These are my current or already planned settings:
- There is a central closet; if possible I would like to have all the equipment there.
- As of now I have seven audio zones, I would like to expand in the future to another two for a total of nine. I can reduce this number right now to six if needed (one room is barely used for audio but it would be a nice to have).
- Six of these zones have already installed speakers in the ceiling wired to the central closet; they are connected to nothing yet. The other room has a 5.1 home theater system (BOSE Lifestyle old version); this is actually the room that audio is a nice to have and not strictly required.
- Four of these zones will have video distribution too. For that I am planning to use an HDMI matrix (probably Octava) to bring so far just two sources: cable TV and Boxee.
- I have also pre-wired coax from the central closet to all video zones, currently used to transmit air TV only but may merge in the future to another cable TV company.
- Internet is also pre-wired from the central closet to each TV set location and at least one more extra socket in all zones.
- There are already installed empty conduits from the central closet to each ceiling, each light switch and each power sockets in all the zones, so wiring should not be a problem. I actually prefer a dedicated cat 5e/6 network for audio distribution. I have already wired the video distribution with 2 x cat 6 from the central closet to all video zones.
And this is what I would like to have and it is honestly driving crazy:
- I want Intercom in each of the zones, ability to page between two zones and broadcast to all rooms. I do not mind adding a microphone in each zone if required, I am sure they can be patched to the central closet.
- In-wall control plate in each of the zones; I do not want to have remote control only, staggered all over the place (like a Sonos one for example). Remote controls are nice to have but not necessarily required. No touch screen necessarily required, but nice looking plates.
- I do not have many sources of Audio: FM/AM radio and local audio library in my ReadyNAS. Internet streaming would be a nice to have (any service worldwide available will do, cannot do USA only deals).
- I would not mind connecting cable TV and Boxee as two more audio sources, but not a must. An external connection to an iPod in any of the zones will be also nice to have.
- Since all the music is on the ReadyNAS, ability to browse the collection and play it, if possible with metadata, is a must (from this point I do love Sonos).
- Ability to control from iPod, iPhone or iPad is a nice to have.
- Ability to see CCTV cameras (there are 16 cameras all over the house) is a nice to have (I thought this was a nice touch from the Russound Collage system).
- I do not mind having two systems, one for audio and one for intercom. But ability to pause the music when the intercom is being used is a nice to have.
My requirements are fairly simple. Of all the systems that I have seen, looks like the Collage is the nicest one and it fits almost perfect, with the exception that I do not like the audio transmition over the power grid; but if it works I do not mind.
What other systems do you suggest?
PS. I live in Japan and there is almost no culture of home A/V distribution over here, so I hope I am not asking too much.