• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Multizone amp or budget amp + speaker selector for 6 pairs of in-wall speakers

fapninja

New Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2021
Messages
1
Likes
0
Hi guys,

I'm kind of an audio noob trying to make use of 6 pairs of in-wall speakers in various rooms in my house that the previous owner had installed. They are set up like this:
  • 1 pair in basement den, no volume knob
  • 1 pair in basement office room, in-wall volume knob
  • 1 pair in 1st floor bedroom, in-wall volume knob
  • 1 pair in 2nd floor bedroom, in-wall volume knob
  • 2 pair in 1st floor great / living room, in-wall volume knob
All of the speakers' raw 16ga wires terminate in the basement den out of a hole in the wall. I can't figure out the specs, make, or model of the speakers, they seem to be very generic 2-way 8"x11.5" white speakers with a grill covering a tweeter and woofer. I tried to remove one from the wall to see if the make and model was written somewhere, but had to abort when it looked like I would damage the speaker by doing so. I connected a pair temporarily to my Yamaha RX-V371 home theater receiver and the sound was ok, nothing special, so I don't think it will be worthwhile to spend tons of money on a fancy hifi amp and equipment to power / feed them. In-wall volume knobs seem a bit old as well and have 9 click positions to adjust volume in that room.

My goal is to be able to play background music to all 6 pairs of speakers. No need to play different music in different rooms so I don't really care about having separate zones. Most of the music played will be classical, jazz, and pop, probably via a Raspberry Pi + DAC streaming online music.

I am debating a few options and would appreciate any advice.

1. Topping PA3S Amp ($150) + Russound SS6.2 Speaker Selector ($120)
This seems like the most affordable option and would come out to $270 total. My main concern is that the PA3 amp may not have enough power for 6 pairs of speakers of unknown spec via a speaker selector. The Topping PA3S specs say it can output 80 watts per channel at 4 ohms, and the Russound SS6.2 specs say it can take up to 200 watts per channel peak and 70 watts per channel RMS.

2. Topping PA5 Amp ($350) + Russound SS6.2 Speaker Selector ($120)
This is a more expensive option at $470, but it seems like the Topping PA5 has more power at 140 watts per channel at 4 ohms and much better sound quality according to reviews here.

3. 12 Channel Multi-Zone Amp ($500 or $630 or more)
These are the two more reasonably priced examples I found on Amazon at $500 for the OSD and $630 for the Dayton. There are of course even more expensive options running into the thousands of dollars. These kind of seem like overkill since I don't care about having multiple zones, and I don't know how the audio quality would compare vs a Toppings and speaker selector combo.

4. Sonos Amp ($865) + Russound SS6.2 Speaker Selector ($120)
This is probably 2-3x what I want to spend at $985. The only benefit here would be that Sonos is supposed to be really great for streaming online music and will be easier to set up and control than a Raspberry Pi + DAC.

Sorry for the long post, appreciate any help. Thanks!
 

Helicopter

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
2,671
Likes
3,850
Location
Michigan
Multichannel amp is the best option. Those spealer selectors are transformer based, which means they need a lot of amp power to get decent sound pressure. The advantage is when you shut off or turn down one pair of speakers it doesn't mess up the volume settings on the others. The selector would be OK with a more powerful amp lile Hypex NC500, but then you are not saving any money over a multichannel amp anyway.

I have 4 pairs of speakers and a Russound selector with a Harmon Kardon HK4770, which is a real 140WPC, and it is acceptable, but clearly limited.

Another option is just to run the speakers in series/parallel if you are going to have them all on anyway, but you might want 4 amp channels for 12 speaker channels or something. Simpler with 2^n speakers like 4 pairs or 8 pairs.
 
Top Bottom