What is Whole Home Audio?

October 8th, 2020 at 9:51 a.m. · By trey@truaudio.com

A whole-home audio system has been moving its way up in popularity over the last several years. With passing time, technology has advanced and there are now more options for anyone. These options are what helps you to find the “right” system that works for you. Solutions can vary in costs from only a couple of hundred dollars, up to thousands. Especially if you are looking for the highest quality system, something that your friends, family, and neighbors will be jealous of. But, think of it as an investment in your home and an enhancement to your lifestyle. After all, who doesn’t love audio? It may also increase the value of your home in the end, which is definitely worth it!

Whole Home Audio

What is Whole Home Audio?

Home audio systems are made up of audio electronics, cables, and speakers intended for home entertainment use. Think in-ceiling speakers, bookshelf speakers, and even Dolby Atmos Surround Sound. 

The goal of a whole-home audio system is to successfully run wire and install speakers in the areas of your home you use the most. Also, you want to easily control your music or audio by remote control throughout the entire home. Or even better, you can control your home audio via your cellphone. 

With the ability to have audio playing in multiple locations of your home has become increasingly more appealing with home design. Even better, would be to have music and audio playing from multiple different sources. Although this is more expensive than just having one source playing in multiple locations. The price difference is said to be well worth the increase. That way anyone living in or visiting can listen to what they want, where they want, without bothering everyone else.

How Much Does a Whole Home Audio System Cost?

This is the “big” question at the front of every homeowner’s mind while planning their home. Unfortunately, there is no full-proof way to give an accurate estimate. Typically, every installation is custom and therefore slightly different than any other project. When using a professional installer, they typically will work with you to design your whole home audio system.  Most installers will go over pricing when present in your home and it depends on the system you want. A whole-home system ranges in price. The price definitely depends on the size of your home (how many rooms you need speakers in). Other factors include what type of system you want, and what equipment you already have installed in your home. 

It can be as cheap as $379 and up to a whopping $5,000 or more! The problem with purchasing a cheap home audio package deal online is that you may not know the capability of the speakers and amplifiers that are included in the package. The speakers may only be in-ceiling speakers, and you may need a subwoofer. So, you end up spending extra money anyway. It is more efficient, less time-consuming, and less expensive to buy what you want and need the first time around.

Breaking down the cost will certainly depend on a variety of factors; the number of rooms/zones that you have in your home. The labor cost will change according to the number of rooms as well. Finding a decent speaker that will effectively satisfy your ears is the tricky part. There are cheap speakers that range from about $50 to $80 a pair, but as you increase the quality, the price will increase along with it. “You get what you pay for”, most certainly applies in this instance. 

Factors That Will Affect The Cost

1. The Customer’s Design Taste

Every homeowner will have a different style and different tastes. While one customer may want remote controls or in-wall control pad in every room, another may want everything accessible through one device such as a tablet or their cellphone. Whichever it may be, the price will continue to vary depending on the number of devices and how advanced the technology is that you prefer to use.

2. Features And Supported Systems

As the number of systems increases as you include more rooms, the price of whole home audio can expand dramatically. Basic solutions that control the sound system in one room will come at an affordable price. While whole-home audio (added rooms) and larger integrations will increase the price. If you are wanting a system like Control4, this is a beautiful system that offers a personalized and unified smart home system to automate and control connected devices including lighting, audio, video, climate control, intercom, and security. But it will be a lot more expensive with the more features that are included.

3. Whole Home Size

The smaller homes will definitely be less expensive to install speakers in because they require a smaller network and fewer connected devices. However, at the opposite end, a larger home with more rooms, will require more equipment and therefore require the installer to cover more space. If you want audio to cover the entire home, you will need more speakers but it will sound beautiful.

4. The Amount of Audio/Video Equipment Needed

Quality matters, the products that you choose to buy for your home audio system (i.e. speakers, amplifier(s), and the different audio components) can and will vary. Obviously, the higher quality products will have a higher price tag but they will also likely increase the performance and the experience that you get as a user. TruAudio has access to dealers around the world who are trained to find the customer the right products within their budget.


