Audio System for Apt?

thealephMarch 5, 2011


A word of warning - I am completely tech ignorant, but hopeful one of you enlightened ones might be able to guide me in simple language...

I'd like to install an audio system into our new, small duplex NYC apartment that we will be gut renovating. I'd like to have the speakers installed in the walls/ceiling. I like the idea of wireless and ipod app control. I'd like to have sound downstairs (the bedroom), and sound upstairs, placed around the open living room/kitchen/dining area. (each floor is open besides for closets and bathroom and about 400 sqf), and maybe in the upstairs or downstairs bathroom.

I'd like to be able to turn the music on or off, speaker by speaker.

I'd like the sound quality to be decent, but it doesn't have to be extreme, if that affects price.

If such a thing exists, I'd love to also be able to pull sound in - ie to have the sound system work as an intercom or baby monitor.

My questions:

What are some options I should be considering?

What should I expect such a system to cost?

Any ideas or feedback would be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you so much!!!

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I want to be helpful here, but there are a couple things that you may need to consider before putting together your wish list.

The placement of speakers in ceilings and walls in apartment and condos is not neighbor friendly and may even be restricted in your homeowner agreements.

The second is that apps for ipod/ipad control is only an option for equipment which is network connected and already designed to receive control information this way. That equipment is still very limited and for whole house control, is even more limited and usually still quite expensive.

Think of it as if I want my ipad to turn my lights on/off and I have an app... but unless you have replaced all your light switches with some type of network connected/controlled versions, there is no way to do it.

Wiring of stereo speakers is usually done into each room from a central distribution point, and then level controls are installed in each room to control the volume.

So, your options should focus on more traditional installations unless you want to spend a lot of money!

As far as intercom and monitoring, these would be addressed as separate systems.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 11:04PM
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thank you so much for your reply, yosemitebill.

I think our coop board will allow the audio system (we're tucked away from other neighbors, so hopefully that shouldn't be a problem).

What you say about network connection makes sense -when you say "a lot of money" would be able to give me a ballpark range what I might be looking at?

What might a "traditional installation" look like?

Thank you so much for your help!!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 7:51AM
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Regarding my comments about in-wall/ceiling speaker placement, it was in regards to common walls & ceilings/floors. Even if there are no common walls, sound travels through the framing members and can "get into" other areas. Just something I wanted to make sure you consider. You know, that guy at the stop-light next to you with the "boom-boom-boom" type of thing!

As far as ipod/ipad control, the current offering has been from companies such as Savant, Crestron, and other upper tier manufacturers. While costs vary depending on your location, installation requirements, equipment, and a whole host of other variables, you're in the $20K plus area to get into that type of setup.

The good thing is that the ipad has created a buzz within CE industry (which has been grasping at straws lately - you know that 3D thing...), and we will start seeing more products with networked ipad control capabilities. There is a company that sells a product - RedEye - that converts your ipad into a WiFi-to-IR transmitter for a couple hundred dollars - but I'll let you read the reviews... On the other hand, things are only going to get better as far as ipod/ipad options.

By traditional, I mean running in-wall rated speaker wiring to each area from a central distribution point. You run into each room, go to an in wall speaker level control, and then to your in-wall/ceiling speakers.

At your central distribution point, you use an impedance matching speaker selector, connected to a good quality receiver.

There are RF wireless remotes from companies such as Logitech - Harmony - that can re-broadcast the signal from the remote in any room, to your "equipment rack."

While all this is flux, and technology is constantly changing, you can put together something economically that can be upgraded, without feeling too bad, in a few years or even a few months.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:37PM
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Ok - I will start doing my research - thank you so much for taking the time to share this information!!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 7:18AM
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