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Connect Amps with multiple speakers around the house


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Hello! I'm looking for some advice on some Bose 191 ceiling speakers that I inherited after moving into a new house. I believe these speakers are all 8ohms.

Here is my dilemma that I've tried to search through this community but I can't find the right answer with my setup. I have 3 ceiling speakers downstairs (2 in living room and 1 in dining room but all three are fairly close to each other in the same level). I also have 3 ceiling speakers upstairs (2 in the master bedroom and 1 in the master bathroom...again pretty close to I don't need these two areas separated).

My first thought (and was my preferred choice) was to create 2 zones with 2 Connect Amps....one zone downstairs with 3 Bose speakers and one zone upstairs with the other 3 speakers. Reading online, it looks like that sound wouldn't be great with this setup but I could be wrong.

After reading that 3 speakers may not work well, is my other option to create 4 zones with 4 Connect Amps (could be pricey here). That would be 2 Family room speakers to 1 Amp. 1 Dining room speaker to 1 Amp. Similar setup upstairs with 2 speakers to 1 Connect amp and then the single Bathroom speaker to 1 Connect Amp. I couldn't really find much information on setting up just one speaker to 1 Connect Amp. Is this a bad thing to do?

Any other options with this type of setup. SHould I just do regular Connects and put them all into a Receiver and go that route?

I appreciate anybody's thoughts or opinions!
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Best answer by melvimbe 9 August 2017, 19:53

Just to clarify for your dining and bathroom speakers...if they are stereo, there would be a total of 4 wires needed for the connection. Left +, Left - , Right +, and Right -. On a typical speaker (and what the user guide for Bose 191 states), there is just 2, + and -. The speaker itself is either the left side or the right side, not both sides altogether. I'm not sure if I'm being clear here.

Regarding the speaker wires labeled and split into 2 wires...that's standard. the two split wires are + and -. So for a stereo speaker there would be two sets of wires (that split into + and -) or what's called a 4 wire speaker line...if it's for a stereo input speaker. I'm finding this very hard to explain.

Maybe ask this way. At the hidden location where the wires come out, how many total wires are there? There should be either 12 or 16. If 12, that would mean that those dining and bathroom speakers are not stereo input. 16 would mean that they are.

The volume control isn't needed, but helpful when you have two different rooms powered by the same amp. Without the switch, the volume is the same in both rooms. You'll like find that no matter what volume level you set, it will be too loud in one room, or two quite in the other. Using a switch means you can raise or lower the volume in one of the rooms without effect the volume in the other.

I probably wouldn't want to use the sony receiver, just because you'd limit your control. But honestly, it all depends on those single speakers you have.
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18 replies

Don't overlook the option of just ignoring these and using play units as necessary in different part of the home.
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All of the speaker wires run into a hidden location in the house so I like that idea of having speakers throughout the house that you don't even see because they are hidden in the ceiling walls.
The single speakers in dining and bathroom is an odd setup, unless they are stereo speakers. Are the speaker wire runs properly labeled? Is there both a left and right labeled speaker wire for those two room? If that is the case, then I would get two CONNECT:AMPS as you suggested, but add a volume control switch between amp and speakers. This will allow you manually adjust the volume of each room separately to get the balance correct.

If the dining/bathroom are not stereo speakers (designed to have left and right channels in the same speakers) then you won't get decent sound out of them unless you send it a mono signal. In that case, I'd consider getting a CONNECT and then a separate amp(s) to send stereo to the living room and mono to the dining room. Like wise for upstairs.
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Thank you melvimbe. I believe the single speakers in the dining room and bathroom are stereo. All of the speaker wires are labelled and each one splits into two separate wires.

is the Volume control switch needed because of the third speaker being used? If a control switch isn't used, the volume would be different in each location and I turn the volume up or down?

Any other recommendation that I may be missing? I am converting to full Sonos for my TV, so I will have an extra Sony Receiver not being used. I like the simplicity of using COnnect Amps but I can use the receiver if you think that would be best.
Just to clarify for your dining and bathroom speakers...if they are stereo, there would be a total of 4 wires needed for the connection. Left +, Left - , Right +, and Right -. On a typical speaker (and what the user guide for Bose 191 states), there is just 2, + and -. The speaker itself is either the left side or the right side, not both sides altogether. I'm not sure if I'm being clear here.

Regarding the speaker wires labeled and split into 2 wires...that's standard. the two split wires are + and -. So for a stereo speaker there would be two sets of wires (that split into + and -) or what's called a 4 wire speaker line...if it's for a stereo input speaker. I'm finding this very hard to explain.

Maybe ask this way. At the hidden location where the wires come out, how many total wires are there? There should be either 12 or 16. If 12, that would mean that those dining and bathroom speakers are not stereo input. 16 would mean that they are.

The volume control isn't needed, but helpful when you have two different rooms powered by the same amp. Without the switch, the volume is the same in both rooms. You'll like find that no matter what volume level you set, it will be too loud in one room, or two quite in the other. Using a switch means you can raise or lower the volume in one of the rooms without effect the volume in the other.

I probably wouldn't want to use the sony receiver, just because you'd limit your control. But honestly, it all depends on those single speakers you have.
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Thanks melvimbe for the guidance so far and what you are saying makes sense to me and you're right, the speakers are standard ones with just 2 wires (12 Total) so you can pair them together for a "L" and a "R". I've attached a picture of what they left with me which is an old Selector Switch. It shows the two bedroom speakers are set up as the "L" and "R" and then they used the bathroom as just "L". Same for downstairs...the Family room has the standard "L" and "R" setup, but then they left the Dining room as just "L" in the Selector box. The box is then connected to the Amp.

