After doing some searching on web i finally decided that ZON audio distribution will be right for my house. Has anybody used it, Any feedback about this system is appreciated. The ZAC-60 keypad/amplifier costs about $600 each can we replace it any other amplified keypad, has anybody tried mix and match for zons ZR-98 router? Please reply
Thanks Robert for you response.I heard that ZON system is the only system that supports and transfers the date in Digital format and thats what interested me in ZON, Also ZON has more watts per channel. Do you know of any system (suports atleast 4 zones) like a centralised media server(hard disk) which has the media collection and the audio can be selected from keypads(browse by song) apart from elan system.
We carry Russound (a competing brand) and the A-BK22 complete A-BUS kit with 4 keypads, hub, IR emitter, etc. retails for less than $600. I'm sure Zon is very nice but at just over $400 per room you could do a 6-zone, multi-source audio/video system like the Russound CAV6.6.
Watts per channel is often overrated for multiroom distribution. The average room is more than covered with as little as 20 watts. Really, you're not doing a full home theatre experience in every room so it's rather pointless to overspend on the amplification. And when you do "need" more in a room none of the keypad systems can do it without adding an amp anyway. At that point they're all the same.
As for digital distribution, think about network congestion. If you push an analog audio signal around it's not going to ever be limited by network throughput. It's just an audio signal and the technology involved in getting it distributed, amplified and controlled is relatively simple. Digital, on the other hand, requires putting Digital-to-Analog decoders into every keypad. You're at the mercy of how decent the software in the decoders is and how well updated it's kept. That and you're faced with double-transcoding if your source material is kept in one encoding and the keypad needs something different. In an analog distribution system this is being done once at the head-end, not over and over again at each keypad. Then there's the matter of how much bandwidth is necessary and/or available. The keypads on the wire (or airwaves if it's wireless) all listenting to different sources will each require a fair chunk of bandwidth. Add more keypads and you potentially start running out of bandwidth. That and syncing multiple rooms all listening to the same source (whole house party mode) is notortiously difficult with digital disitrbution.
Sure, in a perfect world digital might in theory be better, but in practice it's usually not.
That said, more intelligent keypads with better playlist control is an area where digital systems seem to be making more progress. My solution is to just use relatively dumb A-Bus keypads and then do all the playlist control from either a touchpad PC or a handheld pocket PC running NetRemote. Not as 'well integrated' but a lot less expensive.
Correction: A-Bus has an unlimited number of zones (I recently helped put in a 4-source, 8-zone system). You get four zones per AH-484, assuming you're using Russound equipment--you just daisy chain them and use Y-cables to split the audio sources to feed into the second one.
The regular A-Bus systems are generally limited to 4 sources and 4 zones. They can support up to 8 keypads by sharing a zone between a pair. Keypads set up this way are both listening to the same source but will each have their own volume control via each in-keypad amplifier. That and you can pull a line-out signal from a keypad, feed it to an amp and then use another (dumb) volume control to cover even more area. We do this with kitchen, sunroom and deck. The kitchen and sunroom each have their own keypad, off the same source. The deck is slaved from the kitchen's keypad, fed to an amp and then controlled via a weatherproof volume knob driving rock speakers. They all hear the same source material but each controls it's own volume level. They're all likely to have the same 'use pattern' at the same time so it's reasonable to share a source in this manner. The master bedroom and master bath, however, are on different zones. This to allow me to listen to the news during my morning shower while Chris listens to the TV news. Sharing the smae zone wouldn't give us both the options we want. The other half of each zone is used in the exercise room and other bathroom. There's only two of us in the house so that reasonably handles what we want.
Again, it's limited to by whatever source is selected for that zone; any keypads or line-out amp on that zone would hear the same thing. The rest of the zones, of course, act independently. That and A-Bus generally does not allow changing another zone. You can't control the keypad in Room A from Room B. But you can tell Room B to select the same source and then stop the source, effectively also shutting down any other zones listening to it. But no, A-Bus can't tell a room to switch itself on/off, change source or turn up/down from anywhere other than it's own keypad. Not too many systems allow this as it requires a lot more brains in the keypads.
Digital systems potentially allow any/all zones to act completely independently up to the limit of available 'sources' or bandwidth. If there's only one CD player or other source then any zones would be limited by what the source offers. As in, even if the CD player is 300 disc changer if it only plays them one at a time then that's all you get, regardless of number of zones.
Digital systems pulling directly from fileshared MP3 files (not just streamed from a central server) could potentially handle quite a few keypads. But then you run up against latency and congestion issues as the network gets overloaded. I'm not sure which digital systems have direct-play decoders built-into the keypads. For streamed audio at any sort of decent quality level it can really become an issue. That and streamed sources are limited by however many the source can emit. A dozen keypads listening to crappy MP3 audio encoded at 64k might not be a problem. But using higher bitrate encodings and you start running out of bandwidth in a hurry. Compensating for this with more buffering in the keypads SIGNIFICANTLY drives up the cost and complexty of the keypad. TANSTAAFL.
