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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

We moved into our current house a few years ago which previously had a whole house audio system installed that we have yet to utilize. They left a Russound PRO-8 speaker selector and each room has a standard rotary knob to control volume. After further investigation I was disappointed to find only speaker wire is routed through, no CAT 5 or anything so having keypads for individual source control is out of the equation. Currently there are 7 zones that have volume knobs and speakers in the ceiling but there are 2 rooms that appear to be wired with nothing installed.

My first thing I want to address is getting the existing system working; which I already tested with an old receiver and it seems to all work however, the receiver kept shutting off after a few minutes and would display "PROTECT". Now I don't know too much about amps and how powerful of one I would need for this and that's why I came here. I looked at some whole-house type amps but many of them are multi-zone so that would eliminate the need for my speaker selector, right? I'm considering buying a standard stereo receiver and connecting it directly to the selector but I'm worried that I'll have another issue with getting the protection issue again. I've heard some people that use a Zone 2 option on a some receivers, but I would like the TV audio to be separate from our house audio.

Ideally I'd like to be able to distribute audio through all my zones and install new two new zones in the other rooms that are pre-wired which would require a larger speaker selector; so a solution that is able to be expanded later on is important. In regards to sources, I was looking to buy a Sonos Connect for streaming and hook it up directly to my amp along with our disc changer for the occasional CD.

If anyone could provide thoughts on a good way to connect all of this and suggest an appropriate amp I would really appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Russound MCA-88 8 zone (6 powered) amp.
Thank you for your reply. I have looked at that system previously, but would it make sense to spend that much for someone like me that wouldn't even use keypads? My budget is around $500 and I was looking at the Russound P125, although I'm unsure if it would be able to power all my zones.
 

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You can order / install / use the MCA-88 with no keypads.
I believe you can use the Russound smartphone app to control it.

Certainly, we always install it with our myServer control system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You can order / install / use the MCA-88 with no keypads.
I believe you can use the Russound smartphone app to control it.

Certainly, we always install it with our myServer control system.
I'm sure it is possible to use the system without keypads, but like I said before I don't think it makes sense practically and financially to buy such a sophisticated system that I wouldn't even be able to take full advantage of. I'm also unsure if that system would easily connect to my existing speaker selector, or would I not even need it? Not to mention the expansion capabilities since I would like to add on those additional zones for the pre-wired rooms. If you have any other suggestions that might work better for my needs I would greatly appreciate it, Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You don't need Russound keypads, nor do you need to buy them.
You don't need the old speaker selector.
The Russound can be expanded for additional zones
While I appreciate your suggestion and understand that I wouldn't need to purchase/install keypads. I still can't justify the cost of that system. Do you know of any other similar options that are more affordable for my uses?
 

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The Dayton 6 zone amps are thought well and cheap. Just feed Sonos directly into them - done. :)

If you want switching, the HTD or monoprice units also work well. There is no reason you shouldn't rip out the volume controls and all the russound gear. Much simpler to control everything from a Sonos or Chromecast style system. Cheaper too!

thx
mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Dayton 6 zone amps are thought well and cheap. Just feed Sonos directly into them - done. :)

If you want switching, the HTD or monoprice units also work well. There is no reason you shouldn't rip out the volume controls and all the russound gear. Much simpler to control everything from a Sonos or Chromecast style system. Cheaper too!

thx
mike
Hi Mike, thanks for your reply. The Dayton amp seems like the perfect solution, although switching would be nice so I'll have to look into those other amps. In regards to the volume controls, would that need to be removed for the new amp to function properly? I do like the convenience of them in each room but if it would cause problems I guess I would have no choice.
 

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Hi Mike, thanks for your reply. The Dayton amp seems like the perfect solution, although switching would be nice so I'll have to look into those other amps. In regards to the volume controls, would that need to be removed for the new amp to function properly? I do like the convenience of them in each room but if it would cause problems I guess I would have no choice.
I would look at https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=10761 instead. It's pretty much the same product with different branding and different keypads (which you won't use anyway). But without the keypads you would need to control it using the RS-232 interface. Probably a custom / third-party solution needed.
Nothing wrong with keeping the volume knobs, but keep in mind the maximum volume will be the sum of the amp setting and the knob setting.
 

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I would look at https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=10761 instead. It's pretty much the same product with different branding and different keypads (which you won't use anyway). But without the keypads you would need to control it using the RS-232 interface. Probably a custom / third-party solution needed.
Nothing wrong with keeping the volume knobs, but keep in mind the maximum volume will be the sum of the amp setting and the knob setting.
I think it's a very bad UX design to allow multiple control points for volume. Someone turns the knob in one room, not in another, the app control of sound will then vary from time to time based on what the knob setting is, etc... Bite the bullet and rip the knobs out. Or at least bypass the rheostat in the wall so they don't do anything. Then next time you are repainting the house, pull the whole knob assembly out and patch the drywall.

If you go to an all sonos (or chromecast) design where you have one zoneplayer for each amp zone, you don't need switching all. And you don't need to monkey around with two apps to play a steam in a particular room (e.g. the Sonos app to select the music and control the volume and the monoprice app to select which rooms the source is being sent to) if you do it this way. Simpler is easier. That's why I suggested the Dayton amp - no switching capability built in, but then you don't need it iof you are 1:1 with source and zone.

Sonos will play back in sync across multiple zones just like the chromcast audios do. No need to do that in the amp or switcher. The simpler the A/V part is the better, as you can always replace components like amps like that. Sooner or later the HTD or monoprice switching parts will become obsolete and then you have to replace with something and retrain everyone on how to switch zones with a new system, etc... Simpler is better. :)

thx
mike
 

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I think it's a very bad UX design to allow multiple control points for volume. Someone turns the knob in one room, not in another, the app control of sound will then vary from time to time based on what the knob setting is, etc... Bite the bullet and rip the knobs out. Or at least bypass the rheostat in the wall so they don't do anything. Then next time you are repainting the house, pull the whole knob assembly out and patch the drywall.

If you go to an all sonos (or chromecast) design where you have one zoneplayer for each amp zone, you don't need switching all. And you don't need to monkey around with two apps to play a steam in a particular room (e.g. the Sonos app to select the music and control the volume and the monoprice app to select which rooms the source is being sent to) if you do it this way. Simpler is easier. That's why I suggested the Dayton amp - no switching capability built in, but then you don't need it iof you are 1:1 with source and zone.

Sonos will play back in sync across multiple zones just like the chromcast audios do. No need to do that in the amp or switcher. The simpler the A/V part is the better, as you can always replace components like amps like that. Sooner or later the HTD or monoprice switching parts will become obsolete and then you have to replace with something and retrain everyone on how to switch zones with a new system, etc... Simpler is better. :)

thx
mike
Yeah, I would personally leave the knobs on 100% all the time, or replace them with blank cover plates, so it can be reused at some point in the future.
 

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I would remove the analog volume controls by directly connecting the amps to the speakers (in place of the volume pots) and put a blank plate over them.
They will just add noise and points of failure to the system.
 
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