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post #1 of 29 Old 07-06-2017, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
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New Home: Want Audio distributed but prefer no Volume Control knobs

Hi New home build going on.

I ideally want a music system for 6 zones that is easily controlled via an App (e.g. Itunes) that will span all zones (and allow different audio played on different zones similtaneously). I'd like a single gang volume control (preferably no knobs) recommended or a system that has no volume controls (touch pad) but when activated, starts at a pre-programmed, lower volume..

What's out there?

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #2 of 29 Old 07-06-2017, 08:19 PM
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Recommended is Russound MCA88 or Nuvo Grand Concerto.
Both integrate well with an automation controller.

BTW, iTunes is a "source", not a "controller". itunes can't control a WHA matrix. But it can feed it's content to a WHA so you can listen to your iTunes collection.

Buy / Pay for music via iTunes,
Download the music via iTunes
Catalog via a software music player (iTunes is not very good for multizone / whole house audio even as a source)
Select your Source (the software music player) and the Zone (switches the MCA88 as example)
Select which tune (the software music player)
Play (the software music player)
Change the volume (the controller that tells the MCA88 to change volume in that zone)

And ideally, the software music player is integrated with the controller for a "one app" user experience.

That's a typical setup of a deluxe WHA setup.

Last edited by smoothtlk; 07-07-2017 at 07:58 AM.
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post #3 of 29 Old 07-06-2017, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post
Hi New home build going on.
Get the wiring done right and you can use any system on the market...

Which means speaker wires home-run to a central location, and a cat5e/cat6 control wire run to each zone. There are several systems that have excellent keypad controls with touchscreens or other displays. All of them can also be controlled by an integrated mobile app.

smoothtlk mentioned two of them, and while I've got (and still enjoy daily) the NuVo GC, I'd suggest the newer NuVo Player line (P3100 or P4300 units along with the P10 or P20 keypads) or the Russound Xtreamer line (although I see their current line is most economical at the 4-zone point).

Quote:
I ideally want a music system for 6 zones that is easily controlled via an App (e.g. Itunes) that will span all zones (and allow different audio played on different zones similtaneously). I'd like a single gang volume control (preferably no knobs) recommended or a system that has no volume controls (touch pad) but when activated, starts at a pre-programmed, lower volume..
Best setup is "both" keypads and mobile device control, as both have their advantages depending on the room... Wire for keypads using cat5e and you can choose not to populate those locations (or do it later) - you can even bury the wire in the wall if you don't want blank plates.

There are other systems that are cheaper (HTD, Monoprice, others) but their disadvantage is the lack of an integrated app because they're not providing the "sources", just the amp and system controls.

Jeff

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post #4 of 29 Old 07-06-2017, 10:58 PM
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I am in the same boat and decided to take the plunge on the Russound MCA-88x. I am planning to use in wall controls at each room though, I have learned over the years that app control is nice, but not always most convenient. The nice thing is, you pre-wire cat5e and some 14/4 to a wall box, then run your speaker wires from there to the speakers and you are covered for ANY system and ANY configuration. In my case, I will just wire the 14/4 direct to the two 16/2's that will go to the speakers, and the cat5e is for the controller, which is optional (I could just put a blank wall plate on the box if I wanted). If you skip that step and decide later that you really want a guest to be able to turn on the music without setting them up with an app, you are covered and can easily add them later.

The Russound has it's own app and works with a large variety of third party controllers and apps, although I am not sure if they have native Alexa support quite yet.

I didn't use a dealer, I just bought the stuff online for a heck of a discount. The controller has 8 zones, 8 sources, and has streaming built in. I added a smart tuner because I need radio that isn't available in a stream. The controller only has 6 zones of amplification, but that worked out OK because 2 of my zones are going to have 6 speakers each (the living/dining/kitchen area and the back yard) so I found a 12 channel amp for super cheap on ebay and it will work beautifully (if it works, lol). I have some risk going the way I did (no warranty, no direct support), but the several thousand I saved makes up for it (as long as it works, lol). I have installed some Russound systems in the past and have experience with WHA, so I am not worried.
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post #5 of 29 Old 07-07-2017, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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For simplicities sake, do most of these new whole house audio systems work with a wall controller supplied with cat 5/6 and speakers wired directly from amplifier to speakers (bypassing the room's keypad)?

