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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys.. I am planning on mocking a whole home audio setup that is currently in a model home I have visited. Could anybody tell me where I can get this 'ICC" panel from? And could you briefly explain the setup? The house has 5 zones, so the cat 5 wires are coming from each volume switch in each zone. Where is that 8th spot going? is that RCA plug in the bottom box going to the 12V power supply (not seen in pic)? And do all of those RCA inputs go to the main receiver? Just want to make sure I am understanding it all correctly..
 

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Well, we can probably mock it, too, as it's certainly an unusual setup... :D

That ICC panel is just a blank keystone-based patch panel, populated with 3.5mm stereo keystone jacks:

http://www.vetco.net/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=9599

What is the box underneath? It would appear to be connecting a stereo line-level output to the stereo 3.5mm jack to feed something at the other end? What equipment is in each of those 5 zones?


Jeff
 

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If those cat5 wires are the only thing going to each of the zones, you should look at the Legrand Lyriq system with the new NuVo-based digital input module...

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If those cat5 wires are the only thing going to each of the zones, you should look at the Legrand Lyriq system with the new NuVo-based digital input module...

Jeff
Awesome! Thanks... I was able to find the ICC panel and the keystones they use (3.5mm to RCA males). And I was just going to ask you what the box underneath was! Like you said, it looks like some type of audio source distribution module?? I am guessing it connects to the main receiver. It may look odd, since the volume controls in each unit have bluetooth and aux, and they also have their own power. http://www.mcmelectronics.com/prod/...UPjdD2A.1&utm_referrer=www.mcmelectronics.com

Here are a few pics of the wall unit connections and the power supply...
 

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I am guessing it connects to the main receiver.
What main receiver?

The box below is likely just an audio distribution amplifier, assuming there's some shared source device feeding it (not pictured).

It may look odd, since the volume controls in each unit have bluetooth and aux, and they also have their own power. http://www.mcmelectronics.com/prod/...UPjdD2A.1&utm_referrer=www.mcmelectronics.com
Ok, that helps. EDIT: Oh, looking at the second photos now, it appears that they used the home-run 4-conductor speaker wire (used red/black and tied off the green/white) to provide a central DC power source for the control. Perfect! So you've got speaker wire and cat5e to each room. You're set. You can use whatever WHA system you want, as you've got all the wiring in place.

With the gear here, you could just connect a Sonos Connect there as a shared source and have a decent setup, since each zone already had the in-wall amp and local bluetooth support.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, cool... So instead of that bottom unit, the distribution amp you called it, I could just use one of these Sonos units instead? And I don't have a picture of their receiver. I couldn't get behind it to show the connections. I plan on getting a receiver for that. I have no idea which one yet.

So based on this, what do you think I should do differently with the power? And if there are 5 zones, how come there is only 4 inputs at the bottom of the Power supply?
 

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Where is that 8th spot going? is that RCA plug in the bottom box going to the 12V power supply (not seen in pic)? And do all of those RCA inputs go to the main receiver?
Ok, now that we know what the zone hardware looks like, the "home run" speaker wire from each zone is currently being used to provide 12VDC from that power supply.

The 8th "zone" connection is very likely connecting to a source device that feeds the system. It would connect to the "input" of that audio distribution 'amp' box, which in turn feeds the signal to the 5 zones.

If this was a model home, look for a CD player or radio in a cabinet / closet - especially around the family room. Assuming they took that gear with them, there's probably a patch cord or jacks populated somewhere hanging loose... You can choose to use that as-is, or as I said above, easily attach a source device back in the central closet.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, there is a home theatre receiver in a closet. The model is still a model. I am building in the same neighborhood and chose to save $8k And give this a shot myself. Does this drawing look anything at all like how it's supposed to be connected? Can you let me know where to connect the wires I left unconnected?
 

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Ok, cool... So instead of that bottom unit, the distribution amp you called it, I could just use one of these Sonos units instead?
Yes. Attach a Sonos:Connect wherever that 'receiver' is currently, or put it alongside the distribution amp and feed the Sonos output directly into the distribution amp.

And I don't have a picture of their receiver. I couldn't get behind it to show the connections. I plan on getting a receiver for that. I have no idea which one yet.
What is it / where is it? It's probably being used as a radio...

So based on this, what do you think I should do differently with the power?
What do you want to do differently? It's fine as is unless you want to install a different setup...

And if there are 5 zones, how come there is only 4 inputs at the bottom of the Power supply?
Probably spliced behind that piece of plywood? You'll have to start looking for wires if you want to change it around. Do all 5 zones work? Then it's getting power from somewhere! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes, they are using it as a radio..

Basically, I want to have a main living room area where I will have my 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound connected to the home theatre receiver (no in wall volume control with this). Then I want to have 5 separate zones throughout the house, each with in volume controls. I want to be able to play audio off of Bluetooth devices in each zone or play audio from the 5.1 or 7.1 surround in the zones (when a sports game is on or something). Or also just play music throughout the whole house during parties.

