Interconnect the CT-12X8MA and CT-5X4MA Matrix Amplifiers using Audio over IP

Written by
David Krinker
September 30, 2020

The CasaTunes CT-12X8 and CT-5X4 matrix amplifiers are 2 members of a family of matrix amplifiers that can be used stand alone, or combined, providing a balance of performance, cost and flexibility.

The CT-12X8MA offers 12 sources and 8 zones (6 amplified, 2 pre-amplified) while the CT-5X4MA offers 5 sources and 4 zones.

When you install a 5X4 amplifier in combination with a 12X8 amplifier, all the sources available on the 12X8 amplifier are now also available to the 5X4 amplifier using the amplifier’s distributed sources capability and audio-over-IP.

The new universal combo driver provides integrators a lot of design flexibility. For example, let's suppose you need a solution for 8 zones. With the new universal combo driver you could use a CT-12X8MA plus 2 x CT-250A (stereo amplifiers), or you could use 2 x CT-5X4MA. Similarly, for a 12 zone solution,  you could use a CT-12X8MA + CT-5X4MA, or even 3 x CT-5X4MA. The CT-5X4MA matrix amplifier provides a low cost option for adding 4 rooms to a site.

To simplify setup in a multiple amplifier setup, CasaTunes uses a Master/Slave design approach.  The master amplifier is the primary amplifier that CasaTunes communicates with (and always includes Zone 1).  Slave amplifiers are any additional 12X8 and 5X4 amplifiers.

When you select to interconnect the amplifier sources using audio-over-ip in CasaSetup, all the sources on the master amp are shared with, and available to, all the slave amplifiers, regardless of whether the master amp is a 12X8 or a CT-5X4.

Configuring the CasaTunes Universal Combo Driver for the CasaTunes CT-12X8MA and CT-5X4MA Matrix Amplifiers
You can select to use Audio over IP to connect sources between amplifiers

If you are installing a 12X8, you should configure this amplifier as your master amplifier, as it provides up to 12 analog and digital input sources which can then be shared with all slave amplifiers (including any 5X4 amplifiers).

A huge benefit of using audio-over-ip to share the sources between amplifiers, is the amplifiers no longer need to be physically located next to each other, as long as they have access to the same network.

In addition, a future release of the driver will allow you to connect a source component to a slave amplifier and make the source available to all other amplifiers in the network.

Key advantages of using the new matrix amplifiers

  • Amplifier mix'n'match - You can use a mix of CT-12X8 and CT-5X4 matrix amplifiers based on your needs
  • Automatic amplifier discovery using Bonjour - All amplifiers are automatically discovered by CasaTunes using Bonjour, therefore there is no need to manually discover and set up IP addresses for the amplifier(s), or worry about IP addresses changing.
  • Automatic zone configuration - For installations with multiple amplifiers, the amplifier zones are automatically configured for you.  Simply, follow these rules. If you are using a CT-12X8MA, add it to the network first, as the master amplifier. Then add any additional CT-12X8MA and/or CT-5X4MA amplifier, one at a time.
  • Amplifier Interconnect - If using more than one amplifier, you can configure how you want to interconnect the sources between amplifiers in CasaSetup.  You can select to either physically connect the sources using cables, or connect sources using audio-over-IP. Unless you are using a single amplifier, or solely using CT-12X8MA’s amplifiers, we recommend you use “audio-over-IP”.  When you select “audio-over-IP”, CasaTunes automatically creates the distributed sources required.
  • Using the Low Pass Filter settings for subwoofers - The two pre-amplified zones on a CT-12X8 have a Low Pass Filter option.  See the following blog post:
  • Use the CasaTunes CT-250A and CT-2100A stereo amplifiers - Use the CasaTunes stereo amplifiers to power one or both of the pre-amplified zones on the 12X8.  These power amplifiers offer 2 x 50W and 2 x 100W in 8 ohms, respectively. They are also 4 ohm stable. Two stereo amplifiers can be rack mounted, side-by-side.