Or do all require the traditional wiring from central control unit / amplifier to the room's volume control / keypad and then speaker wire to the speakers?

Thanks!

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #6 of 29 Old 07-07-2017, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post
For simplicities sake, do most of these new whole house audio systems work with a wall controller supplied with cat 5/6 and speakers wired directly from amplifier to speakers (bypassing the room's keypad)?
Yes, most of the systems fall into this category. As do all the systems that rely solely on mobile apps.

Quote:
Or do all require the traditional wiring from central control unit / amplifier to the room's volume control / keypad and then speaker wire to the speakers?
That wiring pattern has been the CEA's recommendation for a decade+ because it covers both styles of amplification (centralized or distributed). In the past, the less-expensive systems used distributed amps installed in the keypads (A-Bus and competitive products). The only system I know if in mainstream production that uses that method is the Legrand Lyriq 'digital' system, but it mostly exists to address all the homes that were wired for A-Bus (with no home-run speaker wire), and the same functionality is available in their Nuvo Player line using centralized amp/systems.

So if you're willing to forgo those mostly "low end" or discontinued products (which IMO you can safely do if the price of a 6-8 zone system doesn't scare you off), you can skip that extra wiring complexity. But having the cat5e wire run to a touchscreen / keypad location in every zone is something I strongly recommend even if you're planning to go with a "mobile app only" system now. Because that's way too much future potential to lose for the cost of a half-spool of category wire...

Jeff

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post #7 of 29 Old 07-08-2017, 05:57 AM
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You may find you want touchscreens to control more than your WHA in those same locations. (view weather, intercom, adjust lights, view security cameras etc).

So, I agree with Jeff - wire the Cat5 in those spots where it makes sense. You can POE a wall mounted tablet there. Staple the Cat5/6 to a stud near the location and take a picture of it before the drywall goes up so you don't forget exactly where it is.
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post #8 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkersten View Post
I am in the same boat and decided to take the plunge on the Russound MCA-88x. I am planning to use in wall controls at each room though, I have learned over the years that app control is nice, but not always most convenient. The nice thing is, you pre-wire cat5e and some 14/4 to a wall box, then run your speaker wires from there to the speakers and you are covered for ANY system and ANY configuration. In my case, I will just wire the 14/4 direct to the two 16/2's that will go to the speakers, and the cat5e is for the controller, which is optional (I could just put a blank wall plate on the box if I wanted). If you skip that step and decide later that you really want a guest to be able to turn on the music without setting them up with an app, you are covered and can easily add them later.

The Russound has it's own app and works with a large variety of third party controllers and apps, although I am not sure if they have native Alexa support quite yet.

I didn't use a dealer, I just bought the stuff online for a heck of a discount. The controller has 8 zones, 8 sources, and has streaming built in. I added a smart tuner because I need radio that isn't available in a stream. The controller only has 6 zones of amplification, but that worked out OK because 2 of my zones are going to have 6 speakers each (the living/dining/kitchen area and the back yard) so I found a 12 channel amp for super cheap on ebay and it will work beautifully (if it works, lol). I have some risk going the way I did (no warranty, no direct support), but the several thousand I saved makes up for it (as long as it works, lol). I have installed some Russound systems in the past and have experience with WHA, so I am not worried.
May I ask where you were able to find the X Series models online?
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post #9 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 07:59 AM
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May I ask where you were able to find the X Series models online?
Be careful buying the newer Russound products on line. They are locked now and need a dealer to unlock them.
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post #10 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scgrg View Post
May I ask where you were able to find the X Series models online?
Ebay usually has a couple models available, the used models are unlocked, and there are several I have seen that are brand new in the box, unlocked before it is shipped to you.
Anything I have found elsewhere is locked and requires the certified installer to unlock.
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post #11 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 08:28 AM
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I have to admit I have no experience with any of the whole home audio systems like Russsound or Nuvo. We recently completed building a new home and I did take a quick look at whole home systems, but I decided to go a much easier route since I was doing all my own wiring during my home build.

I used Sonos products and couldn't be happier. I ran in-wall speaker wire to my covered rear deck, kitchen/dining room, living room, master bedroom and garage. All wires home-run to my basement where I have 5 Sonos Connect Amps mounted to the wall and connected to my home computer network. I can control the entire system or one unit at a time with my phone or iPad. I also have a Play5 (their largest powered speaker) in the master bathroom and a portable Play 1 that I can take around the house as I move around. I also have Lutron shades and Lutron lighting controls and the small and inexpensive Lutron Pico remotes can control the Sonos systems (volume, track, stop/play) and easily mount to a wall or stand.

