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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I'm new to the forum and have a home remodel project which gives me an opportunity to revamp my entire stereo and AV setup which was very modest to say the least.

My goals are to 1. be able to listen to Stereo music, 2. have the ability to do Dolby Atmos (family room) and 3. be able to do multi-zone audio.

I'm trying to decide on the equipment and have been looking at a few options for speakers in the different rooms:

Floor standing - Family Room:
KEF R11
Paradigm Persona 5F
Sonus Faber Sonetto VIII
Sonus Faber Olimpica 3

Ceiling Mounted - Family Room/Living Room/Dining Room/Kitchen
KEF CI2002CR
Paradigm CI Pro P80

Outdoor
Sonance SR-1
Sonance DSP 2-150 MKII

I've listened to all except for the Paradigms which I'll be listening next Saturday but based on price/performance I'm leaning to go with the KEF's which IMHO seem to fill the room better and deliver good quality and crisp sounds with the various genres we tried. The Sonus Faber look gorgeous and have great sound quality, well rounded and they seem to have better bass performance, but on the down side they're a bit more expensive.

For A/V receivers I've been looking at Arkam, Anthem, Marantz. And most recently one of the dealers had a setup with an Luxman Class A amp which made the speakers shine (this I might save for a later addition to the mix)

Do you folks have experience/preferences with the speakers above? what amps, A/V receivers, multi-channel amps would you put behind them to achieve all of the goals above? Any concerns with doing this? (I've heard that in some setups this could cause an echo effect when playing the same music in every room).

Thanks in advance for any advise you might be able to offer!

Luis
 

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what is your overall budget?

I am a little confused as to your goals. for #1 ) the speakers you have selected are all very good, and I would say lean towards a music set up. for goal #2 : Atmos, I don't see what center channel and surround speakers you are considering. is it your plan to ceiling mount all the other speakers? What sources will you be using? re: the Atmos .2 or .4?

will it be a 5.x.x? or a 7.x.x? What about a subwoofer(s)?

how many zones? what type of control do you want over zones? have you pulled down demo version of the various apps?

for the whole house audio, each manufacturer typically has a closed ecosystem -exception being Play-fi, which is more open and several manufacturers support.

congrats on the remodel. good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks @smithsabom, the budget keeps shrinking due to the remodel (change orders :mad:), so the plan is to start with the bare minimum setup and plan to expand later.

I do have 1 sub (REL) and center channels which are the same brand as the towers I just forgot to include them in the original post.

The 4 zones are:

Family room (zone 1 x 7.1 speakers) for Stereo listening and Atmos
Kitchen/Dining (zone 2 x 2 in-ceiling speakers)
Living Room (zone 3 x 4 in ceiling/in wall) and
Outdoor (zone 4 x 8 Sonance SR1)

Control over the zones is what I'm trying to figure out, most audio stores I've visited recommend Sonos for multi-zone but since I'm remodeling I'd like to have wired speakers because I've had mixed results with my current Sonos wireless setup. I recently found about Parasound Zonemaster 650 that might do the trick. Does anybody have experience with that or are there other devices I need to have (consistent) music delivery to all zones?
 

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I think you may want to look into an installer for this one.

That’s not a small project. And with the speakers you’re looking at, there’s a lot of margin in it for them to discount you on.

Doing this yourself could be very expensive - more expensive than having an installer/dealer help you out.
 

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I suggest you add Revel loudspeakers and Lexicon AVR's and their MC-10 preamp/processor to your search. Lexicon uses DIRAC, Anthem uses ARC. ATI makes excellent multichannel power amps, both Class A/B and Class D Hypex N-Core.

You could get Revel Salon2's for less than some of the speakers you are considering. They are considered by many users and reviewers to be one of the best. Revel C763L are used by many pro audio for video mixing facilities and their outdoor speakers are excellent.

Take a look at these threads:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...nce-shows.html

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...rs-thread.html

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-s...ccurate-well-reviewed-speakers-ever-made.html

And this website: https://routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/9781138921368/

I recommend buying the book but there is a lot of free information on the website.
 

