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greg from winnipeg
2009-10-23, 17:23
We are renovating our third floor and I'm thinking about how to put another squeezebox in our home.

The floor will be essentially one large room divided into two sections--a tv/home theatre on one end and a recreational area on the other end.

I'm open to suggestions but currently I'm thinking of using one amp to do 5.1 sound on the TV end and to drive two ceiling speakers on the rec room side. Seems that there are moderately priced amps (~$500-700) that can provide for two zones like this. I'm open to amp suggestions.

To get to the title of this thread ("touch in different room than amp"), what's the best way to get the audio signal from the touch into the amp? Is digital optical or coaxial better for a distance of, say 6-8 m (20-25 ft)? Do most amps in my price range accept both?

Last, what's a good forum for me to ask questions about speaker placement for my modest home theatre? I want to know the best positions for the rear speakers in the 5.1 given the limitations of my space. Also what to look for in ceiling speakers--which one to buy, installation tips for good sound etc.

Greg

amcluesent
2009-10-23, 23:50
Err, what's stopping you moving the Touch 6-8m closer to the amp? There is wi-fi...

rrweather
2009-10-24, 05:33
You can use a 5 channel amp to control two different zones. There are a couple of things to watch for when you shop for receivers. Some will not allow you to select two different sources of audio to play out of each zone. This is no big deal for some but most people like the ability to select two sources. Even if this is not a feature you need now, getting something that allows it helps you be "future-proof" in a way, especially if you may move the receiver to some other place in your house.

The next thing to watch for is many receivers that do play two zones do it at the expense of the other zone. An example is my 7 channel Onkyo receiver in my living room. When I turn on "Zone 2" which are my outdoor speakers, it turns off two of the speakers in zone 1. Basically the two rear speakers are unusable when using both zones. In our current house (we are renting) this is no big deal because I never hooked all 7 speakers up in the living room. Running speaker wire was a pain and our sofa is up against the back wall of the living room. So basically it would have been hard to run the wires and there was nowhere to put the speakers. Easy decision to not install the rear speakers. So when we play both zones, we don't lose anything but we would if we had all 7 speakers in zone 1 hooked up as well as 2 speakers in zone 2.

Even if your receiver doesn't cut out other channels to support the second zone, the sound quality will likely decrease. If you think about it, you have a 5-channel receiver that you are using 7 speakers on. The quality will go down simply because you are running more speakers than there are channels.

You may find that getting a 7 channel receiver might work better. That would give you 5.1 surround plus the ability to hook up two additional speakers (like my setup).

My living room receiver is about two years old and cost me less than your budgeted amount. It has both coax, optical, and HDMI inputs.

One goofy thing about our Onkyo that I didn't know about until I read the manual (what guy likes to do that?) is that zone 2 sources of audio must be analog. Basically when I hooked up our HDTV box from comcast using HDMI, I couldn't get sound to zone 2. When I read the manual I saw that it said there was no DAC for playing to zone 2. I simply attached some analog cables between the digital components and the receiver.

The last piece of advice on receivers is I would try to get one with as many HDMI inputs as you can. When we bought ours, HDMI was basically reserved for HDTV. Our receiver has two so I figured we were good. Then we got a PS3. Then we got an HD camera. Then we got the Western Digital HDTV gadget. Then we got the Roku netflix player. My point is we quickly went through the 2 HDMI slots on the receiver. I ended up having to buy an HDMI switch for $100 or so. It wasn't a lot of money but you'll want to factor this in if you have more HDMI components than you do plugs. It seems like the future is HD everything and having the ability to add a component without needing another component would be nice. An alternative is to use another cable (component video and separate audio) but if you are going the HD route, why not get the best quality you can.

The other option is you can run two receivers. 5.1 receivers are very inexpensive these days. You could then run a separate 2-channel receiver for the other zone. Buying separate components would allow you to get features you want spcifically for each zone. 2-channel receivers are fairly inexpensive as well but most do not offer as many digital inputs as their 5 or 7 channel alternatives. In fact, some don't offer any digital inputs.

I don't have any in-wall speakers. My parent's house has them all over the house. The sound is ok for background music and that is about it. Their setup is sort of complex just to get playing due to the way it is set up. They have a bunch of components (I am guessing the installer sold them on) and they paid a pretty penny for all the speakers and equipment. If they have a party, they can run some music that is simply acting as background noise. For no kidding listening to music, the speakers just don't sound all that good. Part of it is the fact that you are hearing sound above your head instead of from in front of and behind you. After seeing their setup, I'd be inclined to run some small bookshelf speakers to each room instead of in-wall speakers. It would probably be the same price or less and sound better. That is just my opinion and since I don't own any in-wall speakers myself, my opinion may be worthless!

Hope some of this helps.

Randy

greg from winnipeg
2009-10-24, 10:50
amcluesent:
I'd like the touch in the rec area of the floor, the same area that will have ceiling speakers. The amp will be part of the TV/Home theatre on the opposite end of the floor. Since we are renovating, I can wire everything up now.

rrweather:
Thanks for the comments about amps--I'll be shopping carefully when the time comes. I just assumed that if an amp could do two zones that it would accept digital inputs for both.

I think I'm going to stick with in-ceiling speakers despite the fact that quality will suffer.

Judging from online sources, I should be able to use the same coaxial cable that my TV cable company provides to run the digital signal from Touch to amp. I presume the same precautions as speaker wire apply--avoid running parallel to power lines and cross them at right angles.

Thanks for the comments.

gweempose
2009-10-25, 09:41
Last, what's a good forum for me to ask questions about speaker placement for my modest home theater?The best I can think of to ask questions like this is AVS Forum. Here is a direct link to the speaker sub-forum ...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=89

gweempose
2009-10-25, 09:42
Last, what's a good forum for me to ask questions about speaker placement for my modest home theater?The best place I can think of to ask A/V related questions is AVS Forum. Here is a direct link to the speaker sub-forum ...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=89