Why Doesn't Russound Make Any Multi-Room Controllers Without Amps?


Senior Member
I was just updating myself on the Russound's Alexa integration and newly updated wall screens and it struck me that they no longer offer any options for separate multi-room controllers and amps. There are a lot of situations where I would need a special amp to drive the load in a given room or need to insert something to mix or override the preamp output in automation situations. With Russound it looks like the only way to do that is to buy a combo controller plus amp and then use the pre-amp out and waste the built-in amp in zones where you don't need it (pretty much all zones in my case). I know I can get around this by using speaker level switching instead of pre-amp switching but if i want to duck the program and mix an announcement over it I have to have access to the link between the amp and pre-amp.
Is there really no market for separate controllers and amps? (If so somebody should tell HTD since that is all they make) or was there some other reason offered back whenever Russound made this change?
They do, take a look at the XSource.  Of course that's just a single zone.  You would need to gang those up for each zone, not the most elegant thing.
I think Russound is looking at the segment for all-in-one, no extra wires integration.  Amp, streaming, app control, automation integration.  MCA-88X does that out of the box and takes about 2 hours to get all installed and working great.  If you needed something more specialized, they probably assume you are going to go upmarket to the Sonos or something cobbled together with Control 4, AMX, Crestron, etc.
The XSource is just a streamer and still needs an MCA or other series multi-zone controller to manage distribution. Also it is controllable by Alexa but cannot stream from Amazon Music. Also Russound's strategy for local libraries is to assume everybody uses Apple to manage local music files so pretty useless in non-Apple households.
I'm really just interested in Russound for their ability to manage room groupings and source switching by Alexa voice commands and their new XTSplus Touch Screens for metadata display. For sources I would probably stick with Sonos Connects and/or Echo Dots for streaming and local library access.