Help selecting in-ceiling speaker from Monoprice for Sonos Connect:Amp system

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Old 03-03-14, 12:07 AM
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Help selecting in-ceiling speaker from Monoprice for Sonos Connect:Amp system

Hi,

I own (and ABSOLUTELY LOVE) a Sonos Connect:Amp system. I want to hook up the Amp to 4 in-ceiling speakers, with two located in the kitchen and two located in the dinning room / living room. I understand that I will need to connect the speakers in parallel, and that I won't be able to control the volume independently: all four speakers will be one zone.

I read the following articles about how to wire 4 speakers to a Sonos Connect:Amp and recommended speakers.

As well as the specification regarding the Sonos Connect:Amp, which states:
Class-D Rated output, 110WRMS (2x55W continuous average power into 8 ohms, TDH+N<0.02%) with both channels driven, 22Hz-20KHz-AES17 measurement bandwidth.
So, I gather that I can wire 4 x 8 ohms speakers to a connect Amp, which will give me 4 ohms impedance on the Amp. The Amp supports 55W RMS per channel, with 75W peak (for 8 ohm speakers), and 150W peak for 4 ohms speakers (no specification on RMS for 4 ohms, but I'll assume it is also doubled to 110W). However, if I understand correctly how this works, although the Amp will see 4 ohms on each channel (because of the 2 x 8ohms speakers connected in parallel to each channel), the speakers themselves will still receive 55W RMS EACH, correct? So I need 8 ohms speakers that can handle 55W RMS or more, right?

I am trying to select the "best" (which to me would mean the best sound quality and the most power, matching the Amp) in-ceiling speakers from Monoprice (yes, I know, those are not the highest quality speakers, but for the price, I'd like to start with that, I think it will be just fine).

Monoprice has 3 categories of in-ceiling speakers:
8" speakers:
PID: 4929 --> 80W RMS, 42Hz-20kHz, interesting feature of being angled (delivering the sound toward my room if installed near the wall, and not just downward),

6.5" speakers :
PID 7605 --> Not good because 6 ohms impedance
PID 4619 --> Not interesting because each speaker is stereo - I am not looking for that
PID 6034 --> 40W, 55hz-20khz, 60$ (per pair)
PID 4103 --> 60W, 50hz-22khz, 46$ (per pair)

5.25" speakers :
PID: 4102 --> 50W, 68Hz-20kHz

I intend to install them as follow:
- One pair will be installed in the kitchen, near the wall, hoping to project the sound toward the room
- The other pair will be in the middle of the adjacent room, between the dining room and living room (so that I hear stereo sound from either rooms). See floor plan below for a visual.

I'd like help selecting the best speakers for my environment in the above choices (unless you have similarly priced alternatives). I like the angled 8" speakers for the dinette because of the angle, but I get a feeling they are probably too big/powerful for my room. Regarding the 6.5", I don't mind paying the more expensive one, but given they have less power, I would be worried they get busted if the Amp is played at maximum (which can happen). Should I just settle for the smaller ones which are 50W but have a less good frequency response?

Also, the Connect:Amp allows for a separate subwoofer.. should I install a separate in-ceiling subwoofer?

I am attaching a floor plan of the room: Name:  Kitchen and living room - 2.jpg
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Legend:
- There is no table in the middle of the dinette
- The blue rectangles represent sitting spaces (sofa or chair)
- The big green rectangle represent a big table that sits 8 people
- The 4 purple circles represent what I intended to put the in-ceiling speakers (two near the wall in the kitchen, and two between the dining and living room).

Your input would be very much appreciated.

Thanks

PS: I would have preferred the in-wall speakers instead of in-ceiling for the kitchen, so that they project the music in the room, but decided against it because that wall is an isolated external wall and I am under the impression that in order for an in-wall speaker to be efficient and work well, it needs to use the empty cavity of the wall to "resonate", so putting it in the pink mineral isolation wouldn't work, is this right?
 
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Old 03-03-14, 05:53 AM
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I didn't find where I could edit my post (?) but wanted to add:
- You can ignore the red square in the corner of each room, this is where I initially thought I would install the speakers, but was advised against because the quality of the stereo wouldn't be as good
- I haven't cut-out the holes in the ceiling, nor run the wires, so I can still change the location of the in-ceiling speakers. I am open to suggestions if you don't think I am installing them at the right place or that it could be optimized.
- The purple circles is where I think I want to install them.

