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Whole House A/V Distribution Hardware Options


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#1 sic0048

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:44 AM

I spent a lot of time researching whole house A/V distribution systems that have RS-232 control capability and decided that I would write down a list of the most popular models and give their features/specs. I haven't found this type of thing anywhere else or it wasn't up to date, so I started my own (this thread was originally started by me on AVS forum).

Please feel free to suggest other products or make corrections if I have something wrong. I am certainly no expert and I am simply trying to make the research a little easier for everyone else.

Thanks.

Whole House Audio/Video Distribution Options

1) B&K CT-602 and CT-600 - Analog Audio, Composite Video and HD Video (with optional HD-6) Distribution

9 Sources (also has 6 dedicated zone inputs) - analog audio, composite video
6 zone outputs (6 stereo/12 mono)
55 watts/channel for all 6 zones
89db signal to noise ratio
20Hz - 20kHz audio frequency response
Built in AM/FM tuner (CT-602 has 2 AM/FM tuners)
built in IR
Multiple units may be daisy channel together for larger systems
Paging and doorbell muting capability (paging uses one of the 9 inputs)
Robust keypads for local control
requires 1 Cat5 cable to each keypad and regular speaker wire to each speaker
http://www.bkcomp.com/products.asp



B&K HD-6 - HD video switcher
9 sources (also has 6 dedicated zone inputs)
6 zone output
Upscales composite and S-video to component video in all 6 zones
Multiple units may be daisy channel together for larger systems
Requires 1 Cat5 cable to each wallplate



2) Russound E Series Sphere ACA-E5 - Analog Audio and Composite Video Distribution

12 Sources - analog audio and composite video
8 zone outputs (expandable to 38 zones) + 2 optional 4 zone A-Bus modules available
40 watts per channel for 6 zones - (zones 7 & 8 require external amplification) uses a digital amp
93db signal to noise ratio
20Hz - 20kHz audio frequency response
Built in AM/FM tuner - counts as the 12th source if used (leaving 11 other sources)
Built in IR
Multiple units may be daisy channel together for larger systems
Paging and doorbell muting capability (does not use 1 of the 12 inputs)
Doorbell and remote latch control
Ethernet port - allows for programming and system diagnostics over the Internet
RNET capability - shows program information on the keypads
Optional wireless ipod dock
Robust keypads for local control (including click wheel), optional Russound Touchscreen also available
Requires 1 Cat5 cable to each keypad and regular speaker wire to each speaker
**Only available through professional integrators - no DIY access**
http://www.russound.com/


3) Russound C Series MCA-C5 - Analog Audio Distribution

6 Sources - analog audio
8 zone outputs (6 powered and 2 unpowered) expandable to 48 zones
40 watts per channel for 6 powered zones
93db signal to noise ratio
20Hz - 20kHz audio frequency response
Built in AM/FM tuner (I believe it uses 1 of the 8 sources if used)
Built in IR
Multiple units may be daisy channel together for larger systems
Paging and doorbell muting capability (uses 1 of the 8 sources)
Has a system clock for alarm or sleep timer use
RNET capability - shows program information on the keypads
Optional wireless ipod dock
Robust keypads for local control, optional Russound Touchscreen also available
Requires 1 Cat5 cable to each keypad and regular speaker wire to each speaker
http://www.russound.com/


4) Russound CAV 6.6 - Analog Audio, Composite Video, and HD Video (with optional VM1) Distribution

6 Sources - analog audio and composite video (actually has a 7th Aux audio & video input on the front of the system. IR controllable)
6 zone outputs + 4 ABUS subzones
20 watts/channel for all 6 main zones
88db signal to noise ratio
20Hz - 20kHz audio frequency response
No built in AM/FM tuner
built in IR
Multiple units may be daisy channel together for larger systems
Paging and doorbell muting capability (does NOT use one of the 6 inputs)
RNET capability - shows program information on the keypads
Optional wireless ipod dock
Robust keypads for local control, optional Russound Touchscreen also available
Requires 1 Cat5 cable to each keypad and regular speaker wire to each speaker
Can also be intergrated with Russound Compoint Intercom system
http://www.russound.com/

Russound VM1 - HD Video Switcher
Comes in 4x4 or 8x8 units
The 8x8 also comes in a unit that will upscale 2 composite or S-video inputs
I assume it will require 1 Cat5 to each wallplate



