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Is whole-home music via in-ceiling speakers still a thing?

Is whole-home music via in-ceiling speakers still a thing?
« on: April 18, 2021, 10:12:14 AM »
I just got a home with in-ceiling  speakers in half a dozen or so rooms. I'm not sure what to do with them and what works best. Most rooms have its own volume control in the wall. Some rooms have what appears to be an IR receiver. A couple of rooms have wires coming out of the wall for connecting to the speakers. Most of the rooms with in-ceiling speakers have 2 speakers. Some have 4.

I suspect the speakers and wiring were done when the house was built in the early 2000's (unless someone went through a lot of trouble to add the wiring later, which I doubt).

I'm not sure what to do with this system. I listen to background music mainly in my car, and occasionally at home using HomePods (I have a HomePod and Alexa in most rooms).

Is whole-home music with built-in wall or ceiling speakers still a thing? Or something that's a relic of the 1990s to 2000s?

What do people use with this type of built-in speakers?

My options:

1. Since the house is being remodeled and will be painted, get rid of the speakers, in-wall voleme controls, and in-wall IR receivers. Lots of patching, but will give a clean look.

2. Keep the speakers, etc. Leave the speakers where they are and don't use. The speakers are at least tasteful looking and recessed into the ceilings or walls. Maybe some future buyer/owner will consider it to be a feature and make the home more attractive to purchase.

3. Small probability of me using it in the future. I like the convenience of HomePod/Alexa (not so picky on sound for background music listening). But maybe if there was a way to integrate using HomePod (or Alexa) with the speaker system for music and maybe for voice assistance functionality, AND it is very convenient to use like the HomePod (or Alexa), then I would actually take advantage of the in-ceiling speakers. What to use for this integration though? Something like Sonos (not sure what equipment to use for such integration).

Anyone have thoughts/comments?
« Last Edit: April 18, 2021, 12:59:55 PM by randman »


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Re: Is whole-home music via in-ceiling speakers still a thing?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2021, 02:27:50 AM »
Based on the fact that you have audio covered using the Homepods, suggest you go with option #2.
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Re: Is whole-home music via in-ceiling speakers still a thing?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2021, 03:37:58 PM »
Option 2 would be my vote.
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Re: Is whole-home music via in-ceiling speakers still a thing?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2021, 04:49:04 PM »
In the context of whole-home automation and integration, in-ceiling music is still very much a 'thing.'

The company I'm working with works with people building new homes (or renovating and updating existing homes), using Control4 to integrate basically any function they want: Audio, Video, Shades, Lighting, Locks, Doors, Thermostats, Cameras, etc.  They'll often install a matrix where audio (and sometimes video) from a variety of sources can be distributed throughout the home.

Having a single OS and User Interface to control any and all of these functions, and to have them interactive through programming, can be extremely useful.

In my situation, it was a retro-fit to an existing home, but I have control over Lights, Locks, HVAC, my Theater, Family Room TV, Surveillance Cameras outside my home, Motion sensors, etc.  And if desired (and I do), these can also be accessed and controlled by voice through Alexa, Google Assistant, etc.

So for example, when I go into my Theater, a single voice command to Alexa will turn on a wide variety of electronics, tune them to the right input, opens the Bluray Tray, dims the lights, adjusts the thermostat, etc.  I could also have it lock the outside doors if that's what I wanted it to do.  And when I hit the button to watch a movie, the lights turn off completely, the movie starts, and now with my madVR Envy integrated as well, if the Aspect Ratio of what I'm watching is narrower than my Scope Screen, my motorized masking curtains will move to the appropriate position.  This all happens with a single button push.

As you can tell, I'm pretty enthusiastic about this kind of technology.

For single purpose use, for Audio only, Mike and JD's advice is probably quite good.  But if you're thinking beyond Audio, this might give you some food for thought.


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Re: Is whole-home music via in-ceiling speakers still a thing?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2021, 10:39:09 PM »
option 2 as well for me.
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Re: Is whole-home music via in-ceiling speakers still a thing?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2021, 11:06:22 PM »
Yeah, I think I’ll be going for option 2. There’s over a dozen in-wall speakers throughout the house. Although I’ll have Alexa Echo’s  and HomePods throughout the house, I may decide to take advantage of the in-wall speakers in the future and may regret it if I take them out. I’m also into Home Automation. My old house was fully automated in terms of lights, locks, garage doors, thermostats, water valves, etc. I even had my automation controller (HomeSeer) send text-to-speech to my HomePods to say things like “garage (or fridge or other door) still open. The built-in speakers can be useful also for having my home automation announce things in addition to playing music. I’ll be moving mostly from Z-Wave from my old home to newer HomeKit/Alexa compatible devices. So, the more so think about it, the more the in-wall speakers can be useful. Also, there are speakers in the 3 season room and out by the pool that I would definitely want to keep. 

Thanks for the input folks!

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