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Thanks @smithsabom, the budget keeps shrinking due to the remodel (change orders :mad:), so the plan is to start with the bare minimum setup and plan to expand later.

I do have 1 sub (REL) and center channels which are the same brand as the towers I just forgot to include them in the original post.

The 4 zones are:

Family room (zone 1 x 7.1 speakers) for Stereo listening and Atmos
Kitchen/Dining (zone 2 x 2 in-ceiling speakers)
Living Room (zone 3 x 4 in ceiling/in wall) and
Outdoor (zone 4 x 8 Sonance SR1)

Control over the zones is what I'm trying to figure out, most audio stores I've visited recommend Sonos for multi-zone but since I'm remodeling I'd like to have wired speakers because I've had mixed results with my current Sonos wireless setup. I recently found about Parasound Zonemaster 650 that might do the trick. Does anybody have experience with that or are there other devices I need to have (consistent) music delivery to all zones?
here is a suggestion: get a Marantz receiver ( because it has HEOS)( SR7013/8013) - this will drive the main zone. use the extra on board channels to drive zone 2. use the zone 3 pre-outs on the receiver to drive an outboard amp ( audiosource amp100 vs/ad1002) to drive zone 3

get a multi-channel amp and and use a HEOS preamp to the bus input to drive the outdoor zone. HEOS will connect it to the rest of the system.

as for speakers, well, that's a whole other can of worms...
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think you may want to look into an installer for this one.

That’s not a small project. And with the speakers you’re looking at, there’s a lot of margin in it for them to discount you on.

Doing this yourself could be very expensive - more expensive than having an installer/dealer help you out.
Agree and I've spoken with 3 installers but they all offer different solutions mostly based on stuff in their comfort zone. Magnolia kept pushing the Sonos angle despite me telling them I prefer not to have that. They just sent me an updated proposal using Control-4 (EA5V2 + C4-8AMP1-B) for the multi-zone audio. I think that might fit the bill but I'm just doing my due diligence to try to understand better what they're proposing and how all these pieces work together.

If anybody has a better setup in mind I'd like to hear about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I suggest you add Revel loudspeakers and Lexicon AVR's and their MC-10 preamp/processor to your search. Lexicon uses DIRAC, Anthem uses ARC. ATI makes excellent multichannel power amps, both Class A/B and Class D Hypex N-Core.

You could get Revel Salon2's for less than some of the speakers you are considering. They are considered by many users and reviewers to be one of the best. Revel C763L are used by many pro audio for video mixing facilities and their outdoor speakers are excellent.

Take a look at these threads:

===== links removed as I'm not allowed yet ======

I recommend buying the book but there is a lot of free information on the website.
That's some good homework for me, I'll have to check for a Revel dealer in SF Bay area, let me know if you know of any. I'll check the Lexicon and ATI and most definitely will have to get that book and research the difference between DIRAC and ARC (first time I hear those acronyms)
 

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Ah well I can help a little.

That Sonus Faber stuff is very dark. I did not like it that much. If you prefer a more lively presentation definitely go with the Kef’s or Paradigms.

Sonance. Not all that great IMO.

In ceilings, Kef UniQ provides good, even off axis dispersion, good for overhead effects and zone music.

A good one to look at is Revel, they have products to cover all of your Zone’s. Not too sure if you listened and just didn’t like it or not.

I helped my neighbor purchase 12 of the Revel C783’s on discount for distributed audio around his house and he loves them.

