Skip to main content

Planning a whole house or multi-room music system can be fun—but it’s also quite an elaborate process! It requires that many specific determinations be made in advance of buying equipment. Plus, you’ll need to make some complex decisions regarding your personal needs and what exactly you’re looking to get out of such an extensive system.

Enhanced Home Solutions, your preferred home security and home automation pros, is here to guide you through the process. Below, we scratch the surface of how complex things can get and detail a few necessary pre-installation considerations.

Determine the Number of Zones

The most basic multi-room system involves the use of the “B” channel on a stereo receiver to connect an additional set of speakers in another location. Typically, this same source will play in either location, creating the effect, for instance, of the same song being projected clearly in both spaces.

Another option if you need more zones is single-source playback in multiple rooms with the use of a speaker selector. It can can connect 2, 4, 6, 8 or more pairs of speakers to a single amplifier output. Again, the same source would be sent to any or all locations selected via the speaker selector.

So, is more zones always better? If you need a system that can cater to multiple people in the house at once, then yes. Those who desire a simpler setup, though, or only need the setup for a single given space, might not make full use of them.

Single or Multiple Systems?

If you are content with having a single source of your choice distributed to multiple areas, then the configuration outlined above will accomplish that. If, on the other hand, you prefer different sources to be available in different zones, such as CD audio in the living room and a streaming iPhone music in the bedroom, then you will need a multi-source, multi-zone receiver.

Many AV receivers feature either powered or line-level outputs for additional zones, some providing up to 4 in total. Powered zones can be connected directly to loudspeakers in other rooms, and line level outputs must be connected to external power amplifiers, which can in turn power additional locations. It’s a complicated setup, so it’s all the more important to hire a home automation company with experience in multi-room audio to help.

If a large number of zones is required on top of a large number of systems, then specific equipment that supports the desired level of distribution will be needed. Certain scenarios use separate controllers and multi-channel amplifiers to achieve the coverage needed. One example is, for instance, a 6-source controller that is connected to a 12-zone power amplifier.

Wired or Wireless?

Sometimes this question can be answered by the nature of the installation parameters. New construction is open to virtually any type of system, whereas a finished home may not allow for in-wall wiring to some or all locations. Wireless systems are a great solution if wires cannot be run, and their performance and functionality is rapidly closing the gap that once existed between wired and wireless systems.

Does Interconnectivity Check Out?

As we covered in our home automation installer blog, interconnectivity is the ability of various devices to “talk” to one another and create a seamless and singular operating system. As this article from Forbes covers, too, it’s a concept that is applicable to tech that’s far outside the realm of the internet-based smart home. In terms of a multi-room audio system, multi-source, multi-room receivers in particular bring this issue into question, as every source must be able to talk to the given receiver if the system is to provide the audio experience it was designed for.

Interconnectivity can be affected by a variety of things—brand and age of the equipment being two of the most common. It’s crucial that you ensure devices are compatible before making your purchase, which can be a lot tricker in practice than it sounds, especially if you’re set on a mix-and-match approach. Luckily, you can usually avoid these issues altogether with the help of a qualified whole-house audio installer who is up-to-date on the latest tech—and its corresponding interconnectivity issues.

How Will the Physical Space Affect Audio Quality?

When it comes to multi-room audio installations, tech is only half of the equation. That’s probably quite shocking to hear from a whole-house audio installation pro! But we know that in order to do our jobs well—to design personalized audio systems—we have to consider room acoustics, furniture placement, and more. It’s all stuff that the audio will necessarily interact with, and that therefore needs to be considered.

To avoid trial-and-error in this respect, we highly recommend working with a multi-room audio systems pro who can give you the specifics on how your space is likely to respond to new potential speakers.

Revience: One Multi-Room Audio Installer, Countless Possibilities

Revience can ask and answer all of the questions that will help you make a wise purchase for your whole-house audio. When you’re ready to take the plunge into your next project, give our Edina office a call today at 952-941-5289.