Please save me from buying 12 Sonos boxes!! ;-) - Page 4 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #91 of 122 Old 11-07-2015, 12:12 PM
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Hardware controlled by control4 needs mapping and binding to the system by a dealer who programs the rooms the path to the speakers through the amps, the sources connected to those amps etc.


Similarly this would be done for tv, avr, cable box, dvd etc

Once that is done you can do your own programming
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post #92 of 122 Old 11-10-2015, 10:00 PM
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May be off topic but I have two 6 zone amps. I have either an airport express plugged in per room or an Apple TV plugged into each zone. Kids and wife can choose what they wanna here and play it in each room. I can then use Apple TV remote and play same music on all channels. Works good and not over priced. I am using amps from Parts Express.
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post #93 of 122 Old 10-10-2017, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by SMHarman View Post
Hardware controlled by control4 needs mapping and binding to the system by a dealer who programs the rooms the path to the speakers through the amps, the sources connected to those amps etc.


Similarly this would be done for tv, avr, cable box, dvd etc

Once that is done you can do your own programming
Thanks for all the info.

Wanted to through a curve ball into this. I was thinking about this. To save money on both the Sonos and Control4 setup(I have control4 already installed in my house, just not the matrix and sonos connect amp and thinking of ways to save money and have control of what I am doing), I was thinking of buying a mult-zone amp($450) and just connecting 4 or 5 echo dots to each zone via the aux to RCA jack. This would be a total cost of around $600 - $700. The only thing is, I worried about a major loss of good sound quality doing it this way? I have 4 zones in my house, basement, kitchen, patio, and garage.
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post #94 of 122 Old 10-10-2017, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Korny30 View Post
Thanks for all the info.

Wanted to through a curve ball into this. I was thinking about this. To save money on both the Sonos and Control4 setup(I have control4 already installed in my house, just not the matrix and sonos connect amp and thinking of ways to save money and have control of what I am doing), I was thinking of buying a mult-zone amp($450) and just connecting 4 or 5 echo dots to each zone via the aux to RCA jack. This would be a total cost of around $600 - $700. The only thing is, I worried about a major loss of good sound quality doing it this way? I have 4 zones in my house, basement, kitchen, patio, and garage.
Now 2 years after that post recommendations for SONOS and C4 are no more with the official driver being less useful.

I'd recommend you buy a control4 4 zone matrix amp on eBay. About $400-500. Bits a reliable piece of kit so a low risk purchase.

What controller do you have? An HC800 or EA3 or 5 will provide multiple native sources and streams and C4 now have many many native source drivers they did not have 2 years ago, especially if you upgrade to OS 2.10. Then you have airplay, Spotify, iheartradio, tunein, napster, Pandora, tidal deezer etc. Also local mp3/aac etc.
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post #95 of 122 Old 10-10-2017, 09:32 PM
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Now 2 years after that post recommendations for SONOS and C4 are no more with the official driver being less useful.

I'd recommend you buy a control4 4 zone matrix amp on eBay. About $400-500. Bits a reliable piece of kit so a low risk purchase.

What controller do you have? An HC800 or EA3 or 5 will provide multiple native sources and streams and C4 now have many many native source drivers they did not have 2 years ago, especially if you upgrade to OS 2.10. Then you have airplay, Spotify, iheartradio, tunein, napster, Pandora, tidal deezer etc. Also local mp3/aac etc.
So the exact details of my speaker system are(zones) - Patio, Garage, Kitchen, Basement. I have 2 other sets of speakers, but those are the the TV entertainment and will probably stick with the receiver. I have the EA3 the only other control4 products I have are the 10 inch, 7 inch, and 7 inch portable touch screens. My dealer was going to install a Control4 8-Zone Amp with a Sonos Connect and other small items. With labor($95/hr), that total was going to come out to be over $3100. So I decided to hold off on that. What do you think?

I love tinkering with my system but I wouldn't mind having all my zones running perfectly and I know control4 can do that, but at a cost. I am also weird about something not working right and would have to call the dealer to get it fixed, which maybe another charge. With that said, I am fine having control4 take care of the audio and have it ran perfectly with their software, but the cost and the chance of it having a hicup and then waiting for the dealer to get it fixed is causing me to rethink things constantly.

