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Steve G.
Steve G., Master Technician
Category: Home Theater-Stereo
Satisfied Customers: 17987
Experience:  Audio Video System design and repair.
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I am building a system office. We have 18 speakers

Customer Question

I am building a system for an office. We have 18 speakers throughout and 12 zones. I want to be able to change both volume and audio streams to all 12 zones independently using an iPod touch. Ive looked into Russound Amps, combining those with Sonos "connect" units, but I want the best setup for the money and Im not sure this is it. The equipment is going to be rack mounted and I think I'll need 50w per channel, but Im not sure.
In detail, What would you recommend and please be ready to provide Amazon links to the equipment so I don't have to go through a re-seller.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Home Theater-Stereo
Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

Hello and thank you for the question. Here's the thing- with ONE Ipod you will be able to only stream ONE source of music to the Zones. For each Zone to be able to playback different sources- each Zone will need ONE Sonos "Bridge" per Zone (at $350 each x 12). The only other solution is to purchase a Home Theater receiver with a Main and Zone 2 Output- which will give you TWO sources, in addition to using the Ipod through "Sonos" which would be your 3 rd source.

So in order to have 12 independent Zones- you need 12 independent "Sources"- or you can have ONE Sonos connect to ALL Zones- and they will all stream the same music.

I'm afraid there is no simple way around that, as the music streaming devices only stream ONE source at a time.

For 12 channel Amps, the one at the link below is by far the best for the money- providing 60 watts per channel RMS, and stability into lower impedance loads for the extra 6 speakers that are sharing the 12 zones (18 speakers-12 zones= 6 extra speakers).

Amazon Link:

Then Sonos is still your best option (actually the only option), to be able to use ONE Ipod and stream to many different Sonos boxes- with each one obtaining it's own IP address and therefore being able to playback a different source than the other Sonos boxes (Sonos Connect):

Amazon link (ONE for each SOURCE you want to stream):

If you need further assistance let me know. Please do not forget to click a POSITIVE RATING before you go- as it's how I am credited for my work. You can follow up at any time, at no additional cost.

Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.
Do you need further assistance with this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi - Let me see if I can re-phrase this.I have 18 speakers.
I want to break them into 12 zones.
Each zone will have its own ipod.At home, Im able to do this with Sonos speakers without any issue at all using a single iphone. I can run independant stream to all of my speakers as a group or to each speaker individually. This should also be true for the type of system Im suggesting.
Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

The devil's in the details.

Okay so you have more than one Ipod- perfect. You only mentioned "An Ipod". With 12 Ipods you don't nee Sonos or anything else besides the multi-channel amp.

EACH Ipod will connect to a Zone's line Inputs. Since the amplifier above is 12 "channels" (not zones) you will need two of those amps.

Each Ipod will connect using an 1/8" to stereo RCA patch cable to feed each Zone.

That's all that's needed in this case.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok, let me further clarify. This is a medical office. I have 8 exam rooms. Each exam room will have an ipod IN THE ROOM. In addition there are 4 other areas that will also have their own ipod in the vicinity of the zone. So, I need to be able to use these ipods to both adjust the volume and the channel (stream) they are listening too.
Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

I'm not sure where there's further issues. Each Ipod by design will be able to access streaming music stations as well as stored music and they also have their own volume control. So again one Ipod plugged into each zone's line input will give you this flexibility. Was there something else I missed?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think whats missing is that the ipods will not be in the room with the AMP. So "plugging" them into the AMP is not an option.
Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

I thought you were versed in architectural wiring- my bad, I assumed you would mount a wall plate in each room with the signal cable running from the wall plate to the amp.

Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

That is what is done in the field.

Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

Single gang wall plate with 1/8" stereo jack.

Low voltage ring behind it.

24/2 shielded cable soldered to the back of the plate.

Each plate has a cable.

Each cable makes a "Home Run" back to the amp and accesses each of the 12 zones.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Nothing is being run into the room except the speaker wire to the speaker. The purpose of the ipod in the room is simply to allow an MD to turn the volume up or down or change the channel.
Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

Then this brings us right back to needed one Sonos Connect per each room.

Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

If each room is going to stream a different source, and NO wires will be used, then one connect box is needed per each zone. There again, is no way around that.

Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

It would be MUCH more costs effective and practical to run a small signal cable into the room along with the speaker wire. However that's your call. Without having a signal wire, AND wanting a separate stream for each room, one Sonos box would be needed- per room.

Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

You can see the connect only has one audio output that can be used at a time, so therefore only one stream per connect box. The manual is below for reference:

If you need further assistance let me know. Please do not forget to click a POSITIVE RATING before you go- as it's how I am credited for my work. You can follow up at any time, at no additional cost.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I guess I just cant make this very clear. I want another option the a Sonos Connect to stream to each of these zones wirelessly. Are you telling me that there are no brands and no models that will do what Im asking anywhere for any cost? I find that a little hard to believe.
Expert:  Aric replied 2 years ago.

I will have to opt out as I cannot find any other way to explain that there are no wireless streaming boxes that will stream form multiple sources, and send to multiple amps at the same time. I've searched high and low for jobs I was putting together myself for clients, and the options are Sonos, or Bose Soundlink. You can research yourself if you'd like since you're convinced there's another option?

Expert:  Steve G. replied 2 years ago.

Hello there and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you today. I am an engineer with over 30 years of electrical and electronic training, repair and installation experience. I will try and answer your question accurately and precisely so that we can get you on your way.

Just so that I understand fully.

1. You have 12 zones/rooms each with ceiling/wall speakers and an iPod to control the music.
2. You want to have the ability to play completely different sources (assuming internet streaming sources) in each room, or combine rooms including ALL the rooms together if required and control this from the iPods.
3. There is no wiring to the rooms except to the speakers.

4. The wiring goes back to a central location.

Please let me know so that we can continue.



Expert:  Steve G. replied 2 years ago.

Ok, I have to step out so here's my $0.02. There is one alternative to Sonos from a Canadian startup called Bluesound. The streaming options aren't as numerous as for Sonos and the boxes are more expensive. Bluesound supports multiple controllers which can be iOS or Android.

Since you have speakers already, you would need the powered amp with speaker terminals.

Bluesound's powered amp is called the Power Node and is $699 at CRUTCHFIELD.

The Sonos equivalent is the CONNECT:AMP and is $499 at SONOS

There is no other way of doing what you want to do.

Please let me know if I can help you further.