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Speaker Placement - New Home


Building a new home, I have begun to run speaker wire throughout the main floor. I have bought three Sonos Amps, four Polk V80s, two Polk V85s (living room, kitchen/dining), and six Polk RC80is (patio, bath, bedroom). 12 speakers total, 4 speakers per amp/zone and one Play1... The blue circles below represent where I plan to install speakers (10 speakers out of 12). My question is where to place the last two speakers. I have four red circles as possibilities, a pair for the laundry/mud to tie into the master bedroom/bath zone. Or add another pair to the kitchen/dining zone (living room is it's own zone). The covered deck will tie into the remaining zone I don't choose.

My main concern is not having enough speakers in the kitchen/dining area with just the two in-ceilings. I could throw the Play1 on the kitchen counter to add to it if needed. We will spend a lot of time in the dining/kitchen and obviously not so much in the mud/laundry, so I am leaning adding the two extra speakers there. Is four speakers in that area too much? Is two speakers not enough?

Any help would be appreciated. I plan to run speaker wire to all rooms for future speakers.

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Best answer by AjTrek1 14 August 2019, 22:43

Hi lazyrooster

Congratulations on the new home!

I’m going to be perfectly honest and say that if installing your speakers is a DiY project you'd probably be better served by engaging a professional installer. Be that as it may...IMHO you have the following zones that could be powered by the three (3) Sonos Amps and speakers you currently own:
  1. Master Bedroom x 2 speakers with Sonos Amp/Bath x Play 1
  2. Dining Room/Kitchen x 4 speakers with Sonos Amp
  3. Covered Deck x 2 speakers with Sonos Amp
The Great Room I assume you want to use two speakers as surround over the seating area and two speakers up front (in –wall) as mains in a HT setup. That would require two (2) additional Sonos amps🤤.

The alternate arrangement solution would be to use the in-wall speakers up front and two Sonos speakers on stands (Play 1 x 2 or Sonos One x 2 or Play 5 x 2) as surrounds. That would only require the purchase of one (1) additional Sonos Amp. You would return two of the 12 speakers.

My ultimate advice as I mentioned at the beginning is to engage a professional installer. There’s a possibility you might be able to purchase a low-end AVR and utilize a Sonos Connect in conjunction with Sonos speakers to achieve whole-house selectable sound.

Did you consider Sonos Architectural Speakers 🤔which integrate quite well with the Sonos Amp and provide other unique features...see them here.

Hopefully, someone else may chime in with a different perspective. Best wishes to get everything sorted out.

Cheers!
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Hi lazyrooster

Congratulations on the new home!

I’m going to be perfectly honest and say that if installing your speakers is a DiY project you'd probably be better served by engaging a professional installer. Be that as it may...IMHO you have the following zones that could be powered by the three (3) Sonos Amps and speakers you currently own:
  1. Master Bedroom x 2 speakers with Sonos Amp/Bath x Play 1
  2. Dining Room/Kitchen x 4 speakers with Sonos Amp
  3. Covered Deck x 2 speakers with Sonos Amp
The Great Room I assume you want to use two speakers as surround over the seating area and two speakers up front (in –wall) as mains in a HT setup. That would require two (2) additional Sonos amps🤤.

The alternate arrangement solution would be to use the in-wall speakers up front and two Sonos speakers on stands (Play 1 x 2 or Sonos One x 2 or Play 5 x 2) as surrounds. That would only require the purchase of one (1) additional Sonos Amp. You would return two of the 12 speakers.

My ultimate advice as I mentioned at the beginning is to engage a professional installer. There’s a possibility you might be able to purchase a low-end AVR and utilize a Sonos Connect in conjunction with Sonos speakers to achieve whole-house selectable sound.

Did you consider Sonos Architectural Speakers 🤔which integrate quite well with the Sonos Amp and provide other unique features...see them here.

Hopefully, someone else may chime in with a different perspective. Best wishes to get everything sorted out.

Cheers!
Hi lazyrooster

Congratulations on the new home!

