Whole House Audio


Active Member
Well, like lighting, i've been going back and forth with whole house audio options for the last year. I've been reading through past posts on this subject as well. There are several things i found very interesting namely:

1) John's Now Playing summary
2) Paul's continued insight on all things russound...

1) living area (office/kitchen/nook/dining/living rooms)
2) master bed/bath
3) pool/porch - debatable as general this could be clumped into living

maybe 4) family room, 5/6/7)additional zone for garage/ 2 for outbuilding, 8/9/10) 3 more for kids rooms down the road. Now, what i don't know is long term home theater/main tv plans. Right now it's upstairs in the family room, but could move to living and be in the main zone.

For main living, generally want two speakers in each room, with a volume control on each. One exception: planning on putting one speaker in ceiling in middle of kitchen and one over the nook (might lose some stereo effect when in either of those rooms, but nook is small, and it's hard to justify 4 speakers in that whole area? any opinions / simialr dilemmas? Also, i may be moving tv/home theatersetup to the living room.

For master, 2 speakers in bed/bath and seperate volume...

At this point, i am thinking audio only. We have a few tv's in the house, but i've only got RG6 running to the rooms. I would be worried about running truly hi def stuff like blu ray, 1080p stuff over that. And i do not have access to easily run more cable as i've got a two story and cutting floor again is not an option.

I'd entertain ideas if i could pull off high quality signals with only the existing cable runs - but the cat5 based Russound HD video switcher coming out seems to only use component video which won't help me in cases like the kitchen where i want a very small flat panel. And as stated below i think the CAV would be overkill for my other needs anyway.

When i moved in i cut up the floor in the second story and ran all my cabling. In addition to cat6/rg6Q, i ran speaker cable and dedicated cat 5 in anticipation of the audio. The speaker loops down the walls with the cat6 feeds and is draped in the ceilings where i anticipated speakers...

1) I like the conveinence of A-bus, but am very fearful of the limited level i might get out of it. So Paul, can you give any more details on your post here:


How much more power we talking? Those new keypads look sweet too. I would be willing to hold out for summer if they truly could drive a pair of 6.5s well (think of boston's third stage, def leppard hysteria as my measuring sticks).

2) because i have 5 rooms in one zone, a 6 channel setup like CAM seems like overkill. I'm more interested at least within that 1 zone for single source distribution.

3) i'm not opposed to using impedence matching VC's off a single high power amp for main living area (nor using a unit like the denon's that have built in 2nd/3rd room support). I could probably live without local control save the volume in such a setup, though it would be nice.

4) I am also not opposed to the dedicated amp approach in John's example. Only question i have is that i still don't understand in that setup how you would control the volume locally in a room. I would rather not have handheld remotes laying around pointing to inwall IR's. What would be nice is a VC that somehow tied into the closet and there immitted IR to the relevant receiver? Maybe that is part of what i've been reading and i just fail to understand how it is done?

Anyway, as always thx in adance to paul/john and all other input
One more point i want to stress... One reason the a-bus is so appealing (as would be Zon (Zon is way too costly and out of my range!!!!) and others that have amps built into the wall controls) is that it's distributed over cat5. I already have some cat6 run between the house and outbuilding along with fiber, etc so this would be a perfect way to get audio to both my office and my shop. Downside is i can pretty much gaurentee that i wouldn't here a thing in the shop with any tool running though current abus unless i amped externally.

Anyway, I obviously would prefer not to run two sets of speaker level lines to that building if i could avoid it... I could of course use the A-bus link off the upper-end Russound units and use for out building only, but again, don't think i need those in the house to achieve what i'm looking for...

good night to all ;)

shenandoah75 said:
one speaker in ceiling in middle of kitchen and one over the nook (might lose some stereo effect when in either of those rooms, but nook is small, and it's hard to justify 4 speakers in that whole area? any opinions / simialr dilemmas?
look for dual-voice coil speakers . . they provide both L & R connections to one speaker . . no stereo imaging, but you'll get all the music . .
I had a system in my last house, and probably wouldn't do it again. Never used it much, with maybe the exception of Christmas. For my household, separate systems in each room worked better, although the concept of shared sources between rooms was pretty nice. And actually, separate systems was actually cheaper, but to each, his own.
ano said:
I had a system in my last house........separate systems in each room worked better.........the concept of shared sources between rooms was pretty nice.......separate systems was actually cheaper
This is exactly what I'm having trouble resolving. As someone still on the fence about whole-house audio (we want in and will have it, but don't know in what form), I'm having trouble dropping thousands of dollars on a do-it-all system that I may not take full advantage of. Honestly, with separate systems controlled via IR, what will I be missing out on? Seems like I could buy separate (lower-end)components for each zone, stack them in the control room, spend the difference on a family vacation for a long weekend and call it done.

Help me out here!? ;)
I hear both of you!

If all my rooms were isolated, i would not object to that reasoning. In fact i have no objection putting in dedicated systems in the master bed and the living room (where tv's will be located as well) and the home office/outbuilding really is not needed at all - definately a toy.

But my down strairs is pretty open in terms of the 900 sq ft of main living area. Thus i want to treat it as one zone. This is where i really want the functionality as i clearly don't want different sources playing in rooms 10 feet apart from each other and open via doorways.

