DIY install - Russound or Nuvo? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-27-2013, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I will apologize in advance for hijacking this thread.

I am trying to complete a DIY install in a new construction home I had prewired 3.5 years ago when it was built. Obtaining equipment has seemed so daunting, I've put it off for that long.

I have 6 locations:
master bed room
master bath
upstairs office
downstairs office
kitchen
back covered patio (speakers in the ceiling with control panel location inside the house next to the door)

I have 14/4 and cat 6e running to each keypad location and then a 14/2 from keypad to each speaker.
The 14/4 and cat 6e are home runs to a rack location in the basement (no rack has been procured yet).
I don't expect to ever expand this system and therefore 6 outputs and 6 zones is what I am looking at.
In addition to the above, I have the house wired with a multitude of cat 6e and RG6QS in many locations - home runs to the same rack(less) location.
We plan to use a variety of sources - FM radio, windows PC(s) on the home network, internet radio, iphone/pad, possibly pandora and we do have an XM subscription that we'd like to utilize through internet streaming from SiriusXM.
A primary requirement we have is program data on the keypads at each location. I plan to go with 2 gang (at least) keypads with the largest display area and font in every location. The keypads also have to look good.

I started looking into this again recently, having seen that Russound equipment is now being sold on Amazon by Amazon. The thought of having to deal with authorized dealers for a DIY installation is something I've wanted to avoid which is why I've had wires hanging out of the ceilings and walls for 3+ years. I have Prime and Amazon has always been great in every respect for me.

Based on the availability of Russound on Amazon, I was planning on going with a kit with 6 keypads, either the MCA-C3 (20 watts per channel):
http://www.amazon.com/Russound-KT2-C3-MCA-C3-Controller-Keypads/dp/B00D02BA1S
~$2050
or the MCA-C5 (40 watts per channel):
http://www.amazon.com/Russound-KT2-C5-MCA-C5-Controller-Keypads/dp/B00D02BAZY
~$2640
plus the DMS-3.1:
http://www.amazon.com/Russound-2450-533419-DMS-3-1-Network-Player/dp/B007BS01ZS
~$1410 (although not sold by Amazon).
or a total of
$3490 or $4050.

Then I started reading this forum and I could not ignore the popularity of Nuvo here. Specifically, I've read a number of Jeff's contributions and they have been very helpful, so Jeff I hope you read this post and can weigh in. Based on your information (almost entirely), I started looking into Nuvo. It seems the comparable setup would be an Essentia or a Concerto plus Music Port/Music Port Elite.
Getting prices on Nuvo equipment is dicier. I see some ebay listings that are in the same neighborhood -
~$2400 for a used Essentia with some extra stuff (but not the I8GCP controllers I want),
~$2625 for a new Concerto with what appears to be 6 I8GCP controllers:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nuvo-Grand-Concerto-Audio-System/251360267024
although this seems too good to be true.
~$1800 for a used Music Port
or ~$2650 for a new Music Port Elite
These are ebay prices and some are used, so trying to calculate for comparison is difficult, but if I assume a new Music Port would be about $2000, I am at least at $4400 for the Essentia combo and $4600 for the Concerto combo.

Here are my questions:
1. Do I need 40 watts per channel or can I get away with 20? For the price difference, which is at most $500, and my expectation that I will have this system for many years, I am thinking going with 40 is worth it.
2. Based on what I have read in these forums, it seems Nuvo just works better, especially the Music Port (vs DMS 3.1). Is that true? If it is, is it $600 better?
3. I am not thrilled with the black Nuvo keypads. The Russound 2 gang keypads are also all touch screen but primarily white which will look better with our white wall plates. I am assuming the Nuvo color cannot be changed as it's not a color display.
4 If Nuvo really is a better way to go, do I need to just get over it and get in touch with some dealers? I've seen the "ask 3 different dealers for prices" plan which seems reasonable but I am still feeling like when I call these guys they are not going to want to hear from a DIY guy. Related - is there any reason to avoid buying this stuff on ebay?
5. Should I be considering other manufacturers or other models? I see Russound has a few other CA* models which appear to overlap with the MCAs but it looks like the MCAs would be what I want (and they are sold by Amazon).
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-27-2013, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illuminated View Post

I will apologize in advance for hijacking this thread.

That "start new thread" button is there for a reason... wink.gif
Quote:
I am trying to complete a DIY install in a new construction home I had prewired 3.5 years ago when it was built. Obtaining equipment has seemed so daunting, I've put it off for that long.

Yeah, not a quick question... Really, ask the mods to fork this into your own thread.
Quote:
1. Do I need 40 watts per channel or can I get away with 20? For the price difference, which is at most $500, and my expectation that I will have this system for many years, I am thinking going with 40 is worth it.

