What are the biggest MISTAKES people make when preparing their home for a whole-house audio system?

Written by
HTD Staff
Published on
May 1, 2022 2:59:00 PM PDT May 1, 2022 2:59:00 PM PDTst, May 1, 2022 2:59:00 PM PDT

A little planning goes a long way toward making the installation of your whole-house audio system trouble free. Avoid these common mistakes and you are well on your way.

MISTAKE: Not providing easy access to, and/or enough space behind, the central equipment.

  • You need to easily be able to get to the cables that connect into the back of the components.
  • Connection options, especially between the central whole-house audio controller and multi-channel amplifier(s), allow for many unique configurations. You may not connect everything in the best way the first time. Assume you will need to make changes as your system grows and your requirements evolve.
  • Do not plan to cram the components into a cabinet where access to the back of the equipment is difficult. You also need airflow around your equipment to ensure the equipment operates at its best now and for years to come.
  • Plan ahead to have direct access to the cables behind the equipment, or leave enough space and enough slack in your cables to be able to turn your equipment around 180 degrees.
  • If space and budget allow, use a system rack that will allow you to easily organize and access your equipment. Most HTD components can be mounted in a standard 19" rack (mounting brackets sold separately). Model MCA-66 can only be mounted in a rack using a rack shelf.

MISTAKE: Adding a patch panel for Cat cables - it's a bad idea.

We strongly discourage the use of a patch panel for Cat cables run for a whole-house audio system. When Cat cables are used for Ethernet (computer networking), only 4 out of the 8 conductors are utilized. In contrast, our systems take advantage of all 8 conductors. Included in this is low voltage power sent from the central controller to each keypad, and in the case of Lync systems, also to the various input panels. Adding a patch panel increases the possibility of one of these 8 conductors not making a solid, consistent connection. Multiply that by 6 or more keypads and input panels and the chance for trouble just doesn't make a patch panel worth the risk.

Speaker cables, on the other hand, can be connected through wall plates with binding posts, but they don't have to be. Wall plates look nice, but again only increase the potential for a problem.

It is best to just run all of your cables directly out of the wall and into the equipment. We recommend leaving at least 6 feet of cable outside of the wall, but as a general rule, leave at least 3 extra feet of cable beyond what you anticipate would allow enough slack. You can always cut away excess cable later once you are confident everything is in place, but you don't want to be short.

MISTAKE: Not setting up a home WiFi network correctly.

If you are taking it upon yourself to set up your own home network, make sure you understand the basics. In order to control a whole-house audio system with our app installed on smart devices, you need a single network (SSID) for your entire home. Only one router should be managing DHCP and assigning unique IP addresses to all of your network-connected devices.

Most of our customers use a router to manage DHCP that is separate from, but connected to, the modem provided by their Internet Service Provider. If connecting the gateway with an ethernet cable, it should be plugged into the router or a bridge connected to the router. Do not plug the gateway into an open port on the modem or the app will not find it.

Use your smart phone to check for available WiFi networks. If you see more than one network that belongs to your home, that is not good. It is NOT okay to simply give your various networks a common name - your smart devices will still treat them as separate networks. Extenders and Access Points are often the biggest culprits when you discover more than one network. DHCP should be turned off for these devices or they will create their own mini-network that is separate from the main network.

And, just because your separate networks each have Internet access does not mean there is a way to communicate from one network to the next. Some smart devices, such as for power outlet and lighting control, will use the Internet to receive their commands from the "cloud". For security reasons, communication between our apps and gateways is stricly over a common local network - they do not utilize the Internet (the only exception is when LyncTouch keypads temporarily connect to your Wifi to receive a firmware update).

To control your whole-house audio system, your smart phones and tablets must be on the same network as the gateway (model GW-SL1 or WGW-SL1) that is connected to your central whole-house audio controller.