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Wired Whole-Home Audio

  • 3 May 2016
  • Author: Dan Santee
  • Number of views: 3058
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Wired Whole-Home Audio

Our house is often used for entertaining. We have guests over quite a bit, but even when it's just us, we like to go outside, hang out in the kitchen or basement, or eat in the dining room while listening to music or a live event on TV. Bluetooth speakers weren't cutting it, so it was time to get serious about this thing. I decided it was time to bite the bullet and put in a whole home audio system.

I did a lot of research and thinking about how we would use this system, and decided that I wanted to go with a wired approach (as opposed to something like Sonos). The dedicated keypad is one thing that I really liked - you don't need a phone or other device to turn the system on or off or control the source selection. I also liked that you could use larger, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, which would provide a better sound experience than a small set of speakers. It also provides more flexibility, such as using the built-in amplifier for the speakers and a dedicated subwoofer amp. I can also use any source I choose, instead of being limited to whatever the software can provide access to. Finally, the cost can be considerably less - my initial investment was less than $700 for three rooms, and additional rooms are just the cost of speakers and wire.

I went with the Monoprice 6 Zone Home Audio Multizone Controller and Amplifier Kit from Amazon. This allows six zones with six inputs. Additional zones can be added by buying another amp, if desired. It came with the keypads, so it had pretty much everything I wanted. I already had an AV receiver in the family room and some speakers in the back yard, so I only purchased one set of speakers for the kitchen. For home theater and TV, I usually go with Yamaha in-wall speakers, but I opted for the Monoprice 8-inch 3-way in-wall speakers since they were about half the price at the time.

Setup was fairly simple. Plug the Monoprice amp in, wire up the keypads using CAT-6 cable and run the speaker wire from the amp to the speakers. Then, attach sources and start listening! For my first source, I decided to run the output of the TV in the family room to the multizone amp. This way, no matter where we are, we can hear what's on TV - which is perfect for sporting events. For my other zones, I'm working on a combination of different types of streaming and offline sources to fit our needs - but you can easily plug in a CD changer, MP3 player, AM/FM radio or anything else with an audio output.

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