Sound System (Whole house)


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Old 05-18-24, 08:22 AM
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Sound System (Whole house)

Hello Guys,

I need some advise on how to plan(diy) sound system around the home. This is a bit of the after thought, so I did not plan it with architect or sound engineers. but home building process is now in rough-in phase and they are doing hvac/plumbing next is electrical ..

so I need help with how do I wire and design the sound/speaker/receiver system?
sofar I did following,
1.) I tired to see if best buy can just do it for me. but cost they came up with was high ( 70k-80k), includes 1 televison 75", a projector screen , receivers speakers etc.) so I cant just add 80k to my budget.

2.) I looked thorugh internet and there are so many videos but not much useful, some goes in too much details, some goes for jsut 1 speaker setup and no explanation ..so not very reliable.

I have 3 floors, each with about 2000 sq ft. ech
topfloor has 4 bedrooms
main floor , family room ( 20' ceiling -- 400sqft) and kitchen ( 10' ceiling, 350 sqft), 1 bedroom is 225 sqft and rest is dining and /living etc
bottom floor is basement just has utility room

given this, I am thinking to add a little media center next to utility room and may be control media from there..

so I am thinking to just have the speaker wires hook up for now, so how do I go about it?

I think for bedroom sound does nto need to be zoned it can be its own.. but family room and kitch needs to be in sync.

any suggestions?
 
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Old 05-18-24, 08:40 AM
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I've been installing systems in houses for years.
The novel wears off very quickly because not everyone wants to listen to the same music.
You can use expensive switching systems but still not ideal.

A theater room with big screen and surround sound is a nice addition.
 
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Old 05-18-24, 12:06 PM
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thank you!.

How do I design the system. is 14/2 guage wire good for most speakers? more than 80' and may be there are going to be 25/30 speakers. do I need to have speaker in pairs? will I need multiple receivers? etc.
 
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Old 05-18-24, 12:44 PM
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Depending on the distance..... #16 and #18 would be fine.
If you want stereo in a room you need two speakers.
What I did was to run 18-4 to a wall box for a volume control.

They make multi channel amps that can be remote controlled.
Some fancy systems require a cat5 UTP type wire to connect a remote wall plate where you can change sound sources.

They make matrix switchers to switch multiple sources to multiple amps.
Some are wifi controlled

The sky is the limit for an installation.
In the following link is a 6 channel A/B speaker switch....... speaker switch
With this you could control 6 pairs of speakers. You could have several rooms on one zone or you you could use multiple switch boxes. Speaker switch boxes are needed to maintain connection impedance to amplifiers. Six pairs of speaker connected to one amp would be seen by the amp as a dead short. The switch boxes have impedance matching components.
 
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Old 05-18-24, 01:27 PM
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My house is wired for sound throughout and I'm tearing out the wires slowly, bit by bit, as I have no use for this. Maybe you do.
 
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Old 05-19-24, 08:05 AM
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I would go wireless. Alexa devices can be used individually or in groups. They have internal speakers or can be paired to sound systems via Bluetooth.

I too have no longer use for a 50 pair cable that I ran throughout the house in a 1987 renovation.
 
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Old 05-19-24, 11:45 AM
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That is a huge house! I wonder what you do for communication?

My house is wired for sound (and phones) including the deck, Years ago the stereo in the living room fed the deck, then acquired another receiver, but that in the room that borders the deck, a toggle switch to select which source. The deck has a multi-step volume control. I used 4 pair cat-3 telecom wire, doubled up each color, meaning white blue with blue white, white orange with orange/white, etc. That would be the pair for one channel, the green and brown pairs for the other,

20+ years ago I bought weatherproof speakers for the deck, I really enjoyed true stereo with separation that some kids have never really experienced. Last year though. one of the speakers was finally shot, and there was an open somewhere that I could have fixed. but I succumbed to a good quality Bluetooth speaker, Mono though, so not ideal.

The phone system was elaborate, with an intercom line and a paging system, It was handy pressing 0 to page that dinner was ready. This was all pre-cell phone days of course.

Since you're in the rough in phase, I'd install the wiring for true stereo. Kind of a lost art these days unless you're wearing stereo headphones.
 
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Old 05-21-24, 03:40 PM
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I would say that the best way to let you decide what rooms get what music is to have all of the speaker wires (two sets for stereo per room) all come together in one central location, for example your home theater room. Then there could be a single switchboard or patch board whre you make up the connections. There could also be provision for esoteric connections to be made that one source (and power amplifier) can serve several rooms without facing a dead short as someone suggested above. (Four speakers can be wired together so the amplifier thinks it is one speaker that matches correctly.

To have two different music or radio programs at the same time you need two "stereo systems" at the central location, etc. (Do multichannel amps let you run two stereo programs to different rooms with independent sources and independent volume control as opposed to one quadraphonic program?) A switching or patching can be made for which system serves which group of rooms. Some "head end" switching or patching can be put in for example you have only one Blu-Ray player or only one analog player (turntable) for vinyl records and you hook that up or (more elaborate) have selector switches to send its output to which stereo amplifier in turn hooked up or patched to which sets of speaker. (Is this what a matrix switcher does for you?)
 
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Old 05-21-24, 04:15 PM
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Previous owners wired my house for 6 zones of stereo using a Control4 preamp and 12-channel amp. Control4 is not DIY because they require pro installation. But here's my experience.

Multiple sources playing to different rooms is a non starter. The house will be a jumble of sounds. The only time I use multiple rooms is for parties, where people can move around and hear the same music everywhere. Or once in a while when I'm moving around solo.

2 of my zones are outdoors using all weather speakers. This is great for bbq/pool parties.

Wireless is a non starter. Wired speakers are automatically in sync thanks to speed of light. Bluetooth or other wireless setups can exhibit varying lag with varying degrees of annoyance.
 
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Old 05-21-24, 04:47 PM
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Another consideration is how many speaker on each channel. Probably could get away with 2 on each, it's been a while but I don't know if a 4 ohm output is typical. A pair of 8 ohm speakers in parallel would equal 4 ohms. Over the years I got away with more than the specified load, but some were tube amplifiers.

If you had multiple sets of speakers, like 3 or more - you might need to emulate a 70v line system, typical in paging systems. I did that with the phone paging system, Before I had a 70v amplifier I took the output of an old reel to reel tape recorder, wired a 70v transformer 'backwards' - meaning the leads that would normally go to the speaker went to the amplifier output. the other side, that would have normally connected to the 70v amplifier connected to the house wiring, There were speakers throughout the house, each had a 70v step down transformer wired normally.

That may not be necessary. PJMax has installed more sound systems in houses than I have for sure, and would know more than I.
 
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Old 05-22-24, 02:39 PM
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Speaker impedance presented to the amps is very important.
The switch boxes uses resistors to maintain a constant and acceptable level to the amps.

I recently did a house with a high end intercom system.
Now.... that was cool. Video at front and back doors.
Small LCD display.... good sized speaker.
 
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Old 05-22-24, 10:55 PM
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If you are serious about doing this, school yourself on crossovers. It's counterproductive to push signals where they can't be used. Do yourself a favor and stick with passive crossovers. Also learn about L-pads and their use.
 
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Old 05-26-24, 08:29 AM
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Thank you all for your valuable suggestions, I have decided that 4 in wall speakers will go in family room and 2 will go in kitchen, that is zone itself directly wired to the media room and receiver will sit there.

then we will have each room independent system, I think that is more practical.. my relative has a little bit bigger home and system called castron or something.. nobody uses it in all 10 rooms at a time and forget about the upstairs... so not very useful..
 
 

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