Anyone using Hi-Fi 2 by HAI? - AVS Forum
Home A/V Distribution > Anyone using Hi-Fi 2 by HAI?
errfoil's Avatar errfoil 04:32 PM 04-23-2013

My installer recommended an 8 zone Hi-Fi 2 system for whole house audio. He quoted me $6,000 for a turnkey install (new construction). I thought that sounded too expensive so I set out to "figure it out on my own". After a week or so, and bloodshot eyes from reading AVS, I think I have a pretty good handle on what I want, the question is: how to achieve it. There seems to be warts with every possible solution, so I am reaching out to the gurus on AVS for some clarity.

Here are the desired system goals:
5 Zones (My definition of a zone is a group of speakers that will access the same source when on, but will need volume control for each speaker pair)
1) Master Bath - 1 speaker
2) Kitchen/Dining/Great Room - 8 speakers
3) Bar/Pool Room - 4 speakers
4) Deck/Porch - 4 speakers
5) Hot Tub - 2 speakers

I would like to use Android touch pads to control the whole system; source selection for each zone, volume control for each speaker pair (or at least each zone after balancing the volume between each speaker pair), control of the source (change artists, radio, or internet stations), view metadata, etc.
Speaker wires have been pulled to a home run in the Mech Room

I have a NAS4Free server on the LAN, all music is ripped to FLAC.

I have been using a Squeezebox system for years and I really like it, however, Logitech has pulled the plug on the Squeeze family so I don't want to commit to this system going forward. I really enjoy music and have always been at odds with the wife over "Big speakers in the living room", etc. This system is designed to be background music, but I would still like to pull as much fidelity as possible out of the design (there will be a proper stereo in the Den, and a Theater in the basement).

So right off the bat I see that I need 19 channels:

- If I stick with my installers recommended system and use a Hi-Fi 2 plus another bank of 8 amps in a Hi-Fi 2 expander (apx $1,350 for an expansion PCA). I can add a Sonos Control as a source for internet radio and metadata from my music library.
---$3,850 for parts excluding speakers, wiring and install----
CONS: The HAI system can only be controlled by Apple products and the app gets horrible reviews, and when it is working it only replicates the ugly/simplistic Volume Source Controls (VSC). I suppose I could use the VSC to select a source and then switch to my Nexus 7 pads to control the Sonos, but then I would have to use the VSC to adjust volume (only two HAI zones per panel are variable out). There is the option to add the Omni HA Controller, but that is just more money and the associated Snaplink app also gets scathing reviews.

- I have looked at the Dayton Audio amps that people are talking about here on AVS ( 12 amps (24 channels) are only $1,000, but I can't figure out how how to control the sources and zone volumes except for a pile of Sonos Controls ($1,750)
----$2,750 for parts excluding speakers wiring, and install----
CONS: Not sure if I can control more than 1 speaker pair with a single Sonos Controller?!? Not a rack mount system, bulky, messy wiring solution. Has anyone else tried this???

-Nuvo and Russound systems are available but they are black boxes to me. I cannot see what the various parts and pieces cost, so I do not know if they are comparable in price, or a massive cost upgrade. Nuvo seems to have a nice app with good reviews, but then you have to buy a Music Port ($-??) just to use the app. Russound is an Apple only app with mediocre reviews.

I feel like I'm looking into a box of Legos, but not all of the parts fit together, so I can't find enough pieces to actually build something.....



jautor's Avatar jautor 05:05 PM 04-23-2013
A pair of NuVo P3100 units would serve 6 zones (3 zones per P3100 unit), which means you could divide your multi-room zone into two, to get the speaker count down. You'll need impedance matching for all the zones with >2 speakers as well (since that unit doesn't appear to be 4-ohm stable).

That would get you Android-based control, NAS support, and internet streaming. MSRP $1499 x 2. You can DIY it, buying the units from the authorized dealers (Smarthome and Parts Express), or a local dealer...

You can download and test drive their app as well.

errfoil's Avatar errfoil 06:00 PM 04-23-2013
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

A pair of NuVo P3100 units would serve 6 zones (3 zones per P3100 unit), which means you could divide your multi-room zone into two, to get the speaker count down. You'll need impedance matching for all the zones with >2 speakers as well (since that unit doesn't appear to be 4-ohm stable).

Thanks for the response Jeff,

I just bounced over to the Nuvo website, it looks like the P3100 is a central amp system with wireless control over the zones. Am I reading correctly that except for the baked in sources you are limited to 1 line-in per box? Could I use a Sonos Connect on 1 P3100, and maybe an FM tuner on the other P3100 using the line-in jacks?

Would 40w be enough power to drive 4 speakers? And impedance matching means I would have to add a wall switch to control volume on speaker pairs within a zone?

