New AV room day 1 - help with Niles request



Hello all,

Glad to be a part of this forum!

I moved into a house with a nice AV cabinet under the stairs for gear and cables.

Can't wait to get started on my AV room!

I am stumped on my 3 zone audio installation/choices.

I have three zones with Niles rotory volume controls that adjust volume for two pairs of round six inch ceiling mounted speakers, per room. Six total speakers.

There are four bundles of three wires each??? 3 red, 3 black, 3 green, 3 white? I am told this may be six speakers wired in parallel to 2 zones?? (see photos)

What do I have and what are my options? What should I buy?

The volume controls are about 10 years old, but look top quality. How do I connect these to an amp and source?

The surround sound is easy, 5.1 and all cables are labled.

I was told a Denon AVR-X2500H 7.1 Surround Sound amp would work, but I am stumped on how to connect the 3 zones.

Any thoughts suggestions are appreciated.





Audioholic Warlord
So, your first photo of the speaker wires is solid. It has 3-cables coming in. Each cable has four conductors in it. Red, black, white, and green.

A single speaker needs two wires to make it work. Often red and black.
A pair of speakers (as you have) needs four wires to make it work. Red and black for one of them, white and green for the other one (most often).

So, those three cables with their 4 wires tied together create (as you said) 3 areas of audio. It is not 3 ZONES, because they all play the same thing at the same time. It is simply 3 areas of audio which are all on and all playing the same thing at the same time.

I recommend that if you have a old receiver or something which plays audio currently that you hook it up to one of the speaker cable sets.

I can't tell for sure, but speaker cables should use the following standard:
Red: Right positive
Black: Right Negative
White: Left positive
Green: Left negative

Look at the volume controls to see if that's how they wired it. While the standard I listed above is typical for installers, the reality is that speaker wire colors just need to match on both ends, and since you already have one end plugged into a volume control, then you may need to rewire the incoming audio to the volume control.

The second photo, of the volume control, is pretty good. I can't see exactly what order the incoming cable has its wires connected in. It should follow the standard I listed above. (red/black/white/green), but it may be different. I recommend rewiring each volume control following the standard I listed above to ensure that they are following an installer standard.

The other half of the volume control wiring is going to the speakers themselves. Red/black to one speaker red/black to the other speaker. Leave those wires in place, they look good.

You say this is 'Niles', but I can't tell how you made that determination. Niles speakers? Niles volume controls?

There is a installation manual for Niles volume controls which appears to show the exact unit that you pulled out of your wall.

Read it! It really does show the connections exactly as I'm speaking about.

Now, here's the most important part:
With a two zone receiver, you can have your main 'surround area', and you can use the second zone to feed audio to the second AREA you have with 3 sets of stereo speakers. It can (and will) play the same thing in all three areas. You can turn any single area up or down as you like, but you can't listen to something different in one area from another.

It is strongly recommended, that if this is the way you want to do things, then you should get a impedance matching speaker selector. They are on eBay and about 50 bucks or so to get a 4 speaker selector unit.
Niles SS-4 speaker selector is a solid product to use. It allows you to take that single input from your A/V receiver which is designed for a 8 ohm speaker load, and will ensure that the 3 pairs of speakers which you are using present themselves to the receiver at 8 ohms so no damage to the receiver occurs.

It also allows you to turn off individual rooms if you would like.

There are more advanced ways of getting audio to the rooms, such as using a multi-channel amplifier to power each room independently and then connecting a dedicated streaming source to each room (like Chromecast Audio, or Sonos). Chromecast can be cheap, Sonos is expensive.

There are also multi-source selectors which can be used from any number of companies, including Niles, which offer control through your phone. Those can cost $1,000+ to get, so budget will start to matter a fair bit.


Thank you!!!!!

The Niles name is on the outside plate of the volume controls.

I am going to go with a Denon AVR-X2500H and use the assignable channel to power the 3 zones.

Bought one new for $499 plus tax.

I was told to install the 5.1 surround sound normally and the for the 3 zone audio , 3 red wires into the Red input, 3 black wires into the Black input, 3 green wires into the other red and 3 white into the other black.

Then I can just adjust the volume of each zone with the rotary dial.


Audioholic Warlord
That's not how it works...

And that's how you'll break your receiver.

You MUST use a speaker selector with speaker protection or you will find your Denon constantly faulting if not breaking.

You want to read through this thread, as this guy basically has the same setup that you have.

