Author Topic: Multi-room audio  (Read 1534 times)

jgalak

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Multi-room audio
« on: August 28, 2012, 11:31:16 pm »
Still in the early stages of designing the home system, one of my thoughts is on piping audio to multiple rooms.  I can have the house pre-wired for speakers, but not sure what the best way to do this is.  I would like sound in 5-6 rooms. 

I saw the option of using network audio players (like the SqueezeBox), but that seems expensive to put in each room. 

Can I just put conventional speakers in each room, and wire them to a bunch of sound cards?  Can LinuxMCE support multiple sound cards in one computer and pipe different music to each?  Or would I need a separate media director for each room (expensive for just audio - most of these rooms will not have video).

Any other options?

Thanks,
Juliean.

JaseP

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Re: Multi-room audio
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2012, 12:12:21 am »
Are you talking about the same music playing or different selections?

If you want different selections, you need some form of device to play it, either one that can be controlled by LinuxMCE or a full blown Media Director. Think about the Raspberry PI project if what you're looking for is cheap, "mini MDs"... Not there yet, but getting a lot of attention.

For the same music, just controlled switching, there's this reference:
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/ESS_Expandable_Speaker_Selector_Switch
I don't know it the described device is available or not...
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Armor Gnome

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Re: Multi-room audio
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2012, 02:49:23 am »
Can LinuxMCE support multiple sound cards in one computer and pipe different music to each? 

Based on my reading yes, this is a viable option.  You will still need amplification.  It has been a while since I read updates on it but there was once some work on a switching device in a users rack setup to change outputs by dce commands.  This would have allowed orbiter control of where the audio was routed to.  Perhaps someone else has more information on that project or new hardware that is serial/usb/ethernet controllable. 

I have also spent quite a bit of time looking for low cost alternatives for audio-only areas.  While I believe I have the correct principles down, my available hardware is about 10-15 years too old to get working.  Here are two options you could find with a few days searching here and the wiki:

1. Add USB sound cards to the core.  These pipe to the various rooms and you can push audio to powered speakers.
2. Add PCI sound cards to any media director.
3. Use squeezeplayer software on inexpensive hardware.  (I believe Roku is fully supported now and may be configurable as a network media player?)
4. Emulate a squeezebox - This is my current project that is not getting proper attention sadly, boot a host device that contains a child VM which runs sqeezebox firmware and is shared to the network under a faux MAC address in the actual squeezebox pnp range.  If configured properly I do not see a reason that 5 VMs running similar firmware could not each call a different MAC address and all operate in a single physical machine on a rack... 

   
 
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klanmce

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Re: Multi-room audio
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2012, 03:56:22 am »
Would this be what you looking for

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Squeezeslave_on_the_core

I have 3 usb sound cards hooked up to separate computer speakers 2.1 and they work fine, with the speakers being turned on and off by a zwave plug outlet. Only issue was when using the onboard usb, sometimes they would startup, not in order as setup, solved by using a pci usb card I had around.


JaseP

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Re: Multi-room audio
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2012, 02:55:37 pm »
Very nice klanmce,...

How did you set up the z-wave appliance adapter control scenarios?
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klanmce

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Re: Multi-room audio
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2012, 11:15:07 pm »
I added the following (GE 45604 Z-Wave) to the zwave network, unfortunately/fortunately it did not create the light scenario for this device on the orbiter, though on the web site it showed up.

I then created an event, for media playing in the room, which turns the plug on and another event when media stop playing, which turns the device off.

The room that the squeezeslave is in, is a dummy room for my bedroom (named bedroom audio) - had not setup up multi room - which already had an MD and tv. Thus I created another event for when media starts on the MD in the bedroom, to turn off audio playing in bedroom audio. At night times I may simple play music, and thus do want the tv on and do have the option to dim the screen on my tv

tkmedia

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Re: Multi-room audio
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2012, 07:54:56 am »
I use these auto on amps http://lmcecompatible.com/#ecwid:category=285320&mode=product&product=867437

Get an extra punch with these usb DAC's http://lmcecompatible.com/#ecwid:category=1615058&mode=product&product=6633130

http://lmcecompatible.com/#ecwid:category=285320&mode=product&product=1143865

Either work great as  a squeeze slave. Daisy chain the amps to have synced or independent audio in each zone.

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jgalak

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Re: Multi-room audio
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2012, 10:58:58 pm »
I use these auto on amps http://lmcecompatible.com/#ecwid:category=285320&mode=product&product=867437

Get an extra punch with these usb DAC's http://lmcecompatible.com/#ecwid:category=1615058&mode=product&product=6633130

http://lmcecompatible.com/#ecwid:category=285320&mode=product&product=1143865

Either work great as  a squeeze slave. Daisy chain the amps to have synced or independent audio in each zone.


Ok, I understand using the USB sound card to get more audio zones, and I understand using that (or another) amp to boost the sound card's output for use with unpowered speakers,  but what are DACs for?  Are they for use instead of the sound card, or am I missing something?

I was actually thinking of using these guys - https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9612? - as amps, for the low coast and small size.  Would USB sound card -> amp -> normal home theater speaker work well here?

Another thought was to try installing squeeze box software onto a Raspberry Pi (done by someone on the Squeezebox forums), and then using that amp.  Might be too much work though....