What is your overall opinion about this type of system architecture? I recognize your name from all my reading here on AVS (hopefully you get lots of free beer, you deserve it) This is our last house, hopefully, and while I don't want to rake money into a pile and burn it, I don't want to be kicking myself in the derriere next year because I went too cheap. Looking for your personal opinion here...

jautor's Avatar jautor 06:23 PM 04-23-2013
It's like three Sonos Connect Amps in a box. Or more correctly, three NuVo P100 units. Amp plus sources built in. Each unit has three line-ins that can be shared with all zones, even between boxes.

So no need for a Sonos Connect, and most FM radio stations are streaming on the Internet, so you probably don't need a tuner, either...

40W is fine for most rooms. Impedance matching can be accomplished with a speaker selector, doesn't have to be done in a volume control.

fernarango's Avatar fernarango 04:02 PM 12-27-2013

Hi Errfoil, How did you end up setting up your system. could you share your experience here/ Thank you

errfoil's Avatar errfoil 07:16 PM 01-06-2014
Hi Fernarango,

Long story short; I installed a Sonos based system in the new house and I absolutely love it.

I had a little chart I made to organize my research but I can't seem to find it. What I found (running off memory here) is that the HiFi 2 system was the same price as a Sonos system (roughly) but less power and much higher THD. The Nuvo looked to be the same price as well but did not include the parts and pieces to control the system. Also, a local Home Theater shop, who claims to be the largest Nuvo dealer in the state, told me they had the new Nuvo system in one of their installers houses and "did not believe it was ready for prime time". In fact he told me flat out it was an attempt by Nuvo to counter the "Sonos threat'.

This company sold Nuvo, Sonos, and lots of other major brands and they told me there was nothing that matched the power, convenience, and flexibility of Sonos. That last point is really critical; a friend had a Speakerworks (?) system in his home, and while I was researching my system an amp died in his system. Well, it was a 4 amp system that ran his whole home, the amp was not repairable, so now the whole system was toast. He dropped 3-4k on that system less than 10 years ago.

One other factor that I did not emphasize enough: control and accessibility. Somewhat by accident I bought the system that has the best controls, Sonos, but it was an accident. I was more concerned about power, ohms, speaker loads, cost, etc. The very best thing about our system is that controlling it is easy and flexible and powerful. As a result we use it all the time. There is almost always music playing somewhere in the house, on Sunday we had the football game playing on 2 TV's and the audio piped throughout the entire house. I bought 3 of the old Nexus 7 tablets (the old version has a charging stand available) and now I can change the music out on the deck, while floating in the hot tub, etc. We put a 24" all-in-one in the kitchen and you cannot get control away from my wife. She makes playlists all the time, whereas before she hardly ever played music because it was too much of a hassle. When we have parties people stand around the Kitchen Computer and build playlists on the fly. New Years turned into a drunken sing along at 0200 (to Journey, no less! (yes, I know)).

So that's my 2 cents. Spend more time thinking about how you will actually access and control the system. Make sure you test drive whatever you decide to install. I tried out a HiFi2 system that my electrician put into a house, and a Sonos system that a friend had installed. I am really, really happy that I went Sonos. Of course, your mileage may vary!

Good Luck,
highnoon's Avatar highnoon 10:57 AM 01-07-2014
Sorry for such a novice question... How did you connect the audio from your tv to the WHA system? thanks
jautor's Avatar jautor 11:55 AM 01-07-2014
Originally Posted by highnoon View Post

Sorry for such a novice question... How did you connect the audio from your tv to the WHA system? thanks

Best to connect the source used by the TV instead of the TV itself. For most folks this means the audio output from the set-top box. For two reasons: 1) many TVs have dropped these analog outputs, and digital outputs can be problematic and require external DACs anyway. And more importantly, 2) the source will be always available even when the TV is turned off. I use my set-top's audio in other zones to listen to the news - I don't need to have the TV on (in another room) for this to work.

But regardless, you take a fixed line output (RCA jacks) from either place, and simply connect it as one of the sources on the WHA system. Sonos / NuVo zone players have a line-in jack for this purpose, too. If the set-top box / TV are in different rooms from the WHA equipment, a cat5e analog audio balun from Muxlab can help connect the two...

highnoon's Avatar highnoon 01:49 PM 01-07-2014
Thanks Jeff

I appreciate the information.
highnoon's Avatar highnoon 04:59 PM 01-07-2014
Sorry to hijack this thread...
In a multi sonus setup, how do you provide each unit a input from the cable box? Splitter?
jautor's Avatar jautor 06:27 PM 01-07-2014
Originally Posted by highnoon View Post

Sorry to hijack this thread...
In a multi sonus setup, how do you provide each unit a input from the cable box? Splitter?

No need, it's one of the nifty things about the zone players...

Route the source to the line in on one zone player, and it's made available to all others on the network.
EricN's Avatar EricN 04:34 PM 01-08-2014
I installed the HAI Hi-Fi2 slightly more than a week ago. So far, I'm quite happy with it. I'm feeding it with a Sonos Connect, and they mesh really nicely.
Bal's Avatar Bal 10:32 AM 02-12-2014

Do you control volume through the HiFi2 or the Sonos app?
Mobile  Desktop