AVS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,


I am a noob when it comes to wiring up the house for audio. I am technically savvy, but there is too much information out there -- I tend to develop "paralysis by analysis", so I am asking people (you) to help me clear things up. I don't want to ask a local pro, because I'm suspicious they might try to sell me something I don't need. So here is my situation:


My wife would like to have a multi-zone audio setup in the house. 3 zones: The living room/playroom (two rooms, but same source). The deck (outdoors), and the kitchen. I would like the capability to expand to a fourth zone and more (because knowing my wife, she will want more once she "gets into it"). I would like to be able to play music from our individual iTunes librairies, as well as online services (Pandora, spotify, etc.), and internet feeds (i.e. youtube, or an affiliates website, i.e. ABC, CBS, NBC, etc), my wife wants to be able to listen to the TV in the kitchen in the morning. I figure if I can get to navigate to a site online, the audio can come through the in-wall speakers, and the pic will be on her tablet or laptop.


What I am envisioning is a Media Server (i.e. Plex) that handles all the incoming sources (I would have it attached to a NAS for the iTunes librairies), and it would have the internet access to provide the source streams mentioned above, which we could control from our smartphones/tablets. (This may not be a realistic idea though, that's one of the reasons I'm asking).


I had an installer come out and give me a quote, and he recommended a setup that calls for 3 amps (he recommended Sonos, Denon HeOS or Yamaha Multicast R-N602), one for each zone, which are then connected to wired speakers in the various zones.


Is this an appropriate setup, or could I so something with a Multi-Channel amp, such as the HTD Lync 6 or Dayton Acoustic MA1240a, which seems to cost less over all.


I hope I am stating my concerns clearly, and not muddying the water.


Thanks in advance,


E
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Okay, I will jump on this as a fan of Sonos.

Sonos makes stand-alone speakers or "amps" that connect to in-wall speakers. The great thing about Sonos is that it manages the whole ecosystem. By that I mean it will mange all your online accounts to various music places, as well as connect to your NAS for local itunes/mp3 music. No other software or hardware needed.

They have deals running right now on "Play 1" their simplest all in 1 speaker. It could help you get your feet wet and check it out.

When I built my house I ran speaker wire to every room and outside. Sonos has allowed me to slowly build up the system. I am currently up to 6 zones. I used "Sonos Connects", that are not amplified as I have a 12ch AMP already (6 zones).

You will need a computer, smart phone, or a tablet to control the system though. Non of the units have local control besides volume/mute.

PS, If you go the Connect or Connect:Amp route, you don't need to co-locate all the units, they can be located in each room (the advantage there is each unit also then offers a local input for in-room sources). Mine are all co-located in the basement, but I did run a long RCA pair to one source (An antenna tuner so I can re-broadcast audio for local sports).

Hope this helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Oh, you asked about cost. Its why I have a Dayton 12ch amp. 6 connects + Dayton Amp was cheaper then 6 Connect:Amps.

But don't worry about that, the ability to expand as needed I think is a much better benefit of a Sonos type of system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Do you have speaker wires and volume controls in place already? How you are going to control the sources is one thing (i.e. Sonos app on smartphone or tablet), but how you are going to control the volume is another key question. You could not simply hook up a 12 channel amp and Sonos Connects if you don't have a way of regulating volume. Sonos Amp units would allow you to control volume from a smart device, but as the above response indicates they are more expensive typically.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
You could not simply hook up a 12 channel amp and Sonos Connects if you don't have a way of regulating volume. Sonos Amp units would allow you to control volume from a smart device, but as the above response indicates they are more expensive typically.
Sonos Connects regulate the volume too. The Dayton Audio Amp even has auto sensing channels, so it shuts off the channel when the Sonos is "paused" to conserve power.

Your assumption sounded logical... I never even thought of that before, even when I originally ordered them that this would not be the case. Wow, guess I got lucky.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Sonos Connects regulate the volume too. The Dayton Audio Amp even has auto sensing channels, so it shuts off the channel when the Sonos is "paused" to conserve power.

