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audiophyte

Suggestions For Whole-Home Audio System

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Greetings Audiophiles!

I'm looking for some suggestions on whole-home audio systems. My wishlist for a system is that it supports around 4 zones (more is fine) and it supports most devices (iPod/iPhone/iPad, Android devices, computer) either over wifi or bluetooth. The speakers themselves don't have to be wireless since the house they're going in is a skeleton at the moment anyway.

I've read a little bit about certain solutions--xantech, russound, proficient, nuvo, speakercraft, HAI--but I'd be lying if I told you I understand all the talk about ohms and amps. Most of those sites seemed to be targeted at retailers, not consumers. The one that sounds the most interesting to me is the NuVo p200 but I can't find it on their website and don't know if it's even available yet.

Would really love everyone's thoughts!

Thanks

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Do you want 4 or more zones all capable of having different media or just or 4 or more zones with the ability to only adjust volume? I know Onkyo makes a receiver with up to 3 zones but no idea about four though.

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Good question. I would love 4 or more zones with the ability to have different sources for each zone OR the ability for all zones to share the same source. Does that exist?

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Both options do exist, however it it far more expensive to have individual sources in each zone rather than all zones sharing signal.

For a whole house system sharing a single zone, it's a matter of having speakers, volume controls, a selector/switcher, and a receiver/amplifier. If you have lots of speakers, you could do a 70V system option. That'd eliminate a switcher, but would require specific 70v speakers and volume controls but the wiring is much easier. How many zones do you want and how many speakers in each zone. That'd be a good place to start.

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I see. Let's discuss both options then.

For both options, I was thinking 4 zones: kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and an outside deck. Each zone would have no more than 4 speakers.

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So 16 speakers or more. You'd need volume controls for each room, a power amp (possibly a multi-zone amplifier if you want independently controlled zones), or an impedance matching switch at the least, and a receiver. If you wanted independently controllable zones, a receiver with multi zone outputs, but the most zones I have seen a receiver have is 3. But you could make that work pretty well. Even two zones would probably be nice.

If you were to go the 70V route, you'd be limited to a single source to be used throughout the house, and if you wanted independently controlled zones, you'd need an amp for each of those zones. You'd eliminate the selector/switch or a multi-zone amplifier. The wiring would be simpler in my opinion but you lose true "stereo" sound which I do not think really matters with distributed sound You may sacrifice some sound quality with a 70V system however since there are transformers on every speaker and it can limit bandwidth, but I have hear many good sounding 70 volt systems.

There is a lot to take into account when planning anything like this. Have you talked to any audio retailers in your area about getting suggestions or quotes?

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That'd be no good. Try to see what people on the internet say about any dealers. Talk to a few and get some different estimates. That should give you a good idea of what things "should" cost.

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