Recommendations for connecting two amps for surround sound

quarky42

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Aug 4, 2014
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I have 4 speakers I can reach easily with one amplifier. (Front left, front right, right surround and subwoofer)

I have 3-4 speakers that no matter how I run the wires from the front amp it'd be incredibly ugly. I've looked at those wireless surround sound amplifiers and there was only one that had a decent THD and power rating but in the reviews it said it got lots of interference with existing wireless networks.

I'd like to hook up a second amplifier for the rear 2 speakers and the left surround. The wiring for these would be more discrete if I could use a front amplifier and a rear amplifier. I understand balancing the system might be a bit of a challenge but I'm looking for a good quality end result without killing the bank.

What can I use two bridge these two amps together into 1 cohesive home theater 7.1 system?

A good quality wireless module would be preferred. Something that can transmit the full sound field from the main front amp to the rear. I could use line level converters to take the speaker level output and bring themy down to precut levels if need be.

A single optical link between the amplifiers (output from front amplifier to the input of the other might be okay but I'd prefer to either go wireless or use my existing network connection. )

So, what clever ways are there to get surround sound back to a second amplifier? My current amplifier can handle outputting individual surround channels (some amps can only output pairs or sets of speakers but I know it's possible for an amp to output an odd number as well)
 

scythe944

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Apr 21, 2010
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Um, I don't understand what's different between running wires between to amps and running wires for surround speakers, but I guess you could use something like this to get a wireless HDMI connection between the front and back amps? https://www.monoprice.com/Product?p_id=14418

I guess you'd set the output of one amp to the input of the other and hope that there isn't much delay. I don't know, I think I'd rather just use one nice amp and properly run the wires either under the carpet, floor, ceiling or use flat wires along the wall and paint them to hide.

Just my $.02
 

quarky42

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Aug 4, 2014
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Wood floor, vaulted ceilings, nowhere to hide the wires. I don't want to drill into the floor, running the wires up to the ceiling, they would have to cross "ribs" in the exposed rib ceiling. There is no nice way to hide the wires. What ever I do wirewise would be visible. A single wire going back to the other side of the room would look better than multiple wires and/or larger conduit / channel / track.

I'd love to run the wires under something, I just don't have that option. So, I would prefer a wireless solution that doesn't add too much latency (10-15ms maybe) or if I have to, I can justify running 1 wire. I had briefly considered running an HDMI cable, I need to reconsider that as it isn't a bad idea. I might rather run 1 ethernet wire and transfer the audio across the gigabit network connection if there is a low-latency way of doing that. Either way, I really appreciate having options and thank you for sharing your thoughts!
 

quarky42

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Aug 4, 2014
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Also, by using two amplifiers bridged together, I can keep the speaker wire distances to a minimum. 3 speakers are 10 feet or less of the main amplifier. In order to reach the back 3 speakers, those runs would be 13' up, 20' across and 13' down just to get back to the floor. Then add another 10' or more to get to each speaker. This home doesn't have a super easy way to cross the living room. There is a walkway through the living room dividing it in half. Hence, a good quality wireless solution or a single wire solution is best.
 

Ruggo181

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Apr 17, 2016
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Quarky, it may help if you can list which products you have already looked at, as I came across the rocketfish products
http://www.rocketfishproducts.com/products/home-theater.html#resultsPerPage=all as well as JBL, http://ca.jbl.com/product-detail-new-jbl/wem-1.html.
I can't recommend any of these per se as I haven't used them, but there may be some audio sites that have reviewed them.
Also, the distances you've mentioned for speaker wire distance, any 14 AWG wire would be fine.
 

quarky42

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Aug 4, 2014
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I'm willing to consider running 1 or 2 wires maximum to connect a front amplifer with a rear amplifier if I absolutely had to, but it is not preferred. There are 4 speakers controlled by the front and 3 speakers controlled by the rear amplifier because of the layout of the room. Running 1 wire to connect the amplifier is almost out of the question, but it might have been the only way. Now, I'm seeing a couple additional options.

So, I'm familiar with the standard wireless rear speaker amplifiers and from what I can tell they all suck. The best one I found had low THD, decent power (80W per channel) and looked good on paper but user reviews confirmed that wireless networks caused noise / popping / clicks on the speakers. Unacceptable. It would have been a great option if it had a decent wireless connection that could handle being around other networks.

So as far as I know, there aren't any good wireless speaker amplifiers. Someone recommended that I just setup two amplifiers and that would work great. The front amp can reach the 2 front speakers, one side surround speaker and the subwoofer. The second amp in the back can easily reach the 2 rear speakers and the other side surround speaker.

Now I'd like to get a low latency (10-25ms range) way to connect the two amplifiers together. I had looked at Rocketfish rear speaker amplifiers and dismissed them for the reasons I've given (they failed one of the criteria). On the other hand, the link you shared has a HDMI Extender that runs over the powerline. I was not aware of that at all. That would probably work and in theory it should be low latency. I had seen wireless HDMI extenders, but now that I know powerline extenders exist that just might work.

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. If I had listed the stuff I had looked it would have ballooned the post even larger and maybe you wouldn't have shared that link to Rocketfish directly (because I had looked directly at their wireless speaker amps and dismissed them).

I cannot run speaker wires up across the ceiling or the floor. Vaulted exposed beam ceilings would look stupid with wires strewn about. I'm reluctant to even do a small cable trough because it would stand out like a sore thumb no matter what I do. Cables across the floor are out because of the wood floors. I won't drill into the floors either. So when I say I might consider running 1 cable (like an HDMI or an Ethernet) that's only as a last resort.

I might be able to run 1 or 2 wires, max, from the front to the rear, but even that will prove to be challenging so a powerline adapter is definitely tempting. Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to reply. The link you shared was very helpful as I had only seen Rocketfish at BestBuy's site and didn't dig through the products on their actual manufacturer's site.
 
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