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I have an On-Q Legrand Lyriq system circa 2009 in my house (most of the components are on the Legrand site here ). It has two inputs panels (analog), which use Cat5e to go to a central distribution panel in the basement, which in turn uses Cat5e to run to each of the zone keypads.


Each of the keypads is an amplifier. From there, there is speaker wire run up to the two speakers in each zone. This is annoying, because from what I can tell most installs would have run speaker wire all the way down to a central location for a real amp, instead of these keypad amps.


It's a 4-input, 5-zone (expandable to 8) system.


What I don't like:
  • Whether it's the little 6" round speakers or the crappy keypad amps, or both, it sounds terrible. Flat, no body, distorts if you even go to the high side of moderate volume. I'm not an audiophile and I am cost-conscious, but these things sound terrible.
  • Inputs are only analog and have long runs from the input panels to the distro panel/keypads. There's often noise on the line.
  • You have to use the keypads to select an input and change volume for the room. We live in a smartphone world, and for better or worse our family is 100% bought into Apple. We use AirPlay all the time; it would be nice to be able to completely control your listening experience from iOS, rather than having to select your music on iOS, then get up and walk around to wherever your zone's keypad is to turn it on, select the right input for the AirPlay receiver, and fix the volume.


So, if I want better sound and want to be able to pipe sound into a room using nothing more than my phone, what are my options? I envision pressing the AirPlay icon on some app on my iPhone (Music app, Spotify, Pandora, whatever), and seeing a list of all the zones in the house -- kind of like one AirPlay receiver for each room. Is that possible? Or should I be investigating some system like Sonos?


In terms of improving the sound quality, I think I'm severely limited by the fact that I don't have speaker wire runs to a central location -- they only go to the current keypad locations. So I'm not sure how I would install a better amp in the basement where the current distro panel is, because I don't have the speaker wire accessible down there. This is probably crazy but I have to ask...would it be possible to hijack the Cat5e and use it as speaker wire instead? Four wires per channel?


Thanks for any tips you can offer.
 

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The new products from TiO, mostly the StealthStream, would be a good fit - but I'm not sure these are even shipping yet...

http://www.tiohome.com/products/stealthstream-1


Otherwise, you could look at the Digi-5 setup that would probably be at least a sound quality upgrade from your current system, although it doesn't change the control methods.

http://www.atonhome.com/DH44Router.html
http://www.xantech.com/Audio/AVDistribution/DIGI-5/D5SHK4/


But you should probably start by determining if your audio quality issues are caused by the system or the speakers. If you have any stereo amp / AVR available, connect it to the in-ceiling speakers via the keypad location (splice some speaker wire to reach it in the room) and see how that sounds... Swapping out speakers might do wonders - check to see where the problem is.



Jeff
 
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