I’m going to be perfectly honest and say that if installing your speakers is a DiY project you'd probably be better served by engaging a professional installer. Be that as it may...IMHO you have the following zones that could be powered by the three (3) Sonos Amps and speakers you currently own:
  1. Master Bedroom x 2 speakers with Sonos Amp/Bath x Play 1
  2. Dining Room/Kitchen x 4 speakers with Sonos Amp
  3. Covered Deck x 2 speakers with Sonos Amp
The Great Room I assume you want to use two speakers as surround over the seating area and two speakers up front (in –wall) as mains in a HT setup. That would require two (2) additional Sonos amps🤤.

The alternate arrangement solution would be to use the in-wall speakers up front and two Sonos speakers on stands (Play 1 x 2 or Sonos One x 2 or Play 5 x 2) as surrounds. That would only require the purchase of one (1) additional Sonos Amp. You would return two of the 12 speakers.

My ultimate advice as I mentioned at the beginning is to engage a professional installer. There’s a possibility you might be able to purchase a low-end AVR and utilize a Sonos Connect in conjunction with Sonos speakers to achieve whole-house selectable sound.

Did you consider Sonos Architectural Speakers 🤔which integrate quite well with the Sonos Amp and provide other unique features...see them here.

Hopefully, someone else may chime in with a different perspective. Best wishes to get everything sorted out.

Cheers!

Thank you, appreciate the response. I do have one question though. If I install two in wall speakers and two in ceiling speakers (along with a sub) in the great room, why would that require two Sonos amps? Or was I unclear in my original OP...

Four speakers in the great room, one Sonos amp.
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Thank you, appreciate the response. I do have one question though. If I install two in wall speakers and two in ceiling speakers (along with a sub) in the great room, why would that require two Sonos amps? Or was I unclear in my original OP...

Four speakers in the great room, one Sonos amp.



My assumption was that you intended to use the two speakers up front as main speakers for in a HT setup and the two speaker in the center over the seating area as surrounds.

One Sonos Amp will control the front speakers and the Sub. However, using 3rd party speakers for surrounds requires a second Sonos Amp. The only way to use one Sonos Amp is as I said above...

"The alternate arrangement solution would be to use the in-wall speakers up front and two Sonos speakers on stands (Play 1 x 2 or Sonos One x 2 or Play 5 x 2) as surrounds. That would only require the purchase of one (1) additional Sonos Amp (Edit: to power the upfront speakers and integrate a sub). You would return two of the 12 speakers."

If you only intend to use the four speakers (and a sub) for music; then only one Sonos Amp is required.

I hope this explains things. If not let me know. Cheers!
My assumption was that you intended to use the two speakers up front as main speakers for in a HT setup and the two speaker in the center over the seating area as surrounds.

One Sonos Amp will control the front speakers and the Sub. However, using 3rd party speakers for surrounds requires a second Sonos Amp. The only way to use one Sonos Amp is as I said above...

"The alternate arrangement solution would be to use the in-wall speakers up front and two Sonos speakers on stands (Play 1 x 2 or Sonos One x 2 or Play 5 x 2) as surrounds. That would only require the purchase of one (1) additional Sonos Amp (Edit: to power the upfront speakers and integrate a sub). You would return two of the 12 speakers."

If you only intend to use the four speakers (and a sub) for music; then only one Sonos Amp is required.

I hope this explains things. If not let me know. Cheers!

I guess my only intentions for now were to play music/TV audio, not necessarily a home theater setup. Should be good there correct?

The basement will be setup for home theater hopefully in the near future. While we're on the subject, what would be your ideal setup for home theater? Keep in mind walls & ceiling are open at the moment. Would you recommend the wireless setup (playbar, sub, play1s) or a wired setup (in wall and ceiling, sub)?
Make sure that you can individually adjust the output of each pair of speakers either with dedicated players or in-wall Volume controls.

How do you propose to handle L/R assignment in the bedroom area with one speaker per room?
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Hi lazyrooster

No offense intended but I assume you came to this forum looking for an honest opinion. Therefore, I’m going to be brutally honest in my reply. If I’m off base or there are other alternatives I’m sure someone will chime in.

Based upon your objective the diagram shows each possible zone (red rectangle) using 3rd party speakers with a Sonos Amp (4). The only zone not requiring a Sonos Amp is the Bath using the Play 1.

