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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking into in-wall volume controllers for in-ceiling speakers. Researching this I came across some questions:


1) Some claim (significantly) reduced sound quality. Is this a concern? If so which brands are good/best?


2) It seems the IR part needs power at the controller. I plan to run an Ethernet cable to each controller. I think this will be enough to run the IR signal back to the central location and also provide power from the central location (rather than locally with a DC power adapter). Are there any concerns with such a setup?


3) For instance, the monoprice Prod # 10221 says "Built-in single-band (38khz +/-2khz) IR repeater". Does this cover pretty much all IR signals for A/V equipment or could this be a concern?


4) Do you have any in-wall speaker volume controllers with IR that you can recommend?
 

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1. I'm not really a fan of VC's for convenience reasons, but I can recommend Niles in general for volume controls

2. Cat Cable will be fine for LV power and IR

3. Yes, 38kHz is the band you need for all of your devices.

4. I have never used a VC with IR, but if I were to do so I would probably source the Niles EVC-100.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
1. I'm not really a fan of VC's for convenience reasons, but I can recommend Niles in general for volume controls

Initially I also did not like the idea of wall controls too much. However, it seems more cumbersome chasing for remote controls and/or starting an app on my phone/tablet. Also it helps with guests who want to adjust the volume.


How do you control the volume? Are you doing it strictly from a remote? Also do you have the amplifier in the room where the speakers are or in a central location?
 

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Initially I also did not like the idea of wall controls too much. However, it seems more cumbersome chasing for remote controls and/or starting an app on my phone/tablet. Also it helps with guests who want to adjust the volume.


How do you control the volume? Are you doing it strictly from a remote? Also do you have the amplifier in the room where the speakers are or in a central location?
We typically install systems in which the amplifier is installed remotely and controlled via app, remote or touch screen. The downside to a VC system isn't the inconvenience of controlling the volume when you are in the room in which it is playing, it is controlling the volume in multiple rooms at the same time. Preparing for a party, turning on music in multiple rooms when working around the house, or running around the house turning down zones when you realize you left them on unintentionally.

Not a big problem, just not the type of systems we prefer to sell when we install new systems, or update older systems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
...The downside to a VC system isn't the inconvenience of controlling the volume when you are in the room in which it is playing, it is controlling the volume in multiple rooms at the same time....

Thanks, I can see that. In my case zones are mostly limited to rooms -> different people -> different music. Only in the kitchen + living room + backyard the same source might be playing but mostly people watch movies/sports/do karaoke in the living room, chat in the kitchen and listen to music in the backyard.


That actually brings up another question. Do you have the scenario where people want to play music (wirelessly) from their mobile device (phone/tablet) through the speakers? If so how do you integrate that into the system where all sources are centralized?
 

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You can always ditch the volume controls in favor of smart keypads which can control your sources and select your sources.

The HTD system, for example, gives you keypads with source select and volume control. No hunting for a remote to do anything unless you are changing up the music.
 

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Thanks, I can see that. In my case zones are mostly limited to rooms -> different people -> different music. Only in the kitchen + living room + backyard the same source might be playing but mostly people watch movies/sports/do karaoke in the living room, chat in the kitchen and listen to music in the backyard.


That actually brings up another question. Do you have the scenario where people want to play music (wirelessly) from their mobile device (phone/tablet) through the speakers? If so how do you integrate that into the system where all sources are centralized?
So in your scenario, where each room might have someone listening to different music how are they selecting that music and directing the source to the zone they are in? Conversely, if they are simply hooked to separate sources, do you have the ability to play the same source through the whole house? This is great for when you are cleaning the house or having a party.

Regarding wireless, our systems all use some sort of matrixing controller with streaming audio functionality or Sonos. Sonos allows playing directly from a device wirelessly. Most of the other options our customers use Spotify, Pandora, etc. in conjunctions with their itunes library, but even that isn't all that common anymore. They simply mirror their library in Spotify and use ILO itunes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So in your scenario, where each room might have someone listening to different music how are they selecting that music and directing the source to the zone they are in? Conversely, if they are simply hooked to separate sources, do you have the ability to play the same source through the whole house? This is great for when you are cleaning the house or having a party.

Regarding wireless, our systems all use some sort of matrixing controller with streaming audio functionality or Sonos. Sonos allows playing directly from a device wirelessly. Most of the other options our customers use Spotify, Pandora, etc. in conjunctions with their itunes library, but even that isn't all that common anymore. They simply mirror their library in Spotify and use ILO itunes.

Initially I was thinking of just a VC knob + IR and changing sources (several roku, a couple streaming boxes for local music/video server, etc) via remote. However, I now think a system like HTD (kind of expensive) or something like from monoprice.com is the way to go, i.e. you can change sources at the wall control or a remote if you don't want to get up. What the monoprice solution is missing is an app which would be really nice to have (I changed my mind on this, especially seeing what other possibilities an app brings).


Looking at the newer Roku and Sonos it seems they can stream music directly from a phone or tablet. I assume that works through their app accessing the phones music library. So I guess I would just have a few Roku or Sonos Connect boxes setup in the central location and connected to a audio matrix switch. A phone or tablet will then connect and play music stored on the device through WiFi -> Roku/Sonos -> Matrix -> ceiling speakers.
 
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