Opinions for zoned music setup

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by wsmc81, May 25, 2010.

  1. wsmc81 macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2010
    Moving into a new house that fortunately has multiple cat5 and coax connections in every room, and has five speaker zones throughout the house. Everything goes to a AV cabinet in the theatre room. I will be setting up a Mac Mini as the HTPC that will store all music and movies. I was thinking of setting up multiple AE's in the cabinet with dclass amplifiers for each speaker zone in the house and control it all with our iphones.

    I believe the negatives to this are:
    1- Each AE controlled zone can either be set on or off through the Iphone, but volume can only be set at a master level not individually for each zone.
    2- Each zone will be hearing the same music.

    THis will mainly be for background music, serious listening will be streamed to a different set up. If i want seperate volume control I could put in control boxes (rotary wall switches) in each room and set up all zones to played through one AE.

    I like the extra control the Sonos systems gives but I am trying to avoid the extra cost and adding another platform.

    Thoughts? Other options?

  2. wysinawyg macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2009
    I think you're right in terms of your cons and a wall dial volume control is one obvious solution.

    Other options would be Squeezebox to look at as well as Sonos.

    Or go really wild and rather than using AEs if you have the cash go for AppleTVs (even just one or two to give extra zones). Synch the music to them and you have all the benefits of the AEs but with the ability to do different music in each room (and if you're not grouping individual volume control over the iPhone). Depending on your setup you may also be able to pipe the video out as well.
  3. cwaddell2002 macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    I have a setup quite similar to yours, although not as many zones. I have a Mac Mini HTPC in an office, recording tv and serving video and audio to the house. Anything my wife or I purchase on our laptops is automatically transfered through the home sharing feature.

    The living room has an Apple TV, and then speakers on the front porch (I live in the south) and back deck each have their own AE. With only the HTPC you can only listen to one thing at a time, however the addition of the apple tv adds another source option, although I wish I could stream the audio track from a video on the apple tv as well.

    My wife - who thinks it is all too complicated - will go read the news on her macbook on the front porch some mornings, and so if she wants music, she knows she can select the front porch speakers in itunes...which she does occasionally. In this way, if someone is in a specific room and has their laptop with them, they can stream music to the room. When we have a house guest, we let them on the network and they can do the same with their computer. This is just another way it can be used, something to keep in mind, if everyone has a laptop, all 5 of you rooms could have different music.

    FWIW, I bought older 802.11b/g versions of the AE on ebay for around $50 a piece, much cheaper than new, and found a power strip that spaces them out a little for airflow, then mounted the powerstrip in the AV cabinet and zip tied them in.

    Good Luck!
  4. wsmc81 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2010
    Did not think of using ATV to create a fully independent zone. Might be great option and would have the benefit of video, though the video would be limited to the theatre room. It would be nice to have the ATV in another location, but I would still have to get the audio signal back to the AV cabinet in the theatre room (where the amplifiers are).

    I do have two coax lines in every location, also going back to the AV cabinet. Could the signal from the ATV be sent through coax to a remote TV? ATV has HDMI and component connections so this is likely a no go.
  5. tommylotto macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2004
    I have 2 ATV's and an AE outside by the pool. This gives plenty of flexibility. You can have the same music playing in every zone or different music from any of the three sources -- Mac or 2 ATV's -- playing in any of the zones. If you want everything in the home theater room, you could get creative with baluns and transmit the video to the different zones on the CAT 5 lines. There are HDMI baluns too, but they require 2 Cat 5 lines.

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