Hey all - I'm in the process of retrofitting an existing lackluster A/V installation, and part of that process is replacing the existing "audio distribution system" (1x5 manual switch) with a complete whole-house audio solution. This is a fairly large installation, and I'm having trouble finding a setup that will meet my needs without getting too expensive.
In brief, I'd like to have a centralized audio matrix and control system that can handle inputs from at least eight sources (preferably more) and route those to any of nine different zones, with the possibility of future expansion. Control panels for each zone are also necessary, or there needs to be some other convenient, device-agnostic (iPhone, Android, PC, automation system) way of monitoring and controlling each room.
The sources would consist of three central sources (media center PC, Xbox, TiVo) and a remote input from select zones (which doesn't necessarily have to be "remote", wires can run back to the central location if necessary) - the key is that any source should be usable in any zone, i.e. a simple "local override" won't work. These remote inputs would likely be set up as auto-switching between an AirPlay receiver and a local hard-wired input/dock via one of these
, but for the purposes of this exercise it shouldn't necessarily matter how each one is configured, just that local audio input can be routed throughout the house.
The zones themselves are a combination of overriding the surround speakers of 5.1/7.1 systems and existing stereo zones - there are four surround sound setups to interface with and five sets of speakers in various locations (master bedroom, study, foyer, patio, pool). Again, the ability to expand to further zones would also be nice.
As far as control methods go, the existing zones have an analog volume control wired up in-wall already, which I would like to replace with an actual control interface (source select, volume control, track data display). The house also has an existing HAI OmniPro II system installed which needs to be able to control whichever solution, and in fact could potentially serve as the primary control method given the appropriate interfaces.
All of the solutions I've looked at seem to get about 90% of what I need, and then fall short on some critical component. Nuvo's Grand Concerto has a beautiful interface and integrates well with HAI, but only has six source inputs. HTD Lync 12 has the sources and zones I need (and more), but the control interface looks chintzy as hell (although maybe I'm being too harsh, reviews anyone?). I could get the matrix and amplification done through something from Audio Authority, but then I don't have a way to control it from each zone. HAI's own HiFi2 just looks like a failure (not rackmountable, featureless in-zone controls, proprietary input modules) - don't even want to touch that. Russound's MCA-C5 seems to be the closest to what I'm looking for, but I would already be topping out its sources, and need two C5's to cover all zones - I figure it would probably run about $6K for just the equipment. Not an unreasonable cost for a large install, but I figured I should get a second opinion and see if I have any other options out there that I've overlooked.
Wall of text, sorry... let me know there's anything else I should look at (or any system design changes to make!)