apple tv or imac to in-ceiling speakers

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ibrainch, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. ibrainch macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    Any solutions to my home stereo crisis would be greatly appreciated. Basically I have about 5 rooms with in-ceiling speakers (all of the individual rooms have volume controls) and the wiring for all of these speakers goes to one location in my living room (there is an outlet with all of the loose speaker wires). None of these speakers are self-amplified just basic white in-ceiling speakers. In my family room, I have a bose surround system hooked up to TV and Apple TV. I also have an iMac in the family room. Anyway, my question is how do I get my iTunes to play over the in-ceiling speakers without creating a mess of wires. Do I have to buy a separate amplifier? I have a couple of airport expresses but how do I connect these to speaker wires? Thanks for any advice.
  2. serpico macrumors regular


    Sep 19, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
    Interesting, I was thinking of Airport Express units. There must be a way to connect the speaker wires to it. Not sure if you need to solder a connector to those wires though. I'm sure someone will pipe in with their solution. I'm curious too.
  3. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    You're going to need a separate amplifier, as your PC won't have enough to drive all those speakers.

    You would then take the line out (if available) from your system into the amplifier.
  4. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    AFAIK, you'll need a separate amp.

    Connect one of the Expresses to the amp, and then connect the amp to each of the speakers. This solution would send the same music to all of the speakers. If you have multiple Expresses, I guess you could buy multiple amps and have the ability to do different music to different speakers.
  5. craigsharp@spym macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2006
    You will have to get a second amplifier. The bad thing is that all the rooms will have the same music playing at the same time. One thing you might consider would be getting a multi-room theatre system. You might try and take a look around. I think even best buy sales multi room equipment.
  6. ibrainch thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2002
    Chicago, IL

    could sonos help in any way? i really love the demo they have with their new iphone app. still not sure how this would work though as I would need to connect about 10 wires (2 per speaker) to the amplifier.
  7. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Mac playing music -> Network -> Airport Express (or AppleTV) -> Amplifier -> Speakers

    I have really found that is the best setup, and does not require that you keep your Mac located within reach of your amp.

    It's also a good idea to make sure that your amp/receiver has a remote control.

    If you use an AppleTV rather than an airport express, you'll need to have the TV on to see what you are selecting to play. Using iTunes through the Aiport Express (as opposed to with an AppleTV), combined with an iPhone/iPod Touch remote, allows you to control your music from wherever you are in the house.

    Using an iPhone or iPod Touch with Apple's free remote app to control your iTunes remotely is really a fantastic option. It does burn the batteries, so you might not want the phone to take that power hit, but rather get a Touch for this function. The iPhone/Touch remote interface is really terrific.

    Regarding Sonos, their systems are very expensive and I am not convinced that their DAC is that great. If you want to get great sound, of course use ALAC files and use the optical out on the Airport Express and put a great DAC between it and your amp. You may need to use completely uncompressed files on your server to do this (not sure about this last point).
  8. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    A little more information would help. Do you want to connect all five sets of speakers up? Do you care if the same source is going to all the speakers at the same time? If the answers are “yes” (all connected) and “no” (don’t care), you could connect a speaker switch up to the output of an amplifier/receiver and connect the five speakers to the switch. For instance, here is a link to an 8-zone switch sold at Radio Shack which should have connections for eight sets of speakers:

    You could drive this with an Airport express going into an amp/receiver.

    Any chance that the Bose system has an extra set of speaker outputs? If so, can you run a set of speaker wires from the Bose system to the area where the speaker connections are? If so, you could use your AppleTV to drive the Bose and the Bose to drive the speaker switch (which would be located where the speaker connections are).

    There are plenty of dual zone receivers out there, but ones that handle more than two zones are not that common (I don’t’ believe). There is gear available out there that can run multiple sources to multiple zones, but I don’t think they’re cheap and are probably overkill for your case.
  9. ibrainch thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    more info

    i really don't need different sources/music in different rooms (so having the same music playing everywhere is fine). actually I like the idea of running a speaker wire from my bose up to this area - not sure how difficult that would be as it would be going through a ceiling, but it is better than buying another amplifier as i hate the idea of having a random amplifier sitting by the fireplace with no other components (and it just creates more loose wires everywhere). thanks for the suggestions.
  10. sab46 macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2008
    I have a similar setup to what you're trying to create. I have a appleTV connected to my receiver. The main front L/R speaker outputs from the receiver connect to a speaker switch. The speaker switch then connects to the front L/R speakers in that room, some in wall speakers in another room and outdoor speakers.
    The downside is that you can't listen to music from the appleTV in one room at the same time as a movie (through the receiver) in the family room. Not a big deal for me.
    I control the appleTV through the TV, my laptop/itunes, or my iphone. The TV doesn't have to be on for the latter two.

    If you don't already know, you cannot just wire all the speakers to the same output on your receiver. Not only will the volume out of each speaker be really low, but you'll damage the receiver (if you're lucky, the receiver will go into protection mode before it's damaged). The receiver is designed to have a certain amount of resistance on the speaker output (4 or 8 ohms). Wiring multiple speakers to the output would lower the resistance, which increases current, which could burn out the amplifier.
    A speaker switch will allow you to hook up multiple speakers and compensates for the lower resistance.

    Good luck.
  11. namaste007 macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2008
    I want everything from my in-wall audio system!

    The wiring is done on my in-wall system. I wanted in-wall speakers for their low cost and clean appearance. I realize I OD'd a bit, but what the heck, I love music. Most of the solutions for multi-room audio are too expensive.

    My locations currently "wired" are:
    1)Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Master Bath (spa), Powder Room, Rear Deck. Each of these rooms are wired with 2 in-wall standard stereo wire speakers. The powder room has 1 speaker. (2 rooms will remained wired to the amp for "atmosphere music")

    I would like to add an extra degree of excitement to the following rooms.
    2)Living Room, Master Bath, Back Deck, Kitchen. (4 rooms total)

    What I have.
    5 pairs of in-wall wired audio speakers in 5 rooms.
    1 mono speaker for the bathroom.

    What I want
    For anybody to be able to plug int heir ipod in these 4 locations when they visit me. If they are on the deck Bar-b-que-in' they can each dj for a while.

    2 Problems
    Since I want visitors to be able to "tap into" my speakers, I was thinking of an in-wall A/B source switch. Hook that up to rca bananna plug inputs. (but somehow I want a volume control too. Don't know what to do about that.

    Right now I am leaning toward Airport Extreme, but I noticed they require "powered spearkers". I would have to buy 4 Airport extremes? Where can I get those for cheap?

    OK, so that's my vision. I want to make a box in each location (new construction). In that box, I would like a power recepticle (to hide the airport extreme), an A/B switch (my home theatre receiver being source A, and my local ipod being source b), and a volume control...all in a three gang box.

    Can this be done? If so, how.

    Aslo, worth noting. This is still being planned, and the in-wall speakers haven't been purchased yet. I can't afford a Cat5 networked system, I need to do this on the cheap.

    Thank you!
  12. descartes macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2006
    I have a similar set up with in ceiling speakers. Any recommendations on an inexpensive amp that I could hook up an airport express to and play music from an imac? I don't care if the music is the same in all rooms. thanks.

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