Tips for Planning A Whole-House Audio System
Nothing takes the edge off like listening to music, especially after a long day at work. So, what would be better than having an entire house filled with high-quality music?
It’s possible to install a sound system to serve your entire house, but first, you need a plan.
Have a Plan
Just as architects design a home, you can use the same concept as you plan a sound system.
Consider key features like the number of rooms for inclusion, audio sources, how to control the system, the components to include and their placement, and of course your budget.
Choose Rooms to Include
Determine the rooms you will include when installing the sound system. This will help you to plan the budget and determine the number of components to buy.
Consider the living room, bedrooms, kitchen, patio and bathrooms for inclusion — these are the most commonly used areas of the home.
Select Audio Components
Once you know the rooms you will include when installing a whole house music system, you can decide on which audio components to invest in.
The first component to consider should be audio sources that will feed the system with sound.
Determine whether you want a single source of sound for all the rooms, or you’ll want to use different sources in different rooms.
Sources could include a CD/MP3 player, radio tuner, portable music player, turntable, online music streaming service, or even your television. However, the more sources you include, the higher the cost, and the more complex the system becomes.
Once you have determined the audio sources to include, consider the number and types of speakers to include. For the best effect, consider tweeters, midrange speakers and subwoofers for each room.
Your options are a wireless or wired speaker system. Wireless speakers are easy to set up. You only need to connect the power cable to a socket and then connect the speaker to a music-streaming device wirelessly, especially when using Bluetooth speakers and Bluetooth-capable audio sources.
Moving wireless speakers is also seamless, especially when you want to change their location within a room or move them to a different room. However, wireless speakers may be more expensive than wired ones.
You can also choose between in-wall, in-ceiling and freestanding speakers, based on your preferences.
Now that you know the number and kind of speakers you will use, it’s time to choose an amp for your audio setup.
Choose an amplifier powerful enough to feed your speakers. If you feel one amplifier won’t be enough for your audio needs, then you can use multiple amplifiers; perhaps one amplifier for each room or a certain number of speakers for each amp.
Install the Audio System
Once you are done with choosing components for your sound system, review how you will place them throughout selected rooms. You can check the speaker manual for the best layout options, depending on the size of the room.
Even if you don’t have a speaker manual, the basic thing to do is ensure sound is dispersed well throughout the room. For instance, speakers should be placed 2 feet or more from adjacent walls.
Also, consider where you will want to place each audio source. Ensure it’s accessible, while considering room aesthetics.
The next step is the actual installation of the audio system: there’s DIY installation and hiring an expert installer.
There are some installations you can do yourself such as speaker placement and running wires between the audio components. However, some tasks, such as installing in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, are best done by a professional. This is because they often require tearing up some section of the wall or ceiling and sealing remaining spaces.
Also, installing a custom audio system that has advanced options such as keypad controls and programming the system for easier operation may require hiring a professional installer.
Either way, plan first, and enjoy!
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