Whole house volume controls?

Hi all,

I'm looking for a good source for volume controls that will go in each room. I've seen a number on the Internet, and would prefer to choose ones that don't degrade the signal any more than necessary.

All volume controls, by their design, degrade the bass response of a speaker. You would do better to install a system that has an amp for each room. Systems of this type are made by Russound, Elan, Crestron, etc. Control can be accomplished by any number of wireless rf systems if you do not have Cat5 run to each room.
Interesting. I have Cat5 and a single 16-ga. speaker wire running to each room, so I could choose either.

Are these little amps for each room actually decent quality? Can they drive bookshelf (as opposed to in-wall) speakers well?

I have an amp I can use centrally (Rotel bridged to mono, 300+ watts), so that option is cheaper for me, if it can work well. Has anyone used some sort of centralized impedance matching box that gets around the degradation tberhart is describing?

- Eric
Niles are very good, simple, reasonable price, and keep the signal good. That's not to say great--this is not an audiophile volume control, but for whole house, good quality background music where you don't want excessive noise from a cheap volume control, this is a good choice. I have used them in 2 homes now with good (not audiophile great) success.
Harman Kardon PA4000 may be what you are looking for, the volume control is remote keypad controlled and the speakers are drive directly by the amplifier
There are also available infra-red controlled panels that you can mount in each room with the master controller located at your system. You air your remote at the panel and it re-creates the signal at your system so that you can control everything, including your CD player from another room. This can also command the volumn controls for one set of speakers.
Thanks for the advice guys! Based on this info, I'm looking at impedance-matching volume controls from Niles Audio, Russound, and Sylvania.

I like Niles and Sylvania because they have higher power-handling capability -- 100w RMS, 200W peak. Russound is 45/126. Does this difference matter when I have 6 speakers powered by 300watts, or 3 speakers powered by 125 watts?

I like Sylvania because it appears to have less bass roll-off -- they say they do 20hz-20khz +/- 1db, where Niles reports +/- 2db (Russound doesn't report this statistic).

So two questions:

1. Do I need to worry about getting the highest power rating I can?

2. Which of these three is likely to provide best sound?


Can the Niles be used with spade terminations or do you have to use bare wire? I've looked at pictures on their website and it doesn't look like it will accomodate spades.

I'd suggest a call to Niles tech support. I got right through when I called, and they were very helpful.

Russound offers the choice of either screw-down or "snap connect" -- you order a different SKU if you want the snap connect.

- Eric