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Multi Zone Audio With Control

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After some help please. I work in AV, but in the corporate area, so not really across the domestic offerings.

I'm designing a system that will cost <10K in hardware.

It will consist of

40" display (budgeting 1k) with tuner

aux / laptop input (cable only)

radio (assume built into main receiver / amp)

DVD / CD / Bluray player (around $500)


The audio sources will be played back on:

1: The TV soundbar / flanking speakers

2: The audio zone in the same area as the TV (so either / or)

3: Bedroom 1

4: Bedroom 2

5: Kitchen / Bathroom

So, I have 5 zones to look after and need to keep it SUPER SIMPLE for operation.

Ideally, I'll be running the system from a Logitech controller or Ipad (likely the Logitech backend).

So, the main issue is finding a Infrared controllable multichannel audio receiver amp or combination that will do the job.

I'm not focusing on speakers or input devices for the time, just how I can make an easily controllable 5 channel audio system with remote control for control of atleast 2 zones and remote switching for the others. If I end up with a rotary knob control of the other zones, it won't be too bad, but not ideal.

so, whats out there? I don't need control from each room, but it would be nice to have the ability to add something like that later.

the priorities are the simplicity of operation for the whole system, keeping it on budget and lastly the audio quality.


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Sonos will work a treat and its VERY simple to use and install. You control it by IPad / IPhone / PC / Sonos Controller or a Android phone.

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Buy one of these - $129

Buy three of these - $360 total

Buy three of these - $60 total

or three of these - @ $120 total

or three of these - prices not announced yet- nor is the release date

Buy some of these -

Buy some of this -

Buy three pairs of these - $270 total

or three pairs of these - $180 total

1. Connect the Apple TV2 to your receiver - Turn on the AppleTV2. Turn on Airplay ( and turn on sharing on your iTunes) - you now have full streaming of all your iTunes audio and video to your TV and receiver and speakers in the living room

2. Install the in ceiling speakers in your 2 bedrooms and kitchen.

3. While you're there, run speaker cable to the speakers.

4. Connect speaker cables to one of the Class T amps you've placed in the room, using Banana Plugs. ( you dont need to - but they make life easier)

5. Plug in an Airport Express in each room, and connnect it to the Class T amp in the room.

You now have multizone music via Airplay, to your main room, your 2 bedrooms and your kitchen. All for less than $800

Sonos is awesome - and I mean awesome, but doing the system Ive described above with Sonos will be 2K or more, even if you import it all from the US. You would need 3 x Sonos Connect Amps at $500 each from the US, plus 1 x Sonos Connect for your receiver, at $375 from the US, plus 1 x Sonos Wifi Bridge $79. Plus speakers. Besides, Airplay is excellent too, is pretty simple to use and does all the same things Sonos does. But it can be done far cheaper- like Ive outlined above. Its changed the game.

Of course, you could completely bypass the need for speakers and amps and wiring and buy a bunch of Sonos Play 3's or Play 5's instead. These are self contained, portable units with built in amps and speakers, so you'll save the hassle of installing 3 sets of ceiling speakers and wont need to buy amps at all, but Play 3's cost $420 each locally, and $340 shipped from the US. Play 5's cost $599 locally and $440 shipped from the US. You'd need four of them- so you'd be looking at $1360 minimum.

The system Ive suggested above can be done for less than $800 if you buy the least expensive Class T amp and the Speakercraft in ceiling speakers. The same in ceiling speakers would cost you several hundred per pair, here, and the Class T amps, while cheap, are very good for running small speakers like in ceiling speakers. Check some reviews yourself- you'll find that these tiny little toy like amps are in fact, highly highly recommended by all the serious home theatre and audiophile reviewers as perfect for running multi zone systems.

Edited by euro73

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Yet another thumbs up for Sonos - it's simply miles ahead of the alternatives. Running an 8-zone system now without any issues!

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