Help me design a whole home A/V system - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-27-2014, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Help me design a whole home A/V system

I'm hoping a few fellow members can help me find out what options are available out there. I am looking to design a system for a friend in a new construction home with the following:

-Central server room for all rack equipment
-Fully controllable via smartphone / tablet (preferably over wi-fi)
-4 remote TV locations (each location has 3 cat5e's and 1 RG6 from the server room to the TV zone, so can handle a local box or HDMI over cat5)
-22 zones of audio (each zone has two channels). Hoping to find a system that can play every zone independently from several choices of inputs.
-Integration with HVAC system
-Bonus: Integration with security system

Anyone have experience with this type of system or know anything that can handle these requirements? Any help or advice would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-27-2014, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Will add that I've looked at Control4 / Crestron and liked the features, but would rather design and install the system myself. Especially given price considerations.
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-27-2014, 08:13 AM
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22 audio-only zones, but only 4 video zones. Really? How big is this house? Getting beyond 16 audio-only zones is going to be into either a very large, or multiple independent systems (the latter being the more likely case, and probably fine).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike8799400 View Post
Will add that I've looked at Control4 / Crestron and liked the features, but would rather design and install the system myself. Especially given price considerations.
Are you going to be willing to become the tech support hotline?

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post #4 of 16 Old 06-27-2014, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I agree, lopsided towards audio for sure. I have seen a few options that can handle with two independent systems (the best was HTD's Lync system), but obviously would rather have something fully integrated. Anything else out there that I passed over?
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-27-2014, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Bump. Any other thoughts? Any advice would be helpful...
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-27-2014, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike8799400 View Post
Bump. Any other thoughts? Any advice would be helpful...
Don't bump threads every 30 minutes?

Do you really have 22 audio zones? That many locations with need for independent control and volume? How many rooms is this? Multiple pairs of speakers can be combined in a number of ways into a single zone. To get more options, you'd really like to fit in 16 zones...

And if you're truly looking to build / install an integrated home automation system (since you talked about HVAC and Security), my question about tech support was serious. Building an integrated system using some of the DIY-friendly systems is possible, but not inexpensive, and not likely to be bullet-proof to the degree that the professional systems are. And in those cases, there's a professional to call when things aren't working right.

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post #7 of 16 Old 06-27-2014, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike8799400 View Post
Will add that I've looked at Control4 / Crestron and liked the features, but would rather design and install the system myself. Especially given price considerations.
You can work with a custom installer to design and install a Control4 system. Other than the brains (HC-800 or HC-250), technically you do not require any other Control4 hardware - you can buy 3rd party devices. You can run all the wires in the house yourself, and find an online Control4 programmer, they can sell you the hardware you need at a minimum (HC 800 or HC 250) to get the system up and running, they can do the initial programming, then you can buy Composer Home Edition and program all you want. all you cannot do is add new hardware to the project (Control4 branded or other brands) without a dealer, but again, there are remote integrators who will work with you.


So you can get a mix, design your system, do most of the installation, buy 1 piece of hardware from a dealer and have them set up the project for you.
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-28-2014, 12:55 AM
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I do not know of any professionals, myself included, that would walk into a diy cobbled together system and simply program it into a iOS/Android control.

Not only am I not going to be held responsible for any equipment failure that WILL occur, but trying to get all the various equipment to talk to each other and do so flawlessly is the main concern. This is why most professionals only install certain brands and certain models as they have found them to be the most reliable and easy to install for them.

You also have to keep in mind that professional have taken sometimes years to learn their craft and to be able to provide easy to use and reliable systems.

Is there equipment available to you? Absolutely. Will it be as easy to use for the end user? Most likely not.

I would think twice before trying to tackle a project of this size yourself. And if they are a real friend, you would tell them the same.
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-30-2014, 08:35 AM
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ifor - I do agree with you - which is why I said he could work with a custom installer to help define his Control4 system. I worked with my dealer, I was rather hands on with how I wanted to approach the project, scoping out hardware, etc. I did buy it all through him and he installed it, but now I can use Composer Home Edition to make my own programming changes.


