Originally Posted by maclean1
Can anyone give me their experienced opinion of the Niles ZR-4 system? We bought a home with pre-existing wiring in about 8 zones. We don't really want that many, 4 would be fine. Is the ZR-6 system better than the 4? We would like to be able to have ipod, internet radio (pandora), and AM/FM radio. Can we upgrade the Keypads for the ZR-4 unit to the TS models or is that just worthless? Can we control source selection and scroll using the key pads, remote control with the ZR-4. I really appreciate any help. I'm a newbie with this stuff.
Welcome to the forum!
The difference between the two systems is the support of "metadata on the keypads", so first, no, those keypads won't interchange between those systems.
The ZR6 will get you metadata (song name, artist/album, menus, etc.) from an attached iPod, but I believe that will only work for the music loaded on the iPod - not other services received from the Internet via apps on the iPod.
Look instead at the systems from Sonos (the Connect:Amp) and NuVo (the P100, P200, P3100) which will give you access to all of those services. These systems don't have keypads, all control is from a wireless device (iPod, iPad, etc.). In either case, you store your music on your network (PC or NAS storage box), or attach it directly to the system via USB (for the NuVo). The Sonos has a few more services available currently, the NuVo series are very new products.
Most AM/FM stations also stream over the Internet, so you can access those from these systems as well. And both have analog inputs to connect anything else you might want (cable set-top box to listen to the TV in other rooms, for example).
You can also look at whole house audio systems from HTD.com, which would give you local keypad controls - and then you use one or more of the Sonos Connect (not the amp version) units as sources. The advantage is you get basic controls (power, volume, source selection) at the keypads, but navigating the content will remain on a mobile device (and you'd lose volume control there).
Further up the chain are systems like the NuVo Simplese and Grand Concerto, which when coupled with their MPS4 music server, gives you full access from both keypads and mobile devices. But that will be a significantly more expensive solution.
Hope that helps and isn't more confusing!!!