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Ceiling speakers in several rooms

 

New member
Username: Shanibs

Post Number: 2
Registered: May-08
Newbe and need help! I am trying to set up a system that would allow me to listen to music (radio/CD, mostly classical)in a different room than where the receiver is located. I need to buy a receiver for my bedroom, where I will have two ceiling speakers (JBL), a samsung LN40A550 TV, DVD, and Dish Network. In addition to the bedroom where the receiver and other equipment are located, there are 3 other rooms that pre-wired for ceiling speakers (2 in each room). I only need to listen to radio or CD in one room at a time, (do not need to have the radio on in two or three rooms at the same time, or different sources, if this makes sense...). For example, when I am not in my bedroom, I want to be able to listen to music in my kitchen (2 ceiling speakers) or in one of two other rooms (2 ceiling speakers in each room). Any suggestion as to what would be the best receiver for this configuration (up to $400)? What else would I need buy? Thanks for your assistance.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12633
Registered: May-04
.

Select whichever receiver suits your taste. Buy a speaker selector with enough positions for the number of speakers you will have wired in place, each pair of speakers counts as one position. If you are only running one pair of speakers at a time, the selector need not be anything fancy.
 

New member
Username: Shanibs

Post Number: 3
Registered: May-08
Thanks, Jan. This is very helpful. The salesperson at ABT insists that I need an amplifier for doing this... Is an amp necessary? Another question: Any receiver that would have speaker selector built in..?

Thanks!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12634
Registered: May-04
.

If you are only running one pair of speakers at any time, any receiver can drive one pair of speakers.

If you want to drive two pairs of speakers simultaneously, most receivers will drive two pairs of speakers. Check to make certain the receiver you select can do this without employing an "impedance selector" switch for high (8 Ohm) and low (6 Ohm) loads. No receiver should have to rely on such switches to operate properly. Pass on any receiver that has such a switch and buy a receiver that can drive a four Ohm load even if you never intend to use more than one pair of speakers.

If you want to drive more than two pairs of speakers simultaneously, you would want to buy a speaker selector which provides impedance matching. Some selectors do this by switching in a load resistor they will label "protection" and is the equivalent of the high/low switch on the receiver. This is not my favorite way to go here but it will work if volume levels are not excessive. The better speaker selectors are done with autoformers. The latter approach is more expensive intially but it is the best way to avoid problems with the receiver/amplifier at a later date.

Unless I totally miss what you are trying to accomplish, there is no need for a separate amplifier in this system.

Typically a separate multi-channel amplifier is only sold when the client wants multi-zone operation - playing two sources in two locations simultaneously.

One pair of speakers at a time = one receiver.


.
 

New member
Username: Shanibs

Post Number: 4
Registered: May-08
Thanks MUCH again, Jan. Can you recommend a receiver that would be best for my configuration (three rooms in addition to the room with the receiver, 2 ceiling speakers in each room, Samsung 1080p TV, DVD, Dish)?
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12635
Registered: May-04
.

Nope, I can't. Find one that suits your needs. I don't do recommendations for several reasons. I do generally suggest you buy the heaviest receiver for the amount of watts you require, this typically translates into the receiver with the most robust power supply. Buy the lowest wattage for the most money for the same reason. Start by looking into Harman Kardon and Outlaw. Outlaw is on line only but they have a very good reputation.

.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 1514
Registered: Jun-07
Im just throwing a suggestion out there, but take a look at the new Onkyo line of AVR's. Jan's suggestions are a great start as well. Cheers.
 

New member
Username: Shanibs

Post Number: 5
Registered: May-08
Thanks much for all the advice and education. It is much appreciated. I have another dumb question... If my speakers are all to the main source with wires, when the volume is off on the ones I do not listen to, would the power than redistribute to the ones that the volume is on? Having an very low audio technology IQ (and/or experience) it is difficult for me to imagine how this whole thing works... :-)
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 10225
Registered: Dec-04
Shanibs, the receiver will deliver power to any number of speakers at once. The problem is, more than 2 pairs will usually cause the receiver to shut down or be damaged.

With a speaker selector, located near the receiver, only the speakers that you select will be connected to the receiver, and that eliminates the possibility of connecting all at once.

Look into Onkyo for connectivity for all of your sources.
Outlaw do not support all the latest goodies, but Onkyo's latest series do.
And they are very popular for price and performance.
If you are looking for high power and sound quality in a 2 channel stereo room, then Outlaw is among several good brands.

The receivers of late are getting very close together in offerings, and the price is dropping very quickly, thus the need for manufacturers to come up with new models all the time, to justify propping up the price.
Or they just like printing new faceplates and shipping boxes
 

New member
Username: Shanibs

Post Number: 6
Registered: May-08
Thank, everyone, for great help!!!
I am learning lots, but am still very confused and overwhelmed with all the choices.

I am currently looking at HK and Onkyo, but both have several different models. Any recommendations on Onkyo vs. HK (specific models) for either one of the 3 receivers specified below?