I am including 3 pictures of the rooms:

View from the dinette, we see first the dining room, and the living room further in the back:
Attachment 27654

View from the other end, we see the living room on the right, and the dining room on the left:
Attachment 27655

View of the part of the kitchen/dinette where I would install the in-ceiling:
Attachment 27656
 

Last edited by CanadianUser; 03-03-14 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 03-03-14, 09:43 AM
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Okay you have a couple issues with your plan.. First of all, speakers installed like that with the amp you are using are only for 'ambiance'. With only two speakers per room, the position is pretty much moot. There will be no stereo separation unless you are in one of a couple 'good' positions with your ears parallel to the speakers and roughly centered between them. People sitting on the long couches and at the sides of the dining table will only hear the music from one side and it won't be stereo for them. In fact, depending on the acoustics/reflections of the room and the mixdown quirks that some music producers have, it could sound downright weird in some places. This does apply to in-walls as well.

The best way to produce stereo throughout an area is to use several pairs of speakers along the length of the room, which swap left and right at each pair. What this does is ensure that no matter where you are in the room, and no matter which way you are facing, you are always between a left and right speaker. You would need at least 5 pairs to do it in your space (3 in the dining room/salon, 2 in the dinette). Unfortunately you just don't have enough power in that little Sonos to do it with more than two pairs though.

Second, paralleling speakers is a huge compromise in sound quality. You would be much better off installing an impedance matching selector/volume control, which presents 8 ohms to the amp. The simplest analogy I can give you is to think of your speaker as a dog on a leash, and the amplifier as the owner. The leash is the impedance - the higher the impedance, the shorter the leash. The shorter the leash is, the better control the owner has over the dog to keep it going where he wants it to. Same applies to the amp and speaker - at 4 ohms, yes there is twice the power coming out of the amp as there is at 8 ohms, but there is also ten times the distortion coming out of the speaker. So you want to stick with 8 ohms. Power is definitely NOT everything when it comes to sound (unless you're a 17 year old punk in a tinted out Civic )

I don't know what kind of music you listen to or how loud you like it, but you really shouldn't expect much out of this. As I said it'll be great for some light ambient music, but you're not going to be getting anything to where you need to be concerned with frequency response, or even in-wall resonance for that matter.

My suggestion is install the speakers all in the dining room/salon, and put the Sonos in the dinette (I assume its built-in speakers still work with externals connected?).

You may also want to consider selling the Connect:AMP and buying a Connect, along with a separate dedicated amp. That will give you much more flexibility to achieve what you want.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 10:07 AM
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Hi,

Thanks for your reply. I kinda expected the comment about the in-ceiling being good only for ambiance, but to a certain degree, this is mostly what we use it for: Listening to commercial radio while cooking, or background music whilew we chat with friends while drinking wine. But that's not elevator music... it is mostly pop/top 40 (what plays in the commercial radio these days), along with some good 80's at times (Bon Jovi, Guns and Roses, ABBA), etc. I won't say that there isn't loud punk tunes at the time, but rarely for more than a short period of time.

However, going back to your suggestion, the Sonos Amp does not have any internal speakers. It isn't a player like the Play:1, Play:3 or Play:5, which have internal speakers (that can be pretty loud), but no way to connect external speakers. So, it is just an amp with 2 or 4 speakers. I could purchase another amp however, and have 2 zones (each could have up to 4 speakers). Or I could hook up all 4 speakers to one pre-amp (that was suggested by somneone), and have that amp connected to the Sonos:Amp (this solution would allow me to adjust volume levels for individual pairs, albeit not from my phone).

I could still buy a bunch of Play:1 or Play:3 and scatter then around instead of using in-ceiling, this would certainly give better sound, but my decision to go with in-ceiling had more to do with design and aesthetic: I don't want to have to mount brackets a little every where, and more importantly, need to bring 110v power to each speaker (each Sonos Play require 110v). With in-ceiling, I can run easily my wires in the ceiling, all of them to a central location on a different floor where the amp would be (the wires wouldn't be more than 45ft each), which means no extra power outlet, no running cable, no mounting bracket, no speaker box fixed on the wall or hanging from the ceiling - all well hidden.

