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Ready to do the 5.1 + whole-home audio...help please.

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to plan out the living room 5.1 system and the whole-home audio stuff with what I'm guessing is a good setup but have very minimal experience with it, so looking for some help.

Aside from the living room, which will be 5.1 like I said, there are 6 other rooms that will all have volume controls. I'm trying to decide if it's better to use a 7.1 receiver in the living room and have the two "left over" channels go to an amp and a speaker selector, or of it's better to just run two receivers?

This is the speaker layout and the setup I'm thinking but again not sure if it's the best way to go.
Not looking to go crazy, want to stay under $2000 for speakers and receivers (figure speakers are around $80/pair so $720 for that, receivers are in the $400 range, add a subwoofer...should be able to stay under $2000 I would think).

Also what is your guys' thought on this receiver? It's on sale for $249.
http://usa.denon.com/us/product/pages/productdetail.aspx?catid=avreceivers(denonna)&pid=avre300(denonna)

Speaker_Layout.jpg
SpeakerSetup.jpg
post #2 of 32
Thread Starter 
Also to add, I'm thinking of possibly going with regular speakers for the fronts and center on the 5.1 system, dont really like sound coming from above when watching TV. I could easily place the front and center speakers in the TV console. Also, would it be horrible to put a subwoofer inside one of the cabinets in the console?

post #3 of 32
If you are okay running things with a basic speaker selector and local volume control in each room, then the general recommendation would be to use a dedicated amplifier for the distributed audio, not an A/V receiver as those devices have a different purpose.

It is important to realize that you can't just link the A/V receiver to the amplifier and get audio out. That's because most of your sources use HDMI (digital audio) and the amplifier/zone 2 output of any receiver will be analog audio. This means you must make analog connections from all of your sources to your distributed audio system.

I would go with something like this...

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR2113CI/DENON-AVR-2113CI-7.1ch-Networking-Receiver-w/AirPlay-3D-Ready/1.html

Which gives you several analog audio inputs (4) along with several HDMI inputs.

Add an external amplifier and connect it to the zone 2 output of the Denon, then run it to your speaker selector.

If you wanted a bit more control, then you likely would need to go outside of your budget to get a controllable multi-zone, multi-source setup.

ie: http://www.htd.com/Products/mid-level-whole-house-audio

So, on the cheap side, a new or used dedicated amplifier with a speaker selector to volume controls in each zone would be the way to go.

While wiring for the volume controls, I would be SURE to pull a piece of cat-6 to each volume control so they could be replaced with keypads at some later point.
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking the only source I want to run to the other rooms are Airplay, which would be built into the A/V receiver (but will the analog output work with this to the amplifier?) and internet or local radio but I guess it wouldn't hurt to have the analog input there in case there are other audio sources I want to run through the other rooms in the future.

What is a good external amplifier and speaker selector that I could use?
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Another quick question...if I do 1 receiver (7.1) and run 2 of the channels to a Zone e (then to an amp), can I Airplay to Zone 2 and still run the 5.1 part? Will Airplay play to Zone 2 only?
post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
And another question...

If I go with the 7.1 receiver + amp + speaker selector, how powerful of an amp do I need to power 12 speakers?
post #7 of 32
In my opinion, I would not use the internal amplifier of an A/V receiver to run additional speakers/zones ever. My issue is that most A/V receivers tend to have only so-so power supplies in them, and the drain of running extra zones not only sucks power away from the main 5.1 zone, but it adds heat to the receiver and shortens the life of the receiver in the long run.

To that end, I would stick with an external amplifier exclusively.

More specifically, I would get something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Speakercraft-BB1235-BB-1235-12-Channel-Power-Amplifier-Professionally-Tested-/300929214197?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item4610c766f5

A multi-channel amplifier means you don't need to also purchase a speaker selector and provides very stable audio to all the speaker zones. It is truly, what it was designed for.

You still don't need a speaker selector if you use impedance matching volume controls, but these are all solid enough models...

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=sonance+amplifier&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR10.TRC1.A0.Xspeaker+selector+ss6.TRS0&_nkw=speaker+selector+ss6&_sacat=0
post #8 of 32
You really don't need an external amp to drive the house music system, but it is advisable since most impedance matching devices run around 6 ohms when running multiple pairs of speakers.
Most higher end brands of receivers can power these systems but it's not about watts, it's about amperage. That's why they call the amplifiers, not wattifiers.

What do you plan on listening to for the house speakers? if you plan on doing something like Pandora or another streaming source, I would recommend something like the Sonos feeding an external amp. The nice feature is that you can have your music on your computer and the Sonos can see your music and stream it. You can even add an Apple Airport express to it and use it as an Airplay device.

