New System - Roku/Plex + Central Amp (no WHA controller) please tell me if this is really wrong! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-01-2013, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

 

I've been researching options for our renovation for sometime and here's what I've come up with.

 

Goals:

1) Cost Effective

2) Control via iphone/ipad (no keypads needed) - Integrate into single app (iRule best)

3) Local source available in BR1, BR2, and Study

 

Central System

6 Zones - Gym, BR 1, BR 2, Study, Roof Deck, Front Porch

Power - Dayton 6 Channel Amp

A/V Sources - 6 Rokus running Plex (1 for each zone)

Local Source from each zone - run audio baluns from Gym, BR1, BR 2, Study to central locations

Streaming from iDevices in each zone - Roku in each zone has capability via wifi

A/B Line Level Switches - ability to switch between local (balun run) source and Roku (default)

Control - can control volume / music via iphone/ipad (Plex App or build out iRule control)

Wiring Runs

- Speaker wire from central location to zones

- HDMI from central locations to indoor zones and roof deck (ability to plug in the Roku to monitor in the future)

- Network runs from central locations to zones - for audio balens

 

Living Room System

Onkyo A/V Receiver - powers 5.1 system + 2 speaker backyard

Roku running Plex for music

Other Sources: Directv, PS3, WII

Control - can control volume / music via iphone/ipad (Plex and Onkyo app)

 

Master Bedroom System

Onkyo A/V Receiver - powers 5.1 system + 2 speaker master bath

Roku running Plex for music and video

Other Sources: Directv

Control - can control volume / music via iphone/ipad (Plex and Onkyo app)

 

Attic System

Onkyo A/V Receiver - powers 7.1 system

Roku running Plex for music and video

Other Sources: Directv, PS3

 

Kitchen System

Audisource AMP-100 - powers 2 inwall speakers

PC and Directv for video/Skype/music

Control - can control volume / music via Plex App

 

Questions:

1) Any thoughts on cutting out a traditional controller (i.e., HTD mid or Lync controller) - I don't need to switch sources other than local sources - Dayton amp has dedicated output for each zone.  To get local sources, I will run an auto A/B line switch on the 2nd/local source.  Using a traditional controller would require me to move up to a $699 Lync controller + $70 input panels vs. running $30 baluns and a $50 switch.

 

2) Has anyone had any experience using Plex for WHA?  $49 for a Roku vs. $349 for a Sonos seems like a no-brainer (plus the ability to run the HDMI back to locations for future use).  I love Sonos but 6 Connects or 4 Connects + controller gets really pricey fast!

 

3) Any experience with the Dayton 12 channel Amp?

 

4) Has anyone had any experience with audio balens for local sources?

 

5) Has anyone had any experience with HDMI balens with Roku (do I need passive or active - seems more cost effective to run HDMI cables instead for the 50 ft or less runs)

 

6) Should I still run more traditional cabling or is this going away (i.e, Cat 6 and speaker wire to keypad location and then daisy chain it to the ceiling speakers and local input/balun audio run)?

 

7) How difficult is iRule to setup - seems like it has plenty of capability to handle Onkyo, Roku, Plex, Directv, PS3, and ISY

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post #2 of 4 Old 10-01-2013, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbskisurf View Post

1) Any thoughts on cutting out a traditional controller (i.e., HTD mid or Lync controller) - I don't need to switch sources other than local sources - Dayton amp has dedicated output for each zone.  To get local sources, I will run an auto A/B line switch on the 2nd/local source.  Using a traditional controller would require me to move up to a $699 Lync controller + $70 input panels vs. running $30 baluns and a $50 switch.

With this setup you really don't have a WHA setup as much as a centralized amp for 6 rooms. A WHA controller allows you to share sources among the zones, to allow the same source to play in many zones at once - aka "party mode"...
Quote:
2) Has anyone had any experience using Plex for WHA?  $49 for a Roku vs. $349 for a Sonos seems like a no-brainer (plus the ability to run the HDMI back to locations for future use). 

No, but I suggest you really try it out with one setup to make sure you can actually do what you think you can without having a display connected to each Roku. You'd need to be able to have the Plex app on Roku launched without a display, and it needs to work across power cycles. Also, check to see if you can easily identify one Roku from another when using the Plex iOS app - are you going to be able to figure out which one is "BR1"?
Quote:
I love Sonos but 6 Connects or 4 Connects + controller gets really pricey fast!

How many simultaneous streams do you need? With a WHA controller you could buy 2-3 Connect units and share among the zones. One per family member is probably the most you'd need.
Quote:
4) Has anyone had any experience with audio balens for local sources?

Yes, the MuxLab gear works well - but what are your local sources that you can't replicate with Plex?

Also, comparing a Plex solution to Sonos, etc. - how well does it cover Internet music services (Pandora, Radio, Spotify, etc.)?
Quote:
5) Has anyone had any experience with HDMI balens with Roku (do I need passive or active - seems more cost effective to run HDMI cables instead for the 50 ft or less runs)

"Passive" (aka vampire power) baluns are generally crap. Avoid.

