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Old     (wakecumberland)      Join Date: Oct 2007       09-24-2015, 6:44 AM Reply   
I am building a new house and starting to think about the audio/visual options before framing gets started next week. I don't want anything wildly sophisticated, but I would at least like a multi room audio system, and would be interested in all of the technology that is available for these types of systems. Any links you can share for the DIY or guidance would be greatly appreciated!
Old     (Paul_42186)      Join Date: May 2013       09-24-2015, 12:04 PM Reply   
I would run quality RG6 TV cable (Good for up to 3GHz) to any location that would have a TV, If possible get the TV cable at an electric supply store, Menard's and Home Depot are not as good quality. Run a Cat5E or CAT6 network cable to any place where you would have a computer, printer, Smart TV, Video Game System, Streaming media player, etc. I know there is WiFI, but things will work better if wired, WiFi should be for portable devices, also in a large house WiFi will not cover the whole house with one router, access points are needed in other locations. There are wall plates that will fit TV, computer, and phone jacks in one plate, look up Leviton Quick Port. Even though many people do not have a land line phone or use cordless phones, you may want to run a separate Cat5e cable for phone to some areas. All wiring should be run back to a board or enclosure near the main electrical panel, if there are 2 rooms next to each other, each room still needs it's own TV or computer cable, don't put splitters all over the place to save wire. Proper wiring will work for DirecTV, Dish, Cable, or other services without running new wiring later. If you are building a large house, there are Wireless access points that install on the ceiling and look like a smoke detector, check out Ubiquiti UniFi products. With new technology, even Satellite TV boxes or DVR's only require 1 RG6 cable to each location.

For audio, use in-wall rated speaker wire, not the clear see through gold and silver speaker cable sold at Best Buy. Some building codes require a metal speaker enclosure behind an in-wall speaker, these also make it easier to pre-wire. Think about where all the audio equipment will be located and run all audio wiring to that location, depending on how fancy you want to get, there are remote controls that mount on the wall in the rooms, these usually require wiring back to the equipment area. I know there are wireless options for audio gear, but many wireless systems compete with WiFi and other wireless devices and can interfere with each other. In a TV room, think about the room layout for the TV and where the surround sound speakers would go, surround sound works by having the speakers placed properly according to seating location in the room. Each speaker needs it's own wire back to the equipment area.

If you are thinking about a burglar alarm, security cameras, baby monitor, intercom, etc., wired is better for those too. There have been news stories where someone driving by with a backup camera in their car can view the baby monitor or security cameras from their car or hack into Internet based cameras and even talk to the baby from the Internet. Wired alarm systems will have less maintenance (no batteries in sensors).

On inside walls I prefer to use a mud ring instead of a box for TV, network, phone, etc outlets, unless building codes require a box. Boxed are required on outside walls. Where a box is used, use a deep box, not the shallow ones, TV and computer wires can not be bent sharply. Always use the proper type of wire for what you are installing.
Old     (onthecreek)      Join Date: Apr 2013       09-24-2015, 3:18 PM Reply   
Multi-room audio = Sonos.com

It's not cheap but it works and sounds great.
Old     (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       09-24-2015, 4:05 PM Reply   
Honestly, if you're going to wire a whole house for sound then you should really consider doing it with multiple pairs of ceiling speakers. I wired our summer house to have a pair of speakers in almost every room = 5 pairs (kitchen, eating area, living room, master bedroom, and downstairs game room). there's a dual voice coil speaker in each bathroom (x3), 3 pairs on the front deck and 1 pair on the back patio which I just added this year. It's the best thing we ever did. You can either have the whole house rocking or you can have some nice low background music playing everywhere so you don't have loud and quiet areas. Granted I can buy this stuff commercially so I get a discount and we installed Russound speakers and multiroom amps. Even at a discount we probably have close to $ 7,000.00 in to it. There are many low cost and high cost ways to do it. If you are looking a doing a multi room type amp you need a pair of wires to each speaker location and a Cat5E to a keypad location within the same room.

At my own house I have 5.1 in my family room. I wired 2 pairs of speakers in my dining room and a pair in to my kitchen. My 5.1 runs off one amp and my kitchen and dining room run off a second amp. The dining room is running on A and share the fronts on the amp. The second zone B is running my kitchen speakers. I have split the audio so I can run the TV over all speakers if I want so I can hear the football game in my kitchen. TV is on the far wall across the room. I also have two Apple TV's connected so I can independently control the volume in the 2 zones when listening to music and use my phone as the remote if I want. My iMac is also in the same room so I typically just do everything from there. On a saturday I usually have music playing in the whole house all day.

If you want to get real fancy for home audio, electrical, security, lighting etc etc etc. Look at Control4.

Last edited by bcrider; 09-24-2015 at 4:11 PM.

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