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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was referred here by some folks over at the general speaker section. 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.


I am pretty handy and have lots of tools so I think building speakers might be a good option. However, I know very little about audio, speakers and speaker building so I'm looking for some help.

Thanks for any and all suggestions. I'm still in the learning stage of this process so am open to any advice. Here are some pictures:


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)



Downstairs Layout



Backyard Layout



Basement Layout



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



Den



Downstairs Hall/Front Door



Dining Room



Kitchen and Family Room
 

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You've gotten a bit of views and no replies.


In part it's because you're asking for a task with on easy solution. There are TONS of ways to tackle this and there are tons of complications.


It's too much for me to even list really, but I'll just give my own way I would tackle the problem.


I would get a Dock for the bathroom. It's a bathroom.... Not really worth spending tons of money in my personal opinion you don't live there. So I'd get a $100 or less dock for the bathroom rather than use your phone Speakers.


Next issue is your living room/basement. This is personal preference but choose a main area. I'd personally choose Basement. It means less noise can escape towards neighbors. I live in a similar type of area and it feels like other houses are far away, but I've left my house a good 5 times so far in the last 2-3 weeks to see if I can hear my music from the street. If it was upstairs I definitely could, but luckily it's downstairs in my basement. I still listen quieter than I used to though to ensure I dont' get complaints from neighbors. Whether you choose Basement or Living Room, pick one and sink the majority of your time to this location. You don't have a budget but if you like DIY speakers then grab yourself the Fusion 6 setup. 4 Fusion 6s, and the Horizontal Center channel to match. If you want to purchase Speakers, I'd just stick with the Polk's you listen to already and maybe upgrade them. Polk Monitor 70 Towers can be had at 150 each on sale, center channel is $100 usually, and a pair of surrounds can be picked up at $100 as well.


I'd also invest in GOOD headphones for your wife and you. I'd start your wife off on some ok entry level headphones first though. I've read online many times about guys buying their wives/GFs expensive headphones only to have them repeatedly ruined so make sure she keeps them well first.


For the "multi zone" thing. I wouldn't do it. I'd have 1 receiver running each location rather than 1 receiver running ALL locations. It'll be more hassle in my PERSONAL opinion to use 1 receiver to use with multiple TVs/locations than to just use 1 receiver for each location. There is just 0 way you can make what you want to work with 1 receiver. 3 Surround sound locations doesn't work on 1 receiver. I'm pretty sure (I don't really use the multi zone although I have it as an option on my receiver), that multi zone is for 2 channel sound without a television. You can't run multiple televisions off 1 receiver unless they are showing the exact same content.


You say you're on a tight budget as well which means that using an expensive multizone 11 channel receiver probably won't be cost effective. They are 1000+ USD. Instead, pick up 2-3 7 channel receivers with preouts for 300-350 each. You'll be able to control each receiver with your phone as well which is a plus.




Not sure how to word this part, but you seem to have an idea that has went out o control. You started off with wanting better sound quality, and moved fro there to "I want Audio all over my house!!!!!" but yet aren't an audiophile/care about audio quality much. It seems like you're trying to make an extremely complicated setup when in fact what you really need are a setup for each location.
 

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Yes.


I NEVER use the Multi Zone setting on my receiver as I have no need to do so but here are some potential pitfalls I can see from using it. First, volume. How do you change volume? You're not in the same room as the receiver, so the easiest way to do so would be to use your phone. I've done this with receivers and it's OK sometimes. If you aren't connected to the Wifi, Disconnect, phone dies, etc. though i can be annoying. I can control my system through my phone but RARELY do it.

Also, many receivers have the ability to send a signal to the speakers, but you still need another amplifier. Considering how expensive multiple zone receivers are, are you going to further add to that cost with external amplifiers? This is supposed to be a lower cost setup after all. The receiver you would need would cost you 1.5k+ to only use 1 receiver to power all 3 floors and it'd be a TON of hassle.

Then you have the next issue which is the source.

Lets say you did use only ONE receiver to power the whole house (which is literally just insane but I'll still humor it). Where is all of your media located? You say your wife typically uses her phone. So when she wants to listen to music in the shower, or listen to music in some other area of your house, she'd have to plug her phone into the receiver first, hit play, then walk to the area of the house she intended to listen to it at. In general, a receiver is never "wife friendly". Women just don't want to learn to use such things. My sister is pretty tech savvy and using my receiver which has 0 zones enabled still took time to get used to.


