July 03, 2008 by Simon Scotland
Q. I need a receiver to handle my 8 Boston Acoustic VRi565 speakers (4 pairs, each pair on a separate volume controller). Should I go 5.1, 7.1 or 8.1? Keep in mind I’m looking for an inexpensive solution. - Blake
A. From your description it sounds like you have these speakers in a number of different rooms. If that’s the case I’m not sure a cinema amplifier is really what you need to solve your problem.
Having said that, you could go with Yamaha’s Z11 cinema processor. This will give you 5.1 surround sound in your main living room and provide individual control of the speakers in the other three rooms. But you are going to have a problem controlling these other rooms unless you invest in some wireless remote controls. Also it has to be said that the Z11 is a lot of money (but it is soooo nice!).
Another option would be to look at the AMX Mi Series of products. This is a proper multi-room audio system with keypad controls in each room. It only requires the speaker cable you currently have in your walls. It manages to send the control signals to and from the keypads over the same cable as the audio. However, this isn’t necessarily cheap and may require an AMX installer for setup.
Probably the cheapest option is to use a Xantech PA635 for three of the rooms and a regular amp for the other. These nifty amps have IR control of the volume. If you want to by-pass the volume controls in the wall you can add some RF remote controls such as those by Universal. These allow you to adjust the volume and control your sources from the comfort of your chair.
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Simon spent eight years in the feature film production. Upon leaving the industry he formed Beyond the Invisible in London UK which specializes in high end whole house entertainment systems, home theaters and lighting control and currently has a staff on ten. He is a certified CEDIA designer and avid collector of Citroen automobiles.
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