Overwhelmed...please help

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  • Gables
    Junior Member
    • Nov 2003
    • 1

    Overwhelmed...please help

    I need some serious help selecting a multi-room amplifier(s). I've spent the past 30 days researching the entire whole-house audio industry. I've visited countless websites and posted on several discussion boards seeking expert advice. I've talked to technical experts at Niles, Rotel and Triad. I've visited local hi-fi merchants and listened to several different speaker/amplifier combos. Heck, when I mistakingly though I knew what I wanted, I visited ebay and unsuccessfully bid (thankfully) on a certain multi-channel amplifier. Just when you think you've learned everything you need to know, you realize that you don't know anything at all.

    Whew...I had to get that off my chest. With that said, I really need your assistance and hi-fi advice. Here's my goal. I want to utilize (if possible) my existing stereo components and install a whole-house audio system consisting of 5 different zones. My existing system is as follows:

    1. Rotel Pre-Amp/Tuner - Model RB980BX
    2. Rotel Amplifier - Model 940AX (120w x 2)
    3. Rotel CD Player (very average)
    4. PSB Floor standing speakers.

    My existing system currently services my family room/kitchen and will continue to do so under my plan. The goal is to add components to this system to enable me to provide music to the following additional rooms:

    1. Dining Room (20' x 14 ' room with 16' ceiling; 2 speakers - Triad Gold Omni in-walls)
    2. Office (14' x 13' room; 2 speakers - Paradigm AMS 150 in-ceiling)
    3. Living Room (19' x 14' room w/ 15' ceiling; 2 speakers - Triad Gold Omni in-walls mounted on the ceiling)
    4. Pool/Patio Area ( 2 speakers - TBD either Paradigm Stylus series or Niles OS-20 mounted on wall no eave)
    5. Back Yard Entertaining Area - (2 speakers - TBD, mounted on wall under an eave).

    That's 10 new speakers and five new zones. The next characteristic of my proposed multi-zone system is the multi-source vs. single-source option. Generally speaking, I really don't have a strong need for a multi-source amplifier b/c the first 3 rooms/zones (i.e., DR/Office/LR) are probably all going to be listening to the same music since they are adjacent to each other. Ideally, I can see where one source of music could be playing in the DR/Office/LR areas and a different source could be playing outside in the final two exterior zones. This would be a nice feature, but not absolutely critical. On the other hand, if the cost for a good multi-channel, multi-source amp is about the same as a good multi-channel single-source amp, then I would be foolish not to purchase the multi-source amp. In either case, I just want to make the system simple enough that my family will use it.

    I definitely want the ability to control the volume in each room/zone. I'm considering purchasing either an Elan or Niles volume controlling device. I will run CAT-5 with the speaker wire from the hub to the volume control devices. If I'm persuaded to purchase a multi-source amp, then I'll definitely need the ability to change the source from each room. If I go with a single-source amp, then the ability to change sources from each room becomes a luxury feature, but not a critical one.

    Optimally, I need an amp that I can in corporate into my existing setup and that is more than adequate to power my multi-room system. Many multi-channel amps deliver 30 watts or so per channel. I'm trying to purchase an amp with a little more punch although Triad and Paradigm's techies say 30 watts is fine. Any recommendations?

    If you guys don't think this is possible or desirable, then should I simply forget about me existing setup and by the newest multi-channel Rotel receiver?

    What are your thoughts and suggestions? In formulating your responses, please keep in mind the speakers that I plan on purchasing.

    Thanks in advance! :
  • Andrew Pratt
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 16507

    My system is much more simple then what you're planning given mine is only a two zone system. For my system I ended up using some BIC inwall speakers along with some IR blasters and Sensors from http://www.smarthome.com. I highly recomend smarthome as they were exceptional to work with both before and after the sale so you might consider calling them and asking their oppinion on your plans. My first thought was that if you simply need a three zone system with multiple sets of speakers on two of the three zones you could get away with a fairly simple connection block with several IR sensors plugged into it for the various zones. From there you'd simply need to connect IR blasters to the source components and the rotel pre amp. For power amps you might look into a couple of cheaper 5 channel amps like the HK PA5800's that typically sell for about $300 ( 5 * 100 watts) though the niles tech is right that for second zones 30 watts is quite a lot given the normal volumes required.


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