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Discussion Starter #1
I've been doing a lot of reading and research and have come to the conclusion that we need a whole house audio system. Let me provide a little background about us and our habits:


-We have music playing pretty much at all times when we are home. In the morning I listen to sports talk radio in the kitchen on a basic under cabinet radio. My wife is getting ready for work at the same time and listening to either Pandora or saved music on her Samsung Galaxy S3 (no speaker...sounds bad) in the bathroom. When we get home from work music is playing on the Logitech S715i docking station in the kitchen playing either Pandora or music from our iTunes library. The only time it seems that we aren't listening to something is when we are watching TV.


- I am a big sports talk listener (AM radio) and my wife listens to Pandora and music from her library (music like Imagine Dragons, Match Box 20, KOGNOS, U2, etc). I like music but get sick of hearing the same songs over and over. When I listen to music I like music similar to her, 90s alternative, some 80's rock and 60's rock.


- We are in no way music experts. Like I said, my wife sometimes listens to music through her phone (no external speaker or headphones). We probably wouldn't notice much of a difference between inexpensive but good speakers and those that cost $1,000s of dollars.


- We spend a lot of time in our backyard during summer. We have a deck off the back of the house and an above ground pool with another deck. In the past we've always listened to music on the Logitech S715i but would like to run a zone or two outside.



So since radio/music is such a big part of our lives, I think it might be worth the effort to come up with some sort of whole house audio system. I am pretty handy and can handle most projects but need some help with the technical part. Here is some more basic info and some ideas I have.


- We have three tvs:

-56" rear projection Samsung HDTV (about 6 years old) in the family room. This is where we probably watch 50% of our TV. This is also the place where we watch most as a family. Right now I have a LG LHT854 box surround system hooked up to it. With satellite speaker (all speakers are 4 ohms) placed in each of the four corners of the room (cathedral ceilings). It sounds okay but the back two speakers don't normally have any sound coming from them and the system lack base. We also have a PlayStation 3 hooked up to the TV and we usually use this to play DVDs and the kids play video games on it.

-50" plasma Panasonic TV HDTV (bought last fall) in basement. We don't watch very often down here (maybe 10%) but basement was just finished last fall and we spend more time in the family room with fireplace/Christmas tree during winter. I imagine it will get a lot more use when summer comes and it's nice and cool downstairs. I have a Denon AVR-1613 receiver hooked up to the TV and a pair of Polk Audio TSi100 Bookshelf speakers and Polk Audio TSi CS10 Center channel speaker. The sound is good but lacks base and is missing the "surround sound" aspect.

-37" Vizio 720 HDTV (about 5 years old) in master bedroom. My wife and I use this TV about 40% of the time. We usually watch a tv show after the kids are in bed and before we go to bed. We have this tv hooked up to an old DVD player and an old Aiwa CX-NMT520 (very old speaker system) with a couple of old speakers. It does not sound very good but is a little better than the speaker on the tv.


-We always have our Samsung Galaxy S3 phones with us and they would be the most convenient to control any system. We also have a Ipod touch (usually in the LOgitech docking station and an Ipad (usually my son is playing games on it).


- I have four speakers that came with a JVC SP THM505 box surround system. They are only 4ohms so probably of no use.


Ideally, this is what I would like to accomplish:


- Have decent to good surround sound for all three tvs (in order of importance: family room tv, basement tv, master bedroom tv).


-Have a number of zones for music throughout the house. I envision a zone or two in the backyard (maybe one for pool and one for back deck). Maybe a zone in the garage, a zone in our bathroom, a zone in our master bedroom, a zone in the den, a zone in upstairs hall and downstairs, a zone in basement main area, and a zone in my work shop. I'm not sure how the zones would work into the three surround sound areas.


- Running wire would be doable. Basement and first floor would be fairly easy as the basement has a drop ceiling. To run speaker wire to the second floor I could come through attic.


Ideally I'd like a system that doesn't break the bank. Right now we are on a pretty tight budget (may have more flexibility toward the end of the year) so can't spend thousands of dollars. I'm thinking of maybe setting up a central station (whatever that maybe) and then wiring one room at a time as money and time permit.


Thanks for any and all suggestions. I'm still in the learning stage of this process so am open to any advice. Below are some pictures to show what I am working with.


