Multi-zone, multi-AVR house setup - what equipment? - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 17 Old 03-27-2013, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ivflight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I currently have a single zone setup with an Onkyo TX-NR609. I have ideas for a lot more wink.gif

Hopefully the diagram below does most of the explaining, but I think I'm looking for an AVR with 3 zones, and I want the extra zones to be able to play the same source as the main zone even with a digital source, "party mode". It is very important that everything have good network control. I've downloaded and played with the Android network control apps for Onkyo and Yamaha and both seem good.

One of my big problems is getting AV to my zone 3 and zone 4. Ideally I would just use an hdmi splitter and send the streams where I please, but if I understand things right, my main AVR will strip the audio from the hdmi signal, sending out only video. For my zone 3 I can see using the lineout from the main AVR - I guess I could also split that out to my basement AVR.

There might be a whole different approach here that I'm not getting. Maybe before I type too much more you guys could comment on my diagram. Despite what it looks like, I did spend a lot of time drawing it so I hope to get some feedback wink.gif. Thanks!

ivflight is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 08:19 AM
AVS Special Member
 
SimpleTheater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 2,698
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked: 25
I think you can solve a lot of problems with an HDMI switcher, like this one:
http://www.gefen.com/kvm/dproduct.jsp?prod_id=4562

You plug your AVR HDMI into it, then you can send that to all your zones. It might be expensive ($699), but you wouldn't need a new AVR.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
SimpleTheater is offline  
post #3 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 08:33 AM
Senior Member
 
indio22's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Chicagoland area
Posts: 396
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 35
I have a basement home theater and small office. At first I thought about a one receiver (in home theater) and zone two (in office) setup. But is seemed kind of a hassle and there were downsides for multi-use. Instead, for the office I ended up picking up an open-box Denon AVR-1612 from BB during a sale for $90. I prefer having the two receivers (home theater receiver is a Denon AVR-1712), because it gives me complete control in the office without going to the home theater, and avoids any conflicts when family members are using the home theater for movies/games.
indio22 is offline  
post #4 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ivflight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hmm...that's probably a bit much for this project. I'm not dead set on getting everything perfect - I just want to get as close to the functionality that I've drawn without blowing a ton of money - best fun for your buck!

Besides, would that switcher get me past the hdcp problems? All displays will be 1080p capable, but they will all be different with audio - some 5.1, some 2.0. If I set my AVR to pass audio through with the hdmi wouldn't it be forced to 'dumb it down' to 2.0?

For a 3 zone AVR I was noticing the Onkyo TX-NR717, which is in my price range, or at least used to be at <$500 - it seems to be discontinued and the prices have shot back up.
ivflight is offline  
post #5 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 08:39 AM
AVS Special Member
 
SimpleTheater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 2,698
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked: 25
You can take a look at this from MonoPrice:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=5704&seq=1&format=2
For $145, it might just do the trick.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
SimpleTheater is offline  
post #6 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ivflight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
indio22,

I'm actually a fan of just having multiple cheap receivers as it should give much more functionality overall. I'm much more into versatility than getting that perfect sound. The problem I have is with setting up any kind of 'party mode' where all the zones are playing the same source. Seems almost impossible if your source is hdmi. Also for something outdoors I really just want a receiver inside that has good network functions so I can control everything on my phone - the cheap Deanon you mentioned doesn't have networking so that would be a no-go for me.

If you look at my diagram you'll see I'm kind of using the kitchen PC as a receiver - it chooses from 2 audio sources: the internal (youtube, pandora, mp3's, etc...), and the external mic jack. It get even play both! Then I have the basement receiver. All is well and control is good until I say, "hey, let's play the same AV stream in the living room and in the kitchen".
ivflight is offline  
post #7 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ivflight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimpleTheater View Post

You can take a look at this from MonoPrice:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=5704&seq=1&format=2
For $145, it might just do the trick.

Yes, I'll need a 4 way splitter at the very least. It isn't yet clear that I need a switch since I'm either using the monitor/tv to select which input, or I'm using an AVR. The problem is handshaking - if I using an hdmi switch or splitter isn't the sourcing device going to kill the 5.1 audio in my main zone and make it 2.0 to appease the other devices?

At $146 can't I just spend a bit more and buy a cheap AVR to be the switch? Then I can keep on top of my goal of having network control of everything plus a ton more features.
ivflight is offline  
post #8 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 08:52 AM
AVS Special Member
 
SimpleTheater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 2,698
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked: 25
If you're going for music, just plunk down the money for SONOS. I finally got over my cost issues with SONOS about two years ago and couldn't be happier. My kids saved up money for their own SONOS units in their rooms, it's so easy even my six year old uses it constantly, and with a click of a button we can get seven zones sync'd in less than a second. Well worth the money.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
SimpleTheater is offline  
post #9 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 08:56 AM
AVS Special Member
 
SimpleTheater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 2,698
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivflight View Post

Yes, I'll need a 4 way splitter at the very least. It isn't yet clear that I need a switch since I'm either using the monitor/tv to select which input, or I'm using an AVR. The problem is handshaking - if I using an hdmi switch or splitter isn't the sourcing device going to kill the 5.1 audio in my main zone and make it 2.0 to appease the other devices?

At $146 can't I just spend a bit more and buy a cheap AVR to be the switch? Then I can keep on top of my goal of having network control of everything plus a ton more features.
The switch won't drop sound to 2 channels.

