what would all my options be for control systems? What would you recommend? I always thought of savant and control4 as being super overpriced, only for the rich / not the diyer, but I don’t know that much about it.
Control4 EA5 - controller of the system with 4-5 audio streams available - $2,000
8 zone amp - $1600
8x8 Audio Matrix - $1300
Figure 2-3 hours or programming that can be done by a remote programmer - let's call it $300-$400 in programming costs
Landing somewhere around $5,000 as you can likely get some discounts on these when purchasing. And there are forums where you can buy stuff second hand and probably do this for 30-40% less. If you are good with only 3 different music streams you can get a used EA3 right now for $450 here: c4Forums.com | The Largest Public Control4 Community | Established 2005
** I am not a dealer - these MSRP prices are what I found online and I know that is hit/miss with C4 so its just giving a good estimate **
And then you need speakers so that cost can vary. Toss in another $150 - it gets you 1 year of 4sight plus Composer Home Edition - PC software that lets you do 95% of the programming that a dealer can do. Still need a dealer to do bindings, add hardware and drives to the system but you can add your own music sources and do tons of programming in Composer Home Edition.
Garage: Sonos Amp
Kitchen: Sonos Amp
Deck: Sonos Amp
Master Bed: Sonos Beam (hooked to TV)
Master Bath: Sonos Amp
Bedroom 1: Sonos Play 1
Bedroom 2: Sonos Play 1
Basement Bar: Play 1 (upgrading to Beam to sit under TV)
Purely using this as a comparison (not saying the checklist is right or wrong for your use case)
Sonos Amp - $649 x 4 = $2596
Sonos Beam - $400
Sonos Play 1 $200 x 3 = $600
Is Sonos cheaper - sure. But for $2k or so more you also have a massive Control4 controller that can do loads of automation for you. Locks, Alarms, Cameras, HVAC, lighting, etc. Something your friend can add on to over time, nothing that has to be done day 1 per se (though always best to hardwire if you think you may be doing stuff down the road).
So is it worth the extra money to put into C4? Up to your friend obviously but its not like C4 is 3x the price. And this is just me personally I am not a fan of a speaker in the corner of the room on a shelf - rarely does it give you decent soundscape. I prefer in ceiling speakers because I feel it covers the room better - this is for "non critical" areas aka a kitchen, dining room, bedroom, master bathroom, etc. I used to have Sonos in my C4 system with various Play speakers but eventually I ditched it all because I wanted speakers in a ceiling and the Sonos Amps are crazy overpriced. I mean if you did all Sonos Amps for instance - 8 zones would be $5200 and then you still need speakers too. At that price, C4 is actually CHEAPER with better hardware (better amps, 8 inputs on the matrix for things other than Sonos services).