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RS232 controllable Whole House audio without keypads

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Well, I just moved in to a new townhouse, and would like to get whole house audio setup, but I need help in determining what components to use for the custom setup necessary.

Due to the construction of the house (built INCREDIBLY well insulated with foam and the studs/joists are braced every 6 feet or so), running new wires is basically out of the question. Fortunately, the MBR, Kitchen, Dining Room, and Rooftop garden are prewired with two speaker wires each, but no cat5 control (I guess what happens when a builder/electrician wires it with no idea how whole house audio works). So I can get audio to each room no problem from my AV rack, but every system I have come across needs a keypad for each room.

I figure that if there was a whole-house amp that was fully controllable via rs232 (i.e. can turn on rooms, changes sources, and change volume for each room via the rs232 on the amp) that I can easily add it to the CQC/elk m1 gold system I am going to be adding soon. The other idea I had was just to find some dirt cheap stereo amplifiers that were rs232 controllable, and I could just get one for each zone.

Do any of the distribution amps have this ability over rs232, or do they all require the keypads to work properly? Do such cheap (~$100 each) stereo amps with rs232 control exist? Or are there any other ways that I could accomplish this that I'm not thinking of?

post #2 of 7
There are cheap ways to route audio/video however as soon as you want to remotely control the volume, you will be stuck needing a expensive multiroom pre-amp. I will never understand why these things are so expensive but they are. Pretty much all of the russound and nuvo equipment is RS-232 controllable so you wouldn’t need a keypad in each room. Since you only listed needing 4 zones, you may be able to make a NuVo Simplese work.
post #3 of 7
I have the Nuvo Grand Concerto. It will do what you are describing.

You could also get inexpensive rs232 receivers (as you mentioned) for each zone, but sharing sources could get complicated.
post #4 of 7
I have Nuvo amp controlled via RS232 and using Squeezebox duet receivers for sources. They are cheap and can be controlled via remote control. I use Pronto but you could use others as well. You get album artwork on remote which is nice
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
thanks for the help guys, I found a russound CAA controller used on ebay that I might get, if i win it.

Other than just for curiosity, are there any cheap (~$100) rs232 controllable stereo amplifiers out there? That might be good for adding the 3 rooms that aren't prewired, and might be more powerful.
post #6 of 7
I use CQC and some hardware to do exactly what you ask. I do not have a single keypad hooked up to my B&K CT600 whole house audio system. I've also bought several Integra HT receivers (models numbers DTR 6.3 and 6.4)over the years off EBay with good results. I bought 1 lemon, but the other 3 work great. I paid about $100-150 each for the used ones (I did buy one new 6.4 for $400 from an authorized dealer). You can generally get some good deals on receivers that have component video but not HDMI. There are a lot of people buying HDMI receivers and then selling their older receivers on line.

CQC has drivers to run both the Integras and B&K hardware (as well as others).
post #7 of 7
You could go with Sonos. Just stack the units in the central location. If you have any issues with wireless strength with their remote (or you can use an iPhone/iPod Touch on your own WiFi network) you can plug in their wireless bridges/extenders. That would give you wireless volume and source control.
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