Can I hook a second room's speakers up to a single-zone 5.1 receiver?
April 26, 2013 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I have an overabundance of stereo/home theater equipment and I need to simplify. Is it possible to hook a second pair of stereo speakers up to an existing 5.1 system in some way? The receiver does NOT have a second zone.

When we first moved into our house 7 years ago, we had a simple old Technics receiver that we placed in the living room that could handle a stereo pair of speakers, our CD player, turntable, and cassette deck and not much else, which was fine since we didn't have a TV or streaming audio system that we needed to hook up to it.

At some point we inherited a big flat screen TV which necessitated buying a separate 5.1 receiver and speakers that we could use for movies and the occasional TV show, to which we added a dedicated Blu-Ray player and AppleTV. That system was moved all over the house until it finally came to rest in a rec room that is, of course, separated from the living room by a single wall. I'd like to get rid of the old 2-channel receiver and CD player in the living room and just hook the living room's speakers up to our home theater receiver, if I can. Ideally I'd like to be able to play music in both rooms at once.

However, the 5.1 home theater receiver does NOT have 2-zone functionality, so that idea's out. Can I just buy some sort of splitter or second amplifier and split the front channels in two and run cables to the living room? Something like this? Will there be problems with ohms or watts or something?

Or do I need to just break down and replace the 5.1 receiver with something like this receiver that can do 2 zones easily?

Note- I'm not an audiophile so I don't need to spend a bajillion dollars, I just want something that'll work with my setup and sound halfway decent. Also, assume I only barely know what I'm doing.
posted by 40 Watt to Technology (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You could always put the system in a "5 channel stereo mode" - most systems have this, instead of processing the surround and sending that to the back channels, it just duplicates the left and right front channels to the rear.

Of course this means you would need to lose the back channels for surround in the main viewing area - and if you leave it this way all the time annoy someone in the other room with the front channel in the rec room.

I would vote for buying a cheap, new receiver...if you don't require audiophile quality sound this won't be too expensive and it will be much easier to install and use - both for you and for other family members...(don't ever discount how others will react to your "creative" solution to a problem like this - if it's confusing or hard to use you will certainly hear about it...)
posted by NoDef at 8:52 AM on April 26, 2013

In general you have to pay for power and should get an external amp . Little 2 channel amps with 50 + watts can be rather cheap new and crazy cheap used and keep the system in balance or to specifications . If it was designed for a pair of speakers and you add a pair (double the power draw ) you can risk clipping the amp and running out of power and damaging things .
posted by epjr at 11:37 AM on April 26, 2013

If you want to have the same stuff playing in both "zones", then yes, just get a two zone receiver. I'd check craigslist for similar models to the one you found on amazon(which is perfectly fine!) and probably spend a lot less.

The only real options here that will probably satisfy you are that, or the separate amp. I wouldn't even try and jerry-rig something with the current amp.
posted by emptythought at 3:12 PM on April 26, 2013

« Older Is this a spambot, or is my memory bad?   |   Help me live with less stuff while increasing my... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.