Best Whole House Audio?

My brother is preparing to build a new house, and wants audio in every room. Can anyone recommend a good system or set of components for this? He wants individual volume controls for each room, and would like it if it were possible to use multiple sources simultaneously (but in different rooms, of course), so I guess some kind of distributed controls would be needed. Yikes - and I thought two channel was getting complicated!


Niles makes good volume controls for individual room. They aren't what I would call audiophile grade by any stretch--but they are low noise and worth the difference in price from the no-name brand ones. There are a number of good in wall speakers. It's really a matter of budget. ADS and Parasound both are very good and not overly expensive. Triad makes very good in walls, but they are considerably more expensive. I generally recommend class B amplifiers for this application. They run cooler, they're cheaper, and you really aren't going to get the benefits of class A amplification in this application. Wiring: Get good quality 4 strand wiring. Depending on the length of runs and number of runs you could consider Audioquest CV-4 in bulk. If that's too much, there are plenty of other good quality wires out there for about 1/3 the cost or even less. Now there's a new device out on the market, but I can't remember the name of it. I saw it a Red Rose Music. It is basically a CD digital storage (not a juke box, but a hard disk storage). It is scalable. It can be used with different levels of compression--including no compression for the purist. As many as 6 rooms can be listening to different program material from it!! I didn't listen to it, ask the price, or remember the name (a lot of help I am here)--but I definitely remember the concept--and really liked it for whole house audio. Perhaps another Audiogoner will remember--or you can call Red Rose--they'll know what I'm talking about. Another way of multiple controls/sources is to use a receiver with multi-room. It's basically tape loops, but set up in a more intuitive way. Denon makes a few receivers with this--but I don't know how many different sources can be used at one time--I think 3 may be the max. Hope that helps--good luck on the home.
Multiroom audio is overlooked by audiophiles, and it's a shame. I love my multiroom system, and I get to listen to a lot more music than on my highend system off in corner room. The rock'n'roll kitchen is a grin factory!

If sound quality and musicality are your brother's priorities, then he should consider Linn. It's expensive (a dealer told me to expect $2k per room), but compared to Niles and Parasound, which are good companies at their price points, the Linn gear is superior in every respect, and the build quality and reliability are first class. The Linn systems do not have as much functionality as some others, but it's still good. Personally, I have no problem with single disc CD players or the lack of a display that can tell me the title of the CD playing in the bedroom, but that stuff is more important to some. I would also strongly advise that he stay away from in-wall speakers wherever possible. There are so many really good minimonitors and stands that it's a waste to build up a nice front end and then connect it to an in-wall. One other recommendation: Transparent The Wall speaker cable. At $4/ft it is cheap, flexible and shielded. It delivers great sound even over long runs.

I would suggest that your brother contact a reputable sound engineer in his area and do it right the first time. This should allow him the choice of systems at different price points to fit his current and possible future needs. I would go with the best speakers and cabling that he can afford to start (as these will most likely be permanent fixtures in all of the rooms, except the main listening room) and if he needs to cut the budget, do so on the electronics which can then be upgraded at a later date. The system could be designed with this in mind, if he cannot afford the best (or what he really wants) at this time. I assume that he would be able to use the sources in the main system for the rest of the house and that the additional rooms would just go through some sort of processor, switching system or tape loops with seperate amplification being used for the secondary rooms.
Heck of a start folks, thanks very much. Other issues have predominated of late, so I haven't gotten any further than this as yet - I'll post whatever I find as I find it, I guess.

I do agree that whole house is an audio orphan, though - how else to explain how few options there appear to be? I also agree that in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are probably not where we want to go, but Bro has concerns re: layout and furniture placement flexibility. Nothing insurmountable, I shouldn't think, just have to strategically place outlets as needed - but since he keeps changing the floorplan right now, we may be here a while. I agree about the mini-monitors, but think we might be looking at a high wall mount instead of stands - sorta using the ceiling for the floor in a traditional application. I've only done that once, with outdoor speakers in a hot tub room; though they weren't audiophile grade by a long shot, I did get adequate separation and reasonably balanced tone, though obviously not a "soundstage" to speak of. I spent a grand total of 15 minutes setting them up, too, so it's hardly a fair fight, eh?

As far as the budget goes, he's a big city lawyer (don't think I don't choke on that now and then, but...he's still my brother :-)) and is completely willing to spend like a drunken big city lawyer - so I think this is going to be fun! (Unless I do the reasonable thing and take Dekay's suggestion - then it's just another contractor to deal with and we'll probably get wonderful sound everywhere - but where's the challenge in that??

Costrack, considering the budget, just do it yourself and pick up all of the dregs that come from upgrading. You know, a keep it in the family, kind of thing.
Dekay - I've been wondering just how many Paradigms it takes to choke a NAD!!