Built in ceiling speakers wired to data cabinet.

Built in ceiling speakers wired to data cabinet.

Author
Discussion

Jer_1974

Original Poster:

960 posts

131 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Looking for a quick easy and cheap way to connect ceiling speakers up so I can control them from my phone. I have a media pc with optical out that I had connected up to an only Denon amp but the amp broke. I could run itunes on the pc and control it from my phone or go through to study and use Prime music (or vpn from on other pc) which was a bit of a pain. What's the best option without spending a fortune.

Blink982

341 posts

42 months

Friday 2nd November 2018
quotequote all
Get the amp repaired or replace it with a second hand av receiver or stereo amp (plus DAC) from eBay would be the cheapest option.

Jer_1974

Original Poster:

960 posts

131 months

Sunday 4th November 2018
quotequote all
Thanks Blink. Just picked up a Yamaha DSP-AX620 of ebay for £50 including delivery.

tenohfive

6,275 posts

120 months

Monday 5th November 2018
quotequote all
Chromecast Audio sorts the phone control part, plus a cheap amp like the one you've linked. There are cheaper amps too. Dirt cheap route into multiroom audio.

Jer_1974

Original Poster:

960 posts

131 months

Tuesday 6th November 2018
quotequote all
Good idea think I will add one for phone use.
Advertisement

dhutch

2,895 posts

135 months

Thursday 17th January
quotequote all
tenohfive said:
Chromecast Audio sorts the phone control part, plus a cheap amp like the one you've linked. There are cheaper amps too. Dirt cheap route into multiroom audio.
This is what I am going with, already have the amps/speakers, so its just some cabling which is going in as we speak as part of the house re-wire.
Chromcast Audio have just been discontinued, already have some, but have just bought a couple more just in case! Why not.

The plan is to have the main 4-5 ground floor rooms of the house wired back to the central location, which may also have additional audio equip (tuner/cd/lin-in/etc) and then the garage and bedroom can be added as satellites networked in via additional chromecasts.

My parents have done similar and and just have a DP switch for each room to select which is in use, using a standard MK 4gang grid switch.

I have thought about doing similar, but using a dp 2way-off switch for each room, so I can then have a pair of amps and switch each room to one or neather of of two amps to create a 2-zone setup.


Daniel

paulrockliffe

7,814 posts

165 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
I renovated the house about 6 years ago and fitted 6 sets of ceiling speakers, £20 a pair. Wired back to some £15 lepai amplifiers and a complicated switching setup to let you control what plays where. At the time the consensus was I should spend £300 x 6 on Sonos to get multiroom. No chance! My gamble was that technology would come up with a cheap solution eventually....

I upgraded to a bluetooth receiver and a signal amplifier that turned one output into 6 fairly soon, then switched to Chromecast Audios when they came out. When they were updated to allow for Groups I had the Sonos setup for £20+£15+£20 a room. I did have problems with the amplifiers with Chromecast because to get the range of volume required and having phone control for the amplifiers meant having them turned up too far and they picked up interference when nothing was playing and when set to play quietly. So I've ditched those and keep buying Cambridge Audio Azur 350 amps for £50-60 a pop when they come up on Gumtree, cheap but will power two pairs of speakers independently and switched, so I have them doing two rooms at the moment and can turn one of the rooms off if required.

The amps have made a huge difference to the sound quality and I'll upgrade the speakers eventually too, though the sound is perfectly fine really. The bathroom got a pair of water-proof speakers, those are rubbish, they have no bass at all. but that might be because while the other speakers are in a closed ceiling void, the bathroom is straight into a large loft space with nothing above. I'm converting the loft at the moment, so will wire for additional pairs of speakers in the bedrooms while I can as I think 4 speakers is better than 2.

I find phone control great, just cast to wherever I want to listen, or you can cast to everything and turn off amps as required. I've just got a Google Home Mini and would recommend this too to add extra control. You can set them to default to cast when they play music, so I can talk to the one I got to test with and it talks back over it's speaker, but if I play music with it, it plays over all my ceiling speakers. I'll add more of these over time and add more granularity to the control. You can ask it to play stuff over specific Chromecasts as well.

