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Whole Home Audio best practices - Bal - 02-26-2013

I am having trouble clarifying the best practices with CQC for whole home audio.

I have a home I am redoing now which will be wired for up to 12 zones of audio. As we are doing the home in stages we are currently at 6 and will keep going up. The home is a ranch style with open basement and attic so wiring during the remodel is fairly simple as i have installed a couple PVC lines from basement to attic.

I am planning on implementing CQC with an OmniproII and UPB. I am installing speakers as we remodel for simplicity sake, but due to the chases i installed into the basement have not wired them yet. Planning on a central distribution model.

The wife loves her some Sonos (we have a couple play 5's from apartment days). But i am having a bear of a time determining if I should buy zp120's per zone, zp90's and a multi-channel amp (which one?), or if CQC allows for a completely different model with similar/more capabilities.

I am bypassing keypads since we plan on utilizing tablets in rooms. I am also bypassing nuvo as the price for old hardware (music port) is ridiculous. And now that nuvo has now partnered with a different company I have serious doubts as to support going forward for updates. (as an aside this peeves me to no end as if i used nuvo i could use HAI's phone app until i got CQC fully integrated. I have a real bug for companies that are slow to adapt...).

Any direction you guys can provide concerning best practices, better cost scenarios, etc would be great. The only "requirement" is at least 2 simultaneous sources, and the ability to group zones easily.

One last note, I will be running a single server at the central distribution point. It will be running VM's for CQC, NAS, etc.

That's a bit of a ramble but hope you guys get the idea. I cannot buy CQC until the central point is ready, but I need a plan for this WHA soon.

Thanks!


Whole Home Audio best practices - Dean Roddey - 02-26-2013

If you like the Sonos I guess you could always just put one of those in each room and have no centralized audio (or analog audio wiring to rooms) requirements on that front. Each one would just stream from the server over the network, and feed their own local speakers.


Whole Home Audio best practices - sic0048 - 02-26-2013

I love my B&K CT whole house receiver. It has 6 zones and can be daisy chained for more zones. The keypads are ugly, but I use CQC to control the system and don't have any keypads installed in my house. I use the touchscreens and hard button IR remotes to control everything.

You can find used systems on EBay for around $500 pretty regularly. The main receiver will power 6 zones of speakers, but the speakers are obviously not included. So that adds to the cost. You also need to have sources to play through the system. I use a audio card in my computer to supply three unique feeds of ripped music. Of course you could hook up anything. I also have my DVD player, and DVR system hooked up as sources for use in zones where I don't have surround sound, but just basic stereo (which is all but my family room zone which does have surround sound).

Edit - there is a B&K CT601 on EBay right now for about $150 with less than two days left in the auction. There is also a CT600 for less than that with just over two days left in the auction. So you can find these pretty cheap right now.


Whole Home Audio best practices - kblagron - 02-26-2013

I have the B&K also, two CT-610's (12 Zones), along with keypads in all zones. The uptime on it, integrated with CQC is fantastic - essentailly they never go down. At one time I had a Sonos (prior to it being supported by CQC), and had it available via the B&K for any room. Unfortunately, I sold them since CQC didn't support them at the time, and I had no control other than the Sonos keypad. I switched to the Logitech Duet which had CQC support.

The advantage of the B&K would be that you could have 2 or 3 Sonos boxes, and each room could have access to any of them. Both Sonos and Logitech work equally well, but I worry about the Logitech support down the road.

Sonos seems like they will be around awhile, but that could change in an instant.


Whole Home Audio best practices - Dean Roddey - 02-26-2013

After having worked on a few folks systems over time, I've come to the conclusion that if every room doesn't have its own source, serious complications ensue, unless you live by yourself. As soon as you get into the issues of having a small number of sources which can be routed to a larger number of rooms, control over those sources rears its ugly head. You don't know if someone else is listening to a paritcular source, so then you start thinking about keeping up with who is listening to what or reserving sources and all that, and it just gets messy quick.

If you can do a source per room, I'd do it. The simplicity ultimately is worth it, it seems to me.


Whole Home Audio best practices - sic0048 - 02-27-2013

I'm not sure you need a source per room, but certainly having a source per person is better than trying to share sources. I would even go as far as labeling the sources for the individuals (Dad's DVR, Mom's DVR, etc, etc, etc) so the family knows "their" source and won't accidentally use someone else's source.

I guess if you have fewer rooms than people (ie a large family, but only two places to watch TV), then you would go with a source per room for that equipment. But if you have more zones than people, then getting a source per person can prevent people from fighting over sources and really cut down on the equipment needed.

I did this for my parents house. When they remodeled a few years ago they stuck TVs and audio zones everywhere, but it is only the two of them in the house. I think they ended up with seven zones with TVs and a couple more audio only zones. For most things, I put in three sources - Mom's, Dad's, and Guest. That way they can watch TV or listen to music anywhere and not fight over sources. It was also cheaper than having to get sources for every zone.


Whole Home Audio best practices - Bal - 02-27-2013

sic0048

Thanks for the suggestion. If nothing else I like the B&K for the local source capability which the Sonos has issues with (inserting a 70ms delay) causing lip sync issues.

What is the difference between those two B&K amps? I can not even find a manual which described the RJ45 buffered outputs on the 600.1. I am having a tough time determining what the difference is between those two except for the extra FM tuner in the 610.


Whole Home Audio best practices - zaccari - 02-27-2013

The 601 was a later release of the 600 I believe. Nothing major. The 610 has an extra FM tuner. The nice thing is that the CT B&K's have amplification for each zone. Nothing ear booming but you do not have to a ZPR or a multi-zoned amp like some of the other systems require. I agree with Dean on the zone per room although something like Sirius/XM are cost prohibitive to do.

I would love to hear from someone about the parts of the Sonos approach. What hardware, what sources and what controls things.

Russ...


Whole Home Audio best practices - wuench - 02-27-2013

Do people ever do more than one speaker set per zone or not? How is that done, just wire in parallel?


Whole Home Audio best practices - kblagron - 02-27-2013

On the B&K, they can handle four 8 ohm speakers per zone and not blow the amplifier. I have my Kitchen and Dining Room wired in parallel, the two garages wired in parallel, and then for the outside, I use an ohm switch that keeps the amp at 4 ohms and I drive 6 speakers out there.

For the other whole house audio systems, you would probably want to investigate how many can be wired in parallel.