Solution for HT and Whole House Audio Control - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm about to put the finishing touches on a home remodel and about the last thing left to decide on is the remote control solution for all of the new A/V equipment I'm installing. I have spent a few weeks reading this Remote Control forum and would appreciate some advice from the experts so that I can continue researching on the best solution for my needs.

I've built a large built-in media cabinet in the living room, which will also be the center of my home theater. The cabinet will have a 65" plasma TV and I plan to store all of the A/V equipment in a cabinet under the TV. The room will have a 5.1 home theater system so there will also be a center channel placed between the TV and the A/V cabinet.

In addition to the 5.1 system in the living room I've installed 4 seperate zones of in-ceiling speakers for a small WHA system, all speaker wires are homerun back to the living room media cabinet.

At a minimum I will need to control the following equipment all placed in the same cabinet: HT AVR (probably Denon 2113 or 1713), ATT Uverse Cable Box, Xbox, Blue Ray player and the WHA equipment (either Aton DLA4 with seperate amp or HTD MCA-66).

My ideal solution would allow me to control all of the devices from anywhere in the house and allow the A/V equipment to be placed behind solid cabinet doors. I would like to control the equipment from something like an Ipad or a dedicated tablet type remote but also have the capability to control the devices from mine or my wife's iphone.

If you guys have any ideas on all the parts that I would need to make this come together I am all ears.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 06:59 AM
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Budget?
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post #3 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

Budget?

Under $1,000 would be ideal and if that is limiting then I can buy different equipment in stages.
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post #4 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 07:21 AM
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My first suggestion was going to be a Control4 HC-250 and their 4 zone amp. However, this will run you about $2500. The bonus is that it's all done over the network and wi-fi so those pesky oak doors won't be a problem. And you really only need those 2 pieces of equipment.

A more economical solution would be iRule: http://www.iruleathome.com/the-hardware/product/listing

You can get the wifi to IR system for $110. And you'll need the software... go with pro for $100

You'll then need to pick up an 8 channel amp for the 4 other speaker zones. Like this: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-815 It's $400

And then I'd grab the Sonos connect for $350.

That should put you right at your budget. You'll control most of your system from the iRule app. The WHA will use Sonos, which also has an app that you can use.
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post #5 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

My first suggestion was going to be a Control4 HC-250 and their 4 zone amp. However, this will run you about $2500. The bonus is that it's all done over the network and wi-fi so those pesky oak doors won't be a problem. And you really only need those 2 pieces of equipment.
A more economical solution would be iRule: http://www.iruleathome.com/the-hardware/product/listing
You can get the wifi to IR system for $110. And you'll need the software... go with pro for $100
You'll then need to pick up an 8 channel amp for the 4 other speaker zones. Like this: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-815 It's $400
And then I'd grab the Sonos connect for $350.
That should put you right at your budget. You'll control most of your system from the iRule app. The WHA will use Sonos, which also has an app that you can use.

I like where you're headed on the iRule setup but it's imperative that everything be controlled very easily from the same device. The WHA does not need to be multi-source to the zones, just background music but do want to be able to control the zones on/off and volume from the remote.
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post #6 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 08:00 AM
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The WHA does not need to be multi-source to the zones, just background music but do want to be able to control the zones on/off and volume from the remote.

Are you wanting individual control of each zone? Or can all zones have the same volume at the same time?
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post #7 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

Are you wanting individual control of each zone? Or can all zones have the same volume at the same time?

Individual control for each zone consisting of the ability to turn each zone ON/OFF and to control the volume in each zone seperately. Thanks for the help.
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post #8 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 08:13 AM
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Individual control for each zone consisting of the ability to turn each zone ON/OFF and to control the volume in each zone seperately.

I don't think your budget will get this done. To independently control the volume from each zone, you need 1 of 2 things: a multichannel amp with independent volume control for each zone or volume controls on the walls of each zone. I'm assuming you don't have the latter, so we'll need to go with the former. The amp I suggested has individual volume control, but you can't adjust via a remote. To get that capability, you're stepping up into a more expensive bracket.