Your assumption sounded logical... I never even thought of that before, even when I originally ordered them that this would not be the case. Wow, guess I got lucky.
Thank you for correcting me and my apologies! Of all the research I've done on this stuff, I did not realize that the Connects allowed volume to be trimmed! That's great, and something I will likely take advantage of. Do you have the Dayton Audio amp? Which one specifically? I'm leaning towards getting one of those over some of the other options as they seem like great bang for the buck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Do you have the Dayton Audio amp? Which one specifically?
Yes, I have the Dayton Audio 1240a.

http://www.daytonaudio.com/index.php/ma1240-multi-zone-12-channel-amplifier.html

I purchased it from Parts Express. They still carry it:
https://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-ma1240a-multi-zone-12-channel-amplifier--300-815

I see P/E carries a Class D version now, the 1260. I am no Amp expert. People like "D" amps, I have no issues whatsoever with my model though.

https://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-ma1260-multi-zone-12-channel-amplifier-60wpc--300-8150
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Does Multi-zones = Multiple amps? Short Answer...Yes!

In a roundabout way, you have answered my question -- I do need a separate amp for each zone. Somehow, I figured with the level of technology out there, you could have a single box that sources the signal and can send different signals to different zones simultaneously (and allows you to control volume individually). I'm sure it's out there, but probably definitely out of my price range.


Thank you.


Okay, I will jump on this as a fan of Sonos.

Sonos makes stand-alone speakers or "amps" that connect to in-wall speakers. The great thing about Sonos is that it manages the whole ecosystem. By that I mean it will mange all your online accounts to various music places, as well as connect to your NAS for local itunes/mp3 music. No other software or hardware needed.

They have deals running right now on "Play 1" their simplest all in 1 speaker. It could help you get your feet wet and check it out.

When I built my house I ran speaker wire to every room and outside. Sonos has allowed me to slowly build up the system. I am currently up to 6 zones. I used "Sonos Connects", that are not amplified as I have a 12ch AMP already (6 zones).

You will need a computer, smart phone, or a tablet to control the system though. Non of the units have local control besides volume/mute.

PS, If you go the Connect or Connect:Amp route, you don't need to co-locate all the units, they can be located in each room (the advantage there is each unit also then offers a local input for in-room sources). Mine are all co-located in the basement, but I did run a long RCA pair to one source (An antenna tuner so I can re-broadcast audio for local sports).

Hope this helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
In a roundabout way, you have answered my question -- I do need a separate amp for each zone. Somehow, I figured with the level of technology out there, you could have a single box that sources the signal and can send different signals to different zones simultaneously (and allows you to control volume individually). I'm sure it's out there, but probably definitely out of my price range.


Thank you.
I would check out a distributed amp style system like A-BUS. It uses cat cable to distribute the audio from a central hub and utilizes keypad amps to drive the speakers for that zone. So, no central power house amp for distributing the audio; just a small hub to redirect it to each zone where a small keypad amp drives the speakers.

The reason I personally like this strategy is that I wanted an extensible system where anyone could control the system from the in-wall mounted keypads (I just put them next to the existing light switches in each zone) or remote control (I integrated the harmony elite remote to be able to control the system ad well as all my other electronics). The system is super easy to expand as well.

I used all Russound for my audio system but there are other manufacturers of A-BUS components that all should work seamlessly together (channel vision is another one).

And in terms of price, it's relatively inexpensive compared to a system like Sonos. I made a 4 zone system for about $1K. You are also free to use your own speaker components which gives you a little more flexibility in terms of customizing your system to fit your needs. I was even able to make a subwoofer zone for the whole house (ranch style house with sub centrally located) using a crossover low pass filter. So, like I said, very extensible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
I have a 1240 amp and then use apple express or Apple TV as source for each channel. We can AirPlay from phone or computer about anything and control volume on phone or computer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
154 Posts
Sonos all the way! It's the most intuitive, user friendly system you can go with, but you pay for it.

I designed and installed my whole AV setup in our new house. 2500' of speaker wire with 14 in ceiling speakers and 4 outdoor speakers.

Apple airplay is an alternative, but know its limits. Dropouts can be a problem, it also has an no ability to "link" zones in party mode.