As I said earlier, I am not sure what a system like Russound could bring that Sonos cannot, but I've found the Sonos system VERY easy to install, use and very flexible for playing iTunes, internet radio or aux inputs. All you nee to do is run speaker wire to the rooms you may want speakers. The Connect amps can me hidden away someplace and if you ever want to add sound in the future to a room you didn't run speaker wire, they have the Play 1, 3, and 5 which can be added and controls with your existing system.
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post #12 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 08:46 AM
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Old house here, but we're remodeling and I've got speaker wire running to integrated speakers on walls and ceilings all over the house as well as CAT6 on every wall, all networking and speaker wire going to a central rack system. I have not yet decided on a controller/distribution system, but the current front-runner is a Yamaha MusicCast setup when we're all done, assuming nothing better comes along.

In addition to being a long-time Yamaha AVR owner, mostly I'm impressed with the flexibility of MusicCast being compatible with most popular streaming services, old analog/dumb equipment, new Amazon Alexa integration, zone control/combining multiple devices and rooms. Setup via the app looks to be about as simple as setting up Hue lightbulbs, but also configurable through open source OpenHAB if I so choose. Cost of entry looks to be affordable and I like that I can send any audio source to any room/zone from stereo music to downmixed surround sound.
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post #13 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkersten View Post
Ebay usually has a couple models available, the used models are unlocked, and there are several I have seen that are brand new in the box, unlocked before it is shipped to you.
Anything I have found elsewhere is locked and requires the certified installer to unlock.
You're still going to need the password to go into the admin page to change anything. I have 3 of the xzone4's so 12 zones. The system works nicely but just keep in mind that these are individual streamers for every zone. So if you're a Spotify user and you want to play the same stream in every zone you can't. The only way to do it is to use Airfoil or Tuneblade and do it through airplay. Each zone has airplay built in so this works but annoying. However if you have the XTS keypads and want the cover art and metadata to show up using one of these programs it won't. It only displays when you use Spotify connect or airplay directly. This is where sonos has a leg up. You can use Spotify in multiple zones with ease. Now if you get the the MCA-88 I believe you can use Spotify in multiple zones but it only has one streamer. One additional point if you use the Tuneblade method with the xzone4 with a little work you can add alexa voice control. You would need to setup ha-bridge to make that happen but it works and it's a cool feature.
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post #14 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by GRIMMACE View Post
You're still going to need the password to go into the admin page to change anything.
Default password is russound123. This worked for me for everything I have bought so far. I suppose the certified installer who unlocks it could change this, but then you could also just return it if that is the case, lol. I can't say there is no risk in buying a used or new unlocked MCA device, but so far I haven't had any issues.

Quote:
I have 3 of the xzone4's so 12 zones. The system works nicely but just keep in mind that these are individual streamers for every zone. So if you're a Spotify user and you want to play the same stream in every zone you can't. The only way to do it is to use Airfoil or Tuneblade and do it through airplay. Each zone has airplay built in so this works but annoying. However if you have the XTS keypads and want the cover art and metadata to show up using one of these programs it won't. It only displays when you use Spotify connect or airplay directly. This is where sonos has a leg up. You can use Spotify in multiple zones with ease. Now if you get the the MCA-88 I believe you can use Spotify in multiple zones but it only has one streamer. One additional point if you use the Tuneblade method with the xzone4 with a little work you can add alexa voice control. You would need to setup ha-bridge to make that happen but it works and it's a cool feature.
With the MCA-88x or the 88 with an xsource, you can play the stream on any (or all) zones as it is just a source input. The rnet connection controls the xsource (built in on the 88x) and then an RCA still connects the source to the controller.
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post #15 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by deewan View Post
I am not sure what a system like Russound could bring that Sonos cannot
For me the deciding factor was I wanted wall controls that could change the Pandora or radio station without the use of a tablet or phone. In order to have in wall controls to control Sonos, you would need to spend a pretty penny on tablets with mounts, and software to make it work seamlessly.

