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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My new home's foundation was just poured and it is time to decide on which multi room controller to use. So far I have looked at: Elan, Niles, Nuvo, Russound, and Speakercraft. I am now more confused than when I started.


REQUIREMENTS

1) 6 zone controller that has 6 keypads that controls source and volume (LCD screens are not needed). I will be playing iPod, CDs, and DVR Music channels individually.

2) Controller and keypads cost under $2,000

3) If programming is necessary, I want to do it myself to save money


QUESTIONS/PROBLEMS

1) Due to wanting 16 speakers but only 6 zones. Can I run 4 8-inch/8-Ohm speakers into 1 zone that only has output for 2 speakers? I know this increases the load on the amp. Most companies don't seem to say if they are 4 Ohm stable.


2) If running 4 speakers off of one zone is possible, is there still enough wattage to drive 8 inch in-ceiling speakers?


3)Local audio stores all say that all multi room controllers require professional programming. Is this true even if I only go with in wall controllers that are just buttons (no LCD screens). Looking at the online instruction booklets, this doesn't seem to be the case.


4) Is one company better than the other?
 

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As far as I know none of the listed manufacturers are 4 ohm stable. If you are looking for really beefy output sections, consider B&K. All zones are 4 ohm stable and an underrated 55wpc. There are 9 inputs which is better than any of the competition, and you can get really clever with audio-sensing zone specific inputs. Acoustically there is a lot more flexibility. Each zone has independent full EQ and even mono summing for zones that could use it. Every input has a buffered output for daisy chaining inputs to a surround receiver or other components.


B&K make their own keypads but they are not the best. However, B&K plays very nice with control systems (again, the competition could take a lesson here) so any outboard keypad could be used. I really like the new URC KP4000 keypads that have lots of bidirectional feedback options for Pandora, iTunes, Sirius etc. For the zones that don't need as much control you could use RTI RK1 keypads that are extremely easy to program and operate.
 

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For $2000 you can't even begin to design a B&K multi-channel amp with 3rd party control/keypad setup (RTI or similar).


Nuvo Grand Concerto features almost all the perks of a B&K, is 4 ohm stable on every other zone, and includes keypads ready for 2 way feedback with Nuvo source equipment.


Keep in mind, you will need to use Nuvo source equipment to get the 2 way feedback, but it is priced pretty competitively and they have the best music server in the biz.


It does require 'professional' programming to setup 2 way source equipment, but don't expect to pay much for this, as it takes less than 10 minutes.


With all that said, the wiring for all these systems is very similar so I wouldn't worry too much about the exact amp/controllers for the time being. Focus on a solid backbone of structured wiring, with a few cat5 cables run to each keypad, and the speaker wiring looping through the keypad location, all routed to a central location for your equipment.
 

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Yep, get the wiring in place just as BradKas suggested (that's the CEA recommended standard for WHA pre-wire). Getting the cat5 cable(s) to the keypad locations now is vital - as that will be the key for any number of systems and upgrades in the future. LCD panels in the keypad locations today is very expensive. 2-3 years from now that may not be the case...


You certainly won't regret a NuVo GC. They also have a less-powerful system (Essentia) that is very similar, but has a smaller amp and single-gang (smaller) keypads. Both work equally well with their music server.


On my system, for the one zone I have that includes four 8" speakers, I used one of the unpowered zones (#7, #8) and an external amp I had on hand to give that room enough power. Made sense for me as I was going to use 7 zones anyway (and the amp was sitting here).


Oh, and another bit of advice - if there are any other rooms that you may want WHA later - get them pre-wired now. Most of these systems can be expanded and having the wiring in place makes that decision a lot easier. You can bury the cables in the walls / ceiling and note (pictures and measurements!) where they are for later...



Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies, does anyone know how much the Gran Concerto can be bought for? A search online says $4,000, that is a lot more than what I wanted to spend just for background music. I am going to run CAT 5 and speaker wire to everywhere that I might think I would installed speakers or control pads at some point down the line. I am trying to pick the amp now and get as much info as I can so I can make an informed purchase. The brochure on the Nuvo website says the GC is only rated for 6 ohms.
 

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No, although a FAQ on their dealer site says a pair of 8 ohm speakers can be installed in parallel on every other zone. I personally would add a Nuvo 2 channel external amp.