5. Cost of Whole Home Installation And Setup

The cost of installation for these awesome sound systems varies case by case. However, as a rule of thumb, if you desire at least 20 speakers installed in your home, the labor will range from $1,275 (low range) up to $2,070 (high rage). This is also a basic labor cost that takes about 22 hours of installation. The basic labor includes installing in-ceiling speakers. Determining the layout locations. Going in and cutting the speaker openings, drilling holes in the wall plate frame for speaker wire, routing, wiring between the speaker and the receiver, connecting and mounting the speakers, testing the operation as a whole. This cost does not include the equipment, but there are companies out there who can provide the audio equipment and laborers to help you achieve the sound system that you want. Be sure to hire a company that you trust and have done your research on. 

Just remember that you will have to do some research and not all companies can provide everything that you will need to successfully complete this home project. Remember that these are only estimates and that the prices may be slightly higher or lower. These rates do not include: 

  • Costs for removing, relocating, repairing, or modifying existing framing, surfacing, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems - or bringing those systems into compliance with your state’s current building codes.
  • Costs for testing and remediation of hazardous materials (asbestos, lead, etc).
  • General contractor overhead and markup for organizing and supervising the Ceiling Speaker Installation. Add 10% to 22% to the total cost above if a general contractor will supervise this project.
  • Permit or inspection fees required by your local building department for your overall project.

How Many Rooms (or Zones) Do You Have?

Things to remember:

  • If you want your music to play in seven different rooms and currently have speakers in the T.V. room and master bedroom, you’ll clearly need at least 5 more pairs of speakers to make this project work successfully.
  • Not all speakers are built the same. Be sure that you are choosing the right speakers for your home. 
  • Make sure that your amplifier can successfully support your zones as well as the speakers in the zones.
  • If you already have a receiver but it doesn’t supply enough power to your speakers, you will need another amplifier. 
  • Not all audio equipment is outrageously expensive and you can find some that are within your budget. Just make sure to purchase all of the equipment before you are up to your elbows in wires.

Consider Your Sources

Another thing to consider when you are setting up your equipment is; how many sources are you currently using or planning on using? Generally, if you are listening to one source for all zones, it is pretty simple to set up. But as mentioned before, hardly anyone will listen to the same type of music at the same time. 

A majority of receivers offer multi-zone features, but not all of them are designed to support more than one source at a time. The capabilities of your receiver are crucial when you are dealing with multiple zones/rooms and multiple sources in a system. The most helpful thing that you can do to help with the installation process is to make a list of the sources that you will need to power throughout your home:

  1. T.V. in the media room
  2. Speakers in the kitchen
  3. Speakers in the bathroom
  4. Satellite radio
  5. Outdoor speakers

The more sources that you add to this list will most certainly increase the price of your whole home audio system.

Wireless or Wired Systems For Your Home?

The popularity of using a wireless system and having it work as well as a wired system seems to be increasing greatly. One of the biggest benefits of using wireless equipment is the amount of flexibility that it gives you. However, if the network and wireless system weren’t built specifically to support whole-home technology integration packages, then the customer will be very disappointed with their experience.

Although wired audio can be harder to install and connect to all of the speakers, it is definitely more reliable when you do manage to get everything connected properly. Professional installers know what they are doing, the best way to connect everything together, and also have no wires sticking out as a safety haphazard. 

Choose Your Speakers Wisely

If we could tell you how many speaker options there currently are out there, it wouldn’t be a short feat. Every audio company has so many options (including us) when it comes to indoor audio and it isn’t limited to just indoor. But why make so many options and give the consumer something to be confused about? It can make the decision process more difficult, yes, but all of the options allow a wide range of consumers to be happy about their chosen speaker system and to appreciate their invested time, money, and energy into their humble abode.

Speakers range anywhere from in-wall to in-ceiling, to floor standing, to frameless grills and speakers colored white or black, and even speakers designed to look like rocks and completely blend into the landscape of your outdoor area.

Just be sure to proceed cautiously and wisely and you will not be disappointed with your results! If you ever have any questions and are in need of a company to start with, TruAudio has access to hundreds of dealers nationwide and even in other countries! Good Luck!

Categories: audio home audio home speakers home audio system music Outdoor Audio amplifier home theater


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