What Receiver should I use for ceiling speakers?

GoofyGoofT

Senior member
Dec 21, 2009
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I am in the process of remolding my kitchen and I am wanted to put some speakers in the ceiling and figured it might be neat to have speakers in the living room and bedroom so I can listen to music around the house.



I was looking for something to be able to hook up all the speakers and control it with a remote or better yet with my smart phone.



Not sure what I should be looking for or if there was a suggestion out there of what I should use.
 

razel

Platinum Member
May 14, 2002
2,260
62
101
Sound quality is not going to be great with recessed speakers in the ceiling. I would use them for surround purposes instead... but to answer. You don't need anything special. Your receiver just needs multi-zone capability. Your speaker wires should be the lowest gauge you can find that is UL rated. I believe 10 gauge is available.

However, with the way things are going. I'm seeing far more active speakers and smaller Bluetooth speakers that sound great, I'd go that route instead.
 

LoveMachine

Senior member
May 8, 2012
491
3
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As Razel said, any 5.1 or 7.1 AVR that has a multizone (often listed as A and B zones) will work. I wouldn't get the cheapest receiver out there (e.g. the $199 Sony), but any low/mid level Onkyo/Denon/Marantz/etc. would work fine. If presented with a choice of impedance with the ceiling speakers, go with the higher value (e.g. 8ohm vs. 4) since the multizone speakers are usually wired in parallel with the mains. Higher values present a lower stress on the amp. They aren't going to need a lot of wattage from the AVR though, so I wouldn't double the budget just to get an extra 20 watt rating per channel (which are vastly over-optimistic anyway).

Also, my midlevel Onkyo 709 from at least 4 years ago does have network capabilities with a smartphone app. It's clunky and outdated, but it does work over wifi, so I can control it from anywhere in the house. Any newer receiver with network functions will likely work even better.
 
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GoofyGoofT

Senior member
Dec 21, 2009
326
0
71
This has been extremely helpful so far. Sounds like I need to start by looking up multi-zone receivers and then look for the additional options.
I am very new to home autio.
 

slashbinslashbash

Golden Member
Feb 29, 2004
1,945
8
81
Really, any receiver will work. Multi-zone is only necessary if you want/need to play different music in different rooms. You could go really basic (something that always plays the same stuff at the same volume in all rooms, i.e. is not possible to turn off sound in the kitchen if it's on in the bedroom -- you could do this with pretty much any cheap receiver) to really complex (something that will play Pandora in the kitchen and iTunes in the bedroom and leave the living room turned off). It's really more just how much you want to spend and what level of control/complexity you want to have. There are a lot of variables:

A) How many sets of speakers will be powered?
B) Does each set need to be independently turned on/off/volume controlled?
C) Does each set need to be able to play a separate source?
D) How crazy of source selection do you need? CD, DVD, Internet Radio, iTunes / other media collection, etc.? Do you want to use something like a PC to control the sources, or tablet/phone/etc.?
E) How much do you want to spend?

Generally (as a first step above the "most basic" idea above) it would be a good idea to have a speaker volume control knob in each room near the light switches. This will require running wire down your walls to the knob and then back up into the ceiling to the speaker. This will allow you to control the volume in each room and turn it off completely in that room if you want.

There are (expensive) systems that are completely made for this (touchscreen panels in each room to select and control that room's music) or you can buy off-the-shelf components and put it together yourself. The only limit is your imagination and your budget. A multi-zone receiver is a good first step, but it might not be enough, or it might be overkill.

Of course the best option is to run all the necessary wires and whatnot for it to be easily possible to upgrade in the future, but just use the simplest possible system for now and see what upgrades you need in the future. At the very least I would (any place where you are already renovating) run the speaker wires down to a junction box in the wall before running them to the speakers in the ceiling. You can add the volume control or other controls later. Adding some kind of conduit for future wiring would be a good idea too. Just a simple 1" PVC pipe to a junction box in the wall would cover most needs. And the ability to access the other end of it in the attic and thread the wires down to your receiver / control area. (Conduit to the central control area should be bigger than 1".) That way you could, e.g., have a headphone jack right there in the wall and plug your phone or any other device into it whenever you wanted.
 

DeepPurple

Member
Aug 20, 2010
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0
0
Depends on the number of speakers and zones you need to drive. I handle ours with an older Denon. Works great.
 

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