The vast majority of new homes are equipped for whole-house audio with speakers located throughout the living areas for distribution of music, TV or DVD audio. Many of those homes are built "ready" for multi-room sound but the builder has opted to merely cable the speakers to a central location -- leaving the installation of a distribution device up to the new home owner. In this section and the ensuing sub-sections we'll explore the various solutions for multi-room audio distribution and also offer options for adding speaker zones to existing homes.
I've added this section due to the numerous inquiries that I've received from homeowners who have moved into a home with existing speakers throughout the new house but are unsure what to do with them and also from those who want to add speakers to their existing home to provide multi-zone audio distribution.
Homes Pre-wired for Multi-Room Audio
The easiest solutions to implement are in homes that come pre-wired with speaker wire and Cat5 cable to speakers already installed in various areas of the house. The wiring usually leads to a structured wiring panel in a closet or to a speaker panel in the family room. Some homes come with four conductor speaker wires to each location and some only have standard two-conductor wire. To explore solutions for pre-wired homes check out --- Solutions for homes with existing multi-room speaker wiring.
Adding Multi-Room Audio to Existing Homes
If you don't have whole-house audio but would like to add it to your existing home you have two options -- retro-fit your house by running wire to each location or implement a wireless solution. Wiring an existing home may or may not be feasible depending upon the availability of ceiling and wall access for routing the necessary wiring. To explore options for adding multi-room audio to an existing older home check out --- How to add multi-room audio wiring.