5) Elan System 12 - Analog Audio and SD/HD Video Distribution

12 analog audio Sources (also has 8 local zone sources)
OnBoard 16x16 Video switcher (allows 5x5 HD video switching)
8 zone outputs (expandable to 32 zones)
No amplifiers built in
No built in AM/FM tuner
Built in IR
Robust keypads for local control (keypads don't have LCD screens however), optional Elan Touchscreens available (one is even wireless)
http://www.elanhomesystems.com/

Elan V-883 HD Switcher
This unit can be used with or without an Elan Whole House Distribution System
It does interface with Elans VIA!NET which means seemly integration with Elan's keypads and touch screens
8 Source inputs - component video
8 Zone Outputs (expandable to 32) - component video
IR built in
Requires 3 RG-6 or 1 Cat5 (with wallplate) run to each location


6) Nuvo Concerto/Grand Concerto - Analog Audio Distribution

6 Sources - analog stereo, no video
8 Zone outputs - expandable to 16 zones
40 watts/channel on 6 zones, 2 unpowered zones
20Hz - 20kHz audio frequency response
No built in AM/FM tuner
Built in IR
Optional iPod dock (Grand Concerto)
Muting on doorbell and telephone
Grand Concerto has Paging - uses input 6 as the source
Local Source Interrupt - can use local source through speakers, but must be amplified source (NUVO is passive)
Robust keypads for local control, Grand Concerto will have capacitive touch control pads
The Nuvo system is suppose to be sold to installers only, not DIYers or public but seems to be available for purchase even from authorized dealers
http://www.nuvotechn...om/products.htm



7) Nuvo Essentia E6G and V.2 - Analog Audio Distribution

6 Sources - Analog Audio
6 Zone Outputs (expandable to 12 zones)
20 watts/channel - uses Digital Amps
Has fixed and variable line outputs to use with external amplification if needed.
Built in IR
Paging Capacity (designed to be used with phone system, but could probably be modified to work in other situations)
Single Gang Keypads - E6G has LCD screen, V.2 does not have LCD screen
Requires 1 Cat5 wire to keypads and normal speaker wire to speakers
http://www.nuvotechn...om/products.htm




8) Xantech MRC88 - Analog Audio and Composite Video Distribution

8 Sources - analog audio, composite video (also has 8 dedicated zone audio inputs)
8 Zone Outputs (expandable to 16 zones)
35 watts/channel for 6 zones, 2 unpowered zones
96 db signal to noise ratio
20Hz - 20kHz audio frequency response
No built in AM/FM tuner
Built in IR
Muting on doorbell
Robust keypads for local control, xantech touch screen available
Requires 1 Cat5 cable to each keypad and regular speaker wire to each speaker
http://www.xantech.com/


9) Xantech ZPR68 - Analog Audio and Composite Video Distribution

8 Sources - analog audio, composite video
6 Zone Outputs (expandable with the EXP9 to 16 zones)
No amplifiers built in
No built in AM/FM tuner
Built in IR
Several Keypad options, but none have a small LCD screen, Xantech touch screen available
Requires 1 Cat5 cable to each keypad and regular speaker wire to each speaker
http://www.xantech.com/


10) Speakercraft MZC-88 - Analog Audio and Composite Video Distribution

8 Source - analog audio and composite video
8 Zone Outputs - expandable to 32 zones
50 watts per channel (all 8 zones powered)
20Hz - 20kHz audio frequency response
2 Built in AM/FM tuners
Audio and video paging (does not take up one of the inputs)
Doorbell muting
Built in IR
iPod integration
Robust keypadsl for local control, although none have LDC screens
Requires 1 Cat5 to each keypad and regular speaker wire to each speaker
http://www.speakercr...ucts:149:MZC-88


11) HTD MCA-66 - Analog Audio Distribution

6 Source - analog audio only
6 Zone Outputs - doesn't seem to be expandable
20 watts per channel - used digital amps (also has preamp outputs to use external amps if desired)
Built in IR
No paging capacity
Basic Keypads - no LCD
Requires 1 Cat5 wire to keypads and normal speaker wire to speakers
http://www.htd.com/w...oller-Amplifier



12) Netstream Musica MU5066ADC - IP Based Audio and HD Video (with optional Panorama) Distribution System

4 Source - analog audio
6 Zone Outputs - can be expanded to 18 zones)
25 watts/channel
Each zone has its own amplifier integrated into the keypad
5 band graphic equalizer built into each keypad/zone
Selectable Sleep Timer with NetStreams proprietary Shhh! Technology
Expansion slot for New Digital FM Tuner card (sold separately) to add in-room FM Tuner listening (does not use one of the primary four sources)
Doorbell/Phone muting
Built in IR
Can also be controlled from any web browser
Requires Cat5 and power (14/4) to be run to each keypad. Speaker wire needs to be run from keypad to each speaker in that zone.
This is IP based and does not have RS232, although NetStream does have the DigiLinX line that does have RS232.
http://www.netstream...cts.aspx?PId=30

