Advice needed re installing AV in a newbuild

ThePrufeshanul

Standard Member
Hi all
Many thanks for your invaluable advice! Im a long time lurker, first time poster so apologies if I miss out any crucial detail .

My dilemma is that I am trying to future proof a house (for at least the next 10 years) which is currently in the process of being built. I don’t have the money to put all the AV stuff in now but I want everything pre-wired so I can slot in / upgrade stuff without any problems as I go along .

I’ve tried to keep things realistic in terms of my AV use – generally the house will be used for entertaining friends and throwing parties! To this extent I want all my music stored in a central location in the living room that I can access from other rooms and set playing in various zones. My main plan was to install wiring and ducting for future wires – as the house is just outside Sheffield I was going to ask Konnectiv to lend a hand though if anyone has any other recommendations I’m all ears!,

The house has had its walls put up and is awaiting a roof – it is built across three floors:

GROUND FLOOR:

The main requirement will be to have a TV on the wall in the kitchen with a couple of wall mounted speakers / subwoofer and space for a couple of ceiling speakers. Ideally I would also like a wall mounted panel behind the door through which I could access my music collection (stored on hard drive) and play internet radio – ideally I would like to control where n the rest of the house music was playing. If at all possible it would also be great to be able to open the door from here and see who was ringing the bell (depending on the cost). Oddly I would also like a speaker in the downstairs loo linked to the same system!

FIRST FLOOR:

There will be two main zones on this floor – firstly the study which I was thinking should be the “hub” through which the telephone lines and internet enter the house as I will be doing most of my work here. I have a PC with dual monitors and a surround sound system for playing games on . Through the computer, however, I would like to control my music collection (stored on a hard drive in the living room) so that it plays in the study as well as the rest of the house – the computer would therefore act as a virtual wall panel as seen in the kitchen.
In the living room I will have an AV stack with a wall mounted TV, and surround sound system incorporating floorstanding speakers. In the stack, along with Sky HD and Playstation 3 I would like to keep a laptop with my music collection on it. Again, from the laptop I’d like to be able to control where else in the house the music was playing. I presume I will also need a Digital to Audio converter here.
I would like to put a couple of marine speakers in the bathroom too in order to listen to music or internet radio – this doesn’t have to be to complex just switch on and offable!

SECOND FLOOR:

This is probably the most complex floor with three separate zones.
Most importantly, bedroom 1 should have a wall-mounted TV and wallmounted speakers which should be linked to the music system in the rest of the house. I would also like a wall mounted control panel which, again could access my music collection and control which zones they were played in. Ideally it would be great to have CCTV door entry for the ground floor. I was planning on having either one or a coupe of marine speakers in the en-suite ceiling to listen to music / internet radio whilst in the shower – quality isn't vastly important but they will have to be powerful.
Bed 2 is a guest room which mostly won’t be used but will (eventually have a wall mounted TV – the integrated speakers should be sufficient here.
Bed 3 will be a dressing room for my wife and will be fitted with speakers that is linked into the house sound system (the control should come from the panel in bedroom 1)
Finally – if the doorbell could be linked in to the sound system which would automatically reduce in noise when ringing that would be amazing built this might be a pipe dream!

HUGE THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR ANY HELP OR ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE ME ABOUT HOW TO DO ALL THIS!! :)
 

S D I

Banned
Hi , I've written so much on other threads about ducting I cannot be bothered (not your fault) repeating myself TBH.
The basic approach is to create routes and voids for cables throughout your house without actually installing
any wires or equipment until you have the money to do it.

It obviously costs money to create such an infrastructure and it's hard to stomach ponying up for conduits, pipes, ducting, access hatches etc. when you would rather buy AV kit.
Installing cables now and trying to predict exactly what you will need months from now is always a mistake IMO especially when you have plans for special features like your doorbell mute circuit.

If you look at my other posts you will find all the info you need to implement my unconventional approach.
 

ThePrufeshanul

Standard Member
Thanks a lot SDI!

