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Niles ZR-6

6-source, 6-room audio receiver

7 Reviews

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Item # 190ZR6

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Our take on the Niles ZR-6

The ZR-6 stores all the remote codes from your connected components in its own built-in memory, so rather than having to program the codes into each keypad independently, you can just program the receiver once — a big time-saver when it comes to installation. The receiver passes commands from the keypads on to your connected components using infrared flashers (required, sold separately).

Listen to music throughout your home

Niles designed the ZR-6 to work with iPods

Niles MultiZone™ audio systems let you access your favorite tunes in any room. Build your system around the ZR-6 receiver for the coolest, most flexible multi-room audio options Niles has to offer. With twelve channels of clean amplification, this capable receiver can drive stereo speakers in up to six different rooms or locations. You can connect as many as five external audio sources. Best of all, this Niles receiver is specifically designed for the iPod®. It comes with a proprietary cable that lets you control your player and browse playlists, albums, artists, and song titles from each listening area. (Keypads are required and sold separately.)

Custom-tailored advice — before and after you buy


Installing this receiver requires you to run wires in your walls, unless your home is already wired with CAT-5 and speaker cables. Our Audio/Video Designers can help you put together the ideal system — from planning the wire run to picking out speakers. Plus, our tech support specialists can help you through your installation step-by-step.

Control playback in each room

TS-PRO menu TS-PRO menu

Niles features a wide selection of in-wall keypads, including their Solo®-6 MD with a built-in 2" LCD and the touchscreen TS-PRO. It was specifically designed to display info from sources like an iPod or a radio tuner. Its clear LCD display lets you view track titles, and makes it easy to scroll through long lists of songs, albums, and playlists.

Program your system right from the receiver's front panel

ZR-6 front

The ZR-6 stores all the remote codes from your connected components in its own built-in memory, so rather than having to program the codes into each keypad independently, you can just program the receiver once — a big time-saver when it comes to installation. The receiver passes commands from the keypads on to your connected components using infrared flashers (required, sold separately).


Expansion possibilities

To add more zones to your Niles audio system, connect up to three ZR-6 receivers together. You'll be able to distribute music to as many as 18 different rooms. Add the Niles ZR-KE if you want to install multiple keypads in a single zone — great for larger listening areas.

Product Highlights:

  • distributes audio to as many as 6 zones in your home
  • 12-channel power amplifier
  • 25 watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms, 0.2% THD (rated at 20-20,000 Hz, any two channels driven)
  • 6-source capability:
    • built-in AM/FM tuner with 20 station presets
    • connections for up to 5 external audio components, including iPod
  • distributes music and track info from iPod to remote listening rooms
  • included iPod interconnect cable works with docking iPods (see this iPod compatibility chart from Niles for more info)
  • Niles in-wall keypads, like the Solo-6 MD, and/or touchscreens control playback, volume, and source selection in each zone (required, sold separately)
  • "party mode" for playing one source through all zones simultaneously
  • all remote commands stored centrally in ZR-6's internal memory
  • easy system programming via receiver's front-panel controls and IR (infrared) sensor
  • IR flasher outputs for controlling external components — Niles IR flashers (required, sold separately):
    • 4 outputs for single-component flashers
    • 1 "global" output for a high-powered flasher (controls entire stack of components)
  • RJ-45 connections for in-wall keypads and/or touchscreens
  • recommended wiring for each listening zone: CAT-5 cable plus in-wall speaker wire
  • preamp outputs for zones 4, 5, and 6 allow connection of separate amplifiers
  • expandable to 12 or 18 zones with additional ZR-6 receivers
  • remote control (model R-8L)
  • removable AC power cord
  • 17-1/4"W x 4"H x 17-5/16"D
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Niles one of better products out there , easy add ons

rvdv, Corona, CA

What's in the Box:

