When building or renovating a home, one of the questions that can come up is how to properly install a whole-home audio system. Being able to enjoy your favorite music or programming with high-quality sound anywhere in the home is a feature that you’ll wonder what you ever did without, once you have it installed.
Since there’s an abundance of options available, you’ll want to make sure to choose the right system and have it installed properly, so you can enjoy it for years to come.
But don’t get overwhelmed. AVDG is here to help.
We’ve developed this guide to the components and options available, so that you can have the knowledge needed to design the whole-home audio system of your dreams.
whole-home audio basics
Let’s start with how a whole-home audio system works. The basic idea is to have one audio source distribute sound to multiple rooms, either simultaneously or in select locations. The way this is accomplished is with a centralized audio receiver or amp (or a combination of both).
Capabilities of receivers can vary drastically. A basic receiver utilizes speaker switches, which distribute audio to different speakers. You can place the speakers in different rooms or “zones” to get the multi-room effect. A simple receiver with two or three switches is useful for distributing audio from a single source, like a vinyl record or digital music player. You can also add more speaker outputs as desired, depending on how many rooms you’d like sound distributed to. It’s easy to expand the system by adding to the “chain.”
It’s also possible to distribute multiple audio sources over the same system, such as streaming, CDs, digital files, DVDs, and vinyl. A home theater receiver with built-in multi-room outputs and multi-source features may be your best option in this case. While this can be convenient, it may not always distribute the best quality sound as a system designated exclusively to audio. A home theater receiver can also be more difficult to operate than an audio-only system. It just depends what you’re looking for.
wireless audio systems
A simple way to install whole-home audio is with wireless devices, since they don’t require you to run wires through the walls. While wireless technology used to result in lower-quality sound and spotty connections, modern Wi-Fi and Bluetooth systems like Sonos are capable of networking speakers that emit high-quality sound, tailored to each space in the home. If you go wireless, however, you’ll want to make sure that the strength of your wireless network is sufficient in each speaker location.
wired audio systems
Another way to distribute sound to multiple rooms is by hardwiring your speakers to the audio receiver. You may be able to achieve higher-quality, consistent sound in this way, but it may require a more complicated setup. In some cases, you can connect your speakers with an existing network. Wired systems also have the aesthetic benefit of being easy to hide or blend in with the decor, since all wires can be hidden in walls or ceilings—even the speakers themselves can be discreet.
hybrid audio systems
Many whole-home audio systems combine the best features of wired and wireless systems. You can maximize sound quality and connectivity in multiple rooms by hardwiring some speakers and going wireless with others. For example, in the rooms where you want to have the best-quality sound, such as in main living areas or a media room, you can wire them to the receiver. In far-reaching areas of the home, you could add wireless speakers that connect to the same system.
When designing your whole-home audio system, don’t forget about outdoor spaces. Well-placed speakers ensure that you’re always ready for a backyard cookout or an enjoyable ambience when in the pool or gardening.
Weatherproof speakers can be added to your in-home system. With a smart eye for design, they can easily blend in with your landscaping. State-of-the-art technology ensures you get crystal-clear sound that is ideal for you but doesn’t disturb the neighbors.
Depending on how complex your home audio system is, there might be quite a few options when it comes to controlling it. Having a centralized control system—such as a universal remote or mobile device application—streamlines your ability to adjust volume and sound distribution. At AVDG, we specialize in installing easy-to-use, touchscreen control systems that make it easy to adjust the sound in any room with just a few taps. Depending on the other technology being used in your home, you can use the same application to control other smart home features, such as lighting, security, and climate control.
Whole-home audio can be integrated with a fully automated smart home. Start the day right with the music or other audio programming of your choice each morning, distributed to the rooms you want to hear it in on a schedule. End the day in the same way, with relaxing sounds that can help put those in your household to sleep and go off on a timer. If you have a home theater setup, it can adjust automatically to your preferred settings when you turn it on, in sync with lighting if desired.
With evolving technology, you’ll want to ensure that you can upgrade your whole-home audio system’s features if and when you’re ready. With cutting edge technology, you can future-proof your system and add to it. In this way you get a fully customized system that adjusts when your needs and wants change.
AVDG’s experts can help
Whole-home audio systems can add significant quality to your everyday life. At AVDG, we specialize in designing and installing audio systems that are custom designed for every home and every client’s unique needs and tastes. With over 20 years of experience in the AV industry, we know what it takes to deliver state-of-the-art audio to any space. We love collaborating with homeowners to help them create their ideal living experience.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and explore your whole-home audio options.