Indeed . if the limited power in the ABUS was not an issue, my ideal setup would probably just be:

1) Denon Home theater receiver in living room
2) ABUS A-H1 connected to tape monitor or another line out of the denon
3) ABUS AH4P distibution panel in my closet
4) 4 volume only keypads (to kitchen(nook)/dining/office/porch(pool))
only downside is the A-VC2s don't have I/R

However. i like music, i like bass, and though i've read alot of positives on ABUS, all reviews ackowledge it's more for background music, not serious listening. Maybe with the Denon pumping out my sub and mains < 30' away that's not a big deal, but it's enough money i don't want to guess wrong. But with subs and nice mains within that 30x30 space, maybe all i need is a little fill in the other rooms from the ABUS.

If not, instead of the last three, if i could just get something that does the line-> cat5 (at source) and then back again (in the closet) digitially with no risk of interference / sound quality / signal delay, i would happily do that too... and then i could go with a seperate amp(s) in the closet with impedence matching VC's in the walls (preferably with IR) in same four areas.

Something like this maybe:

Just worried about potential for quality loss or delay on the receiving end, etc because of conversion?

maknoll said:
.. with separate systems controlled via IR, what will I be missing out on? Seems like I could buy separate (lower-end)components for each zone, stack them in the control room, . .
z'acktly what I did . . I have a niles irz+6 which does 6 zones of IR control (6 inputs each tied to it's own output, plus four configurabe outputs for common equip) and all of the individual receivers in the equip closet (three for now). .

. . patched the sound card from my media server (running Jinzora) to each of the receivers and to a FM transmitter . .

. . then I use a web browser to access the media server and pick an album/playlist . . any wired zone can then just select the media server for it's source (currently only using the remote, but looking to get some of the niles intellicontrol units). . and I can get the media server via the FM transmitter on any FM radio (boom box in the garage or out on the patio, walkman while working around the yard) . .

Pete C

(note: the IRZ+6 has been discontinued, they can be found on eBay. Niles does have a newer model.)
shenandoah75 said:

Just worried about potential for quality loss or delay on the receiving end, etc because of conversion?
I don't think you need to worry about delay. This is not a conversion to digital (e.g. Ethernet) it just uses Cat5 cables presumably because they are cheap.

It is a pure analog conversion to use the twisted pairs of wires (to reject common mode noise) available in Cat5 cables.

great feedback...

Ok - option #2 (leaning this way)
Denon Home Theater Amp located with the TV with their I-pod dock
The RCA / CAT5 balanced converters off tape monitor/pre-amp out from Denon

(4) 25 or 50W/channel amps in the closet (all fed by above input)
(2) feed paired in ceiling speakers in wife's office and dining
(1) feeds dual voice coil speakers in kitchen and nook
(this one would need to be 4ohm capable since it's effectly powering
2 speakers in parallel on each channel)
(1) feeds outdoor speakers on the patio/pool

- or -

(1) 8 channel amp/preamp combo to power the those with IR controllable volume on each zone

- or -

(1) fixed 8 channel amp with level controlled by the denon's volume setting only (assuming there's a preout thats variable)

And then either of the following located in 4 areas (office/dining/pool/kitchen) - kitchen / nook have line of sight to the Denon itself but would likely need volume control for kitchen anyway.

a) Niles intellipads with IR sensors
- or
;) IR receivers like the discontued niles

Down the road:
1) Large 1T storage server in the closet, and maybe add seperate tuner, etc. Also an HTPC at the Denon's location so i can take advantage of the same source in main zone (via ethernet/lan) and get advanced control, surf, game, etc. Don't need all the homeseer capabilities, so for control from the other rooms (or eventually other zones) i could probably get by with smeting like the IRMAN with media jukebox or something? http://www.evation.com/irman/

2) Adding other zones (master suite, outbuilding, etc) with similar approach using either the denon output or the music server's output by adding a multi-output card like the M-Audio/delta cards.

Any thoughts? seems cost wise to be a pretty good ROI for me anyway

thx again
Just to clarify some points on Now Playing...

Now Playing is a touch screen interface that control the JRMC database as well as all 5 zones of centrally located audio equipment. The interface runs on 2 Fujitsu Touch Screen PC's as well as any of my desktop PC's. I also have a Axim PPC interface that I can use from the couch.

The second point is that when dealing with a whole house music system and a large CD collection you need to have a quality way to browse through your library. This can hardly be done with anything other than a graphical screen. I have used this setup (in one form or another) for years now. I never used to listen to 80% of my CD library because quite frankly it was impossible to even recall what I had (out of site out of mind). But now I can browse by artist or album and quickly play anything with a few clicks. Also on the interface I can control each zone audio settings that the screen is focused on or select all zones and control all of them.

Third point... dealing with syncing zones. Many times my wife will be playing a different CD or playlist than I do but there are times that we want to play the same playlist throughout the house. My setup allows this with no time shifting between zones because its done through hardware. If you have a high end multizone preamp them I am sure you can do the same... I however did this on a tight budget.

Forth... well since you are going to be running a PC for your music library then home automation is a good next step. Now Playing has light control screens, caller id pop-ups and logging and weather just to name a few. This again is all controlled through a graphical interface.