It all depends on how you want to use it. If all I used for control was a tablet or phone, I would be looking at it from the price perspective, and at regular retail Sonos connects for 8 zones would be a little cheaper than an MCA-88x solution. It would also be a less complicated solution that wouldn't require anything more than speaker wires running to the speakers. And of course then you aren't dealing with Certified installers and passwords that add a layer of complication to the install.
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post #16 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by dkersten View Post
For me the deciding factor was I wanted wall controls that could change the Pandora or radio station without the use of a tablet or phone. In order to have in wall controls to control Sonos, you would need to spend a pretty penny on tablets with mounts, and software to make it work seamlessly.
What software is needed to make it work as you described? You are correct, in wall controls for Sonos would increase system cost because you need phones, tablets and mounts in each room. For me I didn't want additional wiring or a hole in the wall of my new home for a remote tht may not be needed in a few months or most years. Sonos was an easy choice. With smart homes and home automation, I don't see wall mounted remotes being around in a few years. Sonos is working on integration with Alexa and HomeKit. It is only a matter of time before complete control of my entire Sonos system is controlled by my voice. No need for phone, remote or access to the Sonos unit itself. But if I want buttons, I could still control using my phone or tablet from outside the home.
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post #17 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 11:22 AM
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What software is needed to make it work as you described?
A tablet mounted permanently on a wall would work with just the Sonos app, but that would still mean you would be having to deal with lock screens, wake ups, and launching the app if it closes for some reason.

I couldn't tell you specifically which types of home control software can control Sonos, if any, just because I have not done any research on 3rd party control of Sonos. Theoretically you could run some kind of software that can make the tablet function more like a dedicated piece of hardware rather than just a tablet hanging on the wall. There is a mount out there for ipads that adds hard buttons on the frame of the mount, but again it would take an app or some kind of software running on a computer on the network to make it run. I am looking at a couple pieces of software that would run on a PC on the network that could integrate tablet control with my Russound system (as well as hvac, security, door locks, lighting, and blinds), so I know this setup exists for Russound (and I believe Control4, RTi, and other systems like that), but I can't say if it would work with Sonos directly.

In any case, if you are going to have wall controls, running your speaker wires to that wall location then to your speakers, as well as one cat5 cable, would ensure that any of these solutions are possible.

I can't agree that in wall controls will disappear completely, because I can't see myself ever having to rely 100% on portable electronics to control something that should be simply controlled with a hardware button, switch, or knob. I don't always have my phone on me in my house, and batteries die at the most inconvenient times. Any device made to do a million things will never be as reliable or as easy to use as something made to do one thing.
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post #18 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dkersten View Post
A tablet mounted permanently on a wall would work with just the Sonos app, but that would still mean you would be having to deal with lock screens, wake ups, and launching the app if it closes for some reason.

I couldn't tell you specifically which types of home control software can control Sonos, if any, just because I have not done any research on 3rd party control of Sonos. Theoretically you could run some kind of software that can make the tablet function more like a dedicated piece of hardware rather than just a tablet hanging on the wall. There is a mount out there for ipads that adds hard buttons on the frame of the mount, but again it would take an app or some kind of software running on a computer on the network to make it run. I am looking at a couple pieces of software that would run on a PC on the network that could integrate tablet control with my Russound system (as well as hvac, security, door locks, lighting, and blinds), so I know this setup exists for Russound (and I believe Control4, RTi, and other systems like that), but I can't say if it would work with Sonos directly.

In any case, if you are going to have wall controls, running your speaker wires to that wall location then to your speakers, as well as one cat5 cable, would ensure that any of these solutions are possible.

I can't agree that in wall controls will disappear completely, because I can't see myself ever having to rely 100% on portable electronics to control something that should be simply controlled with a hardware button, switch, or knob. I don't always have my phone on me in my house, and batteries die at the most inconvenient times. Any device made to do a million things will never be as reliable or as easy to use as something made to do one thing.
* If using an iPad, there is no wakeup, especially if the mount you are referring to is the iPort LaunchPort (I own one). If only using it with the Sonos app, you don't need to mess with the lock screen for most commands.

* No need for third party software programs to make the tablet run like a touch screen since Sonos has an app. If the iPad is mount and powered, it is 'always on'. If you want additional controls, the Lutron offers a remote and Alexa will soon offer voice control. You can also use a Harmony remote or URC brand remotes (along with others). There are almost endless possibilities.

