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Russound vs. HTD


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#1 upstatemike

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 09:57 AM

Anybody know of any deal breaker reasons for picking one over the other between Russound and HTD? Both are controllable via Homeseer but wondering if one or the other has a magic must have feature that makes it a better choice?



#2 rockinarmadillo

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 01:08 PM

I have a Russound system and it works great.   I have 10 rooms of audio.   2 rooms with wall controllers and use an app to control the rest.   Controllers are more convenient, but I did not want to see them everywhere.

 

The biggest difference I see is that Russound is a dealer installed product.   It requires a dealer log-in to unlock the unit.   HTD markets directly to consumers.



#3 pete_c

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 01:36 PM

Here purchased my Russound as new old stock. Russound has been around a long time. No problems with the stuff over the years.

 

Original wiring had a box for every pair of speakers with 16/4 and Cat5e for old Leviton Chopin system.  Reused the cat5e for the Russound Keypads.

 

Using Russound keypads, Omni touch screens and Homeseer here with a micro serial server.

 

No magic...very basic...less to go wrong.



#4 upstatemike

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 09:16 AM

HTD avoids the whole dealer only issue. Russound has integrated streaming options that HTD does not but they don't support some basic streaming services like Amazon. HTD has intercom built in while Rusound has to tack on Compoint stuff. I guess I better do a purely logical design and then see which one can be configured to match the functionality I actually need.

 

Questions to answer in the functional design:

 

1 What music sources do I expect to use primarily? (music on a NAS share? Music on some kind of PC based music server? OTA tuner or Satellite receiver? Audio out from an Amazon Echo? Some streaming service via a Sonos Connect, Squeezebox, or similar appliance?)

 

2 Should the speakers be used for intercom and paging or should that be a separate system?

 

3 Should the speakers also be used for home automation messages from Stargate, Homeseer, and Elk via a mixer to combine them to a single source or should that be a separate speaker system? If yes then how do I mute or duck music during announcements? How do I decide per zone if music has priority or automation messages do?

 

4 Should the speakers be used for emergency messages from Elk like CO and Smoke alarms or should those speakers be kept separate? (Would require UPS on the Russound or HTD equipment plus power trouble monitoring back to the Elk plus some way to do priority to override of all other sources during alarms)

 

5 Should the system include doorbell functionality even if not used for other general home automation sounds?



#5 Work2Play

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 12:41 AM

I'm going through a little bit of this...  I ended up going with the Monoprice one because my needs are minimal.  That said, it's just a source switcher - it has no built in streaming capabilities.

 

My sources right now are all Amazon Echo Dots.  I haven't gotten to the security aspect yet, but I plan to tie security through a mixer to the intercom override zone, as well as the doorbell (I plan to install a DoorBird doorbell when I can figure out how to get wire there!).  That said, the house also has a couple security speakers already in place, so I'll have them working together.  If the amp loses power, those speakers will still work.

 

I never liked the Russound/Commpoint solution for retrofit applications - it basically requires the speakers to loop through the intercom piece along with another Cat5 - it'd be difficult to retrofit.  HTD is enticing as well, but doesn't have the same driver support.



#6 upstatemike

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 10:07 AM

Unfortunately there is no product that does everything I want. I need both switching and mixing functions. If music is playing I prefer ducking it for announcements rather than muting it. I would like detailed control of source priority so some zones prevent minor HA announcements from interrupting the music but do interrupt it for doorbell and alarms while other zones put announcements first and duck any background music for every HA status announcement and all paging and intercom. I want overrides to be triggered by signal present from the priority zone and not depend on a 12V or dry contact paging control. There should be a Do Not Disturb option but also an override on that for alarms and other critical alerts. There should be a way of changing source priority and other settings based on time of day on a per zone basis. It needs to have a serial or other control interface for if-then-else control via an automation platform. it should be infinitely scalable (or at least scale very large)

 

Maybe I can make something using HTD zone amps, a mixer, and an Arduino ?