Price will depend on your dealer. I am in Canada, so the MSRP up here is significantly higher on Nuvo products.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadfoot13us /forum/post/19638693


Thanks for the replies, does anyone know how much the Gran Concerto can be bought for? A search online says $4,000, that is a lot more than what I wanted to spend just for background music. I am going to run CAT 5 and speaker wire to everywhere that I might think I would installed speakers or control pads at some point down the line. I am trying to pick the amp now and get as much info as I can so I can make an informed purchase. The brochure on the Nuvo website says the GC is only rated for 6 ohms.

That's the MSRP for the GC. There are a few online places that will discount, but you have to call them (hometech, automatedoutlet, a few others...) to get a price. Package deals with speakers included help on that front, too. A local dealer may also be willing to discount for a "cash and carry" DIY.


And good move on the wiring - I'm already thinking about expanding my system...


It may seem like a lot for "background music", but properly set up and with good source access, you'd be surprised how often you'll use one of these systems. When you can press a few buttons and have music (or the sound from a cable/sat set-top box for listening to sports/news in the morning like I do), it gets used a lot more... I use mine at least daily.


Jeff
 

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If I'm at home, and awake, my Nuvo is playing.



I don't know how much cheaper the Essentia is, but I've read great things about it.


The MPS4 music server is pretty cool, get some quotes on that too.


Monoprice is a good source for budget speakers, for background music.


Don't forget to wire the garage as a zone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am trying to stick to my budget and getting what I want. However I am not so sure that is possible anymore. The Nuvo GC is $2900 and that doesn't include the additional amps needed for the unpowered zones. The Essentia is priced right at $1,719. I am also considering the Elan S66A. I could also add the A6 6 channel amp to get more power to the one or two zones wired in parallel. Anyone have any experience with Elan?


How do you know if an amp can run speakers in parallel? Does it matter that I probably will never be blasting the music so there will not be a huge load on the amp?


EDIT: Well, I might have solved my own problem. I could use a speaker selector to hook up 4 speakers to 1 zone and only select only 2 speakers at a time to play. i.e Hook the dinning room and the office into the speaker selector and select which 2 speakers I want playing. This would work since I would never have music in the office and dinning room on at the same time. That would allow me to have more than the 12 speakers a 6 zone system would allow.
 

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You can do that, and there are a number of good external amps you can use (not just the "matching" ones). I use an AudioSource amp which has the auto-on / off feature that makes it work well with the WHA system.


The Essentia is a good compromise, since you get the major functionality of the GC with smaller displays, but can still add the music server, and get the keypad metadata and the iPod / iPhone app support, etc...


Jeff
 

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Personally I feel the GC more than justifies the additional $1200. It has double the power per zone, variable and fixed line outs for every zone, as opposed to just 2, for adding additional amps or sub woofers, total of 8 zones (the extra 2 are not amplified), and way more keypad real estate.


leadfoot, were those prices you listed dealer? US or CND?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Those prices were US from HomeTech Solutions, I called on the GC price since it isn't published. I agree that the additional $1200 is not much for what you get, but I don't see a need for it in the future. I can put that extra $1,200 to a surround sound speakers for the main TV. The Essentia seems to be a good product for me since I am not doing anything fancy. Unless someone can point me to something better for the same price or cheaper. I am waiting on a call back to see how much it will be to program the Essentia.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadfoot13us /forum/post/19637144


REQUIREMENTS

1) 6 zone controller that has 6 keypads that controls source and volume (LCD screens are not needed). I will be playing iPod, CDs, and DVR Music channels individually.

2) Controller and keypads cost under $2,000

3) If programming is necessary, I want to do it myself to save money

This meets all your requirements, and requires no programming. This system also has a built-in whole house intercom.

http://www.htd.com/Products/Lync


$1999 for controller, amp and 6 keypads.
 

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I've read great things about HTD.com.


Search this Home A/V Distribution subforum for 'HTD.com'.


If you go with in-wall volume controls, also install ethernet cables to this location, for future keypads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The Lync seems to be the best bang for the buck. It is stable down to 4 ohms so I can hook up 4 speakers and then use volume controls to control each pair along with the keypads. The USB MP3 player is a nice addition, the source inputs at the control pads, and the intercom.
 