My system -
In ceiling speakers 8" from htd.com $80/pair
2 Amps - 12 channel by 50w episode 70a -$350 off eBay
Sonos - 6 connects ~$250 off craigslist

Audio rack - free off craigslist
Power strips - ~$50 a piece at Zoro

So for ~$2500 I have a super simple to use system that my non tech savy wife figured out in less than a minute.

AirPlay is a viable, cheaper option, but it's not that much cheaper of your score on Craigslist. Also go in ceiling speakers, don't do the "play" units. You'll get better sound with the in ceiling and they won't be "visible".

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,299 Posts
So, each Sonos connect is $350? If you had two speakers in say 6 rooms, that'd be $2,100 just for the connects, and that doesn't include wiring or amps?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
So, each Sonos connect is $350? If you had two speakers in say 6 rooms, that'd be $2,100 just for the connects, and that doesn't include wiring or amps?
Yeah you pay extra for Sonos, but their software is fantastic. Also the ability for the Units to form their own mesh network if hard wiring to network is not possible. I have had my units for a few years now and they update as Sonos adds features, and its all automated, its not like I need to download and do it myself.

The ability to group zones (party mode?) and the fact that each Sonos box is its own source player makes it great too. Also Sonos Connects (& amps) have a local line in too, taking in that old media too. :) The local line in then can be used by any other zone too. Show me that from another system.

I have mine all collocated; a friend has a mix of Sonos Amps, Play5, Play3, and Play1s throughout his house. Seamless music, perfectly in sync. (He uses also uses a SonosAmp + Soundbar + SonosSub for a pretty nice living room surround setup too.

I have no proof of this, but I think the online sources also limit there commercials when going though Sonos. Songza has never played one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,866 Posts
The local line in then can be used by any other zone too. Show me that from another system.
Yeah, that's a feature of most of the "zone player" streamer solutions (Sonos, NuVo Player, Denon HEOS, etc). Many traditional centralized WHA systems allow for local inputs via cat5e. And worst case, a cat5e cable can easily carry an analog audio source back to the central closet for any system...
 
  • Like
Reactions: RBalwinski

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
To me, these make more sense than the Sonos, but you have to add network cable for the controllers. For $2,000, you get the ability to do six rooms in stereo, and that includes the amps.
Yeah, but I am confused by sources here. You get 6 inputs. Looks like they have access to your local MP3 library. That's good, but how about online services? Do yo want to tie up a cable box with a music channel? I looked at this system too, and was very tempted because it had keypads and my house is wired for them (I ran enough wire in my house to keep it tied down in a storm :) ).

I love the look of keypads... but I also have learned to love to control the system from my phone, and I think the keypads would just get dusty now. I do like that they have an phone interface and programmer though. http://www.htd.com/Products/mid-level-whole-house-audio/GW-SL1

Question is the local "zone source" only available by plugging into the keypad? I like the Intercom feature. Not a bad choice.
http://www.htd.com/site/lync/lyncpad_moredetails.jpg

I will say since I have access to online sources in Sonos, my local collection gets played about 10% of the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,866 Posts
To me, these make more sense than the Sonos, but you have to add network cable for the controllers. For $2,000, you get the ability to do six rooms in stereo, and that includes the amps.
But doesn't include any sources... Add say two Sonos Connect units and you're at $2700. Six Connect:Amp units would be $3000 - and that assumes you need exactly 6. That also gets a single-app solution for the whole system. No in-room keypads, though - if Sonos would just do a modern, small touchscreen they'd have it all. Russound and NuVo both have keypads for their zone players (Russound has an expensive, but full-featured, touchscreen, NuVo has a simple on/off/volume/source selector available).

One of the big benefits of the zone player setups is the ability to buy exactly the number of zones you need, and there's no big "cliff" of expense when you want zone #7 , for example. It also allows you to buy a few zones at a time - the Connect:Amp (unlike some of the competitors) is 4-ohm stable, so you can easily share two rooms on one zone to get started - and add more units over time as budget or usage expands...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
... if Sonos would just do a modern, small touchscreen they'd have it all.
Well if there was no budget. You could just put an Ipad Mini in the wall in each room, Always on, powered through a fancy wall-plate connector that 3rd parties make. But now I am dreaming past my budget. I did see that in a show home this past year, it was pretty fantastic looking.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rgonyer
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top