#7 rockinarmadillo

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 08:55 PM

I originally planned to us my Russound system for things like home automation announcements and doorbell, etc.   I abandoned that approach when I figured out how much energy it would consume and how much heat it would generate to keep the Russound on hot standby 24/7.    I now only turn the Russound on when I listen to music.   I have a dedicated doorbell that plays mp3's and a small amp on my home auto system.   I could potentially miss a message from my home auto system when I have the music loud, but I always know that I have a message-- even if I cannot understand what it said.   I have my system programmed so that I can see my message on a keypad if I did not understand it.



#8 pete_c

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 06:59 AM

Audio / music here has always taken precedence over automation and I have never used my home automation to manage my media.

 

Over time did incorporate speech, voice recognition, touchscreens et al with no dependencies on this stuff for my media (my music).



#9 upstatemike

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 08:04 AM

I originally planned to us my Russound system for things like home automation announcements and doorbell, etc.   I abandoned that approach when I figured out how much energy it would consume and how much heat it would generate to keep the Russound on hot standby 24/7.    I now only turn the Russound on when I listen to music.   I have a dedicated doorbell that plays mp3's and a small amp on my home auto system.   I could potentially miss a message from my home auto system when I have the music loud, but I always know that I have a message-- even if I cannot understand what it said.   I have my system programmed so that I can see my message on a keypad if I did not understand it.

Class D amps do not consume that much power when they are not actually playing anything so not too concerned about that. I am more concerned about how many different amps and how many redundant speakers i would need in each room (plus separate wiring). I am open to any thinking on this but here are some of the factors that concern me (many unique to my situation).

 

-I do not need to control music via HA but if I already have music speakers in a lot of locations it makes sense to utilize them for other things as well. Even if I put multiple sets of speakers in a room i need to be able to mute or duck music on the music speakers whenever urgent announcements or alarms are coming through the other speakers. I also already mute music when the phone in that room rings or goes off-hook so it makes sense to extend that existing logic to other triggers.

 

-Besides alarms, doorbells, and urgent alerts my system talks a lot with various status messages. I have an elderly mother living with me and i have alerts triggered by activation of light switches or motion sensors to keep track of where she is so I can check on her if she is moving around. I have Stargate track lights in remote areas and alert me when they get stuck on even though my ISY thinks they were successfully turned off. I have lots of nag reminders about doors and windows left open, lights left on in guest bedrooms, dishwasher needs unloading, etc. to help manage things when guests disrupt my routine or when my advancing senility would cause me to forget. I also get regular status updates on water usage and furnace run times so to help make me aware when things are not operating within expected parameters. This much chatter is useful to me but requires some strategy for prioritization.

 

-I have a lot of different inputs to coordinate: Elk, Stargate, Homeseer, PBX paging output, Echo Dot, Sonos Connect, etc. Also looking to add some sort of weather radio feed for storm warnings. While source switching works for music sources I find mixing works better for HA because it is too hard to make every system aware of when other ones are speaking and wait their turn. This is why the priority logic needs to be in the audio system rather than the source and it needs to be based on signal presence because not all sources can provide a voltage or dry contact indication for when they are speaking/playing.

 

-Source priority also varies from zone to zone. In entertainment areas like the Living Room, Dining Room, and Library I would not want the party music interrupted by anything except a doorbell alert or fire alarm. In my office I want the background music at the lowest priority and have it ducked or muted when i am on the phone or whenever there is any page or status announcement from one of the HA systems.

 

-Do Not Disturb is also tricky because it should prevent low priority announcements or paging but still allow fire alarms and "nurse call" help request alerts to punch through. 

 

Maybe getting all of this in a single audio solution is not possible but it is worth exploring since the alternative is separate wiring and speakers for HA, Fire Sounders, Music, Paging, Intercom, etc. There is certainly a practical limit to how many speakers you can place in a single room!


Edited by upstatemike, 07 July 2018 - 08:05 AM.


#10 upstatemike

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 08:11 AM

Audio / music here has always taken precedence over automation and I have never used my home automation to manage my media.