I normally just leave all three speakers selected when I play music (either upstairs or downstairs). With this setup, if I just select 1 Speaker connected to the "L", will it sound bad...I'm assuming yes but just curious. With the Connect:AMP, I plan on playing music on all 3 speakers. I dont' think I would ever just pick that random 1 speaker to play since all three are fairly close anyways. Can I get away with this similar setup and just tie the random 3rd speaker to either the "L" or "R" behind the Connect Amp? Or will it sound bad?

Essentially, it's going to sound the same way it sounds now. You're not getting the full sound in those 2 rooms, but if it doesn't bother you, then it's not a problem.

That said though, what's the brand and model of the speaker selector? Maybe show a picture of the front? It could be that the speaker select is converting stereo to mono when just the left speaker is connected or something like that.
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It's a SIMA Speaker Selector 6 SSW-6. Doesn't look like it does anything fancy except buttons that select which pair of speakers to use.

I also tested the sound and it's definitely different when I just select the single speaker that's inputted only into the "L".

It doesn't sound too bad when I select all three speakers so I guess that's an option I have...not the best but I guess decent enough and I don't have to buy 4 Connect-Amps.

Now that we have all the information, can you think of another solution with Sonos or is that probably my best option? Thanks again for all your help and information...its been very useful!
There are a lot of options you could go, and so much depends on your budget and what you feel comfortable with doing. I definitely wouldn't get 4 connect-amps though. There is no point providing separate power to a single speaker that doesn't sound good on it's own.

I'll tell you what I would do, in phases. Combine phases based on budget.
1 - Get Sonos for your tv.
2 - Get 1 connect:amp to replace the receiver you currently have with the bose speakers. Leaving the speaker switch in place. See how comfortable you are with the sound quality and control of volume and speaker selection with that setup. I don't think Sonos would recommend this, but the switch is designed to protect and not overload anything. I've done this setup before without issue.
3 - Get a second connect:amp to divide your zones to upstairs and downstairs as you mentioned. You may want to get a 2nd speaker switch (preferably with volume controls) so you have a speaker switch for each connect:amp. Not needed, but it's a cleaner setup. You may even want to replace your original speaker switch to something with volume controls.
4 - If you have good access to the speaker wire in the attic or something like that, I would look into replacing the bose speakers in the dining and bathroom. I'm guessing this was originally a DIY job, so it may be rather accessible and easy to do. You would want to find a 4-wire speaker wire, rated for in-wall use, and a stereo input speaker. The new speaker should sound much better. That isn't going to be cheap, but you shouldn't cost you more than $400, the cost of a connect:amp, but give you better results. (BTW, If I had to guess, your current speaker wire doesn't look like it's rated for in-wall use)

But Kumar does have a good point. Not using the system may actually be cheaper then using it. Particularly on phase 4. Simply disconnecting the speakers in the dining and bathroom and replace with single play:1s will give you good sound and separate control of music source and volume.

Edit: Just wanted to add, don't be a big hurry with this. If you find this stuff fun to think about, then enjoy the process of learning about it all. Check on the forums to see what others are doing, and it will give you ideas for your house.
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melvimbe, thank you so much for the help and advice. I think I have some good options to go with now and more knowledge than what I had before. I agree, I will take my time and go with the right choice! Thanks again.
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melvimbe, thank you so much for the help and advice. I think I have some good options to go with now and more knowledge than what I had before. I agree, I will take my time and go with the right choice! Thanks again.
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melvimbe, thank you so much for the help and advice. I think I have some good options to go with now and more knowledge than what I had before. I agree, I will take my time and go with the right choice! Thanks again.
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melvimbe, thank you so much for the help and advice. I think I have some good options to go with now and more knowledge than what I had before. I agree, I will take my time and go with the right choice! Thanks again.
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melvimbe, thank you so much for the help and advice. I think I have some good options to go with now and more knowledge than what I had before. I agree, I will take my time and go with the right choice! Thanks again.
Badge +1
melvimbe, thank you so much for the help and advice. I think I have some good options to go with now and more knowledge than what I had before. I agree, I will take my time and go with the right choice! Thanks again.
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A key point from above "use wire rated for in-wall use." I have similar speaker wire to what you have here in my walls. The original owner ran it before they put up the sheet-rock so replacing it will be an ugly process if it is even doable. The reason for replacing it is that the insulation on my wires, like yours, is not designed for long life and is cracking and splitting.

I added a band-aid solution to my setup by installing low voltage wall-boxes and plates and carefully curling the old wire inside the wall/box and connecting it to binding posts exposed on the cover. That doesn't fix anything but it means I'll not be making things worse by further damaging the failing insulation.

If there is any way to replace your old wire with proper wire I'd do that ASAP as the first step. You may be in better shape than I am here in hot and high-ozone Phoenix and in a 20 year old house but that wire will be a problem for someone, some day.
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Thank you. I didn't even realize that part since I was focused on how the setup was going to be. I'll look into it for sure!
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A bit late, but those speakers are 6 ohm speakers - but they will work, just only one per channel on a Connect:Amp. Personally, I'd pick up a Niles MRC-6430 and one or two Sonos Connect and feed it into them - it's designed to power in-wall/ceiling speakers. You can also use Niles or Russound external amplifiers to bridge the L/R to a summed channel, feeding both at once. The Auriel natively controls the Sonos, and will also control an AVR with traditional surround setup, and its TV, if you want to - and can feed it audio. It's a true centralized distributed audio and pairs beautifully with Sonos.

Also, the SAF once its set up is near 100% since it's a single pane of glass for control of everything, even some HA. It's as pricey as four Connect:Amps, but when you have centralized speaker wiring, you can really just go all out. 🙂