6 Zone Home Audio Multizone Controller and Amplifier Kit - NO LOGO
Distribute and control music and other audio material to up to six stereo speaker zones using this 6-Zone Home Audio Multizone Controller and Amplifier.
This multizone controller is a 6x6 matrix with six stereo audio inputs and six outputs. Each input channel can be independently directed to any of the output channels using the included remote control or the keypad controllers installed in each zone.
The six inputs are 2-channel stereo, with four line level inputs using RCA jacks, one input on a 3.5mm TRS jack, and a Toslink digital optical input. A separate PA input allows you to override selected audio material and broadcast a single audio source to each connected zone. Additionally, a mute input allows you to mute each output channel using a single source trigger.
Each output channel features an amplifier that is capable of delivering 50 watts/channel into a 4-ohm load or 25 watts/channel into an 8-ohm load. Each amplifier can be individually bridged to produce 100 watts into an 8-ohm load. The amp uses Euroblock connectors for the speaker level outputs, which takes less space than push-grip connector terminals. The Euroblock connectors can accept speaker wire up to 12AWG and can be removed from the amplifier for easier installation.
Each output channel also features RCA line-level output jacks, allowing you to use a separate, more powerful amplifier in any output zone or to send the audio to a self-amplified component, such as a television display.
Each zone is independently controlled at the zone using a wallplate keypad with lighted, soft-touch buttons. The keypads connect to the main unit using Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cable. Each keypad features an infrared "eye", which can propagate single-band IR remote control signals to individual IR transmitters connected to the master controller. This allows you to control the source devices from each zone using their native remote controls.
The controller features 12 volt trigger outputs for each distribution zone, plus a master trigger for the entire system. This allows you to activate automated devices, such as lowering a projection screen or dimming the lights whenever the system as a whole, or an individual zone, is activated.
Up to three master controllers can be connected together to provide a massive 6x18 matrix, with audio source and control information passed between master controllers using the included 18-pin ribbon cable. The master controller can accept 115V and 230V inputs. The voltage selector switch is covered to prevent it from being accidentally changed.
The master controller features an RS232 serial input, which lets you program a computer for automated control. A complete list of RS232 commands and codes, including status reporting commands, is included in the manual. The package includes a 19" rack mount kit.
|All Customer Reviews - Click here to review for 6 Zone Home Audio Multizone Controller and Amplifier Kit - NO LOGO.|
|Average User Satisfaction Rate |
|Rating: (10 out of 10)||Reviewer: Anonymous from Brandon, SD|
2/21/2014 11:08:05 AM
|Great quality product|
|Pros: Quality built product, 6 zone capability, nice wall plate controllers, affordable price.|
Cons: None really. Only wish it came with color options for wall plates.
This is my first whole home audio controller so I don't have any direct comparison to other brands however the product quality appears very good. I purchased this unit with 5 pairs of PID 4101 and 1 pair of PID 6971 indoor/outdoor speakers for our new house and they appear to be good compliments for the home audio unit. When researching other brands with similar functions and number of zones they were going to cost more than 2x that of the Monoprice unit! I think anyone considering buying a multi zone home audio controller should definitely consider this product.
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|Rating: (9 out of 10)||Reviewer: Anonymous from Parkville, MO|
2/17/2014 7:34:52 PM
|Pros: Affordable, Heavy duty, Remote, Great sound quality.|
This is a really great product at an affordable price. Heavy duty with 6 dedicated audio outputs for each zone. The keypads are easy to operate with stand by capability. A well versatile product that packs a punch.
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|Rating: (9 out of 10)||Reviewer: Anonymous from Dwight, IL|
2/12/2014 3:44:23 PM
|Great for the money!|
|Pros: Price!! Low cost solution for a whole-home audio setup|
Cons: No bluetooth capability. No option for remote input options that I am aware of.
