Speakercraft multi-room entertainment system

The Company

Riverside Hifi was established in 1990 (on the web since 1995) with the aim of bringing the finest quality hi-fi separates and systems and audio visual products to customers with the most discerning taste.  Yes, that's us, customers with discerning taste!

The Work

Definitely the biggest extravagence of the whole refurbishment is the installation of a multi-room home entertainment system.  I love music though and it's something I've always wanted to have, so we've managed to squeeze it into the budget!

The system we (well, mainly I!) decided on, is made by a company called Speakercraft.  The core of the system is a MODE Jukebox Four, which is a digital audio storage and music management system giving instant access to our entire music collection.  Yes, even Diana's Will Young albums!!  With four discrete audio outputs, a single Jukebox Four is capable of playing, simultaneously, four different albums from the same collection.  So even if Diana is listening to Will Young in one room, I'll be able to listen to something else in another room!

 

The Jukebox Four is combined with a MZC-64C Controller to allow up to 4 separate zones to be set up around the house.  We will be using all 4 zones, namely the lounge/dining room, the kitchen/outside, the master bedroom and the bathroom.

 

The music will be controlled in each room using a MODE 3.1 Keypad.  The MODE features a scroll wheel and push button that allows you to scroll through your music collection, accessing a particular song, album, or artist with a simple scroll and click. Users familiar with iPod navigation will find the MODE keypad as logical and intuitive.

 

The Results

The first fit of the speaker cables and CAT5 cables was started on Wednesday 5 April.  This work is being done by Anthony, with the final fix to be done by Riverside Hifi.

Riverside HiFi provided a wiring diagram for Anthony to make sure all the wires end up in the right place.  Click the image for a larger PDF version.

Here you can see where the main equipment will be in the lounge and all the various speaker cables and CAT5 cables heading off to the rest of the house.

This photo of the lounge wall shows the back box for the lightswitch on the left and the backbox for the MODE 3.1 keypad on the right. 

We will be having in-wall speakers in each zone and this photo shows the speaker cables in place in the dining room ceiling.

We're also having a couple of speakers in the garden and now that the structure of the extension is up, the cables have been put in place for them.  Yes, it's those big pink wires!

             

Sometime in August we decided that having speakers in the garden was a bit of an overkill considering how small the garden is and how close the neighbouring houses are, so we've ditched that idea.  And as an added bonus it also saves a few hundred quid on the speakers and the control panel!

Alex from Riverside Hi-Fi came round to the house on Tuesday 21 August to do the final fix on the multi-room system.  However due to the fact that the house was still a bit of a work-in-progress and there was a lot of dust and mess, he decided that it would be better to wait a few weeks before fitting the MZC-64C Controller and the MODE Jukebox Four as they are both fairly sensitive bits of equipment.

He was still able to fit the speakers and the control pads to the four zones around the house.  Although he didn't turn up until late morning, it was a very quick and easy process of fitting everything.

There are now control pads in the lounge, kitchen, bathroom and main bedroom.  Below are the MODE 3.1 keypads for the lounge and the bathroom.

 

The speakers were also fitted of course.  The picture below shows the waterproof speaker that was fitted in the bathroom.

 


There were also two 8 inch speakers fitted in the kitchen, one of which can be seen below.


The speaker for the main bedroom and dining room were slightly smaller at 6 inches.  Below you can see the two speakers in the dining room.

 
Riverside Hi-Fi came back on Friday 28 September.   Now that the house was in a cleaner and less dusty condition they were able to wire up the MZC-64C Controller and the Mode Jukebox Four.
 
I'd also bought a Denon TU-1800DAB digital radio tuner which they also linked into the system.  Given the number of wires involved, I thought it best to take a photo so that I could try to work out exactly how to redo it myself once I'd bought a cabinet for it all to go on.
 
 
At the time we didn't have an external DAB aerial and it's fair to say that the reception using the internal aerial that came with the tuner wasn't perfect.  However it wasn't until Monday 22 September 2008 that we finally got Cranleigh Aerials to come round to install an external aerial on the roof.  The quality is massively improved now, but we will now need to get Riverside Hi-Fi back so that they can set up the keypads to recognise all the new radio channels.