Home Audio System

mbwaldropMarch 19, 2010

Ok, we are a new construction and are planing on putting speakers in 8 different rooms and using a wall panel to control each room. We have figured for 4 zones, but we keep hearing the same thing, you NEED surround sound in your living room? Do we really need this? We had planned on running the wiring and installing the speakers with the electrician or with our self and then getting someone to complete the process with running the system through our Mac computer so we can listen to itunes or XM through the computer. We want simple. Am I wrong that this is simple until you add the surround sound?

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jtwtech

Well, If you like to watch movies, the answer is yes. If you can afford the luxury of putting speakers in 8 different rooms to listen to music and like to watch a movie every now and then, the obvious answer is yes.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 1:17AM
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Billl

You don't "need" any of this. These are all "wants." And you don't want "simple." You want a high end luxury electronics item that 99% of people would never consider spending money on. If you want simple, buy some nice speakers for your mac and crank the volume.

If you want surround sound, then get it. I'm sure they will charge more. I'm equally sure it will sound great for watching movies etc. if that is something you value. It will be cheaper to do everything at once than to decide later that you want it.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 8:50AM
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pharkus

Most likely the people you've talked to, like myself, can't stand the thought of a halfassed system.

You're installing two speakers in each of eight rooms. That's sixteen speakers.

But you're whining about two more? Geez. WAAH.

At least let them run the wires and leave some blank cover plates where the surround speakers SHOULD (yes, I said should, not could. Should. Installing a large fancy system but intentionally crippling it is a dumb idea.) be so that a future homeowner with more sense can have them hooked up...

Surround (at least prologic, the very very very basic version) works well for most music too, btw.

Not sure about that there kumquat computer of yours...

"Simple". Yes, you can have simple, but I can add basic surround sound to your "simple" system for the cost of two speakers and a transformer. Less if, as I predict, you've already purchased a receiver that has a "true" surround sound decoder built-in.

My cost to add surround to your simple system would be far less than sixteen speakers.

Of course, if you're really looking for cheap, find a school building being torn down or remodeled, that was, built in the 70s or early 80s, and salvage their old Dukane paging system. Your music will sound like a phone receiver duct-taped to a megaphone, but it'll be simple, and you'll be rid of that pesky surround sound you're so deeply opposed to. You'll also have a really nifty PRIVACY button so your mac can't listen to you swearing back at it about the inferior noise you've chosen to subject yourself to.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 9:29AM
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pharkus

Partial apology for that. I mean, I really feel that way, but I normally would have suppressed my desire to tell you just so - except my friend chose to wake me up five hours earlier than normal to ask me some inane question that could easily have waited, and ended up answering itself anyway... so I had a bad morning.

That said, I don't know what you're planning to use to control/power your system, but alot of the multizone receiver/amplifiers I've seen still function as "standard" HT units, surround sound and all, so no, adding surround sound to one zone (as long as it's the primary one) does not make the difference between 'simple' and not. It's still one box, all you're adding is a few speakers and the associated cables to them.

Even if you choose not to install surround sound, is there a legitimately good reason not to AT LEAST run the wires anyway? Speaker wire isn't THAT expensive, especially compared to the rest of the costs we're talking about here.

And wouldn't you rather add some cables you don't need than decide you do need them later and have to rip your house apart again to add them? (or staple them in all sorts of visible/annoying spots?)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 11:24AM
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mbwaldrop

Pharkus, there is no need to apologize, I was laughing (thick skinned southerner) through your first post before I even got to the second. And well, when you put it like that your right! 16 speakers what is 2 or 5 more for surround sound? We are wiring the ENTIRE house about 4 times over for the option to RUN EVERYTHING!!! I think that is a shame that these systems can only run music, tv, lights, alarm, but they cannot clean up the damn kitchen or make a bed for their cost. Yes, cost does play a factor, as we do not have a money tree in the backyard we can go shake. So what are our options? What your recommendations? I know you may not like our Mac, however we would like to be able to access our music through the computer. We have bought NOTHING, not even the wire to run, us people in the south, well we are a little slow :-)!!! We are thinking possibly Russound or buying the idividual components (Pioneer Elite SC-27) and then running it. Feel free to rip this again! :-) Oh, and I hope your bad day does turn around, remember it TGIF!!!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 12:41PM
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mbwaldrop

Pharkus, I am still laughing, you really are funny even if you are having a bad day, you have made mine pretty bright with your wit!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 12:46PM
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spencer_electrician

I just got a call from a millionaire customer that had us mount his flatscreen over the fireplace (retrofit). While there his wife told us to fish in left, center, and right speaker wires. I added $105 to their bill. He said I need to re-think that ridiculous charge. He also thought that upgrading his VCR to a DVD play is a stupid idea. Some people have a lot different audio/video needs than others (:

For your system with surround sound you will need a surround sound receiver as well as a russound/ similar unit. That is unless you buy a 2 zone surround sound receiver and put a speaker switch on the zone 2 output. Using the 2 zone option you really still need an extra amp to power that many rooms. In which case, you might as well use the money from the amp and switch box towards a russound unit. Instead of the computer, check out Russound's our which ever system's Ipod dock. It will allow you to change songs from the keypads.

If you use different people for different parts of the work, make sure they're on the same page with what you want. Like pre-wiring an audio feed to your computer for the music.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 2:18PM
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mbwaldrop

Hey, spencer the electrician, if I send you my plans and tell you exactly what I want could you design the system? :-) Since we were trying to do some of the work we figured a complete system might be easier than piecing it together. How come this is seems so hard, too you this is a piece of cake. How do you get brain to wrap around this concept? I use to feel kinda smart until I tried to figure this sound system/surround sound :-)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 2:31PM
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weedmeister

If I interpret correctly, your objection is to the complexity that can come along with some, if not all, of the home automation systems that are out there. I don't blame you.

I have no h/w or s/w recommendations to make. But if this is new construction then I would say that you should pull the wires now for everything and make your hardware decisions later on. I'm assuming that since you used the word 'panel' you intend to run all the wiring to a central location, ie closet, that will house everything electronic. And you might as well pull both speaker and control (CAT5) now while you can.

Surround (5.1) is worth it if you watch movies and your room can do it. Having the wiring in place means that you can upgrade hardware at will.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 3:53PM
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mbwaldrop

Yes, weedmeister, that is correct, we are running it a central closet. Is cat5e enough to run to all the wall control panels and to each individual speaker? The complex of these systems is very hard to grasp and can be overwhelming because of the different products. Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 4:07PM
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