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I am also building a new home from the ground up and I have been experimenting with the Sonos system. There are so many systems out there and so many choices and some choices are down right expensive. In my theater room I certainly am looking for the best possible sound but for multi room music lets face it, its back ground music and I am using in wall speakers. The Sonos has a great operating system which can be learned by spouses, I can use my itunes library in addition to multiple music sources for music, is easily expandable, I can control any zone by the included controller or with an iphone, itouch, does not require yet another unsightly keypad on the wall, and does not cost a great deal of money...$1000 to start. It is wired through cat5 and can be used wirelessly if you need more zones in an area not wired.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by IGO2XS /forum/post/19676273


I am also building a new home from the ground up and I have been experimenting with the Sonos system.

I'm about to build a house and I'm looking for a background music solution too. The Lync system was top on my list but I keep reading great reviews of the Sonos system. I don't have a good handle on how the Sonos system is implemented. The Lync system appears to be centrally located with a keypad to control each zone. How does the Sonos system work? Do you need a Sonos box for each zone? I'm looking at 6 zones and would like to drive up to 8 speakers per zone. Is there a good resource to show how a multi-zone Sonos system is wired?


Thanks!
 

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Wiring is ridiculously easy. This diagram explains it http://sonos.com/assets/0/88/218/f17...fef0e2c891.pdf


Each zone that you require individual control over needs a sonos player. So lets say you are combining the dining room and living room so that these rooms always come on together at the same volume. You only need 1 player. There are different types. The description page is pretty self explanatory. Basically they have 1 option that connects directly to a pair of speakers. 2nd option allows you to connect to an AVR. 3rd option is a stand alone speaker/amp unit.


You install Sonos.. go thru the very easy setup and you are done. You control sonos from ipod/iphone/ipad PC or Mac or sonos controller.


Why 8 speakers per zone? How large are the rooms? If these are not surround zones you may be able to get away with 4 max so long as you use a good quality speaker. If there is a real reason you need 8 speakers you can use a ZP 90 with an amp capable of 8 zones. By the way i have a few Sonance 12 channel amps that are open/tested/never used for sale. http://www.remotecentral.com/cgi-bin...ght=sonance|12
 

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Interesting. The reason I'm thinking about up to 8 speakers is for larger zones. I'm thinking the garage, deck, and my office could be on one zone. I would need 8 speakers to cover the area.


If I'm going to pre-wire for a Sonos installation, should I just put each zone control box on a small shelf in a closet? I would run a network drop to each because I don't want to rely on wireless. Wireless is great for existing structures, but I'm going with a wired connection everywhere I can.


Thanks for the information.


Thad
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by touchton /forum/post/19692900


Interesting. The reason I'm thinking about up to 8 speakers is for larger zones. I'm thinking the garage, deck, and my office could be on one zone. I would need 8 speakers to cover the area.

So if you want to have 3 rooms all be 1 zone you should get a ZP 90 with a 6 channel amp (stereo X 3). All three rooms will come on and off at the same time and play the same music. Volume will be adjusted in each room at the same time.


Obviously you dont have to get a 6 channel amp. You could get a 12 channel amp and do 3 rooms for zone 1 and then zones 2, 3, 4 or whatever configuration you want. I was just using it as an example to explain that imo the best way to handle multiple pairs of speakers in a single zone is to use Y cables or stereo distribution amp to split the stereo signal to multiple amp channels. I do not like using speaker selectors and/or wire nuts to combine pairs of speakers to a single amplifier output.


Something to think about when deciding what rooms to combine.. 1 AM and you want to listen to music in your office. The garage and deck are both on at the same time. Dining and Living are typical combined zones. Multiple pairs of hallway speakers & Outdoor speakers are also typically combined.



Quote:
If I'm going to pre-wire for a Sonos installation, should I just put each zone control box on a small shelf in a closet? I would run a network drop to each because I don't want to rely on wireless. Wireless is great for existing structures, but I'm going with a wired connection everywhere I can.


Thanks for the information.


Thad

Wired is the best way to go for ethernet. You could wire your system with the controllers hidden in a closet in each room. I would home run the speakers from each room back to a central location though. Its a bit more work and added expense of the speaker wire but the home run approach will work with multiple products. This might seem unimportant right now but if sonos goes out of business next week or in 5 years you will want to have the ability to use other products.
 
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