The thing I don't like about control4 is you have little to no control over the system. Also, every driver has a price, sometimes yearly. Even the driver to allow me to control my control4 while I am out of the house has a yearly fee. Nothing is free with control4 and with having to buy all these drivers can also get expensive.
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post #96 of 122 Old 10-10-2017, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Korny30 View Post
So the exact details of my speaker system are(zones) - Patio, Garage, Kitchen, Basement. I have 2 other sets of speakers, but those are the the TV entertainment and will probably stick with the receiver. I have the EA3 the only other control4 products I have are the 10 inch, 7 inch, and 7 inch portable touch screens. My dealer was going to install a Control4 8-Zone Amp with a Sonos Connect and other small items. With labor($95/hr), that total was going to come out to be over $3100. So I decided to hold off on that. What do you think?

I love tinkering with my system but I wouldn't mind having all my zones running perfectly and I know control4 can do that, but at a cost. I am also weird about something not working right and would have to call the dealer to get it fixed, which maybe another charge. With that said, I am fine having control4 take care of the audio and have it ran perfectly with their software, but the cost and the chance of it having a hicup and then waiting for the dealer to get it fixed is causing me to rethink things constantly.

The thing I don't like about control4 is you have little to no control over the system. Also, every driver has a price, sometimes yearly. Even the driver to allow me to control my control4 while I am out of the house has a yearly fee. Nothing is free with control4 and with having to buy all these drivers can also get expensive.
So installing the amp, binding the virtual connections and installing the service drivers (all free drivers) is pretty much once and done. Not sure why you needed an 8 zone amp. You can hdmi from the ea3 to avr to get that as a 5th audio zone.

I would drop the sonos. The ea3 does it all natively now, super reliably. Honestly the whole home audio is a set and forget part of my system. Barely tinkered with as well.

Everything we are talking about is free drivers. I've never heard of a subscription driver apart from the 4sight. Honestly I perceive 4sight to keep a clean vpn and push notification system for under $10 a month when so much can be connected a fair deal.

If you are planning on dropping $6-700 on your plan B then $400 on the used 4 zone and a remote dealer to program once you have set up the physical connections is a no Brainer.

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post #97 of 122 Old 10-10-2017, 11:00 PM
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So installing the air, binding the virtual connections and installing the service drivers (all free drivers) is pretty much once and done. Not sure why you needed an 8 zone amp. You can hdmi from the ea3 to avr to get that as a 5th audio zone.

I would drop the sonos. The ea3 does it all natively now, super reliably. Honestly the whole home audio is a set and forget part of my system. Barely tinkered with as well.

Everything we are talking about is free drivers. I've never heard of a subscription driver apart from the 4sight. Honestly I perceive 4sight to keep a clean vpn and push notification system for under $10 a month when so much can be connected a fair deal.

If you are planning on dropping $6-700 on your plan B then $400 on the used 4 zone and a remote dealer to program once you have set up the physical connections is a no Brainer.
Do must dealers frown upon a customer buying a used Control4 amp? I know my dealer wouldn't use the cables I had bought before they came down for the first installation as they wanted to make sure they had their own that they knew would be correct.

So my setup should be, get the used 4 zone matrix amp for $395, and go with that? No sonos? Would I need anything else to get the audio side all done without me having to mess with it? What drivers would I need to make it all work?
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post #98 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 07:58 AM
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Do must dealers frown upon a customer buying a used Control4 amp? I know my dealer wouldn't use the cables I had bought before they came down for the first installation as they wanted to make sure they had their own that they knew would be correct.

So my setup should be, get the used 4 zone matrix amp for $395, and go with that? No sonos? Would I need anything else to get the audio side all done without me having to mess with it? What drivers would I need to make it all work?
Many dealers don't. It adds the variable that if it is not working is it the used hardware or something else. Also there is a potential time unknown time component to getting the firmware up to date. Less of a thing for components like the amp than old light switches but still can add time that you may not like the bill for.

My 4 zone matrix amp is a pre-owned product. The 8 zone matrix can have cooling fan issues. The 4 seems to have very few reliability complaints.

