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Russound vs. HTD


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#16 upstatemike

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 06:38 PM

Just found out HTD has some interesting new products coming out in January so I'm putting this decision on hold to see what the new stuff has to offer.



#17 Monk

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 08:59 PM

Watching with interest - my aging Russounds draw 40 watts each - idle. Time to move on.



#18 upstatemike

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 11:02 PM

Watching with interest - my aging Russounds draw 40 watts each - idle. Time to move on.

 

I notice that newer Russound multi-zone amps have a separate trigger for each zone so only the zones in use power up instead of the entire multi-zone amp coming on when any zone goes live. On the other hand Russound only seems to make controller/amp combinations anymore while HTD keeps the controller and amp separate which provides more flexibility. If power consumption is a priority then Russound might be the best choice. For me the upcoming HTD amp that has a second auto-switched priority input on each zone is going to be the way to go.

 

My family has gotten so used to using Alexa for music I can't get them to mess with Sonos anymore. The low fidelity of Echos, even the Show, drives me nuts so I am going to reconfigure things to satisfy everybody. Each room will have an Echo Spot in it with the line out feeding back to the priority input on the Zone amp (using baluns for longer runs), This will provide a hi-fi Alexa experience that works just the same as what everyone has grown used to. I'll use the regular system inputs for normal playback from centralized sources like Sonos or a master Echo. This will let me play to groups of rooms when entertaining without making things confusing.

 

Example: I have an Echo Dot named "Stereo" connected to input 1 on the HTD system. Before a party I turn on the zones I want to play music in and set them to input 1. During the party I can go to any of the Spots I have in those rooms and say something like "Alexa play my xyz playlist on the stereo" and it will begin playing on the input 1 Dot and be heard in all of the rooms. During the party if somebody goes up to one of the spots to ask "Alexa what is playing on the stereo?" The speakers in that room only will cut over to the priority input and the Spot will reply in that room only while the music continues in the other rooms. A couple of seconds after the Spot stops speaking the room will revert back the common music program playing in all of the rooms.

 

The priority input works even when the HTD controller has the zone turned off since the priority input is right on the amp and not through the controller switching matrix. This means for every day use the room will act just like a stand alone Echo and power the amp in that zone when the Echo spot feeds it a signal. In other words nobody will give me grief for changing things since it works exactly the same as the stand alone Echo that is in each room today.



#19 Monk

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 03:10 PM

Nice! I don't need that granularity. All zones play the same thing 99 % of the time. Homeseer & select alarm related announcements get played to all zones.

Mike, your play lists are through Amazon Music I'm guessing?



#20 upstatemike

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 06:24 PM

Nice! I don't need that granularity. All zones play the same thing 99 % of the time. Homeseer & select alarm related announcements get played to all zones.

Mike, your play lists are through Amazon Music I'm guessing?

 

For now but I am looking at the MySpeaker skill and other ways to play my local library using Alexa voice commands. This lets the rest of the family continue to use Alexa with Amazon music while I get to play my local playlists which include tracks not available from Amazon Music (or any other streaming service).



#21 upstatemike

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 02:30 PM

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.

 

Did you ever hook up the intercom/override zone? I'm trying to figure out/confirm from the manual that the 12V trigger powers up all zones and switches them all to input 1 but the literature is not very detailed and I always get into trouble when I assume stuff. Would not work for me if it only forced the input change but did not power up zones that weren't on



#22 TrojanHorse

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 02:49 PM

I have the monoprice amp. Not yet using the 12v trigger, but when I think about how I’d use it, I would also send the serial command to the amp to turn on the zones I want and make sure they have the right volume and aren’t muted for example. It feels to me like you’d also want to use the RS-232 protocol in addition to the 12v signal. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

#23 upstatemike

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 04:28 PM

I have the monoprice amp. Not yet using the 12v trigger, but when I think about how I’d use it, I would also send the serial command to the amp to turn on the zones I want and make sure they have the right volume and aren’t muted for example. It feels to me like you’d also want to use the RS-232 protocol in addition to the 12v signal. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 
I guess I can do it via RS232 but then i probably wouldn't even need the 12V override input at all. Good point about the muting. I don't understand why these companies make override triggers but then let the override be blocked by mute, "Do Not Disturb", zone powered off, etc. If I'm using the system for a doorbell for example, I'm pretty sure I always want to hear the doorbell... not just when the music is on and the zone is not muted and when nobody has left it in DND. 

Edited by upstatemike, 10 August 2018 - 04:29 PM.


#24 TrojanHorse

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 09:37 PM

I’m having problems quoting here on iPhone... Yeah you’re right on all the above. Bang for the buck I feel this amp is great for music and could do announcements well if you’re willing to accept or strong arm to your will some limitations. I think my requirements are less than yours here. Two other things to note from my experience. 1 there is a lag between power on and hearing audio - maybe 1.5 seconds. So maybe you either always have zone 1 ON if not using other sources or deal with the lag. Switching inputs for me is essentially instantaneous for sound. 2 the amp needs to be polled for current status. So going back to previous source and volume level requires a more sophisticated IP to serial setup than I have (global cache and ISY). I think you mentioned mixing before. I Would be curious if there’s a good option for an additional box to mix the audio announcements. Good luck! Would like to hear what you ultimately do. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

#25 upstatemike

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:39 AM

I am currently looking at the Rolls Ducking Module (DU30b) as a way to mix in announcements. Going to get one to test but at $80 apiece I don't know how practical it would be. Would need one per zone or one per input, depending on how I design the system.
 