  • Multi-zone receiver
  • 6.5' Power cord
  • R-8L IR wireless remote control
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • FM wire antenna
  • AM loop antenna
  • 59" iPod cable
  • 2 Rack-mount brackets
  • Installation Guide
  • Setup Code Guide
  • Important Safety Instructions
  • Limited Warranty Card

Featured Video:


Niles ZR-6 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(7 Reviews)

Niles ZR-6 with Universal Remote Control

Linda from Colorado on 11/25/2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I purchased a Niles ZR-6 from Crutchfield in early 2010. Like the other reviewers, I've been extremely happy with the ZR-6. As sources, I connected a Sirius receiver, a CD player, and an AppleTV (1st generation) for iTunes integration. I also connected a Bose system to one of the pre-amp outputs to use those speakers as one of the zones. Keypads weren't viable for me so I have used universal remote controls for the system. Initially, I installed a Logitech Harmony 1100. I used a dedicated Logitech RF Wireless Extender connected to the ZR-6's IR Input using a mini mono cable. I used a second RF Wireless Extender to control the remaining devices in the system. The ZR-6 was not initially part of Logitech's device library but the Logitech support person eagerly uploaded the HEX IR codes I obtained from the Niles website. However, the Harmony 1100 is limited to 15 activities so it isn't possible to have one activity per zone/source combination. In addition, it isn't possible to have multiple remotes for the same system. So, I have implemented iRule to overcome these limitations and to use an iPad and iPhones as remotes for the system. For hardware, I am using Global Caché's iTach WF2IR. The iTach WF2IR is connected to the ZR-6 via Global Caché's GC-CGX IR converter cable, a Xantech connecting block (Xantech 78944), and the mini mono cable. iRule works perfectly but it did require more effort than the Logitech to set up.

Pros: Excellent quality, easy setup, prompt shipping, great customer service


Niles works like a charm

rvdv from Corona, CA on 10/28/2011

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Niles one of better products out there , easy add ons

Pros: Easy Install, works great, stays nice and cool in closed compartment


Niles ZR-6

Rick from Boca Raton, FL on 9/27/2011

I bought two of these to replace a Crestron system that was tied into a video system that I ripped out of a house I bought because the video system was not HDMI, and it was also overly complicated. The Crestron system was extremely complicated and could only be serviced by Crestron people and I like to take care of my stuff myself. Since I was replacing an existing system, I had it pretty easy because I did not have to run any wiring or install any speakers. Lucky for me the control panels in each room were already wired with cat-5, so I got both ZR-6s and the 11 Solo6 and oneTS-PRO installed in about a day with one helper. The system was very simple to install, and I have several CD players as well as an iPod connected. Besides the CD players we use the iPod to connect to our wireless network and listen to Internet radio stations, as well as the FM tuner built into the ZR6.



Easy Set-up/Excellent Customer service

Bob C from Biddeford, Maine on 1/30/2011

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've been meaning to write this for a while now, so here goes... I purchased the ZR-6 last summer along with 5 Solo-6MD Keypads. My house was all ready wired with Cat-5 wire and ceiling speakers when I built the house originally. My first whole house system (circa 1998) was a 6-source/4-zone system called PHAST. It was 4 large components that sucked up a lot of space and cost about 8 grand. Anytime I needed to make a change I had to call an installer in - $$. Fast forward to 2010 and I bought this great system that I installed myself in a few hours and it works and sounds great! It takes no more space than a DVD player and does all that I need it to do. I really just needed the IPOD as a music server and the built in AM/FM radio, but it's nice to know I can add sources later and without calling anyone in. The original ZR-6 unit I recieved, failed after I installed the fifth keypad and neither NILES or Crutchfield could figure out why, but Marty at Crutchfield just shipped me a brand new one in a couple of days and paid the return shipping on the defective one. I haven't had a problem since. I still need to pick up one more Solo-6MD keypad to complete my system. I highly reccommend the 6MD over the 6IR keypad. For the extra money, you won't regret it.



