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

I am also curious on how to combine Sonos and the B&K. With only two peopl in my household utilizing two zp90's would be great. But i am curious as to how you interface with the Sonos and the B&K, where you chose to control volumes, etc etc. if i read this right, there is no practical difference between the two other than the additional FM tuner? The connection type being different
rj45 vs rca on the buffered out) is not relevant?

If i use two for 12 zones, do i get 9 inputs or 9 form both for a total of 18? Just curious.

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

Bal Wrote:I am also curious on how to combine Sonos and the B&K. With only two peopl in my household utilizing two zp90's would be great. But i am curious as to how you interface with the Sonos and the B&K, where you chose to control volumes, etc etc. if i read this right, there is no practical difference between the two other than the additional FM tuner? The connection type being different
rj45 vs rca on the buffered out) is not relevant?

If i use two for 12 zones, do i get 9 inputs or 9 form both for a total of 18? Just curious.

As far as I know, the CT600 and CT601 are basically identical and they have 1 FM tuner built in. As noted, there are the rj-45 plugs on the newer unit. This is done to simplify daisy chaining multiple units together. I've also seen CT602 and CT610 which I think are basically identical as well and have 2 FM tuners built in. All the units use the same CQC driver (although it might need to be modified if you get a unit with 2 FM tuners. I've never thought about the fact that some units have two tuners built in to know if the current driver would handle both tuners). As a side note, there is also a CT300 unit available that has 9 sources and only 3 zones (all powered). I assume the MSRP is quite a bit lower than the CT6xx series, but they are not that much cheaper (and sometimes they are priced even higher) on the used market and therefore I see little reason to buy a used CT300 series unit.

As far as sources and volume controls - I have all my sources come into the CT unit at basically full volume (unless you need to back off the volume to prevent clipping). Then I only use the CT unit to control audio levels. I do this via hardwired remotes in rooms with a TV (I have an IR distribution system set up in my house which is fed into CQC through a USB-UIRT), or use touch screen, tablets, phones, etc in other rooms without remotes. You don't want to change the source volume because that would change the volume level on all zones. Using the CT unit to change the volume allows you to change the volume in specific zones or all zones as needed.

If you daisy chain the units together, you do expand the total number of zones, but not the total number of sources. So if you chain two units together, you'll have 9 sources and 12 powered zones. Chain three units together and you'll still have 9 sources, but 18 powered zones. You could always break the system up and not chain them together, but then the sources would be specific to each unit. So the 9 sources hooked up to unit #1 would not be available as sources on unit #2 and vice-versa. When you daisy chain units together, you basically just take the 9 sources from the first unit and send their signal to the rest of the units as well. The units act like a big signal splitter and send the source signals to all the units.

Whole Home Audio best practices - ControlFreak - 02-28-2013

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

There are two ways. If you have an older zp100, you can run one set of speakers off the amplified (speaker-wire-terminals) output on the sonos, AND run a second output via the RCA outs (to some amplifier). Limited application, but I used that technique at one residence when I wanted to have one pair be that attached to the TV's receiver/amp and another pair to be a separate set of speakers, away from the tv but in hearing range of it. It worked nicely. Older zp100s available on ebay. The current version, the connect:amp, does not have alternate output, only speaker-level output.

Second: parallel. When you wire two sets of 8-ohm speakers in parallel, the total impedance is cut in half. So current draw doubles. I have not wired two sets of speakers to a sonos amplified output, It could be done in a low volume/power application, but would probably sound poor as I don't think that the sonos is optimized for 4-ohms out.

What I HAVE done is use a sonos connect (fka zp90, fka zp80), with the rca output going to an amplifier that I had lying around that provided for selectable ohmage. I paralleled the two sets of speakers and set the amp's selector to 4 ohms. (you could use the optical output instead of the RCA if your amp supports that as input, mine doesn't). This saved me in two ways. The connect is $150 cheaper than the connect:amp and I only needed one zoneplayer instead of two.

If you do this, you always get the same volume at both pairs of speakers and both pair of speakers are always on simultaneously. I have 2 pair of speakers outside along my long pool, and this is a fine application for both always on and both always same volume.

You could take sonos low voltage out (rca/optical) and run it to a multi-channel amplifier...which would have same benefits and limitations.

Whole Home Audio best practices - ControlFreak - 02-28-2013

Bal Wrote: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.

1. you can greatly reduce the 70ms delay by changing the line-in setting of the from compressed to uncompressed.

2. I have about 20 zones of sonos in a newly built house. I thought I would be using line-in into sonos quite a bit. I even pre-wired rca jacks into bedside wall plates and ran those to the sonos location (usually in a closet nearby) in kids and guest rooms so they could plug in their iphones or whatever and play THEIR music via sonos. What actually happens is that people use their iphone/android to control the sonos system selecting music from pandora or rhapsody via phone-based sonos controller.

