New Home - Speaker Wire - What to buy?

You guys are the best of the best, so looking for feedback.

I am buying a new home that has speaker wire ran throughout the whole house, to overhead speakers in almost every room. The speaker wire then comes to a central hub, right by the main living area/TV. Very cool! No idea if the speakers work though…

If you had this solution wired-in and were starting fresh, how would you link up Smartthings / Alexa / Echo Speaks? Any preferred amplifiers or stereos that are ‘smart’ and can tie into my other ST products?

I know it is a little off-topic, but I value the opinions on this forum with anything ‘smart’!

Is the “central hub” the wires come to a device of some sort?

No, sorry, shouldn’t have said “hub”. All of the speaker wires from all over the house come to one location. So it is just bare wire.

One easy solution would be to hook the speaker wires up to any kind of dumb amplifier, and then connect an Echo device to the input on the amp. Could also use a bluetooth amp and pair an Echo to it through bluetooth rather than a physical wire.

Amazon’s Echo Link Amp, Sonos Amp, and Denon’s Alexa compatible amp.

What you will want to find is a multizone amplifier to power each zone independently. You’ll need to find out if you have 70volt speakers or regular 4, 6, or 8ohm.

Once you figure that out, finding an amp that integrates with SmartThings might be challenging.

If you have the budget, you could use the Sonos Amp for each zone but at $599 a device that can get costly.

Amazon also makes the link Amp which might work for each zone.

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Thanks for this! Best way to check speakers with a multimeter at the end of the wire? Or you think pull the speaker out of the ceiling and look for labels?

You can measure the resistance across the ends of the speaker wires using a multimeter measuring Ohms assuming the other ends are plugged into the speakers + - terminals. Here’s a good guide.

If your meter shows a number around 6 or 7 your speakers are probably rated at 8ohms. Give or take for the length of the speaker cable run.

If the speakers can easily be removed then that’s a good way to check as well.

Chances are good you have normal household in ceiling speakers but you never know.

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Ignore the wires, get Sonos components for each room.

Thanks for the help! I’m confused on understanding the value of a Sonos or Echo Link Amp.

Would I not be better off and less expensive to just use a multi channel Amp like this one :

And then just use the 3.5mm jack from multiple Echo Dots into the various RCA ports? Then I could have different rooms playing different music, or I could group the Dots together in the Alexa app and play the same song across the whole house via their multi room audio?

I must be missing something with Sonos or Echo Link Amp. I would need to buy at least 3 of those to manage all the speakers…right? Gets expensive quick… would that audio quality or audio syncing be “better” than solution above?

Thanks again for the help, I must be lost!

I can’t speak for the Echo Dots as I got invested in Sonos components well before they existed. Over the years I acquired a total of 9 different components including two Connect:amps that drive ceiling speakers.

Sonos sound quality and multi-room sync is flawless.

But they’re a big chunk to bite off all at once, even if you do refurbs.

If you feed different inputs into a distribution amp, I suspect you’ll have sync issues.

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Hi Shane. You are correct. It can and does get expensive quick if you have a lot of zones in your house. The problem with most multizone amps is they’re not easy integrates with Smartthings, if at all.

For example, I’m using the Monoprice 6 zone amp which I have integrated with ST through a raspberry Pi. It gets complicated and it’s not guaranteed to work forever.

How many zones do you have/need in your house?

What is your budget for an amplifier?

Answering these questions will help determine which approach you should take.

Whole house audio can costs thousands or hundreds, depending on how you attack it.

I guess my big question is audio syncing and just ditch the other ST stuff. Hal does not believe a standard multi channel amp would sync well with multiple dots.

How do we feel about one Echo Dot to the amplifier and it syncing with other standalone Echos throughout the house?

This may be my cheapest route… but don’t want the sync to be way off

Thanks again for all the help guys

A couple of things to note.

  1. Sync issues are not a problem with a multizone amp. If you want the same music going to multiple rooms then you only need one source.

  2. Alexa does a great job syncing devices. You can pair echoes together to play the same music in multiple rooms.

  3. A lot of this depends on your ultimate goal. Different music in different rooms? Same music in different rooms? Both?

I’ll give you an example I have set up with my Monoprice 6 zone and multiple standalone echo devices.

1 echo dot (outdoor) plugged into input 1 of the Monoprice. The monoprice powers different zones in my backyard.
1 echo show in my kitchen
2 echos in my living room

I have combined all 4 echoes into a speaker group via the Alexa app. I called it “house speakers”
I tell Alexa “play classic rock on the house speakers”
She plays music on all the echo devices, I turn on the Monoprice backyard zone and choose input 1 so the echo dot plays to the backyard and I now have perfectly synced music to 3/4 of my house, including the outside.

With most multizone amps you don’t need a different source for each zone. You simply need one or two sources depending on how many rooms you want different music playing in at the same time. You wouldn’t buy 6 echo dots for 6 zones unless you thought one day you’d want to play different music in each zone. Highly unlikely. You choose the same source for each zone you want music in. In my case I have two echo dots connected to my Monoprice cuz sometimes I want different music outside than my wife wants inside. Make sense?

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Perfect! Exacrly what i was looking for. Do you have a link on your Monoprice device?

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=10761

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to integrate it with ST, I used this thread.

Just do a search on here for Monoprice 6 zone and you’ll get a few search results.

If you have more than 6 zones you can link two of the amps together. This amp comes with wired control panels via cat5 cable. Volume, source, etc. I didn’t wire them up since I got the RPi integration working.

Good luck.