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Discussion Starter #1
I live in a very hold house (~115 years old) and am looking to do whole-home audio (in addition to some broader networking goals). I think running cable looks pretty difficult without opening walls up, which I don't want to do.

For internet, I'm planning to utilize the existing cable network (existing cable outlets in almost every room) for internet, using an ethernet to coax adapter at each end point. This will eventually be used for security cameras, media sharing, etc. This is in addition to a wi-fi network

For whole-home audio, I'm planning to do chromecast audios (CCA) in each room I want it. Then each room will have a separate amp (likely 2 or 2.1 channels, hopefully with auto-on, still need to research for each room). Likely at a total of somewhere between 9 and 12 zones.

However, 2 or more of those zones will be outdoors. This feels like a silly question, but how do people handle this? Do they place the chromecast and amp indoors somewhere, and then run speaker cables through the wall and outside to the speakers? Or is there some sort of outdoors solution?
 

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However, 2 or more of those zones will be outdoors. This feels like a silly question, but how do people handle this? Do they place the chromecast and amp indoors somewhere, and then run speaker cables through the wall and outside to the speakers? Or is there some sort of outdoors solution?
Exactly. My 12 channel amp is centrally located, and I have speaker wire out to my eave in my back patio for outdoor speakers. This is the cleanest in terms of the setup, but more difficult for you if you can't add wiring. I did add this wiring recently, but my house is only 12 years old so it wasn't all that difficult. I know a lot of people even run wire out one of their crawl space vents and up to the eaves since it's typically pretty easy to get wires down to the crawl space...

I'm sure there's lots of other good options, although I don't know any that would involve some sort of outdoor amp + chromecast audio. You could always plug in a Sonos Play 1 or other small wifi powered speaker when you want to use it, or even utilize a Bluetooth speaker for real casual listening. If it were me though, I'd try to figure out a way to get the wiring done to do it right, or pay an installer for a couple hours labor to do it.
 

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i live in a late 1890s home, i managed to rewire the whole house without tearing into the walls
all new 120 volt wiring, outlets and switches; some rooms required holes here and there but mostly none
all prewar houses are balloon framed, this means most walls have basement to attic length studs
follow your coax wiring to see how this was done, unless they ran everything outside :D

my 2nd amp is under my living room surround amp, i just cut a backless box into the wall and dropped the wires into the basement
run speaker wires stapled to floor joists outside, easy peasy

for outdoor speakers look at marine speakers, they are totally waterproof, not water resistant
i went thru 2 sets of supposedly outdoor speakers to find they were not waterproof, even taking them inside for the winter
my current outdoor marine speakers have been outside in the rain for 5 years

i ran speaker wire from the same amp into my office using the same routing
i feed music from the main amp into the 2nd amp so that the whole house is listening to the same syncronized music
my system has worked for 18 yrs, if i had it to do over i would use the monoprice 6 zone amp

if you insist on separate amps, an easy solution is to setup a small fm transmitter fed from the main amp
this broadcasts an fm signal to all your amps, you can play cd or mp3 music on the main amp and broadcast to other amps
hobbybroadcaster.us/faq
 

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I have a Chromecast Audio connected to a stereo amp in my garage. From that amp, one set of speakers is located in the garage, the other set outdoors. I can select either pair or both. Paired with another Chromecast Audio connected to my main living room AVR, I have pretty good coverage. I'll be adding another CCA with a small amp in the bedroom sometime soon.

So, if you are using separate amps, the CCA can be a good solution, and certainly low cost.
 

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Budgetsnob-
Look at HTD.com; they have nice 6 source, 6 zone (expandable systems) that are not that expensive and may suit your needs. They are direct to consumer sellers and offer (3) levels of system.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update, I've been planning things out and trying to select components. To my surprise there's not actually that much information out there on full whole-home audio solutions using Chromecast Audios yet. Most of the time it seems to be someone who buys 2-3 chromecasts to use with existing AVRs and speakers. Not much of anything at all from people trying to build a ground-up system.

I like Sonos, but want to go with Chromecast so I can get better sound at a lower price. In other words, I'd rather have a decent set of bookshelf speakers than two Sonos Play 3's or Play 5's ($600 to $1,000 per zone).

