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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to this forum and found it when searching for information on whole house audio system. I'm in the process of finishing a new house and looking for a whole house audio system, or I should say start out with a whole house audio system. I've been reading various mags for a couple of months and visiting some of the local dealers but still very confused.


Also, I can't seem to find any one dealer who has experience with multiple systems to provide some comparisons. Anyway, here's were I'm out but not limited either. Crestron is out (too pricey), looking at Niles ICS but concerned about future growth capability but so far still the leader. Have some interest in seeing Digilinx but can't find anyone that has it, but also concerned about it being Windows based. Control4 has some nice features on paper, but same issue concerned about Windows stability (read some other posts which seemed to support this concern) and longevity of company. I would like to see and get more info on Russound, and open to other options.


Here's what I'm looking at starting off with or some of the requirements:

* Distrubute music to multiple rooms (starting off with 4-5 separate zones).

* Would like to store all music on a music server so that any CD can be played in any zone even when other CD's are played in a different room.

* AM/FM/FM HD source (possible multiple)

* Like GUI controllers, especially Wall mount.

* Like having cover art display but if $ is a differential willing to give up.

* Ability to grow and add other functionality.


Potential future uses I would like to integrate

* Since speakers would be in many of the rooms, I would like to integrate/support intercom/paging capabilities. This means potentially controllers to support mics and speakers as well.

* Potentially integrate security cameras.

* Potentially control lighting in future via same controllers


Any help or feedback would be appreciated since I need to make a decision soon.

Thanks

Gerryb
 

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Is this going to be a DIY project, or are you going to have an integrator design and install it for you?


Most integrators are going to lean more towards Crestron, AMX, Control4 and maybe a couple of others.


DIY has more options, some are very robust and can compete with the Pro systems, others are not as robust, but are less expensive. CQC, Mainlobby, Cinemar, Girder and many others fall into this category.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Although I am typically a DIY, I do like to have availability of support and may lean toward an installer if the price is right and the system is good. I don't know anything about some of the other systems you've mentioned. All of the info I've seen is always on the Crestron, Niles, AMX, etc of the world. This is part of the confusion.
 

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I install Digilinx and russound. We have done a couple of installs of Digilinx and I like it over any other whole house music system. It has integrated intercom and can be controlled through touchscreens or any web browser. A lot of people are skeptical about IP baed systems but it's really reliable. We haven't had any problems. People are used to AMX, Crestron but it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. This system is easy to use and can have unlimited zones and sources. They are getting into the automation side of it. They now can control Lutron lighting control, HVAC and security. This system is always being updated so you can get all the latest features. We have a model home with digilinx here in San Diego.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks mrl8zyboy, I'm supposed to see a local installer this week regarding Digilinx. I guess my one concern there is if Digilinx will survive, what do you think? I saw Crestron's Adagio system again yesterday.
 

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Agree Control4 is a good option. I have one doing close to everything you are looking for and I am very happy. I have 5 rooms, CD changer, digital audio stored on my PC (though it can also fit on the media controller but I like to have one single source for my digital music). Lots of touchscreens, plus all of the metadata and album art you are looking for. Also have the thermostat which is an inexpensive add-on and a no-brainer. Going for lighting and other automation later this year. There are some little glitches now and then but it keeps getting better. They say that its a lower-end product than Crestron and AMX, and I agree with that assertion from a technical perspective. That said, if you are looking for the features that C4 gives you (music, lighting, some video, thermostat, etc) and you are happy with their interface, I really have a difficult time seeing how C4 is inferior.


Only issue is that it is a dealer installed product, so your dealer does all of the install and programming. In general I think you'll find it hard to get a comparable system of any brand that is DIY. With the internet access feature the upside is dealer can make many programming changes remotely. The other gripe is that their marketing to consumers is really weak, so its very hard to see what the possibilities are unless you work through a dealer. Dealers come with varying capabilities and are human, so their fault is that they often provide a narrow range of information at the least common denominator level.
 

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I have had a good deal of reboots. One or two times per month I'd say. Something freezes up, doesnt work quite right, a room loses connectivity, and a reboot usually solves it. Not always the MC but also the HTC and touchscreens. Not really that big a deal in practice - you reboot these things by pressing and holding the round knob on the MC or touchschreen and it takes a few mins to reboot. Its actually pretty resilient that way. I'd put it on par with my Tivo which loses the network connection every once in a while and needs to be rebooted in order to find it again.


I also get the sense that the online software updates are improving the rate at which these glitches are corrected. I've had several invisible upgrades since getting this feature a few months ago.


Frank
 

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I think you may find the products from Colorado VNet an interesting option. It meets all of the requests in your original list, and most of the future wishlist items as well. Though I haven't heard any talk of an intercom option, I know that a security camera interface is in the works. Myself, I prefer systems that are compatible with an unlimited number of subsystems (like a Crestron or AMX), so that I can make the choices and compromises I like. But if you are considering one of the "closed" systems, it might just be the right one.



jcmitch

http://www.coloradovnet.com/home/default.aspx
 
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