The bit of my setup that isn't ideal is that casting music doesn't turn on the relevant amplifiers. You can do this with some relays that detect the Chromecast sound signal, but these are far too expensive. The setup I have which is OK is that the amplifiers are powered from a WiFi socket (which can also be voice controlled), I use a combination of Stringify and IFTTT to take the Home/Away mode from my Tado heating control, so that the amps are on between 6am and 10pm, unless there is no one in the house. It works perfectly, but obviously the amps could be off more so wastes a bit of power. Things to watch out for; my amps seem to have a default input when they're turned on, I can't work out how to change it, but it limits you to one input. I have one amp that goes into standby, which stops it working, I'm sure I can turn that off though, but it's best avoided.

The one thing that's missing really is that I can't default my phone to cast to a device when I play music and I'm on the home WiFi, but I'm sure that will come eventually.

dhutch

2,895 posts

135 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
paulrockliffe said:
...Wired back to some amplifiers and a complicated switching setup to let you control what plays where. ...

The bit of my setup that isn't ideal is that casting music doesn't turn on the relevant amplifiers. You can do this with some relays that detect the Chromecast sound signal, but these are far too expensive. The setup I have which is OK is that ......

The one thing that's missing really is that I can't default my phone to cast to a device when I play music and I'm on the home WiFi, but I'm sure that will come eventually.
Thanks for the feedback/information. What are you using for the switching setup?

My plan is to simply turn the amps on an off manually when I need them, they are going to live in the top half of a cupboard off the main hallway, so easy enough to press each power button and or power the lot of a 4-6 way mains adaptor with one switch for the lot.

I guess there are pros-and-cons, I can think of times when I wouldn't want my phone to automatically cast everything I play on it through the whole house speaker system automatically!


Daniel

dhutch

2,895 posts

135 months

Tuesday 22nd January
quotequote all
Bump. And info on what people are using for switching welcome, else we're going to have a set of DP grid switches!


Daniel

MrSparks

493 posts

58 months

Sunday 27th January
quotequote all
dhutch said:
Bump. And info on what people are using for switching welcome, else we're going to have a set of DP grid switches!


Daniel
How many amplifiers are you planning to have?

You can connect multiple speakers to one amp with a speaker switch like so:

https://kitchenbathroomradio.co.uk/accessories/spe...

Depending on how much you want to spend, I'd recommend the new Tangent Ampster BT II as it has wake on AUX so you can connect a chromecast (and power it via the built in USB) so you can just stream to the Chromecast and the amp will turn on and start playing.

https://kitchenbathroomradio.co.uk/ceiling-speaker...

VEX

4,281 posts

184 months

Sunday 27th January
quotequote all
MrSparks said:
How many amplifiers are you planning to have?

You can connect multiple speakers to one amp with a speaker switch like so:

https://kitchenbathroomradio.co.uk/accessories/spe...

Depending on how much you want to spend, I'd recommend the new Tangent Ampster BT II as it has wake on AUX so you can connect a chromecast (and power it via the built in USB) so you can just stream to the Chromecast and the amp will turn on and start playing.

https://kitchenbathroomradio.co.uk/ceiling-speaker...
Of couse, by switching in the way shown on MrSparks's site, each time you switch a room in or out the volume will change, because you are sharing the power with another set of speakers.

MrSparks is that an impedance matching speaker switch, to maintain the correct impedance to the source amp so you dont overload it?

V.

OldGermanHeaps

1,946 posts

116 months

Sunday 27th January
quotequote all
regarding amp power switching, if you get a dedicated power amp instead of an integrated amp a lot of them do auto power on on input sensing, and they also handle the dynamic range of having the chromecast adjusting volume better. I use the Linn LK140 amps to drive speakercraft crs8 zero speakers and the sound quality is stunning.
The Linns are also happy running full pelt into 4 ohms all day long, in fact at 4 ohms the power output is a lot higher. a lot of amps will eventually go into protection if you try to run them hard into 4 ohms.

dhutch

2,895 posts

135 months

Monday 28th January
quotequote all
MrSparks said:
How many amplifiers are you planning to have?
Currently I have 2-3 amps including a Cambridge Audio A5 and A500 integrated amp, which if practical I would like to remain at least for now. They sound nice and I already have them.