If, you want to listen to cable or sat music channels supplied through the cable or sat box, fm , or cd then you can route them through the the receiver to zone 2.

I don't ever recommend using impedance matching volume controls without an impedance matching speaker selector because the byproduct is heat at the volume control.
Edited by ifor - 7/7/13 at 4:39am
post #9 of 32
As for your front speaker for your surround system, are you having a fireplace like in your drawing or...? This would determine what kind of speaker is recommended. Also where your tv is going to be located.
It is not horrible to place a sub in a cabinet but I suggest placing the sub on a decoupling material like the Auralex Subdude. And make sure the sub is front ported or sealed.
post #10 of 32
Why the single speakers in the powder room and the bedroom entry?

I would probably do a pair in the master bedroom and remove the bedroom entry, remove the powder room and remove the entry hall as well. They probably won't be used that much or at all. And center the speakers in the dining room.
fwiw, I am assuming the room purposes.
post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifor View Post

As for your front speaker for your surround system, are you having a fireplace like in your drawing or...? This would determine what kind of speaker is recommended. Also where your tv is going to be located.
It is not horrible to place a sub in a cabinet but I suggest placing the sub on a decoupling material like the Auralex Subdude. And make sure the sub is front ported or sealed.

The TV and cabinet are already in place, I posted the picture earlier but here it is again:



More clear picture:
urban_ul1284.jpg

I was asking about the subwoofer because it would be inside the cabinet with the door closed, so would that be a problem?

As far as LCR speakers, what do you guys recommend? Should I pick up something like this and just use 3 of the 5 speakers it comes with? http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-5-Channel-Theater-System/dp/B000ZKNW82/ref=sr_1_20?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1373217840&sr=1-20&keywords=polk+audio+speaker

And for a subwoofer? http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YST-SW216BL-Subwoofer/dp/B000FJ89UO/ref=sr_1_1?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1373217925&sr=1-1&keywords=polk+sealed+subwoofer

I could go more expensive I'm thinking if the total budget is $2000. Say $750 on ceiling speakers, $150 on volume controls, $50 for a speaker selector so that leaves right about $1000 for an A/V receiver, amp, subwoofer and LCR speakers.
post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

In my opinion, I would not use the internal amplifier of an A/V receiver to run additional speakers/zones ever. My issue is that most A/V receivers tend to have only so-so power supplies in them, and the drain of running extra zones not only sucks power away from the main 5.1 zone, but it adds heat to the receiver and shortens the life of the receiver in the long run.

To that end, I would stick with an external amplifier exclusively.

More specifically, I would get something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Speakercraft-BB1235-BB-1235-12-Channel-Power-Amplifier-Professionally-Tested-/300929214197?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item4610c766f5

A multi-channel amplifier means you don't need to also purchase a speaker selector and provides very stable audio to all the speaker zones. It is truly, what it was designed for.

You still don't need a speaker selector if you use impedance matching volume controls, but these are all solid enough models...

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=sonance+amplifier&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR10.TRC1.A0.Xspeaker+selector+ss6.TRS0&_nkw=speaker+selector+ss6&_sacat=0

So even if I used a 7.1 receiver exclusively for the whole-house speakers it's still not a good idea? So there would actually be 2 A/V receivers, one for the living room 5.1 system and then a second for the rest of the house. It just seems that 7.1 receivers are less expensive than multi-channels amps (aside from the eBay stuff smile.gif ).

My thinking behind the two receivers is that I could feed the outputs of my other devices to both receivers so if I want the same source on the living room 5.1 and the rest of the house, it would be easy.
The amps I've seen online, like the AMP100, only seem to have one input (which would come in from a Zone 2 output). Seems like it would be more complicated if someone (like my wife) wanted to listed to the something in the rest of the house while I'm watching something on TV...not sure if she is changing sources and such if it would mess up what I'm watching. I figure with two separate receivers, there won't be any mixing things up. The other advantage I see with the two receivers is that I can get them with built in AirPlay which again would make things more simple I'm thinking (even though I have an Apple TV connected...what if someone is watching something on the Apple TV and then I want to AirPlay music to somewhere else in the house).

So...in the end, what is the negative thing about having a 7.1 receiver feeding the 6 channels of the whole-house audio? I'm thinking something like this for the whole-house audio: http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR1912/DENON-AVR-1912-7.1ch-Network-A/V-Home-Theater-Receiver-w/Airplay/1.html
Edited by HX_Guy - 7/7/13 at 10:51am
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifor View Post

Why the single speakers in the powder room and the bedroom entry?