I choose style over sound quality, which I understand isn't the preference of most people here, but still an deffendible position.

I would still like to know where you would put the Play 3 if I were to scater than around. And which in-ceiling would you recommend in the ones I listed?

Thanks

PS: I am attaching the picture which somehow didn't make it this morning. See:

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  #5  
Old 03-03-14, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by CanadianUser View Post
Hi,

Thanks for your reply. I kinda expected the comment about the in-ceiling being good only for ambiance, but to a certain degree, this is mostly what we use it for: Listening to commercial radio while cooking, or background music whilew we chat with friends while drinking wine. But that's not elevator music... it is mostly pop/top 40 (what plays in the commercial radio these days), along with some good 80's at times (Bon Jovi, Guns and Roses, ABBA), etc. I won't say that there isn't loud punk tunes at the time, but rarely for more than a short period of time.

However, going back to your suggestion, the Sonos Amp does not have any internal speakers. It isn't a player like the Play:1, Play:3 or Play:5, which have internal speakers (that can be pretty loud), but no way to connect external speakers. So, it is just an amp with 2 or 4 speakers.
Ok, my bad.. I took a quick look and thought it had built-in speakers too.


I could purchase another amp however, and have 2 zones (each could have up to 4 speakers). Or I could hook up all 4 speakers to one pre-amp (that was suggested by somneone), and have that amp connected to the Sonos:Amp (this solution would allow me to adjust volume levels for individual pairs, albeit not from my phone).
That's not what a preamp does. You can't 'stack' amps like that because that model does not have an analog line-level output (only an input) If you are considering buying an amp, you will need to switch to the regular "Connect" model. That one has the outputs designed to connect to an external amp.

I could still buy a bunch of Play:1 or Play:3 and scatter then around instead of using in-ceiling, this would certainly give better sound, but my decision to go with in-ceiling had more to do with design and aesthetic: I don't want to have to mount brackets a little every where, and more importantly, need to bring 110v power to each speaker (each Sonos Play require 110v). With in-ceiling, I can run easily my wires in the ceiling, all of them to a central location on a different floor where the amp would be (the wires wouldn't be more than 45ft each), which means no extra power outlet, no running cable, no mounting bracket, no speaker box fixed on the wall or hanging from the ceiling - all well hidden.
That's kinda silly considering how much those things cost. You can buy a receiver/amp and install 5 pairs of speakers and two in-wall volume controls for what a pair of Plays will cost.

I choose style over sound quality, which I understand isn't the preference of most people here, but still an deffendible position.
I understand, and that's why I am suggesting you ditch the "AMP" model and get the plain Connect. It'll allow you more flexibility in the design and it will actually sound better, while still keeping the functionality of the Sonos.

I would still like to know where you would put the Play 3 if I were to scater than around. And which in-ceiling would you recommend in the ones I listed?

Thanks
I wouldn't buy a bunch of the Plays for the same area like that. Since you're willing to run wire and install speakers, it's just a waste of a lot of money. As far as which speakers, my recommendation would be the 6034's. I've installed a bunch of them and they are solid. They have really nice bass for a 6" too.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 11:08 AM
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that's why I am suggesting you ditch the "AMP" model and get the plain Connect. It'll allow you more flexibility in the design and it will actually sound better, while still keeping the functionality of the Sonos.
--> I am absolutely open to the idea of getting a Connect and installing more in-ceiling connected to an amp. How you would design the room (given the pictures that I posted) in that scenario?

As far as which speakers, my recommendation would be the 6034's
--> Why that one over the 4103?
---> If they are 40W, I need to select an amp that doesn't push more than 40W RMS to avoid the risk of damaging then should someone crank the volume to the max?

Thanks
 
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Old 03-03-14, 11:38 AM
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This would be your ideal layout.. Now that I see the actual pics you can get away with the one pair in the dinette, I didn't realize there was more furniture in there.



Notice how with this setup no matter where you are sitting, you are always between a left and a right channel - which preserves the stereo effect.

As far as the power, you have to realize that the amp/receiver will be in the area of 100-125W RMS per channel, and you will be splitting that among four pairs. You don't need more than 40W RMS, and there will be no fear of blowing them out. And despite the lower power rating, the 6034 has better specs. Wider frequency range (better bass) and better sensitivity (more sound at lower amp power).
 