Is this possible with this setup? Given that I get a compatible receiver..
 

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Yes, any AVR with a "zone2" pre-amp output would do that. Get one with network support and you'll be able to select content from a mobile app anywhere in the house.

You'll likely need to cable up your digital sources (set-top box, BD player, etc.) to the AVR with analog audio (RCA) cables in addition to HDMI/digital - as most AVRs will not route digital sources to Zone2. Not a big deal unless one of your sources (AppleTV and some other streaming devices) lacks analog audio output.

Note that since in your case the volume controls are built into the keypad amps, any of the AVRs with multi-zone support will work fine (you'll configure the Zone2 output to 'fixed'). Some brands have screwed up their Zone2 support by offering only the 'fixed' output, as opposed to a 'fixed/variable' choice. Again, in your case, you'll use 'fixed' anyway...

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #12
where can I get an amp that's similar to the one under the ICC unit in the picture? Is it weird if there are 5 zones in tha model, but only see 3 RCA inputs to that amp?

Also, any good places where I can get that DC power supply?
 

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Is there any chance that we could just help you design a system that meets your needs, instead of trying to copy a system that may or may not be the best system for your needs?
 

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Yes, please! Haha that works... I want to do what I mentioned above. Just be able to play something on my main system (like a vball game) and play something different (like music) in my other zones, at the same time. And then be able to play the bball game audio throughout when I want to..
 

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Is there any chance that we could just help you design a system that meets your needs, instead of trying to copy a system that may or may not be the best system for your needs?
Ack! I didn't realize this wasn't *going* to be his house, but rather one just like it.
@LennDawg, yes, please go with something more usable than this collection of parts...
 

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Yes, please! Haha that works... I want to do what I mentioned above. Just be able to play something on my main system (like a vball game) and play something different (like music) in my other zones, at the same time. And then be able to play the bball game audio throughout when I want to..
Perfect. Taking into account that you like the idea of volume controls in each room, we can design a VERY simple, VERY easy to use system that should do exactly what you want. If it were me, I would purchase a Sonos Connect and a Sonos Connect:Amp (or if you have the budget replace the Connect:Amp with a Connect and a separate multi-channel amplifier.)

The Connect would be dedicated to the surround zone, simply added as an audio source. The Connect:Amp would be dedicated for the distributed audio zones. The upside to this is it gives you the ability to call up music through the rest of the house with no need to go back to the receiver to power on/set the input/turn on Zone 2/etc. This is HUGE for making sure your family is comfortable using the system and will ensure it gets WAY more use. I promise, it is worth the extra $500.

Add impedance matching VC's in each zone, speakers, and you are done. I would use a hub like this to keep everything tidy and organized.

This setup will allow you to run any two sources into the Sonos, and those will be shared between the Sonos players. Typically this would be your CBL/SAT box and an Apple TV/CD Player/Computer or similar.

The two things I would stress:

  1. If you can afford a multi-channel amp go that route. That way if you decide to toss out the VC's down the road and install a Connect per zone you are ready to go. Around 6 zones it can actually be cheaper to do this than to use Connect:Amps, plus your software and amplifier can be upgraded separately down the road.
  2. Don't use Z2 for the house audio. It is an unnecessary complication, and while cheaper, can limit the amount that the system is used. My wife and I listen to music on the patio while reading, while dirty and working in the yard, when getting ready in the AM, while cleaning, before bed, etc. If I had to do anything other than just pull my phone out and open my automation systems app (or touch a keypad/VC in the room I was in) I would just skip it in most of those situations.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Perfect. Taking into account that you like the idea of volume controls in each room, we can design a VERY simple, VERY easy to use system that should do exactly what you want. If it were me, I would purchase a Sonos Connect and a Sonos Connect:Amp (or if you have the budget replace the Connect:Amp with a Connect and a separate multi-channel amplifier.)

The Connect would be dedicated to the surround zone, simply added as an audio source. The Connect:Amp would be dedicated for the distributed audio zones. The upside to this is it gives you the ability to call up music through the rest of the house with no need to go back to the receiver to power on/set the input/turn on Zone 2/etc. This is HUGE for making sure your family is comfortable using the system and will ensure it gets WAY more use. I promise, it is worth the extra $500.
So, if I understand this correctly, I can use my existing receiver (Denon AVR-2112CI) in my 'MAIN ZONE', and add a Sonos Connect along side it for wireless streaming to all the other zones? Will the zones still be able to play off the audio from the 'main zone'? And then play independently while the main zone is playing something different? And I would just need 1 Connect:Amp, which I could all place in a centralized place (probably my basement)? Or do I need a Connect:Amp for each zone? Will the sound quality be good and loud? I plan on putting a zone in my garage, want to make sure it will be loud enough in there and can be heard over people talking at parties.

