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Any home audio enthusiasts out there?

MsP

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
663
I'm looking to get someone a gift but I need some help in defining what I actually want/need....

They have a bunch of speaker sets (like different rooms, indoor, outdoor, etc) that they want to hook up to one "center point" where they can control the volume of them independently. Then they need something that can play radio and possible ipod hook-in. All the speakers are wired independently and just dead end in this one locale.

I know I am not at all using appropriate terminology...but that's what I'm looking for help with. What am I looking for? I don't want to spend a ton of money because it's not like they're big into home theater... they're just playing some music in the house and outside for BBQs.

Thanks so much to anyone who can assist!
 

shimmer

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
1,702
I think they need a receiver that can do multi zones if I understand correctly.
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
Messages
9,294
Multi-zone receiver.

BUT

I really don't think this is something you should attempt to purchase without having a lot more information from them (if even then!). More expensive doesn't always mean better quality (our $300 receiver sounds much better than the $5,000+ one we listened to in a demo room of a high end audio store) so I think you could stick within a reasonable budget (say $300-900 depending on your location, stores in your area, and sales going on at the time - could be somewhat more (up to double) than that depending on how many zones and connections they need)

The biggest concern I'd have would be the sort of connections they need (like what type and how many of each sort of cable/wire they have that needs to be connected to the receiver) and making sure you got something that had plenty of room (plus some extra!) to connect everything. It can get really $$$$ if you get a receiver home and find that you need X connections of a certain type but the receiver only has Y. There are adapters, converters, and switches that can be used but those range from a few dollars (just stick on to the end of the cable) to a couple hundred (screw boxes onto the wall and use more cables).

Even with us knowing how many HDMI, component, tosslink, etc, etc, etc we needed to go into the receiver and how many of those could be changed to a different cable type (like replace a component from the DVD with an HDMI) or a simple adapter used..... well.....
Lets just say that a new $50 cable here, $20 adapter there, $150 switch, several $20 cables, etc etc etc really added up to a fair amount of time, money, and frustration.


If this is something you really want to do for them, you should look around and see what is available (AV123, AVS forums, etc are a good source of information -- I'll look later and see if I can link the actual sites) and then consider a gift card or maybe even taking your friends with you to look at the choices you came up with. (sometimes it is better to look at the model in person but order online!)

Most important things you NEED to know:
How many zones do they need? (including any additional that may get added in the next few years)
How many sets of speakers will they be plugging in?
5.1, 7.1, 11.1?
Number of cables that must go in/out of each type? (HDMI, component, etc)


Also -- avoid any of the system in a box sort of deals. (like the receiver + speakers in a box thing) Those are usually not of the greatest quality and some of them have special speaker ends so the receiver ONLY works with their speakers.
 

MsP

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
663
Thank you, thank you!

... as a rather important note, the gift-recipient is rather technologically challenged and just "wants it to work". (Seems bad that I'm calling them technologically impaired when I'm here asking just as ridiculous questions...hahah) I will look more into what's currently there.

Imdanny-- thanks for the forum suggestion. I was afraid of going to an audio forum and asking such a basic question. PS seemed safer. After I do some research and get my terminology better I will try there.

TooPatient-- Thanks for such a great response. You've given me lots to think about.
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
Messages
9,294
MissPrudential|1319648480|3048066 said:
Thank you, thank you!

... as a rather important note, the gift-recipient is rather technologically challenged and just "wants it to work". (Seems bad that I'm calling them technologically impaired when I'm here asking just as ridiculous questions...hahah) I will look more into what's currently there.

Imdanny-- thanks for the forum suggestion. I was afraid of going to an audio forum and asking such a basic question. PS seemed safer. After I do some research and get my terminology better I will try there.

TooPatient-- Thanks for such a great response. You've given me lots to think about.

Yikes. Technologically challenged and multi-zone receivers don't generally go well together.

Depending on what you find out about their current set up and how much $$ you are wanting to spend, you might consider one of the home audio installation companies in your area. I've never used one so I don't know what sort of prices they charge for something like this, but it might be the easiest thing for you to do (unless you or your SO are familiar with this stuff and have the patience to deal with them during/after setting the system up)


Good luck!
 

Imdanny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
6,186
OP,

The people at audioasylum like to help newcomers just like PS'ers do. I think you'll enjoy it if you decide you want to post there about home theater or audio.

I'm sorry I can't give you any advice about home theater. I have only a rudimentary knowledge about different kinds of amplifiers and speakers.

Best,

Danny
 

NOYFB

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
2,649
My hubby works at a custom high-end audio/video/home automation company and deals with these types of systems on a daily basis. He is the one who has to troubleshoot and "fix" things when they don't work exactly right, which happens a lot when you have multiple components in your home. He has worked in this industry for a long time, and I can tell you that this is NOT something that you should give as a gift. A multi-zone receiver needs to be professionally installed and all of the components need to be compatible with the receiver for it to work properly. It is not something that you can just "plug in" and "make it work". Your friend should contact some professional A/V companies to get a quote on what will be needed for a project such as this.
 
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