Goodwin's High End

 

Multi-Room Audio and/or Video Systems

A multi-room audio system fosters a lifestyle enriched by music. Such systems vary considerably in flexibility, complexity, and sonic performance. The system that a neighbor or friend loves might not be well suited for your needs. Together we can carefully consider your home, your lifestyle, your performance requirements and any the needs of any family members. Then we can design a system specifically for you.

Please consider the following questions; your answers will help us design a system optimized for you:

  1. In which rooms would you like music? And in which video?
    • Consider adding music to any room in which you spend a lot of time. Examples: the family room, study, master bedroom, master bath, kitchen, informal eating areas, athletic exercise areas, workshops, and artist studios.
    • Consider adding music to your outside spaces such as decks, patios, gardens and pools. We have even supplied music underwater in several outdoor pools!
    • Consider adding music to children's rooms, guest rooms, and public spaces such as foyers, formal dining rooms, and lavatories.
    • Consider adding video to the family room, playroom, kitchen, and master bedroom. You may (or may not) also want video in the children's and guests' bedrooms.
  2. What performance level do you want in each room?
    • Usually the rooms that in which you spend the most time deserve the best audio (and video) performance.
    • Sometimes one room has an especially good audio system for listening to music or a high-performance home theater system for watching movies, sports, and television. The other rooms in the home may have somewhat lower, or dramatically lower performance levels, as desired.
  3. Should all the rooms have the same music source at the same time?
    • If so, then choose a "single source" system, as it will be simpler and more convenient for your needs.
    • Or do some rooms or groups of rooms require the flexibility of listening to different sources? If so, then choose a "multi-source" system.

Types of Multi-Room Audio Systems

System Type Description Best For But Note That
Single-Source, Single-Zone All rooms always have the same music. Turning on the music in one room will turn it on in every room. Adjusting the volume will adjust it in every room. (The volume in each room, relative to the other rooms, may be adjustable when the system is installed, but this adjustment may not be convenient enough to use routinely.) A music immersed lifestyle. As you walk from room to room, you can follow the music without missing a note. All the home's occupants should enjoy the same music and live a similar lifestyle.
Single-Source, Multi-Zone Again, all rooms always have the same music. However, in this case turning the music on in one room (or zone of rooms) will not affect the rest of the rooms. Each room (or zone) can individually adjust the volume. Depending upon the system, there may also be system-wide control from each room. Open floorplan homes where different music would conflict. Good for providing background music for entertaining. Good when one of the home's occupants might want quiet while another listens. All the home's occupants should at least tolerate the same music.
Multi-Source, Multi-Zone Each room or zone of rooms can individually turn the music on, select the source, and adjust the volume. Depending upon the system, there may also be system-wide control from each room. Homes where the occupants often enjoy different types of music. Sources are still shared. For example, if the system has 2 CD players, only 2 different CDs can be played at once.
Multiple independent systems Each room or zone of rooms has a completely separate system. Depending upon the system, there may also be system-wide control from each room. Music tastes are completely different. CD or music file collections are mutually exclusive. Often used just for children's rooms or for an exercise area. May not be able to play the same music in every room.

Tip: When deciding which type of system would best suit your needs, temporarily set aside any budgetary considerations. More complex, flexible systems are not always more expensive.

Recommendation: We recommend that you consider having at least one room in which to have high quality music, a room where you can actually focus on music listening. The other rooms might have music in the background, and therefore not demand as high a level of quality.

If you enjoy watching movies, sports, and television, consider a home theater with surround sound. Perhaps you might make this your main room for entertainment. If desired, video can also be distributed to other rooms in the home, much as audio can. (The design and flexibility considerations are similar.)

Multi-room systems generally incorporate a control system so that functions such as on/off, volume, and source selection can be controlled from each room. A well designed control system will ensure that the audio and/or video system is easy to use. We usually place small keypads in the walls, or we provide sensors the wall or ceilings at which to point a hand-held remote control. We also offer RF (radio frequency) control systems that use a portable remote to directly control the equipment using radio waves, without any sensor in the room!

Tip: Choose the simplest control system that meets your needs. Unused features will needlessly complicate the system.

A word about in-wall rotary volume controls: These devices dramatically degrade the sound from your system. They waste audio power and they interfere with the amplifier's ability to control the speakers. Avoid them unless you just want low-quality background music and energy efficiency is not a concern.

Once you have selected the components of the system (i.e. the sources, the amplification, the speakers, and the control system), we can work together to choose the speaker, keypad, and equipment locations. We will then create detailed specifications for the wiring of the system, both low-level audio and video wiring, and any new 120 volt AC wiring.

Tip: Please bring a blueprint or a drawing of your floorplan to your first meeting with us. It will facilitate the design process and help our understanding of your requirements.

Tip: If you are constructing or renovating a home, contact us early in the processideally before any plans and room dimensions are finalized! This will prevent costly changes later on.

In new construction projects, the in-wall wiring is "roughed in" while the walls are open and before the wallboard (or whatever) is applied. We also generally mount brackets for the speakers and boxes for the keypads at this time. Your construction project then proceeds as the interior is finished. Later, we usually supply grills for any in-wall speakers to the painters so that they will perfectly match your walls. Then when the site is clean (and the dusty jobs are complete) we return to mount the speakers and keypads. Depending upon your needs, we may install the rest of the electronics at this time, or later. Last, we program the system and demonstrate how to use it. If you have questions about your system, or if you need some changes or additions, we are always happy to help.

In addition to wired multi-room systems we also have wireless music systems from manufacturers such as BlueSound or Sonos. Alternatively if you are seeking an audiophile-grade wireless speaker solution we offer the Dynaudio Xeo wireless speakers.

Also See: Custom Installations discusses how your system can be best installed in your home.

 


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