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What Equipment Do I Need?! - Page 2

post #31 of 77
Thread Starter 
Jeff/ and all....

Maybe through all of this I didn't exactly say what I was looking for, and for that, I'm sorry. Here are my goals:

1- WHA... Looking for something that is cost effective, can be controlled by tablet, phone, and not wall jacks (although I probably will run speaker wire and Cat5e to place on wall for possible use).
2- Distribute the Great Room video (DTV & BD), to the Master Bedroom and the Guest Suite upstairs... (both locations will have their own ATV.
3- Distribute the A/V Closet in Basement to a Theater, 2 Bedrooms and a Rec Room (theater and Rec room having their own AVR.. a 7.1 and 5.1 and sharing video sources on all 4... DTV, BD, 2 ATVs)

Those are the goals, and now the question is:

1- Opinions on a 8-12 Zone WHA system (have been looking at SONOS, Russound, Niles, and NUVO).. thoughts, opinions or better options.
2- What will be best way to control the video portion of it. Is there a system that will be able to tie the 2 systems (upstairs and downstairs together or will the both be controlled independently?)

Now, for the wiring portion, it will be like this (of course thoughts or inputs are more than welcome on whether this is sufficient or good enough).

1- All locations for Video will have a 4-6 gang box (3-4 for Cat5e, and 1-2 RG6). Is that overkill or enough or is there a better way to do it with a different video input?
2- All speakers will be wired for either 16/4 or 14/4 but I have heard feelings by others for not doing 16/4 (loss of sound over X amount of ft). Thoughts?
3- Will run a Cat5e and a 16/4 speaker wire to a location TBD on the wall for audio control
4- All wiring will be ran back to the AV closet in the basement (centrally located in house)

I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully reply and wish everyone a merry christmas!
post #32 of 77
Thread Starter 
Who knows anything about the HTD Lync 12 for WHA?
post #33 of 77
This 4x4 Matrix may work for you. It uses Cat5E. http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10113&cs_id=1011310&p_id=8151&seq=1&format=2#description
I use a different 4x4 Matrix for long HDMI runs I purchased from Monoprice. I have 3 DirecTV units and a Blu Ray into the 4x4 Matrix and out to 4 Panasonic Plasma TV's. I use an A/V receiver (HK 7200) and a 5.1 speaker setup with a SVS sub dedicated for my media room. I don't run a multizone setup for music. I looked into doing the music setup but decided against it since I would never use it. Using Monoprice or any similar Home Theater site will help keep your budget down.
post #34 of 77
Thread Starter 
Of course the price of those look great, but is there a way to control each location from your iDevice or something or would I need a controller (ie- Control4 HC-800?).
post #35 of 77
Quote:
Opinions on a 8-12 Zone WHA system (have been looking at SONOS, Russound, Niles, and NUVO).. thoughts, opinions or better options.

How big is your budget? If you're trying to save costs, go the Sonos route. You can start with 2 or 3 zones ($500 per zone) which can power up 6 sets of speakers. And as you want to add more, just purchase another Sonos amp. In my new Chicago condo, I'm only putting music in the master bedroom and main areas, leaving the two guest beds/baths alone until a later date. They're wired for speakers, but it was a way to cut back on costs (and they'll hardly be used right now anyways).

Quote:
What will be best way to control the video portion of it. Is there a system that will be able to tie the 2 systems (upstairs and downstairs together or will the both be controlled independently?)

What do you mean tie the 2 systems? For the video, I think the matrix is the best solution. The audio and video will work separately but can be controlled from a singular device (more to come on this). With all the systems we've previously mentioned, you can do a "tie in" of your 5.1/7.1 speakers. That is, you can make the AVR a zone via an output from your whole home audio. If you go the Sonos route, you just get a Sonos connect and plug it into your AVR.

Quote:
All locations for Video will have a 4-6 gang box (3-4 for Cat5e, and 1-2 RG6). Is that overkill or enough or is there a better way to do it with a different video input?

Bad idea... are you talking about terminating the cables at the gang box? Do not do that!! Everytime you create a new connection, you degrade the signal. Better to run the Cat as close to the TV as possible, then throw in the converter, then another very short HDMI cable to the TV. You want this: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=105&cp_id=10425&cs_id=1042509&p_id=3997&seq=1&format=2 With that, you can cleanly run the cables straight through the wall and to their destination.

