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Audio Distribution Reccomendation

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello All,

I am planning on having a audio distribution system installed into my house. I have been looking into the vast amount of different systems out there and was hoping some of the installers or people on this forum who have an installed audio distribution or have audio distribution systems could provide me with some candid feedback on which system/s I should be seriously considering. The reviews out there seem to vary.

What i am looking for in the system is:

7 Different Audio zones with local wall mounted controllers in each room, all cabling / equipment will be installed into a 12ru network cabinet in the garage.
I also do not require any video distribution and I am not interested in wireless, I can't stand wireless products they just annoy me.

In terms of the available wiring in my house I have a complete blank slate, I need to do network and wire installation regardless so I am not fussed if the system operates on a cat5e/6 backbone with local audio runs or all audio runs are required to be back to base. I will be installing a cat6 structured cabling system for my data network regardless so running speaker wire is don't be an issue.
  1. 1 Study
  2. 2 Bedrooms
  3. 2 Outside areas which are independent of each other and separated
  4. 1 combined kitchen / meals / family
  5. 1 TV room

Three of the zones should have local audio input (1 tv room [*this may not be required explanation below], 1 bedroom and 1 office).

Most zones will have x1 pair of speakers, however with the kitchen zone it is quite large and I would like to have x2 pair speakers to cover the area. I noticed on most of the systems that they only recommend / display x1 pair of speakers in their literature which concerns me about the quality of the sound if x2 pair of speakers are installed in serial format within that area (I am looking at installing something like the Polk SC60 8 ohm speakers for the inside areas) so ideally a system which could support that. I have done some reading on the impedance drop and it's effect on power draw hence I would appreciate some guidance on this.

Finally and this is simply a nice to have in the TV room I would like to have 5.1 surround sound what would be the best way to deal with this ? Simply have the surround sound system and speakers to be an independent system or is there something that I know about that can deal with this. I have basically come to the conclusion that in the realms of audio distribution this is extremely difficult or even not possible.

Finally I live in Australia, I am not sure of the relevance of this apart from a power and system availability perspective. I am also prepared to spend money for a decent system so money within reason shouldn't be an issue.

Thanks in advance for any feedback or guidance that can be provided.
Edited by mundz - 9/1/12 at 5:13pm
post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by mundz View Post

In terms of the available wiring in my house I have a complete blank slate, I need to do network and wire installation regardless so I am not fussed if the system operates on a cat5e/6 backbone with local audio runs or all audio runs are required to be back to base.

Definitely wire according to the CEA standard for Whole House Audio, which is home run speaker wire, looped through a volume control / keypad location, with a cat5e in parallel. That will set you up to use any of the systems...
Quote:
Most zones will have x1 pair of speakers, however with the kitchen zone it is quite large and I would like to have x2 pair speakers to cover the area. I noticed on most of the systems that they only recommend / display x1 pair of speakers in their literature which concerns me about the quality of the sound if x2 pair of speakers are installed in serial format within that area (I am looking at installing something like the Polk SC60 8 ohm speakers for the inside areas) so ideally a system which could support that. I have done some reading on the impedance drop and it's effect on power draw hence I would appreciate some guidance on this.

Most of the systems can handle 2 pairs of speakers (4 ohm-stable), but the bigger reason you don't see this much is that the multi-channel amps aren't very powerful. For my gameroom, where I placed 4 speakers, I used one of the unpowered zones and a larger external amp for that room. If you have "unused" zones left over, many of the systems will let you tie 2 zone outputs together.
Quote:
Finally and this is simply a nice to have in the TV room I would like to have 5.1 surround sound what would be the best way to deal with this ? Simply have the surround sound system and speakers to be an independent system or is there something that I know about that can deal with this. I have basically come to the conclusion that in the realms of audio distribution this is extremely difficult or even not possible.

5.1 should be handled with a dedicated system. The WHA systems are stereo-only (in the mainstream price range, at least). You can tie the systems together in a number of ways. Either feed the sources from one system to the other so you can keep them in sync, or use an interrupt/switch device to share the surround speakers with the WHA system.

Hope that gives you a start,

Jeff
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Definitely wire according to the CEA standard for Whole House Audio, which is home run speaker wire, looped through a volume control / keypad location, with a cat5e in parallel. That will set you up to use any of the systems...
Jeff

That's the conclusion that I came to but the lazy man inside me thought to ask the question as I know systems like A-BUS remove back to base speaker run requirement but I was suspicious about the performance of such systems that used this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Most of the systems can handle 2 pairs of speakers (4 ohm-stable), but the bigger reason you don't see this much is that the multi-channel amps aren't very powerful. For my gameroom, where I placed 4 speakers, I used one of the unpowered zones and a larger external amp for that room. If you have "unused" zones left over, many of the systems will let you tie 2 zone outputs together.
Jeff

Do you know of any specific brands / models that allow this, as this is what I was hoping could be done.
It sounds like you have a system installed in your house, what system do you run ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

5.1 should be handled with a dedicated system. The WHA systems are stereo-only (in the mainstream price range, at least). You can tie the systems together in a number of ways. Either feed the sources from one system to the other so you can keep them in sync, or use an interrupt/switch device to share the surround speakers with the WHA system.
Jeff

I thought this would be the case. To be honest It's not such a big deal for me. I would like and I know many of the systems allow for this, to be able to pickup the audio source for this room to pay in the house. IE sporting events etc. So this isn't such a big issue.

Thank you very much for the reply.
post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by mundz View Post

Do you know of any specific brands / models that allow this, as this is what I was hoping could be done.

NuVo systems can create tied 'sub zones' for exactly this purpose. Fairly certain Russound systems can do this as well.
Quote:
It sounds like you have a system installed in your house, what system do you run ?

NuVo Grand Concerto...
Quote:
I thought this would be the case. To be honest It's not such a big deal for me. I would like and I know many of the systems allow for this, to be able to pickup the audio source for this room to pay in the house. IE sporting events etc. So this isn't such a big issue.

If you can get the signal back to the system, any system will work. I used a MuxLab Quad Audio Balun to tie my NuVo system to my family room setup (one audio pair in each direction). Many of them have local source amplifiers, but that's only for use within a zone.

Jeff
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