How to Use A Speaker Selector for Multi-Room Audio

Discussion in 'DIY Corner - Tips & Techniques' started by admin, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. admin Audioholics Robot Staff Member

    admin
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    There’s nothing more satisfying than having your favorite music available to you throughout your house. Such seemingly complex, multi-room audio setups are often features of high-end homes. Yet, how cool would it be to have the audio from your main system playing in other rooms and speakers in your home? With a simple device called a speaker selector, you too can distribute audio throughout your home to pairs of free standing, in-wall, and in-ceiling speakers.
    [​IMG]

    Discuss "How to Use A Speaker Selector for Multi-Room Audio" here. Read the article.
  2. JohnA Audioholic Chief

    JohnA
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    Revel's speaker wire size list is a joke... they say 12 ga is only good for 22 feet... 14ga and 12 ga are standard for residential single phase electrical runs... 12 ga can handle 2,200 watts at 110V, that is overkill for a home audio system, now prosound is a different beast.
  3. Rich Davis Enthusiast

    Rich Davis
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    Why does someone need a speaker selector switch in a home? I wouldn't use a speaker selector box.
  4. internetmin Audioholic

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    Zone limits

    Sometimes your receiver has no multi-zone capacity or you'd simply like audio distributed in your home. It's much better to have multiple speakers at lower vine than blare the main ones of you want it for whole house audio.


    Even if your system has two or three zones you might want to distribute the audio of zone 2 or 3 to multiple rooms.

    Speaker selectors are a simple and easy way to distribute audio for a variety of reasons.
  5. jstrahn Audiophyte

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    I'm currently looking at my options for whole house audio and am considering a speaker selector as a solution.

    I will have all A/V equipment in a central closet in the house so my biggest issue is with remote control. I'll be running a dual zone AVR with the 2nd zone connected to a speaker selector.

    I figure my options are:

    1. Go with the Monoprice no frills speaker selector and manually push the button when I want sound in a different room. That'll only run about $40.

    2. Go with a speaker selector that has an IR remote and use irule to control it via my smart phone.

    The cheapest speaker selector with IR I've found is this one at $147: Amazon.com : OSD Audio ATM-7 7 Zone Speaker Selector with Remote Control : Audio Video Selectors : Electronics

    The irule software/hardware will set me back about $150. So you're talking $300 for whole house audio selection with smart phone control. Not too bad when you compare it to Sonos and other whole home solutions.
  6. LAB3 Senior Audioholic

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    Niles Audio makes some good equipment. I have a Niles SPK-1 amp selector works great (no noise). I have my analog system (TT and R2R) with a Class A amp hooked up to it and my HT HD AVR so I can use my Klipsch Cornwall speakers as fronts for HT use and still play/record analog and use the same speakers. The SPK-1 is audio triggered so be ready to purchase 12 banana plugs for the speaker wires to it. 12 gauge wire only good for 22 feet.......... must be a misprint. I have never used a speaker box or a amp selector box and was surprised as it sounds like the amps were wired direct to my speakers.
    LAB3,
  7. vanculloden Audiophyte

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    I posted in a different thread, but this is exactly what I want to do, as the diagram in the article shows. But what do you connect to on the back of your receiver?? I have a Pioneer VSX 521.
  8. TheoN Audioholics Contributing Writer

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    Connect to the speaker selector first


    Vanculloden,

    In a "regular" setup, you'd connect speaker wiring between your receiver and your speakers. In a distributed environment with a speaker selector, you run the speaker wiring from your receiver to the speaker selector first. Then, you run the additional wiring between your speaker selector and your speakers.

    You can think of it another way that you are initially treating the speaker selector box like your speakers—you just connect normally. Then you just connect each pair of speakers to the speaker selector.
  9. vanculloden Audiophyte

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    I'm not clear. Maybe I'm over thinking this...but I don't understand how this works with multiple rooms. I have a living room with 4 speakers and then 2 other speakers in my kitchen, and 2 outside. I want to be able to turn the living room on while the other two rooms are off.

    So, I have 8 speakers coming in to the speaker selector, and one main wire coming out of the speaker selector. It is that one wire I don't know where to connect?

    I guess my confusion is that the receiver has connections for front, back, center, etc as normal, but I only have one wire from the speaker selector. So, where does it connect?
  10. crossedover Audioholic Chief

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    Think this way... large power amp> speaker selector > speakers
    In between can be volume controls. So large two channel power or a distribution amp prior to speakers
  11. vanculloden Audiophyte

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    So what you're saying is I need a second piece of equipment, I cannot go from speakers--speaker selector--receiver.

    How much does this amp run approx for a basic one?
  12. vanculloden Audiophyte

    vanculloden
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    FYI I have this speaker selector

    [​IMG]

    and this receiver

    [​IMG]

    So you can see I have the one port on the left that needs to connect to the receiver.
  13. crossedover Audioholic Chief

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    The pioneer may be enough to power all the speakers or it may not. The pioneer is a
    An avr what you really needed is a larger two channel amp, then a speaker selector that has volume control and is impedance matching.
  14. XEagleDriver Full Audioholic

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    Detailed Expalantion and an Alternate Option

    VanC.,
    Thanks for providing the pictures of the equipment you intend to use.

