Question

Extending an existing Niles system

  • 9 January 2016
  • 2 replies
  • 3563 views

The previous owner of my house did a decent job, 15 years ago, creating a 10-zone speaker system throughout the house. All the ceiling-embedded speakers in each room are wired into a set of Niles SSVC-6 speaker selectors in a closet, and then these selectors are wired into a Sony receiver. The receiver has it's input set to an FM receiver and set to a local radio station most of the time, and local volume control for each zone is controlled by a wall-mounted volume nob. So, i can walk into any room of the house and turn a knob and hear that one radio station. Changing the input requires me to go into the closet, and of course, all rooms get the same input.

I'm looking to modernize and extend this system with Sonos components. I have a few goals:

* extend the system into two areas that don't have speakers
* add streaming sources such as Spotify
* be able to control the input source from my phone
* Try to clump my 10 existing zones into about 4 that should be able to have different audio sources at any one time.
* If possible, maintain local volume control with the pre-existing wall knobs.

To add two new areas to the system, clearly, i should just buy two Sonos speakers. Got that part.

If i wanted to just add a Sonos component as an input and keep all 10 areas in one zone, it seems like i should just buy one CONNECT unit, wire it into the receiver, switch the receiver to that as the main input, and i'm done.

However, to take my 10 speaker zones and clump them into four Sonos areas that could play different music, do i have to buy four separate CONNECT:AMP units? That is the conclusion i came to after flipping through the website for an hour, but wanted to confirm. I assume that i can't route them through the receiver anymore, and they each have to have their own new amp. the downside of this is the expense, and that i remove the existing simple radio receiver for local radio stations.

One of the ideas i have is to take one of the zones that i use the most, and just use the existing receiver on that one, and have a CONNECT wired into it. So, that one zone can use Sonos, but also can flip back to legacy inputs like radio and a CD player.

Lastly, these Niles speaker selectors are pretty old, but they do their job, not sure if i have to touch them or not. I would still use them for that one zone that i have that would use the pre-existing receiver. Thoughts on whether there is new tech that replaces them or not?

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2 replies

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I replaced an older 4 source 6 zone amp system with sonos a few years back in steps. Step one was to get a connect as a source. Your could do that and connect to your receiver as you state. It is highly likely there is an internet radio version of your favorite radio station to play through Sonos. Add play speakers for your two new zones. It sounds like you understand the limitations of this.

Step two for me, forced when my old amp started to fail, was to get a connect amp for every two zones. If your speakers are 8 ohm you can do this, of course they will play the same thing. You can use your existing volume controls to even out the sound in the two zones. I left all my vcs in, they are handy for emergency shut off and it is easier to leave them in. How many speaker selectors do you have? Are your speakers 8 ohm? You could get a separate connect amp for each speaker selector or some combo of speaker selector / connect amp if three or more zones per source and connect amp by itself for one or two (if 8 ohm) per source. I stayed at step two because I am happy with the way my zones are grouped.

Step three for ultimate flexibility would be one connect amp per zone. I have not done this.
I have set up a new home system with
- B&W in-wall speakers (a total of 12 speakers both CCM and CWM),
- Niles MRC6430 multiroom amp (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MNS9EWC/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)
- Sonos Connect (Not Connect AMP)
- Four units of OSD Audio SPW8 Whole House Audio 8-Zone Speaker Distribution Panels (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007U2GVXQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

I still used wall volume control knobs (non-transformer version) for each room for individual control ability
Both Niles and Sonos can provide iOS app interface to control.

With this I can select through the Niles Amp my zone sources (could be Sonos, could be internal media player of Niles). For each of the four zones that can be controlled from Niles, I have hooked the distribution panels for multi speaker input for that specific zone. If I desire to regroup the hardwired speaker-zone match, I simply unplug that speaker connection from one paneş to the other.

I may decide to buy another Sonos Connect (non-amp) to include a second individual input for different zone playlists.

I did prefer using Sonos One, 3 and 5 PLAY speakers for exteriors of my house.