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Home Theater Direct Lync6 Whole House Audio

Hi Everyone,

I have a house under construction and plan on installing the Lync6 Whole House Audio by HTD. I was just wondering if anyone knew if it was possible to integrate the Lync6 system with ST things at all? It would sure be nice but I imagine it’s not too common.

Thanks,

JD

There’s an IR receiver on each Lync controller, so you could add a WiFi to IR bridge like Global Cache and get some control that way. It’s doable, but a bit complex to set up.

@scottinpollock is one of the experts on this, perhaps he can say more.

For a simpler but more limited interface you may eventually be able to do something with the Harmony universal remote, but that integration is still in Beta.

Since you are doing this from scratch, If I were you I would try and select equipment that has network interfaces instead of IR. While it can all be done with IR using Global Caché iTachs, Infrared control can be tedious (learning codes, tweaking them for reliability/timing issues), provides no feedback or state info, and is not as reliable as an IP interface.

Now I am not a ‘whole house audio’ kind of guy so I can’t steer you to a similar setup that supports an IP remote interface, but I would be surprised if one didn’t exist. IR is so 70’s tech and more and more gear is going network.

Of course if you already have a lot of gear you plan to use that supports only IR remote control, your decision has pretty much already been made for you.

Also, consider a small PC to store and serve your media. If you choose something like a Mac Mini (which can be had pretty cheaply), take a look at HAM Bridge, which can be used to control the Mac from SmartThings, and interface with a lot of other gear that do have network based APIs (including the iTachs).

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@scottinpollock HAM Bridge looks pretty cool. Do you know if there is PC equivalent? I have zero apple products and don’t really want another platform. Nothing against apple, just don’t want to complicate things.

@mrjoedave See my post at New to smartthings: IR Home Theatre Integration? for a discussion as to why Mac OS so much better suited for something like HAM Bridge.

As someone who already has 12 zones of audio throughout my house. I have to ask, is it really worth the money to run all the speakers, buy the speakers, tie it all to a single point of failure?

I have 8 zones tied to one amp and it is all IP controlled. Single point of failure is the amp. Sure its integrated and all that, but here where the issue exists.

Sonos, which I now power 4 additional stand alone units and feed the other 8 with a Sonos Connect.

Sonos was far cheaper, could install it myself and is an open platform that frankly just works.

Instead of running all that speaker wire, run cat6 in pairs or quads and hook up 1 or 2 sonos in each room.

Far cheaper, easier and expandable. Sure in wall speakers are cool looking, but the sound sucks unless you go ultra high end and build proper backer channels for the bass.

Plus, all Sonos devices can be controlled by multiple users, one app. Group all rooms, they sync. It is pretty simple but works.

Best of all, if one sonos fails, the whole system doesn’t. And, best yet, you can move them around.

Just my two cents. Save the cost of whole home audio and go with Sonos wired. Play 1s are quite surprising in sound quality, but the 3s and 5s are solid, but older tech.

Also, if you are looking for ST to do IR, look elsewhere for now. Use a 3rd party controller. FYI, the lync has serial control so that means it can be 2 way integrated instead of IR.

Good luck. I’ve dealt with the pains of whole home audio, and if I was to do it again, I would go decentralized, like Sonos. Cheaper, easier and far more reliable.

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@pstuart makes some very good points. I don’t use Sonos as I like a little higher fi, and wanted video distribution as well. But it works very well, and hopefully one day they’ll transcode video too.

In my case, I have a very elaborate main system, and three other sub systems throughout my house. While each system is standalone in nature, they are all controlled by iTachs, and have fiber runs to distribute content from the main system.

They are also all equipped with ChromeCasts (love these little guys) which provide mobile device controlled content from room to room.

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Just out of curiosity, is this because of the sound from the speakers or the sources via Sonos?

I would put the sound quality out of Sonos, especially in stereo pairs, beyond almost anything you can buy under $1k.

However, if you stream a source of compressed Pandora audio, anything will sound like crap.

Video distribution is another issue all together. I use HDMI matrix switching to send central devices to end units. This is extraordinarily expensive but works great.

The real battle as @scottinpollock describes is central vs decentralized solutions.

I have 4 separate surround sound rooms, two that are home run’d to the main content and 2 that are remote locations with local amps.

It’s painful, expensive and the WAF score is tough to get. Frankly impossible to do today with ST alone. Crestron, Control4, and other high end solutions can do it, but you are looking at $10-50k minimum (and quite possibly per room) to do it reliably.

I assume the OP has multiple people in the house for that many zones. Keep the WAF and CAF (wife and child acceptance factor) in mind.

Anyway, there are high end solutions and then their are DIY solutions. If you want under $300 / room whole home audio, you really can’t beat Sonos. If you are willing to spend $1500+ per room, centralized solutions exist, but think about user control first. Who wants to play what and where? Does each person want to listen to their own? How does video sources play into this config?

For example, I was in a friends house the other week and he had whole home audio and a few video sources and the video sources where ahead of the audio sources. Horrible echo from side rooms, etc. This can be extremely difficult to solve without digital / video distribution sources.

Sonos is not without its challenges as well, but I just use it as a reference point for people who are willing to pay $5k+ for whole home audio and get 10% of what something far cheaper could give.

Agreed (mostly). But my main system are triamped magneplanar 3 series with M&K subs. The satellite systems all use M&K monitors (I used to work for Ken).

I could have used the Sonos line level unit, but as I wanted video and was already running fiber it seemed superfluous. Plus the layout of my house lets the main system hit the areas used to entertain (with the exception of the back deck - where sync is not important).

If sync throughout multiple rooms of my house was a desire of mine, I would have gone with Sonos in a heartbeat. It does that incredibly well.