You can use a remote dealer for these updates though. They team view onto your network or you temporary make them your dealer. Find one on c4forums. Vince has done good work for me.

The drivers are by service and number of services in some instances.

Pandora. Free driver. One per instance you may want to use. If you think you will listen to Pandora in the garage while someone else is listening to a different Pandora stream in the kitchen you install twice (well the dealer does) make one visible on the kitchen. Another on the garage.

Radio, tune in and I heart radio. Both free.

Shairbridge = Airplay, free, one per

Napster and Spotify both require subscriptions to the services. Free driver.

MyMusic, free, used for local music, e.g. ripped mp3, iTunes downloads etc.

From memory that's the main music drivers, all free (unlike sonos used to be). Sonos is now also free. Personally I choose to modify my media sources than pay for sonos or music drivers. C4 have focused on their product offering here and the native part is one of the best in class now.
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post #99 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 09:45 AM
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How many different streams can the EA-3 tune simultaneously? I know it has digital and analog outputs, in addition to the HDMI, but can it tune more than one thing at a time?

My C4 system is still HC-800 based, and the HC-800 is limited to one stream at a time. So if my wife and daughter want to be listening to different music, you need additional streamers. We found that adding 2 Sonos Connect boxes was cheaper/better/faster/more than adding new EA- controllers.

If the EA-3 is similarly limited, and you want to have more than one stream running at a time, then you may want to consider the Sonos after all.
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post #100 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 10:07 AM
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How many different streams can the EA-3 tune simultaneously? I know it has digital and analog outputs, in addition to the HDMI, but can it tune more than one thing at a time?

My C4 system is still HC-800 based, and the HC-800 is limited to one stream at a time. So if my wife and daughter want to be listening to different music, you need additional streamers. We found that adding 2 Sonos Connect boxes was cheaper/better/faster/more than adding new EA- controllers.

If the EA-3 is similarly limited, and you want to have more than one stream running at a time, then you may want to consider the Sonos after all.
Different drivers have different stream limitations. Neither of your systems is controller constrained but driver constrained.

My HC800 has 3 copies of the Pandora driver on it, one visible to the kids bedroom, one to the master bed and bath and one to the living room and kitchen. All three of those could be running at once sending 3 different audio streams to three different spaces. In fact I could add a local media stream to the living room as that is connected to the HDMI output.

So the HC800 has 4 audio outs and can send 4 separate steams to them at any time. One HDMI (so would need a breakout balun to get the audio into an analog amp input, one coax digital (can go direct into the 4 zone matrix and two analog rca (also direct onto matrix).

EA3 does 3 streams (hence the 3) isn't EA for enhanced audio? One HDMI, one analog and one digital RCA

for completeness the EA5 does, you guessed it, 5 steams. 1 HDMI, two analog RCA and two digital RCA coax.

The EA5 connected to the 4 zone matrix and an AVR could have 5 separate streams one to each audio zone there.

Maybe you need a balun to make use of one of the other audio streams in your EA3
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post #101 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 11:36 AM
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Different drivers have different stream limitations. Neither of your systems is controller constrained but driver constrained.

My HC800 has 3 copies of the Pandora driver on it, one visible to the kids bedroom, one to the master bed and bath and one to the living room and kitchen. All three of those could be running at once sending 3 different audio streams to three different spaces. In fact I could add a local media stream to the living room as that is connected to the HDMI output.

So the HC800 has 4 audio outs and can send 4 separate steams to them at any time. One HDMI (so would need a breakout balun to get the audio into an analog amp input, one coax digital (can go direct into the 4 zone matrix and two analog rca (also direct onto matrix).

EA3 does 3 streams (hence the 3) isn't EA for enhanced audio? One HDMI, one analog and one digital RCA

for completeness the EA5 does, you guessed it, 5 steams. 1 HDMI, two analog RCA and two digital RCA coax.

The EA5 connected to the 4 zone matrix and an AVR could have 5 separate streams one to each audio zone there.

Maybe you need a balun to make use of one of the other audio streams in your EA3
Will I be able to add another 4 zone matrix to the system, making it 8 zones, with no issues, or can that not be done?
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post #102 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 12:28 PM
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Will I be able to add another 4 zone matrix to the system, making it 8 zones, with no issues, or can that not be done?
Kinda but you would need to plan the rooms according.