Depends on the size of your room(s) and your choice of speakers. If you're sure you'll never expand beyond the 6 zones, then yeah, you're paying solely for the increase in power. You may be fine with 20W/ch, but as you said, you don't want to go through all this to be disappointed with the results. 40W/ch has been more than ample in all of my rooms...
Quote:
2. Based on what I have read in these forums, it seems Nuvo just works better, especially the Music Port (vs DMS 3.1). Is that true? If it is, is it $600 better?

I don't think we can say it "works better". The feature additions to the DMS put it very much on par with the MPS4, and the Russound piece is more likely to get additional features added in the future. I don't expect any additional functionality to come to the MPS4.
Quote:
3. I am not thrilled with the black Nuvo keypads. The Russound 2 gang keypads are also all touch screen but primarily white which will look better with our white wall plates. I am assuming the Nuvo color cannot be changed as it's not a color display.

The trim rings come in white, but the display itself is black. I have almond plates in much of the house, and I don't think the black square in the middle is a big deal. On the other hand, the brightness and readability of the NuVo OLED display beats everything else for usability. That was a key difference for me.
Quote:
4 If Nuvo really is a better way to go, do I need to just get over it and get in touch with some dealers?

Yes. You can always buy the gear at MSRP from one of the authorized Internet dealers (Smarthome and PartsExpress). You may get a better price by calling them with a bundle in mind, but it's more than worth a call to a local dealer for a quote. As long as you're upfront about the DIY install, they'll either be happy to take some easy money, or won't want to touch the concept for risk of DIY headaches...
Quote:
I've seen the "ask 3 different dealers for prices" plan which seems reasonable but I am still feeling like when I call these guys they are not going to want to hear from a DIY guy. Related - is there any reason to avoid buying this stuff on ebay?

Warranty. Used gear, different story. If anything I'd buy the system and the music server (the most likely piece to have "issues" requiring attention) from an authorized dealer. Speakers, other sources, accessories, etc. - are low-risk to go without a warranty if the price is right. Note that NuVo has dealer bundles with speakers (and perhaps other kits), so it's all worth a conversation with your local guys.
Quote:
5. Should I be considering other manufacturers or other models? I see Russound has a few other CA* models which appear to overlap with the MCAs but it looks like the MCAs would be what I want (and they are sold by Amazon).

Your desire for metadata keypads and price sensitivity probably leave Russound and NuVo as your two choices...


Jeff
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post #3 of 4 Old 11-02-2013, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Depends on the size of your room(s) and your choice of speakers. If you're sure you'll never expand beyond the 6 zones, then yeah, you're paying solely for the increase in power. You may be fine with 20W/ch, but as you said, you don't want to go through all this to be disappointed with the results. 40W/ch has been more than ample in all of my rooms...

I am going to go with a 40 watts per channel unit.
I actually have 2 sets of speakers already installed, one set in the kitchen (which is large) and one set in the patio roof, each through a volume control being driven by an old Yamaha home theater amp I wasn't using and at times I need some significant volume in these places for this jury-rigged setup I have right now so I think going to 40w is a good investment.
Quote:
I don't think we can say it "works better". The feature additions to the DMS put it very much on par with the MPS4, and the Russound piece is more likely to get additional features added in the future. I don't expect any additional functionality to come to the MPS4.

I was under the impression that Russound was and still is behind, especially with native support in the DMS for various internet services, so that's very useful info.
Quote:
The trim rings come in white, but the display itself is black. I have almond plates in much of the house, and I don't think the black square in the middle is a big deal. On the other hand, the brightness and readability of the NuVo OLED display beats everything else for usability. That was a key difference for me.

The wife and I will have to discuss this one. I may need to go to a dealer or two and actually look at both to see which will be best for us.
Quote:
Note that NuVo has dealer bundles with speakers (and perhaps other kits), so it's all worth a conversation with your local guys.

I bought 6 sets of Polk RC60i's back in 2010, so speaker bundles won't be an option for me, but maybe amp + keypads + server could still save me a few bucks.

I really appreciate your feedback. You seem to be providing individual support in this subject area to a large number of people and you are doing the Whole Home Audio community (and industry) a tremendous service.
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post #4 of 4 Old 11-02-2013, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illuminated View Post

I was under the impression that Russound was and still is behind, especially with native support in the DMS for various internet services, so that's very useful info.

They were - past tense. Release 7 brings them up and ahead in some areas - notably Airplay support with metadata.

http://www.russound.com/release7/
Quote:
The wife and I will have to discuss this one. I may need to go to a dealer or two and actually look at both to see which will be best for us.

For example, here's the NuVo keypad with the almond trim, next to an almond switch (on a light-colored wall):


Quote:
I bought 6 sets of Polk RC60i's back in 2010, so speaker bundles won't be an option for me, but maybe amp + keypads + server could still save me a few bucks.

Probably not... The controller+keypads is the primary SKU - you can buy the controller separately but that's not the typical path.
Quote:
I really appreciate your feedback. You seem to be providing individual support in this subject area to a large number of people and you are doing the Whole Home Audio community (and industry) a tremendous service.

Thanks for the kind words!

Jeff

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