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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my new build home, on the first floor, I've got WHA speakers in 6 areas/rooms. Two of those areas have 2 pairs (4 speakers). All the speaker pairs will be home-run to the AV closet. There are only two people living in the house, with occasional guests or gatherings. So putting in six Connect:Amp units would be $3000. On the other hand, I could get three Connect units for $1050, plus a six zone matrix Amp from Monoprice for $700. Three Connect units means I could configure the matrix for the most common split between the zones, and only need to reconfigure it occasionally. Which would be easy if I used the keypads. Or connected my HA controller to the amp and used a mobile app to make the changes. Heck, 6 Connect units and the amp would be less than 6 Connect:amp units, even if I never used the keypads.

OTOH, there's a really big difference in power from the Monoprice unit vs the Connect:Amp units. For the smaller rooms, that's probably not a big issue. But the larger areas with 2 pairs of speakers it could be.

The second floor only has one area, and the AV equipment for that room is local, so for I'm not going to tie that into the main distribution system. I'll probably use a receiver with a Connect unit attached up there.

Suggestions?
 

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The downside to Sonos + Matrix, is that you no longer have complete control of your Sonos system from a single app. If $3k is even a somewhat reasonable option then having a Sonos controller per zone is worth the cost. I prefer using separate amplification, but the Connect:Amp works great as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The downside to Sonos + Matrix, is that you no longer have complete control of your Sonos system from a single app. If $3k is even a somewhat reasonable option then having a Sonos controller per zone is worth the cost. I prefer using separate amplification, but the Connect:Amp works great as well.
What amp would you recommend?
 

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The other alternate which adds the potential for other functionality is to hop into full HA territory.
Say a Control4 8 zone matrix amp.
HC250
2xSonos Connect (or one and the native TuneIn, Rhapsody, Local Music)

More $ for just the distro audio but if you have security or HVAC they can be connected pretty easily (usually)
Then you can also add video and lighting control down the line.

The single remote for all TV devices is a great win for those less invested in the system.
 

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The other alternate which adds the potential for other functionality is to hop into full HA territory.
Say a Control4 8 zone matrix amp.
HC250
2xSonos Connect (or one and the native TuneIn, Rhapsody, Local Music)

More $ for just the distro audio but if you have security or HVAC they can be connected pretty easily (usually)
Then you can also add video and lighting control down the line.

The single remote for all TV devices is a great win for those less invested in the system.
If he went with the control 4 amp, is there another control 4 item that would need to be added? How do you control the volume in the different zones?
 

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The HC250. The controller.

You would then use the Control4 android or iDevice app to control music source and volume. It controls the Sonos by IP.
Still a single app. Still phone control like the Sonos solution.

You could add some Control4 wireless keypad dimmer to the rooms with audio zones to give lighting and audio control. These use zigbee WiFi so need no more wires.

You could add remotes SR250 soon SR260, especially in video zones. They also have a screen and mini app for selecting music and video.
 

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If he went with the control 4 amp, is there another control 4 item that would need to be added? How do you control the volume in the different zones?
Just to be perfectly clear, if all you want is music, a C4 system would not be recommended. The Sonos interface is better for music, Control4 just expands the possibilities, but at a significant price increase.
 

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I use a single Sonos connect with a 4 input 6 stereo output amp from Sonance controlled by irule. I also use 3 raspberry pis as dlna receivers for streaming j river music collection. Not a single app solution so loses there. But the Sonance was used from ebay, the entire hardware cost was $600 + speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Significant? 6 Sonos amp is $3500. The 8 zone amp and HC250 is not much more.
6 x $500 is $3000, not $3500.

Don't you also need to add a Music Bridge and a couple of Connect units to get the same capabilities in terms of number of simultaneous sources? I'll be using the Sonos units themselves for most streaming and local media playback. I'll also connect the output of the main AVR to one, an Airport Express (for Airplay) to another, and my Mac mini HA controller to a third as local sources.

I'd love to get real prices on this stuff. The Low Voltage contractor we're working with is a Control 4 dealer, but the prices he's quoting me right now include the builder's markup, which I don't want to pay. If I get a complete pre-wire done while the house is being built, I'll wait until after we take possession for the Audio and HA components.
 

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MSRP for HC250 is $750
8 zone matrix amp is $2495

Or 8 zone matrix is $1500 and 8 zone power amp is $1400

Without much other hardware (a usb HDD) this will do two audio streams. local music Rhapsody and TuneIn.

Add a Sonos connect for more sources etc.

Music bridge is to stream from phone to system.

Yea this is more money but it does give more than WHA functional down the line and is not much more than 6 connects
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for that info. I think I would need several additional items to get the functionality I'm expecting from the all-Sonos solution. Multiple simultaneous internet streams requires something additional, just not sure what. For instance, what it I wanted two distinct Pandora streams? Or Rhapsody, I guess, since C4 doesn't do Pandora natively. Also, my audio files are on a NAS. What do I need to access the NAS rather than a local USB drive?

I guess my problem is that it's easy to tell from the Sonos specs exactly what you need to get a desired result. The C4 product sheets are more obscure, and they don't try to publish this info. It's supposed to be up to the dealer to tell you what you want. I don't want to be at the mercy of a dealer if I don't have to. But I am interested in C4, as I know I'll get a better integrated result in the end. Especially when I add in the home theatre control.
 