I just received this product after an exhaustive search of options for my new home under construction. I have never setup a multi zone system before and the number of different options for doing so has been overwhelming to say the least. When I began my search, I was a little disappointed that Monoprice did not have an option for me since they are my go-to for anything electronic. After literally months of educating myself, I see this system pop up at Monoprice and was ecstatic. I was looking for something with 6-8 zones for the primary purpose of music from my iPhone or iPod. I needed something pretty simple to install since I am a rookie at home audio. I also wanted something with at least a couple different inputs since 1 of my zones is in the garage and another is on the back porch. This system seemed to fit my requirements and the price was unbeatable compared to what I had been seeing. I have not installed it yet since it just came yesterday and I probably won't for another 2-3 weeks, but after looking everything over it seems well within my capabilities. The only reason I knocked a star off, which I debated over since the price was so low, was because there is no built in bluetooth or remote input options. The bluetooth seems feasible since monoprice sells an external bluetooth receiver, so I don't know why it couldn't be built in. I don't even know if it would be possible, but aux input jacks on the wall controls would certainly be a nice feature so I don't have to walk to my hub to plug the phone in. Regardless, fantastic value and can't wait to get it installed!
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|Rating: (7 out of 10)||Reviewer: signal15 from Inver Grove Heights, MN|
2/12/2014 8:23:57 AM
|Decent product, a couple of drawbacks|
|Pros: Great value for the money. A comparable system from another manufacturer would cost nearly triple the price, or more. Easy to set up. Looks great in a rack. Sounds decent.|
Cons: Built in DAC for input 6 isn't very good. Keypads mounted in remodel boxes sit a little high and cause the wallplate to have a tiny gap. Sound bleeds over from some inputs very quietly, can be heard when turning up the volume on an input which has nothing on it.
I'm giving this a 7 because of the value, otherwise I would have probably rated it lower. I've replaced a 20 year old 10 zone Niles system with impedance matching volume controls with this. The Niles system wasn't exactly the pinnacle of technology of today, but it probably was at the time it was installed. It sounded terrible.
I ended up buying 2 of these units based on Monoprice's original description that said it would work as a 12x12 matrix. Well, it doesn't, it's 6x12. This means that if you chain them together, you can ONLY use the inputs on the master unit. And after I got it all installed, they changed their description to be accurate. Now that I've gone through the work of running the wire for keypad locations and installing it, I don't really feel like taking it out. But, there goes any hope of me connecting my TV's to the units so I can use the wall speakers for them. I'm more than a little upset about this, but the only consolation is that this setup was 1/3 the price of the Russound system I was going to put in.
So everyone wants to know about the sound quality. It'd say it's very good. I'm running several old pairs of Infinity speakers, some Monoprice 4101's, and some really phenomenal Pioneer bookshelf speakers recommended by The Wire Cutter. There is a little distortion at high volumes, but turning it down a couple of notches fixes that. The sound is very similar to one of my cheap Class-T amps, which is actually pretty good. A friend of mine found the manufacturer of this unit and was able to find out what they are using for amp chips in these. They are made by NXP and the model number is TDA8920C. The amp chip is actually a 2x110W chip. So, if they are claiming 25W at 8 ohms, it's definitely being underdriven, something I suspected anyway due to the low amount of distortion at high volume.
The one thing I just noticed tonight is that if I play music into input 4 (analog) or input 6 (using the optical input), when I set any zone to input 5 and crank it up, I can hear whatever is playing on input 4 or 6 very lightly. This is annoying. Audio is leaking somewhere in the unit. I bought 2 of them, so I tested this on the second unit operating completely separate from the first unit, and it has the exact same issue.
