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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I built a new house and dragged a lot of my 8-10 year old audio equipment from the old house with me, hoping to reuse what I could. It doesn't look promising.

In the new house, I have three zones that are under consideration for this conversation:
  1. Zone 1: Family room (5.1 speakers, no serious movie viewing)
  2. Zone 2: Outdoor patio (2.0 speakers, casual sports viewing/music)
  3. Zone 3: Basement (wired for 5.1.2 Atmos setup)
All TVs are brand new 4K HDR, etc etc. Each TV location has 2x Cat6 cables, 1x RG-6 coax, and 2x 16 gauge 4 conductor speaker wire with RCA terminals.

As for the audio equipment, I have:
  • Denon X4000 (old)
  • Onkyo TX-SR607 (even older)
All wiring is home-run'd to a rack in the basement. I have HDBase-T 4k ARC-capable HDMI extenders to distribute video.

The requirements I would like to achieve:
  1. Use each TV's built-in smart TV system OR some other local source (e.g. a Fire TV stick plugged into the TV) to pipe audio back to the receiver (so, ARC)
  2. Be able to control the zone's volume via a local remote with ARC/CEC
  3. Be able to mirror whatever's playing on the Family Room TV out to the Patio TV/speakers, because they are in fairly close proximity
  4. Be able to switch the patio speakers over to a different input for my whole-home audio system
  5. Everything in 4K HDR goodness, naturally
In messing around with the receivers I currently have, I can only achieve some combination of the above but not all, because I learned that:

(a) the Denon X4000 doesn't support HDCP 2.2; thus hooking a 4k HDMI source into it (in order to distribute to both Zone 1 and Zone 2 to achieve requirement #3) results in that source getting neutered to 1080p. Also the Denon X4000 tends to freeze up/crap the bed when outputting 2 HDMI streams at once.
(b) the Denon X4000 doesn't support ARC or HDMI-CEC on the Zone 2 HDMI out, causing requirements #1 and #2 to fail
(c) the old Onkyo doesn't have HDMI-CEC or ARC at all, basically it fails everything

So, I think instead of just having to purchase one new receiver for the basement Atmos setup like I originally hoped, I'm going to have to purchase (at least) two new ones thanks to evolving HDMI/HDCP standards.

So I'm looking for the most efficient way to achieve the above. Be aware that we are not audiophiles and I am not driving super expensive/high end speakers. I need something that will let me at minimum mirror zone 1 to zone 2 (while retaining the option to operate Zone 2 independently, using the local source at the TV with its own audio stream out to the patio speakers), and ideally control volume for each zone separately via CEC.

Should I look for a 2-zone receiver that can handle 4k and ARC/CEC in both zones? Should I go for two separate inexpensive receivers in zones 1 and 2 (plus maybe an HDMI matrix?)? Since the basement is likely to be a higher end receiver (to do Atmos and handle more power), maybe it can power the patio zone as a zone 2, with an input from the Family Room receiver?

I'm just tied in knots with the best way to go here, advice appreciated.
 

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Hi,

So, the zoning is actually what will force you into higher tier receiver price brackets. Most entry tier receivers now seem to lack zoning in favor of newer gizmos. The only receiver that needs updating is the one doing Atmos. That said, you're only doing 5.1.2 Atmos, which a $400 receiver can do basically. So it's not like you need a $1k AVR just to do X.X.2 Atmos as that's bare minimum anyways. The biggest hump is that you're wanting a zoning capable AVR so that your family room and patio play the same content at the same time. Not a lot of inexpensive AVR's have zone 2 and zone 3 now. And here's the other thing, if you do get a zoning, they are pre-amp output, they don't drive the speakers. So you'll have to supply an amplifier or second receiver with amplifier to drive the speakers. So you just add more cost. If you were to separate the goal of needing the family room and patio so that they are not zoned together, you could just get inexpensive separates for those and be done without worrying about zones at all. Then you don't need anything fancy at all. Super simple.

But for the sake of these, let's look:

Yamaha V685 has 7.2 (so you can do 5.1.2) and has Zone 2 pre-amp out (just add a secondary amplifier to get that signal and you're set):


And then for your Zone 2 (Patio) you could just use a basic little integrated amplifier to drive two speakers out there:


Then get whatever AVR you want for your basement setup since it's independent of your more "shared" areas upstairs that you described. You could get another V685 and be done with it. Or you could get a lower tier one that will do 5.1.2 without the extra zoning to save some extra cash. Or maybe a RX-A680 (7.2):


Very best,
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
....

Yamaha V685 has 7.2 (so you can do 5.1.2) and has Zone 2 pre-amp out (just add a secondary amplifier to get that signal and you're set):
...
Hey, thanks very much for the thoughtful reply. If I understand this correctly, though, the Zone 2 HDMI on that Yamaha (as on every receiver I've found so far) doesn't have ARC or CEC...meaning my #1 and #2 requirements wouldn't be met for whatever TV is hooked up to that zone (in my case, the patio TV). I suppose I could make this work if I get a universal remote and use the IR blaster on my HDBase-T extenders to get the volume signal down to the basement rack...so maybe I can make that work.