For a LOT of your areas, using a Receiver just doesn't make sense. The bathroom or other small areas it just makes more sense to dock your phone into a premade system and hit play. We had a receiver setup at my fraternity house for our bathroom with multi channel speakers and I can pretty much guarantee that while it was GREAT for taking a shower, considering you're on a budget again, the effort it takes just isn't worth it.


You're better off with keeping the systems separate. Much less hair pulling. What I'd personally do is buy 3 receivers for Basement, Living Room and Bedroom. Put them at your main HDTVs.

I'd make sure the receivers are 7.2 and I'd probably choose Onkyo brand (because it's cheaper usually).

For the basement a receiver is hooked up tot the HDTV. Then I'd run wires to the "workout area". I'd do some work to install terminals into the wall there to allow 3.5 MM input (headphone jack input/auxiliary cable) so you could hook an IPOD/PHONE there to listent o music in that area. Obviously you'd have to run speaker wire there too/install speakers. Some cheap inwall speakers will probably be more than enough for a simple Workout Area.

Then For the Living room same idea. HDTV hooked up to Receiver with a Zone setup for outdoor use.


What you need to do though is setup a receiver/system now so you are used to the setup. Pick a location and start. Don't go all in and try to set it up all at once. Start and expand.
 

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I'm with tential, where a centralized system might make sense is if you are listening to the same content everywhere at all times (think department store muzak) or if you have a large collection of media on a server somewhere that you want available to everyone, everywhere - but even then I'd go mostly with separate systems tailored to the needs of the different areas and equipped to stream the content from your source as needed.


Here's a dock I've been pleased with, have 5 in the house (only 2 hooked up to audio though). Work fine with both my and my wife's S3s with slim cases. This plus computer speakers of your choice would be a great way to go in the bathroom, and could be hooked up to larger more capable systems for other areas.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0089RPK56/


Of course there are other fancier options with sound and speakers built in if that's your preference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks! Assuming I move the Denon receiver (unfortunately it's only 5.1 channel) to the family room, what would be good speakers? Can I just add on to the Polk speakers we already have?
 

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Nothing wrong with 5.1 channel. I think for the most part 7.1.


I suggested the 7 channel Onkyo Receiver because usually they have PreOuts (You'll want these later down the road for upgrades), and because they let you use 2 of the channels in Zone for other Zones which seems to be something you want.


I'd decide which rooms actually need "Speakers" and which you can use with Docks first.


You can just add speakers like the Polk ones (which I'm currently using), or you can build your own. I'd sell you my own Monitor 70s but I highly doubt that'd be a good deal after shipping lol.


It all really depends on the quality you're looking for in each room. What you need to do first is decide what you want in each room.


It seems like this is a good idea based on what you Posted


Bathroom - Dock

Workshop - 2 Speakers

Living Room - Full Surround Sound

Basement Room - Full Surround Sound

Bedroom - ??? (Use the Denon Receiver here, choose whether you want surround soud again or just 2 speakers. In my opinion having Surround setups in 3 locations is kind of overkill. I'd rather have 1 good surround sound setup than 2 OK ones. I'd rather put the money towards your Living Room/Basement setup)

Workout Room - 2.1 Speaker System (I never need subs to do work, but I definitely need a sub when I'm working out.)

BackYard - 2 Speakers (this depends FULLY on your neighbors/music choices though. My personal music choices and the neighborhood I live in I don't think I'd ever really sit there and just blast music outside. But if you can then there are videos of the Fusion 8's and Karma 8's from DIYSoundgroup.com that handle outdoor use very well. Not waterproof though).

Kitchen - I'd do 2 in wall speakers since you seem to primarily listen to Radio there.


For the Workshop, Workout Room, Back Yard, and Kitchen you really don't need a "receiver". What you need is just the capability to play music. Receiver adds a bunch of sound processing and video processing you don't need. For these 4 locations you either need to A) Run it off a Zone, or B) Just get an amplifier and speakers. Problem is most decent amplifiers are going to cost as much as a receiver and you don't have enough spare Zone's to run those 4 locations.


