Whole House Audio

sniffdogDecember 28, 2006

I am getting ready to wire up my new house and would like to know if what I am planning on doing makes sense. I want something simple, reliable, decent quality and at reasonable cost.

I planned on making home runs with shielded CL3 line level wire from 6 rooms to an entertainment center. At the entertainment center, I will take the output of my HT receiver and run it into an amplifier that has 6 zones with a L/R per zone. That will allow me to select any device that I plug into my HT receiver for ditribution throughout the house (TV, CD player, iPod, etc.). In each room I will put an impedance matching volume control and connect my ceiling speakers to that. To operate, you turn on entertainment center equipment, pick source, and then go to the room and turn the knob. Seemed to meet my criteria.

Is there a better way that meets my critera? I looked at a fairly cheap digital CAT5 implementation but the amplifiers at each zone controller looked weak to me (10-20W per channel). I also looked at higher end digital systems that have great amps with lots of functionality, but was turned off by the price. If I go with my analog approach, I can pump up to 40W per channel to each zone. The central amp is about $250 dollars for 6 zones and the vol controller are about $30 each.


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FWIW I would definitely reconsider doing a system like Russound's Abus.

I realize that while the power rating is quite low, it will be more than ample for most applications. And you gain the control factor, since IR transmission, zone control and source control are built in.

And if there's a specific zone, like a patio, where you want substantially more power you can use the line out to a high power amp for that specific zone.

Using volume controls, switch boxes and such is a very, very outdated way to engineer a distributed audio system.

Less control and higher cost. Are you really sure you want to go that route?

Here is a link that might be useful: Russound

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 3:09PM
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I am still not sure I want to go analog - hence the post. I have read a lot on ABUS and I am still considering it. The only drawback I saw was the power out at each zone but I am not going to be blasting.

Have you installed ABUS? What can you tell me about the quality?


    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 5:01PM
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Just to close out this thread - here is what I have decided to do. I did all of the research on Russounds whole house digital systems. ABUS (the low end) will not meet my needs. It has too low of a power output to provide what I want. The higher end systems look great, but the price is too high for me right now.

So - I have decided to run 1/2 inch conduits to all of my volume controllers so I can upgrade in the future. I will start off by ditributing line level audio to each controller. I found that the cost of staying analog was still hard to beat. I can get a 6 zone amp with 40 watts per channel for under $300. The volume controllers are $30 each. So my cost per room us under $200 with very nice in ceiling speakers.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 7:24PM
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I am considering the Jamo whole house surround system. I have already wired my new home with cat5e and ran speaker wires to the respective locations. Anyone familiar with this system? Thanks in advance for your information.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 10:28PM
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