Author Topic: Multiroom Audio for Whole House  (Read 1897 times)

alexvd

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Multiroom Audio for Whole House
« on: July 09, 2011, 07:17:04 pm »
Hello I have read through the forums and the wiki on multiroom audio configurations.   I have a built a new home and plan to have 17 distinct locations where I will require audio.    The speakers are speakercraft in cieling.   I am wiring speaker home runs to each location currently.  Most of the rooms I have purchased Apple iTouch's that are mounted in iPort Wall Docks.  I am currently evaluating if I will need/want to get a couple iPad 1 mounted in wall because they are larger and easier to manipulate for two key locations.     I plan to wire cat 6 to each in-wall touch panel for power and network and each room will also be wired  for local based control even if its not required (future planning)   All wiring home runs to the basement rack.   I currently have a Squeezebox and have run squeezeserver on my old existing linuxmce core.

I will have 3 MD setups  in the main tv viewing locations and I will have the DT Research Tabletop touch panels and a squeezebox.   However my goal is not to use those setups to control or power the whole house audio. 

My goal is to be able to have local independent audio and source control for each room as well as "party mode" or play through the whole house syncd.    I have made the determination I really only care about two audio sources Pandora and terrestrial radio.   Having a ripped mp3 library is too much work when Pandora makes life so easy.  Once in a while I might need to play a cd if someone brings one but I am moving away from physical media.
In addition I have built a highly effecient house so I want to use a solution that reduces energy consumption or handles it in a smart way.   

In the regular world I could purchase Elan Multiroom audio or a Grand Concerto system or equivalent with wall pads or use the Itouchs.    I would require a multisource controller and then two amps.   However given that I have basically just two sources and I have touch orbiters for linuxmce this would be both expensive and redundant. 

Based on the posts I have seen In Linuxmce  I could accomplish this one of two ways
1  using usb audio cards and squeezeslave.
2. 15 squeezeboxes 

My first question is
1  Anyone have a setup like this with this many locations.
2.  I saw posts where it talks about 5+ zones and the required = of usb ports.  No motherboards have 15 ports.  Could this be done with pci usb cards 3 four ports?  Also will it really require 3-5 watts per usb audio card when running?  I wont be running it all the time but I wonder what the idle state would be?  Is it 1watt?  I could measure with my Killawatt if needed. 
3. The usb linux sound cards I see are two channel audio.  I guess for a low quality source like streaming pandora that should be fine from a audio quality perspective right.  I AM NOT A AUDIOPHILE.  So I dont need bit perfect audio however I dont want it to sound like crap either. 
4. I dont think I am going to buy  15 T amps and wire them individually to each room.  That would be a lot of idle standby wasted power.      I plan to get an Elan D12 amp that has an ultra low power sleep mode and instant on.    Can I use 1 or 2 amps directly with the usb sound cards or will I then need a multisource controller to direct the audio?  I need local audio control in room or by touch orbiter as well as party mode.

   

 

alexvd

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Multiroom Audio for Whole House
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2011, 07:05:32 pm »
Andrew have you done any large installs like this?   What is your perspective.  Does Linuxmce struggle due to the architecture for a scenario like this?

Appreciate any input here. 

twodogs

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 224
    • View Profile
Re: Multiroom Audio for Whole House
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2011, 08:28:21 pm »
I've not heard of anyone trying quite so many sound devices on a single computer, so you might be breaking new ground there. Have you researched what Pandora will let you do? Are you saying you want your core to distribute 12 different Pandora audio streams to 12 usb audio devices out to the Elan, thence to 12 different audio zones. And all these streams would be different, according the selection of the users in the different zones?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 02:34:14 am by twodogs »
http://greenrenovation.wordpress.com/home-automation/
system:
ASUS P5N7A-VM
integrated GeForce 9300
E5200 processor
Fusion 5 lite HDTV card
2G RAM
SYBA SY-PCI15001 6-port serial card
Denon AVR 3805
LG 42" Plasma
Gyration GYR3101
Cisco SPA3102 analog telephone adapter
Cisco 7971G IP phone/orbiter

