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post #1 of 18 Old 12-28-2012, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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My old whole house audio is dying, and it’s time to replace it all. What I want to accomplish:

Primary source will be our PC. We do not have or want a TV; we watch movies on the PC & large monitor, and listen to music mostly at background volume levels. Music files will be stored in Apple itunes. I want to be able to control volume and on/off for 3-4 zones remotely, preferably with a smartphone.

The receiver I’m most interested in is the Onkyo TX-NR717. I chose this model because it has 3 powered zones, can be controlled by a smartphone, and is in my price range. I haven't bought anything yet, so I’m open to substitutes on everything.

Zone 1 is a 15’x24’ family room with the PC/monitor. I want 5.1 surround, and I’m most interested in Mirage Nanosat 5.1, connected to the surround outputs on the receiver.

Zone 2 is a living/dining/kitchen about 15’x35’, lazy L shaped.

Zone 3 is a bedroom 14’x16’.

I would like to have a subwoofer in Zones 2&3. Zones 2&3 will be music only.

I want the new speakers to be less conspicuous than my old ones, particularly in zones 2&3. I like the small Nanosats, but the sub with the 5.1 system does not have “speaker out” connections. I’m thinking about buying just the satellite speakers, and separately buying different subs with speaker in/out. I would connect zone 2 and zone 3 on the receiver to the subs in those rooms, then connect the satellites to the subs. Also, especially in zone 2, I want more than two satellite speakers. Can I connect the speaker out wires from the sub to a multi-channel speaker selector and add more satellites after the sub? Is there a better way of doing this? Will this even work?

To complicate this further, if possible I’d like to add a 4th zone outside with a pair of outdoor speakers. Could I use a speaker selector to add the outdoor speakers to one of the zones, even if that zone will have another selector after the sub as described above? I realize I’d have to switch it on/off manually at the selector, but the volume could still be controlled with a smartphone, couldn't it? Another option would be to have some sort of either/or switch that would select between the bedroom & outside: I don't see a scenario where we'd need both of those zones playing at once.

My budget for this is around $2000; more if it makes a big difference, or if it simply can't be done like this. The above mentioned components can be bought for that.

Any guidance you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Its been 25 years since I did the old system, and I'm having a hard time catching up. I've learned a lot snooping around this forum, and it seems like a great place to find unbiased advice. Thanks!
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post #2 of 18 Old 12-28-2012, 06:49 PM
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Try Sonos. You may download the App to iOS devices for control. Place a "Connect Amp" in each zone location and connect your existing speakers, add a "Sub" where necessary. Duplicate in other zones and enjoy the music.


http://www.sonos.com/system
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post #3 of 18 Old 12-29-2012, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
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I've looked at the Sonos system: it would work perfectly, but it's a budget buster. If I were keeping my old speakers, I'd just replace the receiver. But I want to get rid of the clunky boxes built into my walls. The $500 price tag for the Connect Amp alone is roughly what I can spend per room. A friend's Sonos system is what got me started thinking about replacing mine in the first place. But once I saw the price - 3 subs & 4 speakers = $3500 - I got cold feet. And having R&L channels in one box wouldn't give me the sound quality satellites will for less money.
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post #4 of 18 Old 12-29-2012, 08:36 AM
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Have you considered the airport express?
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post #5 of 18 Old 12-29-2012, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not familiar with how that works. Like I said, I'm having a hard time catching up... there's so much out there and I'm not very tech-savvy. I have a son-in-law who is, but I'd like to narrow this before I bother him.

I think there's a simpler solution. I'll buy a receiver with smartphone app control, and a speaker selector for the whole house audio. Then get a surround sound card for the PC and buy a set of powered speakers for that.
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post #6 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 06:24 AM
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Note that when using Whole House mode, only external sources connected by an analog R/W cable will pass to Zones 2/3. Also as the 717 is only a 7.2 AVR, when powering both Zones 2/3, the main zone is reduced to 3.2.

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post #7 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm trying to understand Airport. I get the speaker side with Airport Express, I'll either need powered speakers or an amp+speakers in each zone. But I don't get the source side: do I even need a receiver? Do I just need Airport connected to the network and add zones with Express?

Thanks for the replies so far. I'm learning...
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post #8 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Note that when using Whole House mode, only external sources connected by an analog R/W cable will pass to Zones 2/3. Also as the 717 is only a 7.2 AVR, when powering both Zones 2/3, the main zone is reduced to 3.2.

Then I guess I'd use the main for 5.1, and add a speaker selector on zone 2 to supply the other rooms. This is a dumb question, but I've never had a AV receiver with surround. Can the main be switched off and only play zone 2? What's even dumber is I asked the guy at Best Buy, and he said yes. But when I asked him to show me on a receiver, he couldn't figure out how to do it.
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post #9 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

I'm trying to understand Airport. I get the speaker side with Airport Express, I'll either need powered speakers or an amp+speakers in each zone. But I don't get the source side: do I even need a receiver? Do I just need Airport connected to the network and add zones with Express?
Thanks for the replies so far. I'm learning...