You would then have to choose which audio out from the controller goes to which matrix amp and then each 4 zone would be constrained to that number of sources.

So if you had an ea5 and put one coax digital and one analog in each of the two four zone amps then you could only have two discreet sources playing in the four zones on each amp.

You could have all 8 playing the same source the C4 controller can send the same source to two or more places or 4 sources in 2 places but say you put all the bedrooms on one 4 zone then only two bedrooms could have a discreet source at a time.

So with the constraint fully understood (I hope I explained that) yes you can.
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post #103 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 02:29 PM
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Different drivers have different stream limitations. Neither of your systems is controller constrained but driver constrained.

My HC800 has 3 copies of the Pandora driver on it, one visible to the kids bedroom, one to the master bed and bath and one to the living room and kitchen. All three of those could be running at once sending 3 different audio streams to three different spaces. In fact I could add a local media stream to the living room as that is connected to the HDMI output.

So the HC800 has 4 audio outs and can send 4 separate steams to them at any time. One HDMI (so would need a breakout balun to get the audio into an analog amp input, one coax digital (can go direct into the 4 zone matrix and two analog rca (also direct onto matrix).

EA3 does 3 streams (hence the 3) isn't EA for enhanced audio? One HDMI, one analog and one digital RCA

for completeness the EA5 does, you guessed it, 5 steams. 1 HDMI, two analog RCA and two digital RCA coax.

The EA5 connected to the 4 zone matrix and an AVR could have 5 separate streams one to each audio zone there.

Maybe you need a balun to make use of one of the other audio streams in your EA3
Interesting and sensible. I will have to have a conversation with my dealer, as I was led to believe this was NOT true.

My main interests are Sirius and TuneIn... do they support running multiple streams from a single HC800?
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post #104 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 02:48 PM
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Interesting and sensible. I will have to have a conversation with my dealer, as I was led to believe this was NOT true.

My main interests are Sirius and TuneIn... do they support running multiple streams from a single HC800?
It's not optimal, it's scruffy. Off my HC800 I have an AVR zone (HDMI), one analog and one digital into the 4 zone and then a hardwired speakerpoint wired to the second RCA pair (and as such can have advanced audio active)

So if I start say Nastier on the family room AVR zone it is now being sent out of HDMI. I add the kitchen and the digital coax is now getting added to the HC800 distribution, I add my guest bathroom and the second RCA is now live to feed the source to that amp.

At that point the controller is sending the same source out of 3 different audio connections to three different amps. I know that because I know the bindings. The average end user just knows it works.

It's not optimal because if you have four sources going into an 8 zone amp and 4 people in the house chances are whatever room they are in and whatever they are listening to will work.

2x2x4 has the situation that say three are upstairs in bedrooms the third selects music for their room and steals a connection from the first. Would not have happened in the 4x8

Tuning can easily run many steams from an HC800.

SiriusXM is not native to the Control4 environment unless you buy a vintage C4 XM sat receiver, XM streaming is not an option without another source. You can pick those C4 XM boxes up for under a $100 on eBay and it will also give you broadcast FM and AM. Hey and that gives you another audio source or 3. Bind to the HC800 audio in to enable it to also go to the avr zone or plug straight into the 4 zone amp.

Another expansion approach is later you make the 4 zone a dumb amp and put a 16x16 or 8x8 audio matrix in front of it.
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post #105 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 03:07 PM
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this is such a great thread. thanks everyone.

i'm going with Control4 in our under-construction new house and trying to figure out the "whole WHA" situation.

we have 12 zones prewired, though it sounds like i can save quite a bit by only connecting 8 zones initally. The C4 8 zone matrix amp is $2500. Their 16-zone matrix switch is $1500, but then I'd need an amp (or amps).

we only need 4 sources, and we haven't decided on what those are yet.

