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Hi,

 

I have built a new house and per recommendations from my "Smart Home" contractor we set up 12 audio zones.  2 zones have 5.1 speakers and are in a "TV room" and are driven by a dedicated amp for each near by.  The other 10 zones are just pairs of speakers in the ceiling and 2 of them need to "work" with a TV near them.

 

At the time it seemed like it made sense to go with Sonos (I didn't have a clue at the time and still understand very very little) but after reading a lot I am convinced that there has to be a much less expensive expandable and efficient way to accomplish this task.  The Sonos solution requires me to buy 10 Connect Amps at $500 a pop and 2 Connect at $350 a pop for a total of $5,700.   I hear nothing but good things about the Sonos but it seems that for the number of zones that I have there must be a less expensive solution.

 

All the speakers are wired to a central closet on the bottom floor and the house is of course WiFi.  There are no individual controls for volume or anything in each zone as I wanted a clean look and to control it all via the phone or tablets.

 

Given my situation is there any 8 or 16 zones product that can receive signals via WiFi that can replace the suggested 12 Sonos boxes?

 

Cheers and thanks!

 

David
 

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To obtain the performance and features of Sonos from another brand or brands you are going to spend a like amount of money (plus or minus a bit).


Regards the $5700 - consider the cost of the house and contents as a whole.


To save a significant amount of money you are going to have to sacrifice something.


One way to "save" that works with Sonos is to build your system incrementally, adding Connect Amps one or two at a time.


Or go to your Sonos reseller and ask for a discount on the entire system.


Check out CasaTunes ( http://www.casatunes.com/ ) and see what a system with the same number of zones is going to cost.


There are folks that save money by combining rooms and sharing a Connect Amp (or equivalent). But then they usually have in-wall volume controls on a per room basis. To save money they decided that getting up and going to the wall to adjust the volume was OK. That is one sacrifice you can make.


Or you can use a multichannel amp with a matrix switcher on the input to route a couple of Connects (or equivalent) to the desired room(s). Then how do you control it all?



My advice is to stick with Sonos - it works very well - once you get over the "sticker shock" I think you will be very happy.
 

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I don't understand why people do this and end up with a huge stack of Connect amps and about 8 more possible "streams" of Sonos audio than they would ever need. Spend the money on a good multi-zone amp and buy a Connect for each member of the household.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cshepard  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24576616


I don't understand why people do this and end up with a huge stack of Connect amps and about 8 more possible "streams" of Sonos audio than they would ever need. Spend the money on a good multi-zone amp and buy a Connect for each member of the household.

So you can have total flexibility about what plays where, at what volume, all controlled with one simple user interface.


With fewer sources then zones you need a way to determine what plays where and that also needs control.


Suggestions?
 

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Control4 HC250

4 zone amp

8 zone amp

Sonos connects x as many streams as you need -1 (us control 4 and rhapsodu foe the other stream)

Extra vegetables Sonos driver.


You can also bake in some control of the two tv zones.


GLTY
 

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I will preface my post and say this is simply my opinion and you know what they say about opinions:)


Personally speaking, if it was me I would really re-consider the fact that I needed 10 or 12 Sonos boxes for different sources. I have 5 zones all connected to 1 Sonos box and I have yet to run into a situation where a family member didn't want to listen to what was already on...but to each their own. Granted there is only 3 of us in the house but still....


Bottomline, I would never buy a Sonos box for each zone if my intent was to have different sources available at the same time. I would rather save my money and buy a Nuvo system.....
 

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I have the set up that SMHarman mentions - Control4 with a 4 zone amp and a 16x16 matrix. As I grow, I can add another amp with more channels, or more inputs into the matrix. I agree, you really only need 1 Sonos Connect (not Connect Amp) per household member. Audio Source makes a 6 zone/12 channel amp with 3 inputs - you could double up on this set up to have up to 6 Sonos Streams to 12 zones (With some limitations but not many). Or look to invest in an amp + matrix set up, and you can control volume/sources off the Sonos App (phone, tablet, etc)
 

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The point of multiple Sonos boxes is not always about multiple streams - there is also the inherent ability to direct any source to any zone and control the volume in any zone.


And don't overlook the inherent redundancy as each unit stands alone with its own power supply, amp, source selection, etc.


And if you install a matrix switch how is it controlled? Not from the Sonos app.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1chael  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24578037


Bottomline, I would never buy a Sonos box for each zone if my intent was to have different sources available at the same time. I would rather save my money and buy a Nuvo system.....

