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Best Sounding Whole Home Audio System?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Which whole home audio system has the best amplifier and thus the best sound, or are they all about the same? I have an Elan Home Systems Z system from 2002 in my present home. Because the home we are buying has no system, I have a chance to start from scratch. Sound is the primary consideration and price is a factor if the sound will be similar. I know of Elan, HTD, NuVo, Niles, and Crestron. Music is the key -- the other features that home automation systems like Crestron and Elan have are icing on the cake. I know speaker choice is more important and will make my decision on architectural speakers separately. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 9
The one with the best amplification and the ability to adjust bass and treble per zone.

RTI and Crestron have the best sound that I have heard.

The nice thing about the Sonnex is the ability to bridge and set crossover points for each zone/speakers/or bus pair. You can power a pair of speakers set at 80Hz and then bridge a pair for a passive in-wall or in-ceiling sub in that same zone. And then adjust bass and treble or they also have built in 5 band eq. per pair output. 140 watts per channel at 8ohms, 400 watts per channel at 8ohm/bridged. Impressive.
Edited by ifor - 4/28/13 at 9:32pm
post #3 of 9
Speaker selection is going to dwarf any differences in amp design / specs, IMO, on any of the WHA systems. Now, if you venture into the gear that ifor suggests, with much higher amplification, different ballpark.

But most of the systems from the companies you mention are going to be small zone amps in the 20-40W/ch range. More than enough for WHA purposes for most rooms. And many/most of those systems can support external amps for any zone requiring more than nominal power.

Jeff
post #4 of 9
I've read good things of Audio Design Associates.

http://www.ada.net/about/

Don't forget room treatments, to optimize sound quality.

I'd find a good installer first, and see which systems he offers.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Speaker selection is going to dwarf any differences in amp design / specs, IMO, on any of the WHA systems.

+1. What I also should have said.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments. How does a lower priced system like HTD or Adagio rate in comparison to a Sonnex, RTI, or ADA and, if there is a measurable difference, can the quality of the speakers -- even architectural speakers -- overcome that difference? I have read posts raving about the great sound of HTD products, which has sparked my interest, but I'm leery because I'm afraid the raves may be more about sound value rather than pure sound quality,
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by strataprop View Post

Thanks for the comments. How does a lower priced system like HTD or Adagio rate in comparison to a Sonnex, RTI, or ADA and, if there is a measurable difference, can the quality of the speakers -- even architectural speakers -- overcome that difference? I have read posts raving about the great sound of HTD products, which has sparked my interest, but I'm leery because I'm afraid the raves may be more about sound value rather than pure sound quality,

I think any discussion about critical-level audio quality that includes architectural speakers is probably a moot point...

So no, I don't think the amp differences will come into play in terms of audio quality. The architectural speakers, and just as important, their placement in the room and the usage model, are 100x more important...
post #8 of 9
How much variance in your room dimensions/layout from Zone to Zone – finding a ‘one shoe fits all’ solution either means you are potentially going to have to grossly over-spec on some rooms or under-spec on other rooms in terms of amplification!

As other have said matching loudspeakers and loudspeaker placement to your various Zones is the biggest challenge – once you have your loudspeaker choices pinned down you can begin to look at how to optimise the amplification to the choice of loudspeaker/size of zone.

‘can the quality of the speakers -- even architectural speakers -- overcome that difference?’ – Garbage In =Garbage Out!

You can’t ‘fix’ a poor quality Source/Amplifier by bolting them into a higher quality loudspeaker system!

Very few customers require ‘optimal’ audio in every room of a property – break your requirement/expectations down to suit how you use the various zones and then optimise for that requirement!

You don’t say what your primary Source(s) will be feeding into the WHA system?

Joe
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback. As Jautor and Joe suggest, architectural speakers and the quality of my primary source will lessen the sound quality. Although I have an Oppo combo player and an ipod with wav files (not compressed), my primary sources will probably will be digital feeds such as sirius, pandora, or the directv music channels. Hardly the stuff of hi fi, but it still sounds better through better speakers and amps.
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