Have you ever gone to a party where no matter what room you were in there was music playing in the background, and it was all the same volume, even outdoors? This is whole house or multi-room audio. It can be an every-room, multi-source system or just a pair of extension speakers added to the back porch. These systems are designed to make your home life more enjoyable by providing music in the areas of your home where you like to be, without having to turn the volume up and disturb other people in the house or neighborhood.
First, let us explore the terminology behind these systems and the areas where you might want sound. Multi-room or multi-zone audio is having the ability to listen to an audio source in more than one room of the house. Ok, maybe you can turn the volume up in the source area and achieve this but what happens when you want to watch TV in the source area and someone else wants to listen to music? Maybe you’re grilling and want to listen to the game. You can either blast the volume so loud you can’t stay in the same room but can hear it outside or you can add a pair of speakers on the porch. How many of us listen to the news in the morning by turning up the volume of the TV in the bed room so you can hear it in the bathroom? Multi-room audio cures this by adding a speaker or speakers and a volume control to the room where you want to enjoy an audio source.
So now you have added a pair of speakers to the porch and bathroom off your main source equipment in the living room. What if you want to listen to the radio while someone else wants to listen to a CD? This is where the term multi-source comes in. Multi-room/multi-source is the ability to listen to multiple sources at the same time, for example listening to the radio in one room and an iPod in the other. There are multiple ways to achieve this. One is to have a receiver with multi-zone, multi-source capability. Another is to purchase a system designed and built for that purpose. The receiver: most high-end AV receivers have at least multi-room capability. Some have multi-source and those that do only offer two zones of room capability with the main room where the equipment is being one of the zones. You can still add more rooms to the system by adding impedance-matching volume controls in each room where you have speakers. Remember that each room still is dependent on the source playing in the second zone. So, in essence, you have a two zone, two source system.
The ultimate solution is to have each room able to listen and control any source at any time. You could listen to the news in the bathroom while your spouse listens to the iPod in the kitchen. You could be listening to the game outside and someone else can listen to their favorite music through the rest of the house. All while having volume and source control in each room.
From the ultimate whole house system to a basic speaker addition, Iconic Audio Visual has the knowledge and tools to design and install a multi-room system that is right for your needs and fits your budget. Call your Iconic rep today to get a quote.