    Two ideas to follow: one idea using the equipment you have (low cost) and one using different, but more suitable equipment (better results).

    1) To use what you have:
    a) Connect the VSX521 FRONT L and R speaker outputs (between the SUBWOOFER PRE-OUT and CENTER) to the Monoprice INPUTS L & R (red-to-red and black-to-black)
    b) Connect the four LIVING RM speakers to the Monoprice OUTPUT #1 L &R and OUTPUT #2 L & R. Pay particular attention to which speakers will end up being L and R in the room--meaning you need to pick a "front" to your living room and connect in relation to this orientation.
    c) Connect the two KITCHEN speakers to the Monoprice OUTPUT #3 L & R
    d) Connect the four OUTSIDE speakers to the Monoprice OUTPUT #4 L & R
    (NOTE: the speaker selector you purchased is twice the size/number of speaker connections you need for your project)
    This will allow you to use the buttons on the front of the Monoprice to select sound to one or both pairs of speakers in the LIVING RM, the one pair in the KITCHEN, and the one pair OUTSIDE.

    2) To build using more suitable equipment:
    a) Buy a different speaker selector with four OUTPUT Channels (each channel is two speakers; i.e. L & R) such as the 8232 With Volume Control or the 9995 Without VC
    b) Replace your VSX521 with an AVR of your choice that:
    - Is 7.1 (not 5.1) and has "assignable ampifliers"; this will allow you to power the four LIVING RM speakers using the FRONT L & R plus SURROUND L & R and assign the SURROUND BACK L & R to power the speaker selector.
    - Has an "All Channel Stereo" mode, or supports "Bi-amping".

    Advantages: Using more amplifier pairs to power eight speakers (quite a lot BTW) will yield better sound and provide you many more options (more to follow if interested in this path)

    Cheers,
    XEagleDriver
  15. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

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    I used a speaker selector this way in a 4 speaker whole house setup powered by an old Onkyo stereo receiver. The switch was impedance matching, individual volume controls, and I added an RF remote to the system so it could be tucked away in an upstairs room. It worked pretty much flawlessly. All speakers were 8 Ohm, smaller and relatively light loads.

    One note here, and it could be an issue depending on the speakers in question - the amp/receiver has to have sufficient capability to handle the lowest load the switch might encounter IMO; meaning if you have a full compliment of 4 Ohm speakers, you're going to want an amp driving them that can handle sub 4 Ohm loads and a redirected surround amp from a typical AVR probably isn't sufficient to handle even 4 pairs of 8 Ohm speakers at moderate volume, regardless of impedance matching at the switch.

    This is the one I used:

    http://www.parts-express.com/wired-...selector-switch-with-volume-controls--300-610
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
  16. mindoc Audiophyte

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    Multiple input speaker selector switch?

    Is there a speaker selector switch that allows for two different inputs, or, if not, is there a way set one up to use two different inputs. I have a old high quality (NAD) stereo system that works well with an old standard Niles Speaker Selector switch. I am setting up a surround system mainly for TV/Movies with a receiver that will primarily use different speakers. I would like, however, to have the option to connect the receiver to my high quality speakers in the main room and the other speakers throughout the house. The receiver is able to play internet radio that I'd like to be able to play throughout the house. I want to still be able, however, to use the older system. Thanks for your help.
  17. agarwalro Audioholic Ninja

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    AH should not be recommending speaker level attenuation and distribution. It is not elegant nor appropriate for a proper whole house setup where sound quality is important. Just because it is commonly done or relatively easy and cheap does not make it okay.

    Adding resistors into the chain to impedance match and calling it "Protection Circuit" is hog wash. One might as well use high gauge speaker wire in that case since the net effect will be the same. If your insertion resistance (cable + "Protection Circuit") becomes comparable to the nominal speaker impedance, you can throw sound quality out of the window. More on this topic here, Speaker Wire

    As an alternative to the deeply flawed recommendation in the article, a better approach is to use a distribution amp. Something like this one, HTD DMA-1240 High Efficiency Multi-Channel Amplifier The amp is great and does line level signal attenuation rather than at speaker level like the passive selectors in question.

    I have used that HTD amp to set up a dining hall with 10 on wall speakers from Monoprice. It has been working flawlessly and without any concerns about sound quality or blowing the receiver due to an impedance mismatch created by a flawed solution.
  18. gene Audioholics Master Chief Administrator

    gene
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    I hear what you're saying but also feel you are over generalizing. There are some speaker switches that are better than others at doing this job, like this one:
    Aton DLA6 Six Zone Speaker Selector Preview | Audioholics

    Running a distribution amp is typically the best option as you point out assuming the end user has the budget to do so and also has the VC's at each location to adjust levels.

    I never heard of a speaker selector blowing out an amplifier but they can definitely rob power from the speakers.
    gene,
  19. agarwalro Audioholic Ninja

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    I'm disagreeing on the entire philosophy of using a solution based on speaker level distribution system.

    Yet another option to keep away from using the passive speaker level distribution: Line level distribution, combined with 4 channel amp.

    Rolls DA134 4-Channel Distribution Amp DA134 B&H Photo Video

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