My thought was to have a pair of amps with a chromecast audio each, and then you could have two 'zones' of audio within the house, say if someone is in the living room and someone else wants the radio on in the kitchen. It may well also be that we get a chromecast for the TV and then could pair that and use the speaker system with the tv. We have speaker outlets in four rooms, plus a pair of cables that could go to outside speakers.

I notice one of the switch units from the above has an 'a-b' buttons as well as the on-off and volume controls which would be quite nice, else by thought was a 2-way dp grid switch for each room. Obviously the doesnt allow room-room volume balancing.

At this stage mainly I need work out if I am terminating each room in two pairs of euro-plate binding posts to an external switch unit, or taking them all to a grid switch and back to binding posts for the amp connection.


Daniel

MrSparks

493 posts

58 months

Monday 28th January
quotequote all
VEX said:
Of couse, by switching in the way shown on MrSparks's site, each time you switch a room in or out the volume will change, because you are sharing the power with another set of speakers.

MrSparks is that an impedance matching speaker switch, to maintain the correct impedance to the source amp so you dont overload it?

V.
Hi Vex,

Yeah they are protected switches so the amplifier always sees 5 ohms.

There are a few cons to speaker switches but I find people either want to spend money on multiple amps, or they don’t. And those that don’t are generally happy with the nuances of speaker switches.

With the likes of chromecast and Alexa etc and relatively cheap amplifiers like the tangent or our built in amplified ceiling speakers (from £199) it’s becoming easier and more cost effective to get decent whole home audio without using speaker switches.



MrSparks

493 posts

58 months

Monday 28th January
quotequote all
dhutch said:


At this stage mainly I need work out if I am terminating each room in two pairs of euro-plate binding posts to an external switch unit, or taking them all to a grid switch and back to binding posts for the amp connection.


Daniel
Speaker posts.

You’ll need to use protected speaker switches between the amplifier and the cables else you’ll get impedance problems which can kill your amps.

Depending on number of speakers per amp you might need a speaker switch per amp.

dhutch

2,895 posts

135 months

Monday 28th January
quotequote all
MrSparks said:
Speaker posts.

You’ll need to use protected speaker switches between the amplifier and the cables else you’ll get impedance problems which can kill your amps.

Depending on number of speakers per amp you might need a speaker switch per amp.
Right, so there is some sort of impedance matching/protection magic in the switch units? All/most switch units or just some?

There are four rooms currently wired, plus a spare pair of cables.

Is K&B audio your company? Obviously getting on for the price of two used amps, but this has the a-b zone switching obviously.

https://kitchenbathroomradio.co.uk/accessories/spe...

Daniel

MrSparks

493 posts

58 months

Tuesday 29th January
quotequote all
dhutch said:
Right, so there is some sort of impedance matching/protection magic in the switch units? All/most switch units or just some?

There are four rooms currently wired, plus a spare pair of cables.

Is K&B audio your company? Obviously getting on for the price of two used amps, but this has the a-b zone switching obviously.

https://kitchenbathroomradio.co.uk/accessories/spe...

Daniel
Hi Daniel,

Yes K&B is my website. The AV link switches are protected. The one with volume controls is recommended for 8 ohm speakers only. You can use two amps but to four zones. So you can effectively have two different sources and choose what you want in each. As long as you have a max of four pairs of speakers.

The QED ones on the site use a different type of protection and must be 8 ohm speakers.

Not all speaker switches have impedance matching so be wary. There are two cheaper AV link ones on my site for instance which aren’t protected.

dhutch

2,895 posts

135 months

Tuesday 29th January
quotequote all
Right ok, we'll have to have a look.

Current speaker are a pair of B&W 603s2's which are norminal 8ohm, a pair of Wharfedale 9.1's nominal 6ohm and some cheepy brand bookcases without spec.

Electrician has already chased out for a bank of do switches because I sketched it's out and didn't tell him to work elsewhere for now.

Two double sockets, one network sockets, one speaker out, and a pair a bit lower for the switches. But obviously it can be re-appropated and or filled in.





Daniel