Whole house music and multi-room systems are very popular in homes and living spaces of all shapes and sizes. There are many ways streaming music throughout the house including wired and/or wireless connections that allow control from anywhere. You can use your existing receiver as a central hub or install a fully dedicated whole home music system . The amount of effort involved can vary from adding a speaker switch to the receiver, a do-it-yourself wired/wireless network, or something more complex that would require professional installation. However, there are various advantages and disadvantages of different methods.

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Building a Simple Multi-Room Music System Using a Receiver

AV-ресивер с пультом Denon AVR-S710W 7.2-канальный Full 4K Ultra HD AV-ресивер с Bluetooth и WIFI

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What we like
  • The easiest two-room installation.

  • Just add speakers and run wires.

  • You can use a separate switch for more rooms .

What we don’t like
  • Only one source.

  • Required run speaker wires to other rooms .

The simplest multi-room music system uses Speaker B switch, built into stereo or home theater. The Speaker B output is capable of powering an additional pair of speakers, even if they are in another room.

All you have to do is run the speaker wires to connect them all together. People who may want to add more speaker sets can do so with a separate speaker selector switch. And if you need easy access to volume/adjustment, control panels can be added along with switches.

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Multi-room and multi-source systems using a receiver

Задняя часть усилителя или ресивера с проводами, идущими к динамикам

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What we like
  • Multi-source can send individual audio sources to different rooms.

  • Independent control in each zone.

What we don’t like
  • It is necessary to run additional wires between the rooms.

  • You may need to install IR control to adjust the sound from anywhere in the house.

Many home theaters have built-in features multiple zones and multiple sources which means that each room or zone can listen to different audio sources (CD, DVD, streaming, player, etc.) at the same time.

Some receivers have multi-channel outputs for stereo music (and sometimes video) in three zones, and some models have line (non-powered) outputs that require a separate stereo amplifier in each zone.

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Music over a wired home network

Кабели Ethernet любого цвета

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What we like
  • Uses existing network wiring.

  • Many system options are available.

What we don’t like
  • Requires special CAT-5 or CAT-6 wiring.

  • May require professional installation.

If you have a home with a computer network already installed, you have a huge advantage. Running wires through existing walls is one of the most difficult and expensive parts of installing whole house music systems.

Network wiring with CAT-5e or CAT-6 cable used to connect a computer network can carry analog and digital line-level audio to remote areas via multi-zone audio systems available from several manufacturers.

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Music over a wireless home network

Широкополосный маршрутизатор Linksys Wi-Fi Wireless-G Широкополосный маршрутизатор

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What we like
  • Good sound quality.

  • No interior wiring.

What we don’t like
  • Typically an easy setup, but may require some networking skills and/or additional hardware.

If you don’t have a pre-connected home network, and if you can’t consider upgrading to a wired network, there is another solution: go wireless. As wireless technology has improved, there are also opportunities for wireless audio distribution. It’s a great way to enjoy your personal music library or other audio sources throughout your home.

The most common wireless technology is WiFi (Wireless Fidelity). No doubt you have heard the term used for the wireless network of computers. The same technology has found its way into multi-room audio systems.

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Simple and Affordable Wireless Audio Solutions

Базовый медиа-адаптер от Apple TV

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What we like
  • Easy setup.

  • Inexpensive and expandable.

What we don’t like
  • An adapter is required for each zone.

  • The only source of.

  • The reception quality depends on the distance.

The easiest and most affordable way to wirelessly transfer audio content from one room to another is with digital media or a wireless adapter available from a number of manufacturers. These adapters transfer audio signals wirelessly between two or more components, such as between a PC and stereo receiver (or even a subwoofer), or a receiver and a desktop system.

You can enjoy wireless music almost anywhere as long as you have a permanent connection. You can also use Bluetooth to connect speakers (or even headphones) to sound sources although it takes a few more steps to set up. But the good news is that additional adapters are relatively inexpensive and can quickly expand the system to include more rooms.

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Music over existing home wiring: Power Line Carrier technology

Powerline audio system by IO Gear
What we like
  • No need for new wiring; uses existing electrical wires.

  • An excellent choice for retrofitting.

  • Some systems are DIY, others require installation.

What we don’t like
  • AC line noise can interfere with radio reception, usually eliminated with a line filter.

  • Some systems require the installation of keypads for wall control.

Power Line Carrier (PLC) technology, also known as HomePlug, transmits stereo music and control signals throughout your home through your home’s existing electrical wiring . PLC products can upgrade the entire home music system without the need for new wiring. Complete systems and components are available or under development in a wide range of prices and features.

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Whole House Music Distribution Systems

На передней панели стереоресивера расположены ручки для регулировки громкости и входа.

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What we like
  • The best choice for performance and flexibility.

  • Built-in stereo amplifiers for each zone.

  • Multisource: Listen to any source in any room.

  • Expandable for more zones.

What we don’t like
  • Requires professional installation and connection of the system and speakers.

  • Most expensive option, depending on system size and installation cost.

Whole house music systems have a central component that sends music from selected sources (CD, player, radio, etc.) to each zone. It can send line-level signals to amplifiers in every room, or have built-in amplifiers and tuners. All of these systems allow you to listen to any source in any zone and can be expanded from four to eight or more zones.

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Built-in and Ceiling Loudspeakers for Whole Home Systems

Residential Ceiling Surround Speaker
BanksPhoto / Getty Images
What we like
  • Excellent sound quality.

  • Saves floor/shelf space.

  • Can be made to visually blend into walls or living spaces

What we don’t like
  • Involves more work possibly requiring professional installation/wiring.

Built-in speakers are a great idea for music systems throughout the home. They offer good to great sound quality, don’t take up floor or shelf space like standard speakers, and can be painted to blend in with the room’s décor and virtually disappear.

However wall speaker installation needs more work. Walls must be neatly cut and wires must be routed through the walls to connect to components. Depending on the complexity of the job, the number of speakers, and your skills, installing built-in speakers can be a do-it-yourself project or may require the services of a dedicated installer or electrician.

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