Quote:
Of course the price of those look great, but is there a way to control each location from your iDevice or something or would I need a controller (ie- Control4 HC-800?).

iRule. Remember, Control4 is a dealer-installed-only system, meaning that you have to buy it from them, pay them to install it, pay them to change it, pay them just for calling you to say hi, pay them for sending you a Christmas card, and so on. If you want to save costs, go the DIY route, and iRule is the best option (in my opinion) for DIYers.
post #36 of 77
Thread Starter 
Gramin,

Thanks for the comments...

1- Looking at saving money of course, as I think everyone does, but understand that A/V isn't cheap. With that being said, I'm thinking of 8 Zones. If I go the Sonos route, that's 4K in just AV. If I went with the Lync 12, that's about 3K for a 12 Zone system.
2- When i say "tie-in" i was referring to the face that upstairs I was considering a 4X2 system and downstairs was looking at a 4X8 or 4X4 (ref Octava), but what is the best way to control each system? Does that make sense?
3- I like that idea better for a wall plate, opposed to a gang box. Thank you!
4- Def food for thought about iRule and will consider, but more or less when I meant "controller", I was referencing something that manages and controls the Matrix. Do you not need something to do that?
post #37 of 77
Quote:
With that being said, I'm thinking of 8 Zones.

Ask yourself, "Do I really need 8 zones?" Will you ever play 8 zones of simultaneous but different music? In my personal opinion, that's execessive and I doubt you'll ever utilize all zones at the same time. By reducing zones, you reduce costs. For example, if your master bed and master bath will never play something different, you can make that 1 zone with 2 sets of speakers instead of 2 separate zones.

Quote:
When i say "tie-in" i was referring to the face that upstairs I was considering a 4X2 system and downstairs was looking at a 4X8 or 4X4 (ref Octava), but what is the best way to control each system? Does that make sense?

Ok, so you're mostly concerned with control? iRule will be able to control all this equipment without too much difficulty.

Quote:
I like that idea better for a wall plate, opposed to a gang box. Thank you!

You're welcome!

Quote:
Def food for thought about iRule and will consider, but more or less when I meant "controller", I was referencing something that manages and controls the Matrix. Do you not need something to do that?

Yes and no. Do you need something, no... you can do it manually if you want. But nobody wants to do that, so yes, you want a controller. Control4 and the others can control your matrix and other equipment but at a substantial cost. Or you can go the iRule route and control it via your smart device over IP (either direct IP, IP to IR or IP to RS232). There are other solutions, such as URC or Logitech's universal remotes, but iRule is one of the cheapest and most flexible solutions. The matrix really doesn't require much "control." All it does is send Source X to Display Y.
post #38 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

Ask yourself, "Do I really need 8 zones?" Will you ever play 8 zones of simultaneous but different music? In my personal opinion, that's execessive and I doubt you'll ever utilize all zones at the same time. By reducing zones, you reduce costs. For example, if your master bed and master bath will never play something different, you can make that 1 zone with 2 sets of speakers instead of 2 separate zones.

That's the right idea, but the wrong approach... It's not zones he should be reducing, but "sources". If you replace the word 'zone' with 'source' in that statement, I agree. But combining rooms into single zones is not generally a good plan, at least not "permanently". That is, wire every room as its own zone - you can combine two rooms into a single zone on the back end, and change your mind later.

Using the master bed/bath as an example - while you may never need to listen to different sources between those two rooms - listening to the morning news/radio in the bathroom while the bedroom remains silent is a likely use case. Tying those two zones together means you can't do that. Yes, you could turn the volume down beforehand every morning, but forget once if you're the first to wake up, and well, you probably won't do that again... biggrin.gif

Limiting the number of simultaneous sources is the more effective budget-saving method. A few sources (or instances of sources) is usually enough for most folks. One or two Sonos Connect units attached to a WHA controller/amp is a great solution, and much cheaper than six or eight Sonos units. Most music servers / streamers in the WHA market offer 3-4 simultaneous users/streams, which is probably more than enough for most installations.

Jeff
post #39 of 77
Thread Starter 
Jeff,

Definitely agree with the zone vs sources idea... I like the idea of having numerous zones. The thing I am most worried about is tying to areas together (ie- front porch and back patio). If I tie those together, how do you control the volume in both if they are together (wall volume controls?). Anyhow, the only sources i will mostly have is probably my sat TV, XM, AVR, and a music server. Don't listen to CDs so that won't be necessary but if anyone can think of anything else, let me know.
post #40 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholsps View Post

The thing I am most worried about is tying to areas together (ie- front porch and back patio). If I tie those together, how do you control the volume in both if they are together (wall volume controls?).

