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Whole home audio, background music for parties?

FrantzM

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#21
Sonos.. So far the best whole house system. Proprietary to some extent but those walls are crumbling as it can be Alexa-enabled. Set-up is straightforward. Sonos items sound good but are relatively expensive.
At this point no real competitors: Everyone is trying no one has caught them, yet.
 

BDWoody

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#22
I use Google Home: ...

It will take about 5-10 minutes though if you're really picky about syncing things. You have to do it manually with a slider that shows you how many ms you are delaying things.
Yes...it can take a little effort to get everything sync'd up...some weird echo and other effects before that gets done, but it's pretty straightforward as you say.

The home panel with all the zones with their own volume slider makes it easy to move from place to place and keep volumes managed.

I stocked up with the 2/$30 closeout so don't have to sweat adding new zones... It was the best value I've ever gotten from audio products. Now they are about $50 each, but that's still a pretty good deal for what it does. Hard to imagine chromecast becoming obsolete(d), but if it does I will have to cry.
 
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#23
Sonos is very easy to use and certainly easy to setup. I would differentiate between the Sonos Amp / Sonos Port and the Sonos speakers (e.g. One, Play 5, soundbars etc.). I find the Sonos Amp and Sonos Port are great components and they can serve you well in a whole home audio use case. I would consider the use of Airplay 2 as way to mix and match with other manufacturers in a way which allows for whole home audio in sync. Examples are: Libratone Zipp2 / Zipp mini 2, Homepod, Sonos One, Sonos Arc (upcoming), B&W formation, B&O speakers etc. I find the sonos speakers to sound fatiguing (boomy, emphasised midrange and harsh highs) so the use of Airplay 2 would be my recommendation so you can have additional options for small powered speakers while maintaining whole audio sync. The Sonos Port / Bluesound Node 2i would allow you to connect to a more traditional hifi and still sync with other airplay 2 speakers. If you do that remember to avoid anything that adds a delay (e.g. AVR with DSP or Dac with buffer) as this will sabotage the whole audio sync (Sonos / Airplay 2 will not allow you to tweak sync options).

You can of course also go for Roon which allows you to tweak DSP and Sync among rooms. It is however a bit more complex to set up and expensive (I use it).
 
OP
T

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Thread Starter #24
We are pretty solidly in the Google camp at this point, both have Google phones on Google Fi, chrome book. I have no plans to go back to Apple. Lack of ability to sync Sonos send like a deal breaker at that price point for me. Main living room system will be run through a receiver.
 

m_g_s_g

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#25
Lack of ability to sync Sonos send like a deal breaker at that price point for me. Main living room system will be run through a receiver.
Just to clarify, you can definitely sync several Sonos rooms for music, even with a Connect (I‘ve tried that) or Port (I didn’t) using an AVR with some DSP (Audyssey/Dolby PL2x/DTS Neo:6 or similar) if you stick to the Sonos app or Spotify via Sonos APIs (the protocol accounts for this adding a safe “buffer” delay for all).

@JohnKay was referring to syncing when you connect to Sonos using Airplay 2.
 
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#27
Just to clarify, you can definitely sync several Sonos rooms for music, even with a Connect (I‘ve tried that) or Port (I didn’t) using an AVR with some DSP (Audyssey/Dolby PL2x/DTS Neo:6 or similar) if you stick to the Sonos app or Spotify via Sonos APIs (the protocol accounts for this adding a safe “buffer” delay for all).

@JohnKay was referring to syncing when you connect to Sonos using Airplay 2.
Sorry for the confusion, I was actually referring to the use case of Sonos Port / Connect feeding an AVR. Syncing with other sonos speakers (sonos one, play 5) did not work in my case and that was through the sonos app. The problem is that while the sonos Port / connect will output a signal that is in perfect sync with other sonos units, the AVR will almost always introduce a delay due to DSP. Even with Pure direct activated, I found there was still a slight echo when I tried syncing with my Sonos One. With Audyssey activated the sound was way out of sync. I found it tiring and gave up on this. A pure analogue stereo amp fed by a sonos port will have no problem at all.

Airplay 2 actually bypassed the above issue (Using a Marantz 1509 and subsequently a 1710). As long as Audyssey is disabled (very importnant), Airplay 2 achieved perfect sync between my Marantz 1710, a sonos one and bluesound Flex 2i.

Using a Sonos Amp (instead of an AVR) will also ensure perfect sync (with or without Airplay 2).

Cheers
 

m_g_s_g

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#28
@JohnKay: What you explain makes complete sense. I guess that my use case for syncing music through the house (background music/parties) didn’t lead to identifying this echoes/delays. And I have separate living/dining/office spaces. I’ve sold my Connect since, moved to an Amp, so I can’t try to reproduce that.

@Trouble Maker: Apologies for my bad advice.
 
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#29
@JohnKay: What you explain makes complete sense. I guess that my use case for syncing music through the house (background music/parties) didn’t lead to identifying this echoes/delays. And I have separate living/dining/office spaces. I’ve sold my Connect since, moved to an Amp, so I can’t try to reproduce that.

@Trouble Maker: Apologies for my bad advice.
Not a problem at all and in fact it may be that some AVRs present less of a delay than others. While my experience with the Marantz models brought up the sync issues, it is possible that other models are better. There is a risk though..
Using the Sonos Amp is a great way to bypass the issue altogether :)
 
OP
T

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Thread Starter #30
Thanks everyone for clarifying.

Right now here I have KEF LS50W and in storage back home I have a NADC338 and Zu Omen DW.

So I'm thinking to go full home theater in the living room again, either 5.x or I'm targeting 5.x.4. Probably sell everything else and hit the reset button or maybe keep the LS50W and do an LS50 (passive) center, but I worry about delay issues with the active LS50W and that decision is for another thread. So, I would probably go with something like a Denon 3600 or 4500. The other 2 zones I talked about here would be a second and third zone. In that case they have zone control (2 zones for 3600 and 3 for 4500). It seems like the path of least resistance and lowest up front cost is do the receiver and either use the onboard amps if only doing 5.x in the main or get an external 2 or 4 channel amp if doing 5.x.4 in the main zone. Denon has an 'all zones stereo' mode (same source, party mode) for example that I would hope would sync pretty well. I could start using the Heos system (or whatever ecosystem exist in the receiver I get) and then if I'm unhappy with that explore other options. I started this thread assuming that decentralized would work better given current technologies, but maybe not considering my application with a relatively small house and only 3 (or 2 if I just tie in the back 2 together) zones. We have open access to the basement since it is unfinished and a crawl in the attic (above where the living/dining) room is, so wiring should be easy even if it is from a central point.

Any suggestions on in ceilings in the $100~$200 range that would work well for heights and/or background mucis. I might end up needing 8 if I do 5.x.4 in the living room too.
 
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#31
I know this isn't exactly what you're looking for, but something I've always thought would be fun to do for 'background music' is to turn some posters or photos into speakers using tactile transducers. For areas where 'hi-fi' isn't your goal, it could be a fun thing to do.

https://www.parts-express.com/cat/exciters-tactile-transducers/18

For my house, I'm probably going to get some Chromecast audios off of eBay and I'm going to look into the Dayton DSP boards and DIY some speakers for my kids' rooms and kitchen area.
 
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