Again we live in a ~115 year old house and are planning to build the system out using Chromecast Audios and separate amps/receivers in each zone, rather than a central source and having to run wiring. Wanted to get some input here on what equipment to choose for each zone:

  1. Zone 1: 2nd Floor Outdoor Patio (rooftop deck), 2 outdoor channels, would likely keep the amp indoors. Space is about 8' x 25'
  2. Zone 2: 2nd Floor Rec Room, either 2.0 or 2.1 channels. Will also have a TV up here and maybe a game system or two (e.g. N64). Space is small, about 9' x 13' with low vaulted ceiling.
  3. Zone 3: Master Bathroom and Bedroom, going to do one zone across both spaces, but maybe 2.0 in both? No TV's planned here, just audio. Bathroom is maybe 14' by 10'. Bedroom is approx 15' x 14'. Both spaces have tall vaulted ceilings.
  4. Zone 4: Workout room. Already have an existing AVR/TV and 5.1 setup here, so nothing should be needed. About 11' x 11', with tall ceiling.
  5. Zone 5: Main Floor Living Room, aiming for a 2.1 setup. Have the sub, but no speakers yet. It's likely I may end up with a TV here for casual viewing (youube/netflix). Space is 18' x 20' with 10' ceilings.
  6. Zone 6: Kitchen. Don't have a lot of space here, so likely no sub, so 2.0 but hopefully still something with deeper end sound.
  7. Zone 7: Basement Home Theater: Already have the AVR/7.1 system, so already set here, nothing else should be needed
  8. Zone 8: Basement bathroom. It's a small bathroom, so a single speaker or a 2.0 channel should work. Maybe 8' by 8'?
  9. Zone 9: Backyard deck. Also looking at a 2.0 system here. Again would likely keep the amp indoors and run wires to the outside. The deck is larger, about 570 sq ft
  10. Zone 10: Garage/Workshop. Looking at 2.0 or 2.1 in the garage. Have a large heated and finished space, about 20'x25'.

So for the amp's I need (listed above, again, looking to do separate for most zones so I don't have to run wires like I would with a true multi-zone amp):

  • Five (5) AudioSource AMP 100VS units for Zones 1, 3, 6, 9, 10. I know I can get some cheaper mini-amps and things that would also be smaller, but what I'm really looking for is the signal sensing and auto on-off capabilities. I don't want to have to run around the house turn my amps on/off depending what zones I want playing. I'd like the amp to turn on/off based on whether the chromecast is/isn't playing. I've read the Onkyo M-5010 would also be a good choice, but that's twice as expensive.
  • Two (2) 2.1 (or 5.1) channel AVR receivers, with auto source switching and auto-on off (Having trouble finding something)for the zones I think I might add TVs to: Zones 2 and 5. I'm looking for an AVR that could handle the basics (not looking for a true home theater experience) like a couple inputs (Chromecast, TV, game system or two, etc.) and also has a signal-sensing capability. I'm having trouble finding something that might work.
  • One (1) Single powered speaker with line-in for the bathroom in Zone 8. Again auto-on/off would be great. I'm leaning towards just doing a single powered speaker since it's just a small bathroom, but would consider some outdoor speakers and a small amp, but that might be overkill.
  • Nothing needed for Zones 4 and 7, already have AVRs/speakers in both locations
Does anyone have any thoughts on what I listed above? I have not gotten to picking out many specific speakers yet though, the amps seem trickier. Will likely be bookshelf speakers in most locations, towers in zone 5, and obviously outdoor in 1 and 9.

Started piecing together a rough budget below:

 

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Look at the SONOS connect and SONOS amp.

Also consider a control4 whole home audio solution.

With that many zones moving from SONOS chrome cast to a more robust solution is worthwhile. SONOS WiFi will get clunky with 11 zines.

An ea5 for 5 hi rez sources a 16 zone matrix and then a 4 zone and 8 zone powrr amp and you have most of what you need.
 

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I don't have anything to add, but am very interested in how it went.

I'm wiring a new house and similar to you, debating between using Chromecast Audios w/ amps in each room (minimal wiring and easy control, but need to find places to stash amps) vs the Monoprice multi-zone amp (need to wire the whole house and more complicated control system, but no need for amps in each room).

Also, great tip on getting auto on-off amps.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't have anything to add, but am very interested in how it went.