For 50' HDMI runs, a Redmere cable might be the best solution, but also run 2x Cat6 cables for future proofing when HDMI changes (and 2.0 was just announced).
Quote:
6) Should I still run more traditional cabling or is this going away (i.e, Cat 6 and speaker wire to keypad location and then daisy chain it to the ceiling speakers and local input/balun audio run)?

That is the CEA recommendation and I would suggest following it, as that's what the product makers will be designing for...
Quote:
7) How difficult is iRule to setup - seems like it has plenty of capability to handle Onkyo, Roku, Plex, Directv, PS3, and ISY

You are in for a non-trivial amount of work to learn how to effectively integrate all that gear and display it - the Plex app will require you to move between multiple apps.

I'd highly suggest you do some experimentation with one zone setup and make sure this will all actually work before you pull the trigger on the whole thing - and if you're pre-wiring, do it "correctly" so that you can use any system now or in the future - don't restrict your choices from the beginning...


Jeff

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post #3 of 4 Old 10-09-2013, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply!  I went back and reworked my solution based on your reply.

 

- Instead of just using a central amp, I'm leaning towards picking up 1 or 2 used Russound CAM/CAV6.6 for control/amplication (cheaper than a central Dayton Amp + gives me the ability to control via iRule and/or keypads if I ever choose to install them + gives me the ability to share my sources + gives me a party mode).

 

- I'm still planning to use Plex for A/V sources - I've tested it using a Roku and IOS devices and the app shows everything you need on the handheld device (and let's you name each player whatever you want (i.e., master bedroom, kid bedroom, etc).  The only screwy part is sometimes the Roku reboots or loses power and I have to open the the Roku app on my IOS device and select the Plex channel for the player again.

 

Couple of Follow up Questions

1) Will the Russound CAM/CAV be enough to power the speakers?  The per channel output seems low.

 

2) What do I need to be able to run a line out from the Russound to my HT receivers?

In "party mode" it would be nice to have my HT receivers in the LR and Attic running the same music as my outside speakers.

 

There is a line out as well as speaker out on Zones 1 & 2 on the CAM6.6 -> do both outputs (speaker and line out) work at the same time?  Is there a way to leave the Zone 1 or 2 speakers off but still have the line out active?

 

Do I need the Russound A-OM module?  I'm confused what this actually does and whether I can control source selection via iRule.  The CAV has ABUS, I don't believe the CAM does. Do I need a CAV and not a CAM?

 

3) How would a line in from my HT to Russound work?

My assumption is that I can use the preamp zone 2 output from my HT receiver as a source in the Russound?  Is this correct?

 

Thanks for all of your help!

 

Steve

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post #4 of 4 Old 10-09-2013, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbskisurf View Post

- I'm still planning to use Plex for A/V sources - I've tested it using a Roku and IOS devices and the app shows everything you need on the handheld device (and let's you name each player whatever you want (i.e., master bedroom, kid bedroom, etc).  The only screwy part is sometimes the Roku reboots or loses power and I have to open the the Roku app on my IOS device and select the Plex channel for the player again.

Well, if you can navigate under "normal circumstances", and troubleshoot or handle reboot / reconfig issues from the Roku app, you're probably fine... Nice to near the players can be named!
Quote:
1) Will the Russound CAM/CAV be enough to power the speakers?  The per channel output seems low.

For most WHA zones, the 20-40W/ch range is plenty. Don't expect the system to replace a "real" 2-channel system, though. But for background music and casual listening, it's enough.

(Are those the correct, current models for those systems? They're familiar but don't show up on the current product pages at Russound...)
Quote:
2) What do I need to be able to run a line out from the Russound to my HT receivers?

Should be a line out jack for each zone. If you've got "extra" zones that you're not using, make one of those your HT zone.
Quote:
In "party mode" it would be nice to have my HT receivers in the LR and Attic running the same music as my outside speakers.

Yep! That's why you cross-connect the systems.
Quote:
There is a line out as well as speaker out on Zones 1 & 2 on the CAM6.6 -> do both outputs (speaker and line out) work at the same time?  Is there a way to leave the Zone 1 or 2 speakers off but still have the line out active?

The outputs should be live all the time. There's a config option for fixed vs. variable output on the line outputs - select fixed output for the AVR zone so you don't have to deal with two volume controls.
Quote:
Do I need the Russound A-OM module?  I'm confused what this actually does and whether I can control source selection via iRule.  The CAV has ABUS, I don't believe the CAM does. Do I need a CAV and not a CAM?

You don't want an A-Bus system since you're got the centralized wiring. The A-OM is for interfacing A-Bus systems with other components. Don't need it.
Quote:
3) How would a line in from my HT to Russound work?
My assumption is that I can use the preamp zone 2 output from my HT receiver as a source in the Russound?  Is this correct?

Yep, set the pre-amp output to fixed and connect it as a source...


Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht
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