* I bought a $99 Lutron hub and $35 Echo Dot and I'm able to control the blinds, lights, electrical outlets, irrigation system, garage doors, two TVs, security system, thermostat and soon to be entire Sonos system with my voice, iPhone, iPad, and computer. The system is expandable with not additional wiring needed. No additional software or computer needed. Just the preinstalled (two) apps.

I guess my point is for flexibility and adding things in the future, you can either install miles of cables in your walls and cut holes in walls or blank plates on a wall for controls, or go almost wireless and use phones, tablets, your voice or URC, Harmony remotes. With no special software or computer needed.

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post #19 of 29 Old 08-12-2017, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by deewan View Post
I guess my point is for flexibility and adding things in the future, you can either install miles of cables in your walls and cut holes in walls or blank plates on a wall for controls, or go almost wireless and use phones, tablets, your voice or URC, Harmony remotes. With no special software or computer needed.
After 20 years living in a house where every time I wanted to add something and found I had to do some kind of wireless solution because it was no longer possible to get a wire where I wanted it, I could never agree with forgoing wires and assuming wireless will work just as good. Wireless is inherently unreliable, all too often involves batteries, and wireless options are seldom well integrated into other wireless options. I have fought with pulling wires through finished walls too many times to count, or found myself unsatisfied with my options when a wire is not an option. I have created wireless mesh networks that were great when they worked perfectly, and when one thing went wrong it all fell apart. I have relied on zigbee and zwave devices to work and again, they work great until one day they simply stop working, or pause for 15 or 20 seconds before working, which is the most irritating thing in the world when you just want to turn on a light. I have fought a wifi only network in my current apartment where every device had to be wireless, and it took months to figure out how to get a wired network inside it so all my devices actually work every time. I wanted so badly to upgrade my WHA in my last house but I lacked the foresight to run cat5 to the controls and the only option I had was an app controlled system that simply doesn't work when you just stepped out of the shower and are wet and have no glasses on so you can't even turn it down a little with a single button push or twist of a dial. All this led me to the conclusion that spending $1500 on wire when building a $500,000 house is the most worthy investment possible. Hell, a $5k investment to add it to a $250k house would be equally worthy.

I am far from the most experienced person on these forums, so take this with a grain of salt. A decade in the car and home audio business followed by 2 decades as an IT manager has taught me a few rules to live by when dealing with technology.

1) Wired will always trump wireless over time. if it is an option to hard wire, do it every time you can.
2) Hard buttons will always work easier and more reliably than soft buttons.
3) The more complicated something is, the more likely it is to fail or not work the way you hoped.
4) No matter how much you think you will always have your phone by your side, when you need it most you will find it either not there or with a dead battery.
5) No matter how many remotes you have lying around, they will all be out of reach sometimes (or lost in the couch cushions).
6) A device made for a sole purpose will always function better (reliably, intuitively, and simply) than a device made to do many things.
7) As the complexity of a system increases, the amount it will get used by people outside of the tech geek putting it together will decrease on a nearly 1:1 basis. The ratio can get more favorable if effort is made to make it more intuitive to operate.

That's just my opinion of course, and I can't say that any one solution is wrong, particularly if it works for the individual using it.
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Last edited by dkersten; 08-13-2017 at 11:11 AM. Reason: added #7
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post #20 of 29 Old 02-09-2018, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dkersten View Post
Default password is russound123. This worked for me for everything I have bought so far.
Sorry, I know this thread is stale but wondering if someone knows the default username as well? Thanks
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post #21 of 29 Old 02-11-2018, 11:27 AM
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Sorry, I know this thread is stale but wondering if someone knows the default username as well? Thanks
russound123 should work for accessing the local GUI. What are you trying to do?
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post #22 of 29 Old 02-12-2018, 11:08 AM
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My Russound MCA-C3 and DMS-3.1 are almost useless with the My Russound App. SUPER slow, when/ if it connects. I was one of those who purchased the C series system just as they were releasing the MCA-88. $1000 for the controller, another $1000 for the streamer, another $1000 for super slow, hard to read MDK-C6 keypads and I have a slow system. I got a nice email from Russound a few months after spending $3000 saying the 3.1 was being discontinued.

Who needs wall-controlls? We rarely use them. It's much easier to turn the zone ON using the sm. device in your pocket. Like others have said, grab a chepo Android tablet and mount that to the wall. A similar touch screen on the Russound system would cost twice as much.