I'm wiring a new house and similar to you, debating between using Chromecast Audios w/ amps in each room (minimal wiring and easy control, but need to find places to stash amps) vs the Monoprice multi-zone amp (need to wire the whole house and more complicated control system, but no need for amps in each room).

Also, great tip on getting auto on-off amps.
I will keep posting back! Starting with a few indoor zones and one outdoor zone, just got everything in the mail yesterday (amps, speakers, cable, etc.). Waiting to do the other zones until I find a better deal on some speakers I want.

But if I had a new home, I'd be SO tempted to run all sorts of cables to every room in the house while it's easy to do. Cat6, speaker, coax maybe?, etc., plus empty conduit for whatever the next unforeseen need is. But in my relatively ancient house, we're liking the chromecast solution that we've played around with, and will see how it goes when we get more zones working.
 

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But if I had a new home.
Ha, whoops.. new home to me. The house was built in the 50s. I'm planning to rip out the basement ceiling shortly to see how feasible wiring is. Its a split level with 5 levels, so I have a feeling its going to be dicey, but I'm doing some renovations so have some potential options.
 

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Ha, whoops.. new home to me. The house was built in the 50s. I'm planning to rip out the basement ceiling shortly to see how feasible wiring is. Its a split level with 5 levels, so I have a feeling its going to be dicey, but I'm doing some renovations so have some potential options.
Sucks to be you . . . and me.

Actually, in my 5-way split I have unfinished basement, and a lot of oddly shaped, triangular attic areas. So there's very few areas I can't get to from below or above.

I just need to figure out how to get a bunch of wires from basement level 1, to bedrooms level 5! :eek: And I'm thinking cold air returns might work.
 

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Wow, sounds like we have very similar homes.

In my case.. I'm thinking that between the lowest basement ceiling and middle attic (which is a walkup) I can access every room (either through ceiling, floor or wall), so my plan is to hire a contractor to do some voodoo and run a large conduit between the basement, attic, and outside. From that I'm hoping to fish any wires needed on my own.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Realized I haven't followed up here in a while. But as a follow-up we went with the Chromecast and separate 2ch amps route. I'm slowly adding zones. Currently have 6 zones with chromecast audio and we love it. Has a hiccup here or there but we're happy. Will post details and picture later
 

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BudgetSnob,

Thanks for the update. Have you used Sonos before? I was curious how the Chromecast Audio works vis a vis Sonos. I have the regular Chromecast, but it can be glitchy - i.e. what is playing on my TV often becomes disconnected from the app on my device, or the "cast" icon sometimes wont show up on the device to shoot the video to the TV.

I think the price of Sonos is ridiculous if you aren't going to use the wireless portion of it.

Thanks!
 

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Just had a whole-home audio system installed with CCAs

Hey BudgetSnob. I thought that I'd reply to this thread in case someone else wanted to hear from someone with similar experience using CCAs. I posted this in the streaming audio forum as well. I had a local AV company install a whole-home audio system in my home about a week ago. They did a wonderful job. When I started researching possible audio sources Sonos came to mind. But then I realized that I wanted the ability to have different audio streams in each room. While that can be done with Sonos, it's quite expensive. So my AV guys came out and they mentioned a couple of other solutions like Nuvo and Ovation. But those only had 3 stream options and those would have put me over budget. As I did more research I ran across Chromecast Audio. I had heard about CCA on The Verge podcast but I didn't know anyone that had experience with them. My research revealed that the CCAs would provide great flexibility in terms of the various ways you could group rooms together, guest mode and the reviews didn't mention bad sound quality.

Faster forward to today and I now have a 6 zone whole-home audio system with Speakercraft and Yamaha in-ceiling speakers in each room, one 6 zone Truaudio amp and 6 CCAs. The amp has the music sense function so that when there isn't any sound coming the the speakers the amp goes into standby. Now I will say that my home isn't 50 years old. It's 3.5 years old, close to 2k sq ft and open floor plan. The AV company was able to run the speaker wire thru the small attic space to each room without any problems. They ran all of the wiring to one central location behind a bookshelf. The amp and the CCAs were placed on the lowest shelf of the bookshelf in the living room. It's a install that is very aesthetically pleasing.

