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Help designing a new system

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi,

We've signed with a contractor for a renovation to the 1st floor (actually, an apartment beneath us) and I'd appreciate some advice on the AV setup.

Attached is a block diagram of the AV experience we would like to be able to have in each room.

The 1st floor is a gut reno, so anything that needs to be done, will be. I'm having 4 Cat6 and 2 RG6QS run to each (of many) areas around the 1st floor. Also having speaker wire run the living room.

The 2nd floor basically has to make do with the existing wiring, which is Cat5E and RG6QS to many locations.

I'd like to be able to control it all via an i-device as well as regular IR remotes.

And, I don't think it's too important to be able to control the devices across floors (or the TVs across rooms) -- that is, controlling each TV in the room in which the TV is would be just fine.

The problem is, I don't know exactly what questions to ask. So, I'd very much appreciate it if you could all tell me what variables, decisions, factors I'll encounter doing this.

For example, I bought a Sonos Bridge and Connect to experiment with and connected it to my Denon 3808 currently in the 2nd floor living room. It works and sounds great through my not so hot 5.1 speakers. I'm a little leery of how a Sonos:Play 3 (or 5) would compare, and I do want true surround for the TV watching.

Thanks very much,

Joseph

post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
Is my inquiry too broad?

Here's some specifics (although I suspect I don't know many of the questions to ask):

1) Is Sonos Play3/5 really as good as wall mounted speakers?
2) Is there a brand/type of TV that matches well with certain AVR and speakers?
3) I'll be using a Slim5 rack sitting flush into a wall, so regular IR remotes will work in the 1st floor living room, but I'll need to use cat6 to bring other IR signals back from elsewhere -- but I'm not sure that need will ever arise?
4) Without running new speaker wires from the AV closet to the second floor, what is the best solution for TV and music surround (a 2nd AVR?)?
5) How do I deal with game console devices that attach via wire to the TV (Xbox Kinnect)?

Thank you!
post #3 of 7
I'm not familiar with the Sonos products, so that research may require a question in a different section since it is very specific about that product.

Get a good TV that matches your budget and provides the best combination of image quality and reliability for your needs. Panasonic, Sony, Samsung are class leaders.

If you have multiple cat-x runs, then you can typically use them as you need later on. Whether you go RF, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, etc. is yet to be determined.

If you need surround sound in two locations, you need two A/V receivers unless you have a real top dollar unit which has decoding for two areas... which is rarely worth it. Yes, get a 2nd A/V receiver.

Any devices which need their accessories extended need the proper wires run in the walls. Since this may prove to be very difficult, and ever changing, you should run 1.25" or larger conduit (1.5" or 2" is great!) between your game console location and where the accessory will be located. Kinect used to work with cat-x extenders, but now I believe requires a specific USB active extension cable. For my Wii sensor bar, I use cat-x cabling and it works great.

Really it seems like you have local a/v sources everywhere which kind of makes everything very easy. I'm not sure why the rack is there if you are in one room, unless it is a smaller rack and just for easy access to equipment. But, this seems like a bunch of separate rooms, not at all integrated. The use of Smart Phone control will be a labor of integration love and time, which may not make much sense in a more stand alone system like this.

I think that may be why you aren't getting much response, because it doesn't seem like much in the way of distributed audio. You don't really have a single head end with everything run to that one location, and if your intent is to split everything across two head-end locations, then you will have some serious headaches in doing so because you truly will need to duplicate almost everything to make it work properly.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post


Really it seems like you have local a/v sources everywhere which kind of makes everything very easy. I'm not sure why the rack is there if you are in one room, unless it is a smaller rack and just for easy access to equipment. But, this seems like a bunch of separate rooms, not at all integrated. The use of Smart Phone control will be a labor of integration love and time, which may not make much sense in a more stand alone system like this.

I think that may be why you aren't getting much response, because it doesn't seem like much in the way of distributed audio. You don't really have a single head end with everything run to that one location, and if your intent is to split everything across two head-end locations, then you will have some serious headaches in doing so because you truly will need to duplicate almost everything to make it work properly.

I've been reading and rereading this, and pondering it, and researching the topic, and I think you've hit the nail on the head!

The best I can come up with is that I'm ambivalent about centralization and unaware of its justification -- and therefore leaning towards a hybrid design.

But, I am unable to justify that position, or any position, particularly well.

Here's the sticking points:

Assume I go with a rack to hold the AVR, cable box, Sonos Connect and Bridge, wire termination patch panels, routers, xbox, wii, etc.

The rack will feed a surround speaker system and TV in the viewing room. The question is open as to whether I put on wall (in-wall or in-ceiling speakers won't work in my concrete block and concrete floor apt) speakers fed by the AVR for music in each of the other 2 rooms downstairs, or simply use Play3/5

Having those sources (and more) feed upstairs will be difficult: The floors will be connected by Cat6 and RG6QS, but nothing else -- like speaker wire; and complicated bringing control signals back.

So I'm feeling kinda stuck.
post #5 of 7
Since you're renovating so extensively downstairs, it will be pretty easy to run new cables upstairs, inside the walls. No need to cut the upstairs drywall to run new cables there.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Since you're renovating so extensively downstairs, it will be pretty easy to run new cables upstairs, inside the walls. No need to cut the upstairs drywall to run new cables there.

I wish that were the case: My walls are concrete block -- no way to snake anything inside them. Floors/ceilings are 6" concrete w/rebar.
post #7 of 7
I would go with a distributed system. For cable / sat systems the new whole home systems offer clients with a small footprint. Also DVD players and game consoles don't distribute well when you have to go downstairs to change discs.

Suggestions:

1. Each 5.1 area needs its own AVR and get a sonos connect for each one.
2. Find a place that sells sonos with a good return policy
3. Try a Playbar for the bedroom tv, return it if you don't like it.
4. For an audio only zone, try both a play5 and a connect amp with speakers
5. Keep the one you like, return the other, and buy more zones of the one you like
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