I often get asked home much does a whole home music system cost? I will attement to answer this question here for you.
In the intrests of not trying to write a "War and Peace" length narative of all home audio platforms out there we will just cover several popular music systems. This will give you a good overview and feel for developing a realistic budget.
Before we delve deeper into how much a music system for the house costs I will break down the components that go into making up a whole home audio system as this will make more sense once you understand how a solution is built.
There are generally 4 parts the make up a whole house music system.
- Source Devises (In the old days this would have been a CD player or Radio but nowadays it's more likley to be a streaming music services like Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, Tunein, iheart Radio)or all of the above.
If you can run a speaker wire to your speaker locations during a new build or renovation then my advise is to do so. Especially to outdoor entertaining areas or areas where access will be restricted later or require damage to wall linings and ceilings to get cables to where you want the speakers later. As a rule, we don't use expensive HIFI grade speaker cables for whole house audio solutions unless there will be a dedicated listing room or we are specifically requested to do so. In most applications, 16/4 grade speaker cable is more than adequate. What does 16/4 mean 16 is the gauge (1.29mm diameter) and 4 denotes the number of wires in the overall shielding. A 16/4 cable will allow us to run 1 x pair of speakers (two speakers) off the one cable run. Where cables enter or exit the structure of a building you will need to allow for specific waterproof penetration patches (check with your builder for approval of product and method as it can be cladding dependent). Normally $6-$10 per meter installed.
Speakers: $150 - $650 (per pair) for most applications
We think it's important to think of your speakers as different from your audio hardware. Your speakers can be mixed and matched to suit the room and should be specific for the application. We would recommend you use a different speaker in your shower or ensuite than we would use in your garage. You may want plastered in invisible speakers in the kitchen and lounge for aesthetic reasons and use entry level speakers elsewhere. The choice is up to you and you can mix and match speakers in the various rooms to balance aesthetics with your budget.
For typical speakers that are installed in the wall or ceiling, you will look to pay from $150 - $650 per pair. I know that's a big range but it will cover most typical applications. You can definitely spend a lot more than this on speakers if you want to as there are options galore. But for this example, we will keep it simple and use the lower price range.
I am going to get brand specific here as some amplifiers include the software to access and control the streaming sources from within the amplifiers.
I am going to reference using in-ceiling/in-wall speakers rather than standalone speakers to make the comparison so we are comparing apple for apples. You can definitely use standalone speakers like the various Play models from Sonos.
Connect Amp: $897: This unit is an amplifier and a streaming device and it will power one pair of speakers. So it can be used in a room with speaker wires run to it and speakers installed. You will need one of these units per pair of speakers or room.
Per room price: $1197 plus: This price assumes you are using entry level speakers you will start out at around $1197 per room with Sonos. That's speakers, amplifier, and speaker cabling. Different companies will have different prices for implementation but that's your hardware expense.
There are a few options when using Control4 as a music system for your house.
4 Room Audio System: $4000
This is a 4 room combo it's a Control4 EA3 processor with 3 streaming sources, an amplifier and audio switch all in one unit. You will have the ability through your app to select your source and control the volume room by room.
8 Room Audio System: $8000
This is an 8 room combo it's a Control4 EA3 processor with 3 streaming sources, an amplifier and audio switch all in one unit. You will have the ability through your app to select your source and control the volume room by room.
Per room Price $1300
This price assumes you are using entry level speakers you will start out at around $1300 per room with Control4. That's speakers, amplifier, and speaker cabling and EA3 system controller.
Keep in mind the EA3 system controller will also control your TV's, sky decoder and lots more so its a lot more than just a music streaming device.
I hope this has given you a good feel for how much to budget for a whole home audio system. Remember if you can’t put speakers in every room initially, it’s still good to prewire those rooms. Leave yourself the option to grow. You can always add in speakers and amplifiers to grow the system later.