Definitely stay away from Magnolia. Independent AV/Installers have more to work with and can do better on most jobs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
here is a suggestion: get a Marantz receiver ( because it has HEOS)( SR7013/8013) - this will drive the main zone. use the extra on board channels to drive zone 2. use the zone 3 pre-outs on the receiver to drive an outboard amp ( audiosource amp100 vs/ad1002) to drive zone 3

get a multi-channel amp and and use a HEOS preamp to the bus input to drive the outdoor zone. HEOS will connect it to the rest of the system.

as for speakers, well, that's a whole other can of worms...
Yeah, I was looking at a Marantz Sr8012 which is an 11.2 multi-channel AVR, I thought with so many channels and number of speakers it supports that would be enough all my multi-zone needs but they (Magnolia) told me that this one would only cover for the Dolby Atmos 7.1 and wouldn't be enough channels for the number of speakers/zones that I have. What you're saying actually makes more sense in my head so I will look into the audiosource gear you mentioned.

For the outdoor source multichannel amp I was thinking about using the Sonance DSP 2-150 MKII because I believe the SR-1 satellite speaker system uses only 1 stereo channel to drive all 8 speakers and sub. But what I'm not sure is how the HEOS preamp would help with this. I read a little bit about Heos and as I understand it that's the equivalent of Sonos (i.e. Wifi speakers) from Marantz and Denon but honestly I don't know enough about it and don't know how/if it would help with the wired speaker setup I was planning.

What would be this HEOS preamp you're referring to? is that the equivalent to the Sonos ZP120 Zone Players?
 

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Yeah, I was looking at a Marantz Sr8012 which is an 11.2 multi-channel AVR, I thought with so many channels and number of speakers it supports that would be enough all my multi-zone needs but they (Magnolia) told me that this one would only cover for the Dolby Atmos 7.1 and wouldn't be enough channels for the number of speakers/zones that I have. What you're saying actually makes more sense in my head so I will look into the audiosource gear you mentioned.

For the outdoor source multichannel amp I was thinking about using the Sonance DSP 2-150 MKII because I believe the SR-1 satellite speaker system uses only 1 stereo channel to drive all 8 speakers and sub. But what I'm not sure is how the HEOS preamp would help with this. I read a little bit about Heos and as I understand it that's the equivalent of Sonos (i.e. Wifi speakers) from Marantz and Denon but honestly I don't know enough about it and don't know how/if it would help with the wired speaker setup I was planning.

What would be this HEOS preamp you're referring to? is that the equivalent to the Sonos ZP120 Zone Players?
yes, the HEOS pre-amp is equivalent to the sonos connect (zone player).

for your outside zone get an 8 to 12 channel amp ( for example: https://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-ma1240a-multi-zone-12-channel-amplifier--300-815) it has a "bus input". You hook up the pre-amp output to one of the bus inputs. you then tell each of the 6 zones ( 6 zones, 2 channels/ zone= 12 channel amp) on the amp which input to look at: bus1, bus 2 or line. The "bus" shares the output from the pre-amp to all the zones switched to that input. Each speaker gets home-run to a speaker terminal.

make sense?

the benefit to HEOS here is that they have incorporated the music-over-wifi system( HEOS) into their receivers. Where as Sonos has not licensed their tech to any receiver maker, nor do they make "receivers" let alone support 7.1 or Atmos. so with HEOS you get the best of both worlds: 7.1 and all the goodness a receiver has for the main zone, as well as individual zone control, and syncing across all zones. it is not perfect, nor a anything-to-any-zone solution, but it is serviceable, functional and arguably cost effective as compared to more elaborate solutions.


That sonance amp is a nice 2 channel amp but is not what you need to drive you outside zone. you would want the sonance 1250

edit: I just researched the SR1 system. the amp you specified will drive it. but, dang! it is expensive. I think you could do at least as good, if not better for 1/3 the (list) price. granted, the sonnarray system has some aesthetic perks....
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
yes, the HEOS pre-amp is equivalent to the sonos connect (zone player).

for your outside zone get an 8 to 12 channel amp ( for example: https://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-ma1240a-multi-zone-12-channel-amplifier--300-815) it has a "bus input". You hook up the pre-amp output to one of the bus inputs. you then tell each of the 6 zones ( 6 zones, 2 channels/ zone= 12 channel amp) on the amp which input to look at: bus1, bus 2 or line. The "bus" shares the output from the pre-amp to all the zones switched to that input. Each speaker gets home-run to a speaker terminal.