The Great Room zone can be used for music and TV Audio assuming there’s a TV directly in front of the seating area. Understand that TV audio would be heard overhead and in front. IMO that’s not an ideal listening setup for TV audio. To have better control you should employ a speaker selector switch that would allow you to silence the overhead speakers when watching TV.

Dining Room and Kitchen. Although one Zone I’d place those speakers on a speaker selector switch with volume controls to control the each area by two horizontally. In that way you could soften the listening when dining without bleed over from the kitchen area.

Unfortunately, there is no way to achieve what you want without purchasing a 4th Sonos Amp for the Great Room. Even ditching the Sonos Amp and 3rd party speakers would require purchasing at minimum a Beam and Play 1's to be used as surrounds but still allow you to play music and group with other zones. FYI, the TV audio experience might sound better as you would gain a dedicated center channel for dialog using the Beam.

Quite frankly IMO you should have consulted a professional and discussed your plans before investing in speakers and Sonos Amps. You could have also come to this forum and asked for suggestions prior to making your purchases. Good ideas (or what we desire) are not always easy or practical to implement.

Regarding the basement for HT. Using in-wall speakers negates a true center channel in favor of a phantom center. The best HT listening experience IMO requires a dedicated center channel which is achieved via the Playbar or Playbase. I hesitate to mention the Beam even though it has advanced technology due to it's size; as it's meant for smaller areas. You might even forego Sonos in favor of separates across the front or a system that will handle Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, DTS and/or Dolby Plus. Sonos is not the answer for everyone.

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I agree with what others are saying. Here's what I'd do.

for the great room, I assume you plan on mounting a TV over the fireplace, correct? If so it makes more sense to mount a playbar as well then put speakers in the walls. In the surround sound location, I would either get plugs in the floor to add play:1s or sonos ones if at a possible. You'll likely want to use lamps there or something anyway, so it's a good idea all around. If not possible, then wire the ceiling for surround sound. You don't need to get speakers now, but get the wiring done while you can.

For the kitchen and dining room, it makes sense for it to be one zone, 4 speakers. I like @AjTrek1 placement. Because there isn't any specific listening area, mono mode would make sense. I don't think you'd need to get separate volume controls in this case, but it doesn't hurt.

Play:1 in the bathroom is a good idea. Maybe 2. Get an electrician to wire electrical outlets above the mirror, so that you can mount them out of the way. If you just don't like this for some reason, then I'd get a single stereo input speaker and maybe use the same amp as the deck. You will want volume controls though and it will probably be a little annoying.

For the bedroom, are you going to have a TV in there? If so, use a Beam. Add play:1s on the nightstand for surround. If you really want ceiling speakers, then sure go with 2 in stereo, but it won't sound as good and will sound off with a TV.

The deck is fine. Do you think you'll ever put a TV out there? If so wire a couple HDMI cables to where ever you're going to place amps (basement?) One as a source for the TV and one for HDMI-ARC back to an amp.

So in total:
1 playbar

1 Amp + 4 ceiling speakers

2 play:1s

1 beam

1 amp plus 2 outdorr/ceiling speakers

Assuming you can still return all the extra ceiling speakers and extra amp. I get the appeal of using ceiling, particularly when you don't have walls, but I just don't thinkit's the best option today when powered speakers are available.
I agree with what others are saying. Here's what I'd do.

for the great room, I assume you plan on mounting a TV over the fireplace, correct? If so it makes more sense to mount a playbar as well then put speakers in the walls. In the surround sound location, I would either get plugs in the floor to add play:1s or sonos ones if at a possible. You'll likely want to use lamps there or something anyway, so it's a good idea all around. If not possible, then wire the ceiling for surround sound. You don't need to get speakers now, but get the wiring done while you can.

For the kitchen and dining room, it makes sense for it to be one zone, 4 speakers. I like @AjTrek1 placement. Because there isn't any specific listening area, mono mode would make sense. I don't think you'd need to get separate volume controls in this case, but it doesn't hurt.