Alternatively, if I want to stick with ARC, I'm wondering if the best approach might be to get two separate inexpensive ARC-capable 4k receivers for zones 1 and 2, and then an HDMI matrix that feeds both of them (so they could share the same source). I'm thinking that's about $700 total ($300 per receiver if I shop carefully or find them used, plus $100 or so for the matrix). Plus of course the new basement receiver.
 

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Yea, sorry, wish I could solve the ARC & CEC bit, but when it comes to having homogeneous signal pathway for all that across multiple rooms, it won't come from an entry receiver that I can think of. Maybe someone else has a better idea regarding that.

Very best,
 

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It looks like you need 2 new AVRs no matter what.
One for 4K HDR dual outputs for Family Room + Patio
One for Atmos in the basement.

For requirement #3, you'd likely need the source(s) connected to the HDCP 2.2 + HDMI 2.0 AVR, and it would need dual outputs to each of the target TVs.
The cheapest 7.1 candidates with dual HDMI outputs are Yamaha TSR-7850 (same as RX-V685 and RX-A780), or Denon AVR-S9x0H/AVR-X2x00H.
After that it's the price jump to 9/11 channel receivers.
Depending on your budget, an HDFury Integral 2 (or another HDFury product) may be able to split the output to the 2 displays. It also indicates ARC capabilities

For the basement 5.1.2 setup you'd need a new receiver for Atmos processing. If you only need a single HDMI output, consider the Yamaha TSR-700 (same as RX-V6A) or Denon AVR-S750H from Costco. (apparently some warehouses may still even have new TSR-7850 units).

If CEC doesn't live up to expectations, consider programmable remotes (Logitech Harmony?) and possibly RF repeaters to control volume in other rooms.

If the TVs have optical/coax outputs, that may be easier to get audio out to older receivers if you're still trying to salvage them.
It looks like you could pick one of the older ones for patio use with the family room HDMI going straight into the TV on another input.

If you haven't decided on a whole-house audio system yet, you could make any/all receivers Play-Fi compatible for $29/ea by adding a Phorus PR5, and adding 1 per zone at your central amp

The requirements I would like to achieve:
  1. Use each TV's built-in smart TV system OR some other local source (e.g. a Fire TV stick plugged into the TV) to pipe audio back to the receiver (so, ARC)
  2. Be able to control the zone's volume via a local remote with ARC/CEC
  3. Be able to mirror whatever's playing on the Family Room TV out to the Patio TV/speakers, because they are in fairly close proximity
  4. Be able to switch the patio speakers over to a different input for my whole-home audio system
  5. Everything in 4K HDR goodness, naturally
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If CEC doesn't live up to expectations, consider programmable remotes (Logitech Harmony?) and possibly RF repeaters to control volume in other rooms.

If the TVs have optical/coax outputs, that may be easier to get audio out to older receivers if you're still trying to salvage them.
It looks like you could pick one of the older ones for patio use with the family room HDMI going straight into the TV on another input.
Thanks for the advice. Yeah, I'm considering this route too, especially since I have an HD-BaseT extender that supports optical return.

Funny you mention a Harmony...I have several of the Harmony Hub + Remotes (the basic older version, not the new "smart home" version), which I love love love...they have the best feel in the hand, they're easy for the kids to use...except they don't work in a centralized rack setup, because if the local device needs IR (e.g., the TV), the remote doesn't have any IR blaster. It's RF to the hub, which has to be located in the basement to send signals to the rest of the equipment.

BUT, if I can find a decent programmable remote to control both the TV (power/smart features/channels) locally and the Zone 2 volume/source on the receiver via IR blaster through the HD-BaseT extender, then I think the 2-zone Yamaha receivers you and @MalVeauX have recommended will work. Here's what it would look like (I need diagrams):

3120307
 

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You may want to check out the remote control forum.

I think the Harmony Hubs can do remote IR blasting via wifi. That may be a smartphone-only option.
If not, you can control things through RF-to-IR blasting through walls with something like this

It allows you to add RF blasting capability to any remote control that uses AA or AAA batteries, so you should still be able to use the Harmony remotes

Funny you mention a Harmony...I have several of the Harmony Hub + Remotes (the basic older version, not the new "smart home" version), which I love love love...they have the best feel in the hand, they're easy for the kids to use...except they don't work in a centralized rack setup, because if the local device needs IR (e.g., the TV), the remote doesn't have any IR blaster. It's RF to the hub, which has to be located in the basement to send signals to the rest of the equipment.

BUT, if I can find a decent programmable remote to control both the TV (power/smart features/channels) locally and the Zone 2 volume/source on the receiver via IR blaster through the HD-BaseT extender, then I think the 2-zone Yamaha receivers you and @MalVeauX have recommended will work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well it seems that the Yamaha RX-V685 has a severely neutered zone 2, but it's hard to tell exactly how neutered. It seems that you can't select an HDMI source (ANY hdmi source) as an input for zone 2. But you can select an optical input...so I think if I have the second HDMI output going to the patio TV, and then the TV's optical out going back into the receiver and have zone 2 set to that optical input (as shown in my diagram above)...I can have my zone 2 speakers playing what the TV is playing. Convoluted but I think it will work.

The only real drawback with that receiver is that you can't select a separate video source for the second HDMI output (it only mirrors the primary HDMI output) which means I can't use, for example, the Blu-Ray player on the patio while someone watches the Fire TV inside...but that's unlikely to ever happen so I can probably live with that.
 
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