New construction setup

T

Tommyid1

Audiophyte
Hey all,
My house is being built and I have a couple weeks left until they insulate and drywall. I need some tips for how to layout and to prewire my home. Wife doesn’t want any floor standing speakers for the surround. I’m working on some ceiling mounted drop down speakers for those. Incase that doesn’t work I’d like to put wire in the wall to decent locations for them. The attic space is conditioned with spray foam on the roof sheathing so I will have access to it and also I have duct run to the attic from a brush plate where the av system will be. I have three maybe four areas I want sound to be piped to. The main living room I want the future capability for 7.2.4 Atmos for movies. The back patio I want a pair of speakers, a pair in the master bedroom and a pair in the foyer/entryway. I want volume controlls for the back patio, foyer, and master bedroom. My current setup that I have from my last home is an Onkyo 7.2 that I will keep and use for something else unless it can be used in conjunction with the future 11.2 I’ll be getting for this system. Here are some floor plan pictures with rough measurements. The seating position will be my couch over the FB which is a floor electrical box
Thanks in advance!!!!
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SwedishChef

SwedishChef

Audioholic Intern
I'm not really the right person to reply, except to pass on that I consistently hear "use conduit!"

But I did want to mention that I think some of the other forum sections, like the "Audiophyte" one, seem to have more traffic than this one. I figure a lot of people just read what's new across the forums, but you might get more response over there if you don't see anything here in a couple days.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
First of all welcome. Second you have double posted. This causes confusion so please delete one post.

I have just built a new home and moved in 2 months ago and have put in three systems. I built an AV system in our previous home 13 years ago. I will link you pictures.

Rule number one is to NEVER place any AV cable behind a wall that is not in conduit. The conduit can be steel, plastic water pipe or Tech Tubes. Believe me technology changes and you must be able to change cables without pulling your house apart. I had to change cables in the last place and it was easy.

Along with the AV think carefully about your Ethernet infrastructure. Make your AV room the nerve center of your homes Ethernet/Internet infrastructure. Fixed systems are best hardwired. Use Wi-Fi for portable systems.

Next think about access. Equipment chases are your friend so you can get behind installations.

I don't like wired all house systems. You are better off with discreet systems. For background systems go wireless with systems like Sonos offer.

Now for your main AV room ATMOS system I recommend you follow Dolby specs to the letter. Ceiling speakers are best for height speakers. Where you wife does not want free standing speakers seriously consider in walls.

You have left this a little late. This all takes careful planning and involves an awful lot of work. Think things through carefully and in detail. You only have one crack at this and serious mistakes are common.

Here is a link to the build out of the three systems here.

Here are some links to the former studio

Speaker build and installations.

The former studio over he years.

I had cause to make some comments about Ethernet infrastructure this afternoon and copy them here for your reference.

I should say that all this is wired and not Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is ONLY used in this new home for portable devices. Anything else fixed is wired to a local hub and then up to the studio patch bay and hubs. There are three local hubs. The studio chase has a rack mounted 19" Ethernet patch bay and two 19" mounted Ethernet hubs. Cat 6 throughout run to and fro the studio chase in Techtubes. Router is Netgear Orbi Mesh with units on each of the two floors. There is full 350 mps all over the home with no dead or low signal spots.

This is the third installation I have done with Netgear Orbi Mesh and so far zero problems. This Netgear Mesh was brought up before we moved in so the elevator could be certified. So far there has been no slowing and zero reboots. The whole system has been stable. I mention this as others infrastructure could possibly not be as robust or stable. How much this contributes to the results I get, I can't comment. But I have tried to adhere to best professional current practice on this part of the home infrastructure. In the modern home the stress on this part of the infrastructure is enormous. Just about everything needs access and often both ways.

Talking of both ways, I suspect all of you are aware of hacks to alarm systems in the news lately. Any device that can be accessed via the Net from outside opens up a huge vulnerability. In fact it pretty much gives the world the keys to your kingdom. So to enter our Network you have to go via an encoded VPN. My eldest son wrote the software. This is above my pay grade. Anyhow a lot of routers to not support access via an encoded VPN. The Netgear Orbi Mesh does which is another point in its favor.

I have said before that this Netgear Orbi Mesh is head and shoulders above any system I have encountered before. This is another surprise and I have had poor results from Netgear products previously. They knocked this ball out of the park though in my view.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
It was late last night, so I will address another important issue now. It may already be too late for you to address some aspects of this.

You need to properly plan your house grounding and equipment grounding. Earth loops that create hum and buzz are the curse of AV systems. With all the channels now this becomes of primary importance. A buzz formerly hardy heard on a two channel system becomes a roar with 11 channels and a sub or two doing it.

Ground loops are caused by resistances between grounds.

Now local electrical codes vary. Some require a ground to the water system and grounding rods. This sets you up for trouble right away.

Fortunately here in Eagan a ground to the water supply is all that is required. One ground is good, more, trouble.

So I supervised a massive cable to the water entry and then a massive cable to the panel. There are two panels a main and a large sub distribution panel. The panels are opposite sides of the same wall. Again these are linked with a large braided copper cable.

The racks in the chase are all linked with heavy copper cable and bonded with it back to the panel. The plug mold on the rack was bonded to the racks as was also the Comcast cable.

Now cable and satellite systems are a particular problem. They seem to come with inherent ground loops and despite good practice and following code, which I supervised there was a very low level buzz with the Comcast TV box connected. So I did have to isolate this ground with transformer. After that all 18 amp channels and the 11 speakers are dead quiet.