Awesome product for simple multi room audio

wiscman from Middleton, WI on 1/13/2010

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I couldn't believe how easy this was to set up - it is pretty much plug and play. Plug in the ZR6, attach the sources, attach the keypads, that's pretty much it. It had two zones up and running in about 10 minutes. If all you are looking for is multi-room audio and you want to hook up your speakers directly to the ZR6 then you can't beat this product. Unfortunately the ZR6 didn't do everything I wanted it to. I have three rooms that have speakers that are attached to separate Denon receivers. I had the TV sources (satellite, DVD, etc) and the ZR6 zone output hooked up to separate inputs in each Denon receiver. Let's say I was watching TV and had the Denon set to the TV input. After I turn of the receiver it is still on the TV input. Later I want to turn on some music from the ZR6 using the wall keypad - there's no way to control an amplifier/receiver for a local zone using the ZR6 so I can't push a button on the keypad and have it turn on the receiver and select the appropriate input automatically. You can do this for any of the source components (ie if you have a source componen hooked up to an amplifier you can have the ZR6 send IR commands to the source and amplifier for that source) but not for your listening zones. I ended up returning this product because of this limitation. Crutchfield Signature service was great and the return was painless and easy.



Like magic

Dean from Leesburg VA on 11/3/2009

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Impress your friends. This is an excellent DiY project. I purchased the ZR-6 with a TS-Pro and two Solo 6 MDs and two pairs of speakers. Purpose (for right now anyway) is to provide background music throughout the house. Install - fairly simple. The worst part is the drywall patching and even that isn't bad. Once you have the wires run, installing the in-wall or in-ceiling speakers is a snap, installing the TS-Pro was litterally plug in and go. I've only got the first half of the first zone installed - it took roughly 4-5 hours with pulling the wires and everything. Drywall patching takes longer due to drying time, but time-to-music was about 4-5 hours. I've got another pair of speakers to install for this first zone and then two other zones to do. Very impressed. Love the iPod controls. Had to go elsewhere to purchase the iWare ES2 iPod extender kit. Other than that, so far so good. Some friends were over on Halloween and were very impressed. The system is currently running a pair of Polk Audio RC65i speakers - for what I'm going for (background music) they're perfect. They would need help if they were used in a home theater or listening room set up, but for general music while people are talking or you're going about your daily routine - they fit the bill. Excellent system with a lot of versatility.<br><br> <b>[Editor's Note: We now carry the Niles ES2 Ipod wall-Mount extender system, item#190ES2. ]</b>



Where to begin?

Travis from Orlando, FL on 5/22/2009

This product is AMAZING!! I am 100 hours into installing a whole home audio system into my 2 story 5000 square foot home and almost done! I spent over 40 hours researching multi room audio products and settled on the Niles ZR-6. Coupled with 2 of the MD keypads and 4 of the IR keypads, 3x Niles 275 amplifiers, 2x Polk RC80s, 6x Polk RC60s, 4x Polk Atrium 55s, and Misc other speakers. The ZR6 is PERFECT! By far the best product that you can buy for a Multi Room system. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!




Hands-on research

Product Research



Overview: The Niles ZR-6 is a 6-source, 6-zone receiver that is designed to be the heart of your home's entertainment system. It has a built-in AM/FM tuner, plug-n-play iPod integration, and high-power digital amplification to help you and your family enjoy your favorite music anywhere in your home. If more than six zones are required, you can add two more ZR-6s to create up to an 18-zone system.

Amplification: The ZR-6 has a total of 12 channels of high-quality, 4-ohm stable digital amplification. There are 6 pairs of speaker outputs, each with 25 watts per channel or 50 watts per zone. You can easily drive two pairs of 8-ohm speakers or one pair of 4-ohm speakers in each zone. In addition, Zones 4, 5, and 6 have stereo preamp outputs in the event you should require more power in those zones.

