Audio Equipment and Home Theater Audio : Home stereo set-up help for a technical dunce.

Home stereo set-up help for a technical dunce.

G'day guys. I'm crap with technology. A bit of a Luddite I suppose, and would love some input.

I'm moving into a new house shortly, and this house consists of 3 separate areas where I would like to have music - upstairs, downstairs and on the back deck. I'm looking to put in place a (cheap) system where I can play my tunes off my ipod, off CDs, off the radio and off my records into any of these areas separately, or into all of them at the same time if I choose.

The equipment that I have now is: my ipod. That is all - I will need to purchase the rest.

I'm not looking for top of the range stuff, just looking for ideas how to set up the wiring / speakers etc so I can switch the music between the various areas in my house.

Thanks for your help.

Re: Home stereo set-up help for a technical dunce.

Some receivers include "B" speaker connections which could be used to supply another room. With a wireless (or wired) remote control repeater, you could send commands to that receiver and to a CD changer and/or Ipod using universal remotes in each room. Or, with RF remotes that send to an IR blaster. X10 should have something like that.

Buy a low-power FM stereo transmitter (if it's legal), and use radios or receivers or ghetto blasters. Or, a wireless (900 MHz or 2.4 GHz) A/V transmitter and a bunch of receivers (if sold separately), and send audio (and video) to the other rooms. I've heard that S/PDIF (digital audio bitstream) can be sent through the "video" jacks of those, if you happen to have a receiver or source with S/PDIF out, and receivers or DACs or processors that can accept digital in. (S/PDIF can probably be sent over twisted pair, if wired is better.) I've occasionally seen "home theater in a box" processor/amps in a thrift store for under $30. That's not a terrible option... they're smaller than receivers, and they may sound OK if you hook them up to real speakers.

Alternatively, there are network music player "appliances" that could play content from a common server over ethernet or WiFi. Or make your own from old laptops running something like XBMC. Or use a Chumby; not sure how hi-fi they are, but they're small and have built-in touchscreens.

And, finally there's professionally-installed systems with remote panels and multichannel amps located in a wiring closet. If you live in a gated community with a house that from a distance appears to consist entirely of roof, that's the way to go.

Re: Home stereo set-up help for a technical dunce.

First of all, how many speakers are you wanting to have in each area? For example, do you want 2 outside, 5 downstairs and 5 upstairs or 2 to 4 in each area? Also, are you wanting surround sound downstairs and upstairs? Let me know what you're thinking as far as how many speakers in each area and also if you're wanting surround sound in one of those areas.

Re: Home stereo set-up help for a technical dunce.

If you are not going to do true "5.1 Digital surround sound" for some of this, look for a 1970's high power Pioneer or Sony receiver and speakers to match. Some of these units can run up to three sets of speakers simultaneously and can have up to 200-300 watts of REAL audio power. Not the bullshiat ratings today.

The audio quality off these systems, when set up properly, are phenomenal, and blows away anything made today and all you have to do is get a 1/8 inch (Headphone size) to RCA jack adapter to plug your ipod into this system.

For surround sound, build this system piece by piece. An H/K AVR (Harmon Kardon) would be a good start.

Re: Home stereo set-up help for a technical dunce.

Hi guys, thanks for the replies - haven't checked in here in a while.

I'm not looking for surround sound - just something with decent clarity (and a little volume too when required). I was thinking of just two speakers in each space.

Re the 70's receiver - there's a Pioneer SA-600 Stereo Amp from the early 70s (supposedly in good working condition) on ebay for a low price - is this the type of thing I should be looking at?

If I go with a simple amp / speaker set-up, how do I install a switching system to chose the areas to play the music?

Re: Home stereo set-up help for a technical dunce.

Sorry for the late reply, like you, I haven't checked back either

Here's Pioneer that you should be looking for

And speakers

As to your quesition,

run a high power speaker switch and set the speakers up in the rooms and use the switch to choose which speakers you want to use.

Re: Home stereo set-up help for a technical dunce.

