Whole-house audio/intercom with Sonos/Vera integration

I haven?t posted in these forums for a couple of years because we sold our house and moved into an apartment, and I haven?t had the need or desire to do any kind of automation since then.

We?re now looking at properties and I?m interested in whole-house audio hardware that will play well with Sonos and Vera for new construction. In my last home, that only meant that it needed an audio input. I had an M&S system in the last house. I plugged a Sonos device into it, which gave me house-wide announcements and music in every room… albeit low-quality.

Another thing I liked about the M&S system was the door station and the ability to answer the door from any room.

These days, the Ring doorbell has gotten to be a pretty popular way to do that, but I haven?t stumbled on a way to integrate that into a whole-house audio system. Door station video (a la Ring) is nice, I guess, but there are a lot of other ways to handle video, and I don?t consider that a need as part of this system.

So what I?m looking for is any experience with newer intercom or whole-house audio systems that 1) will work with Vera, or Vera via Sonos, 2) handle doorbell-ringing, and 3) have decent audio quality. M&S could maybe fit the bill again, but the audio quality is lacking. Thanks for your input.

I recommend some nice Alexa or Google home speakers in every room for your music and audio needs along with tablets on the walls and in the sitting areas with Vera as the backbone for automation and Doorbird for your video doorbell needs.

This will give you control over your entire home vie mobile devices from anywhere inside or away and Alexa products for voice. You can also add on voice products (Alexa or Google) as needed inside and in your outdoor living areas. The Doorbird can fully integrate with your Vera and SVR (Security Video Recorder) so you can use the camera, button and motion in it to trigger other things.

I also recommend a Full wired security system such as DSC and an IP camera system with an SVR for your security needs.

I also recommend Logitech harmony hubs for AV control (it aint perfect but works pretty well) and Roku Streamers at every TV (unless you have a TV that will do it) for full control and the ability to save money with cord cutting and have a full suite of content to watch. Get Roku stick to take with you when you travel to take your home theater experience with you on the road.

I also recommend a home server for your personal videos and movies to stream with either Plex or Emby.

I also recommend you run ethernet to all of the IP cameras, TV’s and areas you want to use a computer.

Of course all of this hinges on a powerful and trouble free network and WIFI system that you understand and can manipulate to your needs.

When all of this is up and running trouble free, you will beat the pants off of any multi million dollar so called “smart” home.

Let us know what you decide and your progress.
Please ask if you have any questions.

Welcome back. When I saw your user name on this thread, I assumed someone had dug up a really old thread. Nope!

Unfortunately I have not done any whole home audio work. At least not integrated with anything else - and this is that last thing on my HA to-do list. So will watch this thread…

In the past I had considered Russound, but the plug-in required USB to serial connection and I didn’t want to/couldn’t find anyone willing to make that work over IP via a Global Cache IP2SL. Shouldn’t be hard, but…

Ah, OK, here we go! Great responses. I’ll address them as I go.

On the subject of Alexa/Siri/Google… I’m still anti-electronic personal assistant. Without getting too tinfoil-hatty, I’m sure there are lots and lots of ways that people are regularly surveilled. I just don’t see a need to invite a device into my home that listens to my every word. I’ll probably just give in eventually, but in the meantime, I’d like to do without one of them. I’ll do sound output with Sonos and use TTS for announcements. As an example, I used a weather plugin and PLEG to announce the day’s forecast to whomever first walked downstairs in the morning. I also had some high-fidelity grandfather clock chimes that would ring over Sonos on the hour, every hour during non-sleep hours, until my wife tired of the clanging.

I will look into Doorbird. I had some mid-grade outdoor cameras in my last MCV home that utilized motion detector plugins and did notifications. As for commands into the system, I can do without voice for now and will stick with in-wall scene controllers and iOS devices. I liked HomeWave a lot. I will probably commit an old iPad to an in-wall installation.

But of course! I used an AD2USB and a Vista 15P panel with 8 zones (IIRC) in the last house. The last two zones were wired CO and smoke detectors. I played around with, but never actually implemented, virtual zones.
As for an IP camera server, I used a Synology DiskStation with a few cameras, and that seemed to play well with Vera back then.

I have a Roku stick on me right now. Good thoughts. Logitech Harmony… I’ve been eyeballing them. I’ve used them, a LOT. Firmware issues and finicky behavior has me gun-shy. But there aren?t that many other options with the flexibility they bring.

Personal server, yes. Streaming, eh, I can see more value in the Rokus.

