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Discussion Starter #1
Newbie here, so thanks in advance for any help . . . My wife and I have the chance to have wiring etc. installed during construction, and I've done quite a bit of thinking, reading etc. We also sought and received a quote from a sound design company for a whole house system. It was WAY too high for our tastes, which are: 1) Using music as ambient background while hosting card parties, etc. for the folks in the congregation I pastor; and/or 2) Basic listening. In other words, I don't need top of the line equipment.


The quote included 2.5K of speaker wire at $1.00 a foot with the plan including locating equipment in one closet (home run?), using Klipsch in-ceiling speakers, two Sonos ZP90's, and six ZP120's. From reading other posts I gather the $11K was not out of line, even though it didn't include installation. However, I feel I can save money in several areas. Therefore, I would like some feedback on the following:


1) Rather than running everything to one closet I am planning to have the electrician run an electrical outlet into the closet in EACH room and running the speaker wire for the in-ceiling speakers into that closet to a wall plate. This will reduce the amount of speaker cable and separate each zone (spatially). My reasoning is that it will allow me (and/or anyone who might want to purchase the house if we ever have to sell it) to connect/disconnect the sound for any room using either Sonos, AirPlay, or Squeezebox equipment (along with an amp).


2) I'm planning on using Apple Airport Express units rather than Sonos equipment. I can't justify the thousands of dollars for the Sonos even though it would make things easier and seems superior. (I am willing to live with the fact that the volume control will affect every zone I have selected.)


3) I'm planning on purchasing decent equipment (Polk Audio speakers) and speaker wire (not sure what kind) but not the top of the line. I will also be able to make use of three different amps I already have.


4) I've read or been told not to skimp on speaker wire, but do I really need Liberty wire at a buck a foot? I priced wire on Amazon that had good ratings and was less than half the cost.


5) I like the idea of the Airports extending and strengthening the wireless network throughout the house.


The simplicity of having each room set up separately and using wireless technology to stream the music (an area I'm very comfortable with) seems very attractive to me, but I am willing to be talked out of this.


I haven't finished putting together the estimate for all of this, but I am already quite confident I can cut the cost for the whole house system down to 3.5-4K.


Your thoughts?
 

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Nobody in your congregation does this for a hobby, that would help with the install, or the design? Will your builder let you use another AV company for the install? Will the builder let you DIY?


Will the builder let the electrician run the low voltage cables? Will the electrician do it 'under the table'?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by felcanderegg /forum/post/20825469


...our tastes, which are: 1) Using music as ambient background while hosting card parties, etc. for the folks in the congregation I pastor; and/or 2) Basic listening. ...


1) Rather than running everything to one closet I am planning to have the electrician run an electrical outlet into the closet in EACH room ...


2) I'm planning on using Apple Airport Express units ...


3) ... decent equipment ... but not the top of the line.


4) I've read or been told not to skimp on speaker wire,


5) I like the idea of the Airports extending and strengthening the wireless network throughout the house. ...

1) Your quote was going to give you 8 (potentially) independent zones. Are you thinking about 8 closets? I found that my living room/dining room/kitchen are all side by side and that it would sound like crap to have two sources playing in those zones. I want one source to play to one/some of those zones. Maybe you can find a way to group your zones? If so, you'd probably want the wiring to come together into the same closet.


2) FYI, there are a handful of AirPlay compatible receivers out there (Marantz, Denon, etc) that work like the same as an Airport Express connected to a standard receiver.


3-4) I'm happy with my wire and speakers from Monoprice--remarkably inexpensive.


Craig
 

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+ what has been said above.


(1) I just don't know what to think about the closet idea - it's so opposite to my way of thinking to centralize, and as Pvr4Craig pointed out, if you have zones that are adjacent, you want the same playing in those zones, otherwise, the sound bleed factor will make it unbearable to be in any of those rooms. I like his suggestion to group certain rooms together in zones - plus it cuts down on the equipment you would need to run it all. However, bear in mind the next buyer might have wanted to centralize, and your wiring configuration would be a big negative for him. One man's trash is another man's treasure. For that reason, you can't think about resale value here, just what and how you want to do it.


(3) & (4) Absolutely. You don't need to spend major dollars on this. You have stated this is for background music. Unless you are planning to use this for critical listening as well, you really can buy less expensive speakers, and while Liberty cable (some would argue) is the best, Monoprice and others make very good quality product at reasonable prices.


Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses, thus far. Here's a little more info.


Nobody in our congregation does this, to my knowledge. There is a former member of another congregation (50 miles away) who does audio for a living. I'm planning on meeting with him.


The builder will let me DIY and/or will allow me to have the electrician he subs with do it. They're very reasonable builders and I'm expecting that he won't be trying to make a bunch of money by subbing this part out.


I am planning on grouping zones in the following way: dining room + kitchen, living room + deck, master bath + master bedroom. The dining room has a pantry, so that will hold the equipment for that zone.


Looked at the Airplay amps, and they all seem a little too expensive. However, I'll do some side-by-side comparison when I put together the spreadsheet for the estimate, etc.


Thanks for pointing me to Monoprice. I'll check it out.


Very appreciative of the heads up on bleeding in adjacent zones!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
FYI, there are a handful of AirPlay compatible receivers out there (Marantz, Denon, etc) that work like the same as an Airport Express connected to a standard receiver.


If I run a cat5 cable to an AirPlay receiver (Pioneer, for example) could I then "daisychain" other receivers to it rather than running a separate Airport Express for each zone?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by felcanderegg /forum/post/20826390


... Looked at the Airplay amps, and they all seem a little too expensive. However, I'll do some side-by-side comparison when I put together the spreadsheet for the estimate, etc. ...

My objective was to hide my receiver away (Marantz M-CR603) and control it SOLELY by iPhone/iPad. It has worked out well. The only function I can't do from the iOS device is search for internet radio stations and add them to favourites.


Note that there are two distinct modes of operation. I can use the Marantz app to control the receiver directly: select a source, volume, pause, skip, etc. Alternatively, I can use Apple's Remote app to control iTunes and direct it to play through the Marantz as an AirPlay device. If you have an iOS device, you can download both of these apps and test them out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by felcanderegg /forum/post/20827168


... If I run a cat5 cable to an AirPlay receiver (Pioneer, for example) could I then "daisychain" other receivers to it rather than running a separate Airport Express for each zone?

You can have a mix of AirPlay devices but they need a connection to your network switch (which may be part of your router). Since your walls are open, a few wired ethernet connections would be your best bet. Wired is always more secure and less susceptible to interference. Save your wireless for mobile devices.


There are also some receivers with wireless built-in. Eg: Denon RCD-N7


Also, Denon has announce a new device that might be interesting: Denon DNP-720E


Food for thought.


Craig
 

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You can certainly use considerably-less-expensive speaker wire. Monoprice has a fine in-wall-rated lineup of wire.


My advice is that no matter what gear you choose - wire the house for flexibility and compatibility with the majority of gear out there. Which means follow the CEA wiring standard for whole house audio at a minimum: Home run speaker wire to a central location, loop the wire through a switch-height control location in the zone, and run a cat5 cable in parallel to that control location.


Now, if you want to also run speaker wire from an adjacent closet to the control location - you could go down the path you're thinking, but still be able to change your mind later.


Jeff
 

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Check out casatunes. You can do what you want and so much more. I recently installed it in my house while under construction. Wife thought I was a moron at the time and now she can't live without it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I met with an installer/dealer who's going to give me a quote for design and running cable to do one home run to one closet. It it's reasonable I'll go with it. It will be good to have everything completely pre-wired.
 
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