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Hi everyone,


I'm helping a friend design a home audio system in a renovation, basically a new construction, we can wire speaker wire and Cat 6. I'm an EE that does design and spec'ing for communications systems so I have some background in this stuff, I just need to understand some technology, basics and standard practices so I can frame my questions and find answers.


The home audio system is very basic, almost rudimentary, the requirements are:


The sources are iPod, Multi-Disk CD player and HD full of MP3s.

Ideally these sources should be out of view and selected and controlled via a central wall mounted controller.

There is only one zone, meaning all rooms (7 total) need the same program playing.

Each room needs a wall mounted volume control.



The main challenge I see is finding a solution that can control a CD Multi-Disk CD player, iPod and HD from a single interface. I'd like to select the CD player, play a track, stop it, select the iPod and select a track, etc. from a single control device.


Can someone point me in the direction of something that is affordable that can do this?


This may be a foolish question, but the ethernet network that some ( e.g. Control 4) these audio devices communicate over can also be used for standard data. Meaning the audio devices will play nicely with computers on the same network?



Thank you!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradbnyc /forum/post/18310408


Hi everyone,


I'm helping a friend design a home audio system in a renovation, basically a new construction, we can wire speaker wire and Cat 6. I'm an EE that does design and spec'ing for communications systems so I have some background in this stuff, I just need to understand some technology, basics and standard practices so I can frame my questions and find answers.


The home audio system is very basic, almost rudimentary, the requirements are:


The sources are iPod, Multi-Disk CD player and HD full of MP3s.

Ideally these sources should be out of view and selected and controlled via a central wall mounted controller.

There is only one zone, meaning all rooms (7 total) need the same program playing.

Each room needs a wall mounted volume control.



The main challenge I see is finding a solution that can control a CD Multi-Disk CD player, iPod and HD from a single interface. I'd like to select the CD player, play a track, stop it, select the iPod and select a track, etc. from a single control device.


Can someone point me in the direction of something that is affordable that can do this?


This may be a foolish question, but the ethernet network that some ( e.g. Control 4) these audio devices communicate over can also be used for standard data. Meaning the audio devices will play nicely with computers on the same network?



Thank you!

Skip the idea of a standard volume control and the "one source at a time one zone" approach. This will only be good in a party scenario. The rest of the time it will suck.


What you want is a system that has an audio matrix switcher and a keypad or remote or touchpanel to control the zone. This way you can connect any source to the switcher and send it to any zone and have control over volume. If someone wants to listen to CD while in the shower while someone else wants to listen to the iPod in the kitchen they can. There are Distributed Audio systems that have "smart" ipod docks and just about anything can control a CD player/changer. The "hard" part will be finding something to access the music on the HDD. Not that the technology doesnt exist just that its difficult to find something good at an affordable price.


Are you familiar with Sonos? I think this product might save you a lot of trouble and give you a very good solution for multizone audio. Music services Internet radio, access music from your HDD. And you can even connect your iPod (or any analog audio source) as an AUX source. You would have to manually control the iPod but i dont think you would even use it since you can access iTunes files from the HDD.


They have a couple of very nice remotes and a very capable iPhone app for controlling the system. This is probably the best bang for buck approach and its the mostly highly polished solution available.


The only CON is that its a multi zone music product only. There is no video or subsystem integration available for it. If you just want a kick @ss multizone audio product this is what i would get if i were you.

http://www.sonos.com
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradbnyc /forum/post/18310408


This may be a foolish question, but the ethernet network that some ( e.g. Control 4) these audio devices communicate over can also be used for standard data. Meaning the audio devices will play nicely with computers on the same network?



Thank you!

Usually yes. But in some home automation/ distributed audio video scenarios the chatter on the network can get louder so a professional router/switch are recommended. ( i know i know.. stop using big technical terms like chatter and louder
)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradbnyc /forum/post/18310408


There is only one zone, meaning all rooms (7 total) need the same program playing.

Each room needs a wall mounted volume control.

As PostageDue said (my new, just-made-up-nickname for 39CentStamp
), limiting a 7-zone system to one simultaneous source is very, very limited and really not recommended. Look at the Whole House Audio systems from NuVo and Russound, among others. They incorporate centralized sources with in-room keypads for control/source selection, and they can also integrate iPods (locally or centralized). NuVo has a MusicPort source device to add a PC-based MP3 library, and they offer self-contained "music servers" as well.


Quote:
This may be a foolish question, but the ethernet network that some ( e.g. Control 4) these audio devices communicate over can also be used for standard data. Meaning the audio devices will play nicely with computers on the same network?

Note that most of the Whole House Audio and home automation systems use Cat5 cables for control wiring, but they are not generally Ethernet devices. They use Cat5 as "8 conductor control wire". They will NOT be connected to an Ethernet switch. In general for A/V distribution products you'll see discussed here, except for a few new devices (JustAddPower for example), Cat5 != Ethernet...


Jeff
 

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Oh, and in terms of Standards - the CEA has a standard wiring specification for whole house audio:


1) Home run speaker wire to each room, looped through a volume control location on a wall, and then to the ceiling/wall speaker locations

2) Home run Cat5 cable to each room to the same volume control location (for keypad use).


This arrangement allows for either simple volume controls or systems with keypads, and also for centralized amplifiers or in-wall amps (Digi5) in each zone.
 

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You really should check into to a Sonos sytem, assuming most of your files are MP3's and you'll have a computer on most of the time to serve up the files that should work pretty well, you can than run an CD player into one of the Zone Players as a source, you'll have to control it manually but you could also rip all those cd's to Mp3's and just keep the CD player as a just in case type scenario where you wouldn't use it very often.


As far as C4 goes, just because you are good with networking doesn't make you a C4 installer, it is a product that you need specific software to program and that software is only available to pro's, and if you aren't doing lighting control than it really is overkill for multi zone audio and you would be much happier with Sonos.
 
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