3. I also thought I'd be feeding TV audio into a sonos. And in one location I may someday. But in my main tv locations, I have 5.1 speakers, so you need an AV receiver anyway. Once you have that, their is no reason for sonos for audio in. You can have sonos as a stereo source into the AV receiver.

Whole Home Audio best practices - ControlFreak - 02-28-2013

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


A few more random thoughts:
I may be in the minority, but I decided to not do a centralized approach for music. I used multiple local locations (like closets..I ran power and cat6 to all potential sonos locations like top shelves of closets).

Here's why:
1. Traditionally (when I was planning my system) Sonos has "liked" to be distributed. That is because if you have or plan on using the sonos hand-held controllers, they need a box to talk to (they can't just talk to your WAP). If you have a big house and stick all the zps in the head end room, you lose the ability to use that elegant piece of hardware. That said, they have just discontinued the hand-held sonos controller since sales are dropping in favor of using sonos-controller on phones.
2. (see my other post in this thread on line-in) I was planning for lots of line-in to local zps. So I thought shorter run (from bedside to bedroom closet instead of to central room) was better for RCA.
3. And this was the important reason for me. It sounds better! Before finalizing my plan, I did A/B tests using two identical sonos, playing same music simultaneously, that were connected via a/b switch to a single pair of nice speakers. The only difference was that one sonos zp was connected via a 150 foot run of speaker wire, the other via a 10 foot run of speaker wire. I'm pretty sure it was 16-gauge (though I ended up using 14 for house wire and the problem would not have been as large with 16). The sound difference was astounding. The difference was much bigger than a/b tests of bit rate or a/b tests of better amp vs sonos. The reason of course is that, electrically, resistance is linearly proportion to run length. This won't matter if you are using 14 gauge in small house with <75 foot runs. But I had some runs I knew would be close to 200 feet, so this mattered to me. You say you are having 12 zones, so i'm guessing your house is big-ish. If so, it might be a consideration. Listen for yourself.

If you do a hybrid system where you need to be centralized, this point is moot.

I also took a don't-reinvent-the-wheel approach. The controller on the sonos is so good, I don't want to replicate it. I think of CQC as my coarse on/off switch for sonos in an area, but leave all fine tuning to the handheld controller. And I didn't want to have the sonos experience be behind the experience of volume/zone control of a second system (b&w or other). You could probably save some money that way, but I wanted ultimate flexibility and local sources.

My primary use for cqc integration for sonos is: walk into a room, hit button on lutron keypad, cqc receives that, and have pre-determined station come on to a pre-defined level. Hitting the button again will mute or pause. All fine- tuning beyond that (station, grouping, zone-level volume) I'm happy to do on phone (via sonos app) or via one of my two cr200 (sonos hardware controller about the size of a phone).

Sonos can handle up to 32 zone players and each of those could be playing a different stream.

I wanted to use cat6 (not wireless) for all my sonos zps; I did not want to rely on wireless. This (wired approach) CAN cause problems on bigger setups. It did on mine and it took a while to sort out. I needed new switch to solve the problem. The problem is rare, but my first choice of switch was unlucky. It has to do with if/how the switch handles STP. The topic is well covered on sonos boards, just a heads-up.

Good luck

Whole Home Audio best practices - Bal - 02-28-2013


That great information. I did read the absolute minimum delay created was 70ms on the Sonos system. That was with uncompressed chosen. If it is different can you link me or tell me what it is and where that's confirmed?

Well with my ranch, unfinished basement, and open attic, central wiring is easier then running new 120v/cat to each room! Not to mention a couple rooms would not have a great place to put the box.

Finally we have not really discussed the all important cost! So talking about total system design I figured
12 zones with 12 ZP120 @ $500= ~6K
12 zones with 12 ZP90 + 2 Dayton 12 channel amps = ~5200
12 zones with 12 ZP90 + 2 B&K matrix amps = ~4650
Then for comparison
12 zone with Nuvo GC + Musicport Elite (assumes some discount)= ~6-7K (dated and doubt there will be many more updates on the MPS4E)

Now there is only me and wife, so we really only need 2 ZP90's. I can always add more as needed.

12 zones with 2 ZP90 + 2 B&K matrix amps = ~1150

I can set the B&K's to act like the Daytons, ie choose a zp per 6 channels and manage same as that scenario. Or I can use the B&K matrix and have two zp sources available throughout as needed.

Finally I can buy more ZP90's and end up with an equivalent system to all ZP120's but at $1350 cheaper and even $550 cheaper than with Daytons.

The nice benefits are immediately all 12 channels have feeds. Also, I can run local sources through the B&K with the auto-switch. This would allow me to use Sonos, and when you turn the TV it it will automatically switch to local source and not go through the Sonos.

Really digging how it could work out. BUT I have to get those B&K's first! LOL

Thanks for all the help and any more comments are more than welcome!