Multi-room audio - Living Control vs NuVo?

cindycchan

Standard Member
Multi-room audio – advice/opinions on Nuvo vs Living Control

Please excuse the length of this posting – it’s my first one and I thought I'd better put down as much info as poss. It's probably also a reflection of the fact that I’ve managed to confuse myself through information overload and so I would be very grateful for any help…

I’m planning to get a multi-room audio system (plus other AV equipment) installed and had an initial specification drawn up by a very reputable company. My apartment has just been renovated and all the cabling (Cat5) and wiring (speaker and HDMI) has been installed according to this specification. However I have decided not to ask the same company to complete the installation owing to the very disappointing level of customer service. This has left me with the issue of finding another company to come up with a proposal and to install the system. I now have design proposals from three different installers and I’m undecided about which one to go for.

Some info about the apartment and wiring:

Room 1: Open-plan living room, kitchen/dining
TV Screen, 2 x rear in-ceiling speakers, 3 x front in-wall speakers and wire for sub, HDMI and data point
Room 2: Main bedroom
TV Screen, 2 in-wall speakers, HDMI and data point
Room 3: Bedroom 2
2 in-ceiling speakers, Cat5 wiring for keypad
Room 4: Bathroom
1 in-ceiling stereo speaker, Cat5 wiring for keypad
Room 5: Shower-room
1 in-ceiling stereo speaker, Cat5 wiring for Keypad[/INDENT]

Here are details for the different proposals:

Initial Proposal:
Distribution of audio and video (from a dedicated server) to three zones from a Passive Technologies media server (250GB) using Rotel comms and Crestron via wall-mounted Rotel keypads and a web-tablet.
This came to a total of 23k for all equipment (tv screens, speakers, media server, surround sound amp, DVD player, web-tablet, installation, programming etc…) which I now think is quite an excessive sum to spend on an apartment of only 70sqm. And no discount was offered on any of the equipment.

Proposal 2 & 3:
Both suggested Living Control to distribute audio but not video – I’ve decided that I don’t need video distribution.
Quotes came to 16-18k which is much more in line with what my budget will allow.

Proposal 4:
Suggests an installation using the NuVo Grand Concerto
Cost ?? - I have yet to be given a price but they keep telling me that it will be much cheaper than Living Control

I seem to have spent hours pouring over details for each system trying to work out which to go for but I just can’t decide so would appreciate some help.

So far I’m favouring the Living Control for a number of reasons:
The hard disk is 400Gb (vs 160Gb got NuVo)
The music server comes with a CD player
There is an NT Control box that can be controlled using a web-tablet (which would be handy as there is no wiring for keypad in the main bedroom)

Pros for the NuVo are:
Cost (although I don’t know this for sure)
Keypads look nicer.

My main questions are:

1. Does anyone have any views as to which system is better?
2. Does anyone know how much I should be looking to pay for installation and programming? The figures from each quote vary by quite a lot and I don’t know if it would be a mistake to simply go for the cheapest install cost. As far as I can see the install will require fitting the in-wall/in-ceiling speakers, wall-mounting the screens, fitting the keypads, setting up and programming the equipment.

Thanks in advance

Cindy
 

dc007

Active Member
Cindy,

I have no experience of the NuVo system you mention, but I had a Living Control set up installed about three years ago and I have to say I am more than a little disappointed with the fexibility (or lack of) it allows, considering the expense.

Bags of storeage capacity, true. But the keypads are poor, accesibility to albums and tracks is poor. The computer graphic user interface (GUI) is frankly awful.

If I could choose again, I'd look at every alternative rather than Living Control.
 

cindycchan

Standard Member
Thanks for the quick reply. I have heard that there have been a lot of problems with the display pads/video pads - admittedly this is from the installer who recommends the NuVo system.

Do you think it would be naive to hope/think that Living Control would have made improvements to the system in 3 years?
 

dc007

Active Member
I've tried badgering LC through my installers, Musical Images, to improve the GUI. Every so often they do a software upgrade that requires a new chip... but the GUI still looks like it was written as a student's school project...

Maybe it's improved, but I doubt it.

Frankly, there must be better alternatives...
 
J

Jezza_HR

Guest
For the installer, setting up Living Control is so simple. It's practically drag and drop software with easy customisation (sp?) for the customers benefits.
I have yet to use a Living Control keypad to its full potential, however the demo model I used has the same locking up issues mentioned in this thread. I have been informed by Living Control that this is an early software issue and can be easily resolved with a firmware update. How much better performance is with this I am unware, yet any other issues with the system seem easily resolved and I would expect the software to become much much better in the future.

At this moment in time, i'm looking into getting some more information about the Net Stream and wish to do a training course as it seems very promising for an IP based system and the support seems to be top notch, yet I wouldn't expect this to be perfect either.

Pretty much every multi room audio system has downfalls, none of them are perfect in operation. The more complex they are, the more problems occur.

