Mistakes to avoid when preparing your home for a whole-house audio system.

Written by
HTD Staff
July 5, 2023 at 2:59:00 PM PDT July 5, 2023 at 2:59:00 PM PDTth, July 5, 2023 at 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. Plan ahead to have direct access to the back of your equipment, or leave enough space and enough slack in your cables to be able to turn your equipment around 180 degrees.
  • 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.

  • 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 be mounted in a rack using a rack shelf.
  • In summary, good air flow will extend the life of your equipment and convenient access will make your life easier.

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 (model GW-SL1 or WGW-SL1) with an ethernet cable, it should be plugged into the router or an ethernet switch connected to the router. If using a "managed" switch, make sure the port you choose is available to your entire network. Do not plug the gateway into an open port on the modem or the app will not find it.

Gateway model WGW-SL1 can be connected wirelessly to your WiFi network:

If your home network has been incorrectly set up with Access Points that act as individual networks instead of a single common mesh network, your phone or tablet may not be able to "see" the gateway. This issue typically presents itself with the app sometimes working and sometimes not, often depending on where within the home you are located.

All of your access points may provide access to the internet, but this does not necessarily mean they can communicate with each other. While many home automation devices, such as smart plugs and lights, receive their commands from the internet, HTD systems only communicate over your WiFi network. If you are using Access Points, make sure they have been set up as a mesh network, and not with independent IP address management.

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.

Click here for assistance with the HTD Home Audio app.