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Connecting A/V receiver to an M&S Intercom/speaker system

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hope this is the right forum.....my house is 25 years old (bought it new) and it came with an M&S Intercom/speaker system. Several years after we moved in a lighting strike took out the main M&S unit. The guy that replaced it ran speaker wire with 2 RCA plugs to an area in our family room behind our entertainment center shelving (M&S main unit is in the kitchen). He said I could hook this set of speaker wires to a receiver (no A/V in those days smile.gif ) I never did anything with it and now the old M&S unit keeps shorting out but I am wondering if I can hook up those speaker wire jacks to my Sony 810 A/V receiver to play music throughout the house? If so which audio out jacks on the receiver should I use?


post #2 of 7
It's odd that one would put RCA ends on speaker cable. RCA's would suggest they are feeding a line-level input on some device somewhere.

3 scenarios:

1) You mean banana plugs and not RCA's.
2) He did use RCA's and the cables go right to the speaker(s) (and the guy doesn't know what he's doing)
3) They are RCA's but they are not speaker cables (ie, the are line level going to the input of the distributed audio system)

You said he replaced the unit - so let's assume it is number 3. The RCA's lead to a L/R line-level input on the new audio system. Does this system have an outboard volume control somewhere?

Is this your receiver? If so, this is drawing of the rear.

I see two ways to get analog out of the receiver to your other system. Your receiver does not appear to have a "Zone 2", which would be the common means for doing this. Your manual shows diagrams using both outputs to a recording device.

This note was found below one of the sections about recording.

If this were my setup, the first thing I'd do would be to hook up an MP3 player or something to your RCA's (3.5mm male headphone to 2xRCA female). See if/how it works. From there you can see if there's a way to get the audio source you want to the system using your receiver. The note above is important though. None of your digital sources will send audio out via analog. Some sources maye have digital and analog, and you can probably make that work by assigning them to different input selections in the receiver. One input for regular playback, another input for playback over your "zone 2".
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you Ben Daniels for your thoughtful and comprehensive response! I really appreciate your effort to assist me.

I believe that your option #3 is the right one. I'm guessing he used speaker wire for an alternative purpose.Your well educated guess as to my receiver is spot on.

I hope to mess with this over weekend. I'll report back.

Thank you again.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
photo (1).JPG 146k .JPG file

Ben....if you are still there......here's a picture of the M&S System module modification done by the installer from days gone by and the "speaker wire" attached to the aux in. The other end that comes out of the wall behind the current system looks the same. This is as far as I've gotten. After seeing this is there anything you might do differently?


post #5 of 7
Looks about right. Mono input fed by a stereo to mono RCA Y-cable I presume.

Start with any source that you can connect to those RCA's. CD player, DVD, mp3 with adapter. Let it rip and see if it works.

Or just plug it in to the receiver's CD/R output and try it out with various sources, the radio being the easiest to try.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Followed your suggestion.......connected it to my iPhone and it worked perfectly.....Thank you. After hooking it up I realized that I'd forgotten how crappy mono sounds:eek:

A bit off topic but I couldn't get the patio speaker to work.....checked it out and it looks like a bunch of bees used it for target practice. I'm guessing this is a different type of speaker than used now. Any suggestions for a replacement?

Also, the main M&S unit is not working so well. I looked in the usual spots.....ebay, google search for a replacement but never found exactly what I was looking for at a reasonable price. The model # is MC 350A. Are these things repairable/worth it?

Thanks again,


Once again on the road to the Final Four
post #7 of 7
Well that's a start. Assuming your wiring is all intact, you've got the hard part out of the way. I bet you have a lot of options for replacing that unit altogether. Can you see how many speaker wires (pairs or wire (+/-)) are going out of the unit? I guess an easier question might be simply, how many speakers are there? Mono audio doesn't have to sound bad, you just won't have the stereo separation. And for background music that is less important anyway. Are any of your speakers arranged in a stereo-type configuration? I mean, if you replaced the unit with one that had stereo inputs and stereo outputs to the speakers, do you have pairs of speakers to take advantage of that?

If the speakers are all the same, you could pull out the bad one and get any info on it you can. Make/model - or dimensions at the very least. Then we can explore replacement options.

This thread from a few months ago might be worth reading. It is peppered with some weird stuff, but there may be some good take-away info for you about ceiling speakers and how to power them. I believe it had some links to some budget audio distribution systems and some ceiling speakers.
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