Setting up in home audio zones (part II) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-26-2019, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Setting up in home audio zones (part II)

Sorry, this gets rambly real quick.

OK, posting a new thread since it’s a little different from my other questions. Quick recap: had been using Apple Airport Express boxes to AirPlay music to different zones. They often would go AWOL so I’m ditching them.

Just got 2 ChromeCasts, and I’m trying to see if they will work or not. So far, I’ve tried playing iTunes to them via AirFoil. This was pretty laggy when changing songs, etc., and the zones are out of sync. I am going to try Google Music (with uploading all my music), but still would prefer to just play all the music directly from my hard drive, where they are all stored. And not have to deal with internet connections, wireless issues, etc. Would love to get 2 or 3 Sonos speakers/Connects, but not in the budget.

I think for ease of use, running some wires might be easier. I’m looking to split my PC output into 3 channels: 1 for PC speakers (for when using PC, playing games, or listening to music only there), 1 for soundbar in my entertainment center, and 1 pair of floor speakers in another room. The PC speakers have a 3.5mm connector; the soundbar has RCA input (also optical, but TV currently runs to that); the floor speakers are currently plugged into a mini-amp (via speaker wire) and the mini-amp has RCA inputs.

I want to be able to easily select any or all of the channels from my computer desk. My current thought is: 3.5mm cable from PC to splitter/switch, then 3 channels out running RCA cables to PC (using an RCA to 3.5mm adapter), soundbar, and mini-amp. I know RCA over long distances can cause problems, but I might try and see. I also looked into audio over Ethernet, running HDMI from my GPU to different zones, using a speaker selector and speaker wire to RCA connectors, etc., but I ended up needing adapters all over the place and still couldn’t find a good solution.

Also needs to be relatively cheap, and sound not like crap (but not audiophile level either).

Would something like this work: https://www.adorama.com/rolda134.htm...urce=adl-gbase

I would prefer each channel just had an on/off switch so that people (wife and kids) aren’t messing with turning the channels way down and the speakers way up, etc. And that it was a little cheaper.

Any product that splits audio and lets you select channels? Everything I found is either the other way around (multiple inputs, 1 output) or only selects 1 channel at a time. Found several designed to split headphones to multiple people, but didn’t know if this would reduce quality much.

Random question time!
Do I need to boost the signal from my PC before sending it everywhere? Would some kind of sound card (internal or external) somehow give me better options (they mostly looked designed to get surround sound)? Are there better grades of RCA/aux cable that would prevent noise? Does going from 3.5mm to RCA or the other way around degrade signal? Can an idiot like me solder something together that wouldn’t sound like garbage?

I thought this would be simple, one plug in, it splits the signal, then some on off switches and several outputs. As you perhaps can tell, I’m driven myself a little crazy. I hope someone here can put me out of my misery!
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-27-2019, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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OK after chatting with a rep I think I've decided to use a headphone amp that has multiple channels out that can be turned up or down separately. It has 1/4" outputs.

I know RCA shouldn't be very long due to noise issues, and I've read that coax is better. I've seen links to cables that look like RCA, but are described as coax. I'm used to seeing coax cable for cable TV with the connector with the little pokey wire. Is RCA coax the right thing? Better than just RCA? Do I need some kind of adapter for this? With a 1/4" output is there something better to use?

If using RCA I would go 1/4>1/8 adapter, then use a 1/8 to RCA (red and white) cable which will plug into my equipment.

Very confused.
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-27-2019, 02:20 PM
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RCA is a connector.

Coax is a type of cable.

You can get 1/4" TRS to RCA adapter so you don't need to go to 3.5mm first.

https://www.amazon.com/Poyiccot-6-35...tronics&sr=1-4

Then just use high quality cables between location. I run my analog audio over slim coaxial cables for about 45+ feet in my home. I'm not picking up any humming, but I am doing my best to avoid crossing electrical wires.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-27-2019, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
RCA is a connector.

Coax is a type of cable.

You can get 1/4" TRS to RCA adapter so you don't need to go to 3.5mm first.

https://www.amazon.com/Poyiccot-6-35...tronics&sr=1-4

Then just use high quality cables between location. I run my analog audio over slim coaxial cables for about 45+ feet in my home. I'm not picking up any humming, but I am doing my best to avoid crossing electrical wires.

Oh, gotcha. Just wasn't sure what the difference between cable like this:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=2683
which is described as Coax RCA, and this:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=5346
which is just described as RCA.

Obviously I would need 2 of the first one, but thought it might be better for longer runs to prevent noise.
Or, since I have a 1/4" output I should use 2 of these, if they're are better for long runs then use an adapter by the speakers:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=4793


Thanks!
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-28-2019, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
I run my analog audio over slim coaxial cables for about 45+ feet in my home. I'm not picking up any humming, but I am doing my best to avoid crossing electrical wires.
Just re-read and see you use coax. Can you post a link with which type? Can the coax with RCA type plugs just then be plugged into my soundbar and mini-amp? I was worried from reading that coax was digital only, so then I would need some kind of DAC before each.

Thanks again!
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