Author Topic: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused  (Read 5949 times)

m3freak

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Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« on: January 31, 2011, 06:20:53 pm »
I'm planning LinuxMCE awesomeness for my new home.  I'd like to setup whole home audio, but I'm not sure how to go about it.

At first I was going to run all the audio cables to the basement, hook them up to a multi-zone amp, and then hook the amp up to a MD (and a receiver to the MD, as well).  But, now I'm thinking that perhaps I should run every set of ceiling speakers to an individual MD in that room/location.

In my mind, option 1 is the easiest and simplest.  I have seen option 2 being recommended here.  If two really is the best way to go, which amps are you guys using?  And, WHY is option 2 better than 1?

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

totallymaxed

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2011, 07:12:09 pm »
I'm planning LinuxMCE awesomeness for my new home.  I'd like to setup whole home audio, but I'm not sure how to go about it.

At first I was going to run all the audio cables to the basement, hook them up to a multi-zone amp, and then hook the amp up to a MD (and a receiver to the MD, as well).  But, now I'm thinking that perhaps I should run every set of ceiling speakers to an individual MD in that room/location.

In my mind, option 1 is the easiest and simplest.  I have seen option 2 being recommended here.  If two really is the best way to go, which amps are you guys using?  And, WHY is option 2 better than 1?

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.

Either approach is possible. If you centralise all of your amplification you can then feed your amps with audio from device like Squeezeboxes or Squeezeslaves (soft versions of a Squeezebox...see the wiki). If you decentralise all of your Amplification into each room or zone and have local MD's or Squeezeboxes in those zones then you gain some flexibility (each room has its own sound source for example) but you have to find space for the equipment in each room or zone (and potentially the noise of the devices themselves if they are not passivley cooled).

Either approach is doable...and its possible to intermix the the approaches in a single installation too (just to confuse you!!)...some zones having centralised hardware and some in-room hardware.

All the best


Andrew
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m3freak

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2011, 11:48:00 pm »
Either approach is possible. If you centralise all of your amplification you can then feed your amps with audio from device like Squeezeboxes or Squeezeslaves (soft versions of a Squeezebox...see the wiki). If you decentralise all of your Amplification into each room or zone and have local MD's or Squeezeboxes in those zones then you gain some flexibility (each room has its own sound source for example) but you have to find space for the equipment in each room or zone (and potentially the noise of the devices themselves if they are not passivley cooled).

Flexibility is nice, but not at the expense of having to find an amp for every pair of ceiling speakers and then somewhere to install the things!  So, I'm going to stick with my "running all speaker wire to the basement" idea.  I lose some flexibility, but if I can get an amp with enough zones, at least I'd get some of that flexibility back.

Would I be able to control the MD connected to the amp/receiver from a different MD?  For example, if I'm in the family room and I want to play music in the living room, could I use the family room MD to tell the MD in the basement to play music in only the living room zone? From what I understand, I could with multiple sound cards (e.g. USB sound cards) connected to the MD in the basement.

Either approach is doable...and its possible to intermix the the approaches in a single installation too (just to confuse you!!)...some zones having centralised hardware and some in-room hardware.

This is good to know.  I can see this happening in my home.

All the best


Andrew
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ggmce

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2011, 05:01:33 am »
Good question, I am planning a similar setup and perhaps to further confuse (myself mostly) I was thinking that since I have home-runs of speaker wire going to my media closet (which will also house my Hybrid/core) I would need to send the audio out of each room's MD back to the media closet to be amplified there and then feed the ceiling speaker in that room. For example, if I'm in the master bedroom and I'm watching a movie, I could then have the audio going through the ceiling speakers, when I change to music, then I have that coming through the ceiling speakers.
I was looking at tri-amps for each zone, but a multi-room amp might be the better (and more economical) way to go. I'm just a bit fuzzy on where and how the audio signal is amplified...

posde

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 08:41:00 am »
m3freak,

each Orbiter (the control interface you see on the MD) can control each and every room in your installation.

coley

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 01:37:22 pm »
m3freak, if you are getting a multi-zone/multi-source amp and putting it in the basement where all your speaker runs terminate and having MDs in each room remember you will need to run line-level cables back to your basement for the MD sound card outputs.
Doing all your MDs like that also limits your sound to stereo - assuming you don't have an in-wall/in-ceiling 5.1 setup.

As Andrew says you can mix and match, for example, I've two extra usb sound cards in my core giving me two audio zones and then two remote squeezebox receivers giving me two further audio zones.

-Coley.

m3freak

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2011, 09:26:23 pm »
m3freak, if you are getting a multi-zone/multi-source amp and putting it in the basement where all your speaker runs terminate and having MDs in each room remember you will need to run line-level cables back to your basement for the MD sound card outputs.
Doing all your MDs like that also limits your sound to stereo - assuming you don't have an in-wall/in-ceiling 5.1 setup.

I was planning on using the ceiling speakers only for music/radio (i.e. whole home).  This way I could use multiple sound cards in the core or MD, which would also be in the basement.  Basically, one MD could be dedicated to running the audio system.  In this scenario, stereo would be fine.

