A multi-room audio system can bring the joy of music to any room in your house, even in the garden or shed. David Beauchamp takes you through it.

Few purchases for the family provide more value for money than a Home Entertainment system. Bold statement? It may seem so but if you consider all the things you can spend money on, a home entertainment system is something your family can use every day. You can?t say that about a pool or boat!

Do you ever think to yourself how much you enjoyed music when you were younger and now cant seem to find the time to listen to anything besides the Wiggles or Brittany Spears because the kids have first dibs at the stereo?

A multi-room audio system is a large and mostly underrated component of a complete home entertainment system. It allows you to listen to what you want, when you want and where you want it. We are not talking about a second pair of speakers incorrectly matched to your stereo amplifier and located in the room next to the lounge, and always at the same volume level.

A multi room system consists of suitable speakers, located in as many areas of your house and you want, all sharing common source equipment, which is located in a central place. You?ll also have the ability to control the sound in each room.

My experience is that most installations will have between four to eight rooms but I have been involved with homes that have up to 20 rooms and I have heard of larger projects as well. These projects will start from around $6,000 and you can spend over a $100,000 ? but my experience is that most installations will be between $7,000 and $25,000. So the comparison to the pool and the boat is pretty obvious.

Multi-room audio is comprised of three essential elements. These range in complexity so it makes sense to look at each element in a bit more detail.