 

Over time did incorporate speech, voice recognition, touchscreens et al with no dependencies on this stuff for my media (my music).

I can't give music top priority in all situations. At the very least I need HA to mute the music in a room when the phone in that room rings or goes off-hook or if there is an alert that somebody is coming up the driveway. I agree HA is not needed to manage my media. It is handy with Sonos to reset speaker groupings each day to the preferred default configuration.



#11 pete_c

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 08:21 AM

It might be my age these days.

 

I am not tethered to my cell phone (autoforward voice to the house and typically text one way and never wait for an answer). 

 

Typically do not let an incoming phone call interrupt me in the house.

 

If the call is important then there will be a message left.  If it is not then typically it is registered in the DB and dropped on the next call.

 

Sensors, CCTV, et al continue to work and I do hear the Microsoft (in tongues these days) chatty kathy stuff and ignore much of it these days.

 

Speech  / chimes go through zoned audio and Homeseer touchscreens running Microsoft SAPI.  VR is used but not depended on (old MS SAPI and new Alexa).

 

The Russound zoned audio hardware control is via adjacent to speaker in wall keypads and OmniTouch screens and Homeseer HSTouch screens.  Old stuff and wired and works fine.  I do have sub zones with AVRs in the TV room and all of the bedrooms.

 

I dislike wireless audio and wireless automation even though now tinkering with Mosquitto and WiFi automation.

 

Thinking these days of updating my carpc's to Kodi.  (cars have built in OEM multiple sources of media plus carpc stuff).



#12 rockinarmadillo

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 05:32 PM

Measured power consumption:  77 watts

 

MCA 88X

D250LS amplifier

XSource digital player

11 zones audio on hot standby

 

55kW per month.   That is about $6.00 per month in Texas.   Plus heat load for the A/C.   Not a deal breaker but not an insignificant amount either.



#13 upstatemike

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:53 PM

Measured power consumption:  77 watts
 
MCA 88X
D250LS amplifier
XSource digital player
11 zones audio on hot standby
 
55kW per month.   That is about $6.00 per month in Texas.   Plus heat load for the A/C.   Not a deal breaker but not an insignificant amount either.

That is more than I expected. I guess I can use a small PA amp for the always on announcements from my HA systems but that does require duplication of wiring and speakers wherever I already have music installed. I have to think about the best way to do this with the following points in mind:
 
I Have about 16 zones of music but only 12 that need to be played in sync... the others can be stand-alone. I need alerts and announcements in all of these locations.
 
I have about 8 locations of paging or HA alerts only with no music. 
 
Looks like an amp that can handle 24 zones at 2 watts per zone + 20% overhead equals about a 60 watt mono PA amp. Music could be a 12 zone HTD or Russound system with no doorbell or HA alert functionality. I could use an audio triggered relay on the output of the PA amp to trigger the "mute all" terminals on the HTD or Russound or have it operate individual speaker mute relays in each music zone that i want muted for announcements.


Edited by upstatemike, 14 July 2018 - 07:55 PM.


#14 rockinarmadillo

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 04:48 PM

I have done my HA announcements with 2 zones.   One zone has four 32 ohm speakers in parallel for a total of 8 watts.   These 4 speakers are in the hallways.  The second is a single 8 ohm speaker in the great room-- for additional sound volume. 

 

I really dont use the announcements much.   They are kind of annoying.   The system only tells me critical things like when I try to set the alarm without locking the doors, or I have a leak detected.   It also tells me which zone is violated when I have an alarm.   I have not programmed any routine announcements.     If I can't understand the announcement because of noise, music, or am in the shower, I can always follow up and check the problem on a keypad.



#15 upstatemike

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 08:01 PM

OK different requirements here. I need lots and lots of chatter to keep me apprised of what is going on. I have Elk, Stargate, and Homeseer all participating, If there ever gets to be a way to get Alexa to chime in without waiting to be asked I'll set that up too.






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