New home audio system guide?


New member
Username: Pattyobrien3

Post Number: 1
Registered: Aug-12
I've wanted to install a home audio system in my house for a while, but I had a couple questions.

Firstly, I'd love to have an audio selection box that could choose between two imputs, my computer and tv, and then run to about 6 speakers. So, I'd have one audio source, that could choose between inputs, running to all the speakers, or a "master" source. Is this common, or economical?

Secondly, at the speakers themselves, I want to have a selector switch that allows the speakers to play from the "master" source, or have an audio jack near each room's speaker that would allow someone to play music from a phone on a single speaker.

So, for example, I could be listening to a movie playing while cooking, and someone else could have a phone plugged into a speaker listenting to their own music.

Is this sort of thing possible? If so, how? My primary concern is how to provide power to the speaker from the local jack.

Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 1924
Registered: Oct-10
Yeah, it's possible.

There several ways to do this depending on your budget.

If your budget restricts you to a receiver, then one of the multi-zone models from either Denon, Poineer, Onkyo, HK or Marantz would be one possibility. Sonos is another and there are more still.

Since you mentioned movie sound, I am guessing home theater is part of the equation. In said case, using a HT receiver as your main zone would be ideal.

Expect to answer lots of questions before anyone can give you any real help.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17349
Registered: May-04

The options in whole house audio/video/lighting/control/data storage and processing are rather staggering today with more being added every few months. New companies are always popping up with new products aimed at buyers exactly like you. Selection of sources with subsequent distribution through an entire house and out into the adjoining green spaces is very simple to accomplish. Wiring the system is typically the biggest drawback there as running wires through existing construction can, on occasion, present difficulties. Only a few "difficulties" cannot be overcome by some ingenuity along with throwing sufficient amounts of time and cash at the issue. Wireless transmission of signals has largely replaced hard wired systems in those situations and those technologies have improved to the point where it alone can solve many problems which would have required real ingenuity and real pay by the hour work in years past. Internet linked audio/video players and apps for mobile devices have made the adaptation of multiple devices into a single unified system a much simpler task than ever before.

Any shop doing whole house installations in your area would be able to give you an estimate for the costs and probably also provide a few suggestions on what you might consider as a complete system.

At this time I'm unaware of any device which would be located in one room away from the main system and allow, say, an iPhone to be plugged into the existing system in the main room. I could certainly be wrong on that since I've not done installations for years now. And I wouldn't doubt that a wireless system could be set up to accomplish that goal. The easier way, IMO, to accomplish what you've described would be to either locate an iPod/MP3 dock in those rooms or to place the data on a master drive and access it from the main system via the iPhone or iPad. Playing two sources in two locations simultaneously is not a problem if you choose a "multi-zone" system.

For the most part, your budget will control what can and cannot be done in your situation. If you want it, there is a very good chance someone has already addressed that desire. Keep in mind, the more complicated a system becomes, the more confusing it can be when more than one user has access to all the controls.

Check the local Yellow Pages, Angie's List or a search engine for shops in your neighborhood which might do such an installation. Virtually any decent audio shop selling home theater systems should be able to acccomodate your needs. If you just need a starting point for what is available, head over the the "Electronic House" magazine's web site.

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