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#43116 17-Oct-2009 14:16
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Hi - looking for some advice here. We recently did a major reno on our house and had wiring put in for home theatre in the lounge, plus audio speakers in the open-plan family/dining/kitchen. I'm now contemplating buying the kit to get all working. Have a Sony full HD LCD and need to buy an amp to use with this. It has been suggested to me by Sony that their STRDA3400 would be a good choice as it will do the second zone; also it has the Bravia Sync feature. Q1 - any comments re. this unit, and suggestions for suitable alternatives? Q2 - I'd like to use Itunes as my music source for the 2nd zone - we have a wireless network running, also distributed wired network. What would I need to make this happen? I've seen a couple of devices that seem to do the job inexpensively - Apple Airport and Squeezebox Touch. Or should I be looking for an amp that has such functionality built in? Is there such a product? Thanks.

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  #264626 17-Oct-2009 17:30
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As far as the Bravia Synch feature goes, any compliant CEC AV receiver should be able to talk to your Bravia TV. For instance I have set up the following combos either for myself or friends: Panasonic TV to Onkyo Receiver, Panasonic TV to Denon Receiver, Panasonic TV to Sony Receiver, Sony TV to Sony Receiver. All worked to the level of On/Off and volume control with the TV remote. What I'm getting at is don't think you are limited to only Sony-Sony, because as I have discovered, even Panasonic-Sony worked!

I had zone2 set up originally on my Pioneer AX4 and while it was effective it was complicated for the rest of the family to get their heads around multiple second zone sources. The AX4 (old tech now) has a USB connection and I use that to feed sounds from the family PC when required. There are receivers appearing that have ethernet connections to allow you to access music from a server. From memory both Yamaha and Denon have a secondary zone2 remotes which simplifies things for controlling zone2 (I'm not sure about Yamahas CEC capability). Having been caught out a couple of times by AV equipment features I try to download the manual and have a good ferret around to make sure it will do what I want. So find out how difficult it will be to run from another room where you have no display to tell you what is going on, and remember you will need to get the IR signal back to the receiver as well.
I guess what I'm saying is that unless it is easy to operate it will fall into disuse.

As for Q2. Can't comment as I haven't tried either of those products.

Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.


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  #264633 17-Oct-2009 17:49
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Thanks for the feedback. I was figuring I could drive Itunes from a laptop on the kitchen bench. The pre-wiring incorporated provision for a volume control in the 2nd zone. Would I need any more control, other than to select/start/stop music and adjust volume level? The cabling to the speakers is 2 x 4-core cables - I guess I could use some of the spare cores for the IR signal for the remote, if needed.


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  #264667 17-Oct-2009 19:58
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Normally HT Receivers use channels 6 and 7 for zone 2 and use their own internal volume control. I don't know how the receiver's amplifiers would take to an external volume control (beyond my level of expertise I'm afraid). Integrated audio (and video) is tricky to get right which is why cedia certified installers are so expensive.
All I can say is that after having a multi-zone house-wide system that I could drive quite happily I have in the end segregated the zones (all the equipment is in a central cupboard) using separate components because my family couldn't operate the complicated one.  It has an HT receiver for the lounge, another for the Family/HT room (and my oldest AV receiver shortly to be pressed into service for the pool/deck area). The sources go to more than one receiver though.
Audio systems like SONOS do it all for you but they are NOT cheap.

Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.

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  #264672 17-Oct-2009 20:28
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Separate receivers is the way to go - a cheap one is less then the most basic part of a proper whole house system, and using zone 2 on amps means dumb stuff like only playing analog sources, only switching composite video and other ridiculous limitations.


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  #264994 19-Oct-2009 10:08
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richms: Separate receivers is the way to go - a cheap one is less then the most basic part of a proper whole house system, and using zone 2 on amps means dumb stuff like only playing analog sources, only switching composite video and other ridiculous limitations.

Yeah exactly what he said.
You need to spend a lot to get a zone 2 system that works like you'd really expect it to, and that's easy to use.

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