1. Carport/Patio
2. Powder room
3. Kitchen
4. Master bedroom
5. Master bathroom
6. Liah bedroom
7. Myan bedroom
8. Upstairs Guest room
9. Office
10. In-law unit
11. Living Room
12. Outdoor speakers
I would do Pyng or C4 controlling Sonos myself. With that said, I’ll state the obvious.., maybe I missed it in this thread, but you could combine some of those zones to save money, space, heat and headache. For example you can easily run four (two pair) of speakers on one sonos amp. Maybe you could combine Outdoor speakers and Carport? Maybe combine kitchen and powder room? What you loose is different source and different volume in the combined areas.

For a powder room.. imagine a dinner party with low volume music playing in the back ground. The powder room and kitchen could easily be the same music. Maybe combine Master bed and bath?

The real advantage with a control system such as Pyng or C4 is you can add security, climate, shades, lighting... Even some TV with C4. One word of caution, C4 is a nice system, but too many try to do too much with it. Really 12 zones of audio is about all I would want a single C4 processor to .. process. Yes it will do more, but it also will create more lag time and potential problems. The right way to think about it is in zones. This room or these few rooms on this processor and that section over there on another. Pyng doesnt have that limitation.

Last all this thread advice is great, however dont skimp on the network.You will need a very stout network. Expect to budget between $3500 and $7000 for a network. These devices only will work as fluid as the network they are on.

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post #106 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 03:48 PM
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SiriusXM is not native to the Control4 environment unless you buy a vintage C4 XM sat receiver, XM streaming is not an option without another source. You can pick those C4 XM boxes up for under a $100 on eBay and it will also give you broadcast FM and AM. Hey and that gives you another audio source or 3. Bind to the HC800 audio in to enable it to also go to the avr zone or plug straight into the 4 zone amp.

Another expansion approach is later you make the 4 zone a dumb amp and put a 16x16 or 8x8 audio matrix in front of it.

I probably should have mentioned I have a 16x16 matrix and dumb amps.

So the Sirius Integration is probably why my dealer suggested the Sonos. But does Sirius being built in native to 2.10 change any of this math? I wonder if I upgrade to 2.10 (haven’t scheduled it yet) if I can take the Sonos boxes out...
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post #107 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 04:32 PM
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I probably should have mentioned I have a 16x16 matrix and dumb amps.

So the Sirius Integration is probably why my dealer suggested the Sonos. But does Sirius being built in native to 2.10 change any of this math? I wonder if I upgrade to 2.10 (haven’t scheduled it yet) if I can take the Sonos boxes out...
Just realise 2.10 has a sirius driver still in testing so ignore all I wrote about sirius, soon you will be able to rub that native.

Most of these have a limit of 20 installed copies and 5 running copies.

No sonos or vintage hardware needed for sirius or tunein. All native and native on the controller and stable and awesome.
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post #108 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 06:17 PM
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Just realise 2.10 has a sirius driver still in testing so ignore all I wrote about sirius, soon you will be able to rub that native.

Most of these have a limit of 20 installed copies and 5 running copies.

No sonos or vintage hardware needed for sirius or tunein. All native and native on the controller and stable and awesome.
How do you like the control4 audio interface on the app/tablets? I've been searching youtube but seem to find the older versions. Is it a nice layout, showing cover art of the bands?

Have you tried any of control4 with amazon alexa? When I had this installed over a year ago, I heard of a decent amazon echo driver out there. Have you ever used it? I would love to be able to talk with alexa and say something like -"Alexa, turn on pandora on Patio". Is there a drive setup like that?
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post #109 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 06:24 PM
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Interface is pretty good. I use Sonos at a friend's house. Just as intuitive. I use napster and Pandora on the go.

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post #110 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 06:27 PM
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Here are a couple more of volume and grouping rooms.

I'm still on 2.91, I don't belive there have been big changes here.
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post #111 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 06:29 PM
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Those in c4forums think the Alexa skill is awesome and you program that yourself which users like.

Your command sounds like something they program.
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post #112 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 06:37 PM
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Looks clean. I like it. Sort of similar to what the Sonos app interface looks like.

You can download this app on any ipad and use it like your on wall touch screens right? Seamless, no lag?

So with control4. The reason I was interested in it was for the intercom system. Love it, use it. The thing I hate is that there isn't an intercom setting on the android/iphone app, which stinks if I am away from the home. Was told by my dealer that maybe coming back with 3.0, but who really knows. So I am probably going to go the c4 route now that I know alexa works well and how the interface looks. Just need to get my dealer to come down on some pricing..