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Old 03-04-14, 06:03 AM
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Coupla things ...
1. Although it may seem to be better to use speakers that are rated for more power than the amp, the opposite is true. An amp running 20 watts into a 40-watt speaker can easily clip (distort), and it is the clipped output that damages the speaker. The rule of thumb for good system design is 1.5x to 2x amp power.
2. Eight 8-ohm speakers (four per channel) wired in parallel on one Sonos Connect Amp will probably blow the amp, or at best send it into protection mode if it has one. The amp is rated for 4 or 8 ohms. Four 8-ohm speakers in parallel presents a load of 2 ohms. (1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8 = 1/.5). The only way to connect four 8-ohm speakers to one channel is to connect two sets of two in series and connect those sets in parallel, presenting 8 ohms.
3. In the above series/parallel arrangement each channel is rated 55 watts. This power will be divided among 4 speakers = less than 14 watts per speaker when the amp is putting out 100% of its rated power. That's seriously underpowered. See #1 above.
 

Last edited by Rick Johnston; 03-11-14 at 05:03 AM.
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Old 03-04-14, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick Johnston View Post
Coupla things ...
1. Although it may seem to be better to use speakers that are rated for more power than the amp, the opposite is true. An amp running 20 watts into a 40-watt speaker can easily clip (distort), and it is the clipped output that damages the speaker. The rule of thumb for good system design is 1.5x to 2x amp power.
Urrrr, wut??? Read that again because it makes no sense.. You are supposed to match RMS to RMS, or as close as you can get without going over. Yes, underpowering speakers by a large margin causes the amp to top out before it gets loud.. So I don't know why you're saying to get speakers rated 1.5-2x the amp's power.

2. Eight 8-ohm speakers (four per channel) wired in parallel on one Sonos Connect Amp will probably blow the amp, or at best send it into protection mode if it has one. The amp is rated for 4 or 8 ohms. Four 8-ohm speakers in parallel presents a load of 2 ohms. (1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8 = 1/.5). The only way to connect four 8-ohm speakers to one channel is to connect two sets of two in series and connect those sets in parallel, presenting 8 ohms.
At this point we are not talking about using the Sonos. But I did tell the OP that they should use an impedance-matching selector to hook this up (does the series-parallel thing, but without the tricky wiring, and allows disabling one or more pairs without changing the wiring).


3. In the above series/parallel arrangement each channel is rated 55 watts. This power will be divided among 4 speakers = less than 14 watts per speaker when the amp is putting out 100% of its rated power. That's seriously underpowered. See #1 above.
Again, not talking about the Sonos. The OP asked about the recommended setup if they were to use a standalone amplifier/receiver. Your average home theater receiver (which will actually be cheaper than a standalone amp) runs about 125 watts RMS per channel. That gives ~32 watts per speaker.
 

Last edited by Rick Johnston; 03-11-14 at 05:03 AM.
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Old 03-04-14, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by JerseyMatt
Urrrr, wut??? Read that again because it makes no sense.. You are supposed to match RMS to RMS, or as close as you can get without going over.
Edit: There was a major "mis-speak" in my above posts that changed the meaning. I have edited them so people who may visit later aren't confused. My apologies.

No. 1.5x to 2x overpowering is recommended by almost every major professional speaker manufacturer. It will produce the least-distorted signal, the safest signal for the speakers, longer listening times before ear fatigue becomes an issue, and a pile of other reasons that involve the physics of power, frequency and measurement.
 

Last edited by Rick Johnston; 03-11-14 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 03-05-14, 11:23 AM
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I thought that was the whole point of the industry being forced to include RMS ratings based on the EIA testing standards to begin with. The way I learned it you match RMS to RMS, throwing any "peak" ratings out the window because they are arbitrary and meaningless.

That said, I highly doubt that the OP will ever crank a standalone amp up to a point where it will start clipping because this is a relatively small room, not an auditorium and the application being ambiance not home theater.. With the Connect:AMP it would be inevitable though because they are cheap electronics in an expensive box.
 
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Old 03-08-14, 01:28 PM
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Hi,

Thanks for all the feedback.