Yes, definitely. Two drops doesn’t cost much more than one. I had pretty good Ethernet coverage in the last house, and it’s hard to beat.

The more places I can count on wired internet, the better.

I think it’s safe to say I did that with the last house :slight_smile:

[quote=“Jamr”]Let us know what you decide and your progress.
Please ask if you have any questions.[/quote]

It’s nice to be remembered, thanks! A lot has happened. I’ve been reading up on Reactor. It’ll be awhile, but I can’t wait to get my hands dirty with Vera again.

I totally understand about the anti voice assistant stand but once you try it, if not only for your music needs, I think it is totally worth the potential security risk.
There is nothing easier than saying “Alexa, play some classic rock everywhere.” and the entire house plays some Led Zepplin in every room of the house including your garage and back yard, completely in sync.

I think if you try it, you might just like it… :wink:

It?s a cheap thing to try out, and I’m sure eventually, I will.

But most of the value of what you just described is delivered by Sonos! Whether it’s a voice command or a button push, Sonos will pump the audio in sync throughout the home. I had one plugged into my cable box so that my cable channel was an available channel, and along with music, I could play the TV audio everywhere. I had a scene controller set up just to select and play different favorite Sonos channels. I really love Sonos gear. And for what it’s worth, I spent a year or two knocking Sonos before I actually tried that, too… so I have a track record of disparaging tech I haven’t tried yet.

I have a plan for most of the other parts of the system, but I really do want to figure out a path for intercom/door bell/distributed audio that works seamlessly with Vera.

I have a Sonos 1 that is a couple of years old now and it sounds much better than all of my voice controlled speakers, but I only have one because they are wayyyy more expensive (2-6 times the cost) than my other voice speakers and I never use my Sonos because my voice speakers are way more convenient. That is just my personal experience.

I know of no intercom system that works with Vera as I am not sure what you would do with it if there were. I am a big fan of wall tablets in every room that give a visual and verbal audio report of all house functions just in case you do not have your phone or mobile device on you as you go around your home. I also use an intercom and doorbell app on each of these tablets to talk room to room and to the front door when someone rings the doorbell.
I have read posts here of other people getting custom ring tones for their doorbell.

Distributed audio is a stretch as Sonos is the only one I know of that has an add on for Vera. Honestly I have not tried it in over a year but the last I tried it did not work for me.

I hope this helps.

[quote=“Jamr, post:7, topic:200390”]Distributed audio is a stretch as Sonos is the only one I know of that has an add on for Vera. Honestly I have not tried it in over a year but the last I tried it did not work for me.

Russound has a plug-in, although I am not sure the app store is the latest. MiOS Apps http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=15832.165

I know some people use the Sonos and Russound systems together. I haven’t tried either - just wanted to point out the potential option…

I’ve not tried it but Max 2 play

Claims to have multiroom sync via Squeezebox server and should allow far better sound quality at reasonable cost. As well as having a Vera plugin I believe.

Could be very good reasons why no one has mentioned it, though


I too was looking at a tablet in each room but ended up with amazon echo shows. The new ones, though spendy, offer pretty good sound and have a screen which I have been able to enable to connect to all my cameras at home (So I can see them on command). I am using still an older version of the habridge to connect it to the vera which prevents me from doing a cloud to cloud transaction and instead having on the cloud only for the alexa call interpretation. This will not workl if you want whole house in sync audio for music. For this I would still recommend a sonos system which I am still using for TTS. Though the vera plugin somewhat still works, I rely mostly on another API for most advanced functions (search http-sonos-api) to which I make simple http wget lua calls for grouping, TTS and volume control. It also integrates very well with the amazon alexa.

Which make and model cameras are you connecting with your Amazon Shows?

Look into the monocle skill. The brand and make does not matter. I have many. As long as the camera or the nvr broadcasts an rtsp stream, you are all good.

Do you know if this will work without IA, Internet Access?
Also I noticed that Monocle only works with cameras 1080 and below. I guess I could set up a secondary lower resolution.
Thanks for sharing.

Well it is designed to enable your echo show to locally get the camera stream. IA is necessary for the echo to work so no I don’t think it is possible for it to work without internet unfortunately. Both the skill and the voice parsing are done in the cloud.
The limitations are all due to the echo device (H264 and resolution). I don’t think it has anything to do with the skill itself. I have actually streamed much higher resolution cameras with my gen echo shows (4 and 5MP) so I would not get hung up on the limitations.