I have two approaches in my head, and I don't know which one would be best.
I want some speakers in the garden and in the bathroom, which will require an amp of course. The amps I am looking at are just a cheapo low-power 2 channel things - I am not interested in rinsing hundreds of pounds on uber Denon rs232 controlled amps. So which is best...
1. Squeezeslave USB sound cards on the core, with the amps ALWAYS on waiting to be used. How much energy does an amp use when it is on, but nothing is playing? Is it recommended/safe?
2. Cheapo Atom boards for each zone, with the amp being powered off the PSU, meaning it will switch on and off when the mobo is switched on and off. Overkill? Or brilliant? Less energy usage, if a little bit more expensive?
I am leaning towards 2, it will work out cheaper than a squeezebox (or there won't be a lot in it at least). Or is there another approach that I may have missed?