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newbie charity case needs help in designing surround sound system

1011 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  rlj5242
I've been a lurker for quite some time here as I have been trying to educate myself on various things--you guys are great.

I am hoping to get some good advice on setting up a surround sound system and additional audio within/outside the house. I am in the process of a remodel which has opened up a family room/kitchen as well as building a deck. Upon completion, I will purchase an LCD bigscreen (another post!!) and want to set up a surround sound system. What I would like to do is to have the surround sound system (probably 5 speakers) for the tv and also have the ability to utilize the same receiver/cd player/etc. to power audio throughout the house (probably an additional 4-6 speakers). I would like to use the two main receivers from the surround sound system along with additional speakers to be installed in the kitchen/living room/and outside by the deck. I have looked at some links here and various other websites and am completely overwhelmed.

Short story long with my questions--my goal is to have a single system running both the surround sound system and whole house audio (including outside):

1. First of all, is this possible?

2. It would be great if it was a dual zone system so I could let the kids watch tv inside while we listen to music outside--but I understand this may significantly jack up the cost--so this is a would like to have and not a must have.

3. Can I get a separate volume control for the ouside speakers so that if we are playing music inside early or late, I won't piss off the neighbors?

4. Is there any additional pre-wiring I should do since the walls will be open?

All comments/thoughts would be appreciated.
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1. Very much possible.

2. Yes, getting a dual zone system will really bump up the price of your receiver.

3. That is possible and usually available on these dual zone systems. Do you want a volume control on a key pad or knob outside or do you want to control it via remote control from outside. You need to answer these questions before wiring and buying parts.

4. See #3. You have to design your system based on how you will use it.

I'm still in the planning stages of something similar. A music system in a few rooms of the house as well as the back porch. The main controller will be in the theater room with the rest of the equipment. That gives me access to my DirecTV receivers to feed the XM music channels to the system. I'm also planning on putting a network music player so I can listen to my CD collection as well. I picked up a couple of Zapco/BSG 6 channel amps (30w/channel) from Ebay that can power each pair of speakers. I haven't decided on volume controls but it will probably consist of an IR target in each room. I'll use a remote operated attenuator on each pair of speakers as well as a switching system so I can choose between multiple sources. Smarthome dot com and Parts Express have a lot of equipment that will help you decide what to do.

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Thanks for the quick response. Will I need separate amps for each pair of speakers--or did I misunderstand your comments? As far as the outside volume control, unless they make some that are waterproof, I would envision the exterior speakers volume control to be by the door going outside. Would a multi-room receiver, somthing like the Yamaha RX-V659, resolve my issues.

I realize these questions may seem pretty basic. I think I needed to be treated like a 10-year old in explaining how this will work although my 7-year old probably understands more about this than I. LOL


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Separate amps for each zone will allow me to play a different source in each zone at the same time. That makes it much more complicated. If you want a single source into multple zones, then it will be much simpler. I'd just pick up a cheap/used stereo amp/receiver to power everything.

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