totallymaxed

  • LinuxMCE God
  • ****
  • Posts: 4508
  • Smart Home Consulting
    • View Profile
    • Dianemo - at home with technology
Re: Multiroom Audio for Whole House
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2011, 10:32:00 pm »
Hello I have read through the forums and the wiki on multiroom audio configurations.   I have a built a new home and plan to have 17 distinct locations where I will require audio.    The speakers are speakercraft in cieling.   I am wiring speaker home runs to each location currently.  Most of the rooms I have purchased Apple iTouch's that are mounted in iPort Wall Docks.  I am currently evaluating if I will need/want to get a couple iPad 1 mounted in wall because they are larger and easier to manipulate for two key locations.     I plan to wire cat 6 to each in-wall touch panel for power and network and each room will also be wired  for local based control even if its not required (future planning)   All wiring home runs to the basement rack.   I currently have a Squeezebox and have run squeezeserver on my old existing linuxmce core.

I will have 3 MD setups  in the main tv viewing locations and I will have the DT Research Tabletop touch panels and a squeezebox.   However my goal is not to use those setups to control or power the whole house audio. 

My goal is to be able to have local independent audio and source control for each room as well as "party mode" or play through the whole house syncd.    I have made the determination I really only care about two audio sources Pandora and terrestrial radio.   Having a ripped mp3 library is too much work when Pandora makes life so easy.  Once in a while I might need to play a cd if someone brings one but I am moving away from physical media.
In addition I have built a highly effecient house so I want to use a solution that reduces energy consumption or handles it in a smart way.   

In the regular world I could purchase Elan Multiroom audio or a Grand Concerto system or equivalent with wall pads or use the Itouchs.    I would require a multisource controller and then two amps.   However given that I have basically just two sources and I have touch orbiters for linuxmce this would be both expensive and redundant. 

Based on the posts I have seen In Linuxmce  I could accomplish this one of two ways
1  using usb audio cards and squeezeslave.
2. 15 squeezeboxes 

My first question is
1  Anyone have a setup like this with this many locations.
2.  I saw posts where it talks about 5+ zones and the required = of usb ports.  No motherboards have 15 ports.  Could this be done with pci usb cards 3 four ports?  Also will it really require 3-5 watts per usb audio card when running?  I wont be running it all the time but I wonder what the idle state would be?  Is it 1watt?  I could measure with my Killawatt if needed. 
3. The usb linux sound cards I see are two channel audio.  I guess for a low quality source like streaming pandora that should be fine from a audio quality perspective right.  I AM NOT A AUDIOPHILE.  So I dont need bit perfect audio however I dont want it to sound like crap either. 
4. I dont think I am going to buy  15 T amps and wire them individually to each room.  That would be a lot of idle standby wasted power.      I plan to get an Elan D12 amp that has an ultra low power sleep mode and instant on.    Can I use 1 or 2 amps directly with the usb sound cards or will I then need a multisource controller to direct the audio?  I need local audio control in room or by touch orbiter as well as party mode.

Hi Alexvd,

Firstly we do have customers between up to 20 Squeezeboxes integrated into their system - and you could do the same with squeezeslave & audio cards too.

But we need to clarify a few things;

You say you only need two sources;

- Pandora
- Terrestrial Radio

Now outside the US Pandora is not available so I don't know the limitations/restrictions of their service. Will Pandora allow you to receive more than a single stream with a single subscription? Do you need to be able to play 15 independent streams? Could you for example satisfy your needs with say 4 Squeezeboxes located in your central rack or hub and then use an audio matrix together with zone amps?

We've just completed an installation with one of our London based installers that uses a Kramer-Sierra 16x16 audio matrix and 3x Sonance zone amps (6x stereo zones per amp). We have all audio sources routed through the Kramer (we're only using 5 sources in this instance; 2x SkyHD PVR's, 2x AppleTV's & one Media Manager). Any of the sources can be routed via the Kramer matrix to any or all of the outputs. This makes it easy to have say one of the AppleTV's stream audio to all of the ground floor zones simultaneously. The balance of sources to outputs comes down to the occupancy of the house and the nature of the family/household living in the house. If the house is large with many zones but there is just a couple living there then having each zone have a dedicated source available is pointless. However if you have a large family or one that entertains a lot then you might want more dedicated sources.

