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Thread: Installing Ceiling Speakers and mixer/AMP

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default Installing Ceiling Speakers and mixer/AMP

    I've recently installed my Media Centre, along with upgrading the TV, completing various bits of wiring, and generally got nearer to completing the first stage of my upgrades at home!

    The next stage, which I'm looking for some advice on, is the upgrading of my current crap hifi, to feeding all sound off the media centre, through a mixer/amp and into ceilling speakers.

    The speakers I'm looking at are 8" 100W ones (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/7-x-8-100-W-CE...tem563890cc37), four for the lounge (to try and do some nice surround sound stuff) and probably two in the dining room and maybe some in the kitchen.

    The media centre has a decent output inc. 5.1 surround sound, with phono sockets as appropriate at the back; it will be used to take a feed from either the tv or obviously it's own output, and thus be the only source - certainly for now...

    So can anyone make any comments on my proposed setup, and indeed an amp/mixes appropriate to the requirements...

    Thanks
    Nunners

    PS: I'll be putting together a project write-up in the next few weeks, and link onto here!!!

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Default

    The only thing I suggest is that you get an amp that has more inputs than you currently need. Also with more equipment having digital sound outputs, then an amp or system that can handle more than 1 digital input would also be a good bet.
    When looking try and listen to the amp or system with a set up similar to yours. This will give you a better idea. Also take along your own music. I do this as I know what the music should sound like.
    Apart from that its one man's meat is another man's poison.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  3. #3
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Hi, I am currently going through a similar process. I have just purchased an Onkyo AV receiver from Richer Sounds which can take inputs from various sources i.e. PS3, Cable/Sat Box, HTPC, output them to the TV and also process surround sound.
    I wanted to "hide" my speakers in the ceiling and also to ensure that the speakers could be perfectly placed to give the best surround effect. Before drilling any holes I temporarily attached the speakers to the ceiling and directed them to the seating position. Once the AV ran its setup sequence I tested the sound using a few BlueRay Films. Although the sound was very good it did not feel quite right as you can sense the sound coming from above. This was especially the case with the centre "speech" speaker. I tried moving just this speaker back down in-front of the TV but again the sound was not quite right.
    I then tried the speakers at ear height and the sound is now excellent. I am now looking at integrating the speakers into some furniture around the room to get best audio effect but also the best visual effect without having speakers half way up the wall.
    Found lots of help and info on AV setup on www.avforums.com might be worth a look.

  4. #4
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    I've done this

    My speaker install pics are here: http://www.fircones.co.uk/ha/speakers1.htm
    I've also now put them the lounge ceiling and have more conventional speakers in other rooms.

    There are a few solutions and perhaps the most straighforward, out-of-the-box one is Sonos. You get a nice iPod-ish controller and zone players can include amplifiers or pass audio as line-out to another separate amp (e.g. an AV amp). Have a search on the main Automated Home site as there are a load of reviews and news releases on there. It's also a scalable system so you can start with just one or two zones and expand to more later. Internet radio is possible too, IIRC.

    Other options include xLobby (www.xlobby.com & http://sites.google.com/site/xlobbyfree/), Mainlobby, Windows Media Centre, Plex, etc.

    The issue, IMO, is one of control. If you have other, separate sources, how will you control them? You can pipe-back IR signals to various sources but then it is good to see what you're doing, rather than pushing buttons blind.

    I've gone for xLobby (free version) as Sonos wasn't around when I started (this is a long-term project ). I have a Creative 5.1 soundcard in a media pc with "kx project" soundcard drivers to allow multiple, distinct audio outputs from the single card. The sound card outputs are piped into a series of older hifi amps, one per zone. xLobby allows volume control so the amps are set once and then left alone. You can also have it work in "party mode" where all zones play the same thing. It takes a bit of setting up but I made some major progess before Christmas and all our vistors were impressed

    If I was doing it again from scratch I'd probably go with Sonos as it takes so much of the set-up headache away. Limitations of course, are that it only does music whereas some of the other solutions will do photos, videos, internet access, weather display as well.

    As for multizone amps, Kustom used to do a couple of multi-source / multi output ones, Russound do and (IIRC) a company called ChannelPlus (looked like the Kustom one to me). They worked with keypads in each room for source selection, IR return, track number etc. Perhaps a bit old hat now with music going digital?

    HTH,

    Tim.

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