Ok, I'll be first! Audio in other rooms - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-26-2000, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I would like to be able to have my DSS and CD changes audio in 4 other rooms with in-wall speakers. Have you done this? If so, what did you use for distribution? Right now the new Niles Server is vaperware even though it has been written up. So..Do you know of any easy solutions?

Thanks!

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post #2 of 6 Old 05-27-2000, 05:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Interesting idea to say the least. Interesting how you can carry RF over as well at the same time.

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post #3 of 6 Old 05-27-2000, 05:49 AM
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David:

There's literally tens of ways to do this. The key questions, however, are not how, but what. For example, you're describing a 4 zone system. What is your desire? (1) one source to all four zones at the same time? (2) multiple sources to multiple zones (concurrently)?, multiple sources to multiple zones but each source is "hardcoded" to its own zone?. How do you envision controlling the beast? (The cheap hacker systems, mean you walk to the entertainment cabinet, turn something on, then run around to each zone an adjust the volume). Do you want system on/off, source selection within each zone? (A remote control or pronto in each zone).
Do you, for example, want to turn off the living room zone from the master bedroom?

Given a bit of time over the weekend, I'll try to post what you need for each of those approaches.

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post #4 of 6 Old 05-28-2000, 06:25 AM
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Approach #1 -- Four rooms, volume control only.

Stuff you need: Four sets of in-wall or in-ceiling speakers.
Four conductor CL2/3 speaker wire.
Stereo Amplifier. (You could use a multiroom amp
which has a single L/R line level input but 4 or
more speaker out pairs. Audio Control, Niles,
Sonance are typical brands.)
Four impedance matching volume controls (see
exception below).
Note on Speakers: If the speakers a ceiling mounted, get ceiling speakers.
Using in wall speakers for a ceiling mount is not a
good idea.

1. Find the location in each room that you want the speakers installed. Cut the holes according to the manufacturer's installation destructions. A common mistake for ceiling speakers is to mount them on the center line of the room...bad mistake. If the speakers are ceiling mounted on the center line of the room, there's only one place in the room you'll get a stereo image. A much better choice is in the opposite corners of the ceiling along the room's width, between 1' and 2' out from each wall.

2. Run the speaker wire from the amplifier's location to the location on the wall you'll place the volume control. Then run the speaker wire from the volume control location to the location of the first speaker and then over to the second speaker.

3. Install the speakers. Four conductor speaker wire is generally color coded Black, White, Red, Green. You can use any combination you want but be consistant. For example Black=Left(-), White=Left(+), Red=Right(-), Green=Right(+). You have one wire run. For the speaker in the middle, just remove about 6" of the outer jacket, cut the two wires for this speaker, strip and connect to the speaker terminals.

4. Install the volume control connecting the L+, L-, R+, R- to the appropriate input terminals and the outputs to the wire running to the speakers. Most impediance matching volume controls have jumpers. Read the instructions and set the jumper to the location required for the total number of speaker pairs you have on a single amplifier. If you're using a multi-zone amp, you don't need impediance matching volume controls. Good impedance matching volume controls can be in the area of $60-$80. Standard volume controls in the area of $12-$15. If you're doing more than a couple of rooms, I suggest a multi-zone amp.

5. Back at the amp, you'll build a "pig tail". Take all your L- leads and twist them together. Do the same with the L+, R- and R+. Now take a short length of the black wire and twist it together with all your black leads (you'll now have 5 wires twisted together). You can use a wire nut, but I suggest you solder the twisted wires and then use a wire nut. Repeat the process for each of the other leads. Then take the single wire and connect it to the appropriate speaker terminal on the amp. (Again, if you're using a multi-zone amp, the pigtail is not necessary.)

6. If you have a receiver/pre-amp with a multi-room line level output, connect the L/R multi-room out to the L/R input of the amp. Otherwise, use a tape out and connect to the amplifier.

This is an inexpensive (actually cheap) way to get sound into several rooms. The down sides are the only way to control the system is to go to the receiver, turn it on, select the source, select monitor out, multi-room out, or tape out, and then run from room to room adjusting volumes. One of the problems with such a system is the potential to fry the receiver/pre-amp.

Remote Control Option for Above:

You'll need: Volume controls with IR recievers built-in (Xantech, Sonance,
Niles).
CAT5 wire.
IR connecting block (Xantech, Niles, Channel Plus).
IR flashers.

The configuration is the same as above, but you'll also run CAT5 wire from your equipment cabinet to each volume control. Following the manufacturer's instructions, connect 2 (in some cases 3) of the conductors in the CAT5 to the IR leads on the volume controls. Connect the opposite end of the CAT5 to the IR connecting block (careful of polarity). Connect the IR flashers to the connecting block and run the flashers to your reciever/pre-amp and any source units (CD player, etc.).