I was a bit confused by the whole overpower or underpower thing, and I stumbled on the following article/video which was very informative. Unfortunately, it is enterely contradicted by the following article.

Going back to some of the answers I got, Rick wrote:
Although it may seem to be better to use speakers that are rated for less power than the amp, the opposite is true.
Is there a mistake in that sentence?


ADDED BY RJ: Yes there is! "Less" should be "more" and I have corrected it throughout this thread. See below.


You seemed to say the opposite, that indeed the amp should be 1.5x the power of the speakers (as it was also stated in the uniquesquared article above). If the uniquesquared article/video is correct, then I would assume that I could use 40W (or less) speakers with my 55W Sonos Connect:Amp. Correct?

Also, JerseyMatt wrote:
And despite the lower power rating, the 6034 has better specs. Wider frequency range (better bass) and better sensitivity (more sound at lower amp power).
Maybe I am not understand the sensitivity spec correctly, but from what I read, the higher the better. Specifically in the 2 products I was referencing, 6034 does have a better frequency range, but 4103 has the higher sensitivity (89 vs 87).. so the assertion isn't entirely correct. Or am I not understanding sensitivity properly?

Lastly, JerseyMatt wrote:
paralleling speakers is a huge compromise in sound quality. You would be much better off installing an impedance matching selector/volume control, which presents 8 ohms to the amp.
Is that a FACT, for EVERY amp? I would find it inappropriate that Sonos stated in their specification that:
The SONOS CONNECT:AMP can support 4 to 16 Ohm impedance loads.
if in fact what it really meant was :
You should install 8 ohms speakers, but setup at 4 ohms and 16 ohms will also work, albeit with sound quality compromise.
Wouldn't it be conceivable that the electronic inside the amp "adjusts" specifically for the impedance being presented without noticeable difference to the ear?

Now, going back to my initial query about how to do my setup, from the gathered feedback, I see the two following potential solutions:

1- Use stereo speakers (such as product 4619) to prevent the problem of having mono sound when standing not directly between two L+R speakers . In that scenario, I would probably just install one 4619 in the middle of the dinette, one in the middle of the dining room and another one in the middle of the living room. 3 stereo speakers in total. I could have the ones in the living/dining room connected to an older amplifier I have (Sony str-de635 (8 ohms, 20-20kHz, 80W per channel rms)) hooked with a Sonos:Connect, and then use my current Connect:Amp for the stereo speaker in the Dinette. Would this work? My Sony amp states 80W at 8 ohms, but doesn't state RMS at 4 ohms, but the specs for the dynamic power output states: 145W at 8 ohms and 210w at 4 ohms - so I assume it supports 4 ohms.

2- Install many mono speakers such as item 6034. The setup suggest by JerseyMatt seems interesting (albeit transforming my ceiling in Swiss cheese). Could I connect the 6 speakers to product 9995 which would act as an impedance matching device (?). Ot should I go with something like product 8232 that also does impedance matching, but furthermore allows me to control volume individually? For the dinette, I could hook it up to product 8232 and also hook it up to the Connect:Amp...?

Thanks
 

Last edited by Rick Johnston; 03-11-14 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 03-10-14, 05:16 AM
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I didn't give up on you. I've been very busy over the weekend. I'll respond more in detail later.
 
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Old 03-11-14, 05:23 AM
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Although it may seem to be better to use speakers that are rated for MORE power than the amp, the opposite is true.
The above is corrected. Nice catch. I don't know how it came out that way. Not enough coffee?

You are correct. The more sensitive a speaker is to the power it receives, the less amp power it requires to produce a target dB level. Also consider that it takes 2x the power to increase the output by a mere 3dB. If a speaker is producing 100dB with 50 watts, it takes 100 watts to produce 103dB. So it makes sense to use speakers with the highest dB/w/m spec, provided the other specs are suitable. In your case a 2dB difference isn't a deal breaker.

Generally, if an amp manufacturer doesn't list an impedance (ohm) rating in its power specs, the amp can't handle the load. The Sony amp, for example, doesn't state a 4-ohm load power rating so it shouldn't be used with a 4-ohm load.

I would go with your option 2.
 
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Old 03-11-14, 12:27 PM
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What about products 9995 and 8232 (hyperlink provided), would those 2 be good addition to my setup?