Play:1 in the bathroom is a good idea. Maybe 2. Get an electrician to wire electrical outlets above the mirror, so that you can mount them out of the way. If you just don't like this for some reason, then I'd get a single stereo input speaker and maybe use the same amp as the deck. You will want volume controls though and it will probably be a little annoying.

For the bedroom, are you going to have a TV in there? If so, use a Beam. Add play:1s on the nightstand for surround. If you really want ceiling speakers, then sure go with 2 in stereo, but it won't sound as good and will sound off with a TV.

The deck is fine. Do you think you'll ever put a TV out there? If so wire a couple HDMI cables to where ever you're going to place amps (basement?) One as a source for the TV and one for HDMI-ARC back to an amp.

So in total:
1 playbar

1 Amp + 4 ceiling speakers

2 play:1s

1 beam

1 amp plus 2 outdorr/ceiling speakers

Assuming you can still return all the extra ceiling speakers and extra amp. I get the appeal of using ceiling, particularly when you don't have walls, but I just don't thinkit's the best option today when powered speakers are available.

Appreciate the response. Yes I plan to mount a TV above the fireplace. Are you saying get a playbar + in-walls or the just the playbar? As far as play1s behind the couch, the wife isn't a big fan of putting up stands for those, but I can maybe talk her into it. I'd rather put in-ceilings in if possible. I didn't realize the current setup (two in-walls and two in-ceilings) would sound bad. If I did just go with a playbar (and maybe in-walls) for now I think it would be fine for the great room area, and have it wired for the future.

Bedroom yes I plan to have a TV in there, but getting a beam and play1s isn't an interest at this time, we only use the TV for 20-30 mins at the end of the night, no need for HT there. And honestly I probably don't need in ceiling speakers there, a play1 would do fine. I mainly just wanted a speaker in there for music.

For the deck yes I also plan to put a TV out there sometime. I have Cat6 running out there now for HDMI down the road.

As for returning speakers, I bought the Polk RC80is off Amazon, returning isn't an option. The other Polk speakers I bought through a work vendor, I'll have to check on returning those if needed.

I didn't consult a "professional" but I have a co-worker who is an audio fanatic and went over a lot of this with him. Maybe wasn't my wisest choice, we probably were not on the same page.

Thank you for the input.
Hi lazyrooster

No offense intended but I assume you came to this forum looking for an honest opinion. Therefore, I’m going to be brutally honest in my reply. If I’m off base or there are other alternatives I’m sure someone will chime in.

Based upon your objective the diagram shows each possible zone (red rectangle) using 3rd party speakers with a Sonos Amp (4). The only zone not requiring a Sonos Amp is the Bath using the Play 1.

The Great Room zone can be used for music and TV Audio assuming there’s a TV directly in front of the seating area. Understand that TV audio would be heard overhead and in front. IMO that’s not an ideal listening setup for TV audio. To have better control you should employ a speaker selector switch that would allow you to silence the overhead speakers when watching TV.

Dining Room and Kitchen. Although one Zone I’d place those speakers on a speaker selector switch with volume controls to control the each area by two horizontally. In that way you could soften the listening when dining without bleed over from the kitchen area.

Unfortunately, there is no way to achieve what you want without purchasing a 4th Sonos Amp for the Great Room. Even ditching the Sonos Amp and 3rd party speakers would require purchasing at minimum a Beam and Play 1's to be used as surrounds but still allow you to play music and group with other zones. FYI, the TV audio experience might sound better as you would gain a dedicated center channel for dialog using the Beam.

Quite frankly IMO you should have consulted a professional and discussed your plans before investing in speakers and Sonos Amps. You could have also come to this forum and asked for suggestions prior to making your purchases. Good ideas (or what we desire) are not always easy or practical to implement.

Regarding the basement for HT. Using in-wall speakers negates a true center channel in favor of a phantom center. The best HT listening experience IMO requires a dedicated center channel which is achieved via the Playbar or Playbase. I hesitate to mention the Beam even though it has advanced technology due to it's size; as it's meant for smaller areas. You might even forego Sonos in favor of separates across the front or a system that will handle Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, DTS and/or Dolby Plus. Sonos is not the answer for everyone.


