Some other devices to consider if your audio sources can all be internet streams of Spotify or Pandora or something else from your phone:
Essentially you'd make a whole-house audio system, with Sonos-like functionality. You may be able to use your existing Control 4 equipment as a 4-zone amp if it has auto on/off capability, or you don't mind doing that manually. You can also get a remote controlled power socket.
If not, you can either replace it with a different multichannel amp, or get an amp for each zone, which is actually cheaper for a small number of zones.
If using an amplifier, the Phorus PR5 is probably the cheapest, most flexible way to add an input and have grouping capabilities like Sonos or Airplay 2.
It will make your house a Play-Fi system. The one drawback that I see is that it's wifi only (so potential dropouts), but it can add an ethernet jack via USB port.
If not, at partsexpress, Dayton Audio has a similar system using their Hi-Fly app (Linkplay ecosystem?). They have a WBA31 streamer, very similar to the PR5, but it has a couple of extra features (ethernet jack, SPDIF output), and it costs a little more. They also have the WB40A, which is a streamer with integrated 20W/ch amplifier. If that's enough power for you, that's the lowest cost per zone available. You could add WBA31s to any existing amplifier or amplified device to bring it into the system.
Both the Phorus and Dayton options include Bluetooth as well.
I haven't had a chance to look at it much yet, but Arylic.com seems to offer similar functionality, potentially at good pricing per zone. The A50 in particular is like the Dayton WB40A, with a more powerful integrated amplifier.
Originally Posted by pjp
I am looking for an inexpensive (used) 4-zone amplifier that can be controlled by an IR remote -- specifically a Harmony Ultimate/Hub.
I've searched AVS and google, and it seems almost none of the zone amps, if any, can be controlled by a IR remote.
1) Switch zones (via IR) from 3 or 4 inputs; 2) independent volume control (via IR) for each zone; 3) power output of amp doesn't really matter (15wpc would be fine). If you have specific brands and models of zone amps to recommend, I would really appreciate it.
Back Story: The reason I need it it is to replace replace a Control 4 zone amp/system. There is nothing wrong with the Control 4 equipment, but the inability to program Control 4 without an installer has been a logistical dead-end. I just want to rip it all out and put in a Harmony hub/Elite and move on with my life.
Originally Posted by MikeSM
If you are ripping out a control4 system, I'm not sure why you want to try and mimic it in a new solution. Having the amp also control volume that sources control is going to lead to some frustration. And sources are now cheap enough that you can save yourself a lot of confusion in your family and go to a model where you have one source per zone, and allow the sources to merge zones together for group playback.
Originally Posted by pjp
Thanks Mike -- this is definitely an interesting approach. So basically I think you are suggesting using an 8-channel amp driven by 4 CCA's or AirPlay devices that could be controlled separately or grouped. Seems like a good idea.