You don't... I'd recommend against combining any two areas into a single zone that aren't always used together. I have a "poker room" adjacent to my game room. Both have been wired individually, but since the rooms are open to each other, they can share a zone.

IMO, any "weird" combinations is one of the things that cause folks to not use these systems. If it becomes a pain to turn on, by having to make adjustments to other rooms, turn off switches, etc., you'll tend to avoid "casual use" of the system.
Quote:
Anyhow, the only sources i will mostly have is probably my sat TV, XM, AVR, and a music server. Don't listen to CDs so that won't be necessary but if anyone can think of anything else, let me know.

So, four different sources... biggrin.gif

I don't think many of us have more than that these days. I have FM, XM (now unused), music server and two DirecTV receivers attached to mine...

Jeff
post #41 of 77
Quote:
If I tie those together, how do you control the volume in both if they are together (wall volume controls?)

That would work, but as Jeff mentioned, probably not the best idea from a functionality standpoint. But the greatest thing about DIY and prewiring, if you don't like the setup, you can always change it.
post #42 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

Yes and no. Do you need something, no... you can do it manually if you want. But nobody wants to do that, so yes, you want a controller. Control4 and the others can control your matrix and other equipment but at a substantial cost. Or you can go the iRule route and control it via your smart device over IP (either direct IP, IP to IR or IP to RS232). There are other solutions, such as URC or Logitech's universal remotes, but iRule is one of the cheapest and most flexible solutions. The matrix really doesn't require much "control." All it does is send Source X to Display Y.

The Monoprice one handles the IR and control with a button on the box, a tiny remote, and repeating the original component's remote's IR, or a universal remote's IR. It has RS-232C, but there's not much use for it, as it handles everything on it's own, and since the end units can source select through IR, you could handle that through a Logitech Harmony, just as if you had a local HDMI switch. Once you go past 4x4 though, the cost goes up exponentially, and so does the complexity, as the higher end systems are meant to have a separate control system, and don't necessarily have integrated IR repeating and source selection switches at the endpoints.
post #43 of 77
hI

Very interesting post. I am in the planning aspect for a new home next year and A/V distribution will be part of the build. After hours and hours of reading I 'm starting to get a good idea about A/V distribution but I have one question (probably an easy one) How do you control your sources that are plugged into the matrix from the differents zones? You would use a URC? this part I dont get

Tx
post #44 of 77
Thread Starter 
Tx...

That's a question that I have but think through reading a lot of post on here and in my own post, it seems that if you were to go with iRule, you would by the IR extenders. Buy the ones that will be IP control and not wireless. Anything wired is 100% better than wireless... a really good diagram of how this works can be found here:

http://www.octavainc.com/faq.htm

Not saying that I would buy this equip but it gives you a really good diagram of how things should be wired and how the IR portion of the installation works.
post #45 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephrich1 View Post

I am in the planning aspect for a new home next year and A/V distribution will be part of the build. After hours and hours of reading I 'm starting to get a good idea about A/V distribution but I have one question (probably an easy one) How do you control your sources that are plugged into the matrix from the differents zones? You would use a URC? this part I dont get

Spend your time now learning about the basic technology, and then concentrate on the pre-wiring. All of the equipment will change in the ~2 years before you'll actually buy and install it (and you shouldn't buy any of this gear until the house is complete and you're about to move in).

A matrix switch with "IR Routing" will have IR receivers to place on each TV. Signals received there are repeated through the wiring back to the matrix. Each source on the matrix has its own dedicated IR emitter attached to it, to flash the received signal at the source box (set-top, BD player, whatever). The routing aspect is that the matrix switch only repeats the IR signals received from the zone (TV) to the one source that zone has actually selected.

This solves any problem of having multiple, identical set-top boxes where IR seen by both would cause them both to change channels, for example... Yes, there are lots of other ways around this, but an integrated IR routing function is by far the simplest to implement. As BigAW points out, the higher-end 'custom installer' grade products tend to omit this functionality, on the assumption that control of all devices (sources, TVs, switch, etc.) will be handled by an external, all-encompassing control / automation system.

