Originally Posted by drunkwithpower
Another thing...wifee didn't want white speaker grills in the ceiling. Granted you can paint most of the speaker grills, but we wanted 8 rooms and could only afford 4. The problem is if we add speakers after the house is built, matching the paint might be problematic (they are custom texturing everything). So for her, it came down to aesthetics.
Grills can definitely be painted, and in the case of texturing / faux finishes / glazing, painting the grill the "base" color will make it blend in. I didn't paint my grills when I installed them, as I didn't think the white grills were a big deal (since there are white vents, can light trims, etc. all over the ceiling). But I've changed my mind - and in the speakers I've installed since, I've been painting them.
we wanted 8 rooms and could only afford 4
Pre-wiring is cheap. And if you just have them terminate the wires in the ceiling (don't install boxes or speaker brackets / holes), you're set to expand in the future without having to look at unfinished work or lots of blank plates. I did this in a few rooms, and am expanding to the last room now!
One thing I do have to say - the amount of money it takes to put a whole-home audio system together is too much. Same with home automation. If you are a techie you have a good shot at putting something together (diy), but going with an installer is very expensive. While I agree that you get what you pay for, many of us want a lot but can't afford it. It seems to me the home automation industry is missing the boat by not creating beginner systems. But I guess that's what DIY products are for...
WiFi and web-enabled mobile devices / tablets are helping to bring the costs down (not that they are the solution, but rather the competition) - but I agree - there's a whole mid-market, tech-savvy group that would buy this stuff if it wasn't tens-of-thousands to install...
Now, on the whole-house-audio front, when a system supports 6-8 zones, the cost per zone, even professionally installed, isn't that much more than a Sonos-per-room. The problem of course, is that you have to buy all the rooms at the same time, whereas the Sonos you can do a few at a time and not feel the pain.