Building your Home Audio System: the Audio Controller

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Building your Home Audio System: the Audio Controller

Advancements in digital technology, including high-definition audio and video as well as electronic delivery of media, have inspired many individuals to construct their own home theatre or audio systems. While assembling the right components can call for investments of both finances and time, the satisfaction one feels with the end result is always worth the effort. Making a purchase can be as simple as obtaining a complete stereo system, or as a complex as acquiring multiple pieces, such as a receiver, speakers, a subwoofer, an amplifier, a preamplifier, and cables and cords.

Once the components are in place, and depending on how many components must be monitored throughout the home, a single command centre often proves highly desirable. In these instances, an audio controller may be just the answer. There are a number of audio controller options available, from a basic iPhone app control to a multi-source, multi-zone controller unit. A bit of research will help a prospective buyer compare features and costs, and narrow down the shopping list. After selecting an audio controller or two that interest them, buyers can take their wish lists to music stores, big-box electronics outlets, or convenient online shopping sites like eBay.

Building Your Home Audio System

Building the right home theatre or audio system involves more than just plugging in a couple of speakers and a receiver. To obtain the best quality sound, it is best to position five to seven speakers throughout the room and to supplement them with a subwoofer. The size of the speakers is determined not only by cost or preference, but also by the size of the room.

Home Audio System Components

All-in-one home audio systems are a convenient choice. While these generally do not deliver the best sound, there are starter kits available that will provide audio sufficient enough to satisfy the buyer’s needs. Often people begin assembling their home audio system this way and then add components and upgrades as the budget allows. Standard elements of a home audio system kit include receivers and/or amplifiers, speakers, and cables.

Receivers and Amplifiers

An important early decision a home audio enthusiast will have to make it whether to purchase an amplifier or a receiver. Just as its name suggests, a receiver collects signals from multiple audio inputs, including terrestrial and satellite radio signals. Some receivers are relatively inexpensive, and pre-owned models are generally easy to find. Receivers vary in size from bookshelf models to entertainment-centre-specific models. Newer receivers usually include USB inputs, iPod docks, Wi-Fi connectivity, and satellite radio ports.

The move away from terrestrial radio has strengthened the case for amplifiers in lieu of receivers. With its preamp section, the integrated amplifier offers comparable inputs and capabilities without the receiver’s AM/FM tuner. In general, these pieces of equipment convey a truer sound when it comes to digital audio. Should a buyer wish to further boost the musical quality, pairing a preamp with a compatible power amp delivers a top-of-the-line listening experience.


For larger spaces, the best options are generally the larger bookshelf speakers or the freestanding floor models. However, prior to filling the shopping cart, a buyer should also assess the layout of the room. It is important to determine where the speakers will go before deciding what size to buy, as speaker placement is an important consideration.

Music aficionados generally opt for larger front speakers, as these provide the highest quality sound. This is important not only for interpreting and fully enjoying CDs and digital audio delivery, but also for transmitting movie soundtracks. However, if the primary goal is surround sound and not pinpoint precision, smaller speakers may suffice. In addition to bookshelf models, one can also mount other speakers on walls, which generally gives the listener more options when it comes to placement.

Beyond function, another consideration is form. A speaker is not an accessory to be tucked away; rather, it must be visible in the room, allowing for the unobstructed transfer of sound. For this reason, the appearance of these components is another consideration. Various styles of speakers are available to coordinate with one’s room décor or a personal style. On the more traditional end of the spectrum are standard, natural wood speakers; amongst the more modern materials are wood and aluminium, often with polished or glossy finishes.


Many times, people are so busy choosing the major sound system components that they overlook the most basic, yet still important, element: connectivity. When going to the effort of assembling a quality home audio system, resorting to the cables that came in the box is often not the right move. Instead, a buyer should do some research to determine which cables will work best with the assembled system. Making an informed decision, as well as setting aside some of the system’s budget for the right connectors, will result in a high-quality sound free of noise and interference. While the most expensive cables are not always necessary, the default ones generally do not provide an optimal listening experience.

The Home Audio System Controller

Home audio controllers can range from standalone units to integrated components to computer or smartphone applications. A home audio controller allows for convenient management of sound throughout the house, all from a single keypad or remote control. Not only can a user turn systems on and off and adjust the volume in various spaces, but other levels such as treble, bass, and balance are easily set as well.

On the high end, the Russound CAV6.6-S2 is a unified device that monitors six sources throughout 12 zones in the home. This home audio system controller also has the capacity for video, making it a popular choice amongst those seeking a true home theatre experience. Like other high-end audio controllers, this model features a central command station, remote control, and mountable wall controls that can be placed throughout the home. Common command station features include LED indicators, status displays, and auxiliary audio/video inputs and outputs.

Other available audio controllers are integrated with amplifiers, delivering an all-in-one experience. These dual-purpose devices monitor multiple zones of sound throughout the home. One model, the Russound CAS44, comes with four built-in sources that serve four areas of the home. Two of these controllers can be connected to double the reach and capacity. The audio controller/amplifier hybrid delivers one-touch control via a keypad; in addition, it comes with a standard remote control.

Some buyers may opt to implement control via a computer application. Most common amongst these are apps for tablets and smartphones, such as AirPlay or Llama Panel Pro for iPhone. Through these tools, home audio enthusiasts can easily monitor their various sources and sound zones without the need to purchase additional equipment or keep track of multiple components.

How to Buy a Home Audio System Controller on eBay

As you are researching your many choices when it comes to home audio systems and a means of controlling them, you may discover that eBay is a highly recommended place to find exactly what you need. The reputable online marketplace has a vast inventory from which to browse and choose, often with prices that cannot be matched in stores or on manufacturer websites. Here, you can build or improve upon your home audio system, locating components such as speakers, amplifiers and preamplifiers, receivers, cables, and more.

Once you have assembled a satisfactory multi-room system, you need a way to easily and conveniently control it from a single location. eBay has a range of home audio controllers available, from standalone units to controller/amplifier hybrids. And if, after reviewing home audio controller options, you decide that tablet and smartphone apps are more your style, eBay is the right place to find that iPhone or iPad you have been wanting.

Making the right selection on eBay is facilitated by its easy-to-peruse results listings, complete with image, description, price, and shipping terms. By clicking on a particular product, you can view the seller’s feedback rating and read additional details about the item.


It has been said that a man’s home is his castle, and in many ways, that is true. We may not all be kings and queens, but we all like to have our own domain. We personalise our spaces through our choices in furniture, décor, and amenities. Since the early days of the hi-fi, home stereo systems have been a popular part of these amenities. As technology has advanced, the standalone record player and AM/FM tuner have largely been replaced by the home audio system, complete with receiver, amplifier, and speakers. Many people choose to integrate their audio system throughout the entire house or to improve upon it with a video component.

In lieu of maintaining multiple remote controls in multiple rooms, many home audio aficionados opt for the convenience of purchasing an audio system controller. Through a single control box and just one remote, they can access every integrated sound system in the house, adjusting such levels as volume, treble, bass, and speaker balance. Audio controllers have multiple inputs and outputs, and can often be expanded as need dictates. eBay offers a range of home audio system components, including controllers, that is sure to please the most discriminating sound enthusiast.

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