In stores, they are very happy to just throw out 'solutions', without first ensuring that it works. When you put a bunch of the same type of speaker together, then you change the electrical characteristics (the ohm load) to the A/V receiver, which isn't what you want to do. Receivers can't handle it.

A speaker selector with impedance matching protection, like the Niles SS4, can protect the A/V receiver from damage while ensuring the most possible power gets to the speakers.

They are all over eBay for about $30-$40...

Be aware, that the color code he told you was WRONG!!!

You MUST check your volume controls to see how they are wired, but standard wiring is as follows:
RED: Right, positive
BLACK: Right, negative
WHITE: Left, positive
GREEN: Left, negative

Some people use red/black for left instead of right, but this is not the standard which Monster Cable used, and Red/Right makes more sense for those trying to memorize it. It also matches up with the fact that red RCA connections on A/V equipment is always the right audio channel. In reality, it can be ANY color combination, so that's why you are going to pull off your volume control and actually look at what red, black, white, and green are connected to so you don't fry your A/V receiver by cross connecting things. Just match things up on both ends and you will be good to go.

It does, at least appear, that the Niles volume control that you have a picture of has red/black and white/green connected properly as left and right channels, so you shouldn't have any real issues as long as you hook things up that way.

But, the Denon will need an 8-ohm load connected to the zone 2 audio output. You will also need to hook up ANALOG audio (red/white RCA jacks) to get sources to play out of zone 2 for the other rooms. Be aware that all other rooms will be playing the same audio at the same time.
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I will go get a speaker selector switch at once!

Thank you.

Of course none of the wires a labled as to which speakers they go to to so it looks like lots of trial and error ahead for which sets go where. :-(


Seriously, I have no life.
That group of three cables isn't going in, it's coming out from the control.

Identify the wires going to the speakers- do that before anything else happens. Separate the three sets and have someone go to a central place so they can listen for the sound as you connect one wire to an end of a battery and tap the other wires on the opposite end. When they hear a popping sound, twist the insulated part of the wires that allowed the sound (not the bare wire) and move on to the next pair of wires- as BMX posted, the usual assignments but test before trusting. Once each speaker has been identified and labeled, move on to the next task, whether it's to install a speaker switch or the control.

Look for a part number on the volume control and post a photo of the backside, so we can see if it has jumpers. If it does, you need to move them to the 4x position, so the control will allow connecting the speakers without damaging your receiver.



Again, thank you so much!!!!

Please see new photos of the way its wired and the motherboard.

The volume controls ( I checked two ) are wired.

white L+ black L-

green R- red R+

The motherboard of the Niles is also shown

Niles 2003

And I think the part number is PC00270C ?

I do not see any jumpers to select.

And finally,

I have a spare receiver/amp. Should I use it to power the three zones with a speaker selector switch?

OR will I still use Zone two from the Denon?




Audioholic Warlord
Are you up for standardizing your wiring to industry standards?

It will take a bit of work, but on the back of your A/V receiver, RED/BLACK are ALWAYS the proper color combination for the output. Red and GREEN never are!

On your volume control, press the release lever (which will suck to do) and pull out the black wire and the green wire, and swap them. Do this for all your volume controls.

Make it to industry standard:
Red = right positive
Black = right negative
white = left positive
green = left negative

You don't have to do this, but I would strongly recommend it, and then write down the colors used. I would use a Sharpie and write it directly on the cable coming out of the wall at the amplifier side of things. This way, you never lose it.

Yes, you can use your spare stereo receiver to power the speakers. You should STILL use the impedance matching speaker selector to ensure that the spare receiver you have doesn't get overpowered by the speakers connected to it. So, your red/black outputs for the left and right speakers would feed into the speaker selector. You would pick a source from the front of the stereo receiver, and you would set the volume of the receiver right at 0Db, or about 75% of available volume. Don't turn it up to 11.

Then you should have good audio at all the speakers and you should be able to adjust that volume from the in-room volume controls.



I ended up installing a Niles SS-4 speaker selector switch.

The wiring format, I have learned, is called newspaper/Christmas tree.

White and Black are matched and Green and Red are matched for routing to the speakers and to the switch.

Long story short, works , great from Zone 2 outs on my Dennon, and I can play music in one zone or up to all 3 Zones at once.



Audioholic Slumlord
It kind of refreshing to see someone with questions actually follow instruction and take the advice given. Great job Mark!

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