Rack Mountable: The unit comes with two rack mounting ears that can be attached to each side if you wish to mount the amplifier in a rack. The unit is approximately 4" high, or 2 rack space units in height.

Interfaces: There are several ways to interface with the ZR-6 MultiZone receiver. Behind a removable cover on the front panel, the programming panel lets you set up the ZR-6 system, guided by the two-line, 16-character LCD display. In addition, you can control the receiver using one of the following interfaces:

  • R-8L Remote: The supplied R-8L wireless remote control provides advanced automated control of all six of the ZR-6's sources, as well as a local TV and an additional local source such as a DVD player or satellite receiver. The R-8L can create IR macros and comes preloaded with a library of IR commands for both the ZR-6 as well as many popular brands of equipment. The R-8L can also learn IR commands directly from factory remote controls.
  • Solo-6MD: The optional Solo-6MD (item # 190S6MD) is a single-gang accessory keypad with a 2" LCD screen. The display provides iPod and tuner metadata, plus source selection and zone setup info. You can control basic playback functions, as well as volume in the zone. It also has a plasma and LCD-proof infrared sensor so you can use the R-8L or other remote control from another room. It connects to the ZR-6 via Cat-5 cable.
  • Solo-6IR: Like the Solo-6MD, the Solo-6IR (item # 190S6IR) has an IR sensor, and can control basic playback functions and volume. Instead of an LCD screen, the Solo-6IR has six Master Keys to select any of the sources connected to the ZR-6 receiver. It also connects to the ZR-6 via Cat-5 cable.
  • Numeric-6P: The Numeric-6P (item # 190NUM6P), when paired with the Solo-6IR keypad, can provide numeric key access to playlists, discs, tracks, stations, or satellite/cable channels. Advanced playback control, such as random, repeat, and favorites, is accessible through the Numeric-6P.  It connects to the Solo-6 keypad via a Cat-5 jumper.
  • TS-PRO: The TS-PRO is an advanced, simple-to-use, high-contrast touchscreen interface, which automatically configures itself when connected to the ZR-6.
  • ZR-KE: If you want to install multiple keypads in a single zone, you can use the Niles ZR-KE keypad expander. Up to 3 keypads can be connected to the ZR-KE via Cat-5 cable.

iPod Integration: The ZR-6 is equipped with a plug-in connection for an iPod with a standard dock connector. When the Solo-6MD or TS-PRO touchscreen are used, display metadata is provided for easy and intuitive operation of the iPod and other menu-driven digital sources.

Note: Only USB host devices are supported. The ZR-6 is compatible with the new charging protocol found in the new iPod classic (80/120/160GB), iPod touch (2nd/3rd/4th gen), iPod nano (3rd/4th/5th gen), and iPhone (3G/3GS/4). It is also compatible with the Niles iWARE SmartDock2 (190SMRTDK2, sold separately), for iTunes syncing.

IR MicroFlashers: The ZR-6 has five 3.5mm minijack outputs on the back panel, numbered 2-6, for use with Niles MicroFlashers (item #s 190MF1, 190MF1VF, 190MF2VF). These MicroFlashers send IR commands to the individual source components for control. An optional Niles IRB-1 High-Output IR Flasher (190IRB1) can be connected to the flasher port labeled High Output Flasher to control more than one source component at a time.

12V Triggers: There are four 12-volt control output triggers to automate power turn-on and turn-off of connected components. A global 12V trigger output (3.5mm minijack) allows you to use devices such as the Niles AC-3 voltage-triggered power strip for turning on/off components in the main zone. Three other 12V trigger outputs are tied to zones 4, 5, and 6 for turn on/off of zone-specific devices, such as system integration amplifiers.

Independent Audio Controls: Independent bass, treble, and variable loudness controls enable you to custom tune each zone of the ZR-6 for the best sound quality and match room acoustics from zone to zone.

