Help me plan my A/V setup for a complete home remodel
Mar 5, 2019
Help me plan my A/V setup for a complete home remodel - Ars Technica OpenForum Background: I'm ripping my whole house apart this year, down to the studs.
We're putting in new everything-- plumbing, electrical, insulation, drywall, floors, trim... the works. It's a single-story home that will have a moderately open floor plan.The living room will be the home to the TV. I have a really nice custom front-end 3.1 speaker setup and I'm going to put however many speakers I need in the ceiling for Atmos. I likely won't have proper rear surrounds (there are limits to what my wife will put up with for aesthetics, although really inconspicuous in-walls might be a possibility) but I've always felt that a great 3.1 setup is waaaay better than a mediocre 5.1 or 7.1 anyways. And depending on how everything ends up sounding I might go with an additional subwoofer too but that's pretty straightforward.I have a Marantz 5011 receiver and a separate amp for the sub(s). I'll likely be buying an additional amplifier for at least the 3 front channels, but that's pretty straightforward since the Marantz has pre-outs for all channels. I'm thinking Emotiva for the amp, but I'm open to other power amplifiers in that range as well.I'll likely do an nVidia Shield for the living room home theater content.That's all fairly straightforward and easy, and my real questions come in for the rest of the house. For that, I'd like things to be as absolutely easy as possible. It should be as easy as "Hey Alexa, play some jazz in the kitchen" without any need to switch sources, turn on amps, or do anything else. As far as I can tell that precludes me from using the Zone 2 stuff on the Marantz, but I'm not sure what product I would use to do this. Is there an easy way to connect an Alexa or Google Home to an always-on system that's hooked up to wired wall speakers? Is there a way to also have that ready and available for me to select as a destination for Spotify from my phone or laptop (again, without any direct manipulation or settings changes)?Ideally there will be two additional zones outside of the living room-- the kitchen and the back patio. I'd like to be able to use either of those for audio, or both at once. I've seen the Sonos stuff but the price just looks outrageous, and I don't need to worry about anything being wireless since I can run speaker wires wherever I need them in the walls and ceilings. I'm fine having a volume knob somewhere for each non-living room zone as well.What sort of products should I be looking for? I think my use case is pretty common, but I really want to avoid any sort of vendor lock-in, per-use setup/configuration, or other barriers to simplicity.