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Need a great way to control audio in any room...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Noob here but I know some minimal basics... I'd like the "best bang for the buck" solution to provide remote control of the HT products when I'm in remote locations in the house. 4-5 locations are probably more than adequate... distances as the crow flies will be 70 ft, and over 150 up walls and over to the HT equip...

My understanding is that the system uses hard wire to connect remote Rx/Tx units that recieve the signal from the user via remote (or keypad, etc). The signal travels from the remote Rx/Tx, through the wire and then out to an IR or RF "sprayer" that's setup near the HT Rx, CD player, etc... This sprayer emits IR or RF to the devices which makes them controllable.

Do I understand this right? Again, looking for best bang for the buck...

Can someone recommend a system to do this?
post #2 of 7
Well RF seems to be the way.

Heres a few options from least to most $

Batteries with an RF transmitter - never used but product is very new

Universal Remotes w/ RF kit - starts online for $35 I have used the RF basestation w/ a dolphin waterproof remote and it works really good

Logitech Harmony 890 Remote w/ RF kit - easy to program, can't quite do everything needed in all applications, but does have some nice features - $250

Universal MX series remotes w/ RF basestation - $400 and up

Xantech XTR 39 w/ RF basestation - $800 and up

Most RF ranges are around 60 feet and up.

Higher end RF basestations have adjustable IR and RF signals, and possibly additional RF repeaters.

I hope this helps. Send a PM if you have any more questions.
post #3 of 7
I personally dislike RF as you cannot get bidirectional control over those devices. I.E., you cannot tell if there's no music b/c the zone is off, wrong source, etc.

I homerolled a PC solution using an automation engine that uses cheap tablet PCs ($160) to render a UI, or pocket-PCs, so I can paint a custom screen.

Much nicer than my old MX800 RF->IR solution. Check out my site below for shots.
post #4 of 7
IVB i just downloaded the trial version to play around with it a little. Another interesting solution. I'm not a computer ghuru so this type of setup will be totally new to me.
post #5 of 7
If you need any help, reach out. It's either very straightforward or takes a little getting used to, based on your experience. You literally just missed one of the 1-2 user group webexes we have per month, but there's some great Video Tutorials up on the site that will help get your mind around CQC. Next webex is 1/27, if you're still interested you should join that one to see how to use it to accomplish your goals.

I've got a "how-to" doc that i've started here. Still not done, though I have listed out a complete parts list.
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB View Post

I personally dislike RF as you cannot get bidirectional control over those devices. I.E., you cannot tell if there's no music b/c the zone is off, wrong source, etc.

I homerolled a PC solution using an automation engine that uses cheap tablet PCs ($160) to render a UI, or pocket-PCs, so I can paint a custom screen.

Much nicer than my old MX800 RF->IR solution. Check out my site below for shots.

I like CQC myself, but for the most bang for the buck I have to think its not it. CQC is much more than is needed here and though you mention the $160 tablet PC cost you leave out the cost of other equipment (which, based on your statement must be RS-232 controllable b/c using CQC to just do IR repeating would be extreme overkill) to do the actual audio distribution as well as the wiring requirements. It really comes down to how much the OP really want to do.

If he just wants a quick way to get audio (assuming MP3/inet radio) in many rooms then the Sonos system may be another thing to look at. Its not quite cheap but for 2-3 rooms I think its a better bang for the buck than CQC.

Russound systems can also be found for around $2k with 6 keypads. I believe they have built-in IR capabilities and though that does not provide the feedback of other systems it still is a decent way to go. And, if down the road he does want to put in CQC then it can interface to the Russound.

CQC is an option, but in bang for the buck and only doing audio distribution I would not rank it at the top. Also, OP, you should look into how the CQC audio playback works and see if its the way you want. I have not yet learned if/how it can do playlists instad of just showing by artist/album.
post #7 of 7
Well, bang is different things to different folks - i actually owned an expensive MX800 before I got CQC, and was utterly unsatisfied with a non-touchscreen based mechanism to selecting music. I personally felt zero bang, and $300 or so bucks.

Even using IR to control my old Denon 4806 one-way, but at least using a PPC to select albums was better than that. And, true, over time I made sure I bought stuff that was RS232 controllable, finally eBay'ing off my 4806 to get the 3805.

I did foget about the sonos though. That is a good, touchscreen based solution.
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