Music in the bathroom / downstairs - struggling for the right plan!

steelercaz13

Standard Member
Hi all

Looking for a bit of help or inspiration from you wonderful people... :lease: Me and the fella bought a 50s semi towards the end of April to renovate into our home. We ended up pretty much gutting to brickwork every room, other than the lounge and the office, where we're just back to the original plaster.

I'm very much a 'techy' person - I've built a fair few PC's, a couple of networks, manage our IT at work and am the person all my friends & family turn to for advice & trouble-shooting - however the whole audio / visual side is completely new to me. I couldn't even differentiate between speaker cables at this point! :facepalm:

As a quick review, the tech-related things I've done / planned so far:
- Ran plenty of Cat6 cable (4 network points in lounge, 2 in kitchen, 1 coiled up under the hall floor for use at a later date if inspiration strikes, 2 in the bedroom. No need in the office as this is where the switch and patch panel will be)
- Ran new Coax cables from the new aerial splitter in the loft to the bedroom for Freeview and to the lounge for the HTPC
- Ran Coax cable in preparation for having Sky HD, from where the box will be into the lounge, and into the bedroom for multi-room later
- Ran x2 Cat 6 and x1 Coax cable from lounge to bedroom, for eventual use with HDMI baluns for transmitting Sky upstairs, and a magic eye
- I haven't ran anything into the dining room, which is now knocked through into the kitchen, but undecided as to whether run some cable 'just in case', after reading soooooo many stories on here & elsewhere!
- We've had a fair bit of electrical work done, creating loads of extra sockets and light switches, etc

I plan to have my PC (high spec Windows 7 machine that I use for my design work) up in the office, with my partner's mid-spec Windows 7 machine downstairs for conversion into a HTPC. We both manage our music in iTunes, and have iPhones as well as a couple of iPods. In terms of other 'tech', we have a 42" HD plasma for downstairs, a 26" HD LCD for the bedroom, a few iPhone docks, a PS3 and Wii for the lounge, PS2 for DVDs in the bedroom and a PSP. Think that's it! Also plan to get a hacked 02 joggler in the kitchen, to stream tv / music, access the internet/Google calendar, etc.

Ok, so, the questions I have...

1) Can anyone thing of anything glaringly obvious that I can add before the plastering work starts this weekend that I might regret not adding later?

2) We haven't worked anything in for the audio downstairs, but I'd like to do something, even though chasing into the plaster that's directly on brick walls will be hard work. I'm torn between just wiring up the lounge for 5.1 from the tv (which I have no idea how to do, but sure I can research), or do something more substantial - such as wire up the lounge and through into the dining kitchen, to all come back to the unit which will house our TV and HTPC, so I can later add speakers in those rooms for music throughout downstairs, from either TV or PC?

Budget's running tight, so if I did anything it would just be the wiring for now, with the fun stuff added later.

3) Finally, the bathroom is currently empty bar some new plasterboard ready for tiling, and as a fan of long baths I would love to get it wired up for music - I'm not an audiophile, and happy for the music to be nothing special, as long as it doesn't sound tinny. From all my reading on here I'm guessing either dual mono or single stereo ceiling speaker? From then on I'm stuck. The Sonos & Squeezebox systems sound awesome, but just too expensive for now.

The bathroom is at one end of the landing, with a 2" block wall seperating the two, and down the other side of the bathroom is our bedroom - the wall between bathroom & bedroom is brand new stud wall, currently still open on the bedroom side. This wall and the block bathroom wall come together in the landing to form a corner. (I'm seriously not describing this well!) There is loft above, where there's currently no power but we plan to run a plug socket.

Firstly we thought we'd just put up a small corner shelf on the landing, run a speaker cable from an iPhone there dock into the stud wall and up into the loft, where (I'm told by my partner) we could solder on spade connectors and connect directly to the speakers. We would run the power cable through the stud wall and into our bedroom, where directly below there is a plug.

However, after all my reading on here, (a) I'm pretty sure we need some amplifier of some sort, and (b) would really like to do something a little bit more impressive of this while we've got the chance - 'cause once the bathroom's tiled it's game over! Also this plan leaves the power supply from the dock basically tied into the wall, and should we ever want to change it would be tricky. (Whatever we decide on, I'm wondering about adding an access panel into part of the lower wall on the bedroom side, which would be hidden behind bedside cabinets, for easier access later?)

Ideas I've considered are using a wi-fi picture frame waterproofed in the bathroom wall to stream music from the upstairs PC, controlled via remote, or modding an old Sony laptop I have to live in the stud wall between the rooms and be accessed via a touch screen or similar. Also considered how I could wire it so music from whatever source we choose can be played in the bedroom as well as the bathroom - but this would only be any good if I could have it on in one room and not in the other. I've seen some amazing projects which have all inspired me (such as the iPhone inspired kitchen touch screen and the modded digital picture frames used in various ways), just struggling to find something that I can learn how to do myself, and that will work.