But a NuVo system with the media server (MPS4) to get the source capabilities and desired level of integration would be more expensive.


$500/zone for a fully integrated system plus the Internet / digital library source(s) is right in the ballpark, really...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24579198


But a NuVo system with the media server (MPS4) to get the source capabilities and desired level of integration would be more expensive.


$500/zone for a fully integrated system plus the Internet / digital library source(s) is right in the ballpark, really...

Jeff-


Yeah, you are probably right...I know you have a Nuvo system and are very knowledgeable on the subject matter. The point I was making is for me I would rather spend the extra money, when I have it available, for the 10-12 zones (if I determined that I really did need that many) and have 1 or 2 pieces of Nuvo equipment versus 12 Sonos boxes at various locations.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1chael  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24579287


Yeah, you are probably right...I know you have a Nuvo system and are very knowledgeable on the subject matter. The point I was making is for me I would rather spend the extra money, when I have it available, for the 10-12 zones (if I determined that I really did need that many) and have 1 or 2 pieces of Nuvo equipment versus 12 Sonos boxes at various locations.

Well, no reason the 10 or 12 Sonos boxes can't be piled up at the same central location that the NuVo gear would sit... And that is a +1 for the NuVo's P3100 3-zone streamer box (direct competitor to the Sonos) as a stack of 4 of those fit in 4U and in the rack.


As far as which would be better? Debatable, but I continue to be a fan of the metadata keypads IN ADDITION to mobile device support. Tablet superior for browsing the digital library, but keypad wins for speed, predictability (it's always where you left it) and ease of use for "simple" tasks (on/off/source/volume).
 

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And the reverse can be true.


Having had in-wall keypads and then having moved to Sonos and tablets, cell phones, etc I do not miss the keypads at all.



And as mentioned you can centralize Sonos just like any other system. Yes the Sonos boxes will likely take up more space but that for the most part is due to the redundancy your are getting - which may or may not be of value to the customer.



I do have one question regards the Casatunes, Nuvo approach - and yes I could research this myself but a quick check did not provide the answer - can you add incrementally to these systems? Can you add, say, a 3 zone unit to an existing 3 zone unit and get 6 zones with the same ease of control?


Or to put it another way, do the two 3 zone units appear to end user as one 6 zone unit?


Thanks!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24579405


Having had in-wall keypads and then having moved to Sonos and tablets, cell phones, etc I do not miss the keypads at all.

Do you carry your phone around with you in the house? The most frequently used keypad in my house is in the master bathroom. I turn it on every morning to listen to the news, and music on the weekends. I don't generally have my phone in my pocket in those cases, nor do I usually have, um, pockets. I am not a marsupial...

Quote:
I do have one question regards the Casatunes, Nuvo approach - and yes I could research this myself but a quick check did not provide the answer - can you add incrementally to these systems? Can you add, say, a 3 zone unit to an existing 3 zone unit and get 6 zones with the same ease of control?


Or to put it another way, do the two 3 zone units appear to end user as one 6 zone unit?

The NuVo wireless family (P100/P200/P3100/P3500) all combine together in the same way the Sonos units do. You'll see all of the zones within the app. The 3-zone products truly are just three of the single-zone units in one box. Can't speak to the Casatunes product - but that can probably be determined by looking at their app (screenshots).


Jeff
 

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Thanks for the information regards multiple Nuvo units and how they combine.


While I don't carry my phone around at the time I purchased the Sonos gear, Sonos was selling the CR100 controller - and every room that has speakers has one of those sitting in the charging stand.


When the CR100s finally breakdown (as eventually they will) then I will have to find another solution.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezlotogura  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24578041


I have the set up that SMHarman mentions - Control4 with a 4 zone amp and a 16x16 matrix. As I grow, I can add another amp with more channels, or more inputs into the matrix. I agree, you really only need 1 Sonos Connect (not Connect Amp) per household member. Audio Source makes a 6 zone/12 channel amp with 3 inputs - you could double up on this set up to have up to 6 Sonos Streams to 12 zones (With some limitations but not many). Or look to invest in an amp + matrix set up, and you can control volume/sources off the Sonos App (phone, tablet, etc)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24578341


The point of multiple Sonos boxes is not always about multiple streams - there is also the inherent ability to direct any source to any zone and control the volume in any zone.


And don't overlook the inherent redundancy as each unit stands alone with its own power supply, amp, source selection, etc.


