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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Built house; moved in 1 yr ago. I have ~10K ft. of almost every kind of media/data wire ran throughout. Have a server room in basement, rack, centralized sat. boxes, 5.1 systems, ect...

Last piece of puzzle is whole-home audio. I wired 4 zones, each with a pair of speakers and single cat5e for keypad.

I'm tore between Nuvo Essentia and Russound MCA-C3. I def. want an FM tuner and SiriusXM streaming capability.

I found several Essentia systems online and they seem much cheaper & easier to find than Russound. Cost is impt. to me, my wife is about to loose it with my structured wiring! Also, I've done all wiring up to this pt. by myself and do not want to start down installer/contractor route; I'm fully capable.

Pros:
-Essentia easier to find and several new/used Amps for relatively cheap online
-Russound MCA-C3 has built-in web server, web config option
-Russound free iOS/Android app
-MCA-C3 built-in FM Tuner
-MCA-C3 No extra control ports necessary; RJ45's in the AMP, which works nicely with my already-installed patch panel.

Cons:
-Russound seems difficult to find w/out going through distributor
-Some negative reviews of Russound DMS 3.1 and lack of future support potential from Russound.
-RS-232 config/programming of Essentia; no web server config.
- Essentia would require both Media Port streamer and FM tuner since it doesn't not have built-in tuner
-Essentia paid iOS app?


Anyone have other thoughts/recommendations?
thanks!
 

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You probably don't need an FM tuner - either system will stream Internet Radio, and most stations stream their content on the web (and more!). You can check in advance by looking for your stations at RadioTime...

The RS232 programming of the Essentia is a one-time thing and I wouldn't base your decision on a one-time operation.

NuVo also made the MusicPort App (iOS/Andriod) free now...

There is a new firmware / software release coming (may already be out) for the MusicPort - there's some web training event next week to talk about "v5".


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You probably don't need an FM tuner - either system will stream Internet Radio, and most stations stream their content on the web (and more!). You can check in advance by looking for your stations at RadioTime...

The RS232 programming of the Essentia is a one-time thing and I wouldn't base your decision on a one-time operation.

NuVo also made the MusicPort App (iOS/Andriod) free now...

There is a new firmware / software release coming (may already be out) for the MusicPort - there's some web training event next week to talk about "v5".


Jeff
what about firmware updates, bug fixes? I think it would be a pain to hardwire to the amp. I guess I'm just struggling that the Amp isn't IP-ready almost all new hardware has an etherent port and can work over http.

Are you aware of any keypad limitations NV-E6GCP-DC (single gang) vs. NV-I8GCP(dual gang) when it comes to controlling the music port? Are both models able to change stations and sources on the music port?
 

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what about firmware updates, bug fixes? I think it would be a pain to hardwire to the amp. I guess I'm just struggling that the Amp isn't IP-ready almost all new hardware has an etherent port and can work over http.
Correct, it's not a new design, but the bulk of firmware/software updates would occur in the MusicPort anyway (which is updated over Ethernet). The Essentia/Grand Concerto controllers themselves have needed very few updates over the years. They are very stable.

Are you aware of any keypad limitations NV-E6GCP-DC (single gang) vs. NV-I8GCP(dual gang) when it comes to controlling the music port? Are both models able to change stations and sources on the music port?
They have the same functionality in terms of menus and functionality. The dual-gang display is super nice and easily readable from across the room. You can mix and match - I would consider using the dual-gang in primary areas if you can. You can pick up 'extra' keypads on eBay for ~$100-150...


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ended up going with the Russound MCA-C3, just got it installed last night.
I got a lightly used unit with no keypads for $700.

Reasoning for not going with Nuvo:
-The Nuvo controller can't be accessed over IP
-The Nuvo controller cannot be accessed with iOS/Android app, Media Port ($1800) required for app control
-The Nuvo does not have a built-in FM tuner

So, assuming I could have found a Nuvo Essentia used for $700 it would have been useless w/out spending more.

With the Russound that was not the case. I configured all the zones, then threw it in my rack. Plugged it into my router, and accessed it via Browser and hit the "firmware update" button and in 10 mins, it was up to the latest fw.

Got the myRussound app on phone, and about 1 hour later, I was running all the zones in the house, listening to FM radio.

Pretty sweet!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
update 9/13/14

I recently got a MDK-C6 keypad and plugged it into the MCA-C3, again went to the web interface and updated the keypad firmware with a single click.

Got the DMS 3.1 streamer also:
Plugged it into the network and updated the fw using the web interace.
Also setup the source streams on the DMS 3.1 using the web interface, but in doing so I was disappointed.
I thought you could setup Sirius account info, tuneIn account info, Pandora, favorites, ect... all on the web interface of the DMS 3.1 but this is not the case.