I would probably do a pair in the master bedroom and remove the bedroom entry, remove the powder room and remove the entry hall as well. They probably won't be used that much or at all. And center the speakers in the dining room.
fwiw, I am assuming the room purposes.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any speaker wires ran into the actual bedroom due to a weird insulation setup going on there, the entry is the closest I could get so that is why that speaker is there.
The speaker in front of the powder room...well, I figured I need a second speaker to go with the bedroom entry so there you go. biggrin.gif
post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
Any input on using a 7.1 receiver for the 6 zones? Any negatives to that?
post #15 of 32
Receivers, especially cheap ones... are just that - cheap. They aren't designed for what you are trying to do. It's like loading up a Yugo with concrete and wondering why it doesn't work like a pickup truck.

A/V receivers are good, and have a lot of value added capability, but more and more I am seeing that the power supplies and internal amplification is barely up to the task of 8 ohm medium sized speakers played for a long period of time. Running a whole house system from one will certainly save you some money in the short term, but I believe strongly that you will find that it ends up destroying the A/V receiver and that you will end up buying an external, stand alone amplifier at some point which has a better power supply and is actually designed for the task you are asking from it. I have personally seen this happen a couple of times now.

You can just get a single stand alone amplifier like this one into a speaker selector...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Sonamp-2120T-Stereo-2-Channel-Amplifier-/130939436995?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item1e7c993fc3

It is, in my opinion, important to not that if you look at that single amplifier, it is far more robust than a typical multi-channel A/V receiver is. It is built to last for years and years, which is part of what most people expect from a home A/V distribution system.
post #16 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the details replies AV_Integrated. So for something like that, how would I get all the inputs into the amplifier, I would need another A/V receiver? So I would have an A/V receiver for the 5.1 living room, then another receiver for the whole-house which would output to the amplifier for the whole-house speakers?
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by HX_Guy View Post

Thanks for all the details replies AV_Integrated. So for something like that, how would I get all the inputs into the amplifier, I would need another A/V receiver? So I would have an A/V receiver for the 5.1 living room, then another receiver for the whole-house which would output to the amplifier for the whole-house speakers?

No, not another receiver... If your current AVR has a Zone2 output, you take that to an inexpensive amplifier to drive those zones. You can also use a multichannel amp as has been mentioned that can give you more power and future flexibility - but a $99 AudioSource AMP-100 is hard to beat in value. If you later want to upgrade, you can always use an amp for something! biggrin.gif
post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 
Ahhhh so back to the Zone 2 discussion...I don't know why but I am wanting to shy away from that. With these AVRs that have a Zone 2 output, if I'm watching something on TV (using the 5.1 part), can someone access the Zone 2 input via a phone app and change sources/adjust volume/utilize AirPlay? That is why I was considering two AVRs, thought that keeping them separate would be the least complicated.
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by HX_Guy View Post

Ahhhh so back to the Zone 2 discussion...I don't know why but I am wanting to shy away from that. With these AVRs that have a Zone 2 output, if I'm watching something on TV (using the 5.1 part), can someone access the Zone 2 input via a phone app and change sources/adjust volume/utilize AirPlay? That is why I was considering two AVRs, thought that keeping them separate would be the least complicated.

I do it all the time but I have a 3 zone avr. Just keep in mind certain brands of AVR's you can't adjust volume in zone 2 and usually never in zone 3. My particular version I can control volume in zone 2 but not 3 as zone 3 is fixed volume and I can control each zone independent of each other zone. Someone can be watching a movie in zone 1 being the 5.1 zone and I can listen to any onboard source such as Pandora or the half dozen others in another zone or I can change the source to whatever is playing on the TV and hear the movie all over the house or any of the rooms I wish or listen to any other analog source connected to the avr (or digital source that runs through external DAC's)...all via any of the half dozen mobile devices phones/android tablets and ipads, I have around the house. The various brands of AVR's allow you to download their mobile apps for free and they have a demo mode so you can see what is possible from the app perspective.
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by HX_Guy View Post

Ahhhh so back to the Zone 2 discussion...I don't know why but I am wanting to shy away from that. With these AVRs that have a Zone 2 output, if I'm watching something on TV (using the 5.1 part), can someone access the Zone 2 input via a phone app and change sources/adjust volume/utilize AirPlay? That is why I was considering two AVRs, thought that keeping them separate would be the least complicated.
Yes, that's exactly why there is a 'zone 2' - it is a stereo zone to feed auxiliary speakers located elsewhere.

Denon (for sure) and others can have their second zone controlled completely separately from the main zone with no impact. This is the VERY normal way of doing things.

If the second zone feeds an amplifier, then onto volume controls, you can set up zone 2 for fixed volume output (recommended) so that it is just the volume controls in the rooms which run things.
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by HX_Guy View Post

Thanks for all the details replies AV_Integrated. So for something like that, how would I get all the inputs into the amplifier, I would need another A/V receiver? So I would have an A/V receiver for the 5.1 living room, then another receiver for the whole-house which would output to the amplifier for the whole-house speakers?
No, not at all.