Add impedance matching VC's in each zone, speakers, and you are done. I would use a hub like this to keep everything tidy and organized.
Instead of running bluetooth volume controls like before, I could run a standard knob-like control unit and avoid having to run all that cat5, since the Sonos acts as a wireless unit? Could each zone play their own audio, or all zones act as one? Speakers would still get ran to the controls, and then meet at this hub?

This setup will allow you to run any two sources into the Sonos, and those will be shared between the Sonos players. Typically this would be your CBL/SAT box and an Apple TV/CD Player/Computer or similar.

The two things I would stress:

  1. If you can afford a multi-channel amp go that route. That way if you decide to toss out the VC's down the road and install a Connect per zone you are ready to go. Around 6 zones it can actually be cheaper to do this than to use Connect:Amps, plus your software and amplifier can be upgraded separately down the road.
  2. Don't use Z2 for the house audio. It is an unnecessary complication, and while cheaper, can limit the amount that the system is used. My wife and I listen to music on the patio while reading, while dirty and working in the yard, when getting ready in the AM, while cleaning, before bed, etc. If I had to do anything other than just pull my phone out and open my automation systems app (or touch a keypad/VC in the room I was in) I would just skip it in most of those situations.
What is Z2?

Sorry for all the questions... Just want to make sure I understand this all fully, but it sounds great! Thank you for all the information...
 

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So, if I understand this correctly, I can use my existing receiver (Denon AVR-2112CI) in my 'MAIN ZONE', and add a Sonos Connect along side it for wireless streaming to all the other zones?
No, the Connect unit there is so you have access to all the Sonos content with your existing receiver. It can be played in sync with the rest of the house, and controlled from the same app.

Will the zones still be able to play off the audio from the 'main zone'? And then play independently while the main zone is playing something different?
Yes, you could feed your set-top box or other local source into the Connect's analog audio input, which makes that source available to any other Sonos device (in your case, the rest of the house). And yes, the Connect:Amp would operate completely independent.

And I would just need 1 Connect:Amp, which I could all place in a centralized place (probably my basement)? Or do I need a Connect:Amp for each zone? Will the sound quality be good and loud? I plan on putting a zone in my garage, want to make sure it will be loud enough in there and can be heard over people talking at parties.
You can start with one Connect:Amp and the impedance-matching volume controls as XJBaylor suggested. You can grow the system by adding additional units to allow more independent zones, or provide more power to one zone. It's for this flexibility reason why I wouldn't recommend starting out with a multi-channel amp. There are too many paths that can be taken that make it either redundant or unused... And it's money up front.

Instead of running bluetooth volume controls like before, I could run a standard knob-like control unit and avoid having to run all that cat5, since the Sonos acts as a wireless unit?
Run the cat5e regardless. You will want that cable at every keypad so you can upgrade those simple volume controls later.


Could each zone play their own audio, or all zones act as one? Speakers would still get ran to the controls, and then meet at this hub?
With one Connect:Amp serving all five zones, they all get the same audio. If you want more flexibility, you add more Connect:Amp units - to a maximum of five (such that each zone is totally independent).

And yes, home run all the speaker wire (and the cat5e from the keypads, too).


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Awesome! Thanks @jautor

Does this attached pic look like the setup you guys are explaining? Sorry! I am a visual learner :serious:

1 - Where would I plug the RCA ends into the Denon? It wouldn't be Zone 2 like @XJBaylor said..

2 - Would I use the cat5 from the volume controls to the distr hub?

3 - Could you suggest/provide a link for some volume controls I should consider?

4 - How is the sounds quality going to be with this? Louder than a Beats Pill (which I am currently using now, and pretty loud! haha)
 

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Does this attached pic look like the setup you guys are explaining? Sorry! I am a visual learner :serious:
Not quite. The output from the Sonos Connect goes to your Denon. The connection between the Sonos units is done over Ethernet or WiFi (run lots of cat6 around the house so you can used wired Ethernet whenever possible).

If your Denon has a Zone2 (Z2) output, you could cross-connect to the Connect input to share sources with the rest of the house, but as most of us just need to share one source (the TV's set-top box), just run analog audio directly from that source to the Connect, and leave the whole Zone2 stuff out of it. Easier to use the Sonos app without that complexity.

1 - Where would I plug the RCA ends into the Denon?
Into any digital input - the Sonos Connect is just a "source" like a CD player...

2 - Would I use the cat5 from the volume controls to the distr hub?
Not in the setup we're describing - it's for the future (and a likely one at that).

3 - Could you suggest/provide a link for some volume controls I should consider?
http://www.htd.com/Products/Volume-Controls

(folks have not had good luck in the past with the Monoprice impedance-matching, so I'd go with the HTD)

4 - How is the sounds quality going to be with this? Louder than a Beats Pill (which I am currently using now, and pretty loud! haha)
Much, much better - but will depend on your speakers. That's a pretty low bar, though! ;)
 
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