I listen to podcasts when I get home from work while I'm prepping dinner and on weekend mornings I stream jazz from the Sirius XM app. The flexibility of the CCAs is amazing. I've created multiple groups of varying combinations of rooms. So for example, when I'm getting ready for work in the mornings, I'll listen to one of my favorite Sirius XM shows on demand via the Sirius XM app. However, I will limit the playback to a 3 room group that I've created that contains the master bathroom, master bedroom and the kitchen. On Saturday I had Spotify playing in bedroom one, Amazon Prime Music in bedroom two, Sirius XM in the living, kitchen, master bedroom and master bathroom. I even streamed my I-tunes files from my laptop using the Plex app. This past Sunday I missed church but my church does a live stream over the internet. I was able to stream the whole church service through the Chrome browser to every speaker in my house. It's amazing!! I love the whole setup.
 

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Ahard,

The regular Chromecast was glitchy for me - have you noticed any problems (i.e. the app losing "contact" with the target device and the stream going on and on), etc?

Also - what output are you using to go from CCA to the amp and what amp do you have?

Thanks for sharing your experiences.
 

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Ahard,

The regular Chromecast was glitchy for me - have you noticed any problems (i.e. the app losing "contact" with the target device and the stream going on and on), etc?

Also - what output are you using to go from CCA to the amp and what amp do you have?

Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Hi Wiggler. What I've noticed is that Google Cast app, which is what I think you're referring to, will take about 20 seconds to recognize all of the Chromecast Audios. Most of the time the recognition is immediate. I've never had the CCAs lose contact with tablet or the Iphone. I've also noticed that if the wifi signal on the tablet or phone is weak, the stream will have problems; that's a duh moment. It doesn't stop playing, but there will be the occasional skip in the stream. My Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet tends to hold the wifi signal better at the far reaches of my home compared to my Iphone 6. I haven't noticed streams going on and on. They've played the way they're supposed to; going from one song to another. The podcasts play without any hiccups.

When I press pause the streams pause. When I press play the stream resumes right where I left off. The flexibility of the volume control is amazing. You can control the volume by the up or down buttons on your tablet or phone, but you can also go into the Cast app and control each individual speaker volume. However, be aware that if you have a group of speakers playing and you press the volume keys on your phone or tablet, you'll make a global volume adjustment for all of the speakers that are playing in that group. If you want to only make an adjustment to one specific speakers and not the others that are playing, you'll have to go into the Cast app and adjust that speaker. It's pretty flexible from a control standpoint.

The output I'm using from the CCA to the amp is the analog connection. My AV company provided all of the interconnects. The amp my AV company provided is the http://www.truaudio.com/amp-3512.html. They were going to provide me with a Niles amp, but it didn't come in time for the install date. I have dual voice coil Speakercraft Aim 5 6.5 inch speakers in the bedrooms that aren't the master and in the master bathroom. All of the other speakers in the house are the Yamaha IC600 speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ahard,

The regular Chromecast was glitchy for me - have you noticed any problems (i.e. the app losing "contact" with the target device and the stream going on and on), etc?

Also - what output are you using to go from CCA to the amp and what amp do you have?

Thanks for sharing your experiences.
I'd say overall it's been great. We use amps with auto on/off so it makes it pretty simple.

It's glitchy for us only when we lose wifi reception, which happens at the edge of the house or on the back deck. So if you start streaming something in the kitchen, walk outside for a minute, and come back in, the CCA will still be streaming on its own in the kitchen, but your phone won't realize it until it connects back to the wifi. Some apps handle this transition better (e.g. Spotify will ask if you want to "Continue Streaming XXXX in the Kitchen?" when it reconnects), but others you have to stop and restart. We're hoping to remedy this by adding another access point for our network to get better wifi coverage.
 

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We're hoping to remedy this by adding another access point for our network to get better wifi coverage.
FIOS had to install a wired extender to the back of my home. Once I removed the router from the floor in the office and up onto the desk the signal strength became much stronger. I also have dual band 2G/5G router. When I setup the CCAs I used the 2G network, but they all switched over to the 5G stream. So I have to make sure that my tablet or phone is on the 5G network in order for them to see the CCAs. The 5G is much faster so I can't complain.
 

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I use my CCA audio exclusively for my outdoor audio.

I have an AMP and chromecast in a deckbox on the porch. That is connected to rock speakers throughout the yard. Totally simple setup that works great.
 
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