new house, new system

  • 12 June 2008
  • 5 replies
  • 1499 views

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i have purchased a house w. in-wall or in-ceiling b & w speakers in 16 rooms. all are wired to a central media closet, and i need a front end, w. nas.

i figure i can make do w. 6 zones, averaging 4 pairs of speakers and with a high of 6 pair. none are amplified now.

i am new to sonos and not sure what i would require.

russound? niles? escient? what nas for 5-600 cds and two teens' worth of itunes?

THANKS for advice, i need it.

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I've thought about ZP100's driving local speakers for those areas, but it may be worth revisiting. That type of local source switching brings up another related question.

But first ...

I'm actually using more ZP100's in the closet rather than dealing with separate amps. But there are a number of areas where I'm going to be driving 3 or 4 pair of speakers for a single zone, so it makes sense to use ZP80's with a separate amp there.

And it's crazy, but the best pricing on building a Sonos system is to buy the BU130 bundles, so I've been trying to factor that into the plan and figure out how I can put ZP80's to use.

One of the planned decentralized ZP80 locations definitely needs to drive 4 pairs of speakers.

Another is space constrained, and I'm inclined to think I can hide a ZP80 a little more easily.

The other could go either way as it has 2 pairs of speakers and plenty of space. I was just figuring that for consistency I'd go the ZP80 route.

Wiring is going to be a mix of CAT5e and CAT6. We're getting pre-bundled dual-RG6/dual-CAT5e that's a good value, so we're using it. The rest is going to be CAT6.

All multimedia locations will end up wired with 2 RG6, 2 CAT5e and 2 CAT6.

Some will have extra CAT6 for the future possibility of some video distribution.

I plan to be fairly liberal with extra CAT6 outlets, as you never know what you might want to do in the future.

I've got about a month left to finalize the plans before we have to do the wiring.

One area where I could really use some advice...if anyone has some thoughts...

I would like to do some local source override in some rooms for the TV output to automatically route to the speakers. I was thinking about that Russound device, the R235LS. But it's just a 2 channel automatic switching amp. So you'd route the speaker connection from a ZP100 to this, and you'd route the stereo out from the TV to it. TV is off, the ZP100 is in control of the speakers. TV is on, the variable out of the TV is in charge of the speakers.

That's all well and good for a stereo setup. But what if I wanted to do something like this with surround sound. Let's keep it simple with a 5.1 system.

In music mode, I'd like the ZP100 to output to the 2 left and 2 right speakers, and maybe to the subwoofer.

When the TV is on, I want it to automatically take over all speakers.

Any thoughts?
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I'm in a similar situation, but I'm going with more zones than you, and a few more speakers when I factor in outside zones.

Russound looks decent to me. The guy that is doing my wiring has used them before, and he can get it at a good price.

I'm centrally wiring the speakers, like in your house. It was a difficult decision, but my wife hates my tendency to decorate the house with gadgets.

That said, the wireless coverage for the controllers is a concern.

In my current house, I have a 7 zone Sonos system. So I've been testing controller coverage to get an idea of how it's going to play out in the new house. I've generally been pleased with the range.

So my plan in the new house is to have most of the Sonos units in a central closet.

However, I'm running extra CAT5 to TV locations. And I'm planning to co-locate ZP80's near some TVs where I'll have cabinet space to hide them. I'll connect the ZP80's back to the amp in the central closet using stereo audio over CAT5 baluns. Based upon the coverage testing that I've done in my current house, 3 ZP80's in this configuration should give me enough coverage without requiring a ZoneBridge.

As for NAS ... I'm currently using 2TB Western Digital World Book Edition drive. I don't have any of the crap WD software installed on any of my computers ... I just use it as a network drive.

I work from a home office ... so I manage my library via iTunes (but avoid purchasing iTunes DRM tracks) ... and have a scheduled task that runs every night to copy over the latest library adds to the NAS.
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For NAS, I can suggest Infrant (now Netgear) ReadyNAS. It is a bit pricey compare to DAS (typical USB/Firewire/ethernet enclosed HD), but it is worth every penny in a longrun.

ReadyNAS comes in different formats but I suggest getting barebone ReadyNAS and adding your own HD. ReadyNAS NV+ is good for home/small office use and it will house 4 HDs (upto 4TB). It will run either RAID5 or X-RAID (Netgear Proprietary RAID5). It has good through out compare to Buffalo or other NAS platforms using gigabit connection.

However what makes it better long term solution than any other NAS is their GREAT support and ongoing development. They have one of the best forum support. You can even request features to be added directly to ReadyNAS engineer and get active support. Great knowledged ReadyNAS users on forum.

I have ReadyNAS X6 (one of first model that is now about 4 years old). It is still actively supported with updated firmwares (which added over the years with iTune server, bittorrent, photo server, and etc.) running Linux variant.

I would suggest getting USB-enclosure to backup your NAS (even Raid5 volume can be corrupted). ReadyNAS will do direct backup to USB enclosure.

I use it to run movies (DVD ripped in VTS format) on Mac OSX using frontrow or Vista mediaplayer, play musics (flac) on Sonos, and data backup over ethernet.

Any prepurchase technical questions can be posted at http://www.readynas.com/forum/
Don't know about the amp, for your CDs alone you would need 200 Gig when ripped to a lossless format (highly recommended), to leave some headroom I would purchase a 500 Gig NAS. Note that a lot of the itunes downloads are DRM-protected and won't play on Sonos (blame Apple for that).

With a 16-room house you might also need Zonebridges to extend the wireless coverage. Or some separate Zoneplayers around the house. If you keep them all in one spot, you miss out on the benefits of the "mesh" network.

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