A-Bus is good at what it does but it doesn't do everything but most folks probably don't need more. For more you'd have to move up to the CAV/M series at more than double the price point AND using different wire layouts. That is, A-Bus uses CAT5 from the hub to the keypads and then speaker wire from there to the speakers (in-wall, on-wall, free standing, rocks or whatever). CAM/V series use CAT5 to the keypads for control but then also require speaker wire from the central controller to each speaker pair. There's no amp in the CAM/V series keypads. Planning wire layout is key.
You /can/ slave an A-Bus keypad from a CAV/M series controller but then only to listen to the first four sources. It's a little convoluted but not overly so.
The CAV/M series Uno keypads can send commands from front panel buttons. The A-Bus keypads are pretty rudimentary with only source selection and volume control. For A-bus to do control of the source requires using an IR remote. To turn on/off a source and adjust it's volume level A-Bus keypads are fine. But not to jump between tracks or select different channels. We've got some touchscreens that allow controlling those extra features. So we use the touchscreen to select the playlists or sources and then select that zone in the desired rooms. This means if I want to jump between tracks when I'm out on the deck I either have to use the IR remote (which is tricky in direct sunlight) or just go into the kitchen and use the touchscreen. I'm going to add a WiFi PocketPC running NetRemote that'll also do this.
I've avoided depending on using things like PPCs because of their added expense and fragility. It's one thing to turn a weatherproof volume knob when your hands are grubby with barbeque sauce. It's another thing entirely to have the screen of a PPC get gummed up or slip out of your hand and break trying to do the same thing. Or, worse yet, accidentally set it down on the lid of the grill, leave it out in the rain or drop it in the hot tub. Low-end knob turning seems like a better long-term plan for a place like a deck.
Our plan is to make use of A-Bus and if it turns out to be really handy then we might upgrade to a CAV controller. The existing A-Bus keypads would either stay in place or move to new locations that weren't originally covered. Being able to continue using them on a CAV, with limitations, makes it a reasonably safe investment. What complicates things is the likelihood of having to pull new speaker wires in the even of an upgrade. I'm putting the wire in ahead of time in the places it'd be a real pain to do again later. The rest is covered by having put in conduit. That'll make it MUCH less of a hassle to snake the added wire later.
This stuff is within the reach of DIY but it's not what most would consider a 'basic' project. It does require a fair bit of planning ahead of time. I'd rate it a 7 out of 10 in effort.
THanks! But the problem is A-bus requires both speaker wire as well as cat5 wire to be passed from controller to each room.My house is already pre-wired with cat5e and now again passing speaker wire from each zone to controller is difficult because of the concrete second floor.Something like ZON will be a ideal system for me because it requires only cat5e from controller to the in-zone amplifier and speaker wire from amplifier to speakers.I know there are some A-bus systems which transmit data using just cat5e but the you only get like
10 watts a zone. I cam across these music servers which has centralized mp3 disk and can be accessed from any zone using controller but they look kind of expensive and dont know how efficient they are
That's not correct. A-Bus rfequires CAT5 from the controller to the in-room keypads. From the keypads you run speaker wire to the speakers. You shouldn't need to rewire anything at this point. The Zon system, from what I understand of it, uses wiring topolgy identical to A-Bus.
No it does not. It requires hub to keypad CAT5. It then requires keypad to speaker wire. No central speaker wiring is needed. And if you need more amplification you can put the amp nearby and avoid central wiring runs.
As for 'watts per zone' you'd be quite surprised how little it takes to effectively cover a room. Otherwise you end up with an overpriced and overheating amp stuffed into a wallbox. In the few places that need "more" it's easy enough to just add the amp.
Mike Said: This is really funny. Goofy Bass trying to sell a A-BK22 complete A-BUS kit. THEY HAVE DEEN DISCONTINUED MORON. Maybe if you took as much interest in your business and customers that you took in going to Brazil, you would have a clue what was going on.
ADI currently has 71 white kits in stock with no indication of them being dropped. I just sold an A-BK22 kit last week. Perhaps if the gentleman actually sold any Russound equipment... Hmm, that would require the ability to talk to a client without blowing up. Scratch that.
Mike Said: WHITE IS AVAILABLE. It is the RD-ABK22A ALMOND that has been discontinued with no replacement. The RD-ABK22W is still available. I was ordering other Russound equipment in ALMOND when I asked my sales rep about the ABK22, being he was working my order with ALMOND equipment he assumed that I was asking about the ABK22A in ALMOND. Goofy look up RD-ABK22A on ADI's site and you will see that it has been discontinued with no replacement.
White is the most commonly ordered color. Almond was discontinued because very few people ordered it. Some Russound items have optional colored replacement covers as well. Before proclaiming that a competitor is offering discontinued merchandise perhaps you should check your facts next time.
