The new headless Squeezebox is $150 but you would still need an amp for it. And some type of controller. You could use the 6 button ZWave in wall controller e.g. http://www.smarthomeusa.com/Shop/ZWave/Leviton-zwave/Item/RZCZ4-1LX/ and take two buttons to control the audio back through the system. It would take some coding to implement but the structure is there.
With that system, though, you would navigating the system control blindly. Might work in some instances, however it would not be my preference. I do like to see what I am doing. I do think that would be a good option though.
One could build a DIY system with http://www.htd.com/amplifiers/12-Channel-Amplifier
or some of the other htd offerings if they fit the bill.
My thought with the Squeezebox was to create a method of transferring the audio from LMCE to the amplifier without the mess of coding multiple outputs on the soundcard. Or even requiring multiple soundcards. Just allowing the squeezebox to be a "ghost MD" of sorts.
Something like this:
LMCE -> Squeezebox (RCA output) -> multi-channel amplifier -> speakers
The Russound (I believe) and NuVo systems would also allow for smart keypads that could also display the metadata from LMCE (transmitted via RS232).http://www.nuvotechnologies.com/concerto.htm#grandconcertohttp://www.russound.com/caa.htm
why wouldn't you stick an N800 nearby, instead?
Because the N800 is overkill (features and $$$) for this application IMHO and I personally like the keypads better.
The keypads also come with the NuVo systems by default and the NuVo systems are what I am offering for sale and installation. There would also be power savings by using the very low power keypads in lieu of N800s which would require power adapters and would be much more difficult to integrate into a finished wall for a seamless appearance.
As a side note, one of the notes listed in the original post requested temporary muting for announcements with playback resuming. The NuVo systems in particular do offer this feature with a 12V switch. By activating the switch one can temporarily mute the playback and change all zones to source 6 until the switch is released. LMCE could output audio to source 6 to achieve this. I'm honestly not sure what other systems offer this so if anybody does please post it so the options are on the table. Of course I'm curious as well.
I do apologize if I have hijacked this thread, it was not my intention.