New memberUsername: M4tth3wh411
Post Number: 1
My father-in-law will be building a house for me and my wife soon and I am wanting to get integrated home electronics set up with all wiring ran during construction. I am familiar with networking and some basic cabling, but I am very unfamiliar with audio setups and the equipment I would need.
Essentially, I am wanting to get speakers in various rooms of the house connected to various media centers with cd/aux port and with streaming or network capabilities. If these devices need to be networked into a media server I can do that. If anyone can help me brainstorm some potential solutions or help me out with some links for better audio familiarization I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks all
Gold MemberUsername: Magfan
Post Number: 3463
And YOU must express some preferences, since you'll have to live with the speaker choices made.
This is a fast-moving field with many offerings at all price points.
I'd start by making of list of rooms and what you expect in each. A central HT room or Listening room might be chosen for the 'brain'.
Platinum MemberUsername: Jan_b_vigne
Post Number: 18465
I assume "various media centers" means you want audio and video distributed to several locations.
How far into the home design process are you? If you have a blue print that's relatively stable, then you need to begin by identifying the rooms with "media centers" and the rooms where simpler results are appropriate. Bathrooms and kitchens typically get less sophistication than, say, bedrooms and rooms designated for use as viewing/listening rooms. If you can't tell someone just what you want and where you want it, then you still have several decisions to make before you speak with a consultant.
Determine which rooms will be used where the audio/video is merely background to other activities. If you are on the internet in one room, then you don't require the same level of sophistication that might be desired in a dedicated music room where you ONLY listen to music. I assume people still actually sit down and listen to music for the sake of the music. If that is not at all in your needs/wants list, then the equipment choices represent that also.
Determine what level of performance you want from the video sources. Will there be a home theater room? Then the equipment choices will reflect that decision also.
Therefore, first you should establish a wants/needs list. Make it somewhat flexible and decide what is an absolute and what is a simple want if the budget allows.
The general rule in home systems is; If you want it and you can pay for it, it can be done.
Next, set a budget.
Then set an amount over and above that budget that you are willing to spend to achieve a final result as no budget ever actually holds up once construction begins and problems arise.
Determine how many and what type of sources you will be using. A media streaming device can be sent anywhere and everywhere. A turntable is not convenient in other than the same room with the table. Are you counting on using existing digital files? If so, be aware of the generally accepted fact that MP3 files do not hold up to being run through more sophisticated audio equipment. Any file used with better quality equipment should be of the WAV or FLAC quality level at the least.
Determine how many sources you will want playing in how many rooms at any one time. The same source distributed everywhere is far less expensive than multiple sources sent to multiple locations. If you want video in this room and discrete audio in another, the price goes up for each extra split of sources.
Decide on the level of whole home automation you desire. Most audio/video dealers today can pre-wire for lights, window dressings, security systems, etc plus your A/V system but coordination between vendors will be required. Consider a project manager/master contractor to settle disputes and keep everything on track. One person should be making decisions without calling you for everything.
Shop from the top down. If you are unfamiliar with the capabilities of a top flight system, learn before you buy. Projectors and screens can make for a true home theater experience and a dedicated room can take a music system to another level which cannot be achieved when audio must share space with any other purpose.
Buying a $500 mass market amp can mean you will be replacing that unit within five years. Buying a $2000 mass market amp may mean you are only buying more bells and whistles that will still need to be replaced in a few years time. Buying from a specialty manufacturer may mean you are getting what appears to be less simply because the quality - and the money - has been put inside the component.
Know how many people will be operating the system. The level of sophistication in controls can be confusing in a top flight system. If someone just starts pushing buttons, it's unlikely you will damage the system but it may require some effort to return the system to normal operation.
Do some reading:
Then go shopping and just listen. Do so on a slow weekday afternoon which should provide a good deal of time for the salesperson to discuss and demonstrate their wares. Show up on a weekend and expect to get a hustled shopping experience. This is just window shopping but you don't want to be rushed out of a room for another client who is also expecting to be the most important customer.
If you find a dealer who might serve your needs, set up an appointment to bring in blueprints and discuss what can be achieved at what cost. You may ask for references if you prefer. Nice shops still hire inexperienced sales staff. Not all shops have their own installers. Know who is responsible for what and who has the final say on the project when you call or ask a question after the sale. There's a good chance you will need some after the sale service so get names. It should be obvious that if the shop is only interested in making the sale, then you should buy elsewhere.
Make the shop aware of your budget but don't make the cheapest price your goal. If you've done your research and shopped with care, you will get what you pay for.
If you have no dealers in your immediate area, have your father-in-law probe around to find installations similar to what you are wanting and ask who did the work.
That's it for now. It's almost impossible to guide anyone from the position you are at now to a complete system two years down the road.
New memberUsername: Hungrylion
Post Number: 4