I'm a JS/HTML5/Python programmer and it's difficult to setup the MCA controller using the SCS software. That was another disappointment, no web GUI for controller config.

And now they're dealer locking all units. Is Russound trying to go out of business or am I just missing the boat here?

I would HIGHLY caution anyone looking to spend thousands of dollars on a Russound (or any other proprietary) WHA solution for that matter.

Here's what I'm interested in now: It's VERY simple to setup 6 chromecast audio units, plugged into a 6 zone 12 ch. dump amp. Stream anything you want to any chromecast and you have instant whole home audio. Heck, throw in a Google Home unit and you can just talk to the system telling it what to play; voice controlled. Then you don't even have to walk over to the wall keypad or reach for your tablet at all.

Total price for a 6-zone system with a new 6 zone amp.....$800. And it's supported by Google, a real software/firmware company. If they decide to drop support for chromecast (very unlikely) then your out $200, not $3000. Not to mention, the streaming source options using this type of system are only limited by the streaming apps you can find for your tablet/phone. ANYTHING that plays on my phone can be send to any chromecast/home zone, anything. With my current Russound WHA system, that is def. not the case.

Trust me, when new sales of the MCA-88 or Nuvo P3100 drop, they will discontinue it and replace with a "new" unit, which is likely a similar PCB in a new case. Then stop releasing FW for the model you purchased. There is no way for these companies to make money unless they sell hardware, period.

/rant off
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Last edited by pecker88; 02-12-2018 at 11:13 AM.
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post #23 of 29 Old 02-12-2018, 12:30 PM
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russound123 should work for accessing the local GUI. What are you trying to do?
Trying to unlock factory lock on an XZone4.
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post #24 of 29 Old 02-12-2018, 12:44 PM
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Trying to unlock factory lock on an XZone4.
You are going to have to find a local certified Russound installer who's willing to use their credentials to "flip the switch" for you. I bought my first MCA-88X on eBay (which isn't supposed to be allowed) but it came from a Russound certified installer so they flipped the switch on the unit with their credentials.

I just recently bought another one to expand the number of zones from a local dealer who was willing to activate it, but for whatever reason, it worked right out of the box. Maybe because I plugged it into a unit that was already verified.

Anyway, I would search for a local dealer. Maybe buy some components you need and ask for a favor. I hate that Russound does this. I am an electrical engineer and fully capable doing everything a certified installer can do.
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post #25 of 29 Old 02-12-2018, 12:57 PM
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options:

https://www.htd.com/

https://www.parts-express.com/cat/wh...ti-room-a-v/45

https://www.outdoorspeakerdepot.com/...use-audio.html

Check out Deewan's post. Sonos is the gold standard in whole house wireless audio. bullet proof. Not perfect from a feature set perspective, but very solid performance. high quality audio support is one area where they lag, if you are into that.

Main: Sony XBR75900E, Denon AVR-x4400, Denon POA-5200 (L/R(a) Goldenear supersat 60, (b)FW Boston acoustic Bravo 2. C Goldenear supersat 60C,
SSR DIYSG Volt 6v2. RSS Volt 6, Atmos(.4) Boston acoustics soundware XS
HSU research ULS -15, Episode ES-IW-Dual 8 / Monitor audio IWA 250 amp 2nd Rm: Visio E55, Denon avr730H, Boston Acoustics CR8, cr400 sub.
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post #26 of 29 Old 02-15-2018, 11:22 PM
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I think future proofing your setup is the best way to go. Wired speakers, low cost controllers, and no extra in-walls that will become dated. Spend your money on the speakers, amplification, and the source, not the transmission.

Main 7.1 HT: Dali Zensor (7s, Vokal, and 1s), Emotiva E2s, HSU ULS-15 MK2, Emotiva BasX preamp/amps (MC-700, A-300, A-500)
Kid’s 5.1 HT: Dali Oberon (5s, Vokal), RSL C34Es, HSU VTF-2 MK5, Denon X2400H
7-Zone CCA/Spotify WHA: Paradigm (E-80Rs x6, P-80SM), Def Tech AW6500s, Polk MC-80, Emotiva BasX amps (A-700, A-500), FiiO D3 DACs
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post #27 of 29 Old 02-16-2018, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pecker88 View Post
My Russound MCA-C3 and DMS-3.1 are almost useless with the My Russound App. SUPER slow, when/ if it connects. I was one of those who purchased the C series system just as they were releasing the MCA-88. $1000 for the controller, another $1000 for the streamer, another $1000 for super slow, hard to read MDK-C6 keypads and I have a slow system. I got a nice email from Russound a few months after spending $3000 saying the 3.1 was being discontinued.

