5.1 with 2 additional rooms - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-02-2014, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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5.1 with 2 additional rooms

Hoping for some good advice here as I know very little about AVRs and after going to the major box stores, I realized the salesmen know even less.

Moving into a new house. It's prewired for 5.1 surround in the living room and has two extra pairs of speakers - 1 pair in bedroom and 2nd pair on the back deck. There are no wall/volume controls in the extra rooms.

Virtually all content will be streamed from a smart tv, so the receiver will need ARC. I will also have a bluray player, but that's pretty much it. Ethernet is already prewired to the living room receiver location.

I'm looking for the most economical solution to have surround sound in the living room and 2 extra zones to play music/tv audio in the other locations.

What are my best options?
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-02-2014, 08:11 PM
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Any AVR with Zone2/Zone3 support - the major brands will all have this, but you'll have to climb up to a 7.1 AVR, and probably a bit higher in the product line to get the zone3 support. You'll most likely need at least one external amp (AudioSource AMP-100 for <$99) for Zone3.

Get an AVR with a good mobile app so you can control it from those other zones easily. And also realize that HDMI-based sources, including ARC, will NOT be available to those other zones. You'll need to use devices with analog audio, or the built-in apps in the AVR...

Jeff
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-02-2014, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
Any AVR with Zone2/Zone3 support - the major brands will all have this, but you'll have to climb up to a 7.1 AVR, and probably a bit higher in the product line to get the zone3 support. You'll most likely need at least one external amp (AudioSource AMP-100 for <$99) for Zone3.

Get an AVR with a good mobile app so you can control it from those other zones easily. And also realize that HDMI-based sources, including ARC, will NOT be available to those other zones. You'll need to use devices with analog audio, or the built-in apps in the AVR...

Jeff
Thanks Jeff - very helpful!
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-03-2014, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
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And I was afraid you'd say that hdmi would not be supported in the extra zones. But, I think I'll be good with built in apps, like Pandora, and the radio on those extra speakers.
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-03-2014, 07:36 PM
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Your first problem is going into a big box store. A custom a/v shop that specializes in this would be a lot more knowledgeable.


I tell all of my customers the same thing. There are a lot of so called "smart" devices on the market. You can get Pandora on; a new TV, Blu-Ray player, surround receiver, video game system, blu-ray player, sonos, etc... Which of those devices are easy to use and reliable? Not many. Which one of those devices provides the best experience? For a project like your I would recommend a Sonos Connect, a Sonos bridge, and a three zone receiver. Or multiple Sonos units and a single zone receiver (depending on your budget & your needs).


You could probably find a deal on a used, discontinued, or open box 3 zone receiver online or at a local retailer.


Out of all of the options that are available to you the TV/ARC is probably the worst. I'm not trying to insult you or anything, but if a customer asked me to do that the answer would be no. If they insisted on it I would walk away from the project. It's just a bad combination.


And yes you could also use a receiver w/built in apps to do this (wired not wireless connection for the receiver). I am not a huge fan of this and haven't recommended it in a couple years, but it would work.


Believe it or not I also never use the built in TV apps on any of my projects. I understand you bought the TV and it's "smart" and all, but I can't stand most TV apps. To me most of the TV's are "stupid", confusing, and slow and not smart. I usually use a Roku or Apple TV for streaming video. In my opinion they are more reliable (aren't slow or don't lock up), easier to use (using the Samsung app makes me want to punch someone), and provide a much better experience. All for another $50-$100.


Also put in a network switch and hard wire all of your equipment.


I get the whole budget thing, but if you spend a little more money & design the system correctly you will be a LOT happier.
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-03-2014, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mattbrotzge View Post
Your first problem is going into a big box store. A custom a/v shop that specializes in this would be a lot more knowledgeable.