Just going off what I've written down, I don't know exactly what you have/what you plan on keeping, but assuming you are not keeping anything (except for the Denon Receiver),

You're looking at this list of things to purchase:

1 - Dock

2 - Surround Sound Setups

3 - 2 Channel Speaker Setups

1 - Set of Inwall Speakers

2 - Receivers (assuming you keep the Denon to make it 3 total)

1 - Bedroom Speakers (Either another 2 channel or Surroudn sound)

Tons of things necessary to Tidy this up since I'm sure Wife Acceptance Factor is huge (always seems to be. Never personally witnessed this since I'm not married and am currently single and my own parents would never ask permission from each other before doing something).


Just taking a guesstimation, you're looking at around $3000 to make it all happen not including the ton of labor it will take as well to wire up the rooms that need to be wire in order for this to happen.


Really though to help out more we need to know your budget, what you want in each room (just describe eto the best of your ability). $3000 seems a lot to me personally to spend on Audio Equipment (even if a lot of it is entry level and you're getting a LOT of roomsm done) if you aren't really into it.


TBH, I'd ignore putting speakers in the workout room (Headphones instead), Speaker Dock in the Kitchen, Cheap PC Speakers in your Workshop (I use the logitech 2.1 speakers they're like $30), ignore outside (it's still snowing like all the time.... and it's cold.....) and focus on your living room/basement. Then see if you REALLY want Home Theater type speakers all over your house. My parents place is slightly larger than where you're at right now and my speaker system easily fills the whole house from my basement at around 70% volume? Too afraid to even turn it up anymore. The system is just too loud for me to be able to use it with ANYONE around so I end up not using it when anyone is around. I end up using headphones or listening to it very quietly but at that point, I might as well have just kept my Z-5500 speaker system since the price premium of my setup over some PC Speakers doesn't make sense at low volume levels.


Especially since you said you don't seem to notice speaker quality at all, I'd focus on ONE room. Your living room. Add a surround sound setup there first, then see if you need more or not. I'd go with either this
http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-PK52FS-Theater-Speaker-Package/dp/B00IK8I9K2/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=10EZ8Q2B7E3SFSH5M5XJ

or a Polk equivalent setup (Which might cost $100-200 more depending on what deals are going on). Then see what you need to do from there.


I fear when you come on sites like this you're asking enthusiasts. I can't tell you how many times a person on a PC forum I frequent will ask what processor they should get and people just automatically list something far beyond what they actually need. Asking people on here what you need without going out and looking at some speaker systems yourself you will end up getting something far superior to your needs or far under it. Go to your local bestbuy (or audio shop) and demo some speakers. See if you can notice the difference between price ranges. Demo some $150, $500, $1000, and even more see you notice the difference in quality. Personally, if my parents had said "I want great audio quality" I would get them something like that speaker package. Probably something even cheaper. Because it just needs to be "clear". Doesn't need to be amazing, doesn't need to hit certain SPL target levels, it just needs to be clear at low volume levels which is all they listen at. 30% of my volume level is too loud for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks! What you say makes a ton of sense. I think I'll just move the Denon receiver and the three Polk speaker to the family room and add on two more Polk speakers (I'm assuming Monitor 70s) and a Dayton Audio SUB-1200 12" 120 Watt Powered Subwoofer (will this be big enough)? Here are some pictures:







 

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Most kits I've seen people build here use high quality MDF enclosures, high quality XO components and really nice tweeters and mid-bass drivers, so it's hard to get to that $50 price point.


There is a very highly rated kit at $66 called the Overnight Sensation, flat pack included.
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/review/product/list/id/170/category/37/


There are plenty of reviews on it, here is one I picked at random:
Quote:
Overnight Sensation

Product Review (submitted on October 22, 2013):


Erich did a great job supplying me everything I needed for the kit and shipped well and in a timely fashion. These speakers compare to the B&W CM 600 S3 at twice the cost. The kit was fun to build and I was able to practice some electronic and wood working skills. Definitely a worthwhile project. I was cautious when I read all these review saying how fantastic they are. Well for the price they are good sounding speakers. I love my B&W's and am falling in love with these Overnight Sensations.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmsmith2032  /t/1521126/newbie-need-help-with-whole-house-speakers#post_24446627


By the way, what is "XO"?

Crossover is what XO is.


And if you're purchasing speakers under $100 generally the idea is that you should just buy from a company instead. GENERALLY that is.


The Fusion 6 is 97 each and from what people said in the thread about it can rival speakers 800+. Also a lot of the DIY kits are different setups. Where the Polk Monitor 70 uses a soft dome tweeter the DIY kits on DIYSoundgroup typically use WaveGuides instead.


