DIY Smartphone controlled whole house audio

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by Poke, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Poke

    Poke
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    Hi,

    I’m having extensive work done to my house at the moment and am taking the opportunity to install myself a wired network to futureproof the house somewhat whilst it is in bits. Knowing nothing about this to start with, I’ve done some reading up and have got my head around the structured wiring set-up.

    At the same time, I’m thinking of running speaker cables to the ceilings of various rooms in the house, so that (at some point in the future when I’ve enough money) I can install in-ceiling speakers throughout various rooms in the house. There’s not as much info on-line about doing this though, unless you count super-pricey Sonos-like systems that I can’t afford.
    I’ve bought ~200m of speaker cable (from TLC, following recommendations on here).

    My plan is to run it all back to a central point (same place as the network switch) so that all cables can connect into one AV receiver. The idea being that this receiver can handle a number of inputs (NAS drive/ smartphones, TV’s?), which can be matched to one (or more) outputs in the form of these speakers in the ceilings. A smart phone could be used to control the system.

    This seems like a reasonably simple concept, but I can’t find an AV receiver to do this job. Does something like this exist?

    Also, as I’m putting in the cable runs this weekend – is my “structured wiring” approach to speaker cabling a daft idea? Tell me soon before I drop £100 worth of cable that’ll never be used!

    Any other advice for a noob when setting up a system like this is appreciated.

    Many thanks in advance
     
  2. Member 581642

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    Hi

    The approach is certainly a valid one, though products like Sonos or the cheaper Pure Jongo dont necessarily need speaker cables running back to a central point, as they are amplified speakers in their own right and connect via WIFI or CAT6.

    I wouldn't be looking for an AVR amplifier to control these speakers but a zoning amplifier so you can control each zone seperately.

    Have a look at the Loxone system which would work how you are intending, and you can choose your own speakers with this system. May still be outside your budget depending on the number of rooms

    Music Server & Amp make a perfect 8 zone multiroom set | Loxone Shop is £1850+VAt and supports 12 mono zones or 6 stereo zones with Smartphone control and central music server.
     
  3. Poke

    Poke
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    Hi,

    Thanks for the response! Glad to hear I’m not too far off-piste when it comes to my ideas. Interesting to hear I’ve been googling the wrong thing too. I’ve had a quick look and searching for “zoning amplifier” is certainly returning more results.

    The Loxone system does look great. Long-long-term (say 5/10+ years) I might want to do up to 10-zones, but in reality I doubt that this will happen. Still, the thought of shelling out ~£2k does make me wince, especially as speakers would be on top of that! If anyone has any less top end suggestions I’d be glad to hear them!

    Another question (probably a bit more relevant to this forum). If I have a relatively modern smart TV and I wanted to play the audio from this back over in-ceiling speakers (assume these are wired in, and not amplified in themselves), how would the set-up work:

    A) Cable (what type?) runs from the TV into an amp, the amp amplifies and distributes signal (via speaker cable) to selected speakers. Or more simply:
    B) Speaker cable takes signal directly from TV to speakers (i.e. the TV amplifies the signal itself)?
    At this point I’m just wondering whether I need to run any additional cables back from the TV to the central point before it gets plastered!

    Many thanks again
    Tim
     
  4. speedyyellow

    speedyyellow
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    Option A is what you want, and the type of cable depends on the amp and the features your TV has. Audio from the TV can get to the amp via an optical cable, or more usefully HDMI-ARC.

    There are issues going via the TV though when it comes to multi-channel audio (TV's have a habit of downmixing things to stereo). The simplest way would be to get an amp with HDMI switching, which is pretty much every amp these days.

    Your devices all plug into the amp, the amp then has an output going to the TV, and is wired up to your speakers. When using your other devices the amp grabs the audio directly via the HDMI input, and for watching TV with the built in tuner the TV will send the sound back down its HDMI cable to the amp (This is HDMI-ARC - Audio Return Channel - and usually requires you to use a specific HDMI port on your TV).

    Hope that helps.
     
  5. Member 581642

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    Tricky if your speakers are all wired back to a central location and you want them for both TV use and zoned music.

    Even trickier if then you need or have a HDMI Matrix for distributing HDMI sources around the house. I no you havent mentioned it but worth thinking about.

    For an alternative cheaper system you could use a number of Jongo A2s and small stereo amplifiers all located centrally for each zone. £200ish +speakers for each zone
     
  6. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello Poke

    ‘If anyone has any less top end suggestions’ – SONOS, Loxone etc. are ‘entry level’ systems not top end, see AMX, Control4, Russound etc. for more comprehensive, higher cost systems or manufacturers such as LINN, NAIM, Simple Audio for higher end dedicated audio systems.

    Every man and his dog are trying to break SONOS’s grip on the entry level market – though nothing radically different which offers SONOS quality/usability has appeared at a lower price point than SONOS.

    Joe
     
  7. Member 581642

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    There is a new British company that is using KickStarter to fund a new range of products but not sure as yet how they will compare to Sonos or others.

    Musaic | Wireless HiFi system

    Seb
     
  8. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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  9. Member 581642

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    Introduced to them by LightWaveRF as they are building in LightWaveRf control into their units
     

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