In our experience sound cards use much the same amounts of power whether un-driven or driven. Most if not all 7.1 audio cards will use even more than 3-5 watts... they have a lot of silicon onboard.

All the best


Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd

My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Get RaspSqueeze-CEC or Raspbmc-CEC Wifi enabled for Dianemo/LinuxMCE: http://wp.me/P4KgIc-5P

For Smart Home consulting advice;
@herron on Twitter, inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com via email or PM me here.

Get a Dianemo License: http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100221#msg100221
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dianemo-Home-Automation/226019387454465

http://www.dianemo.co.uk

alexvd

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Multiroom Audio for Whole House
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2011, 12:52:09 am »
Andrew so I should clarify.  We have built a new home that is wired for audio in every room.  We only have 4 people currently living in the home and two of them are under 5 years old.   So really we are only talking about the real need to have two possibly three independent audio locations at the same time.    In fact its more likely just two because the kids mostly would be watching kids tv shows somewhere and not even want or need a separate audio source. 

With Pandora we would each get to create our own account.  So this would mean that myself or my wife would select thier own account from the orbiter than choose to stream where appropriate.    I for example will have it playing in the background for my office while my wife would have it running in the gym and than maybe move towards the bathroom and than to the kitchen.  Or she might want to turn it on for the whole second floor to make it easier.   So all six locations upstairs at one time.

Your example of the matrix switcher is an interesting one.   I have been running my LMCE configuration with all my DirectTV recievers, Surround Sound Recievers in the basement rack and using a global cache to route the ir.   I may rethink using a similar approach.

Another question I have is around touch orbiters inwall.   Does the current touch orbiter allow for different icons (skin) based on docked or undocked state?   My thought is that when device is docked in the iPort wall dock I would like it to display perhaps the current room temp or forecast.   ( havent thought this through).   If someone removes the dock than it would automatically go back to the current dianemo skin with the main menu choices. 




totallymaxed

  • LinuxMCE God
  • ****
  • Posts: 4508
  • Smart Home Consulting
    • View Profile
    • Dianemo - at home with technology
Re: Multiroom Audio for Whole House
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2011, 08:30:14 am »
Andrew so I should clarify.  We have built a new home that is wired for audio in every room.  We only have 4 people currently living in the home and two of them are under 5 years old.   So really we are only talking about the real need to have two possibly three independent audio locations at the same time.    In fact its more likely just two because the kids mostly would be watching kids tv shows somewhere and not even want or need a separate audio source. 
Re Above
Got it...
Quote
With Pandora we would each get to create our own account.  So this would mean that myself or my wife would select thier own account from the orbiter than choose to stream where appropriate.    I for example will have it playing in the background for my office while my wife would have it running in the gym and than maybe move towards the bathroom and than to the kitchen.  Or she might want to turn it on for the whole second floor to make it easier.   So all six locations upstairs at one time.
Well using an audio matrix will deliver what you describe above. The Kramer rang are rs232 controlled and are pro-quality too. So routing a source to suit needs is not a problem.
Quote
Your example of the matrix switcher is an interesting one.   I have been running my LMCE configuration with all my DirectTV recievers, Surround Sound Recievers in the basement rack and using a global cache to route the ir.   I may rethink using a similar approach.

Another question I have is around touch orbiters inwall.   Does the current touch orbiter allow for different icons (skin) based on docked or undocked state?   My thought is that when device is docked in the iPort wall dock I would like it to display perhaps the current room temp or forecast.   ( havent thought this through).   If someone removes the dock than it would automatically go back to the current dianemo skin with the main menu choices. 

Touch Orbiter does not currently support any kind of docked/un-docked mode sensing...although in principle I don't see why it couldn't.

All the best


Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd

My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Get RaspSqueeze-CEC or Raspbmc-CEC Wifi enabled for Dianemo/LinuxMCE: http://wp.me/P4KgIc-5P

For Smart Home consulting advice;
@herron on Twitter, inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com via email or PM me here.

Get a Dianemo License: http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100221#msg100221
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dianemo-Home-Automation/226019387454465

http://www.dianemo.co.uk