Really appreciate the advice - ill have a look at your other posts - from what I've briefly seen already I think it seems by far the most sensible approach - I'm more than happy to add the components at a later date and (without knowing much about AV) this is what I pretty much had I mind. Ill probably liaise with the AV installer to see what needs to go where and which ducting to go for.

:)
 

S D I

Banned
good luck with your AV installer, most think I am out of my mind and will want to install cables from the get go, plaster them in and convince you there will be enough for all eventualities.

all the best and please post how it goes however you decide to proceed.
 

ThePrufeshanul

Standard Member
Thanks so much - looking at JD pipes they have a number of different ducting - I haven't had a chance yet to look through all your previous posts - would you recommend a particular type or would it vary according to which cabling is going through and which structures they are traversing?

I have to say I'm completely sold on your logic! I've just started started reading about the home systems light control you were recommending - trying not to let my imagination get the better of my budget though :)
 

S D I

Banned
It varies but mainly smooth bore flexible.
just installed 100mm GPD under some wood floors downstairs from the Utility room hub to two TV walls.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
As S D I says given a blank canvas forming cable ways which allows for future upgrades is one way forward – though not necessarily the only one!

The bulk of your audio requirement would easily be covered by Sonos – which in most homes will require very few, if any, wires and can be added to at any time by simply adding in another Zone Player – some of which are fully self-contained devices which simply require a power socket!

Wireless Home Music Systems and HiFi Music Players from Sonos

Some of your requirements will require a bit more fleshing out and how you implement will depend on budget and how ‘integrated’ you want things.

Joe
 

GloopyJon

Distinguished Member
Hi, you have only really mentioned audio requirements, which other people are better qualified to answer than I am. I would just note that I have wifi and network connections, and I bought a Logitech Squeezebox Touch for music streaming; however, when I connected that via wifi, it stopped every few seconds to buffer the music. When it is connected via ethernet cable, there is no problem. Something to consider, perhaps.

The other questions I would ask are things like:
1) How do you intend to get TV signals to the different TVs around the house? Do you need connections for an aerial, satellite dish, cable TV, video streaming over a network, HDMI.....?
2) Do you need Ethernet connections around the house for other networked devices? What about the TVs and AV equipment, most of which nowadays will connect up to a network &/or the Internet? Some can use wifi, but not all, and it is not 100% reliable.
3) Phone lines? You can also use Ethernet connections for telephones.

If you have any sort of wired signal distribution (either network or other for TV, e.g. coax) then you'll need to have a central place where all of the cables come to, and where you will probably have a patch panel, a network switch &/or other equipment. This is not something that you'd want in your living room - you don't say much about the layout of your house, but maybe you have a garage or another room on the ground floor where all of this could go? Mine is in my garage on the ground floor.

The idea of installing conduits only is OK if you are really strapped for cash, but network cable is not that expensive and I'd certainly at least put in a number of Ethernet cables. You can get a 305m roll of Cat6 Ethernet on Amazon for very little money (have a look on amazon.de as well as amazon.co.uk).

Like S D I, I have also written a lot elsewhere about my own experiences in installing a network in my house. Take a look at the thread linked in my signature below if you're interested.
 

S D I

Banned
Fair comment Joe F but I always hard wire devices designed to be wireless if I can.

Although Sonos performs better than most being a meshed network it isn't without it's problems especially on big properties.
TBH. I don't like being associated with wireless anything because as soon as it drops out it's my fault!

To be fair we are normally given a blank canvass on projects by default because of the way we do things.
Our clients have bought into the ducting approach from the start even if we are installing just a couple of
TV's so hard wiring Sonos kit isn't a problem for us anyway.
In the real world the budget isn't always there for our type of work so I have to politely refuse to just hang and bang TV's etc., there are plenty of people already doing that.
 
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S D I

Banned
I was writing my last post before I saw JOakeys and I obviously agree with his comments on wireless.

Just one thing though JOakey
re 'The idea of installing conduits only is OK if you are really strapped for cash'

On the contrary it is expensive to install ducting properly and sometimes costs more than all the cables put together.
Most people would rather spend money on AV kit than finance my concept.
The long term benefits are enormous though.