To setup the DMS, I found myself sitting on a chair in front of the MDK-C6 (luckily I had a keypad) pressing + + + to scroll through alpha numeric characters to sign into my Sirius account. Similar painful experience setting up all the other stream sources. Tiny keypad display, limited buttons, ect...
For a $2k + system, I expected a nicer DMS 3.1 setup experience via a web browser.
But at the end of the day, it does work, very well.
 

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update 9/13/14

I recently got a MDK-C6 keypad and plugged it into the MCA-C3, again went to the web interface and updated the keypad firmware with a single click.

Got the DMS 3.1 streamer also:
Plugged it into the network and updated the fw using the web interace.
Also setup the source streams on the DMS 3.1 using the web interface, but in doing so I was disappointed.
I thought you could setup Sirius account info, tuneIn account info, Pandora, favorites, ect... all on the web interface of the DMS 3.1 but this is not the case.

To setup the DMS, I found myself sitting on a chair in front of the MDK-C6 (luckily I had a keypad) pressing + + + to scroll through alpha numeric characters to sign into my Sirius account. Similar painful experience setting up all the other stream sources. Tiny keypad display, limited buttons, ect...
For a $2k + system, I expected a nicer DMS 3.1 setup experience via a web browser.
But at the end of the day, it does work, very well.
Would you mind explaining in a little more detail the process for updating the FW for the keypads, the controller and the dms 3.1? I'm thinking of putting together a similar system but really don't want to have to deal with dealers, etc. Any help you can offer is much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Here's my .02 cents re: dealer vs. DIY setup

For those who are like me and live for/work with technology, it's easy (I write code and admin servers all day/every day at work). The GUI's built into the web and desktop apps make it simple to setup the system yourself, and it makes NO sense to pay someone to do it.

For those who aren't like me and do not understand the fundamentals of technology and network topology your going to hate the system if you do it yourself. There are intricacies, nuances and details that even a dealer would have a tough time explaining.

With that being said:
Here are some generals on how to setup the system.
1. go to russound and register a username/pw on their portal; this will provide you access to their file database
2. download all the manuals for C3/5 controller, DMS 3.1, MDK-C6 and any other component you purchase; read them.
3. download/Install the SCS-C5 software on a win7 machine
4. connect the C3/5 controller with a USB cable
5. launch SCS-c5 software and make sure you select the appropriate USB options to connect to C3/5 via USB cable
6. read the current config. file from your C3/5 and save it in a safe location (this is your 'default' file)
7. start editing the various config. file options, zones, default speaker levels, ect...
8. set a static IP on the c3/5 to be outside your DHCP range, yet inside your LAN subnet
9. write the config. file back to your c3/5
9.5. browse to the static IP of the c3/5 controller in a browser, click the 'update fw' button
10. wire your DMS 3.1 to your LAN, lookup it's DHCP IP address using your router's firmware utilities (you're using TomatoUSB aren't you? :))
11. browse to the DMS 3.1 IP in a browser and set a static IP, same rules as in num. 8 above
12. setup your sources on the DMS 3.1 using the same web interface, you can also update the firmware here

ect...
ect...

If your scratching your head and have no idea what some of the steps mean, then you: a) have a lot of reading to do, remember you downloaded the manuals, or b) should purchase a system from the dealer.
 

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Here's my .02 cents re: dealer vs. DIY setup

For those who are like me and live for/work with technology, it's easy (I write code and admin servers all day/every day at work). The GUI's built into the web and desktop apps make it simple to setup the system yourself, and it makes NO sense to pay someone to do it.

For those who aren't like me and do not understand the fundamentals of technology and network topology your going to hate the system if you do it yourself. There are intricacies, nuances and details that even a dealer would have a tough time explaining.

With that being said:
Here are some generals on how to setup the system.
1. go to russound and register a username/pw on their portal; this will provide you access to their file database
2. download all the manuals for C3/5 controller, DMS 3.1, MDK-C6 and any other component you purchase; read them.
3. download/Install the SCS-C5 software on a win7 machine
4. connect the C3/5 controller with a USB cable
5. launch SCS-c5 software and make sure you select the appropriate USB options to connect to C3/5 via USB cable
6. read the current config. file from your C3/5 and save it in a safe location (this is your 'default' file)
7. start editing the various config. file options, zones, default speaker levels, ect...
8. set a static IP on the c3/5 to be outside your DHCP range, yet inside your LAN subnet
9. write the config. file back to your c3/5
9.5. browse to the static IP of the c3/5 controller in a browser, click the 'update fw' button
10. wire your DMS 3.1 to your LAN, lookup it's DHCP IP address using your router's firmware utilities (you're using TomatoUSB aren't you? :))
11. browse to the DMS 3.1 IP in a browser and set a static IP, same rules as in num. 8 above
12. setup your sources on the DMS 3.1 using the same web interface, you can also update the firmware here

ect...
ect...