Downstairs Layout



Upstairs Layout (only difference is the open to foyer section...we have a hall in this area and the laundry room built above the front door)



Basement Layout



Backyard Layout
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here are some more pictures:


Back of house



Pool



Basement - Kid's Room/Workout Area



Basement - Part of L-shaped room



Basement - Part of L-shaped room with tv



Workshop



Basement TV



Dining Room



Kitchen and Family Room



Downstairs Hall / Front Door



Den
 

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1. What is your Budget? Please give us a hard number so we can tell you whats possible.
2. Do you need surround sound for each TV?

3. How many separate zones do you want?

4. How many zones do you want playing different things at different times.
(Like if you want to listen to music outside, are you planning to watch a movie in surround sound inside at same time)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


As first glance I would rather focus on improving the basement setup as you already have the makings of a decent setup. Add a subwoofer and surrounds and with that you will have more bass and the surround effect you want.


Maybe for your wife a portable bluetooth speaker. I have a BOOM Swimmer and that thing is great I turn it on and it immediately connects to my phone for pandora or my music what ever I want to listen to. Its waterproof so it makes a great shower speaker and just a small portable speaker I can bring around the house with me when I am cooking down stairs or out on the patio for background music.


Now you can control your Denon AVR-1613 if its connected to the home network with this android app. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.pskiwi.avrremote&hl=en
 

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Get Sonos. Best investment I've made and fits exactly into your situation. Flexible, scalable over time, and consolidates just about every music service and source in your home to a single controller that works on every device in your home from computers, smartphones and tablets. It just works, and works well. Seamless synching of volume and content of two or more zones into multiple groups or individual control of a single zone at your fingertips. It is, imo, the best overall value for return in the whole house audio marketplace.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the response crazyrob.


1. For the surround sound system in the basement, my budget is around $300-350. I understand I need a subwoofer which will run around $200 and then need two back surround speakers. I have no idea on a budget for the rest of the house. Like I said, I will be completing in phases/zones, so it just depends.


2. I don't necessarily need surround sound for all three tvs. I would say definitely the family room and basement tvs though. For the master bedroom just a better sound quality would be appropriate.


3. I would say around 9 zones.

-Pool

- Back deck

- Garage

- Master bath

- Master bedroom

- Den

- Downstairs (kitchen, family room)

-Basement - main area

- Basement - workshop


4. I would imagine that we'd need more than 2 or 3 zones playing different things.


My wife had a cheapy portable speaker (JBL Micro II Ultra-Portable Multimedia Speaker) but it already isn't working (less than a year old).


I could always move the Denon receiver and Polk speakers to the family room tv too if that is a better option.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Gooddoc. I took a glance at Sonos website but can you tell me a bit more about them? How does it connect? Would I still need my Denon receiver? How much does such a system cost (average)? How does it work for tv surround sound?
 

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Given your extensive need for multiple speakers, your need for staying within a budget (who doesn't have that?) and the fact that you have a work shop and skills, DIY seems right up your alley.

http://www.avsforum.com/f/155/diy-speakers-and-subs

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/


You can get TREMENDOUS high-end sound quality for a fraction of store bought speakers. You don't have to hand make all the enclosures if you don't want to, there are flat packs available for most models that use high quality 3/4" MDF and are precision CNC cut. Because the DIY Soundgroup is enthusiast driven (not profit driven), the cost for flat packs and speaker kits is low.


The Fusion series gets rave reviews for their sound quality, and they can be driven by virtually any modestly powered AVR or receiver.
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits/fusion-series-kits.html

+++


Edit: I just saw your need for subs. The 10" sub from Parts Express is generally considered tops in its class for the $100 price, the 12" model is about $130.
http://www.parts-express.com/cat/powered-subwoofers/95
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks wvu80. I really like the idea of diy and saving money (of course). In such a system, how would you envision the system being controller/powered? Would the Denon receiver be the main controller? Or maybe a computer????
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmsmith2032  /t/1521087/need-help-with-a-whole-house-system#post_24441997


Thanks Gooddoc. I took a glance at Sonos website bBosean you tell me a bit more about them? How does it connect? Would I still need my Denon receiver? How much does such a system cost (average)? How does it work for tv surround sound?

You connect a single ethernet cable from your router into one Sonos component and Sonos starts it's own robust wireless network where every Sonos component acts as a wireless repeater, extending the network indefinitely. There are Sonos units with amps to power speakers(connect:amp), units without amps to feed audio into an AVR(connect), and units that have integrated speakers like a Bose unit(play:1, play:3, play:5). Pricing ranges from $199 to $499 per device, with each device representing a zone.