Control4 is not a 100% DIY solution, but there are parts of it where the owner can have more freedom if they so desire.
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-02-2014, 10:01 AM
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irule, elk, micasaverde, sonos, russound mca-c5, key digital video matrix amp, something like that. It will be a nightmare to install, manage, intergrate, maintain, etc but it certainly can be done DIY.
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-18-2014, 06:56 AM
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With so many zones, you're going to need at least 2 - 16 zone audio matrix switches for a Control 4 system. Why so many zones?
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-19-2014, 08:40 PM
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What everyone else said. You don't need 22 zones of audio unless you want to list them and explain otherwise.
The guest bathroom will do just fine with no speakers.

Equally each pair of speakers is not a zone. I have a 24 ft long 5ft wide kitchen. (oh yes I do. Call it a corridor if you will and welcome to NY)

That has 4 ceiling speakers in one zone LRLR. The amp is 4oh stable so I didn't need to do anything except wire.

Any room with surround comes out of the calc.

So?
Kitchen
Dining
Family
Deck
Master bed
Master bath
Bed two
Bed three
Bed four
Bed five
Office
Bonus room
Garage
Other deck

Um flagging now and have not hit 16. Simplify to 16. Kill some darlings.
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post #13 of 16 Old Yesterday, 11:26 AM
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I'm not getting why 22 zones is a problem. Lots of homes have that and far more.


And in the real - read non-AVS Forum - world, the greater weight of audio to video is the norm. Far more homeowners want distributed audio than distributed video (and it generally costs less than distributed video).


The real problem is thinking that you can DIY a system like this. Good luck to you if you have a wife or kids. As someone said above, you will be full time tech support...if the system ever works at all.


The problem is that once you decide that along with audio, you also want to have full integration on a single platform (not multiple apps on an iPad that you move in and out of independently) of HVAC, security cameras/alarm, and video distribution, you're talking about Crestron.


Just audio, maybe you could do C4 or some of the others. But if you're trying to integrate all of the above, and/or shades, and/or lighting, etc., you're in the Crestron world...


Which means absolutely forget about DIY. And make sure the firm you hire has stellar programmers and rock solid references and can show you examples of their work (pictures are fine - ask to see the back of equipment racks, not the front). A Crestron system done properly is a joy. Just remember, everyone wants a Mercedes for the price of a Carolla. It doesn't exist.
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post #14 of 16 Old Yesterday, 04:25 PM
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^ Control4 would happily handle the above also.

Most DIY as you say stops at 16x16
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post #15 of 16 Old Yesterday, 08:41 PM
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Yeah, I don't see why the OP is being given a hard time about 22 audio zones. The most I have done in one home is 27 (with 8 zones of HDMI distribution).

I am wiring another home right now for 31 pairs of speakers (18 HD video zones too). Each speaker will get its own channel of amplification. But 3 of the rooms have two pairs of speakers and in those zones all four speakers will always play at the same level. The basement patio will have three DT speakers, but I want the ability to control volume of each individual speaker although they will be tied to the same zone. Same goes for the master bath/shower/his closet/her closet--single zone with independent volume control of each pair. The combining of pairs will be done within Control4 programming. So this one will end up being 23 true zones of audio.

The beauty of doing distributed audio this way is that, if down the road my client decides that they do want to be able to listen to different sources in the shower and the master closets, I just change a couple lines of programming and it's done--no rewiring whatsoever.
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post #16 of 16 Old Yesterday, 09:05 PM
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Probably a moot point since the OP has been AWOL from the thread for a month...

I don't think anyone was giving him a hard time - but for someone just starting out, 22 zones sounds more like a mistake in understanding than anything else. Especially if one believes they're also doing distributed video but only has 4 zones. I would expect an install with 22 "real" audio zones probably has more than 4 video zones.

And remember, the OP was looking to install this "for a friend", not himself. So there could be another level of misunderstanding involved.

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