First there is no need to buy an amp/receiver from the 1970's that may last another 10 years or may go out the next day. I have one of these, for $300+ it is a great buy new,read the reviews has a sub out, plenty of power.
I think it has two sets of speaker inputs, can use a set in another room.

For inexpensive speakers check these out
Another way of putting music in other rooms is to do it wireless any of these are great, the boombox has built in speakers the others dont.

Re: Home stereo set-up help for a technical dunce.


A well maintained, properly serviced high power Pioneer from the 1970's will outperform ANY receiver today and more than likely outlast it because there's fewer to no digital components. The power output ratings today are pure BS. The older receivers audio power ratings are TRUE power, the Pioneer that I brought to OP's attention has 165 watts true power and can safely drive 3 sets of speakers at the same time. My Aunt has a HUGE Sony receiver from the late 70's that can do 250 watts.

Another huge advantage is true Bass management. Something that 90% of HT receivers don't have, unless you are willing to spend a small fortune and they sound horrible even with decent speakers. I am currently using an H/K 235 as the home theater preamp, 120 watt RCA vacuum tube movie theater amps from the 1960's as the mains, a Sherwood 36 watt tube amp for the center, and a Sherwood S5500II stereo tube amp for the phono preamp and surround amp. The speakers are matched cerwin vega with a 300 watt sub.

I hear details on this system during movies that are missing on most if not Solid State systems. Blu Ray is beyond amazing.

At one point just out of curiosity, I DID hook up the H/K to the speakers, and all the detail and crispness of the sound disappeared. The audio amp for the 235 is rated at 50 watts. I then hooked up an early 80's MCS receiver rated for 35 watts per channel and the bass EXPLODED into the room. It was literally shaking the walls with speakers rated at 110db @ 1 watt.

The OP is not interested in home theater for regular listening, this is a basic two speaker stereo. I did suggest HK as a starting point for Home Theater.

Re: Home stereo set-up help for a technical dunce.

artcurus, I agree with most of what you say. However the H&K was offered because the Op stated he was crap with technology. With that in mind, that is why I suggested the H&K new with a 2 year warranty. As someone who has a collection of solid state audio from the 1970's early 80's (Summo,SAE,GAS) I have had to replace capacitors & resistors. As after 20 years this needs to be done. Unless one can do this, it can get expensive to have it done. Now if he can find a nice unit that has had this done and proof of it, for a fair price then great go for it. If not I still recommend the H&K, IT IS A 2 CHANNEL STEREO Receiver. H&K is one of the few audio companys that give fair specs on their power also, this one clipped at 150 watts at 4 ohm, so 120 watts is fair.
Best price I found was $339.95

The insanely powerful HK 3490 combines all of an audiophileÂ’s must-haves (high performance phono preamp, preout/main-in jacks, high-current amplification) with an array of multichannel extras (digital-audio inputs, video switching, dual subwoofer outputs and Dolby® Virtual Speaker technology). Add The Bridge II docking station, and the HK 3490 will connect as elegantly to your newfangled iPod as it does to your time-honored turntable. The HK 3490 isnÂ’t a snob about where the music comes from, as long as it sounds great when it reaches its final destination: your ear

Description Stereo receiver
Power @ 8 Ohms, <0.07% THD 120 x 2
Power @ 4 Ohms, <0.2% THD 150 x 2
Bandwidth 20Hz – 20kHz
HCC (Amps) ±45
Bandwidth @ 1W (+0/–3dB) 10Hz – 110kHz
Discrete Amplifier Output Devices Yes
Digital Inputs (2-Ch PCM) (Coax/Optical) 1/1
Audio Inputs 7
Video Inputs 4 (1 on front panel)
Video Outputs 1
XM Ready®1 Tuner Yes
The Bridge-Ready Yes
Phono Input Yes
Dolby® Virtual Speaker Yes
Dolby® Headphone Yes
Tape Monitor Loop Yes
Tuner AM/FM stereo with 30 presets
A/B Speaker Switching Yes
Dual Subwoofer Outputs Yes
Preamp Outputs/Main Amp Inputs Yes
Accessory Outlets 2 Switched
System Remote Yes
IR-In/Out Jacks Yes