They also sell surround sound components, but I recommend a standard AVR and speakers for TV with a Sonos unit input into the AVR if audio streaming desired, or a separate Sonos zone in that room independent of the AVR.


Any single Sonos component has all the functionality of a 32 zone system, so I would recommend buying their $199 play:1 and see if you like it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvu80  /t/1521087/need-help-with-a-whole-house-system#post_24442008


Given your extensive need for multiple speakers, your need for staying within a budget (who doesn't have that?) and the fact that you have a work shop and skills, DIY seems right up your alley.

http://www.avsforum.com/f/155/diy-speakers-and-subs

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/


You can get TREMENDOUS high-end sound quality for a fraction of store bought speakers. You don't have to hand make all the enclosures if you don't want to, there are flat packs available for most models that use high quality 3/4" MDF and are precision CNC cut. Because the DIY Soundgroup is enthusiast driven (not profit driven), the cost for flat packs and speaker kits is low.


The Fusion series gets rave reviews for their sound quality, and they can be driven by virtually any modestly powered AVR or receiver.
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits/fusion-series-kits.html

+++


Edit: I just saw your need for subs. The 10" sub from Parts Express is generally considered tops in its class for the $100 price, the 12" model is about $130.
http://www.parts-express.com/cat/powered-subwoofers/95

I'm a big fan of DIY, but Sonos is not in competition with speakers per se. It is the underlying tech that makes distributed audio easy and accessible. The two can coexist.


IMO, there is no receiver based whole house audio component that comes close to the ease of use or functionality of Sonos.


I have a Denon 4311 and an Oppo BDP-103D, both with extensive streaming functionality. I've never used either since Sonos is a far superior option.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmsmith2032  /t/1521087/need-help-with-a-whole-house-system#post_24441968


Thanks for the response crazyrob.


1. For the surround sound system in the basement, my budget is around $300-350. I understand I need a subwoofer which will run around $200 and then need two back surround speakers. I have no idea on a budget for the rest of the house. Like I said, I will be completing in phases/zones, so it just depends.


2. I don't necessarily need surround sound for all three tvs. I would say definitely the family room and basement tvs though. For the master bedroom just a better sound quality would be appropriate.


3. I would say around 9 zones.

-Pool

- Back deck

- Garage

- Master bath

- Master bedroom

- Den

- Downstairs (kitchen, family room)

-Basement - main area

- Basement - workshop


4. I would imagine that we'd need more than 2 or 3 zones playing different things.


My wife had a cheapy portable speaker (JBL Micro II Ultra-Portable Multimedia Speaker) but it already isn't working (less than a year old).


I could always move the Denon receiver and Polk speakers to the family room tv too if that is a better option.
1. For your budget I would look at the Bic F12 or Dayton Sub-1500 or Dayton Sub-1200 .

For surrounds I would look at the Polk OWM3 or Polk Audio Monitor 30 Series II (these would be my first choice)


Going with the cheapest recommendations (Sub-1200, and either surrounds I recommended is coming in at) $224 shipped. So with the money saved get some speaker stands for the Monitor 30's to get them off the ground and that would improve sound, these are the cheap ones that I use SANUS SYSTEMS BF-31B Wood Speaker Stands , Still under $300.


This is where I would do anything first

2. Start saving money then!

3. A speaker switcher box might come in handy with this but I haven't seen a 9 speaker switcher only up to 8 and its from Pyle

4. Start saving more and more cause you are going to need serious receiver to do such a thing. The Denon AVR-3313CI Networking Home Theater Receiver with AirPlay and 3 Zone Capacity is $900 shipped alone.



You buy cheap things they don't last forever. Thats the risk you take when you buy cheap things.


Move the Denon and the Polk's to where you will get the most use out of them which appears to be upstairs.



Sonos is a cool system but by the time you get putting just a Play1 speaker in every room you are well over budget
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmsmith2032  /t/1521087/need-help-with-a-whole-house-system/0_50#post_24442019


Thanks wvu80. I really like the idea of diy and saving money (of course). In such a system, how would you envision the system being controller/powered? Would the Denon receiver be the main controller? Or maybe a computer????

I would envision the Denon controlling the various zones, a max of a main listening room and zones 1 and 2. This is not my area of expertise, so I am sure there are others here who could give you better advice.