Netstream Panorama Pam6400 HD Video Switcher (up to 1080i)
4 Sources - component HD Video
6 Zone Outputs - expandable to 36
Can be a stand aloneunit or seemlessly integrated with the Netstream Musica system
http://www.netstream...cts.aspx?PId=42


13) A bunch of separate receivers with RS-232 - Analog and Digital Audio and Potentially HD Video Distribution (Depending on models choosen)

Each receiver has a max of 2 to 3 zones
Can receive and decode digital audio into 5.1/6.1/7.1 for surround sound experience
Harder to share sources among each receiver
Each receiver will have a built in AM/FM tuner
Will require home automation system to integrate receivers into usable package
No local keypads for control, can use IR as alternative




HD Switcher Options

1) Xantech HD88CC5 (or HD88C) High Definition Video Matrix Switcher

This unit will switch HD video and digital audio signals via coaxial or cat5e cables (with the HD88CC5 only)
8 Source - component video and coaxial digital audio
8 Zone (expandable to 32) - component cable (both models) and/or cat5e baluns (with the HD88CC5 model) (note - both coaxial component and CAT5 video outputs are active simultaneously on the HD88CC5, making it possible to distribute
eight sources to sixteen outputs at the same time)
Active A/V Loop Thru (for Expansion): Gold Plated RCA
Bandwidth supports resolutions of 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i
Coax Output Distance: 250ft (76m)
Gold Plated RCA CAT5/E Output Distance: 1,000ft (304m) - RJ45
Controllable through IR and RS232 commands
Optional Rack Mount kit available (RM3UKIT)
http://www.xantech.c...istrib/HD88CC5/

*** Also available in a 4x4 matrix setup called the HD44CC5 ***


2) Elan V833 HD Switcher

This unit is a stand alone HD switcher. However since it does integrate with the Elan System 12, I've listed it in both locations
8 Source inputs - component video
8 Zone Outputs (expandable to 32) - component video
IR built it - Elan says it can be programmed to work with most keypads, regardless of manufacture, via IR programming
Requires 3 RG-6 or 1 Cat5 (with wallplate) run to each location
You could also use the Elan keypads since this is VIA!NET compatible
http://www.elanhomes...mm/v_c/v883.asp



3) Audio Authority Avatrix AVX-661 - HD (up to 1080p) Switcher

6 sources - DVI, Component, analog and digital audio (optical and coaxial)
7 outputs
Built in IR
Requires 2 Cat5 cables to each wallplate
No local keypads for control, can use IR as alternative
https://www.audioaut....com/indexh.php



4) Neothings Borrego and Avalon - HD (up to 1080p) switcher

8 sources - component video, analog audio (Borrego only), coaxial digital audio (doubles as composite video), Optical Digital Audio (Avalon only)
2, 4, or 8 outputs
built in IR
Would require Cat5 and baluns or a run of 3 RG-6 wires to each location.
No local keypads for control, can use IR as alternative
http://www.neothings.com/consumer.html



5) Autopatch or Extron Matrix Switchers

Several models to choose from
Very customizable to each situation - determine number or sources and zones and find a unit that matches
Most do not have built in IR (I couldn't find any, but I don't want to say that "none" do)
Would require Cat5 and baluns or a run of 3 RG-6 wires to each location
No local keypads for control
http://www.autopatch...6a08e642ff6b65f


6) Key Digital Fat Boy Series

HD video (up to 1080p) and Digital Audio (coaxial) Switcher
8 Inputs - composite video
4 Zone Outputs - expandable to 44
Built in IR
Would require Cat5 and baluns or a run of 3 RG-6 wires to each location
No local keypads for control
http://www.keydigita...TCH?company=KEY


7) Netstream Panorama Pam6400 HD Video Switcher (up to 1080i) - IP Based HD Video Distribution System

4 Sources - component HD Video
6 Zone Outputs - expandable to 36
Can be a stand aloneunit or seemlessly integrated with the Netstream Musica system
http://www.netstream...cts.aspx?PId=42



Other Non-RS-232 Controllable Whole House Distribution Systems

I thought I would add another section to include some non-RS232 controlled systems. Although this isn't the original intent of the thread, I've come across some and thought I would add it in.