The easiest solution would be to use several (4 in your case) Sonos amps. Each one costs $500, so you're at $2000 just for the WHA.
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post #9 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

I don't think your budget will get this done. To independently control the volume from each zone, you need 1 of 2 things: a multichannel amp with independent volume control for each zone or volume controls on the walls of each zone. I'm assuming you don't have the latter, so we'll need to go with the former. The amp I suggested has individual volume control, but you can't adjust via a remote. To get that capability, you're stepping up into a more expensive bracket.
The easiest solution would be to use several (4 in your case) Sonos amps. Each one costs $500, so you're at $2000 just for the WHA.

Could either the HTD MCA-66 or Aton DLA4 interact with an iRule based remote system? If you take the cost of the WHA controller/amp out of the equation can I get it all done?
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post #10 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 08:26 AM
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Those are speaker selectors, not amps. So you'll still need to purchase amps. You could purchase either of those and then inexpensive $50 amps for each set of speakers.
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post #11 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 08:29 AM
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Whole home anything (audio or video) is where you start to add money. If you take that out of the equation, it's very easy and cheap to accomplish your task. But once you start talking about controlling music in several zones independently of each other, $ becomes $$$$.
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post #12 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccampb1346 View Post

Could either the HTD MCA-66 or Aton DLA4 interact with an iRule based remote system? If you take the cost of the WHA controller/amp out of the equation can I get it all done?

I've had my eye on the MCA-66. While not an owner of it I am an experienced iRule user and it looks like from everything I have read about the MCA-66 that it would work perfectly with iRule and be perfect for your situation. It is basically a 12 channel receiver. It has 6 inputs, 6 stereo speaker outputs and each input can be assigned to any output, it has volume control and on/off for each zone, is controllable via IR or RS232 so with the correct iRule gateway would provide feedback.

I currently only have 2 zones in my home wired for speakers and have no simple way to retrofit volume controls in all the rooms I eventually want to have speakers in. Since I am already using iRule this multizone receiver seems perfect as source selection, volume and power can all be controlled via my handheld ipods and androids.

I find myself staring at the mca-66 a couple times a week. I just can't justify the purchase at this point for only 2 zones. My current piecemeal setup with an old stereo receiver with speaker a/b selection will have to suffice.

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post #13 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SeldomSeen31 View Post

I've had my eye on the MCA-66. While not an owner of it I am an experienced iRule user and it looks like from everything I have read about the MCA-66 that it would work perfectly with iRule and be perfect for your situation. It is basically a 12 channel receiver. It has 6 inputs, 6 stereo speaker outputs and each input can be assigned to any output, it has volume control and on/off for each zone, is controllable via IR or RS232 so with the correct iRule gateway would provide feedback.
I currently only have 2 zones in my home wired for speakers and have no simple way to retrofit volume controls in all the rooms I eventually want to have speakers in. Since I am already using iRule this multizone receiver seems perfect as source selection, volume and power can all be controlled via my handheld ipods and androids.
I find myself staring at the mca-66 a couple times a week. I just can't justify the purchase at this point for only 2 zones. My current piecemeal setup with an old stereo receiver with speaker a/b selection will have to suffice.

Thanks for the input, that is deinitely a strong set of reasons to purchase the MCA-66. Just to confirm a few things that are not clear by reading the HTD website: the MCA-66 unit has the ability to change the volume on each seperate zone independant from one another? I did not run volume controls to each room because I wanted to control that function remotely. Also, in one room/zone I have 2 pairs of speakers, how would the MCA-66 handle 2 pairs of speakers connected to one zone?

What hardware would I need to set up the iRule system on all the various components?
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post #14 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ccampb1346 View Post

Thanks for the input, that is deinitely a strong set of reasons to purchase the MCA-66. Just to confirm a few things that are not clear by reading the HTD website: the MCA-66 unit has the ability to change the volume on each seperate zone independant from one another? I did not run volume controls to each room because I wanted to control that function remotely. Also, in one room/zone I have 2 pairs of speakers, how would the MCA-66 handle 2 pairs of speakers connected to one zone?
What hardware would I need to set up the iRule system on all the various components?