I need 3 receivers, one for a 7.1 surround plus additional room with 2 ceiling speakers, one for a bedroom with TV and 2 ceiling speakers and 3 additional rooms with 2 ceiling speakers, and one just audio (2 rooms).

Jan, you wrote to buy "heaviest receiver for the amount of watts you require, this typically translates into the receiver with the most robust power supply. Buy the lowest wattage for the most money for the same reason." Can you explain what you mean buy "heaviest receiver" and "amount of power?" What do you mean by "robust power supply?" What's the difference between buying the "lowest wattage" and "most robust power supply?"

Thanks much!!!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12638
Registered: May-04
.

Heaviest receiver = the one that weighs the most.

Amount of power = how many watts. Lower power/watts at higher cost = good amplifier (probably).

Robust power supply = good amplifier (probably). It will weigh the most for the same power/watt rating.

lowest wattage & most robust power supply = no relationship in most cases. Buy the unit with the best power supply. Since the power supply is the main part of the amplifier but not spec'd in any way the best way to guess/judge its quality is by weight.


Buy the heaviest unit even if it happens to have the lowest wattage per dollar on paper. The heaviest amplifier will probably be the best sounding amplifier because it will more than likely have the most robust power supply. Robust power supplies (heavy ones) are good joojoo.

But you should listen and decide what you like. Just don't base your decision on the faceplate and remote without considering the amplifier.

.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 1515
Registered: Jun-07
"Any recommendations on Onkyo vs. HK (specific models) for either one of the 3 receivers specified below?"

IMO Onkyo hands down. Recent offerings from H/K have lacked large in the sound quality department, and their receivers do not offer the latest features just yet.
 

New member
Username: Shanibs

Post Number: 7
Registered: May-08
Jan,

If I understand you correctly, given two receiver of the same weight, the one with the lower amplifier total output power would probably be the better receiver. Am I correct?

Thanks much!!!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12639
Registered: May-04
.

Yep, it probably will.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 1516
Registered: Jun-07
Yup, Jan is right. Too many mass market, crap AVR's with 'blown up' power ratings.
 

New member
Username: Shanibs

Post Number: 8
Registered: May-08
Thanks, Jan and Nick. You are awesome...!!!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12641
Registered: May-04
.


Yes, I am but the court's still out on Nick.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 1517
Registered: Jun-07
 

New member
Username: Shanibs

Post Number: 9
Registered: May-08
Jan,

I am trying to evaluate some receivers using the criteria you provided, and I am utterly confused... Help!!!

For exmpale, HK 146 specs are:

5.1-Channel A/V Receiver With HDMI Switching 150W: 30 watts x 5 (All channels operating at full-rated power), THD <0.07%, 20Hz - 20kHz into 8 ohms 300W: 60 watts x 5, THD <0.07%, @1kHz into 8ohms.

Is the total wattage 300 or 600? What do I look for in determining "power supply?" Sorry about the dumb questions, but I am learning all the time...
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 1522
Registered: Jun-07
The Rating your looking for is the All Channels Driven rating at 0.01 which is 30X5=150 watts total. H/K's watts ratings are very real.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12645
Registered: May-04
.


I see no mention of weight. No wonder you're confused.



"150W: 30 watts x 5 (All channels operating at full-rated power), THD <0.07%, 20Hz - 20kHz into 8 ohms 300W: 60 watts x 5, THD <0.07%, @1kHz into 8ohms.'



The "150 watts" refers to the 30 watts allocated per channel times 5 channels; 30X5=150.


This is spec'd with the amplifier delivering full power over a frequency range of 20-20kHz.


At full power (30 per channel) driving an 8 Ohm load the amplifier generates no more than 0.07% T.H.D. when reproducing any frequency between 20-20kHz.


The next set of specs are given when the amplifier is only reproducing a 1kHz frequency (sine wave) and the 8 Ohm load remains constant. At 1kHz the amplifier can drive 60 watts into five channels (60X5=300). This is provided to tell you the amplifier can produce more power when reproducing 1kHz only than when driving signals which run from 20Hz-20kHz.



None of the above is important. If this 30 watt amplifier weighs more than another 30 watt amplifier (compare at 20-20kHz range only), it's probably the best choice. Most specs (these included) are deliberately meant to confuse you and are meaningless in the real world.


30 watts per channel should be sufficient for moderate listening levels with most speakers.


Are you only going to run the two ceiling speakers in the TV area? If so, you might have a problem with mixing down to only two channels on program material (from Dish and DVD) which is originally provided only in 5.1 Dolby Digital. (Virtually all new program material from Dish will be in 5.1 Dolby after February of next year. Most material on DVD is already in 5.1.) You need to know whether either your satellite receiver and your DVD player can be set up to perform this down mix - they should, check the owner's manuals - or whether the receiver can be set to down mix to two channel - it should also.


Only the receiver or the source units need to perform the function, you do not need to duplicate the function at both Dish/DVD and the receiver.


