Music is the soundtrack of our lives. It has power like few other art forms to remind us of important moments in our lives or to evoke a particular feeling. If you love music and never want to be without it, you may be considering a multi-room audio system in your home. There are numerous ways to accomplish this. Here’s a run-down of the different systems available and everything you’ll need to make each one work.
A true multi-room audio system gives you the freedom to select multiple audio sources and play them in different audio zones. Most of the time, “zone” will mean the same thing as “room” though there may be cases where you’ll always want to play the same music in the same rooms at the same time. In that case, multiple rooms might make up a single zone. One of the first decisions to make is how many sources and zones you’ll want to control. Always consider potential future upgrades when doing this.
Wired vs. Wireless
It used to be that multi-room audio systems required running wires throughout your home. While this is still a viable option, wireless systems have come a very long way in recent years. It’s easy to run wires if you’re building a new home or doing a major remodel, and there are still a lot of benefits to wired systems. There’s no fear of interference or signal loss due to problems with wireless networks. Your audio system also won’t impact the speed of your home network or other wireless signals in your home.
However, if running wires isn’t an option, you can consider wireless systems, like Klipsch Stream, to send audio to every room. Pricing can vary, but wired systems can provide great sound for a comparatively smaller price. Wireless systems can be inexpensive, but this often means going with smaller speakers.
If you go with a wired system, you’ll need to run four conductors of speaker wire to every room where you want sound. You’ll probably need to run additional wire, either speaker wire or possibly Category 5 (ethernet) cable for the keypad or touch screen, which will allow you to control the system. However, you might also be able to control the system with a smartphone or tablet and not need the in-wall control. Run wire to every room where you might want to put speakers. Even if you don’t put speakers in every room initially, once the wire is there, it’s fairly simple and inexpensive to add speakers later. It’s certainly cheaper and easier than trying to run the wire later.
You’ll want to use in-ceiling or in-wall speakers for your wired system. These traditionally come in either 6.5 or 8 inch models. In-ceiling is often preferred, because you don’t lose wall space to the speakers. Which size and how many you should use will likely depend on how large the room is that you’re putting the speakers in.
If running wires for an multi-room audio system isn’t an option, then you can also consider a wireless system. While they’re called wireless, what that really means is that the system doesn’t require speaker wire. Wireless speakers have their own amplifiers built in, which means they will require power. However, since that’s all they need, wireless speakers can be placed essentially anywhere. Additional speakers can also be added easily. You will, however, be limited to the speakers available for whatever wireless system you use.
Systems like Klipsch Stream use the same wi-fi network that computers do to communicate with each other. There’s a good chance that you already have a wi-fi network in your home. If not, you’ll need to add a wireless router to your home broadband network. Even if you already have one, you may need to upgrade it to be sure it is good enough to stream music without having signal problems. Depending on the size of your home and the distance between speakers, you may also need to add wireless access points to help boost the signal so that it remains consistent throughout your home.
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