Yeah, welcome to the 1% :smile: My theater is custom made, hand crafted speaker boxes that exceed THX certification. I am an audio and video nerd for sure. I calibrate by hand my audio and video using all the fun tools, but then I just use my ear.

I just wish the rest of my family cared about the audio. They just want it to work. They get upset when the media player (a custom built HTPC) doesn’t play their movie for them. When I get it back up and running, never a thanks dad. It’s I could have just put the bluray in the xbox and it would have been just fine… ARRRRGGGG…

Building my studio out now, trying to stay in budget for reference audio is really hard… So many nice things out there now.

Thanks for the insight @pstuart and @scottinpollock. I looked at the Sonos systems but mostly just don’t want cords running around and more shelf space taken up. I also have little kids and like the touch pads for them to control stuff (no phones) as well as the intercom that is integrated. We will almost certainly have scenarios that we have multiple zones with the same audio as well as scenarios that we are listening to different sources. I attached an image of the plan below.

I am super green at all of this (HA and A/V) so I am definitely open to suggestions. As far as price goes, it will be a little more to go the Sync route, but I can hold off on speakers for a couple zones and keep it under $2,500. I am running cable myself so it is pretty cheap. The living room and option room will have their own Home Theater systems. I do not plan to have an HDMI matrix due to the cost, my lack of experience, and my perceived lack of need.

The Lync system just seems to hit all of the right spots, but if I am missing something please let me know. I was considering putting a media rack under the stairs and having ventilation put in, but it just seemed unnecessarily complex. Plus we are not really audiophiles, so the speakers we put up will be pretty mid-level anyhow.

Would love to hear your thoughts though guys, and thanks again.

We are all different. If this type of system meets your needs best, than go for it. If @pstuart is correct that this has a serial remote interface, I would look carefully at it as iTachs are available in IP to serial models. Make sure in advance the iTach API is a good match for the serial i/o on the Lync6. If not, consider my original post and find an alternative to the Lync6 that supports IP control. Maybe @pstuart has a suggestion there.

Some other thoughts as you are pulling the cable yourself:

1.) Pull lots of it! you never know what you might want to do years down the road. Don’t know where your main patch panel will be, but consider some 2 inch EMT run from there to a couple of main areas (MB, Media room, etc.) of your home. Then you can always pull fiber (or something else down the road if you need/want to).

2.) Keep your cable runs tied up well, as far away from drywall mounting surfaces as possible. If it is possible for a drywaller to cut a wire, they probably will!!!

That’s about it for now… have fun!

I did our basement a few years ago and tend to agree with @pstuart about the Sonos option. Originally, I ran Hdmi and cat 6 all over the place plus speaker wire linked theater to rest of basement and patio outside and I had the theater head unit running everything through zoned amps. My experience was that the the head unit (THX Integra) was really good at running the theater but was not very good at the other zones and the app and controls were not great. Now I admit it could be the Integra platform and maybe Denon or someone else has made a really good interface to control all that but so far I have not found it. Ultimately I moved all Zone 2 and Zone 3 controls over to Sonos Connect and have not been happier. The app and interface is dependable and I have yet to experience a time when i hit play and it turns on amps and goes. I wish could say the same about the theater head unit! It constantly had connection issues and froze up. My experience has been that most theater gear is just not yet up to the internet of things standards. Good for expensive complicated Crestron system maybe but not simple as we expect IoT to be.

We’ve been running the HTD Lync12 system for the past four years and we love it. 12 zones, 14 keypads, 54 speakers. We also added their web controller module that basically hosts a web page for iPhone control.

For external access I assigned the web controller a local static IP and had our router direct traffic over a certain port to it. For my homebrew automation system (which is going to incorporate SmartThings really soon) I dedicated a page with an iFrame to host their controls:

The Lync system DOES have a RS232 interface (which the web controller talks to) with a complete set of commands. I have the PDF if you’re interested. It seems that one would just have to write a REST interface on an embedded device (Arduino/NetDuino/RaspberryPi) to make it fully IP compatible. I’ve been stalling with this over the past few years… now I might have to jump on it… :smile:

Hope this helps!

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I hate to bring back such an old topic but I too have a Lync 6 zone and was curious if there has been any advancements on this. I started creating an API using Node-Red but didn’t really think about trying to get it to integrate with SmartThings at the time. If there has been no movement, I may try and look into this but wanted to check first.

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I absolutely agree with Patrick. I built my home two years ago and wired the entire house with cat6 and in many places HDMI. I installed a whole-home Russound audio system (MCA-C5 and ceiling speakers throughout the house). I am controlling the whole setup with the Russound app on my phone but it can be a vexing process. I have to enable wifi on my phone, connect to the Russound (takes about 10 seconds), pick a source and zone(s). Then I have to load another app (Yatse) to control my music server. I am using an old laptop running Windows 7 as my server that has Kodi loaded. This is not a set-it and forget-it system. I do not have any experience with the Sonos system but it appears much easier than mine. I do have good quality speakers and I can ROCK the house and outside but… Recently I installed the Samsung Smartthings hub and an Echo Dot. I am working on using Alexa to voice control the entire system including selecting speakers, source and volume. This has been a trying process as it does require some programming language skills and the tech just has not caught up yet. All-in-all, the Sonos system (or similar) sounds much easier. Just my two cents.

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Also interested in this, now that Alexa is able to control Sonos, which I have setup as one of my Sources on Lync System the only thing that I am lacking is being able to control the Keypads either through smartthings or alexa.

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Hey I am planning to install the Lync 12 V3 system in my house and integrating with ST. Have you done any additional work on your system? Also, in general, how is the HTD system working out for you? Its difficult to find reviews on it since its not a very popular system. I find it to be feature-rich especially the newer V3.