In this case, you can use a remote control in any room to turn on/off the system, select sources, etc. However, this is still a "single zone" system to the extent that if one room is on, they are all on and each room will receive the same source.

Later...a Multi-zone system.

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post #5 of 6 Old 05-28-2000, 12:08 PM
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Multi-zone (note...we aren't even close to discussing video distribution).

There are two variants of a multi-zone system. Multi-zone, and Multi-zone/multi-source. Here we will discuss multi-zone/multi-source. This is basically a system where each zone is independently controlled from any other zone and each zone may use a different source concurrently.

On the vendor side, you have three primary vendors: Xantech, Crestron, Audio Control (Director), and Niles. While the Xantech and Niles can use IR for zone to zone control, both also allow the use of touchpads. The primary characteristic of these systems are:

1. Any zone operates independent from any other zone.
2. Each zone may be using a different source (CD in the exercise room while the tuner is being used in the kitchen, for example).
3. You can have a source "stolen" out from under you. In other words, you're enjoying Francoise Hardy in the Library (from your 300 disk CD changer) and your wife (from the living room), selects the Moody Blues. Well, now the war of the wor(l)ds begins.

The wiring is largely the same as in a single zone system except that in the majority of these systems your speaker wire runs directly to the speakers from the multi-zone amp (no volume controls). You will have a control pad in each zone which is wired back to the "zone controller" (each system using a different wiring topology). And, your sources will connect directly into the multi-zone controller.

Beyond that, there's very little similarity in the systems. Of the Xantech, Niles, and Audio Control, the Audio Control is far easier to set up and is far more intelligent (for example, if you turn off the CD and it's "on" in another room, it won't power off the CD player. When you "off" the CD in your room and it is NOT being used elsewhere, it will power it off, etc.)

The Crestron system is a beast of a different color. Not only is it more expensive, it's not likely a DIY'er will be able to program it; but, on the other hand it has capabilities far beyond the others. For example, you can prevent a source from being "stolen" out from under you. It is IP enabled to control and access MP3 sources on the net, etc.

Because most equipment (CD players, DVD players, SAT receivers have more than one pair of audio outs, you can run one Audio out into your Home Theater system and the other audio out to your multi-zone controller. With the Crestron system, you don't have to do this...Crestron will control the whole house AND the theater from a single controller (while preventing someone elsewhere in the house from killing your movie).

Video Distribution:

This is no where near as simple as audio. Largely because we all try to make it far too complex. (IE, I want the VCRs in the Living Room, Home Theater, Bedroom, and kitchen to be sources for every other video device in the house.)

In the Channel Plus world, video signals (and their audio) are modulated and assigned a channel number. For example, your DVD player's audio and video outputs are plugged into a Modulator, assigned to an unused channel (on your antenna or cable coax) and then can be viewed on any set in the house by simply tuning to that channel. Here's the downside.

The cost effective modulators are MONO. If you start paying for Stereo modulators your cost starts running up quickly. Secondly, why take a perfectly good S-VHS, Composite, or Component video signal and downgrade it to an FM, off the air quality, signal that must now be decoded by your remote TV set?

By the time you get three or four video sources (DVD player, SAT receiver, etc.), it will become more cost effective to use an Extron Matrix switch and send the Video signal (in its good form) to any set in the house.

Thus, you can have all your video sources connect to the matrix switch which would then distribute the video signal to the Video 1 or 2 input of any set in the house (or several of them concurrently). How do you control them. Well, you'd have to install IR receivers in each room, that will relay your IR request to the controller in the equipment room, or utilize a Crestron system.

Here's the rub. This is expensive. The fact of the matter is, you'll likely find it is far cheaper to buy a DVD player $100-$200 and/or SAT receiver ($200-$300) for each local set than to build the distribution and control system.

To distribute your SAT Dish and cable (or antenna) signals to every room of the house you:

1. Run RG6 quad shield coax cable from a "distribution site" to each TV set location.
2. Run your RG6 from your DSS or Dish Network satellite dish to the same distribution site.
3. Run RG6 from your off-air antenna or cable to the same location.
4. Get a Channel Master multi-switch (they are available with either 4 or 8 coax outputs.
5. Attach the cable/antenna lead into the Antenna In on the multi-switch.
6. Install two leads from your sat dish on the LNB+ and LNB- inputs on the multi-switch.
7. At each TV set, attach the coax to a Di-plexor. (It has one "Input" and two outputs. One labeled SAT/DBS/DSS and labled Antenna).
8. Connect the Antenna Out on the diplexor to the antenna/cable input on your TV set or tuner (yes...you will get the HDTV stuff this way). Attach the SAT out to your DSS/Dish receiver.

You're done.




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D. Erskine
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Imagine what you could do, if you could do all you imagine.

Dennis Erskine CFI, CFII, MEI
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-23-2000, 10:45 PM
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Can I post gratuitosly here? And did I spell that correctly? Samsara?

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