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What hardware do I really need?


mapostol

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I only want distributed audio and video (mostly audio) with the ability to add CCTV cameras later.

I am thinking for a controller I want to get the latest HC-800 controller.

I would like to integrate a Grace Digital Pro Tuner for streaming.

I would also like to have my server accessible for music.

Can I use an external 16 channel amp for audio power (which I already have) or do I need to purchase the Control4 amps?

I am thinking I can use the external amp if I purchase the C4 audio matrix switch?

What HDMI matrix switch works best with the C4 system that is middle of the road price?

Thanks for the help in advance.

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Technically you could use the C4 Matrix, it has switching (obviously) and Volume control BUT the downside is that the Matrix has only 25 step volume control (shown as 4% jumps) vs the C4 Amps' 100 steps.

There are other Matrix option, integrateable into C4, that will work with 100 steps however. Then again most of these take you to a point where a C4 16 channels amp won't be much more expensive and that gives you one less device to keep running, means less control requirements and the ability to use the C4 Amp App...

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Thanks for the heads up on the volume control. Not sure why they would not step it just like the amplifier considering the price it goes for.

I have seen that Audio Authority has a matrix switcher (8x8) with some nice features at a similar price.

I guess at this point I have to make some decisions.

Thanks for the info.

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If you want to start out with 4 audio zones then expand, you could keep your current amp and get 4 Sonos ZP 90's...adding more later as you need them.. plug them into the amp and get the EV driver... Volume is then controlled via Sonos

If your not sure on this approach, just try the one ZP90..see how it works with your amp and go from there... if it doesn't work out how you like, sell it on ebay.. :)

Cheers

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That AudioControl Amp is a great unit, then again everything they make is awesome... I wouldn't trade an Audio Control unit for a c4 amp any day, but thats just me. I'd go the matrix router direction, in the end this offers far more flexibility then the C4 amp.

The C4 matrix isn't bad, I also like stuff from Avocation Systems as they can route both analog AND digital signals.

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Why is it 25 steps? well good question, I didn't engineer it but likely it's due to the fact that the original intend was for it to be a matrix primarily, and the "volume" control is meant more to equalize between different outputs going to different devices (C4 Amp, Receiver, TV etc).

Seen as an additional benifit that way, it's a nice feature on a well-priced piece.

The ZP plus EV driver is a nice option, but it tends to ramp up the price as you go. Check short term and long term costs before going with something that you know will not fullfill you final requirements.

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It's 25 steps for the reasons Cyknight specified, and also because the chipset used to pad down the line-level outputs only has 25 discrete steps.

It's easier to amplify a line-level signal and do volume control than to pad down a line-level signal.

RyanE

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Wow....the AVocation Systems gear looks pretty cool. Lots of options.

That AudioControl Amp is a great unit, then again everything they make is awesome... I wouldn't trade an Audio Control unit for a c4 amp any day, but thats just me. I'd go the matrix router direction, in the end this offers far more flexibility then the C4 amp.

The C4 matrix isn't bad, I also like stuff from Avocation Systems as they can route both analog AND digital signals.

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I think he is referring to the expense coming in because you would need a ZP90 for every zone at $349 a piece.

How is using a ZP a more expensive option? More expensive then what?

Padding a signal is not really that difficult or that uncommon. It's done all the time, with ease, in the pro audio world

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I think there is another important issue to add to this discussion: what source files can be handled by the various options.

Do you want the ability to play Hi Rez 24/192?

what do you want to play? Just Flac?..or a huge range of files?

Do you want an easy internet radio and music streamining solution all bundled in as well?

How big is your library?

Is brilliant itunes sync a game changer?

I mean there are now products out there that will do all this.

If I had the money and was "doing it all again": starting with 4 zones then expanding to 8 a year later, I'd probably go with the new Autonomic Controls media servers.

....get the new 4-5zone Mirage MMS-5A, then add a second one of those when you can afford it..

Whilst I have never seen one (it's not available over here) from what I've read...the file handling, cloud stuff, itunes sysnc, C4driver, ? even video handling on one zone??...these would be a pretty darn good set up for you...

I'd definitely check these out...

This of course would go way more expensive than 8x$300 odd ZP90's. But if all your speaker wire is already pulled to the one central rack location (which it sounds like it is)..then you don't actually need the independance of 8 separate ZP90's..:) With something like the Autonomic Controls server you also get 24/192. I'm after that capability actually. Sonos doesn't do it. It's a huge issue on their forums. One of the major recurring requests...

I've also had networking issues over the years with a 10 Zone sonos setup. Whilst things are stable now, you really need to know what you are doing (and so does your dealer). Networking problems and changes, and badly set network switch protocols can all cause havock. It starts getting very complicated if you don't know what you are doing. Trust me. Been there done that :rolleyes:

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