make sense?

the benefit to HEOS here is that they have incorporated the music-over-wifi system( HEOS) into their receivers. Where as Sonos has not licensed their tech to any receiver maker, nor do they make "receivers" let alone support 7.1 or Atmos. so with HEOS you get the best of both worlds: 7.1 and all the goodness a receiver has for the main zone, as well as individual zone control, and syncing across all zones. it is not perfect, nor a anything-to-any-zone solution, but it is serviceable, functional and arguably cost effective as compared to more elaborate solutions.


That sonance amp is a nice 2 channel amp but is not what you need to drive you outside zone. you would want the sonance 1250

edit: I just researched the SR1 system. the amp you specified will drive it. but, dang! it is expensive. I think you could do at least as good, if not better for 1/3 the (list) price. granted, the sonnarray system has some aesthetic perks....
This is super helpful info, I just checked the Dayton ma1240 and it looks like a solid unit. Very similar in look and capabilities to another multi-zone amp I was looking at: Parasound ZoneMaster 1250 (http://www.parasound.com/1250.php)... so I'm wondering if I could drive all zones/speakers from one of those multi-zone amps?


edit: forgot to ask, when you say hook up the pre-amp output to one of the Bus inputs... you mean the pre-amp output "from the AVR", right? how would this work if I want to play different music in some zones?

BTW, I watched an installation video for the Sonance SR-1 array and I believe it uses only one channel (stereo pair) for all the array (8 speakers), and Magnolia was actually proposing a bigger 1-channel amp ($onance DSP 2-750 MKII) for that outdoor zone

If either the Dayton or Parasound can do the job I could save myself from having to buy that Sonance DSP amp, any pros/cons from DSP vs Class AB amps?
 

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This is super helpful info, I just checked the Dayton ma1240 and it looks like a solid unit. Very similar in look and capabilities to another multi-zone amp I was looking at: Parasound ZoneMaster 1250 (http://www.parasound.com/1250.php)... so I'm wondering if I could drive all zones/speakers from one of those multi-zone amps?


edit: forgot to ask, when you say hook up the pre-amp output to one of the Bus inputs... you mean the pre-amp output "from the AVR", right? how would this work if I want to play different music in some zones?

BTW, I watched an installation video for the Sonance SR-1 array and I believe it uses only one channel (stereo pair) for all the array (8 speakers), and Magnolia was actually proposing a bigger 1-channel amp ($onance DSP 2-750 MKII) for that outdoor zone

If either the Dayton or Parasound can do the job I could save myself from having to buy that Sonance DSP amp, any pros/cons from DSP vs Class AB amps?
answer to question 1: yes, it could. you can use that amp to drive 2 stereo zones, 12 mono zones, some combination there of.

Q2: I was referring to the output of the HEOSpre-amp. but any pre-amp out put will do. if you want to play different music in some zones, you will need to add more pre-amps to the system - pre-amp 1 to zone 1, pre-amp 2 to zone 2, pre amp 3 to bus 1, drives all the other zones set to bus 1 input.

you are correct. the sonnarray system uses a single stereo amp.

yes, I believe the dayton amp can do the job

edit: upon further thought about your question as to different sources in different zones. yes the multi-channel amp can drive all you zones. an amp channel is an amp channel. the issue becomes one of source control / volume control. remember the receiver will be controlling 3 of the zones. about thee only downside is that if you are streaming pandora in zone 2 and someone in zone 3 wants to stream a different pandora station, that may be an issue. also look into the HEOS drive ( 4 x HEOS pre-amp/amps in a single chassis. they also have a HEOS superlink, 4 x pre-amp in a single chassis. looks sharp in a rack mount.
 

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Be sure to have plenty of power for the outdoor speakers. Many of these units allow you to bridge two amps together, doubling the output. Plenty of options, Parasound, Dayton, Audiosource, HTD, to name a few.
 
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