For now though I couldn't really suggest anything else other than Living Control that will do the job any better for what you require, perhaps take a look at SpeakerCrafts MODE system? All I ask you is DO NOT look at Control 4

Jezza
 

hornydragon

Distinguished Member
Some info about the apartment and wiring:

Room 1: Open-plan living room, kitchen/dining
TV Screen, 2 x rear in-ceiling speakers, 3 x front in-wall speakers and wire for sub, HDMI and data point
Room 2: Main bedroom
TV Screen, 2 in-wall speakers, HDMI and data point
Room 3: Bedroom 2
2 in-ceiling speakers, Cat5 wiring for keypad
Room 4: Bathroom
1 in-ceiling stereo speaker, Cat5 wiring for keypad
Room 5: Shower-room
1 in-ceiling stereo speaker, Cat5 wiring for Keypad[/INDENT]

Here are details for the different proposals:

HI Cindy might i suggest you go back to basics and decide what is you want fromt he system. TV in 2 rooms yes? WHat sources? Sky? DVD? any more? Music in 5 rooms? CD server? Radio? Integration of lighting/blind control? access control? As you have decided not to continue with one compnay. It is probably best to go right back to basics with the whole system and then find out what is possible with your existing wiring.

SOme links for you to check out:

http://www.request.com/products/iq.asp

http://www.request.com/products/nseries.asp

http://www.netstreams.com/prodcatres.aspx?ID=2
 

ntslik

Active Member
Thanks for the quick reply. I have heard that there have been a lot of problems with the display pads/video pads - admittedly this is from the installer who recommends the NuVo system.

Do you think it would be naive to hope/think that Living Control would have made improvements to the system in 3 years?

Ive now completed a number of Living Control systems and find them a fantastic system to work with, albeit I agree with the Videopad comments as I still find these looking basic, but the Colourpad looks incredible and now has RF lighting function built in. There are a number of updates also coming out product wise on the Livingcontrol but we are find a combination of a Living Control with say an iDyl CD /DVD server makes a completed system with the new Marantz RC9001 remote would give you almost Crestron capabilities without the cost.
 

cindycchan

Standard Member
HI Cindy might i suggest you go back to basics and decide what is you want fromt he system. TV in 2 rooms yes? WHat sources? Sky? DVD? any more? Music in 5 rooms? CD server? Radio? Integration of lighting/blind control? access control? As you have decided not to continue with one compnay. It is probably best to go right back to basics with the whole system and then find out what is possible with your existing wiring.

Since the initial proposal was done I have had a rethink about what I really want the system to do.

Music to 5 zones
Audio sources would be: Music server, FM Tuner (and DAB?),
Video sources to two screens (in different rooms): Sky, DVD, Video server (TiVX??) via AV receiver (am I right in thinking that the Onkyo 905/875 would let me have Sky showing in one room while playing DVD in the other?)

I do want control of the audio system via keypads in each zone with wake-up/sleep facility
Re the control of the video I would prefer to be able to control the video sources from both rooms via a remote control (and via IP would be nice-to-have)

It's not much to ask really :)

I already have mood lighting installed but I don't really know what integration of lighting into the AV system would do??

I think both the the NuVo and LC systems can give me what I want in terms of audio system for the total budget I can afford (about 18k for all the equipment inc installation). The iQ system looks good (thanks for the links). Netstreams too but both look like they'll push me over budget...
 

neilball

Well-known Member
Integrating the lighting into your AV install adds 1 or 2 features you may not have right now - scene control by remote control or integrated into a macro e.g. "Watch Movie" would get the screen, DVD player, AV amp etc running and then switch the lights to your preferred level maybe using a long fade time for more dramatic effect.
 

hornydragon

Distinguished Member
Netstreams can actually work out cheaper than you might think especially if you dont have touchscreens in every room (no need to) each netstreams touch screen can control the whole system so from the bedroom screen you can select muisc for the bathroom, en-suite and bedroom. With netstreams your not limited to the built in music server so you can selct a suitable size server to complement the system from 120Gb to 500Gb and optional expansion storage if you require more at a later date. It wont come much under budget but can be done in budget if your wiring is suitable.
 

vex

Well-known Member
IQ will be substatially cheaper than Living Control, but it is designed as a music only system, it is not going to have he same level of functionality as the higher priced systems.

Having said that, it is a great priced system if you high quality (80w per channel) want music and album art.
 

cindycchan

Standard Member
Thanks for all your comments on this thread. They've been a great help. Due to the scheduling of the final building work, decorating and joinery work I've had to make a decision on this in the last couple of days so I have decided to go for the NuVo Grand Concerto package. The main reasons being that

I've figured that my main requirement is for a good quality multi-room audio-only system.
I'm concerned about the reliability of the LC controlpads
The NuVo works out quite a bit cheaper than LC too which is good for my ever depleting funds.

I'll let you know how it works out when I eventually move in - which could be anytime between now and Christmas...
 

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