping while the system is on.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by SMHarman View Post
Why separate them? Get a Sonos Connect and plug it into the AVR to provide WHA for that zone.
For WHA / casual usage the surround channel / in-ceiling speakers can be sufficient (or preferable) and using the Sonos app to control all zones at once is really simple (instead of moving to the AVR app / remote, etc.)...

But as this 'zone' sounds like a primary AV area - using a Connect attached as an AVR source might be a better choice...

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Old 06-13-2014, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SMHarman View Post
Why separate them? Get a Sonos Connect and plug it into the AVR to provide WHA for that zone.
It's not clear there will be an AVR, if I go with Sonos gear. Unless I'm misunderstanding their marketing. Connect source via HDMI to TV (possibly through a matrix or switch), then TV to SoundBar via optical. Then the Sub and satellites get their channels from the SoundBar via the Sonos network. If that's not how it works, what am I using to feed the Sub and Player units? Preamp from AVR to ???

If I'm not using Sonos, then yes I would need an AVR and WHA amps (like the monoprice). And I could use the speaker level switches.
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
...and remember that ceiling speakers bleed audio upwards without mercy. That will put a lot of audio into the rooms above or attic space. Just be aware of that if there are people (kids) who may be sleeping while the system is on.
Just attic above this area, thankfully. But it is likely to be a 12' ceiling. Depends how the costs come in for the current plan. If we're over budget, it'll likely get knocked down to 10'.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingDiver View Post
It's not clear there will be an AVR, if I go with Sonos gear. Unless I'm misunderstanding their marketing. Connect source via HDMI to TV (possibly through a matrix or switch), then TV to SoundBar via optical. Then the Sub and satellites get their channels from the SoundBar via the Sonos network. If that's not how it works, what am I using to feed the Sub and Player units? Preamp from AVR to ???
If you're talking about any Soundbar (Sonos Playbar or any other brand) - there is NO surround channel (speaker) output... If you want "true" 5.1 surround in that room, you'll need an AVR. If you want to keep a minimal speaker footprint around the TV, a "speaker bar" for LCR is a possibility.

And in that case, a Sonos Connect used as a source on the AVR could be part of the equation. Again, I'd base that on how often the family members would be willing to turn on the AVR and use the main speakers (as opposed to the Sonos app alone).

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Old 06-14-2014, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
If you're talking about any Soundbar (Sonos Playbar or any other brand) - there is NO surround channel (speaker) output... If you want "true" 5.1 surround in that room, you'll need an AVR. If you want to keep a minimal speaker footprint around the TV, a "speaker bar" for LCR is a possibility.

And in that case, a Sonos Connect used as a source on the AVR could be part of the equation. Again, I'd base that on how often the family members would be willing to turn on the AVR and use the main speakers (as opposed to the Sonos app alone).
I mean to write Playbar above, not the generic soundbar. If I have a Sonos Playbar, then there is NO AVR in the chain. That's the way it's designed, even if set up for 5.1 with a Sonos Sub and either a pair of Player speakers or a Connect:Amp hardwired to surround speakers.

With a generic soundbar, then an AVR would be required to drive the sub and surrounds, I think. There may be other specific soundbars that have provisions to drive a sub and surround, like a HTiB system.

I'm not real keen on the idea of needing to turn on the AVR (if there is one) to activate the WHA speaker mode. More control complexity, and probably more electric usage then necessary.

Unfortunately, I don't think there's a way to (easily) switch a Connect:Amp from surround duty to WHA zone duty. I need to research this more, but I think (not sure) that when you pair a Connect with a Playbar as the surrounds, it doesn't show up as a destination zone.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyingDiver View Post
I mean to write Playbar above, not the generic soundbar. If I have a Sonos Playbar, then there is NO AVR in the chain. That's the way it's designed, even if set up for 5.1 with a Sonos Sub and either a pair of Player speakers or a Connect:Amp hardwired to surround speakers.
Just know that that is a really expensive way to get a 5.1 surround system... The advantage it brings is the lack of wiring required and no cabinet space needed for the AVR.

But if you expect to use this for anything besides TV-based sources, such as Blu-ray, game consoles, or streaming services (not supported directly by your TV's apps), you'll need a spot for some gear anyway. And the features / quality you will get from an AVR plus speakers for the same price as all that Sonos gear would be a big improvement.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post
If you're talking about any Soundbar (Sonos Playbar or any other brand) - there is NO surround channel (speaker) output... If you want "true" 5.1 surround in that room, you'll need an AVR. If you want to keep a minimal speaker footprint around the TV, a "speaker bar" for LCR is a possibility.

And in that case, a Sonos Connect used as a source on the AVR could be part of the equation. Again, I'd base that on how often the family members would be willing to turn on the AVR and use the main speakers (as opposed to the Sonos app alone).
I mean to write Playbar above, not the generic soundbar. If I have a Sonos Playbar, then there is NO AVR in the chain. That's the way it's designed, even if set up for 5.1 with a Sonos Sub and either a pair of Player speakers or a Connect:Amp hardwired to surround speakers.

With a generic soundbar, then an AVR would be required to drive the sub and surrounds, I think. There may be other specific soundbars that have provisions to drive a sub and surround, like a HTiB system.

I'm not real keen on the idea of needing to turn on the AVR (if there is one) to activate the WHA speaker mode. More control complexity, and probably more electric usage then necessary.

Unfortunately, I don't think there's a way to (easily) switch a Connect:Amp from surround duty to WHA zone duty. I need to research this more, but I think (not sure) that when you pair a Connect with a Playbar as the surrounds, it doesn't show up as a destination zone.
You cannot pair a connect with a playbar. only a connect:amp. (keep in mind that both need to be hardwired to use this configuration) . the playbar will show up as a zone selection and play out of all speakers. If you cant hardwire both devices you will need to pair with two of the play:x series.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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But if you expect to use this for anything besides TV-based sources, such as Blu-ray, game consoles, or streaming services (not supported directly by your TV's apps), you'll need a spot for some gear anyway. And the features / quality you will get from an AVR plus speakers for the same price as all that Sonos gear would be a big improvement.
You're quite probably correct, but since I'm designing for both uses (surround and WHA), it's something worth looking into. I have space for the AVR, and we'll be able to pre-wire, so no issues there.
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