I am seeing more and more disasters these days where people have a rush of blood try to anticipate the end game, plaster cables in then run into problems when they want an advanced feature.
I have been a CI for a million years and still can't find a 'one fits all' universal cable structure.
Very brave men attempt it and when I ask 'how are you going to give a client a certain facility later'
I invariably get the 'he won't need that' reply.

Tech is changing so much these days and I am excited about fibre HDMI solutions at the moment.
Pulled a few fibres through ducting in some old installations lately and it just works.
 
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Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
JOakey – ‘'The idea of installing conduits only is OK if you are really strapped for cash'

S D I - ‘On the contrary it is expensive to install ducting properly’

I did smile when I spotted JOakey’s thoughts on providing cable ways 

Joe

PS With the Sonos BRIDGE now £39 even the largest properties can deliver a stable wireless Mesh without major cost!
 

GloopyJon

Distinguished Member
In my defence, I never pretended to be knowledgeable about the conduits! In my house, I pulled some network cables through existing conduits that were no longer needed for their original purposes (telephone & TV cables).

And what I meant was only that, logically, it's got to be cheaper to fit only a conduit than to fit the same conduit plus cables. But, whatever...

Like S D I, I would be very suspicious of anybody who claims that wireless is the answer to all of your problems. In my experience, it's often just the start of all your problems.
 

bryanchicken

Active Member
I guess the cost for installing such ducting is not from the materials themselves but rather the disruption and work required to existing floors/walls/ceilings to get such ducts in place.
For instance, in my house i could run cables, be it electrical or AV in the walls by channelling out a section of plaster, bunging cables in and making good the channel. None of the walls have the depth required without major channelling of brick or by bringing out the wall to give extra depth and a void to get ducting in.
Similarly for floors and ceilings i can't imagine you can create a small hole, push through some cable rods and then pull through some ducting like you can with cables.

I think if you are taking a room/house back to brick and doing a total refurb then the ducting idea is fantastic (i will be doing it) and doesn't add that much cost to what you are doing. But on a less intense refurb the cable only route may be the way to go.
 

S D I

Banned
'PS With the Sonos BRIDGE now £39 even the largest properties can deliver a stable wireless Mesh without major cost!'

only a salesman would make that statement :)
Let me ask you a question Joe, how many times have you called Sonos technical
here or in the USA (out of European hours) on a potential clients behalf who believed that 'even the largest properties can deliver stable wireless etc.'

TBH I haven't so much but you are only as good as your last installation and I have managed to dodge the bullet by disassociating myself with wireless as much as possible.
In a lot of cases claims of reliable wireless reminds me of the emperors new clothes.

I think Sonos is an excellent product and does what it says on the tin.
However the Universe doesn't always agree with what wireless is supposed to do.
My heart is in my mouth sometimes when I do technical handovers to clients and I am praying the tablet stays online long enough for me to get my cheque!
Even though said controller is nothing to do with me, and a lot of the time clients are using free apps (you know my views on control systems and macro's) I will still get blamed if I have done a full house AV installation.

I don't trust wireless and it's getting worse IMO. (OMG! he's having a go at wireless now, first it was CATx solutions now this!) and in some cases but not all I agree in principle with J0ekey

'Like S D I, I would be very suspicious of anybody who claims that wireless is the answer to all of your problems. In my experience, it's often just the start of all your problems'
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
‘Let me ask you a question Joe, how many times have you called Sonos technical’ – once or twice over the past five years.

Sonos made available the ‘back door’ to see the systems inbuilt wireless diagnostics a while back so where required you can do your own ‘mesh’ diagnostics.

‘only a salesman would make that statement :) ’ – again you misunderstand where I am at, we have very many long term customers whose systems we build on and develop over time.

Joe
 

S D I

Banned
the salesman comment was tongue in cheek hence the :)
I know you have a good and loyal customer base and service them well
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Don’t want us sales guys getting a bad rap :D 

Joe
 

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