The amplifier I linked has an input called 'BUS INPUT' or something like that on the back. You connect your zone 2 output from your A/V receiver to the one input, and then each channel of the amplifier can be directed to look at that one common input. It is the common and proper way to use these types of amplifiers and almost universally multi-channel amps have a 'BUS' or 'COMMON' input and output so you could feed more amps if you wanted.

This shows a detail of a common multi-channel amplifier. It offers two 'BUS' inputs and a local input for each amplifier channel. You would lock in only one choice.

In your setup - zone 2 out of your A/V receiver into 'IN 1' on the amplifier, then you would set all the dip switches for each amplifier channel to '1'.

post #22 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

In my opinion, I would not use the internal amplifier of an A/V receiver to run additional speakers/zones ever. My issue is that most A/V receivers tend to have only so-so power supplies in them, and the drain of running extra zones not only sucks power away from the main 5.1 zone, but it adds heat to the receiver and shortens the life of the receiver in the long run.

To that end, I would stick with an external amplifier exclusively.

More specifically, I would get something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Speakercraft-BB1235-BB-1235-12-Channel-Power-Amplifier-Professionally-Tested-/300929214197?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item4610c766f5

A multi-channel amplifier means you don't need to also purchase a speaker selector and provides very stable audio to all the speaker zones. It is truly, what it was designed for.

Put in a bid on the Speakercraft 12 channel amp, hopefully I get it. I'm able to get a killer price on some Klipsch in-ceiling speakers so I figured I might as well do the whole thing right and use a proper amplifier. smile.gif

EDIT: Doh! I just went to measure the opening in my TV console and it's 9" x 17 1/4" x 16 1/2"...height and width are fine but I'm an inch short of the depth. I may be able to just cut out the back of the cabinet for this to fit...not sure how my wife will feel about that though.
Edited by HX_Guy - 7/10/13 at 12:39am
post #23 of 32
Thread Starter 
Freaking score! Picked up this Speakercraft BB1235 12 channel amp from someone on Craigslist tonight for $225! I actually lost the auction on eBay due to being careless (completely forgot what time the auction was ending...ended up at $252 w/ shipping). I was super bummed and out of the blue decided to check Craigslist to see if anyone was selling something locally and found this that was just posted online yesterday for $375 and then price drop today for $250 (negotiated for $225). It's in near perfect conditions and works great.



post #24 of 32
Thread Starter 
Barely fit in the console, had to cut the back out, hopefully there won't be an issue with air flow.



post #25 of 32
Thread Starter 
Project complete! Posted my journey here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1485660/nineteen-speakers-my-install

Thanks to everyone that helped me out with this, the information you gave me was invaluable. smile.gif
post #26 of 32
Sorry to bump into this, but I am trying also to understand.

So you connected all speakers to the amp. How do you control volume for each zone?
Also this should be connected to a Receiver and from there to a computer for example?
Would you be able to play different music for each zone?

Sent from my NookColor using Tapatalk
post #27 of 32
Sorry to bump into this, but I am trying also to understand.

So you connected all speakers to the amp. How do you control volume for each zone?
Also this should be connected to a Receiver and from there to a computer for example?
Would you be able to play different music for each zone?

Sent from my NookColor using Tapatalk
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by fekish View Post

So you connected all speakers to the amp. How do you control volume for each zone?

See the picture in the first post - he has wall-mounted volume controls in each room. With this type of setup, the amp is playing at "max volume", and you use the volume controls in each room to reduce from that maximum.
Quote:
Also this should be connected to a Receiver and from there to a computer for example?
Would you be able to play different music for each zone?

It's the Zone2 output of a receiver. Any source connected via analog audio to a receiver will be available to Zone2. Newer AVRs will also include Internet streaming services and may process digital inputs as well.

In this setup, all connected rooms are sharing a single source, and will all come on/off together. If you don't want sound in some rooms, you have to go to each room and adjust the volume controls accordingly. If you want true independent zones for each room, you need a Whole House Audio (WHA) system. Lots of threads in this forum to search and read to learn more about that option...


Jeff
post #29 of 32
great thanks
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post


In this setup, all connected rooms are sharing a single source, and will all come on/off together. If you don't want sound in some rooms, you have to go to each room and adjust the volume controls accordingly. If you want true independent zones for each room, you need a Whole House Audio (WHA) system. Lots of threads in this forum to search and read to learn more about that option...


Jeff

And you can buy volume control knobs that start the volume at zero so instead of turning a volume control down in each room if you left the volume up...you need to turn the volume up in each room to get sound.
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