Zone Linking: You can program up to six zones so that turn-on, source selection, and turn-off all work in unison. Each zone retains independent volume, bass, treble and variable loudness control, which is a great feature for a restaurant or bar, or for adjacent rooms such as a master bedroom and master bath.

Paging Input: You can connect a telephone system and/or doorbell to provide paging throughout the home. The pager input overrides all other inputs, and can be configured to work in any number of zones.

Party Mode: With a single press and hold from a keypad or remote control, you can turn on your entire house (or a preset number of zones) to listen to the same source, which is ideal for entertaining or setting the mood.

Virtual Home Theater Zone: The ZR-6's virtual home theater zone function enables source sharing with an independent home theater system using the ZR-6's global IR input and home theater sync port.

Default Turn-On Volume: The turn-on volume level for the system is adjustable. Since the turn-on volume level will be the same for all zones, Niles suggests setting a comfortable listening level in the room that will be used most frequently, or in the smallest room.


iPod: A 30-pin connector, designed for use with the supplied iPod cable, to provide plug-n-play integration, along with display metadata, for an iPod digital music player. iPods with USB hosting protocol can also charge the battery when the ZR-6 is powered on.

RCA Jacks:

  • Audio Input: six pairs of stereo RCA input jacks. One pair can be used as Input 2 or, when an iPod is connected to the system, becomes a cascade audio output to route the iPod's audio signal to a Slave ZR-6 receiver.
  • Preamp Output: three pairs, labeled zone 4, 5, and 6, used to connect external amplifiers in those zones. They can be configured as fixed or variable.
  • Video Sync: five composite video jacks used to determine the on/off status connected video devices by detecting the presence of a video signal. Note: these are not video inputs; the ZR-6 cannot route video signals to other zones.
  • Page: single mono RCA input for connecting a telephone system, intercom system, or doorbell.

Speakers: Six pairs of removable set-screw type connectors for connecting the speakers to the receiver. Each connector has 4 set screws terminals that can accept up to 14-gauge wire. The connector unplugs from the receiver, allowing you to individually connect the speaker wire to the terminal, then plugs back into the receiver.

RJ-45 Jacks:

  • Expansion Ports: Two RJ-45 ports, marked "In" and "Out", allow you to expand the system to up to eighteen zones by linking a second and third ZR-6 MultiZone receiver using CAT-5 cable.
  • Keypad Zones: The ZR-6 multi-zone receiver's six RJ-45 keypad connections use T-568A CAT-5 termination. Connect each zone's master keypad via a CAT-5 cable.

3.5mm Minijacks:

  • Voltage Sync: five 3.5mm minijacks used for determining the on/off status of connected source devices by detecting the presence of a trigger voltage between 3V and 30V.
  • RS-232: a single jack that provides RS-232 serial connection so the ZR-6 can be monitored and controlled by an external control system.
  • MicroFlashers: Five 3.5mm ports used to connect the included IR MicroFlashers and control up to five source components.
  • High Output Flasher: 3.5mm port used to connect an optional Niles IRB-1 High Output IR Flasher (controls a stack of components with just one flasher)
  • 12V Triggers: Three 3.5mm minijacks, labeled Zones 4, 5, and 6, provide a 12V DC trigger to automate the power turn-on of zone-specific connected devices. A fourth Global minijack trigger output can automate the power turn-on of connected components in the main zone.
  • Global IR In: a single 3.5mm minijack provides an input for IR commands from an external control system.
  • HT Sync: a single 3.5mm port enables sharing of components with an independent home theater. When the home theater receiver is on, the ZR-6 will stay active (even if all zones are off) and execute the appropriate 12V and IR functions.

AM/FM Connectors: The multi-zone receiver features a 75 ohm female F-connector for the FM antenna, and a 300-ohm spring-clip AM antenna connection (The receiver includes an AM loop antenna and an FM wire antenna with a slip-on F-connector).

IEC Power Receptacle: The ZR-6 features a removable 6.5' power cord for added flexibility when working in tight spaces.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.