Or you will need additional speakers to complete the 5.1 Dolby set up in the TV room. Make certain the salesperson understands your speaker set up and can explain how to perform the proper set up for your system as you wish to configure it.


Listen to the receiver and make certain it gives what you consider "good" sound quality on a variety of program material.


.
 

New member
Username: Shanibs

Post Number: 10
Registered: May-08
Thanks Jan, You ARE awesome +++ (You too, Nick :-).

I have 7 ceiling speakers in my leaving room, so I was thinking of buying 7.1 receiver for that room (which will also send audio to the dining room with 2 ceiling speakers). Following your guidance, I will probably go to listen to the HK 247, which has the highest weight for the wattage, and maybe some of the Onkyo receivers (I still need to check the weight to wattage ratio to know which model). HK sells refurbished units through Ebay and these usually go between $200-$250, which is a lot less than the Onkyos. From what I read in users reviews, the receivers are very good, except for the remote, which is awful, and there are some issues with overheating. HK gives a 1 year warranty on the refurbished units. What do you think?

I am not sure what is the best for my bedroom (TV, 2 ceiling speakers, and speaker selector for another 3 rooms with 2 ceiling speakers each). I think (though am not sure) I understand what you said about mixing down to only two channels on program material (from Dish and DVD) which is originally provided only in 5.1 Dolby Digital. From what I understand it is best to connect the dish directly to the TV, and run the audio from the TV to the receiver (rather than the other way around). Would it be better then to buy a regular stereo receiver (such as HK 3385 or 3485) for this room rather than the AVR 146 (or similar 5.1 one?). Would this stereo receiver still work with the DVD and 2 speakers as compared to a 5.1 receiver?

Jan, I really appreciate you taking so much time to help me out with this. I already learned a lot from you...

Shani
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12649
Registered: May-04
.

Over the years HK has proven itself to be a consistently good brand for the money. Listen to the receivers and compare. Onkyo over the years has been hit and miss with the ability to produce very good product and the desire to all too often produce mostly junk. Ask about servicing if you should need repairs. Where does it get done and about how long for turn around? I don't expect trouble from either brand but you should know now rather than face a surprise down the road.


If I am understanding correctly, you intend to buy two receivers? One 7.1 unit strictly for the TV area and another stereo receiver for the other rooms? That works but may be unnecessary. The AV receiver should be capable of doing everything you need if your original post is still how you intend to run the system. If you've changed your mind about the sources dedicated to the other rooms, you might look at "multi-zone" operation from either HK or Onkyo and decide whether spending money for that option - and the associated amplifier - is worth your money.

.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Shanibs

Post Number: 11
Registered: May-08
Hi Jan,

Thanks again... The bedroom is on the second floor. There are two ceiling speakers in the bedroom. Wires run between the bedroom and 3 other rooms on the second floor (2 ceiling speakers in each of the other rooms on the second floor).

The living room in in the first floor, it has 7 ceiling speakers and connecting wires to the dining room with 2 ceiling speakers. I don't believe there are wires between the first and second floors.

Given the wiring structure, I assumed that I would need two receivers, one for the first floor living room (sorround sound, 7 speakers), and one for the second floor bedroom. It is my understanding that I cannot use one receiver or two zones in this configuration, but I may be wrong.

If I do need a separate receiver for the 2nd floor bedroom, would it be better to buy a regular stereo receiver (such as HK 3385 or 3485) for this room (TV, dish) rather than the AVR 146 (or similar 5.1 one?). Would this stereo receiver still work with the DVD and 2 speakers as compared to a 5.1 receiver?

Thanks for ALL the help!!!!

Shani
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 12651
Registered: May-04
.

If there are no cables connecting the first and second floor speakers, then you are correct and you will need two receivers, one for each area. The AV receiver should be fine for the first floor and the stereo receiver will work in the second floor system if you aren't interested in multichannel operation in that area.


Make certain you can down mix to stereo any future Dish network box (when broadcasts switch to digital next year - call Dish for their advice) and, if that can be worked out, I'd opt for the stereo receiver. Check for any connection issues with the audio-from-the-video-component inputs (don't worry about video signals, just the audio side) if you decide on the stereo receiver. I don't expect any problems since most of the present day and foreseeable future components have a reasonable amount of backwards compatibility, but check before you buy.


The present DVD player should be OK with the stereo receiver if you can run the video outputs of the DVD straight to the TV and audio to the receiver. All of this should not present a problem but the introduction of video to the home audio market has presented manufacturers with an excellent opportunity to design components with insufficient flexibility to perform simple tasks such as running more than one pair of speakers at any one time.


As I see your situation without doing any checking of individual components myself you should be fine with AV receiver on the first floor and stereo receiver on the second. That is still based on the information you provided in your first post regarding which signals will be required at any one time in the outlying rooms.


.
 

New member
Username: Erichr

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jun-08
Just chucking this out there, check out the Marantz ZS5300 Multi-Zone Control Amplifier...takes the pain out of multi-room systems...
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