Nothing takes the edge off after a long day at work, like listening to music. What would be better than having an entire house filled with high-quality music? It may sound too good to be true, but it is possible to install a sound system that plays music for your whole home from one central location.
It’s important to think through the various rooms, sources, speakers, installation, and controls. If you’re having trouble making an up-front plan to meet goals within your budget, we’re here to help with this informational guide.
Make a Home Audio Plan
Planning ensures your whole-house system delivers its intended performance across every room. With our years of experience, we recommend approaching the process thoughtfully, much like creating a home theater. First, determine your rooms, sources, components, and control system that aligns with your listening vision.
Rooms to Include
Assess which rooms to service, understanding their purpose. For example, emphasize movie and TV audio in home theaters but prioritize background music in gathering spots like the kitchen. Consider enabling both music and cinema sound in multi-use spaces like living rooms. More rooms add to the total cost, so focus first on where you listen most.
Audio Sources to Include
Consider audio sources that will feed sound throughout the house. Many homeowners locate a whole-house system in the middle of the entertaining area for a central theater receiver/preamp, located where you can distribute the audio. Other options include stand-alone streamers, media servers, or networked devices like Sonos ports. Supporting multiple, decentralized sources adds complexity quickly, so it’s best to have one central system.
Speaker performance often dictates your house music system satisfaction. Assess key elements like tweeters, woofers, and subwoofers needed per room. Small spaces may only require two speakers, while larger rooms may need more. Research optimal wattages when selecting amplifiers that will power your speakers reliably. When in doubt, install quality brands to ensure durability.
Wired Speakers Vs. Wireless Speakers
Compare installing wired speakers vs. a wireless configuration. Bluetooth and WiFi remove wiring complexity, making it easy to relocate speakers. However, sound fidelity diminishes with wireless speakers compared to wired speakers. Streaming issues can also disrupt playback, so if budget allows, blend both wired and wireless speakers for maximum flexibility.
Audio Control System
Evaluate your control system options: in-wall keypads, touch panels, home automation platforms, and voice assistants. Keypads provide intuitive room-to-room access, while touch panels enhance that interface further. Features like app connectivity and voice control for on-demand adjustments can greatly improve your listening experience, so choose the level of smart interactivity your family will actually use.
Install the Audio System
Once you buy the components you want, position speakers per room using manuals as guides. Place speakers at least 2 feet from adjacent walls so sound disperses throughout the space. DIY installation is doable when you keep the audio system simple, but in-wall speakers or custom programming requires expert installers.
If you perform the installation, follow instructions carefully and have an electrician check connections. If hiring out, vet several companies thoroughly, checking experience, referrals, and costs. Get quotes from multiple companies before choosing one to install your system.
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So, Is Whole-House Audio Worth Installing?
Investing in a whole-house audio system that plays music simultaneously through every room creates an integrated experience, unlike traditional stand-alone speakers. Built-in architectural speakers blend into your home’s aesthetic while delivering enveloping sonic saturation that’s customizable per room. Better yet, having one centralized audio system allows for simpler command of your music in every room.
As a bonus, completed audio designs boost your home value for future buyers. The high initial cost keeps many homeowners from installing a system, but it can pay off in enjoyment for years to come and leave you with a key selling point when you’re ready to move. Where the budget allows, a whole-house audio system can improve your home’s aesthetic and entertainment value.
FAQs About Whole-House Audio
What are the benefits of whole-house audio?
The benefits of whole-house audio include house-wide listening, clean built-in speakers, integrated voice controls, and increased home value from modernized amenities.
What rooms should I include?
Lead with rooms where you listen most, like kitchens, living areas, and outdoor spaces. Extend into secondary rooms over time if your budget allows.
How much does whole-house audio cost?
Costs vary widely based on room count, equipment, install complexity, and hiring costs. However, at minimum, expect to spend around $2,000, with higher-end systems approaching $10,000.
What components do I need?
Some must-have elements for your audio system are central audio sources like streaming devices and preamps, distributed speakers per room, amplifiers, and integrated control systems.