whole house audio for under $1000?!?! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-15-2001, 01:27 AM - Thread Starter
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What started out as a simple remodel to add french doors in my dining room to open out to the deck has blown up in my face. My house was built in 1927 and has plaster walls so my contractor informed me that the wall the doors would be installed in would be stripped of plaster and re-done with drywall. That got me thinking(that's bad). As long as the wall is accessible, why not install in-wall speakers and volume control! I started doing my research and priced out a simple multi zone, one source system. But I realized I didn't want to go down to the basement to change sources in the middle of dinner or a party. Here's where I'm at now.
wwww.partsexpress has the Kustom 4640 4 source/6 zone amp with built-in IR for $700, volume controllers with IR for $58 each, DLS 6 1/2" ceiling speakers for $40, DLS 6 1/2" in-wall speakers for $60, and 500' of cat5 4 twisted pair cable for $56. Total before shipping, $980. What I'd really like to know is, what am I missing? Has anyone used the Kustom unit before? I looked at some of the other suggested units by different manufacturers and they appear to be almost identical. Anyhow, before I ordered and went past the point of no return, I thought I'd run it past the experts first. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

BTW, is it better to have the in wall's at eye height or lower on the walls around knee high?

Thanks,
David
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-15-2001, 04:54 AM
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I would like to do something similar, and the only thing I see you are missing is speaker wire. You will probably want some 4-conductor 16-guage wire running from your amp to each of your switches, and some 2-conductor 16-guage wire running from your switch to each speaker. Let me know how this works out.
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-15-2001, 07:48 AM
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David,

Good name. Indeed, you are missing the speaker cable (see the image for speaker cabel connections). Depending upon the length of the runs I would use 14 guage/4 conductor to the volume controls and 14/2 to the speakers. Expect to pay up to $ .90 a linear foot for 14/4 cable and about half that for 14/2 cable. It is cheaper to buy 16 guage but you have a greater chance for RFI/EMI and amplifier damage due to long runs.

As far as placement is concerned put the tweeters at ear height for in-walls. It may not look as nice at that level but it will sound better. The kustom system is meant for background listening and is not meant for loud volumes. Turning it up loud will destroy the speakers and probably your ears (with high levels of distortion)

Also if your house is all plaster walls, how do you plan on routing the cables to the basement and to the additional in-wall speaker zones? If the rest of the house has plaster walls then you will have to use surface mounting devices and/or flat cable to get the speaker cables to the other zones. This will easily cost you 2 to 4 times what you are paying for the components (depending upon the distances run of course). If you have plaster walls I would get a contractor to do it. Plaster walls crack when putting things on/into them, you must do it correctly.

Dave

http://www.kustom.com/khs/images/KHS4640back.jpg



[This message has been edited by David Guill (edited 06-15-2001).]
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-15-2001, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. The main reason I picked the Kustom system(besides cost) is that home runs are used to run each speaker. Cat 5 cable is run from the amp to each wall control instead of speaker wire. I've got a 250' roll of in wall speaker wire I picked up from Home Depot that I used for my HT. Running the speaker wires and cables should be fairly easy except for one room. The wiring closet will be located in the basement near the utility room that has regular drywall over concrete block and is directly below the dining room so I'll remove the drywall where I need to and snake it up to the dining room. The other zones I'm planning on are kitchen, deck, bathroom, and 2 bedrooms which are on the top floor. I can run the wiring up the laundry chute from the utility room into the attic and back down into the closets of the bedrooms, same with the bathroom. The kitchen is the tough part, and I'll probably wait until I remodel the kitchen to add speakers to that room.

I am concerned about volume and under driven speakers though. I've got 4 JBL all- weather speakers for the deck, each 100 watts at 8 ohms. The Kustom system only puts out 20 watts per speaker. I'm also trying to figure out how to run 3 pairs of speakers(deck and dining room) off one wall controller that will be in the dining room. I e-mailed Kustom for more info, hopefully they'll get back to me soon.
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-15-2001, 01:04 PM
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cookiefactory,

Quote:
The main reason I picked the Kustom system(besides cost) is that home runs are used to run each speaker
Yes, that is a blessing and a curse. The zones control the volume for the area. In the case where you want three areas under one zone you will have to put in an impedance matching volume control like the one from Niles Audio, the VCS-2S-IM Impedance matching stereo volume control. From that volume control you run your home runs to the 3 other speakers. Now, that volume control will control all three speakers too. A better way to do it would be to use the Niles Audio SVL-4 or SVL-2 Stereo Selection/Volume Control System which allows you to control up to 4 speakers and control their volume independantly (from one location). The Kustom keypad would still control the overall volume of the zone. Go to the www.nilesaudio.com site and browse around there for some really cool products which may make you decide to drop Kustom all together.

IF you still want to use Kustom, 20 watts per speaker is still very good for background listening. This is not like back in college where you would pump up the volume (and distortion levels) on a cheap pioneer receiver thinking that was good sound. Multi-room audio is for more refined and "easier" listening. While some activity is going on (cooking, intimate parties or dinner) their is background music which "soothes the savage beasts". If you want butt slamming volumes then my advice is pay big dollars for a multi-room system that can handle it (Kustom will not but Niles has some separate multi-channel amplifiers that will) or choose the room you wish to listen to outrageous volumes and buy a good stereo system for that room only. Kustom was developed as an inexpensive way to bring multi-room audio to the masses. It is good at what it does but does not scale well. Also look to Russound, www.russound.com or my favorite Xantech, www.xantech.com

Dave
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