Do I need a multi-zone amp or am I nuts?


Active Member
In order to do my multizone Audio PC I'm trying to decide between using regular computer speakers or getting non-computer speakers with an amp.

I know PC speakers are getting better and better, but with the possible exception of the Master bedroom the speakers will be for music only.

There's plenty of receivers that do multi-zone but I don't need all the extras that receivers provide (i.e. decoding, radio, extra hook-ups, etc.).

That said, is there such a thing as a multi-zone amp or do I just need an amp that has as many channels as I have zones? Or to take this even a step further, should I get a seperate amp for each zone?

Check out this thread, you could use that to switch audio and video, it's a very easy and simple solution. Skibum, justonemore, jay , they all use (or know a lot about it) this. I should try to get one for a review or something (or if skibum can write one ;))
ahh, there we go ;).

The ASEL seems pretty sweet, but it's a bit of an overkill for what I need.

I'm not looking to do any switching or video distribution. I just need a way to power speakers in different rooms. The only time the speakers would be off is during a stop or pause and that'll be controlled on the PC.
ah, ok, I personally will be deploying more PC speakers (since I can shut them offf with an appliance module controlling their power supply), most of the ones I have are mini 2.1 systems, so they sound pretty nice, but you probably have to wait for the audio freaks on this board ;)
I tossed the idea of PC speakers around but they've got the sub to worry about.

I'd love to do all inwall or inceiling but I'm afraid of breaking the bank doing all this.

What kind of mini 2.1 systems do you have? Maybe I've been looking in the wrong direction.
it's an old yamaha 2.1 speaker set, comparable with the smaller and cheaper surround systems you can buy now. I deleted the pictures just a few days ago, will see if I can upload them again, but any nice speakers that have some bass will do.
Well I have a 6 zone (200watts per zone) system that I put together using inexpensive technics stereo receivers. At an average of $60 each off Ebay they were cheaper than good LPADS let alone IR controlled LPADS. I control the zones through a Nowplaying! sytle interface either via the web or a custome Labview application I wrote. It uses CDJ/Slink-e as the database to share 400 CD's and over 200 MP3 albums. Its quite nice and was pretty cheap to do.

The wife loves it. I have detailed it on Homeseer and Nirvis forums.


That sounds like a pretty slick setup. My only concern would be the amount of juice running 4 receivers would draw.

As it is I'm going to be running 3 computers 24/7. It's probably not a huge factor but all I really need is an amp or multiple amps, depending on what I can track down.
jwilson's on the right track. Never underestimate the value of used stuff. If you don't want to go to go with a single multi-zone receiver, several simplle, used amps or receivers are an excellent idea. ebay (as jwilson recommended) your local pawnsjop and maybe even a dumpseter a great place to look..

Yes a dumpster. I found a receiver that someone had tossed out next to a dumpster. Al of it's features dodn't work, but it amp section does and I'm going to use it to power some Aura Bass Shakers! Mind you, now, I wasn't dumpster diving, the receiver was set next to the dumpster where I was taking my trash out. Until then, I had planed on buying an amp to do the job for me.

And pawshops are excellent as well. People who sell to pawnshops are often much more desperate than people selling on ebay, and, even after the pawnshop marks it up, you almost always get better prices (although less of a selection). Here's an online pawnbroker that has a huge selection:
Micah, we must've been posting at the same time. Don't worry too much about the electricity draw, you can use IR control from your PC to only switch on the amp in the desired zone so you wont have them all running at once (unless you want to).

Also, I think the amps will only use as much power as you ask them to, so a single integrated amp/receiver that is sending 100 watts each to 3 zones uses about as much power as three amps sending 100 watts each to a zone each.... Of course the separate amps will use a little more juice for overhead, but it should be negligible.
I was ready to post about the ELK's, they are relatively cheap and work pretty well from what I hear.
The Nuvo 2 source/4output is pretty cool too. I have one I haven't set up yet. Kind of pricey though around $500.00 but comes with controls etc. - everthing but wire. I used two of the Elks and they worked fine but I've outgrown them.