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I can speak to the C4 setup:

I have:
16x16 C4 Matrix
4 Channel C4 Amp
2x Play 3
2x Play 1
2 Sonos connects (one in the Matrix, one direct into a Denon AVR)

Listening Rooms:
Bedroom - Play 1
Office - Play 3
Bonus Room - Play 3
Kitchen - wall speakers powered by C4 amp
dining room - wall speakers powered by C4 amp
outdoor patio - outside wall speakers powered by C4 amp
Living room - Hifi System powered by the Denon

Content:
FLAC files - over 1,000 live concerts, hosted on a ReadyNas NV+
iTunes hosted on the same ReadyNas NV+
Multiple accounts with SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, TuneIn, etc. Some are both on C4 and Sonos, but even those I ONLY Access on sonos to make it more streamlined approach/solution.

I have a very odd set up but basically:
1) The Play 1 and 3s can play their own stream in that room, or part of the a larger multiroom stream if I want
2) the 1 Connect in the Matrix can play 1 stream to those 3 rooms (living room, dining room and outside patio). Given the set up of my house, living room/dining room would never have different music, they are right next to each other.
3) the Denon/connect can play its own stream in the home living room/theater, or it can connect with any of the other sonos sources

The Matrix also allows me to plug in my cable boxes, an old hifi record player and a blu ray player's audio outs so those audio streams can be piped to SOME of those areas (not the Play speakers, just the wall/C4 amp powered locations).

You could plug in more Sonos connects to the matrix to get more streams if needed. You could plug in a Wireless Music Bridge if you want to stream Music from your phone to your C4 set up. Through the sonos interface, I can access my NAS and stream any of my FLAC or iTunes files.

With sonos/C4 you have almost unlimited possibilities. You can always add a Play speaker in a spot that is tough to hardwire with speakers. You can add Sonos Connects or other devices as you want (the C4 matrix is 16x16, that is a lot of inputs/outputs for 95% of projects).

This is a lot of detail, but hope it goes to show you how you can use C4 and Sonos with all types of hardware. I know the marketing material can be vague but any good dealer worth his/her salt can get a rockin' Sonos setup for you. And when you are ready to add lighting or security or Video into the mix, you already have the foundation set with the platform.
 

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Thanks for that info. I think I would need several additional items to get the functionality I'm expecting from the all-Sonos solution. Multiple simultaneous internet streams requires something additional, just not sure what. For instance, what it I wanted two distinct Pandora streams? Or Rhapsody, I guess, since C4 doesn't do Pandora natively. Also, my audio files are on a NAS. What do I need to access the NAS rather than a local USB drive?
Two Pandora needs two Sonos connect. Two Rhapsody. One connect and the controller.
And / or if someone in your home must use their phone as the source then you could add the bridge.
Access the NAS. Nothing apart from the dealer making the connection in Composer.
I guess my problem is that it's easy to tell from the Sonos specs exactly what you need to get a desired result. The C4 product sheets are more obscure, and they don't try to publish this info. It's supposed to be up to the dealer to tell you what you want. I don't want to be at the mercy of a dealer if I don't have to. But I am interested in C4, as I know I'll get a better integrated result in the end. Especially when I add in the home theatre control.
True but this WHA would be close to in set up bindings and done.
Beyond that there are good dealers and good online people that will remote in and make the programming change for beer money. That assumes you can make the physical connections needed (should not be hard)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just as an example of why I'm confused about all this, here's the section from the Control 4 dealer's quote to me:

Control 4 Head End Equipment and Programming
C4 Controller required for lighting, home theater and distributed audio. Incl 8hrs set-up.
1 Control 4 HC-800 Controller (In-Rack or Head-End)
1 Control 4 Wireless Music Streaming Bridge (In-Rack or Head-End) 7 Home Automation Programming
This is all using in-ceiling speakers that are in a separate section of the quote. I don't see a matrix or amp. Does the HC-800 not need one?

In a previous proposal he had:

Distributed Audio Music System
2 Pairs of 8” Ceiling Speakers: Lanai x2
3 Pairs of 6.5” Ceiling Speakers: Master Suite, Master Bath, Kitchen/Office

1 Control 4 HC-250 Controller (In-Rack or Head-End)
1 Control 4 8-Zone Amplifier (In-Rack or Head-End)
1 Control 4 Wireless Music Streaming Bridge (In-Rack or Head-End)
Not apples to oranges, because the proposal the included the HC-800 also had lighting in it. I told him to take that out when I decided I was going to use Lutron lighting.

It's not that I don't want to use this dealer, but I don't feel confident that I know what I really need, or that his prices are reasonable. I guess what I need to do is figure out the equipment list I need for each scenario that I'm looking at, and then get prices. Is there a good summary of what capabilities you get with the HC-250 vs the HC-800. For WHA, the HC-250 is sufficient. Do I need the HC-800 to do any AV control? Or just for matrix distribution? Can an HC-250 handle WHA plus one room AV needs? If I want to interface with my Lutron lights and shades (or Lutron lights and maybe Somfy shades), can the 250 handle that, or is the 800 needed?

Thanks!
 

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The HC250 is highly competent for those needs.
Mine is doing
1 room of av. Sony AVR, TiVo Roku popbox BDP
NAS with music and video content.
Sonos connect.
Panelized lighting
DMX lighting.
Control4 lighting switches and fan controllers 12+
5 audio zones on top of AVR zone. 4 on matrix amp one on speaker point.

Future plans include
Blinds
Integration with waterbug
Integration with building door buzzer.

Benefits of 800 are more audio streams and more relays ans contact sensors.
Slightly better processor.
Better zigbee radio for stronger coverage.
More or and serial connections (though with my hardware I need one IR bug for the tv and that's it)
 
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