August 04, 2009
| by Robert Archer
Q. I have just bought a new house, and before the house was plastered I got extra wiring done by the electrician. I have wiring in all rooms for speakers (ceiling in all rooms apart from sitting room where speakers will be free-standing). All wires go back to one area under the stairs except for surround sound for sitting room. I haven’t done anything else in regards to amps, systems etc. Can you advise me as to what to do from here or what systems I need, or what you recommend I do?—Alex, Dublin
A. Alex, it sounds like you have a good start on a multiroom audio and home theater system. Depending on your finances there are a number of things you could do. I would develop a budget for these systems and I would write down a few key points that you want the system to do, then I would contact a professional installation company.
An installer will be able to work with you to outfit your home with the products and technologies that best fit your lifestyle applications and budget considerations.
Some of the multiroom audio solutions you’ll probably be looking at from an installer include products from companies like Russound, NuVo, Niles, Sonance and SpeakerCraft.
Your theater will also afford you many options that depend on your room size, usage scenarios and of course, your budget.
A few of the things an installer will discuss with you includes how the system will be used (movies, TV, music and whether you want the system tied into your multiroom audio system). From there he will show you some technology and product solutions such as separates (amp/preamp) vs. receivers, Blu-ray players, media servers, Apple iPod compatibility, and video options like flat-screen TVs vs. a screen and projector and even anamorphic lens solutions. Are you dedicating a room to a theater, or will it be in a multipurpose room?
The final element he’ll discuss with you is the control options for the systems and whether you want a whole-house solution or IR-based remotes for each system.
One last thing too, if you still have the ability to go into the walls think about running Ethernet (Cat 5) cabling to backbone current and future data/communication and entertainment solutions that you may want to explore.
Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.