Yep, control seems to be better with the under water housings, but do we know to what [extent] they reduce sound as effectively?
I have successfully used Aquatica aluminum housings for concert photography. These are heavy housings -- at least they're heavy when they're not submerged -- which is why they are pretty good at dampening the sound of the camera's shutter. They're not 100% effective; with a Nikon D3, you hear a low-frequency clunk when you release the shutter, and you can feel the housing tremble in your hands. Substantially all of the high-frequency -- say, above 1 KHz -- acoustic energy is absorbed.
With the right selection of lens ports, you can use lenses up to the 200mm Nikon Macro, but you can't use the 200mm f/2. Although you want to use dome ports for wide-angle lenses underwater, you want flat ports for all lenses on the surface. Manual focus is available with the right focusing ring and gear extender, but the fitting gets fiddly with the 200mm lens since the gear extender has to be so long. Some ports that are perfectly usable underwater are not good enough for use on the surface; small pits and scrapes on the outside of the port are filled in with water and don't cause problems when you're down, but do when you're up.
Because you want to use flat ports all the time and the people who build the housings think that you'll be using dome ports for wide lenses, you'll find that wide lenses are vignetted by the port. There's no much you can do about that without machining a new port. The wider the port, the better; the Aquatica housings that I used had four-inch ports.
A camera housed this way is too heavy to handhold for any length of time; you'll need a monopod at a minimum.
You will be able to access most controls with a housing designed for your particular camera. If you try to use one that was designed for another model, some things probably won't work. You can get housings that let you access both the focusing and zoom rings.