Jeff
post #46 of 77
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the replies and this thread (as well as the site itself) has been a tremendous help, but i have a huge question before I go feet first into this project:

1- In the basement, as has been posted, I will have 2 BRs, a theater, and a Rec Room. BRs will have cable from DTV Genie, Apple TV (not sure about distributed or shared), and a shared BD Player (looking at a 4X4 or an 8X8 due to upstairs). The Theater will be 7.1 and the Rec Room will be 5.1... Main ??? here is, it it best to have the AVRs for both surround locations, located in room or central closet (middle of house in basement)?

I'm really torn here as to homerun the speaker cable back to the AVR in the Mech Room or to run the speaker wire to a rack in the theater room. Need a lot of help here... BTW.. will have a WHA system in the AV Closet/Mech Room...

Thanks..
post #47 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholsps View Post

Is it best to have the AVRs for both surround locations, located in room or central closet (middle of house in basement)?

Unless you have no place to house the AVR in those areas with surround, it's much easier to place the AVR in the same room, or nearby. Primary reason being support for local sources. Secondary being that it avoids issues when trying to integrate with distributed video / matrix switches, as you need path(s) between the AVR, the matrix, the local sources, and the TV. If the matrix has integrated HDBaseT, it becomes wasted on those links as you'll need to get the signal to the AVR before it heads to the (long distance) TV.

If the AVR is near the TV, you just bring the matrix output to the AVR, then HDMI to the TV and you're done.

Jeff
post #48 of 77
Thread Starter 
Jeff...

Thank you... I'm gonna be sure I understand then the setup of this

Theater room:
TV/Projector wired HDMI directly to AVR
Speakers wired to AVR directly?
What's best way to get this setup to integrate with the WHA system?

Rec Room:
Same as above?

I'm probably gonna share the BD player and Apple TV upstairs b/w the Great room and the Master BR. Probably will just use a sound bar at those locations... Best setup there in your opinion would be?
post #49 of 77
Quote:
TV/Projector wired HDMI directly to AVR

Do you have a TV and a projector? Most AVRs only have 1 HDMI output, so you'd need a switch between the AVR output and the TV and projector.

Quote:
Speakers wired to AVR directly?

Yes.

Quote:
What's best way to get this setup to integrate with the WHA system?

Are you going with the HTD system? If so, on the amp, you'll have both speaker outs and audio outs. For one zone, instead of plugging speakers directly into the HTD amp, you'll plug the audio outs into the audio ins on the AVR. If you have two AVRs, you'll do this for two of the zones.

Quote:
Best setup there in your opinion would be?

Probably a 2x2 HDMI switch.
post #50 of 77
Thread Starter 
Not both, but just undecided on which one I'm gonna go with at the moment. Leaning towards a projector but not 100% certain at this time...

I do have a major question that I hope someone can answer. So I sent in my plans to HTD.com and they gave me a great product back. Very professional and very in depth for the DIY'er. The big question I have now is, can you integrate their unit with a video distribution system and make it work or integrate it with something to where you can use the same program/app to run everything (ie- video, audio, security)? Or is it best to scratch the HTD and go with a Savant or Control4 system that controls everything. I'm assuming that since the Lync12 has a 232 connection, that it might integrate but not 100% sure.

Also, what are peoples thoughts on bookshelf speakers vs in-wall speakers in a theater. I was thinking to do a 7.1 with the 7 being in-wall and a dedicated powered sub but the gentleman from HTD suggested otherwise. Thoughts?

Thank you.
post #51 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholsps View Post

The big question I have now is, can you integrate their unit with a video distribution system and make it work or integrate it with something to where you can use the same program/app to run everything (ie- video, audio, security)? Or is it best to scratch the HTD and go with a Savant or Control4 system that controls everything. I'm assuming that since the Lync12 has a 232 connection, that it might integrate but not 100% sure.

Any A/V device with an RS232 port can be added to a control system, as long as you know the protocol. There will be some protocols that may exceed the limits of the control system's ability to use it (2-way communcation, state-based actions, etc.), but in general yes.
Quote:
Also, what are peoples thoughts on bookshelf speakers vs in-wall speakers in a theater. I was thinking to do a 7.1 with the 7 being in-wall and a dedicated powered sub but the gentleman from HTD suggested otherwise.

