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As part of our renovation want to do basic not over the top sound system. We will have wireless speakers in the main rooms, thinking of linking through Sonos. Any other suggestions or systems. 3br, 2k sq apt.
sonos is nice but it locks you into their ecosystem. kind of like getting a bose lifestyle system. i would suggest looking carefully at using apple express/extreme in conjunction with your own choice of electronics. i would also suggest reconsidering the use of wireless speakers in your main listening area if you have any interest in serious listening to music.
whatever you do, try to avoid building stuff in in such a way that you can't easily upgrade as technology changes in the future. as an example, wireless hdmi technology is coming along rapidly which will dramatically increase your options for placement and future movement of flat screens.
We installed Sonos and love it -- though this is my significant other's "thing" and not mine. We can control music in every room of the apartment and the roof from our iPad or iPhone. We did wired speakers, though. They're better quality, and the walls were open anyway.
One thing you're probably doing but I'll suggest just in case: put all of your a/v in a closet. We have no exposed cable, no cable boxes, nothing except the flat-screen TV visible anywhere in the apartment. All of the a/v for the entire apartment is one closet. Makes me so happy.
The other thing you're probably doing, too, is installing ethernet jacks in every room. If you work from home, ethernet is so much faster than wireless, especially if your work loads up your computer with lots of security software (like both of our employers do) and/or you have to run memory hog programs (like I do).
Easy and cheap to do both of the above while the walls are open. If you need an a/v consultant who isn't too expensive, I can give you a reference if you post your e-mail. Good luck.
I recently did some research and ended up doing an Apple Express (a ~$100 wireless router with a printer and stereo jack that does AirPlay) hooked directly into powered speakers & subwoofer. Reasons I went this route:
- The convenience of full integration with the iPhone is very nice. Music from all apps is redirected as desired, when backgrounded, volume buttons work when iPhone is sleeping, etc.
- Stereo separation (i.e., two speakers) was important to me, most wireless products do not do this because a wire is required between the speakers. For sound playing simultaneously from two or more speakers, you just need wires. Fortunately, the location of the speakers and sub-woofer were very amenable to having wires hidden.
- Ability to choose equipment. I didn't want any additional AV equipment (clean look so powered speakers), wanted small but high-quality speakers (wife factor, well mine too actually).
If you're breaking into walls, definitely just run wires as no great wireless solution exists for synchronized sound from multiple speakers: synchronization over digital wifi is very tough, analog is noise-prone, and at the end of the day you have to get power to the speakers no matter what, so it's either a speaker wire or a power cable.
or....check out the B&W Zepplin with built in airplay.
lad: can you please elaborate =on your system? what speakers do you have? do you run the entire apartment's a/v from the a/v closet or just the living room? if the entire apartment, do you have more than one cable box? how do you change the channels for a tv that is not in the vicinity of the a/v closet?
"The other thing you're probably doing, too, is installing ethernet jacks in every room. If you work from home, ethernet is so much faster than wireless, especially if your work loads up your computer with lots of security software (like both of our employers do) and/or you have to run memory hog programs (like I do)."
While there may be reasons to install ethernet jacks, the above makes no sense. Security software and memory do not impact network speeds. And while you can get a 10x the bandwidth from ethernet at 1/10th the latency, it all become irrelevant as soon as you leave your home network because you have a 100x drop in bandwidth at 100x worse latency. If walls are open, sure, may as well run the wires as there may be some interesting future home network use. But for most people, they won't bring you much over wireless.
FWIW, I could connect my PC wired to my router at the "cost" of a 1 foot wire exposure along the edge of a wall in a highly non-visible corner of the room. But because it'd make no speed difference (which I tested), I set it up wirelessly.
Thanks for input, helpful
"or....check out the B&W Zepplin with built in airplay."
I got one of those because of the good reviews & strangely attractive look. However, based on lots of reviews I also tried out a pair of these powered speakers (order online or pick up from J&R) hooked into an Apple Express:
Side-by-side, there was no comparison in sound quality. While the Zeppelin was solid for what it was, the Audioengine sounded much, much better at a slighlty lower price, plus you get stereo separation. Not as attractive, but I could make it work in my setup and ended up adding their sub-woofer as well (not necessary, but the big cost to me was the time sunk into the endeavor).
either way, i remain pleasantly amazed at how well the apple expresses work in general. tremendous versatility. perhaps more expensive than non apple wireless routers but no fussing is worth a lot.
