Multi Room Home Audio and Network Integration / Existing Wiring

I am moving into a new house where speaker wiring and speakers will be in place, in 8 Zones.
My objective is to be able to:
A) Find an Amp(s) to enable both different music or same music to at least 4-6 different zones out of the 8 rooms. And be able to use latest technology of amps to control the volume by room.
B) Have an overlay Smart Things technology that would work with the AMP(s) and also be able to control Security and some electrical devices like the Garage.

Again wired Speakers, but looking for wireless controls on everything else.

The Sonos Amp is probably your best option

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Agree with @Automated_House that Sonos Amp will be best. But also expensive as they run $650 per zone

Thanks for the quick responses. Are their other amps similar to Sonos AMP but more cost effective? For example, I could do one zone of 4 rooms which have 2 speakers each. Sonos AMP only covers 4 speakers. Would something like Niles Multiroom AMP or something else work for 4 rooms/8 speakers?

And would any of these work or not work with Smart Things?

Sonos Amp can connect to four speakers but only if you want to play the same thing at the same volume on all of four.

Frankly, there’s not a lot of value-add in the Sonos/SmartThings integration. But Sonos is the granddaddy of whole-home wireless synchronized high quality audio. The Sonos app works well, can use nearly any streaming music service as a source. Works very well with Alexa

I got into them when there was nothing similar.

What are you planning to do with the speakers? Are some of them going to be part of a surround sound system? Or are they for ambient music?

We have speakers already sunk/paid for in multiple rooms.
Pairs in each of these areas:
Living Room
Dining Room adjacent to LR
Study
Garage
Main Bed Room
Upstairs Media Room(possibly 4 speakers there, have to look up)
Patio

The Upstairs speakers for Media Room would be part of Surround Sound
The Living Room, Dining, Study, and Garage could all be one zone playing same music. Ambient
The Patio - One zone - Ambient
Main Bed Room - One zone - Ambient

I’ve got six ceiling speakers, 4 in kitchen/dining/living room (one big open room) and two on the patio.

When we built this house in 2017-18 I had already invested in Sonos components so didn’t do any other built-in speakers. I love my Sonos but it was a non-trivial investment In my case that happened over the course of a few years so it was less painful.

You might look into a regular A/V amp that supports lots of speakers. Maybe go visit a nearby home theater store.

I’m sure there are, but they don’t Work with SmartThings. In order the get a dashboard of your speaker devices, garage door, etc. they are the easiest way to meet all your requirements.

The Smartthings integration is a real sticking point.

Earlier this year, we moved into a house with wired speakers. I opted for an Elan A1240 multi-channel speaker ($150 via eBay) - 6 stereo channels that can be independent or bussed, auto-sleep if no inputs. For inputs, I used a few Arylic modules ($40 each) to create zones that can connect via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or wired audio jack.

Again, this includes zero Smartthings … and it is a bit more DIY than some may like. However, the end result was a powerful solution for about $300. I may even add an Arylic module to one of my homemade Bluetooth speakers to have a portable zone.

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Another “smart” option that is a little more affordable is the Echo Amp. Doesn’t work with SmartThings, but does work with Alexa

When we bought our current house the realtor pointed out that most of the rooms were pre-wired for a whole-house audio system. However, these types of installs use rather small gauge wiring which require different amps that run on a higher voltage, otherwise, for a “normal” amp, you would use 12 gauge wire and short runs. When you say, “the speakers will be in place”, is the builder taking care of the install? If so, I’d ask who they used and get a recommendation on the amp from them.

I already had two high-end systems for the living room and bedroom when we moved in (and I’ve since re-purposed another amp for the garage). The living room amp had the option for a 2nd zone which I used to power patio speakers. Echo dots then allowed me to play music simultaneously on all three systems which covered the majority of the house. Unfortunately, the Fire TV Cubes I bought to replace two of the Echo’s do not allow for multi-room play. However, the Cubes do have built-in IR controllers so I can switch inputs and adjust the volume using voice or the remote (or newer amps are also Alexa ready). My living room amp also lets me play different inputs to the 2 zones simultaneously which is pretty much standard.

Thanks. Good information from you and the others. Digesting it all.

The builder had a 3rd Party who handles putting in wiring for audio and security during the build process. Of course, the 3rd Party company is tied into specific sales of audio devices and security devices. He is tied into Legrand and Nuvo AMPs to power Earthquake 8ohm speakers. He sold us on the speakers and is planning on 16 gauge wiring. I know we have to hit rooms from front to back to outside, so I am looking to validate if 16 gauge is right.

I am locked into the speakers, but can still determine who I go with for AMPs and adjust gauge of wiring. I will look into Alexa ready Amps as one next steps. Thx!

Found a nice guide showing cable length recommendations per wire gauge and impedance putting the max length at 48 feet for your specific situation: https://avgadgets.com/speaker-wire-cable-gauge/ I would recommend a dedicated amp just for the media room or living room depending on your needs, especially if you’re considering a 7.1 setup (Dolby Atmos is the current must have). As far as the rest of the house, multi-zone amps are not cheap and lack tuners. If you decide on 2 amps, you can locate the multi-zone amp near the media room and “share” different components (like a cable box or media player) to keep costs down.

One last thing, when sitting on the patio, even with the living room speakers just 20’ from the patio door, there is a very noticeable delay vs. the patio speakers. So, although it’s nice to have the ability to play music simultaneously in every room, if you’re between rooms, the delay will noticeable. Good luck!

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Just want to point out that this is not the case with Sonos.

I’ve got a mix of Sonos components including two connect:Amp (predecessor to current Amp).

I can group all devices in all rooms via the Sonos app and play on all devices. There has never been an audible delay when going from room to room.

Whole home audio is something Sonos has been doing for many years.

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Sorry for not being clear… the delay in my case comes from the physical distance from one set of speakers to the other. My patio and living room speakers are wired to the same receiver and emitting sound at the same time, however, when I’m sitting on the patio with the overhead speakers just above my head and the living room speakers 20’ away, there is an echo-like sound because of the delay. So I’m glad that I don’t have speakers installed in the open dining room because I would have the same issue if music was playing simultaneously in the living room.

20 ft doesn’t seem like it’s far enough for a noticeable delay.

I have two Sonos Amps in my wiring closet. One is connected to 4 speakers in the open living room/dining room. The other is connected to 2 speakers on the patio which is next to the living room. It’s about 30 ft from the living room speakers to the outside ceiling speakers.

I run those two zones together all the time with the patio doors open and have never noticed any echo delay.

Speed of sound is about 1125 feet/second. 20 feet yields an 18 millisecond delay, assuming all other factors are identical. Most would not notice for casual listening, but perhaps some other acoustics are at play.

That said, I admit that I have measured the distance from each speaker in a car to the driver headrest. Not saying that it was a deciding factor, but that little car sounded good.

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Lol. Whatever the cause, I did look for an amp that had a delay adjustment for Zone 2 with no luck. In the end I just listen to one or the other by adjusting the volume or closing the door. Good luck DunnTexas!