If your scratching your head and have no idea what some of the steps mean, then you: a) have a lot of reading to do, remember you downloaded the manuals, or b) should purchase a system from the dealer.
Thank you so so much for supplying this information. I am definitely scratching my head but think with a little reading and maybe some more reading, I may be able to get a system up and running with your instructions. I am a lawyer by trade and like dealing with technology on the side but nothing too in depth. I had a Russound CA66 (which was basically all preconfigured and plug and play) system some years ago before switching to 7 Sonos connect amp zones. Purchase, installation, music source setup, etc., was a breeze, and I really like the system but sorely miss having keypads, and find it somewhat irritating to have to hunt down my phone or iPad every time I want to listen to music. Sonos definitely has some advantages over Russound but I think I'm willing to live with those shortcomings if I can install and configure the system myself. I simply refuse to pay twice the price for dealer involvement.

I will download all the manuals as you have suggested and read them and see where I am after that. If it all still seems way to complicated I may just stay with my current setup.
 

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I really like the system but sorely miss having keypads, and find it somewhat irritating to have to hunt down my phone or iPad every time I want to listen to music.
Yes, this is the thing most folks don't understand about keypads - they're always where you left them... :D

One of the ways to deal with the lack of keypads is to dedicate a mobile device to sit in the room and act as a keypad. Find a cheap Android tablet (something with a charging stand) - you don't need much horsepower to run the app, nor the latest / big screen technology... An old iPod Touch and dock can work for this, too.

Jeff
 

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Yes, this is the thing most folks don't understand about keypads - they're always where you left them... :D

One of the ways to deal with the lack of keypads is to dedicate a mobile device to sit in the room and act as a keypad. Find a cheap Android tablet (something with a charging stand) - you don't need much horsepower to run the app, nor the latest / big screen technology... An old iPod Touch and dock can work for this, too.

Jeff
Thanks for the suggestion. I actually thought about doing this as well but would much prefer just having keypads installed in a fixed location. I received a pretty decent quote from a local dealer on Friday and am weighing my options at this point. I may just end up sticking with Sonos and being slightly inconvenienced with the whole iPad/phone app control.
 

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Thanks for the suggestion. I actually thought about doing this as well but would much prefer just having keypads installed in a fixed location. I received a pretty decent quote from a local dealer on Friday and am weighing my options at this point. I may just end up sticking with Sonos and being slightly inconvenienced with the whole iPad/phone app control.
There are some iPod wall mounts - Autonomic Controls uses one so they can leverage an iPod as a keypad...
 

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The RS232 programming of the Essentia is a one-time thing and I wouldn't base your decision on a one-time operation.

Jeff
Jeff - I have the Nuvo Essentia and have an issue. I had to replace my PC due to hardware failure and wasn't able to find a "new" PC with a serial card. Do I not need to worry about it since the programming/configuring of the Essentia is complete?


If true. Do all I need to do is reinstall the Nuvo Software once again (register of course) and hook my speakers back up? How will the music from my PC get routed throughout my zones if Essentia isn't connected to the PC?
 

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Jeff - I have the Nuvo Essentia and have an issue. I had to replace my PC due to hardware failure and wasn't able to find a "new" PC with a serial card. Do I not need to worry about it since the programming/configuring of the Essentia is complete?
Just buy a USB to RS232 adapter.
 

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Jeff,
Thanks for the quick response. My bust on not understanding or clearly reading the orig post. I was under the impression that you were saying that since the Essentia is already configured you don't need to worry about a serial connection. I use music port - so will need the serial connection in order for music port to connect to PC to do its magic. Thanks.
 

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Nuvo tech just informed me that MCS most likely won't work with Windows 8. Has anyone had success with either Win8 or running on older version of windows in a VM?
 

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A huge thanks. I am in this boat, going to wire the new house with thousands of dollars of all kinds of cables. Being highly technical as well, this gives me hope of doing a sophisticated diy system without the overhead of a supplier. Thanks!
 

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Nuvo said about a year ago that they would limit wholesale sales and support to their dealers, i.e. they would attempt to limit their online sales from end users, and support their dealers.

Not sure how much that has panned out, but something you should be aware of.

Russound has recently made similar claims.

You won't get far with either unless you can get the programming software.
 

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Nuvo said about a year ago that they would limit wholesale sales and support to their dealers, i.e. they would attempt to limit their online sales from end users, and support their dealers.

Not sure how much that has panned out, but something you should be aware of.

Russound has recently made similar claims.

You won't get far with either unless you can get the programming software.
Well, Legrand / NuVo recently placed all their software on the public website and made it easily downloadable...
 
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