I know this partially goes back to the old way of doing things, but for listening to music/radio in various parts of the house, it should work out well.

As for individual bedrooms, the MDs there will be connected to PC speakers or televisions.  I'll most likely have ceiling speakers in the master bedroom (I already have speaker cable run to the master bath).  I may use an amp in the bedroom for the bedroom ceiling speakers, but the bathroom speakers are going to be connected to an amp and core or MD in the basement.

m3freak

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2011, 09:29:34 pm »
m3freak,

each Orbiter (the control interface you see on the MD) can control each and every room in your installation.

Cool!  I wasn't sure if I could direct music to be played on a particular MD and sound card on that MD from all the other orbiters in the system.

gurumaia

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 11:50:35 am »
I'm also planning a LinuxMCE system for my new home, and also want to make a multi-room audio setup.
Now, my doubt is still in the hardware side of things. I'm on a limited budget as things tend to get very pricey here in Brazil. So adding squeezeboxes to each room would be a little much for me (they go for more than 600 USD over here).
I was thinking of using squeezeslave and multiple sound cards on the core to route audio to multiple rooms. And I'm also considering using in-ceiling speakers. In that case, I would also need an amp for each room or a multi-zone amp, correct? I'm thinking a multi-zone amp would be cheaper than 4 or 5 single-output amps (one for each room). I'm searching the web, but I don't know much about these types of equipment. Can anyone point me in the right direction as to what I would need for a setup like this?
Thanks!
EDIT: Sorry to hijack your thread, but it seemed to be a waste to create a new thread to talk about the same thing. If this causes trouble, I could create a new thread!

totallymaxed

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2011, 03:12:15 pm »
I'm also planning a LinuxMCE system for my new home, and also want to make a multi-room audio setup.
Now, my doubt is still in the hardware side of things. I'm on a limited budget as things tend to get very pricey here in Brazil. So adding squeezeboxes to each room would be a little much for me (they go for more than 600 USD over here).
I was thinking of using squeezeslave and multiple sound cards on the core to route audio to multiple rooms. And I'm also considering using in-ceiling speakers. In that case, I would also need an amp for each room or a multi-zone amp, correct? I'm thinking a multi-zone amp would be cheaper than 4 or 5 single-output amps (one for each room). I'm searching the web, but I don't know much about these types of equipment. Can anyone point me in the right direction as to what I would need for a setup like this?
Thanks!
EDIT: Sorry to hijack your thread, but it seemed to be a waste to create a new thread to talk about the same thing. If this causes trouble, I could create a new thread!

Yes using Squeezeslaves with multiple low-cost sounds cards or usb sound cards would be the way to go for sure. You then need an amplifier for each room, or a multi-zone amp or possible in-ceiling speakers with integrated Amplifiers (this last option is neat but may restrict the quality and power of the audio system in each room).

Andrew
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Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
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gurumaia

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2011, 03:30:29 pm »
Yes using Squeezeslaves with multiple low-cost sounds cards or usb sound cards would be the way to go for sure. You then need an amplifier for each room, or a multi-zone amp or possible in-ceiling speakers with integrated Amplifiers (this last option is neat but may restrict the quality and power of the audio system in each room).

Andrew

Awesome! Thank you very much. Now, which is less expensive? I would think that a multi-zone would be cheaper since it's just one piece of equipment, but I'm coming to the realization that this might not be true. Problem is I can't find any regular amplifiers hence I've no idea how much it costs. Can anyone tell me which is a standard low-cost amp?

Thank you very much!

hari

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2011, 03:33:47 pm »
NAD C315

very nice amp

br Hari
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gurumaia

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2011, 03:47:38 pm »
NAD C315

very nice amp

br Hari

Seems like a really good amp, but I wasn't able to find it for sale. Does anyone know the price range on this?
Also, are there simpler options than this? I don't think I'd need all those controls for now, so I could stick with some really basic amps (kinda like car amps!). I'm thinking of placing all of the amps in the core's room and running the wire to the speakers in each room, so I could easily exchange the amps later if I wanted a better sound. I also might get a fancier (like the NAD C315) amp for the living room and not so much for the other rooms.

Are there amps like this or am I on a dead end?

Thanks!

totallymaxed

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2011, 04:03:38 pm »
Seems like a really good amp, but I wasn't able to find it for sale. Does anyone know the price range on this?
Also, are there simpler options than this? I don't think I'd need all those controls for now, so I could stick with some really basic amps (kinda like car amps!). I'm thinking of placing all of the amps in the core's room and running the wire to the speakers in each room, so I could easily exchange the amps later if I wanted a better sound. I also might get a fancier (like the NAD C315) amp for the living room and not so much for the other rooms.

Are there amps like this or am I on a dead end?

Thanks!

The NAD C315 UK retail price is about £160

Andrew
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gurumaia

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Re: Multi-room Audio - a tad confused
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2011, 05:11:08 pm »
The NAD C315 UK retail price is about £160

Andrew

Thanks a lot for the help! I was hoping for something a little cheaper. I'll do some math and see if I can afford that!