Who needs wall-controlls? We rarely use them. It's much easier to turn the zone ON using the sm. device in your pocket. Like others have said, grab a chepo Android tablet and mount that to the wall. A similar touch screen on the Russound system would cost twice as much.

I'm a JS/HTML5/Python programmer and it's difficult to setup the MCA controller using the SCS software. That was another disappointment, no web GUI for controller config.

And now they're dealer locking all units. Is Russound trying to go out of business or am I just missing the boat here?

I would HIGHLY caution anyone looking to spend thousands of dollars on a Russound (or any other proprietary) WHA solution for that matter.

Here's what I'm interested in now: It's VERY simple to setup 6 chromecast audio units, plugged into a 6 zone 12 ch. dump amp. Stream anything you want to any chromecast and you have instant whole home audio. Heck, throw in a Google Home unit and you can just talk to the system telling it what to play; voice controlled. Then you don't even have to walk over to the wall keypad or reach for your tablet at all.

Total price for a 6-zone system with a new 6 zone amp.....$800. And it's supported by Google, a real software/firmware company. If they decide to drop support for chromecast (very unlikely) then your out $200, not $3000. Not to mention, the streaming source options using this type of system are only limited by the streaming apps you can find for your tablet/phone. ANYTHING that plays on my phone can be send to any chromecast/home zone, anything. With my current Russound WHA system, that is def. not the case.

Trust me, when new sales of the MCA-88 or Nuvo P3100 drop, they will discontinue it and replace with a "new" unit, which is likely a similar PCB in a new case. Then stop releasing FW for the model you purchased. There is no way for these companies to make money unless they sell hardware, period.

/rant off
This is what I'm doing. I have in ceiling speakers in the bedrooms wired to a closet where I'll put a multi-channel amp with a chromecast audio assigned to each room. I have the basement and main level speakers wired to a closet in the basement with another multi-channel amp and more CCAs. You can play different music in different rooms. You can set up groups and name them (e.g., assigning all basement speakers into a group called basement) and then stream a single music feed to all of the speakers in a group at once. The amp turns on when it detects a signal, and it's easy to select a room or group of rooms on your phone or tablet to start the music. It's simple, it's affordable, and although my new house isn't finished yet, I know based on my old house that it works very well.

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post #28 of 29 Old 02-16-2018, 09:41 PM
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I have the same setup. If you ever want to upgrade sound, simply run optical out of the CCA to an external DAC. Either way, tons of flexibility and upgeadability and you’re not sinking money into a proprietary server. Additionally. If you connect a home PC and/or NAS for local media, you can run Plex and cast to the CCAs. My wife and kids love the setup.

Main 7.1 HT: Dali Zensor (7s, Vokal, and 1s), Emotiva E2s, HSU ULS-15 MK2, Emotiva BasX preamp/amps (MC-700, A-300, A-500)
Kid’s 5.1 HT: Dali Oberon (5s, Vokal), RSL C34Es, HSU VTF-2 MK5, Denon X2400H
7-Zone CCA/Spotify WHA: Paradigm (E-80Rs x6, P-80SM), Def Tech AW6500s, Polk MC-80, Emotiva BasX amps (A-700, A-500), FiiO D3 DACs
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post #29 of 29 Old 02-17-2018, 04:42 PM
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I purchased a product by VSSL that us basically a 6 zone amp with built in steaming services. I'm building a home where it will be installed so I don't have it fully hooked up yet but I did plug it in at my current house and have it powering 1 zone. It's super easy to set up and works great with google assistant and my Google Home devices. Volume is controlled via the VSSL app, Google home or the specifc streaming app. You can create groups so your can play the same source over multiple zones both in the VSSL app and via Google Home.

Once I get it hooked up at my new house it will be powering 5 zones it in ceilings and 1 zone outside. I ran return audio from a couple zones so I could have local sources play over the build in speakers.

It's not as cheap as the DIY option laid out above but it's super simple to use. If your interested contact the company directly via their web site and you may be able to get a deal.
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