These days it is common to see ceiling speaker audio setups in shopping malls, hotels and restaurants. Without spending a lot of money, you can install your system with a kind of semi-DIY option. This article will explain what hardware you’ll need to wire ceiling speakers of six rooms with independent volume and balance control at an affordable price.
What Do You Mean By Whole-House Ceiling Speaker Audio System?
You can connect 6 pairs of speakers (stereo), one pair for each room. These are 6 zones. You need concealed wiring and wall volume control in each room exactly like the setup required for LED spotlights. This part of the setup is permanent and usually will need at least an electrician, or better the sound professionals who regularly handle professional audio setups. You’ll find wall-mounted speakers at physical shops as well as online.
The cost of each speaker can range from $20 to $300. Bosch is a reputed brand that sells various electronics products worldwide and the cost of ceiling speakers from them is not too much. Now you need the volume/balance control panel. In any country, you’ll find this kind of “Wall Speaker Volume Control” :
These are made-in-China products with a dubious life span. If you omit this part, you’ll be dependent on the amplifier for volume. That is not what I can recommend. If your budget is lesser, then install the setup of each room one by one. As you can estimate, $100 is the minimum cost of setup for each room. So, for 6 rooms, your cost will be around $700 (because you need to buy the cables which must be a high-quality product).
The next hardware you’ll need is a “Zone Speaker Distribution Panel”. This component receives the input from an amplifier and distributes it to 6 to 8 pairs of stereo speakers. The cost of this component can be as low as $100, here is an example product:
You can read the reviews of buyers from all over the earth. In 2022, not many professionals are aware that this kind of stuff is available now for home. This product is clever and drastically reduces the total cost of the setup to build a whole-house ceiling speaker audio system.
The next hardware you’ll need is an amplifier. Try to purchase an amplifier from your country’s reputed brand. In the case of India, Sonodyne is a brand which can be suggested. If you want to purchase an amplifier from a multinational brand, then your cost will drastically increase and it will be meaningless since there are products from brands like Bosch which combine the function of a zoned speaker distribution panel and an amplifier.
The next hardware you will need is the player. You need either the AUX output or microphone output of any device which can play music. It is obvious that, if you use a smartphone as a source then the quality will not be just great. Smartphones such as S22 Ultra will need some paid software such as PowerAmp to decode high definition music files. It is best if you already have a good quality CD player from Sony or Panasonic. The more the speakers, player, cable and amplifier will be of superior quality, the better will be the sound even at low volume.
How You Compare This Kind of Audio Setup with Restaurants, Hotels and Shopping Plazas?
You can not compare the quality of sound with that of a 5-star hotel. They use professional solutions from JBL, Sony, and Yamaha. Often each brand has its internet or FM radio channels. That kind of setup demands an investment of many thousand dollars. What we have described delivers one source/channel of audio to each room with individual control. The audio in this case is converted to analogue.
Monosource, Bosch, Yamaha provides additional complex cabling to remote control the distributor/amplifier remotely from each room. The hardware is complex and justifies the price tag. But investing $6000 to $1000 for whole-house audio is not a luxury that everyone can afford.