Originally Posted by Fran Coughlin
It seems like you are an expert on the Russound CA6.4. I just bought one on ebay but didn't realize the inputs were controlled by wallpads. I have in wall volume controls for 6 rooms with speakers in the ceilings. Is there a remote that can control the CA6.4 zones or do i need to get the pads.
thanks in advance for any help. I really appreciate it.
Hi Fran, and welcome to the forum!!
If I understand your setup correctly, you have volume controls that are wired in-line with your ceiling mounted speakers. If that is the case, "Houston, we have a problem."
The Russound CA series (CA6.4 and CA4.4 and -i versions) all use either the CA-LCD(-2), CA-KP(-2) and can use the DSC and/or DAN pads to add extra capability like CD/DVD player control and alphanumeric entry. Both pads will do IR distribution so you can use an IR remote to control the source equipment back at the controller rack.
Each CA series controller needs direct runs of two kinds of cables - Cat5 - or 6, and wires for each speaker. For example, if you want to provide music to your kitchen, you'll need to run Cat-6 to the wall pad (CA-LCD or CA-KP) and separate wires to each speaker in the kitchen. Unless your house was specifically wired for Russound gear, I'm guessing you only have the speaker wires run. Your wall volume controls are wired in line and can control speaker volume, but nothing else.
Back to your question, Russound made two types of remotes that work with the CA series. One, the CA-LRC1 can both control source selection and volume (for the CA-LCD pads) and has limited capability to be programmed to control some other source gear. There is a smaller remote that controls only source selection and volume. Harmony remotes DO have the Russound code programmed in, though. None of this is of any use to you unless you have the keypads installed, though.
Assuming that you do not have the CAT5 runs for your setup, your new purchase won't do you any good unless you a) purchase and install the Russound keypads (i.e. run a dedicted Cat5 cable from the controller to the keypad) and b) remove your existing in-wall volume controls and make a dedicated run to each pair of speakers.
Obviously running six CAT5 cables through walls, ceilings and floors can be a challenge, especially in an existing home. (I know - I ran 18 zones! - but did it before finishing off my basement)
You'll need to remove your existing volume controls and splice the wires back together. (Adding more impedance to the CA amps is a bad idea.) Then patch the holes in the walls and repaint.
Finding the used pads can be problematic, and expensive. You'll REALLY want the CA-LCD pads, to allow volume control and source selection via remote, and I've seen them go for over $100 each. This starts to get close to the price of a new system. The KP pads work fine, you just have to touch them to change sources and adjust volume. (I just looked on ebay and the prices for this stuff have really gone up. Guess it's getting hard to find.)
So, it depends on what you want to achieve and how much work (or money) you are willing to invest to get it.
A reasonable keep-what-you-have approach might be the following. Buy a multi channel amp to drive the speakers you already have installed. Sherbourn, Russound Xantech and others make them. Use a re-purposed receiver to provide signal to the amp so you'll have AM/FM, CD, DVD, satellite, etc. from the reciever. Or use a second zone from your main receiver. An impedance corrected speaker selector box could work also, but is less convenient. CD and DVD mega changers work well for LOTS of music.
To add digital tunes support, an ipod can be added, or a PC can provide signal. I use a dedicated PC in my network as a source and also have a WHS server with 20Tb onboard for storage. I can control it using a Streamzap remote via the Russound's IR repeat capability or via Remote Desktop Connection using any other PC on my network. I have a netbook that connects via wireless net and carry it around to control the tunes. A Behringer DAC provides good sound instead of a headphone jack.
If you need and are willing to run the extra cabling, and buy the pads, you can of course add more capability - at a cost.
I've got a lot of extra pieces laying around that might do you some good if you go that route. I've been through several iterations on whole house audio and have most of the changers, etc. left over. Seems like I have a complete set of six KP2 pads and some KP-1's as well. If you choose to keep what you have a sell the CA6.4 please let me know. I have a spare CA4.4 but could use a CA6.4 spare.
Let me know if I can help, and please keep me posted on what you decide.
Again, welcome to the forum!!