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Multiple room hook up

 

New member
Username: Sjordan872

Post Number: 9
Registered: 01-2004
A friend of mine is looking for a receiver/amp hook up to power his in-ceilling speakers that came with his new house. They are located all over the downstairs. Any ideas on how to configure such a system or what might work best? This one really stumped me. I'm guessing an external amp. Has anyone else had this problem? Thanks guys.
 

Silver Member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 177
Registered: 12-2003
Blazer: for whole-house audio... where the speakers are already wired and you don't know how... you need to first assess how they are connected! Generally, in a whole-house audio setup, there's a place where all the speakers connect. You can't just connect them all in parallel nor serial because you'll be strange impedances when you do that! (Parallel halves the impedance... that's just with 2 speakers! Although alot of ceiling speakers are 16ohm, just 3 of them would be 1/4 would be 4ohm impedance!)

So, after that, see if they have a distribution amplifier somewhere. If the house is like mine, it has <b?structured> and the wiring is in a central location. There is where the headend is -- the box which services all the audio. This could include remote IR feeds as well... depends on how crazy the previous owner got (or the plans called for).

In any event the speakers are powered from the headend... they are not line level audio. You'll need a multi-channel (multi-zone) amplifier. There are different brands out there. Even H/K makes an multi-zone (room) 8-channel Amplifier! (H/K PA2000, PA4000).

He should get real advice from a person who specializes in whole-house audio. I'm about to put it into my home myself. I'm using A-Bus and Decora over CAT-5. A bit more expensive as the amps and controls (including IR) are in each room. Also allows me to carry video (with Decora) for the security system.

I love home automation!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ncavman

Post Number: 43
Registered: 12-2003
Same here, I'm a home auto freak!

There is another way to do it without multi-channel power, and if you are on a budget as I was when I built this last house. I did structured wire too, its terrific.

I used a old retired Technics stereo amp (100x2) to power my whole-house audio with an AR 8-zone impendence correcting speaker selector ($99). Then used Russound decora volume controls in each room ($37). Did not need the impendence matching volume controls since the correction takes place at the AR piece, but went ahead with it so I have more options down the road. They have a nice feel too.

I am changing it to multizone soon and hope that I can achieve the same power and sound.

I highly recommend this setup if you like to crank it up loud because of the higher RMS power rating than many others. They have the VC's with IR targets too.

People who visit cannot believe the volume and fidelity coming from the all of the in-walls and in-ceiling speakers. I have to say they sound surprisingly good. I have not heard anything comparable yet.

I used a small $25 ebay mixer to route my home automation "girl" through my house audio so I can hear "her" tell me the time, the forecast, announce someone at the door, my NFL scores, whatever, wherever I am in the house or on the deck. She will even mute the house audio when the phone or doorbell rings or just to pay me a random compliment.... Heheheh :-)

One other secret? A cheap 10-band eq at the house audio end dramatically improved the sound of otherwise dead sounding speakers and can correct room problems with hardwoods, weird walls, etc. $20 ebay. (it is all in a closet so who cares what it looks like). I never thought I could get such low bass from ceiling speakers.

I used AudioCat from Liberty Cable for my house-audio, it is speaker wire bundled with CAT5 so I can add touch pads, zones, cameras, IR, and other cool stuff like Geekboy mentions. Your friend's speakers are probably already wired to one location and won't need new wiring. But definitely check each wire pair to see what load/resistance is on each! As said above you have to know how it is wired before you go any further. Is it direct to speakers, goes through volume controls, parallel, series, etc....

One other point, if your friend likes to crank it up, you can run cable for in-wall subs. Or try this trick: I ran wire from the VC location to a low spot on the wall, and put in a single gang box. Then ran up the wall from there to the in-walls. Then terminated the low box with nice gold banana connectors. Why? Because I can now "insert" a powered sub at that low spot on the wall and crossover the in-walls. It absolutely rocks the master bedroom.

Of all my toys, the home automation stuff is probably the most fun of all. Automated lighting slowly dimming up at 6am, 6:10 a soft women's voice telling me the date and my appointments, then at 6:20 she cranks Ozzy all over the house! Wooohoo GET UP!

Geekboy said it right, get some real advice from a house-audio specialist even if you just pick his brain then go do everything yourself.
 

New member
Username: Sjordan872

Post Number: 10
Registered: 01-2004
Great stuff! I'll pass it along. Thanx
 

Silver Member
Username: Geekboy

Post Number: 183
Registered: 12-2003
NC AV: which automation program are you using? I want mine to speak to me too. :-)
 

Bronze Member
Username: Ncavman

Post Number: 51
Registered: 12-2003
Geekboy- I have tried quite a few. Right now I use Home Automated Living (HAL) for the automation, and use the optional Natural Voice pack (from AT&T Labs) for really life-like speech. Includes male or female voices. www.automatedliving.com

She (Hally) is cool. Answers the phones, yells at telemarketers then hangs up, takes care of indoor and outdoor lighting, reminds me to go to buy flowers for Valentines!, remembers my shopping list, handles IR and HVAC, and best of all - understands my voice commands. Even rigged it to thank the mailman when he deposits mail in the mail box. Freaked this guy out, he didn't know what to do.

I can pick up the phone or use a microphone and say "turn on the hall lights" and she will say, "Yes, Master. Activating hall lights. It is a pleasure to serve you". Or I can say, "play me some rock" and she will respond, "any particular band? or shall I choose for you".. You get the idea.

HAL runs an in-house web server to so all computers in the house have web-page access to control lights, MP3's, etc. Can even connect to it while I am traveling and mess with lights and play streaming MP3s, or check the cameras. Since you have structured wiring too you can really make the most of stuff like this.

I love it. My wife just laughs.


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