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Author Topic: A thought on whole house audio  (Read 12490 times)

dbemowsk

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A thought on whole house audio
« on: February 06, 2010, 07:25:47 PM »

Now that I have a start on my BVC stuff I am trying to plan out my whole house audio setup.  I was running some thoughts through my head and wanted to be able to selectively pump audio to different rooms.  I wanted to have control of this through AHP though so for different macros I could select what room the audio was sent to.  As an example, Dave_x10_L's automated rcliner asks him if he wants the TV on when he sits in the chair.  You would only want that audio sent to the living room where the chair is. 

Here is the idea I came up with.


Each room would be controlled with a universal module through AHP giving the ability to selectively turn on or off each rooms speaker.  The volume controls for each room would need to be impedance matching volume controls so as not to mess with the 8 ohms needed at the amp output.  If you just switched the different speakers on, you would keep dividing the impedance seen at the amp, and with all of them on, your amp would probably blow.

I found some Phoenix Gold VMT100W volume controls for $21.00 a piece, but add that all up with the UMs for each room and that can add up when doing multiple rooms.  I am wondering if there is a cheaper solution.  Would I loose too much audio if I just switched the PC audio out to each room with the UMs and had a set of powered PC speakers in each room.  I'd imagine that would have similar impedance matching problems as with the speakers to the amp output, but maybe that wouldn't matter as much on the low power (signal) side of the audio.

Any input and corrections to this are appreciated.

Dan B.

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Dan Bemowski
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HA Dave

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Re: A thought on whole house audio
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2010, 11:18:49 PM »

Now that I have a start on my BVC stuff I am trying to plan out my whole house audio setup.  I was running some thoughts through my head and wanted to be able to selectively pump audio to different rooms.  I wanted to have control of this through AHP though so for different macros I could select what room the audio was sent to.  As an example, Dave_x10_L's automated rcliner asks him if he wants the TV on when he sits in the chair.  You would only want that audio sent to the living room where the chair is. 
Wow... I am impressed. I have to admit I know very little about audio. Knightrider has built himself a nice setup.. as he is an audio guy and like yourself understands these things better than myself. I am really more of an old wire-twister than anything else.

I had originally wired my upstairs speakers on an appliance module so I could disable them when I was downstairs (in the mancave). But the wife grew dependent on the [talking] clock and warnings from BVC and didn't want to be shutoff from the computer voice. So now... like an oldfashion grandfather clock... BVC [Kate] is heard everywhere. But I do use macros... to limit when Kate talks (she doesn't announce the time after bedtime).

I only have 3 sets of speakers.. upstairs, downstairs, and outside. Each set is wired off a amplified speaker (a $5 computer speaker) hardwired to another amped speaker set. The outside one remains on a module and is only turned on (via macro) when an outside announcement is made. I did buy these wireless thingys... which could be switched on and off via modules... but haven't used them .. yet.
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dave w

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Re: A thought on whole house audio
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2010, 03:07:18 PM »

Here is the idea I came up with.


I found some Phoenix Gold VMT100W volume controls for $21.00 a piece, but add that all up with the UMs for each room and that can add up when doing multiple rooms.  I am wondering if there is a cheaper solution.  Would I loose too much audio if I just switched the PC audio out to each room with the UMs and had a set of powered PC speakers in each room.  I'd imagine that would have similar impedance matching problems as with the speakers to the amp output, but maybe that wouldn't matter as much on the low power (signal) side of the audio.

Dan, both methods are sound and will work but offer different advantages.

Running high power audio through the house works pretty well when you use L-pads in each room to adjust the audio level so everything doesn't get louder when one room goes off line. Your L-pads are drawn wrong, the pad goes across each speaker line and presents an unchanging load to amp. Your Universal Module would have to go in each room after the L-pad so the amp will always see an unchanging load. The advantage is the high power audio is pretty immune to picking up interference (60Hz hum, etc). However the disadvantage is you need heavy gage wire because of the high wattage audio.

Running "preamp" level audio to computer speakers also works. It eliminates the need for heavy gage wires and L-Pads in each room. The Universal Modules can be collocated at the amp "line out" terminals.  The disadvantage is you should use high quality shielded cable for each run, or if they are fairly short, you might try twisted pair but you might have more hum, and of course the cost of powered speakers in each room.
FWIW
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 03:36:05 PM by dave w »
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Brandt

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Re: A thought on whole house audio
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2010, 03:23:33 PM »

Maybe something like the x10 controlled ab8ss or ess may be cheaper than all those universal modules?

http://www.hacs.com/
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dbemowsk

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Re: A thought on whole house audio
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 04:52:06 PM »

Dave W and pomprocker, some very good ideas and thoughts.  Pom, I looked at that AB8SS and it looks like a nice unit.  For x10, it needs a two way module to work which isn't a problem. Thanks to both of you.  Dave I have a pile of 50 ohm coax that they were going to to toss at work.  The wire is new and off a spool.  How do you think that would do to get the shielded signal to the rooms?

Dan
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dave w

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Re: A thought on whole house audio
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2010, 05:13:14 PM »

Dave W and pomprocker, some very good ideas and thoughts.  Pom, I looked at that AB8SS and it looks like a nice unit.  For x10, it needs a two way module to work which isn't a problem. Thanks to both of you.  Dave I have a pile of 50 ohm coax that they were going to to toss at work.  The wire is new and off a spool.  How do you think that would do to get the shielded signal to the rooms?

Dan
Yes, it should work well for the line level audio, especially if it is the good copper shield which it probably is, if 50 ohm. SCORE!!

I have seen cheap audio patch cable that looks like only a dozen strands of copper braid as a "shield". That is the stuff I meant to avoid. Also if you do find you have some hum, try tying the audio cable sheilds to ground at both amp and computer speaker end. Might make it worse, or might make it better.  Also try to avoid running your shielded cable next (parallel) to the AC line as much as possible (crossing over AC cable is OK).
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dbemowsk

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Re: A thought on whole house audio
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2010, 11:21:53 PM »

Also try to avoid running your shielded cable next (parallel) to the AC line as much as possible (crossing over AC cable is OK).

This much I am aware of, but thanks for the tip.

Dan
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Dan Bemowski
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aussie mate

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Re: A thought on whole house audio
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2010, 07:51:32 AM »


Quote
Dave W and pomprocker, some very good ideas and thoughts.  Pom, I looked at that AB8SS and it looks like a nice unit.
I investigated AB8SS about a year ago - while it looks like an idea solution - I couldn't get anyone to reply to my emails.


Quote
Dave I have a pile of 50 ohm coax that they were going to to toss at work.  The wire is new and off a spool.  How do you think that would do to get the shielded signal to the rooms?

Regarding the 50 ohm coax - I wouldn't use it. the impedance is wrong for both line level & speaker level signals of the amp.

If you want to run line level signal from the source to the amplifiers (PC speakers) - just use shielded 2 core wire.

Another option you may want to consider - is what I have done.
I am using a centralised multi zone amplifier.
I then use BVC listeners to turn the amp on & off. Select the different zones and control the volume.
This is all done by using the IR signals.
This means that I can run normal speaker wires to each speaker with out any hum or interference.

It also means I can control the whole system by voice using BVC via the ceiling microphones.



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