Quite a discussion going on... some more points to ponder:
ZON is greatly expandable, if that suits you. The 60watts per zone may be overkill for one pair of speakers, but what about an application, such as a hallway or great room, that has more? It works to 4 ohms, so you can arrange several speakers to play off of the zone "keypad" (it's not really a keypad, much cooler).
There is a large variety of finishes available, including woodgrains. Go to
to see them.
ZON is launching a less expensive version of the system. I don't know much about it yet, other than 40 watts instead of 60 and maybe not as expandable in terms of shear numbers.
ZON does have telephone and chime interfacing, similar to Elan's communication controller. They also have an RS-232 interface to port to automation/control systems.
The question about digital audio source equipment; look at Roku digital media controllers. They will interface with your digital music server and are quite small and attractive. We're using them with Window Media Center applications. If you already have the Elan DJ, you may have to use a translator of some sort to control it. We are an Elan dealer but are not yet interfacing Elan with other controllers in that regard.
Good luck with your project. Let us know what you end up doing.
Mike Said: Before you use my e-mail address and post nasty grams in a competitors guest book **YOU SHOULD LEARN HOW TO NOT GET CAUGHT** like you did here:
RLB "BUSTED" Posting Lies To Competitors Guest Book From Andy Bowman
Subject: Bass busted! From: "Andy Bowman" email@example.com Date: 4/25/2002 5:13 AM Eastern Daylight Time Message-id: NMPx8.9029$ firstname.lastname@example.org
Norco also doesn't go posting lies in their competitors guest books pretending to be someone else either! I must say I was shocked when I traced the headers Robert, I really thought it was Mike from Alarm Services at first, but when I looked at my site logs, Mike's IP had never even been to the site as of then. The one from Comcast however caught my eye and I immediately compared it to the one left in the guest book and guess what? They both match yours, a Comcast ISP (cable modem?) in Sarasota FL.
For those who care, Bass made two posts in my customer testimonials guest book on my site at
The first was a test post pretending to come from Mike (Group Moderator), the other was a bad service / product post pretending to be a Nomen Nescio. Below are copies of both.
Sorry to add to the pollution of the group here, but I very rarely post here and when I do it's not usually to hawk my wares like Robert, the one time I did though I guess Robert felt intimidated and threatened that I was invading his territory and decided to resort to childish tactics.... sad. Get a life will you Robert.... I really would have never thought he would do anything like this, his ethics should seriously be questioned now, as you he was caught red handed. I would have thought he would have at least tried to hide himself better... perhaps his arrogance got the best of him this time, not thinking I'd be smart enough to trace it to him.
Robert, I guess the prices on the site were so much better than yours that you decided to try and discredit me as opposed to compete fairly. Too bad you have to resort to these tactics. Too bad for you it will have no impact huh, the comments were deleted within an hour....
Now, be a man and admit to the group you did it and promise not to do it again or I will join your fanclub and post a variation of this post to alert your potential customers here on a routine basis. I'll also report the incident Comcast and, hell I may even throw up a webpage on your distasteful competitive practices. The balls in your court, friend.
First guest book entry:
(1) Full Name tester (2) E-Mail Address email@example.com (3) Home Page URL
(4) Home Page Title (5) Date (system)
4/25/02 (6) Time (system)
3:07 AM (7) IP Address (system)
22.214.171.124 (8) Comments test
The second one:
A new post has arrived with he following information:
(1) Full Name Badenov (2) E-Mail Address Nomen Nescio (3) Home Page URL none (4) Home Page Title (5) Date (system)
4/25/02 (6) Time (system)
3:11 AM (7) IP Address (system)
126.96.36.199 (8) Comments Terrible service! Ordered from this store and got a real run around. Overpaid for good and got no service.
Ripofs!--Sincerely,Andy Bowmanwww.alarmsystemstore.com"Robert L Bass" wrote in messagenews:o9Lx8.119439$ firstname.lastname@example.org...> AFAIK, Norco does not offer software. Their FAQ is a tiny fraction ofmine.> And they do not offer free, unlimited tech support via toll free lines;> 7-day a week service; free, unlimited downloads by modem or a raft ofother> things I do.>> Regards,> Robert L Bass>
PS: Mike from Alarm Services Incorporated adds: GOOD WORK ANDY....Nice Pick Up............. For the record I never visited your site OR wrote in your guest book....
Below is Robert L. Bass Replying: (Trying to WEASEL HIS WAY OUT, as always)
First, I'm glad you chose to be a man and fess up to it publicly. I don't really have the time or energy to play games here.
Kind of an odd joke though, impersonating two people from this group in a bad way. Would you find it funny if I sent NAMBLA a subscription request in your name? That's odd sense of humor there. Once you saw it posted why didn't you email me saying it was a joke and that you didn't realize it was to be posted live? It was up for a little over an hour before I pulled it.... Nonetheless I'm moving on....
Three year old web forum activity? Who needs to get a life here? Sounds more like you're the one with the problem. Instead of actually helping answer people's questions all you can do is bash someone else? Please, either stick to truly helping people or just shut the f*ck up.