Neither seem plugged in the power outlet, so I am wondering if they use "electronic trickery" to present 8 ohms to the Amp, but in fact the power is divided amongst each pair of speakers, of if indeed the power it maintained across each speaker pair. In other words, what do you think of those product in my scenario?

Thanks
 
  #16  
Old 03-12-14, 05:33 AM
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It's not electronic trickery. It's just switches adding or taking away an impedance matching circuit as you switch the speakers on or off. Because the circuits are passive they don't require power.

The 9995 is a switch, not an impedance matching device unless you buy the "option". I couldn't find out what or where the option was. Also, read the reviews on the 8232. If you can live with the issues (small connections causing wires to short) it looks okay.

At that point you will be spending nearly $600 for amp & matching. For less than that you could get a heckuva receiver like the Sony-STR-DN840 (or whatever it has been updated to by now). It can be run as a "Multi Stereo" instead of surround sound, which puts stereo output to the speakers.

Sony STR-DN840 7.2-channel home theater receiver with Wi-Fi® and Apple AirPlay® at Crutchfield.com
 
  #17  
Old 10-19-14, 02:50 PM
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Hi,

It has been six months since my original post, and I finally managed to purchase and install the in-ceiling speakers. I'd like to thank JerseyMatt for his suggested configuration (probably way overkill to put 8 speakers on one floor.. but I did it anyway, exactly as he suggested) as well as Rick Johnston for his advice.

I ended up running all the wires to the basement, so that there is absolutely no visible sound system on the 1st floor where they are installed. Those wires (for the 8 speakers) have been hooked to a switch/impedance matching device (This one), which itself is connected to a single source, my Sonos Connect:Amp. As instructed in the manual, all volume levels have been turned at their maximum for each zone (and I could lower some of the zones if I wanted some in particular to be less loud) on the impedance-matching device.

If I understand correctly, the impedance-matching device will ALWAYS present 8 ohms to my Amp, no matter if 8, 6, 4 or 2 speakers are "turned on", and no matter what volume level I select for each zone, is this correct?

Also, my understand is that given that my Amp has a modest output of 55W per channel, this means that when all 4 zones (8 speakers) are turned on, all 4 left speaker will receive 55W MAX, which would mean a max of 13W PER SPEAKER. Those speakers (6034) have a capability of 40W each, but still, 13W should be enough to listen music in the room.

I am under the impression, however, that I should be careful not to keep my Amp cranked to the max, as this could lead to clipping and it would eventually break out of being "driven" too much, is this right? Should I keep the volume on the Amp at a max of 75%, or as long as it is not clipping, I should be ok?

Not surprisingly, the output volume is not too loud (perfect for ambiance music when cooking, but I don't see that I could host a party - not loud enough). What does surprise me, however, is that when I turn-off 2 zones on the volume selector/impedance matching, the volume does not double. If power gets divided amongst the speakers, if there are effectively only 2 zones (4 speakers), should I be sending 26W per channel, instead of just 13W, and shouldn't this instantly double the output volume? When turning on or off zones, I did not notice a sound level difference.

I am including here a few picture. Thanks again for everyone's advice and input.

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PS: Of course, eventually, I'll purchase another amp, and I'll have two inputs for my 4 zones, effectively doubling the power output.
 
  #18  
Old 10-19-14, 03:00 PM
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Nice job

Doubling the power doesn't double the sound level.
Your speaker selector is maintaining the same load to the amp so if the load doesn't change the volume won't either.
 
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Old 10-21-14, 05:30 AM
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+1 on the nice job! To get an idea of loudness, consider the sensitivity of the speakers: 87 +/-2dB @ 1w/1m.

Take the lowest spec at minus 2: The speaker will deliver 85dB with one watt at one meter (~3 feet). Double it to two watts = 88dB. Four watts = 91dB. Eight watts = 94dB. 16 watts = 97dB.

The formula to figure out the sound pressure level (SPL) at 13 watts gives us 96dB, which is about right for a decent background level during a party. In theory.

In reality, music has a wide dynamic range that would put you below that level most of the time. Remember, too, that the louder you play the music during a party the louder people will talk, so you have to turn up the music to get it over the talking, which makes people talk louder ...
 
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