They said they would install used equipment, but I would lose that dealer install/parts warranty if something where to go out..
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post #113 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 06:40 PM
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does sonos decode mqa? if not, there is a reason.

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300
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post #114 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 07:58 PM
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Thanks for the info, @SMHarman . I'll take it up with my dealer when we get to installing 2.10. Even if I keep the Sonos plugged in for some of the more exotic streaming services they support, it would free them up to have the Sirius load off of them. I'll have to get him to hook up the digital output too... I'm wondering why he didn't offer to do that in the first place...
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post #115 of 122 Old 10-11-2017, 11:56 PM
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Awaiting the install of a EA-5 controller with 8 channel Amp. Replacing a Russound Cav system that had 6 zones and 4 A-Bus zones. Plan on still using a couple of the A-bus keypads with an A-bus Hub so as to avoid the need for a switch and amp for only 2 additional zones. I have one Sonus Connect currently in use on the Abus zones and thought a lot about just using more Sonus Amps but decided Control 4 had more upside. The ever changing state of Sonus, Amazon and Google this fall has me second guessing myself but I wanted the existing HWA speakers working.

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post #116 of 122 Old 10-12-2017, 05:20 AM
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Awaiting the install of a EA-5 controller with 8 channel Amp. Replacing a Russound Cav system that had 6 zones and 4 A-Bus zones. Plan on still using a couple of the A-bus keypads with an A-bus Hub so as to avoid the need for a switch and amp for only 2 additional zones. I have one Sonus Connect currently in use on the Abus zones and thought a lot about just using more Sonus Amps but decided Control 4 had more upside. The ever changing state of Sonus, Amazon and Google this fall has me second guessing myself but I wanted the existing HWA speakers working.
Add an echo dot and with the pace C4 is adding new music services I'd say you've made the right choice.
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post #117 of 122 Old 10-12-2017, 08:32 AM
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does sonos decode mqa? if not, there is a reason.
What is mqa?
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post #118 of 122 Old 10-12-2017, 10:03 AM
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does sonos decode mqa? if not, there is a reason.
Most sonos is limited to 16 bit so not much point decoding only to downsample. Just burns bandwidth and cpu cycles.

Control4 EA series controllers are 192/24 and decode aac, aiff, alac, flac, m4a, mp2-4, ogg vorbis, pcm wav and wma.

This lot support tidal hifi and deezer hires streams plus local hirez audio.

More usefully the new dacs and signal path has a much lower noise floor which improves all audio sources.
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post #119 of 122 Old 10-12-2017, 11:37 AM
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Those in c4forums think the Alexa skill is awesome and you program that yourself which users like.

Your command sounds like something they program.
I know this is an open forum where people state opinions. i’d Like to weigh in on the Alexa.

It’s a cool novelty and a lot of people are excited about it. I will rain on your parade just a tad. As cool as it is it is NOT reliable yet. It has some issues. After a while you can get very annoyed with using it.

I think voice command is the future. I think its really cool. But I also think its still in its infancy. My advice is wait. It will improve even further. It will become a staple. It is more than just a fad, but its still got some growing up to do.

I will recommend it sparingly in a few situations or places. For example a mother-N-law suite. Alexa I’m hot. Alexa I’m cold... Alexa Light on.. Alexa Lights off. In a hole house filled with automation this is a disaster. In a small self contained area it can be a great feature.

There is no way I’m gong to allow something to be “Alexa tell Crestron to turn on the living room pendant lights to 25%..”. that’s a mouth full.

Alexa is cool for a room or a single sub system. Try combining several sub systems and your asking for crazy stuff to happen.

Imagine talking to Alexa about watching TV? Really. Any
Idea how old it gets to control a tv with voice command? You’d be horse channel surfing.

Its cool, give it some time to mature though.

Last edited by funky54; 10-12-2017 at 11:44 AM.
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post #120 of 122 Old 10-12-2017, 11:44 AM
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What is mqa?
not a game breaker but a reason....

https://www.whathifi.com/advice/mqa-...can-you-get-it

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