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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been doing a lot of research on this and could really use a "sanity check" from experienced installers before upgrading.


Our home A/V distribution system is fairly extensive, but not complex:
  • We have a central A/V room behind our theater, and all the A/V distribution equipment will be located there.
  • We have 9 zones (speakers) that we need to send 2-channel audio via multi-channel amps located in the A/V room. These zones also need wall controls for cat5e wired, single-gang boxes.
  • We have another 7 zones (TV) that we would like to send 2-channel audio plus RGB video. [We don't want to mess with the HDMI handshaking issues.] These zones also need a wife-friendly remote like the URC MX900 or Crestron ML600 (or similar non-rechargeable remote).
  • We do NOT want to control central heating, lighting etc.


We received a Crestron system quote from an excellent local dealer/installer, but it involves a lot of components, a $21k price (gulp!), and a complexity that I'm afraid I'll never be able to edit even though I will have the finished project program and SIMPL software.


Is there another alternative that I haven't considered that is designed for simple 2-channel audio and RGB distribution to that many zones?
 

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Quic response. Without knowing how hard it will be to retro wires, it actually seems too cheap. You did not say what gear was being spec'd. but figure a week for a 2 person crew just to pull all the required wires at around 75/hr and you are at 6K just for that. And depending on your location, that may be too low. Just finished doing a retro job in Boca Raton, and used a friends local company to pull the wire. They are at 125/hr per person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg C /forum/post/20791206


Quic response. Without knowing how hard it will be to retro wires, it actually seems too cheap. You did not say what gear was being spec'd. but figure a week for a 2 person crew just to pull all the required wires at around 75/hr and you are at 6K just for that. And depending on your location, that may be too low. Just finished doing a retro job in Boca Raton, and used a friends local company to pull the wire. They are at 125/hr per person.

All wires are already run to the zones unless we choose to change. We have one Cat5e at all wall controls (home run to AV room). We also have two cat5e and one coax at all TV's (home run to AV room). Any re-wire I can pull cheaper and faster than an installer. But is this Crestron system and existing wiring the best way to accomplish the A/D distribution of 2-channel audio and RGB video?
 

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now the video dist is RGB video? when did this change?


seriously, ask this at remotecentral.
 

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With Home Theater direct, you can get a fairly good system including multi-zone, intercom and IR distribution for 1.5k-3k. This is a simple product to install if all the wiring is in place. Customer service is good and helpful. I installed a 12 zone Lync system for 3.5k.
 

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I don't think that price is unusual, for audio/video distribution, control, and programming. Does that price reflect the URC remotes, or are those extra?


Take a look at the Russound C-Series (audio distribution + keypads) and the Russound video matrix switches. You may be able accomplish what you need with a single MCA-C5 (8 zones) if you combine 2 zones, rather than expanding.


What's wrong with that, plus URC? Why does Crestron belong in the mix?


I would think the new Russound music server would be an exceptional source.


What video sources?


Russound is a little more 'end user' friendly than other manufacturers, for software.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad /forum/post/20792739


Take a look at the Russound C-Series (audio distribution + keypads) and the Russound video matrix switches. You may be able accomplish what you need with a single MCA-C5 (8 zones) if you combine 2 zones, rather than expanding.

Thanks, I'll look at that. The price from my Crestron dealer is an excellent one for Crestron equipment (discounted). However, with Crestron I'm just giving up any ability to make any changes personally -which is a major concern. I programmed the original 15-zone system, keypads and remotes with Xantech (ZPR6810 & EXP9). That was actually a great system for distributing 2-channel audio and composite video.


But it's hard to find any options for distributing RGB and audio (digital or 2-channel) from 4-6 sources to a large multi-zone. I know everything will eventually go HDMI, but the standards and handshaking seem to need another couple years to work out the headaches and I can't wait that long.
 

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What do you feel compelled to be able to edit once the system is installed and working to your liking? Multiple zone audio and video systems do not really need to be tweaked by clients.
 

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Sonos for the audio. Throw in a NAS and 3 or 4 controllers and your done for 6K on the audio side. Then just add the video side and if you want control of both A/V from the same controller use iPods or iPads.
 

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Others have made plenty of good suggestions.


I will add that $21k for that type of distribution doesn't sound out of line to me, FWIW
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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Originally Posted by jgrif08 /forum/post/20796301


I will add that $21k for that type of distribution doesn't sound out of line to me, FWIW

As I said "The price from my Crestron dealer is an excellent one for Crestron equipment" and I've known the dealer I'm working with for many years as a friend. I've been working to understand the entire proposed system and evaluate any alternatives before finalizing.


As I've discovered, there aren't many alternatives to the Crestron PVID 8x4 which can distribute RGB and digital audio to 16 zones. And the PAD8A easily handles the 8 audio through our multichannel amps. As I mentioned, ours is not a complex system... just extensive.


I was very reluctant to go with Crestron at the beginning because it means giving up control over changes, even minor ones like replacing a TV in one zone. But the "workaround" for that is using URC MX900 remotes -- which would interface with the Crestron distribution by RF, but control local components with MX900 IR (rather than distributed IR codes coming back from the Crestron). The MX900 programming software appears pretty easy for me to master.


Another alternative would be to let the MX900 control everything with RF to the Crestron, and then learn enough of the SIMPL program to make changes in IR codes distributed back to the zones.


That choice is my only remaining dilemma.
 

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Sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on things. Depending on the level of changes you are hoping to make yourself, I'm sure you could become proficient in SIMPL pretty easily
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBS /forum/post/20788269


I've been doing a lot of research on this and could really use a "sanity check" from experienced installers before upgrading.


Our home A/V distribution system is fairly extensive, but not complex:
  • We have a central A/V room behind our theater, and all the A/V distribution equipment will be located there.
  • We have 9 zones (speakers) that we need to send 2-channel audio via multi-channel amps located in the A/V room. These zones also need wall controls for cat5e wired, single-gang boxes.
  • We have another 7 zones (TV) that we would like to send 2-channel audio plus RGB video. [We don't want to mess with the HDMI handshaking issues.] These zones also need a wife-friendly remote like the URC MX900 or Crestron ML600 (or similar non-rechargeable remote).
  • We do NOT want to control central heating, lighting etc.


Is there another alternative that I haven't considered that is designed for simple 2-channel audio and RGB distribution to that many zones?

I have distributed a/v in my house. For video, I use the Audio Authority Aviatrix box (component/digital/stereo audio over cat5). 6 sources, 6,12,18, etc. zones. For audio, I have a Nuvo Grand Concerto system - 6 sources, 6 zones powered by Nuvo amp, can add 2 additional via additional amps. All controlled by URC (well to the extent the Nuvo can be - the ir eyes on the keypads are very finicky about line of sight). You could do all of this yourself for less than the Crestron system and retain full control.
 
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