+++


The nice thing about those DIY Fusion kits I mentioned is that you can build some smaller ones to see what you like, then if you decide to build bigger ones, you can mix and match since the heart of the system uses the SEOS horn, and the Compression Driver for many of those SEOS designs are very sweet sounding DNA-205's which allow you to timbre match different sizes of speakers.


I'll tell you something else which may be strange, or it may be right up your alley given the way you and your wife listen to radio. I have a set of Bose 301's and a Fusion SEOS 10's I had in the same room just to experiment with. When I leave the room, the Bose 301's were harder to hear and lost all of their clarity right away, they sounded very stuffy. The Fusions were crystal clear even two or three rooms away. Yes they were turned up moderately loud, but so were the Bose. The Fusion SEOS have a clarity of sound without having to be blasted, if that makes any sense. These sound good and clear if the speakers are (for instance) in the living room, and you are listening in the kitchen.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyrob425  /t/1521087/need-help-with-a-whole-house-system#post_24442138


Sonos is a cool system but by the time you get putting just a Play1 speaker in every room you are well over budget

I've been building my Sonos system for years. I started with 3 zones and now have 7 zones. Started with 2 Connect:amps powering Kitchen and Dining room ceiling speakers, and a Connect in the family room feeding into my AVR. Then over the years I've added outdoor speakers in the backyard powered by a connect:amp and Play:5's in my main bathroom, bedroom, and garage.


I couldn't have afforded to do it all at once, but it was more than worth the patience. Based on my experience, I'm a huge Sonos advocate...In case you couldn't tell.



Also, the biggest advantage of Sonos Imo is not even the hardware, it's the fact it enables for music exploration in a way I've never experienced before. And that's what it all about, the music.


Well, that's it for me in this conversation. I doubt I can contribute anything more to the discussion. I don't want to crowd out other opinions and I'm way to passionate about what Sonos has done to my music experience to be balanced.


To the OP, good luck with whatever way you choose to go with this.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooddoc  /t/1521087/need-help-with-a-whole-house-system/0_50#post_24442340

I've been building my Sonos system for years.

I couldn't have afforded to do it all at once, but it was more than worth the patience. Based on my experience, I'm a huge Sonos advocate...In case you couldn't tell.



Also, the biggest advantage of Sonos Imo is not even the hardware, it's the fact it enables for music exploration in a way I've never experienced before. And that's what it all about, the music.


Well, that's it for me in this conversation. I doubt I can contribute anything more to the discussion. I don't want to crowd out other opinions and I'm way to passionate about what Sonos has done to my music experience to be balanced.

Sorry for snipping your original post, I just wanted to highlight some important points.


I think you have a lot to add to the discussion, because you have been there, done that. We all learn from your opinions, your passion, and your experience. Thanks.


+++


Mr. Smith: Have you been to this section of the AVS forums?
http://www.avsforum.com/f/36/home-a-v-distribution
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks everyone for the suggestions so far. Like I said I'm not set on one specific option....just trying to keep an open mind and learn. I do like the idea of building some of this myself.....I get a great sense of satisfaction out of building things myself and saving money. On the other hand, I like the ease of use of the Sonos system....I think it would be easy for my family to use. It sounds like everyone agrees though that I need to finish building the surround system based on the Denon receiver and Polk speakers and go from there.


A do have a couple of follow-up questions:


1. If I go the DIY route, would a speaker selector switch like this: ( http://www.monoprice.com/Product?seq...at=2&p_id=8230 ). Would this work well to create 8 zones and still use the Denon receiver? I would imagine even if this would work though, I'd be limited in the ways I could use the controller. For example, I wouldn't be able to turn the receiver on remotely. Also, I would have to go to the speaker selector switch to change zones. I would think this would be the biggest limiting factor with the diy route.


2. Is there a way to use a computer as a receiver? We have two PCs and one laptop in our den.


3. Are any of the suggestions going to become dated and not work eventually? Where is the technology headed when it comes to whole house systems?


4. Could I make wooden stands for the Polk Audio TSi100 Bookshelf speakers? Would it be better to move them to the back/rear and buy something else for the two front speakers?


5. Each Sonos speaker is $199 minimum, correct? How many speakers do you have in each zone? For example, how many speakers would I need in our master bedroom? How many in our kitchen/family room area?
 

