Is this sort of audio distribution possible? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-11-2019, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Is this sort of audio distribution possible?

I have a number of rooms in my house with in-ceiling speakers, each with speaker wire running (in wall) to a switch gang box in the respective room. I'd like to be able to use my Google Home to wirelessly transmit music to a particular room (or all the rooms at once, not concerned about zones). At first I thought some kind of volume control/amplifier wall plate connected to power and a Chromecast audio device might be a solution. But they discontinued Chromecast audio. I thought maybe a Home Mini connected to a switch plate, but Minis don't have audio out.

I realize I could run wire from each switch box to the basement but I would prefer to have a wireless solution, and one which doesn't require any exposed wiring or extra devices sitting in the room somewhere.

Can it be done?
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-12-2019, 11:31 AM
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Where does the speaker wiring go to after it is at the switch box in the room?

It's like laying a speaker on the ground and running a wire into the speaker, then across your floor...

It's pointless!!!

Speakers need power to operate, so the OTHER end of the speaker wire needs to connect to an amplifier. Typically the wiring my go directly to an amplifier, or it may run through a volume control in the room, then continue on to an amplifier somewhere in the room for local power, or it may be run all the way to a centralized location (head end) that all rooms are wired back to and the amplifiers and centrally located for full distributed audio.

From there, Sonos, or one of the audio distribution cheap solutions (Chromecast Audio), or a full on distributed audio system (https://www.htd.com/Products/Whole-House-Audio) can be used.

The first thing to determine is where all the wiring actually goes. If it just goes from speakers to a wall plate (18" or 40" from the floor?) then it is designed for an in-room amplifier/controller, and that typically would be a Sonos system or similar in this day and age. You must have amplifiers for each speaker though.
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-12-2019, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Let me describe the existing wiring. This should give some more context.

The house currently has a ChannelVision A-BUS distribution panel in the basement, with a single Chromecast Audio feeding its input. For each of four outputs from that panel, an ethernet cable runs through arcane routes through the walls of the house, each one to a switch box in a separate room, connected to a ChannelVision keypad. Each keypad has two speaker wires running from it, up and over through the wall and ceiling, to the speakers in that room.

The signal quality has never been great, with some hum and other noise. I've tried to eliminate any ground loop issues, but never achieved good quality. Added to that, at some point a discontinuity in one of the ethernet cables happened. No idea where the break is. It's probably easier to run a completely new cable than find the break. And that's what I was considering when it occured to me that maybe a more direct transmittal of signal might be possible.

So that's what I'm currently investigating.

- bluetooth-enabled ceiling speakers? I'd need to run power to them. Possibly repurposing the speaker cable for that, if that isn't inadvisable
- replace the ChannelVision keypad with a bluetooth-enabled keypad with an integrated amp
- something else?

I'm not sure what the range is on Google Home bluetooth transmittal, so that's another potential complication.

In any case, this is why I asked my original question. Is this a fool's errand? Is there a better way to accomplish this I'm not thinking of? Any suggestions welcome.
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-13-2019, 03:45 PM
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I haven't ever used ABUS units. I'm sure there are others that can chime in on that. But, the failure of a category cable to one of the wall controllers is a pretty significant issue as it basically renders that zone dead until a new cable is in place.

I guess I get it when people are trying to do things on the cheap, but not running audio cabling all the way back to a centralized location during the process really creates a major limiting factor.

For Bluetooth, I think you are always at the peril of losing connectivity at 10-30 feet depending on about a million different conditions. The goal would always be to use a networked wi-fi interface to any playback device, or use direct wiring. Airplay or Chromecast is ideal because it connects to your home network and you can play audio directly to these devices without fear of losing the connection while you are within wi-fi range anywhere in your home.

https://www.russound.com/products/audio-systems/abus

I'm not sure which direction I would go with anything based upon your current setup and the quality issues you are having at this point. Sonos would probably be my direction of choice for a serious step up in overall quality and functionality. But, expensive per-zone.

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post #5 of 7 Old 11-13-2019, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Bluetooth is seeming too iffy, plus I'd likely need a Home or Home Mini in each room to transmit the Bluetooth. Not to mention the speaker redundancy. And a wifi-enabled speaker solution wouldn't be able to hook into my Google Home ecosystem.

Now I'm thinking maybe the best course is to update my A-Bus distribution panel to a higher quality one, like the one you linked, and bite the bullet and run a new Cat5 cable for the dead zone.

This is what I have now:

https://www.amazon.com/Port-CAT6-Dat.../dp/B005LKX37G

But this one seems better:

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-RXa4Ph...ound-A-H4.html

Anyone familiar with these who can comment on the relative quality?

Thanks
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-20-2019, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryR View Post
Bluetooth is seeming too iffy, plus I'd likely need a Home or Home Mini in each room to transmit the Bluetooth. Not to mention the speaker redundancy. And a wifi-enabled speaker solution wouldn't be able to hook into my Google Home ecosystem.

Now I'm thinking maybe the best course is to update my A-Bus distribution panel to a higher quality one, like the one you linked, and bite the bullet and run a new Cat5 cable for the dead zone.

This is what I have now:

https://www.amazon.com/Port-CAT6-Dat.../dp/B005LKX37G

But this one seems better:

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-RXa4Ph...ound-A-H4.html

Anyone familiar with these who can comment on the relative quality?

Thanks
You may want to start a thread here, or on other forums, asking about their best results with ABUS. I am just not an expert on that technology. Realistically, in a digital world, it could be pretty darn amazing. PoE switches with reasonable power to speakers is easy, and still carries data rates of gigabit, which is easily CD quality audio to the room. I would think that a modern ABUS design could sound really good using regular ceiling speakers with the limitations of ceiling speaker quality.

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post #7 of 7 Old 11-23-2019, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Everything is now awesome. I ended up getting a Russound A-H4 and power supply (open-box off e-bay, way cheaper than the overpriced list value) and swapped it with my existing Channel Vision distribution hub. Zero hum now, everything is working well. I'm still using the Channel Vision AB-134 amplified keypads, which work with the Russound hub since they're all using A-BUS.

The system consists of:
- Russound A-PS power supply
- Russound A-H4 distribution hub
- Chromestick Audio providing input to the hub
- four ethernet cables going from the hub to four different rooms in the house
- four Channel Vision AB-134 amplified keypads in wall boxes connected to ethernet from the hub
- each of the keypads has speaker cable going to two JBL 6" SP6CII ceiling speakers in the same room
- Google Home telling the Chromecast Audio what to play via voice commands

With the Russound it sounds perfect where the Channel Vision did not sound good enough to be usable. Whether that's because of product quality or just a defect in my unit, I can't say.

Thanks for the help.
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