No offense taken, I thought I had a good idea of how to do this without professional help, obviously wrong. I did not realize the great room setup of two in-walls and two in-ceilings would sound bad. I will likely try to return some speakers and purchase a playbar or beam for the great room.

Thanks for the input.
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Appreciate the response. Yes I plan to mount a TV above the fireplace. Are you saying get a playbar + in-walls or the just the playbar?


No, I'd one or the other, not both.

As far as play1s behind the couch, the wife isn't a big fan of putting up stands for those, but I can maybe talk her into it. I'd rather put in-ceilings in if possible. I didn't realize the current setup (two in-walls and two in-ceilings) would sound bad. If I did just go with a playbar (and maybe in-walls) for now I think it would be fine for the great room area, and have it wired for the future.

I won't say that your setup would be bad, just not ideal. And honestly, using inwalls vs playbar is really a matter of opinion and budget. You could just go with 2 in walls and it will sound as good if not better than the playbar. I just wouldn't use a single amp to do the in walls and ceiling speakers where surrounds would normally go. Go ahead and wire in the surround location in case you ever want to that.

Full disclosure, I have my TV over the fireplace with a playbar. I've done in walls before, and didn't care for the aesthetics of it. A playbar felt like it used the space better.

Bedroom yes I plan to have a TV in there, but getting a beam and play1s isn't an interest at this time, we only use the TV for 20-30 mins at the end of the night, no need for HT there. And honestly I probably don't need in ceiling speakers there, a play1 would do fine. I mainly just wanted a speaker in there for music.

You use your bedroom TV more than I do, and I absolutely love my beam in there. Again, a lot of it's aesthetics. In general ceiling speakers aren't going to sound as good as speakers placed at ear level. They are a great when all you want is background, there's no true target area in the room, or you just don't have the physical space to put speakers.

For the deck yes I also plan to put a TV out there sometime. I have Cat6 running out there now for HDMI down the road.

I'd highly recommend wiring HDMI from the TV location back to the amp that will power the speakers out there.

As for returning speakers, I bought the Polk RC80is off Amazon, returning isn't an option. The other Polk speakers I bought through a work vendor, I'll have to check on returning those if needed.

I didn't consult a "professional" but I have a co-worker who is an audio fanatic and went over a lot of this with him. Maybe wasn't my wisest choice, we probably were not on the same page.

Thank you for the input.


It's always a good idea to get multiple opinions. Not going to knock your friends advice. Even with a pro, it's a good idea to get multiple opinions, part of the reason these forums exist. And it's not like you'd hate your setup if you went as is, it's just that we think you might enjoy it more if you did it a little differently.
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@lazyrooster

@melvimbe made some good suggestions. My objective was to work within the parameters you'd set and help you make the best of the equipment you'd purchased. As it turns out some of the gear (speakers) are not returnable to Amazon for refund.

Question: Is the return policy a strict no or just not for a refund...meaning you'd have to take a credit to use later on a future purchase?

There's nothing wrong with using in-ceiling speakers in every room including the Bedroom. The idea of in-ceiling speakers is that the user is typically more focused on having background music versus a stereo sound stage for traditional 2-channel listening as would be achieved using Sonos or 3rd party tower or bookshelf speakers.

In wall speakers for TV will work. However, the true center channel is replaced with a phantom effect. Some like it and some don't. The same is true if using a Sonos amp to power 3rd party speakers for TV up front or the in-wall speakers sold through Sonos. The additional downside for in-wall is that once you've cut the opening it's a PITA to rectify one's mistake; if the sound is less than pleasing.

With deference to my friend melvimbe ☺ I still prefer the in-ceilings that may be used in the kitchen and dining area to be placed on switches x 2 horizontally. Thus allowing you to separate and quiet one area versus the other if/when desired. JMO.

As far as your friends advice is concerned it wasn't wrong...it's just that s/he didn't appear to be well versed with Sonos. Assuming you mentioned using Sonos as part of your plan.

Please keep us informed as things progress. Cheers!
Question: Is the return policy a strict no or just not for a refund...meaning you'd have to take a credit to use later on a future purchase?
A strict no, cannot return apparently.

@melvimbe Im guessing either of you could answer this. If I were to go with a playbar in the great room, I have a Polk HTS 12 subwoofer, I would need the Sonos amp to connect that correct? The playbar doesn't have that capability?