As for "Will this be big enough?" For your room I don't know. I really just don't becuase I don't know how loud you listen. For me? I feel like I need more. But I also probably am suffering from small amounts of hearing loss at this point. 70% volume is my minimum on my system anything less and I get really upset. Will your sub be enough? I don't really know because again it depends on how loud you want to get. Considering my Sub is at -16 DB at this point (I use it at -8 DB during regular listening since at 0DB it's just ridiculous) I could definitely have just gone with a smaller sub for home listening. Anything louder than what I currently have disturbs the whole house.


Personally given the room size, I'd go larger but I try not to go off my "personally" because well, a lot of us on here want it to be loud and clear. I'd get all of that in the Family room. If you want more, then move that to your basement for your kids and get something upgraded in the family room. If you haven't purchased the sub yet then I'd go with a Bic-PL200.


Also, be careful about having multiple hometheater setups in the house. You're just asking your kids to throw a party.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks I will just go with the 12" and move it if it isn't satisfactory. So the Monitor's or the Overnight Sensations wouldn't sound good as surrounds paired with the Polks I already have?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmsmith2032  /t/1521126/newbie-need-help-with-whole-house-speakers#post_24447284


OK If I went the diy route, how would the Overnight Sensations sound with the Polks I already have? And how do they compare soundwise (similar, better)?

Can't tell you if they are better worse or similar I really don't know. I haven't owned/built them.

https://sites.google.com/site/undefinition/diy-overnightsensations


Read up there I guess and decide? I've asked the same type of question 100s of times but unless you have both in front of you it's hard to say. E
 

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Not positive because again, I haven't heard both and you may like the Polks, I may like the Daytons. My friend is IN LOVE with his Beats Audio setup in his car. There is no way I would trade it over my Infinity Kappa Speakers though.


It depends on the listener. Sometimes I'm in love with the Harman Kardon setup in my father's car (soon to be mine!). Other days, I think "I prefer my car's Audio System and if I'm forced to own this car I will certainly just sell it and just keep my old car." It really depends on the person.


Would they work as rear satellites with the speakers you have? Yes. Your Surrounds don't need to match your Left/Center/Right (L/C/R).


I REALLY suggest goign to at least bestbuy or some audio shop to listen to some speakers and bring yoru own music as suggested. Also how happy are you with the Polk's?


That will help you in deciding what quality level you need. For my family, the Polk's are GREAT that I own. Maybe even too much probably. For my own personal use though I'd get Klipsch RF-7iis or build the best speakers I can afford to. I've seen you dip towards the low end of quality/price and your own posts say you don't really need "top end gear". So if so then you can probably get "surroudn sound" setups in all the places you desire quite cheaply if you're aiming at $100 or less for each speaker.


DIY probably isn't for you then since you're trying to hit very high quality levels for less cash usually. Also people are building designs that they cannot get commercially or at least not within a reasonable price range. Also the FINISH is typically more Wife Acceptable on commercial speakers or at least it's easier to get a finish your wife will like.


What setup do you have in your living room, how satisfied are you with it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks! So far I have been very happy with the Polks especially when listening to music. They are by far the best sound system we have. If I were to critique them, I might say they lack depth if that makes sense but I would guess that would be due to a lack of subwoofer and the fact they are on the ground (not at ear level). I also am a little surprised that they lose some of the clarity and loudness if I go into my workshop (door open) but thats probably due in part to the lack is subwoofer and position on the floor.


Right now we have a LG LHT854 box surround system. Its okay but isn't anything special. It lacks base and the rear speakers aren't normally on (I have to switch modes every time I turn it on to get them on and it never sounds very good anyway).
 

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Uh where are the polks?

Not sure what you you meant that they lose clarity/loudness if you go into the Workshop? Are they not in the Workshop? I can't imagine how you would expect to keep the same Clarity/Loudness in another room. That's a given. No matter how good your audio system is it's not going to give the same quality in another room. You'll always lose Loudness/Clarity in another room even with the Door open lol.


Also ya, a Subwoofer easily rounds out your system. I was listening to only my center channel to test it and was like "Wow these seem to have a lot of bass let me turn off my sub and see how much." Absolutely no bass was actually being played through the speaker. So adding a sub will definitely help. Also putting them at ear level would help a ton as well.


If you're that happy with the Polk's then I'd focus on the living room in that price/quality range. You should be able to do the whole house at probably cheaper than I originally had quoted if that's what you're aiming for.
 
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