Try to explain more of what you want to accomplish. For example, if you are playing a bluray, don't you want the ability to see that in all four zones? I don't see how adding an A/V receiver will help.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
SimpleTheater is offline  
post #10 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ivflight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I'd never heard of SONOS but I'll read about it now. At first glance it looks like a fairly proprietary music-only solution. I want video too.

I've never played with an hdmi switch or splitter first-hand, but from reading online it seems like with hmdi you can't go splitting signals out to devices with different AV capabilities. The sourcing device will have to roll-back to the simplest supported format on the branch, which for me would be 2.0. You would need a much more powerful controller to send 5.1 to one device and 2.0 to another. Again I'm just reading this stuff online so maybe I've got it wrong.

Splitting audio like that, wouldn't I have volume control issues too? I really think multiple zone support is needed.
ivflight is offline  
post #11 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 10:10 AM
AVS Special Member
 
SimpleTheater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 2,698
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked: 25
First, SONOS is music only. I'm just throwing options out there because I don't understand what you want to accomplish.

Second, the links to the switches are for switches, not splitters.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
SimpleTheater is offline  
post #12 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 06:22 PM
AVS Special Member
 
Kilian.ca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ex-50Hz, now 60Hz
Posts: 1,901
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 36
Your goal is too ambitious for the flexibility and functionality required with existing equipment. If you accept some compromise and just send video out via HDMI and 2.0 audio via analogue you can mostly accomplish your goal.

With people moving around in and out and talking in parties sending MCH audio to other zones just doesn't make good sense. Splitting analogue 2.0 audio is much easier and you can have more speakers mimicking 'all ch stereo' if you wish.

A splitter will have to work from the source not the AVR so there is the volume control issue for each zone. Then you still have to have devices in each zone to handle the HDMI input. Likewise if you split SPDIF 5.1.

Some AVRs (Onkyo) don't even send out MCH audio via HDMI ever, only 2CH.

Then there is the issue of digital MCH signal in and 2CH analogue audio out: not sure if that's possible. Most sources have 2CH analogue audio out so this is a workaround for other zones.

Generally lower/mid-level AVRs won't control volume or power zone 2 (the patio) speakers directly: you need at least a power amp or integrated amp.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

Kilian.ca is offline  
post #13 of 17 Old 03-28-2013, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ivflight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post

Your goal is too ambitious for the flexibility and functionality required with existing equipment. If you accept some compromise and just send video out via HDMI and 2.0 audio via analogue you can mostly accomplish your goal.
This is what I figured would end up being the solution to get audio to more places than my receiver has zones. I'll be satisfied with that type of solution. I could do something like max out the volume on my AVR's extra zone, then let the other "sub-zones" each do their own volume control.

If my main AVR has three zones (at least two powered), then I can use that third zone to split out 2.0 audio to any other places in the house (at 100% volume). Separately, I can use an hdmi splitter to split out hdmi to any screen in the house. This seems like a good route. Am I missing anything?

Now, what am I looking at for 3 zone receivers, keeping in mind that I do want to be able to have "party mode" with a digital source. I mentioned the TX-NR717, but the prices have gone up. Anything else <$500?

Thanks!
ivflight is offline  
post #14 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 12:35 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Kilian.ca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ex-50Hz, now 60Hz
Posts: 1,901
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 36
With the Onkyo (I have the 818), powered zones 2/3 only work with analogue inputs and when both are on, the main room is confined to 3.1 only.

Audiosceptics accept audio trials using 25 people. A recent Oxford study with over 353,000 patient records from 639 separate clinical trials shows for every 1,000 people taking diclofenac or ibuprofen there would be 3 additional heart attacks, 4 more cases of heart failure and 1 death every year.

Kilian.ca is offline  
post #15 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ivflight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I actually just ordered a Yamaha RX-V773 from newegg yesterday. It has party mode where I can pass a digital source to zone 2. It was on sale for $480 shipped and I think I can sell the wireless adapter that comes with it for around $80, making it a $400 buy. I'll probably use this as my basement receiver where I really need digital to zone 2, and the 2nd hdmi out could also be quite useful.

As for the main room AVR, maybe I could get away with a cheaper 3 zone receiver that only allows analog on the extra zones. The only sources that I would play to zone 2 and 3 are: cable box (I'll just attach both hdmi and analog audio from the cable box), computer (I'll attach both hdmi and analog from the computer), network/usb sources (works with extra zones). The only one I worry about is the PC connection because I'm not sure most computers like playing audio over more than one output at one time. My media PC has hdmi, optical, and analog, and I'm pretty sure you have to pick which one you want.

If I don't need zone 3 to be powered (and I don't think I do), then I think even an Onkyo TX-NR616 would work for me.
ivflight is offline  
post #16 of 17 Old 03-29-2013, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ivflight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
A couple big issues I have with my Onkyo TX-NR609:

1) Draws a ton of power even when it is "off" 44W !!
2) Doesn't seem to have network standby - I can't turn it on with my smartphone.

Does anyone know if the newer Onkyo variations have fixed these issues?
ivflight is offline  
post #17 of 17 Old 03-30-2013, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ivflight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Interestingly, it looks like the older and possibly cheaper TX-NR809 might be a better choice than the newer models. It has 3 zones, a ton more analog in's and pre-outs, plus 12v triggers which might come in handy for the extra zones. What is it missing over the newer Onkyo's....MHL? What else?

I'm still worried about power drain and network standby.

Oh, the 809 even has multiEQ. The more I look at the Onkyo's the more it seems like the "newer" version of the receivers are just stripped-down copies of the "old" version.
ivflight is offline  
Reply Receivers, Amps, and Processors

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off