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.
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;
- 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