So pay attention to your grounding plan and ground plane.

Another issue is to make sure you use big enough gauge wire commensurate with your speaker impedance and length of the runs. I suspect you will have long runs and if so recommend 10 AWG Belden cable available from parts express. My AV room has 600 ft of this cable in conduit.

If you have HDMI runs longer than 25 feet, you will need either a boosted cable or a hybrid optical copper one. I recommend the later although more expensive. I also advise powering the cables from and external supply and not from the HDMI port.

This is the issues I can think of for now, but I suspect there are others.

Yes, there is one other issue I omitted to warn you about, and that is LED light bulbs and dimmers.

LED light bulbs and especially the dimmers radiate a lot of RF interference, which is another potent source of buzzing in AV systems.

Now you want to specify Lutron Maestro dimmers. These have the lowest RF emissions by far. Having said that keep the wiring off each dimmer limited. I did not allow lighting circuits to be shared with wall outlets. As far as possible I kept each dimmer on its own circuit.

Despite that I still had one issue. Some LEDs interfere with each other.

There are three LED fixtures on our stairway. On the other side of the landing dimmer was the dimmer for the family room lights. They were on the same circuit. Well when the stair lights and family room lights were both on, the family room lights flashed, the dimmers emitted noise right out of the switches and the RF really created a buzz in the studio. After a Google search I found this was a known issue with some LED combinations on the same circuit. We could only solve it by fishing another circuit from the panel so the stair and family room light were on different circuits. Then we had peace and quiet.
 
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R

RedCharles

Audioholic
That's a good floor plan. Quite an efficient use of space.
 
T

Tommyid1

Audiophyte
Thanks for all the replies!!! At this point I have conduit running from entertainment center nook at std outlet height up to the height the tv will be mounted at on the wall. I also have conduit going from std outlet height there up to the attic space. I had previously ran 4 conductor to my back porch and to the master bedroom for volume controls. I ran 2 conductor to the celing of both areas for a pair of 8” speakers each. My wife loves listening to music in the bedroom while getting ready or while doing laundry. Non of that wire ran this far is in conduit as I did not think it would be something I would ever need to replace. It’s good quality 14ga wire. Is this bad thinking. It wouldn’t be any problem to put some conduit in to the box areas as I still have a while yet before insulation goes in. Is it necessary?
I do plan on running some conduit down the walls where I may end up putting the 2 surround speakers. I’ve changed my mind and decided on a 5.1.4 setup as I don’t think my room would really be able to use 7.1 effectively due to layout. It’s gonna be difficult placing even the two rear surround speakers because of the placement of the pantry and sliding glass door. The other benefit is I can spend more money on a better speakers and I can utilize the extra channels for my other zones.
I had not thought about Sonos before. I’m not really sure how that works.
Thanks,
Thomas
 
2

2channel lover

Audioholic Field Marshall
Thanks for all the replies!!! At this point I have conduit running from entertainment center nook at std outlet height up to the height the tv will be mounted at on the wall. I also have conduit going from std outlet height there up to the attic space. I had previously ran 4 conductor to my back porch and to the master bedroom for volume controls. I ran 2 conductor to the celing of both areas for a pair of 8” speakers each. My wife loves listening to music in the bedroom while getting ready or while doing laundry. Non of that wire ran this far is in conduit as I did not think it would be something I would ever need to replace. It’s good quality 14ga wire. Is this bad thinking. It wouldn’t be any problem to put some conduit in to the box areas as I still have a while yet before insulation goes in. Is it necessary?
I do plan on running some conduit down the walls where I may end up putting the 2 surround speakers. I’ve changed my mind and decided on a 5.1.4 setup as I don’t think my room would really be able to use 7.1 effectively due to layout. It’s gonna be difficult placing even the two rear surround speakers because of the placement of the pantry and sliding glass door. The other benefit is I can spend more money on a better speakers and I can utilize the extra channels for my other zones.
I had not thought about Sonos before. I’m not really sure how that works.
Thanks,
Thomas
Congrats on the new home...exciting times ahead.

5.1.4...I like the change considering the challenge you will have with spkr placement. If you intend to stream most of your movie content, you will appreciate not investing in more channels as 7.1 is not yet established as the standard format. But to balance out the system I would put the savings towards a 2nd sub.

I prewired for a modest wholehouse audio system...basically functions as Z2 & 3 on my main system. Master, Family, and Sunroom. If I had it to do over again, I would've added a single speaker in the laundry room.

Sonos is a well respected wireless speaker company. Quality overall is noted to be good. They offer another option for zoned music. I've heard them, and seen them functioning in demos...and a friend has a 2 room Sonos setup, but yet to see them function in a multi-level home.

I simply have not had good luck with my wifi connected music server with redbook CDs, or even MP3 sized files consistently so if I could prewire, I'd prewire.

I've given up playingback the larger hi res files over the network until I switch to a Ethernet based music server/streamer.
 
T

Tommyid1

Audiophyte
What is everyone’s opinions on sub placement? I’m going to go ahead and throw some conduit everywhere I think I might want a subwoofer or surround speakers.
 
T

Tommyid1

Audiophyte
ao At this point I have conduit in place for the main surround system. Which is a 5.1.4 setup. With respect to the back patio, master bedroom, foyer and laundry room. How do I get music to them. They are all wired with impedance matching volume controls and terminate near the main entertainment center area. I plan on using a dedicated avr for the living room surround sound setup. Is there a way to integrate them into the house. What kind of amplifier would one need to control them?
 

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