The gentleman from HTD is giving good advice... biggrin.gif I would avoid most L/C/R in-walls for theater use. Most meaning anything not specifically designed for use behind a screen and home theater usage. The "mainstream" in-walls would be outclassed by free-standing speakers in the same price range, generally. There will be exceptions, of course, and there's probably some good examples of them in the Dedicated Theater forum. This will all depend on what your screen plans are. If you use an AT screen and a false wall, you can place the speakers behind - with enough depth, you don't need to use in-walls.

In-walls for surround/back channels are quite common (I used them in my theater) for the aesthetics, but you should still pay attention to brands and purpose-built designs (dipoles, etc.) as well as timbre-matching if you use different brands.

Jeff
post #52 of 77
Thread Starter 
Jeff... Thank you for the reply... I hate to ask this but since you brought up the Protocol and ability to possibly do this, have you personally or seen anyone here get it to work? I curious if iRule will work for this or not?

On another note. That's what I figured about the In-Wall speakers. I replied back to him stating that I wanted to go with their MD speaker throughout the home but then the HD in the Theater for the Rears and their free standing for the L/C/R but he didn't necessarily think that was a good idea. Said something about being able to hear the difference in the HD and MD in other places throughout the house. To me this didn't seem like such a big deal and probably will go that route. Thoughts?
post #53 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholsps View Post

Jeff... Thank you for the reply... I hate to ask this but since you brought up the Protocol and ability to possibly do this, have you personally or seen anyone here get it to work? I curious if iRule will work for this or not?

Haven't seen the protocol for the HTD - it's not on their website, but you can apparently request a copy. A search shows folks have integrated it with other control systems, and I'd assume that it would work fine with iRule.
post #54 of 77
Thread Starter 
Great. Unfortunately I wouldn't have a clue on how to do all that, but then again, like you said.. I can probably search and find something out. Thank you for the help!
post #55 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholsps View Post

Great. Unfortunately I wouldn't have a clue on how to do all that, but then again, like you said.. I can probably search and find something out. Thank you for the help!

I took a different look - by searching the iRule device database... You're in luck, someone's already done the work for you. There's a whole library of RS232 codes for both the Lync and the MC-66 / MCA-66...
post #56 of 77
Thread Starter 
Oh awesome. I'll go on the website and take a look. That great news. Just got a new quote from them after looking to go with the MP speakers in the ceilings for normal audio but then the HD speakes in my Theater with the level-3 bookshelf for R/C/L and 2 powered subs... 12 zones and all other equipment. Pretty shocked at the total and if this can be done with iRule and I can integrate video into one simple to use app, this will rock!
post #57 of 77
Thread Starter 
Actually just looked on the website and unfortunately I wasn't looking correctly until after I read it again and went and did some research. The HTD Amp that the Advanced Lync12 uses is different than the MC66... Doesn't seem to have anything yet.

On another note... Just when I think I understood everything. I'm guessing if I used the iRule, the only thing I would need is the Global Cache iTach IP2SL. Does that seem correct?

Thanks again!
post #58 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholsps View Post

Actually just looked on the website and unfortunately I wasn't looking correctly until after I read it again and went and did some research. The HTD Amp that the Advanced Lync12 uses is different than the MC66... Doesn't seem to have anything yet.

Check with HTD, but I would assume the Lync12 controller uses the same protocol as the Lync6.
Quote:
On another note... Just when I think I understood everything. I'm guessing if I used the iRule, the only thing I would need is the Global Cache iTach IP2SL. Does that seem correct?

For controlling a single RS232 device, yes, that's all you need.

Jeff
post #59 of 77
Thread Starter 
Jeff... Knowledgable guy you are and I hate asking all these ???'s but trust me, learning a lot on this but here's another one..

IF the Lync12 control pads is able to control all the sources connected to it, I'm assuming that since you would be controlling the Lync12 from the iRule device via 232, then you would not need anything else to control the sources connected to it, would you? Does that quest make sense?
post #60 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholsps View Post

IF the Lync12 control pads is able to control all the sources connected to it, I'm assuming that since you would be controlling the Lync12 from the iRule device via 232, then you would not need anything else to control the sources connected to it, would you?

Well, I don't think the Lync offers any direct control of sources behind it. Haven't looked in-depth at those, but the keypad buttons only talk about "control of the built-in MP3 player". I would suspect that you'll need control mechanisms for the connected sources as well. And that will depend on what sources you're going to use... iRule has a Sonos and iTunes integration module, if that helps.

Jeff
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