The manual states that you need to run Cat5E or Cat6 to each keypad. In my experience, this is not true. A couple of my locations already had plain Cat5 running to them, and it works great. One run is over 100 feet. 2 of my runs already had 4-wire alarm wire to them. I looked at the hub, and some of the keypads only required 4 wires based on the traces on the board. I wired the 4-wire into pins 2, 4, 6, and 8 on the RJ-45 plug, and it worked! From what I can see on the hub, the first 2 jacks use all 8 wires, and JK3 and up use only 4. I'm guessing this is an RS-485 bus with two legs. One thing to note is that while both of those ghetto wired keypads work, the longer run of the two (80 feet) started to not work reliably yesterday. Weirdly enough, it's only the volume down button that doesn't always work. I'll try swapping out the keypad first, and if the problem persists, I'll run Cat5e since I have a gigantic spool of it and my wife loves it when I cut holes in walls to wire difficult locations. Update: I took a keypad apart, it's it's using an RS-485 bus. RS-485 will operate over standard 4-wire alarm wire and has a range of up to 10,000 feet. The wire should be twisted pair though, and my 4-wire stuff isn't twisted.
As another reviewer pointed out, if you power down the main unit, all of the keypads lose their settings. This is ridiculously annoying. Having to go back and reset volume levels, inputs, and bass/treble settings is a pain in the butt. The IR repeating functionality works well. I'm not using it extensively since most of my stuff is network controlled, but I do use it for an FM tuner that's mounted in the rack with the rest of the stuff.
There's also an AGC button on the back of this. It's off by default. I'm assuming this is automatic gain control. I turned it on and noticed no real difference.
Another thing I should note, one of the main reasons I got this was for home automation announcements, and this has a paging function. The paging function works well. However, it would be nice if when it cut each zone back to the original input, it would fade the sound back in rather than just cut back to it. It would make things sound much more polished.
I hooked up the serial port control so I can integrate it with my Vera. I still have to write the plugin, but I'm able to control the unit through the serial port. The protocol is simple to use and it works well. The only thing it's missing is the option to send unsolicited update messages. For example, when someone changes the volume on the keypad, I would like the unit to send a message over the serial port notifying what was changed. Since it doesn't have this, I will have to poll the unit on a regular basis to keep the status of everything updated in the home automation system. Also note that when using the ribbon to connect multiple units, ALL units can be controlled through the serial port on the Master. You do NOT need a separate serial cable to each unit. The serial ports on the units are female, so I had to use a gender bender to get a standard serial cable working with it. The lack of unsolicited messages is disappointing. I assume this can only be changed with a firmware update, and I have no idea how one would go about that or if it's even possible. There's no USB port on it, and I have no idea if it can be flashed over the serial port.
Another thing I noticed is that the serial protocol supports Do Not Disturb for zones. I assume this is to keep those zones from being paged when using the paging function. I don't see a way on the keypads to put a zone in DnD mode, it appears to be only possible when using the serial protocol.
I am also using the TOSLINK connection on input 6 with a Sonos Connect. The Sonos Connect doesn't have a very good DAC in it, but it actually sounds better when plugged into an analog zone with RCA cables. The DAC that's built into this thing is even worse than the Sonos DAC. The sound is noticeably brighter and more lively when using the RCA inputs rather than the TOSLINK with the Sonos.
So, the bottom line is, this thing is a good deal for what you're getting. It functions just as the current description on it says. Sound quality is pretty good. Keypads feel solid and work well. It looks great in the rack. It's easy to hook up. But, there are a couple of annoyances. These annoyances aren't enough to make me return it, especially since my next cheapest option is nearly triple the price.
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|Rating: (8 out of 10)||Reviewer: RD from Winnipeg, MB|
2/11/2014 8:12:32 AM
|Sweet matrix amp.|
|Pros: Low cost multi-zone amp with audio matrix. The keypads look great and are easy to operate. Sound quality is decent and perfectly matched for a ceiling or wall mount speaker installation. Pre-amp outputs are handy for using a higher quality external amp.|
Cons: Individual input trim would be a great feature to allow different input sources 'loudness' to be adjusted so switching to different inputs doesn't change the output volume.
Keypads are a little bulky especially when trying to fit them next to another decora style device but only in a partitioned switch box.
Excellent bang for your buck!
Meets all my expectations and i'm pleased with it's performance. It has a couple quarks but they are minor.
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