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New home - builder quotes too high of A/V

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I am a noob when it comes to A/V, and initially I though I don't need speakers throughout the house. But now I can't decide. Any reason not to have speakers installed throughout the house?

I met with the company who does A/V for the builder, and the quote that they gave are very high. I am not sure how much it will cost be to get it done by third party.

Price List for things are:

Digital Pre-wire Den $440
Digital Pre-wire bedroom $330
- You only want these if you are mounting your tv to the wall
Data ports $125 each (for things like internet and netflix)

SURROUND SOUND

Surround sound pre-wire $565
This is where they pre-wire and YOU set up what you have


Surround sound Silver $1350 they provide sub-woofer
$1100 you provide sub-woofer
*gives you 5 classic in-ceiling or in-wall surround sound speakers

Surround sound Gold $2560 them sub-woofer
$1850 you sub-woofer
*gives you 5 Deluxe in-ceiling (you can aim them) or in-wall surround sound speakers

There is third option at $3280 them and $2160 you, but it's more for basement theaters.

The speakers they use are from Klipsch.

AUDIO PACKAGES

2 room (in ceiling) speakers $1995
Pre-wire only $710

4 room (in ceiling) speakers $3425
Pre-wire only $1425

you can sub and outdoor speaker for a room

Outdoor speaker $145

If you have surround sound, it will hook up through the surround sound.

So what do you guys think and can I get this done for less?
post #2 of 18
Those pre-wire prices are on the high side, but still in the ballpark's I've seen...

If you have them pre-wire for any speakers, make sure YOU specify where the speakers will go. Left to their own, they will certainly put them in some of the worst locations. And in this case, they even tell you - 5-channels of in-ceiling for a surround setup - that's the least-desirable setup. LCR's should be down near the TV and/or ear-level. Surround channels in the ceiling are acceptable for non-dedicated spaces (as that's typically the only decent placement available).

As far as how much you should pre-wire - well, if you don't do it, you'll be unlikely to add those zones later. Retrofitting will generally require drywall work and patching/painting - most folks will avoid that. I would recommend pre-wiring as many rooms as budget allows, but prioritize based on potential for actually using them, and especially on rooms that don't have easy attic access above. First-floor rooms of 2-story homes are the most difficult to retrofit.

Without more details, hard to say what you're getting for those audio packages and what a "digital pre-wire" really means. You certainly want at least an RG6+cat5e at every potential TV location, and we recommend a lot more wire than that. But when you're paying a builder >$100 per wire, this adds up quickly, so compromises have to be made, especially if you're only wiring for the future (not for immediate use/benefit).

Jeff
post #3 of 18
+1, prewire required - essential, IMO; I'd wire all the rooms, and the deck/patio, for distributed audio; I see no mention of in-wall volume controls, something that may make life easier down the road

+1, kind of high - but not that high

You could save some money, and hire someone else to install speakers after you move in, but it won't be much money saved.

+1, in-wall speakers for the front-left-center channels, for TV audio

I'd go surround sound silver, and you supply the subwoofer; in-wall L-C-R, in-ceiling rear speakers.

You'll want 'data ports' at computer locations, TV locations (if not included with other package), wireless access point locations, alarm panel location (if you'll have one), audio source equipment location (if different place than TV).

Choose locations for the modem/router, WAPs, and audio equipment now.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Those pre-wire prices are on the high side, but still in the ballpark's I've seen...

Haha... then you'll enjoy this. My developer's cost for wiring for 5.1 in the living room and speakers in my 3 bedrooms was $3,000. No speakers included... no Cat lines... no on wall volume controls... nothing but speaker wire.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
So what do you guys think and can I get this done for less?

Can you get it done by a third party? Not all developers / builders allow this. But if you can, then yes, you can get it done cheaper. For comparison, it cost me $2,500 to run 5.1 in my living room, speaker cable in 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, down the hallway and into the kitchen; I also have 3 runs of Cat to each TV location.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

Haha... then you'll enjoy this. My developer's cost for wiring for 5.1 in the living room and speakers in my 3 bedrooms was $3,000. No speakers included... no Cat lines... no on wall volume controls... nothing but speaker wire.

You must live near a very nice ballpark. wink.gif Did the taxpayers fund the stadium???
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Those pre-wire prices are on the high side

+1

People who have speakers installled in every room of a new home often never use many of the zones. Think about how you live now...do you listen to music in the kitchen?
One of the mistakes folks make is installing inceiling speakers in the bedroom and hooking them up to the TV, often one person watches while the other says "please turn that down I'm trying to sleep".
IMO pick a room to listen to music (1), have speakers in the ceiling in the kitchen or dining room where the family and guests hangout (2). Then have a TV watching zone with suround sound and a sub or 2 (3).

How many square feet is your new home?
post #8 of 18
I use all my distributed audio zones, regularly. Some people enjoy music more than others.