Yes, volume, bass, treble, balance, power on/off, and inputs 1-6 are all available for each zone. irule already has the full rs232 command set in the database.

The manual for the mca-66 says that it can handle 2 pairs of 8OHM speakers in a single zone without issue.

As soon as I have my kitchen and 2 bathrooms remodeled I am likely going to purchase this. All in one box you get control and power. It also has pre-outs if you want more power in a specific zone at some point.

To control with iRule you would need an ip2sl global cache itach device. You would also need a way to control your sources (CD player, cable box, etc.) and IR control is most likely so an itach ip2ir.

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post #15 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Is there a way to control thermostats in the home with iRule? Which thermostats on the market have this capability?
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post #16 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 01:03 PM
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You are looking at the $800 MCA-66, correct??
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post #17 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 01:06 PM
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Is there a way to control thermostats in the home with iRule? Which thermostats on the market have this capability?

Check out this:
http://support.iruleathome.com/customer/portal/questions/638709-using-insteon
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post #18 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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You are looking at the $800 MCA-66, correct??

Yes.
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post #19 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ccampb1346 View Post

Is there a way to control thermostats in the home with iRule? Which thermostats on the market have this capability?

Nearly anything that can be sent an ip, ir or rs232 command can be controlled with irule. Irule just launched an add on module for leviton zwave control which includes lights, locks, dimmers, switches, thermostats, etc.

I asked for the smarthome switchlinc controller and dimmers for Chrsitmas. They offer thermostats as well.

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post #20 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, that looks a little complicated so maybe I'll start with my media cabinet needs and work my way up to that level.
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post #21 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 01:14 PM
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So... here's what you'll want to do...

Grab either of those receivers you mentioned... connect it your network via ethernet cable.

Take the Zone 2 audio out and plug it into your mca-66. You can skip the sonos this way, though honestly, the sonos will have a cleaner interface and more options than your Denon receiver. This will now give you the ability to use your receiver as a source for your speakers in the other rooms. Once networked, the receiver can play your MP3s etc. and send it out over your speakers.
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post #22 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

So... here's what you'll want to do...
Grab either of those receivers you mentioned... connect it your network via ethernet cable.
Take the Zone 2 audio out and plug it into your mca-66. You can skip the sonos this way, though honestly, the sonos will have a cleaner interface and more options than your Denon receiver. This will now give you the ability to use your receiver as a source for your speakers in the other rooms. Once networked, the receiver can play your MP3s etc. and send it out over your speakers.

Easy enough. If I wanted to bypass the HT AVR and go the Sonos route what equipment would I need? All I really want to play through the MCA-66 would be Pandora or my music library from itunes on an Imac in a seperate room. Of course, I want to control the Itunes from the remote control or directly from the computer itself. Would Sonos be that much better?
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post #23 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 01:37 PM
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Sonos will give you more options. If you're just going for Pandora and your personal music collection, the AVR should be sufficient. My advice is to try it without Sonos for now. See if you like how it works. If you don't like it, go pick up the Sonos Connect for $350 and plug that into the MCA.
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post #24 of 25 Old 12-09-2012, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Are there any solutions for a hard button remote?
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post #25 of 25 Old 12-14-2012, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by ccampb1346 View Post

I like where you're headed on the iRule setup but it's imperative that everything be controlled very easily from the same device. The WHA does not need to be multi-source to the zones, just background music but do want to be able to control the zones on/off and volume from the remote.

Another control option is a product called TouchControl. The one advantage to it is the ability to directly control a computer running as your media server without the need for additional equipment. TC allows you to execute commands directly to programs using either native codes or custom batch files. A decent computer running as your media server with the right software can give you multiple independent a/v zones at an affordable price point.

Check out www.HardAuto.com for examples on this.
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