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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 09:20 PM
MWelcome MWelcome is offline
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Default Sonos and whole house audio config questions

I have a number of questions about configuring a Sonos system to be at the heart of a whole house audio setup. I have searched the threads and am still not sure how this should be done given what I've got.

What I have is a house that is prewired for 2 speakers in each of 12 locations. Speakers are on a home run to a corner of my basement. Each location also has Cat5 run from a box in the wall on a home run to the same corner of the basement. The speaker wire is not run through the cat5 location. This was run when the house was built with a different system in mind.

What I want is to put a few ZonePlayers in the basement and divy the rooms into zones but maintain the ability to control volume at the room level not just the zone level. I have a number of questions:

- Is this a realistic configuration?

- assuming yes, does it make sense to use a Z100 and run it though some type of distribution box without amplification or use a Z80 and run it though an amplifier.

- Do you foresee conflicts between multiple volume controls

- If not, any reccomendations on basic volume controls and other required hardware.

- Is there a range problem with keeping the ZonePlayers stacked in basement. Will I be able to control it from the opposite corner of the 2nd floor? I can get my wireless connection on my laptop throughout the house.

- Can 1 zone player support multiple sets of speakers without additional hardware? there are several rooms that could be tied together that would always play together (i.e master bath/master bedroom or kitchen/dining room.

I suppose in an ideal world I would have 1 zonePlayer = 1 room and be able to use the Sonos controller to adjust a rooms volume but I just don't have that kind of budget.

I apologize for all the questions, but I appreciate any and all direction.

Thanks.

Mark
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 09:49 PM
buzz buzz is offline
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MWelcome,

SONOS RF range is similar to that of the WiFi used for your wireless computer. You can test the situation in advance by moving your wireless access point to the proposed ZonePlayer cluster location (be sure to close all of the cabinet and closet doors), then walk the house with your laptop and make a map of signal strength and throughput.

This an approximate test, but if you have good solid computer performance at a location, the SONOS handheld controller will probably work OK too.

A ZP100 will support two pairs of 8-Ohm speakers, but since there is only one volume control, you'll need external volume controls or areas that don't need any provisions for individual room level matching.

SONOS is designed as a distributed system. Placing all of the ZonePlayers in a single cluster in the basement is not what the designers had in mind.

Since you have CAT-5 wiring everywhere, you can easily create network connections for remote ZonePlayers. With a little bit of digging and some imagination you should be able to scatter a few of the ZonePlayers. All you need is a concealed location with power and access to a pair of speaker wires. Network connections are optional, but highly desirable.

I have hidden ZonePlayers on top of kitchen cabinets, in closets, under the sofa, under the bed, under the desk (along with an ugly mess of computer gear -- you'll never find the ZonePlayer in that mess), and in a basket.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 06:52 PM
MWelcome MWelcome is offline
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Hi Buzz-

Thanks for the info. I realize that the system wasn't designed to be centralized but I'm trying to understand the issues with making it a centralized system. I prefer (and my wife insists) that I use wall or ceiling speakers and not clutter every room with more wires. Also the cat5 I ran for volume control is right next to the light switches so it doesn't lend itself to plugging in Zone players.

I know there are any number of systems designed to be centralized, but to be honest none of them offer the ease of use and nice control over my library that you guys do. Aside from range of the controller, do you see any other issues with making it a central system that I am missing?

Thanks for your help.

Mark
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 08:01 PM
buzz buzz is offline
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MWelcome,

Assuming that you have a network connection at the central point, the only real issue is RF coverage for the handheld controllers.

If there is an attic, have the speaker wires and CAT-5 been run up there? If so, it is easy to place a ZonePlayer on a shelf in a closet, interrupt the wires and pull them into the closet through the wall or ceiling.

If you need better RF coverage, adding another room can work well too. A small pair of speakers and a ZP100 can disappear in a bookcase.

I've never liked the central systems and the wall mounted keypads are never in the right spot.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 10:31 PM
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randyharris randyharris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MWelcome View Post
Hi Buzz-

I prefer (and my wife insists) that I use wall or ceiling speakers and not clutter every room with more wires. Also the cat5 I ran for volume control is right next to the light switches so it doesn't lend itself to plugging in Zone players.


Mark
Hi Mark,

I'm about half way into making my Sonos install as you refer to. If you're willing to just let the existing Cat5 alone and not worry about it, there's no reason you can't do a Sonos install and have it all behind the scenes. That's what I'm doing. I've got ceiling speakers in the kitchen and dining room already, more to go in the play room and master bedroom. We have outdoor speakers mounted above the rear patio and the front porch, more to come later at the pool area. Two of my Zone Players are in my coat closet by my front door, I ran electricity in there and pulled all the speakers, ethernet, etc.. into that closet that I needed. In fact, I ended up putting my cable modem, wireless router, and switch into the closet too - its nice to get that stuff out from underneath my desk. The next ZonePlayer I install will be at a far end of the house to help extend the wireless range.

I do have a ranch style house with crawl room in the attic space which makes this something I can do myself.

When you play the zones that I've got setup now, all you see are the ceiling speakers inside, or the outdoor speakers outside, and the controller, no wires are visible, it's all out of the way which was a requirement of mine.

Btw - I wired my front porch to the same ZonePlayer as the rear patio, the front is on a volume control so I can turn them off. Ditto for the dining room, it's wired to the Kitchen ZonePlayer. That worked out well for me to get 4 areas instead of two, it's no problem having the same source in dining and kitchen as they are adjacent, and outside is ok on the same zone too. We had to wire volume controls to do this, but saved on more ZonePlayers.

Randy
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Last edited by randyharris; Mar 24th, 2007 at 10:33 PM.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 11:24 AM
bringusashrubbery bringusashrubbery is offline
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I have a similar set up to yours and was also leery about the range of the controller. However, my ZP's are all centrally located on the main floor and I get good reception with my controller in the basement as well as upstairs. I was very pleasantly surprised with the great range on the controller.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 11:26 AM
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randyharris randyharris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bringusashrubbery View Post
I have a similar set up to yours and was also leery about the range of the controller. However, my ZP's are all centrally located on the main floor and I get good reception with my controller in the basement as well as upstairs. I was very pleasantly surprised with the great range on the controller.
With the two ZP's in my closet, I have coverage through my entire house, front yard and rear patio - it does only show 1 bar in some areas, but it does work.

But out by the pool the strength meter goes to red... So the next ZP I install will be on the far end of the house which is nearest the pool area. That should give me good coverage everywhere.

When the ZP's eventually go 802.11N, that should really extend range for people.

Randy
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