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New Contruction: Talk me out of using Sonos instead of in-ceiling speakers

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Our new home construction build is to the point where electrical, plumbing, HVAC and low voltage wiring is being installed. I have always been a "whole house audio with in-ceiling speakers" kind of a guy but lately I can't stop thinking that Sonos is a better option for background/informal music.

A little background: 5 bedroom house with finished basement. Basement is going to have a theater room so I won't need anything down there as far as separate audio goes. Upstairs I want to have audio in the hearth room and kitchen (basically 1 room) and 2-story great room and maybe the master bedroom. I also want the ability to have audio in a screened porch (when we are using it) and the bonus room (again, when we are using it). I am not going to spend hundreds of dollars on each speaker and will likely buy Monoprice 6.5" or 8" speakers if I go that route. I will have Cat6 in each room.

So we are talking about 2-3 definite zones with 2-3 optional zones.

Personally I think the wall keypad/controls are going to be extremely outdated in a few years (that is to say I really don't like them). With everything going the way of ipads, Nexus 7, etc there is just little reason to use this as part of the system, imo.

So if I went with three Play:5 in each of my definite zones ($400 x 3 = $1200) plus a Sonos Connect for $350 (so I can connect a HTPC to the unit). So that is a total of $1550. Then maybe 1 additional Play:3 or Play:5 as a "mobile" player that I could use in the screened porch, bonus room, garage, or wherever else I want to use it.

A mid-range HTD system with 4 pairs of Monoprice speakers is roughly $1700 plus a Sonos Connect ($350) which is around $2000. So figure that the cost is roughly equal.

I have also heard that the Play:5 sounds better than most inexpensive in-wall or in-ceiling speakers.

So where am I wrong or what haven't I thought about???
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

A little background: 5 bedroom house with finished basement. Basement is going to have a theater room so I won't need anything down there as far as separate audio goes. Upstairs I want to have audio in the hearth room and kitchen (basically 1 room) and 2-story great room and maybe the master bedroom. I also want the ability to have audio in a screened porch (when we are using it) and the bonus room (again, when we are using it). I am not going to spend hundreds of dollars on each speaker and will likely buy Monoprice 6.5" or 8" speakers if I go that route. I will have Cat6 in each room.

You're in the pre-wire stage - you should be wiring your house for both your immediate needs and for future flexibility. Follow the CEA standards (home run speaker wire, looped through a volume control/keypad location, with a cat5e in parallel), and run wire for speakers and keypads in as many rooms as feasible. You don't have to expose the wires or install speakers now. The wiring can all be documented / photographed, and buried behind the drywall so you don't have to stare at blank plates if you never use them...
Quote:
Personally I think the wall keypad/controls are going to be extremely outdated in a few years (that is to say I really don't like them). With everything going the way of ipads, Nexus 7, etc there is just little reason to use this as part of the system, imo.

I disagree, I think the future is "both". But if you pre-wire, you'll have the option to use whatever the right answer is... Keypads will evolve just like mobile devices have. You don't carry around a 10-year-old pager, do you? biggrin.gif
Quote:
So if I went with three Play:5 in each of my definite zones ($400 x 3 = $1200) plus a Sonos Connect for $350 (so I can connect a HTPC to the unit). So that is a total of $1550. Then maybe 1 additional Play:3 or Play:5 as a "mobile" player that I could use in the screened porch, bonus room, garage, or wherever else I want to use it.

A mid-range HTD system with 4 pairs of Monoprice speakers is roughly $1700 plus a Sonos Connect ($350) which is around $2000. So figure that the cost is roughly equal.

The Sonos path to consider is a set of three Connect:Amp units, centrally located and run to in-ceiling speakers for your three zones. That gives you the source flexibility of three separate sources (unlike a single Connect routed to a WHA system like the HTD), and gets the speakers and equipment "out of the way".

That's going to be the difference - placement of a standalone unit like the Play may work fine for a bedroom, but not for many other rooms (the Dining room is the usual example).
Quote:
I have also heard that the Play:5 sounds better than most inexpensive in-wall or in-ceiling speakers.

It may, depending on the room and placement possibilities. Which is why if you're going to go with inexpensive in-ceiling speakers, stick with the 6.5" ones, as it will be much easier to upgrade to something else in the future - as there are tons of other models that will fit in that hole (or a larger one) without having to patch and repaint the ceiling...
Quote:
So where am I wrong or what haven't I thought about???

The future. smile.gif If something comes along better than the Sonos setup, you want your house wired for all the options.


Jeff
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
@Jeff: Fantastic post.

And yes, I still carry a pager. For work. eek.gif
post #4 of 8
When I built my house a few years ago I used a Niles system with my audio request server for my whole house with the touch pads witch control my server and radio I also use I devices do control my server one a zone is on. I would do what Jeff suggest while you are in the rough stages if you can. Good luck with your project
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Problem.

I just sketched out my runs and if I ran Cat6 + Speaker (to the wall control and potential/future speakers) and Cat6 (for data) to most of the rooms on the first floor alone this would result in...

9 speaker runs
9 wall plate runs
16 data runs

For a total of 25 data (Cat6) and 9 speaker runs.

Does this seem normal? Roughly how much per run should I expect to pay???
post #6 of 8
I just did 11 cat and 7 pair speaker I paid 2500 not including equipment my runs were from rooms to media location and some were atleast 350 ft long
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Problem.

I just sketched out my runs and if I ran Cat6 + Speaker (to the wall control and potential/future speakers) and Cat6 (for data) to most of the rooms on the first floor alone this would result in...

9 speaker runs
9 wall plate runs
16 data runs

For a total of 25 data (Cat6) and 9 speaker runs.

Does this seem normal?

No, not around here. Three times that would be considered normal. 16 cat5e drops is nuthin. biggrin.gif
Quote:
Roughly how much per run should I expect to pay???

Are you able to do the work yourself, or are you hiring it done? That will change the number dramatically. DIY this is ~$200-300 in cables and boxes. A tract home builder with a fixed rate will probably charge $75-125 per run above their 'standard'.

If your builder will let you, do it yourself. If not, see if they can work a package deal for it, or allow you to talk directly to their low-voltage sub-contractor. This is a better discussion to have with your project manager than with anyone in the sales office.

If not, prioritize on those runs that cannot be done easily after you move in. Such as exterior walls and 1st floor rooms without attic or unfinished basement access.

Jeff
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

No, not around here. Three times that would be considered normal. 16 cat5e drops is nuthin. biggrin.gif
Are you able to do the work yourself, or are you hiring it done? That will change the number dramatically. DIY this is ~$200-300 in cables and boxes. A tract home builder with a fixed rate will probably charge $75-125 per run above their 'standard'.

If your builder will let you, do it yourself. If not, see if they can work a package deal for it, or allow you to talk directly to their low-voltage sub-contractor. This is a better discussion to have with your project manager than with anyone in the sales office.

If not, prioritize on those runs that cannot be done easily after you move in. Such as exterior walls and 1st floor rooms without attic or unfinished basement access.

Jeff

Thanks. I am willing to do it myself if the builder will let me. Is there something I can read to learn more about how to do it?
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