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 (http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-815
). 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.....