Friday, March 25, 2016


There was a time when the clock radio reigned supreme because it not only woke people up but could play music at other times as well. Then came the appearance of the big screen TV, followed by the home theater. These multichannel audio systems bragged about being able to fetch multiple audio streams at the same time -- effectively creating the same surround sound effects as found in a movie theater. But the sheer number of speakers, not to mention the audio components that powered them, made the living room the natural choice for where everything could be housed. And so the bedroom lost its prominence when it came to listening to music in general and to watching movies with all the grandeur that audio could bring in specific.

But since being able to listen to music in the bedroom shouldn't be left out, the advent of the "Zone 2" is here to restore this once honored tradition. The designation of "Zone 2" refers to the AV Receiver powering the speakers in the living room being able to also provide for speakers being placed and used in another room (I.e., the bedroom). This enables the Receiver to do "double duty" and so avoids having to add additional equipment in the other room where the music is wanted. So here's a simplified primer on what is needed in order to have "Zone 2" work for you (here’s a hint — you might already have it ready and waiting):


Speakers are the all important addition to the room in which audio is desired. The speakers do not need their own power as they will get this from the AV Receiver which is already in place in the living room (and which has the "Zone 2" technology built into it). The speakers to use are also conventional models, which can be encased in wood or plastic and big or small. The only hard requirements are that there are to be only two of them (for stereo) and that their frequency requirements meet that of the AV Receiver (a fancy way of saying that the speakers bought are able to be used by the AV Receiver whose power output isn't greater than what they can handle).

Positioning the speakers can be done on the floor or on bookshelves or on speaker stands -- this partly depends on their size but also on the fact that they must be connected by wires (speaker wiring) between themselves and the AV Receiver. Running the speaker wires from each point to the other will require some thought as to the best way to accomplish the task: wiring can be moved along baseboards and maneuvered along the floor or brought through walls. Depending on how invasive a method is used, there might be rules to follow if you have an apartment or condo, as well as those from the local City government. It's for this reason that, although DIY is always an option, having the services of a professional installation service, for example Just One Touch, can be of great benefit. But no matter how it's done, nothing will be able to happen until the wiring between the speakers and the AV Receiver has been done.


The speaker wires make their way to the AV Receiver which, to no surprise, is powering the many speakers of the home theater system. The AV Receiver is also able to provide a number of audio sources beside being the source of power for the speakers and the conduit of other devices such as disc players (Blu-Ray, DVD). Those AV Receivers with Internet connectivity can also access apps as if they were a subset of a smartphone and so play audio from sources like Pandora and other audio choices. Plus AM/FM radio too of course.

But for the speaker wires coming from the other room, the "Zone 2" speaker inputs on the AV Receiver are all that matter. And the "Zone 2" can only handle a set of speakers for stereo while at the same time maintaining all of the audio streams for the home theater. So this limits the number of speakers that can be used, but as seen it also limits the number of wires that have to make their way from the other room to the Receiver.


The AV Receiver must be controlled so as to have it play the desired audio in the desired room. Since most AV Receiver remotes use infrared, that requires a line-of-sight between it and the Receiver. That won't help when you're in another room. But the same technology that adds the Internet to the Receiver also allows for control to be done through a smartphone using WiFi. That this requires a home network isn't much of an issue, since wireless connectivity to the online world is now fairly ubiquitous. The type of app and the functions that it provides is tied to the technologies in place in the AV Receiver.

Being able to listen to music is one of the true pleasures in life, and there shouldn't be any reason why there should only be one room where audio would be found. Thanks to the technology known as "Zone 2" this pleasure can once again be found in the bedroom.


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