If that is the case, I may have to just go with in-walls and an amp instead of the playbar since I already have all that.

Thanks again.
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Question: Is the return policy a strict no or just not for a refund...meaning you'd have to take a credit to use later on a future purchase?A strict no, cannot return apparently.

@melvimbe Im guessing either of you could answer this. If I were to go with a playbar in the great room, I have a Polk HTS 12 subwoofer, I would need the Sonos amp to connect that correct? The playbar doesn't have that capability?


Without getting into too much details,you can't use a non-sonos sub in the same Sonos room/zone as the playbar. And that brings other problems. You are correctly that the best way to use that sub with TV audio is using the Sonos amp.
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Stop! Don’t pass go! 😊

Yes you could use a Playbar in the great room. However using a Sonos Amp to power just a subwoofer would be money wasted. Besides it’s not possible since the Playbar and Sonos Amp are not designed to work together.

Your best alternative is to use the Sonos Amp with the in-walls and connect the Polk sub. Then hope/pray your wife will allow you to install floor outlets for surrounds on stands by the seating area. 😀 With that setup you would not need the in-ceiling speakers.

To use the inceilng speakers with the Sonos Amp, in-wall speakers and Polk sub you’d have go back to previous post with the diagram.

Let us know what you decide.
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@melvimbe and I are on the same page for the most part. You have to decide how you want to achieve what we are suggesting.

My my approach allows you to utilize the gear you have already purchased with addition of a Sonos Amp.

melvimve’s approach requires modifying your goal with the addition of Sonos gear and returning/moth balling some of what you have already purchased

Both sound ideas. The question remains how you want to proceed.🤔

Cheers!
@AjTrek1 @melvimbe

I was able to speak with our work vendor and I am able to send back the in-wall & ceiling speakers, Sonos amp and sub woofer..... So I could simply go with a playbar in the great room, and potentially/likely add some Play1s down the road (and maybe even the Sonos sub).

I appreciate all of your help. You guys have been awesome. I now know where to go for questions in the future, I was a bit misguided before 😀
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Glad you made a decision you can live with. 😁

Cheers!

For the deck yes I also plan to put a TV out there sometime. I have Cat6 running out there now for HDMI down the road.


I recommend also running some fiber to that location. Actually, you should run fiber to all of the TV locations.

Be very mindful of your HDMI cables. The standards change often and backward compatibility is not always guaranteed. With the newest TV standards, copper wire is running out of bandwidth. Make sure that any HDMI cables are rated for the bandwidth and length required for your current application and allow some flexibility for future developments.

HDMI 2.1 is the emerging standard. I don't know your construction schedule, but wait as long as possible before burying your HDMI cables and purchase the best cables that you can find at that time. Also, consider the implications of a cable failure because HDMI cables cannot be repaired.

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With respect to surround speakers in the Great Room, I'm not a fan of surround speakers placed too close to the listening area. Surrounds on stands next to the couch would not work well unless the listener is exactly centered between the speakers. A person sitting at one end of the couch will hear the nearby speaker, and not much from the other speaker.

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With respect to ceiling speaker placement in the Kitchen and Dining areas, the L/R speakers should be placed symmetrically with respect to the most occupied areas. Depending on ceiling height, if the listener is directly under a speaker, it will be a significant "hot spot" and dominate while the other channel will tend to disappear. The best placement for listening might not look as symmetric as a designer would like when viewing the plans.

As a giggle, consider the air conditioning contractor. He will specify that the thermostat be placed "here" and no one argues because everyone has learned over the years that thermostats must be placed "here" or the system does not work well. This is not the tradition with speaker placement and their placement becomes a pawn in a fight for "control" by the human parties involved. I've seen speakers thrown under the couch because someone did not want to be able to see speakers. (never mind that there were lots of "art" artifacts cluttering the room.)

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Make sure that you can adjust speaker levels individually for each pair of speakers without walking back to a central location. This little walk will become extremely annoying after the first hour of system operation. For new construction central speaker switch boxes don't offer any significant cost advantages vs individual wall mounted controls.

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