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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: NW Houston, TX
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Multichannel amps are intended to be used as part of a system. Stereo amps don't usually have buttons, either. You're thinking of a "integrated amplifier" as opposed to a "power amplifier". An integrated amp has the pre-amp stage and the power amp together. Those are fairly rare - they were replaced by very mainstream "receivers", which also integrated an AM/FM tuner. But enough history...
Power amplifiers just amplify what's fed to them, it's assumed the level (volume) is set by the upstream controller / pre-amp. You can do this with your computer, and feed the variable line output to the amp. The problem comes in for multichannel amps in that you're sending the same level to all zones. If you have local volume control knobs to attenuate the signal, this can be manageable.
For real multizone 'whole house audio' systems, look at NuVo, Russound, and HTD.com.
Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50
NOTE: I am fixing photo links in my theater thread - if you find dead photo links elsewhere, please PM me and I will fix it.