I returned the Zeppelin, FWIW.
i've been a long term fan of B&W speakers which was the reason i bought the zeppelin in the first place. as those things go, i hadn't used it for a few years, brought it out for a spin and it died about a week later. i called the b&w 800 number (not expecting much) and immediately spoke to an incredibly helpful guy who immediately acknowledged a known problem with the early model. he sent me a box and packing materials--i returned it and rec'd it back within a week working perfectly.
B&W speakers do kick ass, and Zeppelin is at the top of the pack in that genre.
Lad/inonada: I'm in a similar dilemna. I'm looking for speakers in three areas of the apt that are currently wired for sound. Is there a reason to use Sonos if the walls are already wired? Are there any Sonos competitors to evaluate? Can you get a similar effect with Apple TV, but with video capabilities as well? Or should I just stick with Airplay?
If the wiring is there and of the right gauge, I'd definitely try to make that work given that the wiring will be cleanest. You can definitely still do AirPlay (Apple Express wired through an amp at the central location, I'd imagine). You'd need to think through how much configurability you'd want (e.g., do yoi care for two different AirPlay sources playing into one, two, or all three speakers) and whether you'd want to be able to control this remotely. AirPlay will provide sound from exactly one computer/iPhone/etc. onto exactly one mini-jack wire, everything beyond that will be regular audio components.
my contractor is recommending running everything through a Yamaha reciver, reviews are good seems functional but it has no air play....what i am missing without air play the ease of the one wireless controller??? Thanks
Ive been using airplay for years and can immagine anything being better. By putting a few a boxs around you extend your network, and it allows you to play itunes (and some others including the siriusxm iphone app). You can name each one by room and individually control them via your iphone.
Go Old School. Nothing beats Thiel speakers.
I recently did an on-budget custom install and here are my 2 cents for what it's worth.
If you are renovating, go with wired over wireless all day long. My A/V installer used Sonance ceiling speakers which I am incredibly impressed with. I was reluctant to do in-ceiling but the 8 inch two-ways sound fantastic and the bass is remarkably good. Plus they look very sleek.
I'm running everything through a Marantz receiver and Apple TV. The Apple TV gives me the airplay, which is awesome, and integrates the audio with the TV as well. 3-room capability is what i'm using and if you want more you can always add a switcher with additional amp for more rooms. I have 1,250 sq.ft. to fill, not 2k, so you probably need more speakers and additional power to boot.
I've heard very positive things about Sonos too, though, just depends on your needs. Sonos allows expandability without having to cut into walls again...which is a positive.
Talk to a pro...they'll help you figure out what you really need.
Does anyone have a recommendation for a "pro" on this topic ie someone who will quarterback the whole thing for me? Including educating me on the basics and any f/ups which will inevitably be needed. I was tempted to use Geek Squad but they don't know anything about high quality audio and even my experiences with them on pure computer stuff has been mixed. Tx
And prefereably one who works in the Village.
"my contractor is recommending running everything through a Yamaha reciver, reviews are good seems functional but it has no air play....what i am missing without air play the ease of the one wireless controller??? Thanks"
Not a big deal. You can just buy an Apple Express for $100 and connect its audio jack into the receiver as one of the audio sources. The Apple Express will sit on your wireless network, and it will send the audio from Air Play clients (your iPhone, iTunes on your computer, etc.) into the receiver.
I would be curious to hear what you purchased to allow you to keep your cable box in a closest and still use the remote. I hate having my cable box sitting out.
you need an infrared to radio frequency remote control converter. there are dozens of different set-ups available depending on how much you want to spend and how many different inputs you want to control.
a small transmitter sits on top of the device to be controlled (your cable box) and a wired lead is attached to the part of the cable box that reads the remote control signal.
thanks Inonada sounds like a good solution. Yes we decided on hard wired, much better quality.
FYI, many Marantz units have airplay built in. I use a Marantz pre/pro and Control 4 system and it works great.
