Originally Posted by Tallcane
Does multichannel amp equal multizone amp? I see amplifiers advertised as multizone. I see a bunch of lower cost amps that seem designed for this purpose but I also see that a number of them get bad reviews for durability. I like the look of the multizone amps as some allow two BUS input sources that can be assigned between any of the zones, and then even a zone specific input source. HTD seems to have one that fits the bill. How is the quality there? Does anyone have any recommendations as far as quality and durability?
An amplifier is an amplifier is an amplifier.
If you look at the picture of the back of my Rotel, it has 8 individual RCA inputs. So, it is an 8-channel amplifier. Your A/V receiver that you are using to feed your speaker selector is part of a system, but only has two channels it is feeding out, then you are splitting it.
While I say a amp is an amp is an amp, there are very different things which can feed that amplifier, and there are integrated multi-source, multi-zone amplifiers as well.
In my setup, I have a 16 source x 8 zone pre-amplifier ahead of my amps (3 of them). So, I can pick from up to 16 sources to up to 24 zones independently. Any source to any zone at any time at any volume as I choose.
Some integrated systems combine several sources with multiple zones of amplification, with built in volume control. So, you hook up your sources and then you can use a phone, or keypads in room, or similar, to select the source and adjust volume in that room. Those devices are similar to mine in that the rooms can independently be turned on/off and select different sources. So, different rooms can listen to different things.
Look at the back of the HTD MCA-66 unit here:
You can see that it has 6 stereo inputs for 6 sources of your choosing. Then it has 6 amplified stereo outputs (12 channels) which feed speaker zones throughout the home. As long as 6 sources and 6 zones is enough, it's a great solution. You have to up the price tag quite a bit to get 12 zones of audio from them.
A simple single amplifier and a single quality audio source which can play anything back is the most typical solution for people. All zones play the same audio, and rooms can have independent volume control and be turned on/off, but they all are using that same source and playing the same thing so you don't get much flexibility there. As well, you have to go to the volume control for each room to adjust things, which isn't necessarily convenient. But, for the money, it's a very easy way of doing things and may satisfy an end goal of just getting music out to a bunch of rooms.