I was planning to use the $400 HTD MC66 for my switching Matrix but at $450 the Monoprice unit is a better deal because it includes the keypads where HTD charges an additional $50 per keypad. So for $700 I get 6 zones of HTD with keypads while Monoprice will give me 12 zones with keypads for only $200 more. 
 
Other Pros and Cons:
 
Monoprice has built in amps that I probably don't need. Will ignore except I wonder how much power they will use even if idle? Monoprice gives a 12V output per active zone which might be useful. Doesn't look like the Monoprice page override is much use but the "mute all" would be handy if it works on the line out and not just the speaker outputs.
 
HTD has both fixed and variable audio outputs which I can see me using but it only has a single 12V out when any zone is active. All inputs are RCA which is cleaner for me than converting to 3.5mm. HTD offers a network gateway while I will have to find one that works with Monoprice (Global Cache?)
 
Both have Homeseer plugins but the Monoprice one does not work with multi-unit master/slave configurations. I think the HTD plugin has some missing functions at this point (fairly new)
 
Two unanswered questions I have with Monoprice:
 
1- The Monoprice keypads connect via some kind of hub that is not pictured anywhere in the literature or manual,,, what exactly does this look like and is there any configuration to it?
 
2- When you connect 2 Monoprice units as Master/Slave, what exactly is shared beyond inputs? In other words what works differently in master/slave mode than would be the case if 2 units were kept separate and the audio sources just split via Y connectors to feed each unit?

Edited by upstatemike, 11 August 2018 - 08:42 AM.


#26 upstatemike

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:59 AM

This is where I'm currently at in my design.

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#27 TrojanHorse

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 09:17 PM

I am currently looking at the Rolls Ducking Module (DU30b) as a way to mix in announcements. Going to get one to test but at $80 apiece I don't know how practical it would be. Would need one per zone or one per input, depending on how I design the system.
 
I was planning to use the $400 HTD MC66 for my switching Matrix but at $450 the Monoprice unit is a better deal because it includes the keypads where HTD charges an additional $50 per keypad. So for $700 I get 6 zones of HTD with keypads while Monoprice will give me 12 zones with keypads for only $200 more. 
 
Other Pros and Cons:
 
Monoprice has built in amps that I probably don't need. Will ignore except I wonder how much power they will use even if idle? Monoprice gives a 12V output per active zone which might be useful. Doesn't look like the Monoprice page override is much use but the "mute all" would be handy if it works on the line out and not just the speaker outputs.
 
HTD has both fixed and variable audio outputs which I can see me using but it only has a single 12V out when any zone is active. All inputs are RCA which is cleaner for me than converting to 3.5mm. HTD offers a network gateway while I will have to find one that works with Monoprice (Global Cache?)
 
Both have Homeseer plugins but the Monoprice one does not work with multi-unit master/slave configurations. I think the HTD plugin has some missing functions at this point (fairly new)
 
Two unanswered questions I have with Monoprice:
 
1- The Monoprice keypads connect via some kind of hub that is not pictured anywhere in the literature or manual,,, what exactly does this look like and is there any configuration to it?
 
2- When you connect 2 Monoprice units as Master/Slave, what exactly is shared beyond inputs? In other words what works differently in master/slave mode than would be the case if 2 units were kept separate and the audio sources just split via Y connectors to feed each unit?

 

1.  The hub is a small board that can be mounted in a single gang box, although probably a deep one. It has 6 RJ45 jacks on one side for the keypads and has another single RJ45 on the other side that connects to the amp.  No configuration.  I can take a picture.

2.  I don't know exactly what's shared and what isn't.  But I know you would only need a single serial controller (e.g. global cache) to control the slave unit as those commands are sent to the slave (note you need to send a separate command for each amp).  I'm running two in a basic configuration.  

 

I'm not sure if mute all works on the line out.  I could set up a test at some point if that is a significant factor.  



#28 TrojanHorse

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 09:25 PM

One thing to note the ribbon cable supplied to connect two units is pretty short and needs them to be stacked on a rack. I needed to make my own for my tight space that has them side by side. Was easy to do but the hardest part was finding the right connector from Chinese eBay sellers... 07b7a41c2d263211db1febcb3f1ddad2.jpg Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

#29 upstatemike

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 07:53 AM

Thanks for picture, that does help! Curious what happens if you set two keypads to the same address? Can you control a given room from 2 locations or does it just cause a keypad error?



#30 Monk

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 10:00 AM


Two unanswered questions I have with Monoprice:
 
1- The Monoprice keypads connect via some kind of hub that is not pictured anywhere in the literature or manual,,, what exactly does this look like and is there any configuration to it?
 
2- When you connect 2 Monoprice units as Master/Slave, what exactly is shared beyond inputs? In other words what works differently in master/slave mode than would be the case if 2 units were kept separate and the audio sources just split via Y connectors to feed each unit?

 

This part interests me as well - there is some sort of cable between the Monoprice units - or am I thinking of a different brand? What purpose would it be serving...






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