And if you install a matrix switch how is it controlled? Not from the Sonos app.
You control it all from the Control4 MyHome app on any tablet, phone or PC.  You can also connect up the GUI to the TV.  You can also buy Control4 keypads put them next to the light switch (they are wireless connections to the controller and 110v power stolen from the light switch).  Those keypads can do volume source selection skip etc.  Oh and there are TV wand like remotes as well and if you are feeling really spendy there are some nice 7in in wall touch screens.

 

A driver within the C4 environment talks to the Sonos and allows the one Sonos to matrix out to all 12 or any of the zones of your choosing and adjust the volume in all those zones as a group or individually.  It can also get smarter about how the AVR zones are controlled.  Right now if you want to switch the Sonos on in either of the AVR zones you would also need to select the source as Sonos on the AVR.  Control4 can also control the AVR by IR/Serial or IP as appropriate.

 

Seems the OP likely has around $6k budgeted for this already so this is about a better direction of that money rather than a reduction in that spend.  This will set the whole home audio up to be infinitely scalable and controllable.  In time it can also hook in security, climate, TV control and home media etc.
 

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So how much does this Control4 based system cost?


How does the C4 UI compare to the Sonos UI?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24579801


While I don't carry my phone around at the time I purchased the Sonos gear, Sonos was selling the CR100 controller - and every room that has speakers has one of those sitting in the charging stand.

That's what I expected - so you've placed a dedicated device in each zone for the convenience of control - effectively a wireless keypad.

Quote:
When the CR100s finally breakdown (as eventually they will) then I will have to find another solution.

Any cheap tablet with a decent charge stand, or a used iPod Touch and dock can fill that role easily.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24580498


So how much does this Control4 based system cost?


How does the C4 UI compare to the Sonos UI?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMHarman  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24577195


Control4 HC250

4 zone amp

8 zone amp

Sonos connects x as many streams as you need -1 (us control 4 and rhapsodu foe the other stream)

Extra vegetables Sonos driver.


You can also bake in some control of the two tv zones.


GLTY
 

$750 Control4 HC250

$1,295 16x16 Audio Matrix Switch

$1,100 4 zone amp

$1,400 8 zone amp

$349 Sonos connects x as many streams as you need -1

$349 Sonos connects x as many streams as you need -1

(use control 4 and rhapsody for another stream)

$199 Extra vegetables Sonos driver.

$5,458 Total

 

That is MSRP so your dealer will likely cut you a deal on that bundle or program it.  Cheaper and more flexible than the Sonos option.

 

The HC250 will also give you a rhapsody stream and a tune in stream and can scan an attached harddrive or a nas for local source music giving you some more channels.

 

You could also plug a stereo output of both of the AVRs (or the ARC from the TVs) into the matrix so you can stream TV audio to other locations.

 

Seems an equivilant up front cost but has far more system growth.

 

You could get a couple of SR250 remotes, one for each of the AVR zones and use them to create a single remote for those zones (all connected to the HC250 brains).

 

And depending what other sources you may be interested in (say sending music from your (or a friends) or son / daughter / their friend's i device or android to the system then the wireless music bridge could be a good add.

 

The UI is different but you can see some UI videos below.

 

http://www.control4.com/videos

 

And here is the Sonos driver (and some install and use videos and screen shots)

 

http://extravegetables.com/products/sonos

 

Of course if the OP felt he could merge some of these zones and get it to 8 zones with 8Ohm speakers paired for impedence matching then you could swap out the 16x16 and 2 amps for an 8 zone matrix amp for $2,495 and shave $1300 off the above hardware.  But I did try to create a hardware list that mapped apples for apples (or zones for zones) the original request.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24580540


- effectively a wireless keypad.

Certainly - have to have some way to control the system - but "wireless" to me is the important part. I can use the controller in the stand or take it with me to chair, desk, etc - where ever I will be in the room.


As they say, "Different strokes..."
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMHarman  /t/1526135/please-save-me-from-buying-12-sonos-boxes#post_24580663



Of course if the OP felt he could merge some of these zones and get it to 8 zones with 8Ohm speakers paired for impedence matching then you could swap out the 16x16 and 2 amps for an 8 zone matrix amp for $2,495 and shave $1300 off the above hardware.  But I did try to create a hardware list that mapped apples for apples (or zones for zones) the original request.

So a similar price but it seems it would take some extra steps. First control the matrix switch and then control the Sonos - any other steps involved?
 
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