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We have ceiling speakers, what receiver do I get?

Old 11-09-18, 12:19 AM
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We have ceiling speakers, what receiver do I get?

Our new house has ceiling speakers set up in four zones: living room, kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor patio. All the wiring is in place, the only thing we need, I think, is the right receiver. But what receiver is that?

The wiring all goes to a backroom in the basement, so we need a receiver we can control with our phones for switching or adding zones or adjusting volume. There is a wall-mounted volume knob in the living room and one on the patio (in a flip-top cover case).

We haven't invested in an Alexa or similar unit but we're open to it. We use Samsung Galaxy S9 phones and are Amazon fans. The living room TV can also be hooked up to the sound and that's a Samsung, too.

The previous owner was an electrician by hobby and did great wiring in his time here. Downstairs is wired for our surround sound system (7.2 with an Onkyo TX-SR608, with 2-zone capacity), an HD antenna coaxial is there for the downstairs and upstairs TV, and as I say the upstairs TV can be put into the integrated sound.

What advice can you give, please? Anything to watch for on Black Friday? Can we do this without breaking the bank?
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Old 11-09-18, 02:27 AM
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Re: We have ceiling speakers, what receiver do I get?

I don't think such a receiver exists that can control 4 zones. What is the wiring that leads to the basement, RCA cables? This sounds like you need pre-amps/amps. You should contact the prev homeowner & ask what he used.
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Old 11-09-18, 08:56 AM
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Re: We have ceiling speakers, what receiver do I get?

Yeah, this isn't going to happen with just one receiver. Even the most expensive of receivers is generally only 2 zones, although you can get 3 zone ones, but they are generally 9/11 channel systems.

Basically, you are going to have 2 options here:

1) Multiple receivers. Basically hook up more than one to control the multiple zones. Might be a slight PITA, but you would at least have more control over them.

2) The other option, which would be the cheap route, but you give up a ton of control, is to buy a switch box. Basically all the speakers run into that, and then you switch to which zone you want. I would imagine there are electronic versions of this, but you can buy a manual one for pretty cheaply: https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_...seq=1&format=2

Here's a good article about multi-zones and what you might have to do: https://www.crutchfield.com/S-0SLYrN...oom_power.html
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Old 11-09-18, 09:56 AM
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Re: We have ceiling speakers, what receiver do I get?

Or if you can tell how the wiring is done, maybe verify you have 4 zones? I’ve never seen 4 zones like that before. Usually rooms like living room/kitchen/bathroom is one zone, while the patio is in the second. But like other have said, there aren’t any receivers that do any more than 2-3 zones.
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Old 11-12-18, 07:09 PM
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Re: We have ceiling speakers, what receiver do I get?

I don’t know how much your budget is or willing to spend, but a few Sonos Connect amps could be the solution.
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Old 11-12-18, 08:12 PM
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Re: We have ceiling speakers, what receiver do I get?

Monoprice sells a 6 zone, 6 input receiver, where you can mix and match zones to inputs. I've see it go on sale for as little as $450:

It primarily relies on having a hardware controller in each room, but it also has a serial port on it for control, and people have developed homebrew software to control it via a connected PC, over a web interface, through a home automation system, etc.

Aside from the Monoprice offering, what you're looking for is called a "multi-room", "multi-zone," or "whole house" receiver/audio system. There's a lot of options, but it's a deep rabbit hole.
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Old 11-21-18, 03:49 PM
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Re: We have ceiling speakers, what receiver do I get?

Thanks, everyone, I appreciate your responses. The former owner also responded to me via email and gave some insight.

Essentially, sounds like he used a second receiver plus an A/B channel controller like this:

Then he used this transmitter to adjust volume on the receiver:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GIZ4DHG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GIZ4DHG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Then he hooked up an Echo Dot to a RCA wall jack. So in line with what you're all saying.

If anyone wants his whole email and can make more sense of it, this is it:

For the audio power I just used a standard stereo receiver with A/B Channels which was installed in the basement. I had an old Sony that was 100watt per channel and kept is set at about half volume and the house could rock! (when the wife wasn't home at least).The upstairs living room has it's own audio run from the basement that goes directly to the volume control on the wall. I connected that to the A-channel. I believe that was a 4-wire cable that ran to that knob. The B-channel of the receiver I ran up to the hall closet where I had a speaker switch w/volume control from monoprice ($60).


I believe I ran a 4-wire cable to that as well. From the speaker switch I branched off to the kitchen, the bathroom, and the backyard patio. The kitchen and bath speakers are singular stereo speakers so each speaker will get a left and a right channel connected to it (4-wires). The kitchen, bath, and patio each got there own zone on the controller so they could be turned on/off independently as well as have their own volume control. One thing to note about the volume dial in the living room: it has an impedance selector inside of it that needs to be changed if you are only going to run the ceiling speakers without a sub. I connected the high-line inputs of the sub to the jack on the wall directly below the volume knob. The volume knob has settings inside that will balance the impedance so that the receiver sees the correct 8-ohm load. I am pretty sure I also got that from monoprice so you should be able to unscrew it and look up the model number to get the instructions on that (or just have some fun and hook up a sub!). I had a 225 watt 10" in there and it was plenty powerful enough so you can definitely get away with something less powerful. For the outside speakers there is also a volume control out there. I used the indoor switch to just turn those on/off and kept the volume on those turned all the way up inside, so that I would have full control outside.

As far as the Echo/Alexa goes, I had an Echo dot which I connected to the RCA jack installed in that room between the kitchen and the hallway. You will just need a 3.5mm headphone to RCA cable to do that. I synced my spotify account and would use that to play music. There is also another jack pair in the back bedroom and free cables above the fireplace for the TV audio.Those go down to the basement and need to be connected to inputs on the receiver. I got a little carried away with the ones behind the TV and ran RG6-Coax so they look a little different, but have the RCA jacks on the end so you can distinguish them from the cable/antenna wires. The other two I just used Cat5 wire. I doubled up the wires on the jacks (which you will see in the basement) for the best possible transmission quality. I don't think I labeled those input lines to the receiver very well so you may need to connect them and play with them. You could also just plug in a phone/mp3 player to one of those jacks for music. I would also use apps from the TV over the fireplace There is also another pair in the back bedroom and above the fireplace for the TV audio. We had the back bedroom setup as an office for a long time so I hooked the jacks in there up to my computer for music sometimes too. It's a pretty sweet setup for watching sports especially so you can walk away from the TV and still hear what's going on while you microwave some nachos without having to blast the TV.

For a long time I just ran down to the basement to turn it on. I eventually bought this:
which utilizes a remote IR transmitter that syncs to an app on your phone and that worked pretty well. You do have to program each button on the remote in the app so it's a little bit tedious to setup, but otherwise worked well. I set the transmitter on the furnace and plugged it into the outlet on their. A wifi capable receiver would be a good way to get around the need for extra hardware.

Yes, the TV fireplace can be patched into the the whole-house audio. There are audio cables behind the TV that connect to the RCA outputs of the TV, and they run to an input on the basement utility room receiver.
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