Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Chino Hills, CA
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I'm in the same situation. Bookshelf speakers in all bedrooms, in-wall speakers in the family room, living room and hallway, and outdoor speakers in the garage and patio/pool area. I have a hybrid solution:
1. Digital: Using a combination of ethernet (house is pre-wired with ethernet cable only in some rooms, including the office) and PNA (for all the other rooms), all rooms can access the PC acting as a music server in the family room, using both the Rio receiver (in the other rooms) and the Audiotron (in the family room). This allows independent playback of music in each zone. I like the Rio for the bedrooms because it has a built-in amplifier, so all I need to add are speakers, and the Audiotron in my family room because it has a "component" look to it which keeps my HT rack looking consistent.
2. Analog: My house is pre-wired with speaker wire for the family room (5-channel configuration), living room, upstairs hallway and patio/pool area. Using a JVC multi-room receiver directly connected to the audio out of the music server (as well as to the Audiotron, DVD/Audio player, graphic equalizer, etc) I can pipe music anywhere in the house from any component source. For instance, during parties the receiver does double duty by playing background music in the living room, hallway and patio, while serving as a Dolby Digital receiver for watching DVD's or HD in the family room. To keep from taxing the receiver I have its line out's to a separate Onkyo amp to feed all those other speakers.
3. Wireless: got one of those x10 wireless audio transmitters as part of an x10 video transmitter package. Can use it to transmit the same music from the receiver to speakers in my garage. Of course, my garage has been remodeled to be a showroom/HT with its own components anyway, so the wireless transmitter doesn't get used much.
Anyway, lots of options and you don't even have to have your house pre-wired for ethernet. But if you do, all the better, especially if you want a graphical UI for each playback device (ie, a PC monitor).
"Mixing a teaspoon of manure with a gallon of ice cream produces a gallon of manure."