With these whole-house audio setups to choose from, how can you not make beautiful music? We look at different system features.
Background Music for an Open Floorplan
The Affordable Solution
Big Family, Big House
The Party Pad
The Internet Junkie
Let the Kids Play
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Slide 3 of 6
Big Family, Big House

You’ll want a beefy setup that can distribute many different songs to many different areas—at the same time. Start with a media server that can support multiple music streams, suggests Bill Charney of Advanced Home Audio in Shelton, Conn. All of your CDs, iTunes and MP3s can be stored on the server’s hard disk drive, so this one box may be the only audio component you’ll need. Add a distribution processor that can zip those streams to however many listening areas you desire, and you’re well on your way to a robust music system that can reach every corner of your house.
Every area will need at least a pair of speakers. These can be a combination of freestanding and built-in units. No matter what type of speaker you choose, a good multichannel amplifier will be necessary to make sure the audio reaches every speaker with minimal degradation. The last ingredient is a device that will let you search your database of songs, enter selections and control the volume from anywhere. You could go with wireless remotes, in-wall keypads, touchpanels or a combination of all three. Just make sure the device provides two-way feedback so you can view real-time information about the song that’s playing or monitor what tunes are playing in each zone.

Approximate cost (including equipment and labor): $25,000

Media server: Kaleidescape Mini System
6-zone audio distribution controller: AMX Tango
Pair of mid-priced in-wall and in-ceiling speakers in casual listening zones: Elan Elios Architectural Speakers
Higher performance freestanding speakers in serious listening zones: Bay Audio
Amplifiers: Elan D1650 16-Channel Digital Power Amplifier
In-wall keypads or touchscreens with two-way feedback: AMX NXD-435 4.3” Modero Touch Panel

Read more: Get Into the Groove: 6 Multiroom Audio Systems