Enjoy your favorite tunes from every room with a whole-home sound system

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It’s no secret that the days of record players and cassette decks are long gone. Today, you can hold thousands of songs in the palm of your hand or access an entire music library with the touch of a button. But it’s not just the technology for storing your favorite tunes that has changed dramatically—the entire listening experience has been brought to a whole new level. And you can enjoy one of the biggest benefits of the industry’s many high-tech developments in the comfort of your own home with a whole-house sound system.

The basics

According to Ben Komar, president and CEO of Home Control Works and member of the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA), “With a whole-home sound system, sound sources can be played throughout the home—inside and out—for parties and events, or individuals can simply select music for their personal enjoyment.” So, if you’re in the kitchen, your spouse is in the bedroom and your kids are out on the back deck, you can simultaneously enjoy music from your iPod, MP3 player, laptop, Internet radio or music subscription service. If you have more than one of these sources, each one can be accessed through the system at any given time.

Tech talk

Once you settle on installing a whole-home sound system, it’s important to make sure that you have the proper components to make it work. Komar notes that you’ll need multi-room speakers, a zone amplifier for each room, a control processor that manages your selection of audio sources and a user interface, such as a remote control, keypad, touch panel or other smart device, which lets you choose not only the sound source (iPod, Internet radio, etc.) but also the specific music you want to hear.

When choosing your sound system, Komar advises, “A fully integrated solution is best. A system that integrates room audio with a control system featuring room keypads, touch panels, handheld two-way remotes, wireless smart pads and smart phones offers every family member their user interface of choice.” You may also want to consider a system that includes a volume control feature for each room or zone in the house.

Expert installation

Designing and installing a whole-home sound system can be complicated and expensive. That’s why it’s important to turn to a professional. “An electronic systems contractor can save you time and money in the long run by asking the right questions,” Komar concludes. “Do it right the first time. Hire a professional.”

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