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I too will chime in for Sonos. Do yourself a favor and check them out. Here are some of their features; all their components can be controlled by Android/IOS devices. One device connects to your router, everything else only needs ac power. They have all in one units (3 different sizes with the amp and speakers built in like a table top radio) a self amplified unit the has speaker terminals, a unit that connects to an existing receiver and a sound bar. You can add components over time. Say for instance you have a table top model in the kitchen, just bring it outside and plug it in. To me for whole house audio, it's a no brainer.
 

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1. You might be able to turn on the receiver from the App I told you about. You will certainly be able to select sources. However you will have to select the speakers needed on your switcher cause it is likely that you will not be wanting to use all speakers with the switcher at the same time and even less likely that your receiver will be able to support that. Connect your denon AVR-1613 to your network and download that app I told you about above. Your S3 will become a remote. The Denon AVR-1613 when connected to the internet can run Pandora. You will be able to control the 1613 through your S3 as it plays pandora. Honestly you will end up giving yourself a headache on doing it yourself and spending almost as much as you would on Sonos sytem


2. Not really as your AMP is needed to power the speakers. If your receiver has Airplay or bluetooth, maybe. That means your computer need to support such. I personally have an Apple TV and when that was connected to my receiver I could select the AppleTV input and then stream music from my ipad to the appletv which would then put it through to speakers. Now with AirPlay on some receivers you can connect using that. It would mean though that you need to use iTunes on your computer for music. Your computers are more sources than they are receivers though.


3. Hardwiring doesn't get old.


4. Yes if you want to build stands. When getting the height of them you want the tweeters at seated ear level for best performance. You could use the TSi100 as surrounds but then you will need to either get TSi-Series/Monitor-Series speakers to match your CS10 center OR buy all new 3 front speakers and you will blow past your budget of $300. Aside from the speaker stands which you want to build yourself my suggestion, my recommendation is the cheapest option to get a quality surround sound. There are cheaper options sure but its not going to sound as good and when you want good audio you are going to end up spending more money in the long run. I firmly stand by my recommendation to finish off your surround sound system and keeping your small budget in mind. I could recommend cheaper speakers as surrounds but its not going to sound as well and your will only be saving a few dollars which in the long run isn;t worth it.

Pleas sincerly look at my recommendation to finish your surround sound. Its rare that people in this forum recommend something that is a perfect fit for you for under your budget.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks! Here are the specs on my receiver by the way:


Number Of Channels 5

Stereo RMS Power (watts) 75

THD in Stereo 0.08 %

Frequency Bandwidth (stereo) 20-20k Hz

FM Sensitivity 12.8 dBf

HD Radio Tuner No

On-Screen Display Thru HDMI

Auto Speaker Calibration Audyssey MultEQ

HDMI Standby Pass-through Yes

Composite Video Conversion No

S-Video Conversion No

Component Video Conversion No

HDMI to HDMI Upconversion No

Internet-ready Yes

Apple AirPlay Built in

App Remote Control Yes

Bluetooth-compatible No

USB port for iPod/iPhone Yes

DLNA Certified Audio

Photo

Multibrand Remote Control No

Learning Remote No

LCD Remote No

Width (inches) 17-1/8

Height (inches) 5-15/16

Depth (inches) 13-3/8

Weight (pounds) 18.1

Parts Warranty 2 Years

Labor Warranty 2 Years

Multi-room Audio--Video

Powered Multi-room Audio Output No

Preamp Multi-room Audio Output No

Multi-room Video No

Multi-room HDMI Output No

Surround Processing

Dolby Digital DD, TrueHD, DD+,

DTS DTS, HD, HDMA

Inputs & Outputs

Phono Input No

Audio-Video Inputs 5

Audio-only Inputs 1

S-Video Inputs None

S-Video Outputs None

S-Video Monitor Outputs None

Component Video Inputs None

Component Video Monitor Outputs None

Optical Digital Inputs 1

Coaxial Digital Inputs 1

Optical Digital Outputs None

Coaxial Digital Outputs None

HDMI Inputs 5

HDMI Monitor Outputs 1

Subwoofer Outputs 1

Multi-Channel Analog Input No

Multi-channel Preamp Output No

Main Speaker Output Pairs 1

Main Speaker Terminals Posts

Ethernet Port 1

USB Connections 1 Front

Removable Power Cord No


It does have Apple's AirPlay too.
 

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I am aware with the receiver you have and its specs.


But trying to power all 8 channels of your speaker switcher through your receiver is a large task. Heck I don't even know if your proposed switcher supports running multiple speaker operation at the same time. The switchers at best buy only allow you to use one speaker set at a time.
 
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