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
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):
or the MCA-C5 (40 watts per channel):
plus the DMS-3.1:
~$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:
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).