• 02-27-2005, 06:48 PM
    Tahoe Gator
    Help! Whole House A/V for New House...
    Help on adding whole house audio/video to a new house!

    I am buying a new house and want to add whole house audio and video. I am desparately seeking advice on what route to take: centralized switching/amplification with runs to the speakers (Niles, Elan, Russound, etc.) versus central router digital network with local (at touch pads) amplification (e.g., Zon Audio, http://www.zonaudio.com). There are other solutions, such as Sonos (http://www.sonos.com), but, though I could be wrong, I don't think a "streaming" solution is what I need.

    My objectives:

    Must Haves:
    - Distribute audio content to about 6-8 locations, 1 or 2 of which will probably have their own local home theatre setups, the rest will have in-wall or -ceiling speakers. Most of the time the music source will be iTunes via an Airport Express. FM and CD play also I suppose. Very infrequently would I ever need to distribute different "audio only" to different rooms, though every system I've investigated does that anyway.
    - Distribute video content to about 4 TVs. Ideally, a single Tivo would be accessible from any TV (though I hear you can network Tivos), as well as DVD source, satellite channel, etc. If I ever add HD, I suspect it will only be at the head-end location, so no reason to distribute it (at least not now).
    - Ability to listen to the audio portion of an A/V signal over the same speakers, e.g., the in-ceiling speakers in the master bedroom double as speakers for watching TV.

    Would like to have (order of importance):
    - Monitor audio from another room, e.g., "baby monitor" a kid's room from one of the other rooms
    - View a "baby camera" on any of the TVs
    - Page someone in another room

    When I came across the Zon Audio system, I thought it was the answer because I figured I could find another way to distribute the video (maybe have certain channels on the TV select the appropriate video source?)., but the Zon system is limited to 4 zones per router and while routers can be networked, paging and monitoring functions will not work across routers. It seems that the Zon system might be more expensive if I go past 4 zones (need 2nd router).

    So it seems the central switching/amplification approach might make more sense and be more flexible, even though speaker runs might be long (2 story house and system probably will be in basement). I have reviewed the A/V Multi-Room Receivers from Elan, Niles, Russound and Crestron on their websites and, to be honest, find the information needed to decide between them or to setup a whole integrated system highly lacking. Clearly their audience is installers and I plan to do all or most myself. I cannot even find dealer locators on their websites (moving to Atlanta).

    Any advice or comparisons on the systems I mentioned or ones I might be overlooking would be greatly appreciated. Basically, I am thankfurl for any and all advice, web references, or whatever.

    The house is almost complete (walls up, etc.). So it is too late for pre-wiring. However, apparently the walls were accidentally put up before the telecom, so the low voltage contractor had to create some ducts to route the Cat-5 (phone/Ethernet) and coax lines after the fact. So, there may be an opportunity to more easily add wiring than would be otherwise. I am meeting with the low voltage contractor this week about adding wiring and need to figure out what wiring to add and where, which is of course dependent on what system I choose.

    Thanks!
  • 02-28-2005, 02:13 PM
    AVMASTER
    the walls r already up, with no coaxial or cat-5, 6 to 8 zones of distributed audio and video with closed circuit tv, the info about systems you found on the web too confusing, and you want to do the install yourself????????
    you need to forget the self-install route and have a sit-down with a custom installer , preferable a CEDIA certified one. you can use the CEDIA website to locate one in your area
  • 02-28-2005, 08:20 PM
    godfatherofsoul
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AVMASTER
    the walls r already up, with no coaxial or cat-5, 6 to 8 zones of distributed audio and video with closed circuit tv, the info about systems you found on the web too confusing, and you want to do the install yourself????????
    you need to forget the self-install route and have a sit-down with a custom installer , preferable a CEDIA certified one. you can use the CEDIA website to locate one in your area

    I second that statement. Dojng the install yourself on something like this is near insane but CEDIA certified installers deal with this stuff every day. They can do a site survey and recommend products suited for your specific needs. Happy hunting...
    Cheers
  • 03-02-2005, 02:56 AM
    Tahoe Gator
    I will have all the wiring done by a professional installer, speakers, control panels, etc. I will probably have them install the speakers also; and I may have them install the control panels, etc. But my post was not a question about installing ... it was a question about design configuration: central amplification (e.g., Russound vs. Elan vs. Niles) or, alternatively, network distribution (digital) and local amplification ala Zon Audio's product (www.zondaudio.com) ...

    I need to tell the installers what to install. Cat 5 to all control panel locations is obvious, but the above question determines whether the speaker wires homerun to the basement or just to the control panel in the respective room.

    Thanks
  • 03-02-2005, 05:37 AM
    AVMASTER
    [QUOTE=Tahoe Gator]I will have all the wiring done by a professional installer, speakers, control panels, etc. I will probably have them install the speakers also; and I may have them install the control panels, etc. But my post was not a question about installing ... it was a question about design configuration: central amplification (e.g., Russound vs. Elan vs. Niles) or, alternatively, network distribution (digital) and local amplification ala Zon Audio's product (www.zondaudio.com) ...

    a" professional installer" would already know what equipment is being used, how else could he run wiring without that info? Maybe you're confusing an electrician with a custom installer;One part of my company is a separate team that designs and programs systems within your budget, needs, and lifstyle. This info is given to the installation team with detailed specs for wiring a custom system. Sure, I could rattle off a list of equipment/ systems that may work but I'd rather do a visual inspection of your home, get a better sense of your lifestyle( how complicated a system you can handle, among other things), and a firm budget. Check out the CEDIA web site
  • 03-02-2005, 07:18 PM
    Tahoe Gator
    I guess only professional installers visit this site

    look, I could (and have) asked him and feel he knows his stuff ... ever heard of second and third opinions? starting backwards from a budget is what contractors love and customers hate. "all depends...let me come see your house" is what every installer has said because that is the sales process they want to employ...look it is a HOUSE... rooms, walls, and floors...i want to hear music in the rooms...it's not so complicated to require a visit to answer a a simple question:

    - central amp vs. A-bus systems and the like ... pros/cons/comments?