You would need a way to amplify each pair of speakers when using an Airport Express, the AE is only the source. My AE plugs in to my Denon receiver's zone 2 input which powers my kitchen ceiling speakers.

There is no inexpensive way to design a whole house audio system. An AE used is about $50, new they're $100. Then add the price of each receiver/amp for each zone or divide by 2 if you utilize a 2 zone receiver.
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post #10 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

Then I guess I'd use the main for 5.1, and add a speaker selector on zone 2 to supply the other rooms. This is a dumb question, but I've never had a AV receiver with surround. Can the main be switched off and only play zone 2? What's even dumber is I asked the guy at Best Buy, and he said yes. But when I asked him to show me on a receiver, he couldn't figure out how to do it.

It depends on the receiver model. Most current Denon models allow the main zone turned off while zone 2 is turned on.
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post #11 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

Then I guess I'd use the main for 5.1, and add a speaker selector on zone 2 to supply the other rooms. This is a dumb question, but I've never had a AV receiver with surround. Can the main be switched off and only play zone 2? What's even dumber is I asked the guy at Best Buy, and he said yes. But when I asked him to show me on a receiver, he couldn't figure out how to do it.

If Zones 2 and 3 only consist of 2 speakers each there shouldn't be a problem running the speaker selector off the Zone 2 speaker posts, however, if you are considering more than just 4 additional speakers, you'll want to consider connecting an external amp to the Zone 2 pre-outs and powering these speakers from the external amp. Yes, you should be able to switch the main zone off with the remote.

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post #12 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been rethinking this whole project. Get a receiver with powered zone 2. Make the living/dining/kitchen the primary zone with 4.1. Run a speaker selector off zone 2 with two zones, one for the bedroom, the other outside. The family room would run directly from the PC with powered speakers. The only thing I don't like about this is I won't have a remote app volume control for the iphone that controls the receiver and computer speakers at the same time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

Note that when using Whole House mode, only external sources connected by an analog R/W cable will pass to Zones 2/3. Also as the 717 is only a 7.2 AVR, when powering both Zones 2/3, the main zone is reduced to 3.2.

Does this mean the 717 could have 4.1 primary, powered zone 2, and pre-outs from zone 3? I could run the powered computer speakers from pre-out zone 3, but... will I be able to browse the Internet on zone 3 while playing music on the other zones?
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post #13 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

Does this mean the 717 could have 4.1 primary, powered zone 2, and pre-outs from zone 3? I could run the powered computer speakers from pre-out zone 3, but... will I be able to browse the Internet on zone 3 while playing music on the other zones?

Yes. As far as browsing the internet, you would need an external device ... HTPC, PS3, smart phone, tablet, etc.

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post #14 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 09:12 PM
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Not sure of your exact requirements, however you can cal HTD at 1-866-483-2834. They will at least answer question related to your exact needs. You can check out their web site at: www.htd.com

Onkyo TX-NR5009, Emotiva XPA-2 & XPA-5, Oppo 103D Blu-Ray Player, Denon DCD 1650AR, Teac V 670 Cassette Player, Pioneer CLD-D704 Laser Player, JVC HM-DH3000U VCR, Technics SL1200MK2 Turntable, Belkin PF 60 Power Conditioner, Comcast Motorola DCT 3412, XBOX 360, PSA XV-15se Sub, Velodyne DLS-4000R Sub, HTD Level 3 Main and Center Speakers, Infinity SS 2002 Side Speakers, JBL E-20 Rear Speakers, BIC DV 62si Height Speakers, Sony KDL-40V5100 TV. Harmony One.
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post #15 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Another question born out of ignorance: to get 4.1 stereo, do I use R&L front and R&L rear? Will the music mix be the same front and rear? I don't want surround sound in that room, I need 4 speaker stereo.

I've been reading the online (100 page) manual for the 717, and I must say I'm a little overwhelmed. This is way more complicated than my old receiver. I read the instructions on configuring and controlling zones 2&3, but couldn't find anything on how to switch off the main while leaving zone 2 play. I suppose once I have a receiver here and can play around with it, the manual will be easier to follow than trying to read it and look at pictures on the internet. But I don't want to buy something and find out it won't work.
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post #16 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 11:57 PM
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In a 4.1 setup, the surrounds are considered "side" surrounds and therefore are connected to the "Surround" speaker posts rather than the "rear surround" speaker posts. Onkyo has an "All CH Stereo" mode you can use to mirror the FL/FR audio to the SL/SR speakers. Also there is a note on p. 72 (see below) of the OM that refers to placing the main zone to Standby while either Zone 2 or 3 is active which can likely be accomplished simply by pressing the ON/Standby button on the remote and placing the AVR in Standby while either Zone 2 or 3 is active.


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post #17 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 12:36 AM
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if you decide that you want more music choices try shoutcast addicted to radio or jango
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post #18 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 12:37 AM
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you mentioned that you like movies on the pc. go to justin.tv. go to the entertainment category. people stream shows and movies on it. it;s free.
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