In the past week, I've listened to music in every one of my 10 zones. And, I have more zones planned, to include the guest bedroom and family room.

Currently, my zones are the MBa, MBR, LR, Kitchen, deck, sun room, workshop, wiring closet, garage, DR. Kids' BRs are a future possibility, when they get older, but I bet they'll be happy without.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

Haha... then you'll enjoy this. My developer's cost for wiring for 5.1 in the living room and speakers in my 3 bedrooms was $3,000. No speakers included... no Cat lines... no on wall volume controls... nothing but speaker wire.

Holy #$@&!!! My company recently wired a 10k s.f. house...16 zones of distributed audio with 16/4 & Cat5e at volume controls, two 5.1 systems, 16 zones of HD video distribution (Cat5e x 3 + 1 RG-6), and a few single Cat5e, plus a couple of odd runs for automation. Total prewire price was just over $6K.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cshepard View Post

Holy #$@&!!! My company recently wired a 10k s.f. house...16 zones of distributed audio with 16/4 & Cat5e at volume controls, two 5.1 systems, 16 zones of HD video distribution (Cat5e x 3 + 1 RG-6), and a few single Cat5e, plus a couple of odd runs for automation. Total prewire price was just over $6K.

Pfffft... And you call yourself a pro... You probably didn't even use Monster cable! rolleyes.giftongue.gif

My custom build included 32 runs (cat5e/RG6) and 6 audio zones pre-wired in the basic contract. So I don't know what the base cost was from the LV contractor, but I assume around $1500-2000. I had 4 conduit runs, 3 additional audio zones, and about 50 additional cat5e runs done for $1k in labor (I provided wire and did terminations myself). And to think back then I was upset with that quote, since I had intended to do the work myself. Of course, I was slapped into reality and once seeing how much labor that really involved, I realized I scored big...
post #11 of 18
Funny thread! (And some good content, too.

Good work men.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I use all my distributed audio zones, regularly. Some people enjoy music more than others.

In the past week, I've listened to music in every one of my 10 zones. And, I have more zones planned, to include the guest bedroom and family room.

Currently, my zones are the MBa, MBR, LR, Kitchen, deck, sun room, workshop, wiring closet, garage, DR. Kids' BRs are a future possibility, when they get older, but I bet they'll be happy without.


Your house is too big!

I have a 1200 sq ft home in S.F. with a dedicated attic for music, inceiling kitchen speakers, 5.1/TV living room and a secondary 2 channel system in the dining room.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cshepard View Post

Holy #$@&!!! My company recently wired a 10k s.f. house...16 zones of distributed audio with 16/4 & Cat5e at volume controls, two 5.1 systems, 16 zones of HD video distribution (Cat5e x 3 + 1 RG-6), and a few single Cat5e, plus a couple of odd runs for automation. Total prewire price was just over $6K.


Is your company interested in working in California?


I will sell the projects sub out the wiring to your company market it up, of course, 50% and make a killing!
post #14 of 18
I live in Northern VA and am having a house built here. The prewire costs were absolutely ridiculous. 1100$ for 7.1 prewire (no speakers). 300$ pre wire per room for speakers (no speakers included) 450$ per location for 2 cat 6 and 1 rg6. They wouldn't let me bring in a 3rd party. Total monopoly.

They wanted 850$ to run HDMI behind the walls too. I ended up going in one night before drywall went up and pulled my own HDMI cables. I'm pretty cool with the building supervisor and he said it was fine as long as I didn't drill anything.

But anyway listen to the advice. Pull more than what you think you'll need. It's much cheaper to do it now instead of retrofitting later.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by K Shep View Post

Is your company interested in working in California?


I will sell the projects sub out the wiring to your company market it up, of course, 50% and make a killing!
Well, the airfare would kill you...on the other hand, it's about 38 degrees and rainy here today....
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cshepard View Post

Well, the airfare would kill you....

I may be able to cover the cost of mobilization in the bid, plus it'd only be rough in, we'd trim out and program.

60* and sunny here.
post #17 of 18
I'm surprised at the number of people who are pulling Cat-5 wire as opposed to Cat-6. We've been pulling Cat-6 as our standard for the last year. It's not much more expensive so if you are building a house today, I would definitely look at Cat-6 instead of Cat-5.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Travisleo View Post

I'm surprised at the number of people who are pulling Cat-5 wire as opposed to Cat-6. We've been pulling Cat-6 as our standard for the last year. It's not much more expensive so if you are building a house today, I would definitely look at Cat-6 instead of Cat-5.

That's pulled. As in past tense... smile.gif You're right that the cost delta now is quite small, wasn't the case 5+ years ago. I'll bet many, perhaps most, builders not in the "custom" realm are still pulling cat5e, though, but I don't see that as a problem. Given the choice, sure, run cat6. But cat5e will hold us fine for a long time for residential A/V and networking .

Jeff
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