There are tons of IR relay systems out there...different installers have different preferences. Certain brands also have their own proprietary stuff...for example, my Verizon Fios Box is in one room, hidden in a cabinet, but the TV and Sensor are through the wall in the bedroom. $20 piece of equipment I bought off amazon that plugs directly into the back of the box. (Motorola Box) So our wallmounted bedroom TV is connected to a box but it's in another room. Works great. Just google and you'll find all sorts of options for your specific desires/needs.
I used Bright Home Theater who are in the East Village and work all over the city. They are a small operation and can be tough to get ahold of sometimes, but they do really great work and their prices are fair considering they're based in Manhattan. I have them coming back to do some more customization for me.
Yelp...etc. will show mixed reviews and understandably small jobs are not their priority, but they try to accommodate, so I think that gets them into tough spots sometimes and why you'll see some bad reviews from people who just want a tv mounted or something. I had a decent sized job and really made the effort to stay on top of them...and was very happy with the end result and price. Worth a call. Kerry is the owner and Radek tends to run the front-end installation operation...etc.
NYC10007 - thanks.
"Not a big deal. You can just buy an Apple Express for $100 and connect its audio jack into the receiver as one of the audio sources. The Apple Express will sit on your wireless network, and it will send the audio from Air Play clients (your iPhone, iTunes on your computer, etc.) into the receiver. "
IMHO it is a fairly big difference. If you have airplay native on the Yamaha, you will be able to turn on the piece, automatically select the input, and control the native volume of the yamaha level from the standard "i" device interface. If you stick with the airport express as a source, you would still have to manually turn on the Yamaha, select the right input, and set the volume of the preamp. You would have granular control of the airport expresses level into the preamp but certainly not optimal. There's no reason not to get a receiver that has exactly what you're looking for off the bat. You are spending a fortune for the install.. the hardware cost is very very minimal...
That being said, i'd still go Sonos. IF you have a receiver in your 'media room'/living room anyway, tie a sonos zone player into an input on that receiver. If you want sonos 'zones' to hear sources that are connected to the living room receiver (and most likely have to be listening too.. like at a party), just tie the zone 2 preamp out into the sonos aux input and you will be able to have the whole house system you're looking for. Also depends on if you will have a NAS drive somewhere or relying on having a PC on at all times.
For the highest quality audio you can have the solution is very simple.
Get a bluetooth bridge and plug it directly into the audio input of your power amp bypassing any receivers or pre amp.
Use your phone or ipad to receive pandora or whatever and stream directly to your amp. The volume control on your phone or ipad will control the volume making it unncessary for the preamp or receiver.
The bluetoth data rate is sufficient for the best quality audio and the conversion to analogt akes place in the bluetoooth bride and the output is standard RCA jack.
This is not like sonos or airplay and is non-propriety and competely open.
I've been using a $20 blackberry bridge (Amazon) for years and love it.
The poster is looking for a multi-room system. Bluetooth solution doesn't cut it.. at least with that hardware config.
yes it does. You can use this method to control a multi channel amp or split the bluetooth output to more than one amp.
I presently control two amps and five stereo channels in different rooms.
The sound is very pure since every device you add ahead of the amp introduces distortion. Just a direct digital to analog stream directly into the amp.
ieb, I think that most audiophiles would pounce on you for suggesting that bluetooth provides the highest quality audio solution. I remember when the first Bluetooth receivers came out a few years back and the quality was good to ok. Haven't heard the latest ones but to try and suggest "highest quality" is just simply inaccurate when it comes to this technology.
OP, you need to go to the AVS Forum site and start searching there, you will find all the answers you need. This is a Real Estate website and you're now getting lots of opinions from the wrong people...
NYC - First I agree that this is not a forum for this level of detail but since you ask...
I'm not referring to a POS audio received that is bluetooth enabled but rather a simple bluetooth bridge that you can plug into a high quality amp & speaker setup.
This is highest quality CD output:
44,100 x 2 x 16 = 1,411,200 bits per second (bps) = 1,411 kbps, or 1.4MB.
This is the highest quality digital output available and is easily withing bluetooh spec.
I find that there are many GCs and audio "Specialist" that push expensive systems to consumers.