I wouldn't know how to choose an amplifier, other than how many inputs and outputs it might have, or how to spec speakers/cable based on our requirements. :blush:

I have no skills such as soldering, but am ok at wiring, and pretty good at figuring things out. I have a spare 7" digital picture frame, but it's not wireless. I have a lot of Cat6 solid UTP left over.

Ok, well, that must be the longest message I've ever posted anywhere, so if you're still with me, well done and many thanks!!!! :thumbsup:

Any ideas people? :lease:
 

kevshed

Active Member
for my bathroom - I did as you say, a single stereo speaker (so just speaker cable to the location).

And then attached a Sonos ZP100 (try and grab a second hand one).


Short term of course, you could just put the speaker cable in, and run it back to your office or something - gives you options then later... You don't want any Kit itself in there though...

Kev
 
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iain22

Standard Member
If you're at all interested in surround sound, either now or in the future I would definately do the speaker wiring now - it's much easier than coming back to it later. Are you laying new floors? If you are removing skirting it's a good place to route the cables then it's just a vertical chase up to each speaker.

If I was you I would put in wiring for 5.1 in your livingroom (so 5 speaker cables and a interconnect for the sub). And also maybe 2 speaker cables for a second zone of your choice, kitchen or dining room?

As far a the bathroom goes I can recommend Sonance in ceiling speakers, although there are plenty of others to choose from. For a room that small there is no point in 2 seperate speakers so something like this is what you want:

Architectural Series X6R SST | Sonance

If your bathroom is upstairs the wiring is easy through your loft, you can then add an amp/source later.

Good luck.
 

mkjustuk

Active Member
It might be best to 'make do' for now and cable for the system you plan to install in a year or two.

The issue with trying to cater for a mixture of centralised and localised setups is that you can get caught out on both at some stage in the future. It's often easier and cheaper to cable up for the biggest centralised (or zoned) system you can envisage and be left with cables unused.

You can build flexibility in though especially as you have a blank canvas with plaster etc. For instance, in the lounge, definitely cable up for 5.1 but if you don't know which way round the room might end up, cable it for all posibilities, i.e. four speaker cables and a phono from one side to the other, then two fronts (or rears) a centre and sub are covered on either side.

For speakers it's similar, you may want wall mounted, floor mounted or in-ceiling (or none right now), but you will only need one type, so run the same pair of cables in such a way that you can intercept them later in the ceiling, high up the wall, low down the wall etc.
 

steelercaz13

Standard Member
How bizarre - I was convinced I never got any replies to this thread - so sorry for the ridiculously tardy response!! :blush:

Thanks for you responses. I've gone the way you recommended in the bathroom - we've added conduit where necessary so that we can add one stereo speaker in the future, and wire it to an amp/source either in the loft, landing or main bedroom. Of course it could be a network attached one also, should that ever be necessary, as we've ran Cat6 cabling to it too.

As a general update - bathroom is done, bedroom just needs skirting boards and carpet now, kitchen/diner is painted, tiled, wired up, and we built the units at the weekend - just need fitting now... (gulp) Office is also done, just needs carpet. Spare room is just bare plaster, hasn't been touched yet.

Also, the lounge is still in a very basic state - had the electrical wiring done, so lots of new plugs where the AV equipment will be, but other than that still bare plaster. However, the plasterer went up to the skirting boards, as we forgot to remove them on time - but that's ended up a good thing as, as one of you suggested, once we rip the old skirting off now I'm left with a lovely area for speaker wire! Particularly as we're replacing the old 50mm skirting with 120mm, so plenty of room down there.

So... It seems you all recommend wiring up for 5.1, so the time has come for me to do so. This, I presume, means running wires from where the equipment will be (already planned), to all 4 corners of the room, plus the sub front/centre? (Yes, I'm *this* basic when it comes to AV...)

Also, what wire/supplier would you guys recommend? I don't need anything amazingly brilliant, but I don't want cheap rubbish that will sound poor either. Maybe middle of the road, sounds good to most people but wouldn't to audiophiles...?

I think I'll run some oval conduit round behind the skirting, in such a way as that it *could* be accessed later on, if we wanted to.

Thanks in advance for any help! :smashin:

(Oh, and if anyone's after some good Cat6 cable at a good price let me know, I have an unopened 305m reel left that I haven't got round to disposing of yet! I looked for a classified section but they all seem to be really specific, and not include cable?)
 

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