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Best cost-effective solution for a 8-zone audio setup


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Hi, what is the most cost-effective solution to distribute audio into 8 different zones.

I will be having a HC-300 controller. My initial idea is to actually use one of these large USB pendrives (4Gb or bigger) connected directly into the USB port in the back of the HC-300 controller.

Some questions I have:

- if each zone has a pair of speakers, should I use 4 8 speaker-points or a C4 Multi-Channel amplifier?

- does anyone know the difference between the former AVM-16A1-B Multi-Channel Amplifier and the newer C4-16AMP3?

- will I be able to simutaneously listen to a different playlist/song from the USB connected in the controller in 2 or more zones?

- Do I need a Audio Matrix as well?


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8 zones is 16 speakers - thus you'll want the 16 channel Control4 Amp. It's the most cost effective way to do it! Plus it's got a built in audio matrix switch - which speaker points do NOT have, plus the EQ! Amp3 is the newest amp with EQ and better cooling etc... it's the best amp yet.

As for music - you'll need to run analog cables from an HC-300 into the AMP. You will NOT need the audio matrix switch, as the amp has it built in.

BUT - back to the digital music... for each zone of "digital (read: mp3 off the hard drive (USB)) you will need an audio out connection into the amp. So if you only think you'll need two DIFFERENT (!!!) zones (at the same time) of MP3's playing - you'll need to run 2 audio out connections from the back of an HC-300 to the AMP. If you want more - you'll have to do more (we typically use two HC-300's as they're right there already in our racks) and thus gives us 4 different zones of audio.

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Shawn, thanks for the really helpfull info.

couple of questions though:

- what exactly is a audio matrix?

- from what I understood, the HC-300 has 2 audio out connections, thus giving me the possibility to listen to 2 different songs off the same USB connected in the HC-300 at the same time, correct?

and finally do you know the diference between the AVM-16A1-B Multi-Channel Amplifier and the newer C4-16AMP3? I ask that because I might be able to purchase a pre-owned multi-channel amp (AVM-16A1-B), much cheaper than a new one, which I think only comes now as the newer model - C4-16AMP3


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Audio Matrix Switch... that could be a LONG discussion - but the very simplest explanation is that it's a source switcher for your audio devices. C4 amps have them built into them (so for example, you have a CD player plugged into input 1, a satellite receiver plugged into input 2, a media server plugged into ports 3 and 4 - now zone 1,2 and 3 want to listen to the CD, zone 4 wants to listen to satellite and zones 5-8 want to listen to streamed music... the audio matrix switch is what knows how to switch the sources to their destinations).

You usually only need an Audio Matrix Switch when you've got more than one AMP (multiple speaker points if you use them in LOCAL AMP mode would apply here)... more common when using more than 1 C4 amp.

Yes - HC-300 has 2 outs... HC-500 has 3 outs.

As for amps - Brent answered this on another board as someone there asked this exact same question (http://www.mdaoe.com/smf/index.php?topic=792.msg3958;topicseen#msg3958) - so I'll copy and post his answer:

Version 1 and 2 are basically the same...some minor internal changes basically. The main thing was that the original internal power supply from the V1 had a jet engine fan built into it. It was quite noisy. So, they offered a swap out of the power supply for original version 1 owners way back when. The amp modules still have fans but they are much more reasonable on the loudness scale.

Version 3 has a new chassis sporting the new look, it's built better and has lots of new enhancements including a built in parametric eq for each zone. Oh, and it cost $500 more MSRP as well. The V1 and V2 amps were $2,000 MSRP and the V3 amp retails at $2,500

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