I tell all of my customers the same thing. There are a lot of so called "smart" devices on the market. You can get Pandora on; a new TV, Blu-Ray player, surround receiver, video game system, blu-ray player, sonos, etc... Which of those devices are easy to use and reliable? Not many. Which one of those devices provides the best experience? For a project like your I would recommend a Sonos Connect, a Sonos bridge, and a three zone receiver. Or multiple Sonos units and a single zone receiver (depending on your budget & your needs).


You could probably find a deal on a used, discontinued, or open box 3 zone receiver online or at a local retailer.


Out of all of the options that are available to you the TV/ARC is probably the worst. I'm not trying to insult you or anything, but if a customer asked me to do that the answer would be no. If they insisted on it I would walk away from the project. It's just a bad combination.


And yes you could also use a receiver w/built in apps to do this (wired not wireless connection for the receiver). I am not a huge fan of this and haven't recommended it in a couple years, but it would work.


Believe it or not I also never use the built in TV apps on any of my projects. I understand you bought the TV and it's "smart" and all, but I can't stand most TV apps. To me most of the TV's are "stupid", confusing, and slow and not smart. I usually use a Roku or Apple TV for streaming video. In my opinion they are more reliable (aren't slow or don't lock up), easier to use (using the Samsung app makes me want to punch someone), and provide a much better experience. All for another $50-$100.


Also put in a network switch and hard wire all of your equipment.


I get the whole budget thing, but if you spend a little more money & design the system correctly you will be a LOT happier.
Thanks for the response Matt. I'm actually a big fan of the Roku as well. I had originally planned to get a "dumb" tv and another Roku box for it. However, the smart tv was on sale and therefore a cheaper option. But I hear ya on the clunky apps that most have. I may still end up getting a roku to hook up to it.

For a receiver, I will go look for some open boxes, but I had been eyeballing the Denon e400. It looks like it would give me the 3 zone capability I'm looking for. What's your opinion on that receiver? Anything else you would recommend instead?

The Sonos setup looks pretty slick, but I'm hesitant to drop the money on it since the 3 rooms I'll be pumping sound to are already wired. Would they still be your top choice taking that into consideration?
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-03-2014, 09:31 PM
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For a receiver, I will go look for some open boxes, but I had been eyeballing the Denon e400. It looks like it would give me the 3 zone capability I'm looking for. What's your opinion on that receiver? Anything else you would recommend instead?

Denon makes good receivers. We don't sell them (not because there bad), but because we can't carry everything. I am personally a Yamaha guy. Mainly because they are super reliable. I also don't think that receiver is enough for what you are trying to do. It's not meant to drive that many rooms of audio, especially all at once. Don't be afraid to get a receiver that's 1-3 yrs old just because it doesn't have some bell or whistle you will never use (would stay away from Integra/Onkyo because of HDMI failure issues). If you can squeeze it in the budget look for something that's 9.1 with three powered zones. For ex, a used or refurbed Yamaha RXA2000 or RXA2010.

The Sonos setup looks pretty slick, but I'm hesitant to drop the money on it since the 3 rooms I'll be pumping sound to are already wired. Would they still be your top choice taking that into consideration?[/QUOTE]

Sonos will still work for that application. Just get a Sonos connect (you actually wouldn't need the bridge if you hard wire the Sonos) Then set up the Sonos as a source on the receiver. Then on the Denon (or whatever receiver you get) you would just turn on the receiver and the zone you want on and then open up the Sonos app. The speakers would all still be hard wired to the system. The Sonos would just be a source on the system. And you would have the super slick interface for listening to music.

The more expensive way to do this (and easier to use) would be to get a Sonos connect and a single zone receiver for the main zone and two Sonos connect amps for the two other zones. That way you wouldn't have to turn on the receiver to play Sonos in the two other listening areas. Plus it would give you the ability to control the individual room volumes with the Sonos app and the ability to listen to different things in different rooms.
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-03-2014, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Very helpful explanation! You've given me some new things to consider with this setup.
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-03-2014, 09:47 PM
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Cool happy to hear. Good luck.
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