1) HTD-MC2-86 - An Analog Only Distribution System

8 Sources - 6 out of the 8 may be connected in in each local zone if desired (ie 1 local device in each zone = up to 6 local devices)
6 Zone Outputs (expandable to 16 zones)
No Built in Amplifier (HTD has optional 12 channel amp available)
Has built in paging (via built in microphone)
Doorbell notification
Built in IR
Robust Keypads for local control
Requires 1 Cat5 cable to each keypad and speaker wires run to each speaker
http://www.htd.com/s...59/.f?fromsla=T


EDITS
8/21/09 - corrected Grand Concerto's paging capabilities (thanks Steve)

#2 beelzerob

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:18 AM

Dang Brian, that's some good info. Distributed audio is still in our future someday...the cost keeps pushing it down the list.

I assumed you've taken a look at or considered the "controllability" of these systems? If so, can you give a synopsis, or even a letter grade for how robust the control is. For instance, I think the HTD system has a pretty limited set of controls, from what I've heard, and maybe only 1-way. Whereas the Nuvo GC control is superb.

Still, great info, thanks for sharing.

#3 Steve

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:24 AM

Nice job putting all that together. Just wanted to correct one thing on 6. Nuvo.

Muting on doorbell and telephone (no native paging that I could find -there may be a work around with additional hardware)


The Grand Concerto does have native paging with controllable page volume and do not disturb settings built in. When the page trigger is tripped whatever is connected to Source6 is paged throughout the system according to the settings of each zone. It works very well and I use it extensively for HA & TTS announcements.

#4 sic0048

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 11:26 AM

I assumed you've taken a look at or considered the "controllability" of these systems? If so, can you give a synopsis, or even a letter grade for how robust the control is. For instance, I think the HTD system has a pretty limited set of controls, from what I've heard, and maybe only 1-way. Whereas the Nuvo GC control is superb.


I wouldn't mind people using this thread to make comments about the controllability. I could even edit that first post with some basic comments about it. For example, if the HTD system is infact 1 way, that would be an important note to make. Also, the Xantech ZPR68 was very slow to respond to commands per IVB when he used it with CQC.

On the otherhand, I personally don't have experience with all these products or know how they work with specific control systems. I also wouldn't want to include control system specific information either (ie the CQC driver for XYZ isn't full feature, etc).

So if people have real hands on experience with the above systems and want to make unbiased comments about the system and the third party controllability, I would be happy to include that information.

#5 Neurorad

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 11:56 AM

Thanks so much, Brian. That's a lot of research.

Definitely a 'Best Thread'!

If people could chime in with tidbits, like:
-native or 3rd party iPhone control available
-metadata on the keypads
-PC sources - internet radio, Pandora, Sirius/XM, Rhapsody, digital music files - with metadata (I think Sonos or similar can be a source for any DA system)

Some notes for the Nuvo GC
-metadata on the keypads, from PC sources
-wireless keypad available

Russound and Nuvo recently released PLC-based systems. Nuvo's is called the Renovia.

#6 AnthonyZ

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 02:45 PM

Russound and Nuvo recently released PLC-based systems. Nuvo's is called the Renovia.

...and Russound's is called Collage. Neither, to my knowledge, is comfortable (or will guarantee operation) with any other systems using the same power lines. In other words, they don't want, say, UPB and their rig on the same install.

#7 opie

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 03:45 PM

It's not really advertised well but the NuVo Grand Essentia will also do paging and if paired with a Viking SLP-1 you don't even loose input number 6.

#8 Neurorad

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 11:49 PM

It's not really advertised well but the NuVo Grand Essentia will also do paging and if paired with a Viking SLP-1 you don't even loose input number 6.

Opie - any chance you're running that Viking unit currently? It's in my master plan for the Nuvo GC, down the road, when the kitchen is renovated (and we lose the old M&S intercom/doorbell).

#9 MavRic

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 02:49 PM

On the E6G paging is also included...don't see a 12v trigger input, but it's certainly doable through RS-232 control.

#10 jwilson56

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 02:19 PM

Well I know my whole house audio setup is more DIY in nature but many people have duplicated my setup which is showcased in this blog.

http://www.cocoontec...p;showentry=119

So if your looking for a lower cost solution you might want to check it out.

#11 DrunkenLizard

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 09:52 PM

Might want to add the Extron Crosspoint matrix switchers, similar in purpose to the autopatch units. Though I know many are starting to few component video distribution a little dated compared to HDMI.




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