have been loitering and genning up on here for a while (I'm UK based for what its worth in understanding the following)
I've taken an old ('05) vaio Media Server (RA204) and built a LinuxMCE hybrid.
The purpose is to feed audio to whole house. The house was pre-wired for an iMerge type system (pro 129 speaker cable run from ceiling speakers in 5-6 zones back to a comms cupboard; additionally CAT5 cables run from blanking plates on the walls in same zones back to comms cupboard to feed wall mounted controller instructions). Since I don't want to fork out for a very expensive solution when I suspect LimuxMCE would do a fab job I thought I'd try this route.
So far in the build I've audio feeding the PC speakers which is from the standard line out on the standard card so I know it is working ok.. I've copied about 10Gb of music (out of circa 150Gb) onto the box and am able to connect using either laptops or itouch/iphone as orbitors and control the music
My dilema is I'm not sure as to the right approach in augmenting this baseline with the right sound card and amp combo.
As I explained right now this is just an audio feed - my ideal would be to have the hybrid serve music to one or multiple zones (using the same source) - while I've searched and read and read and searched I can't find clear proof that this is do-able altho' it is likely my intepretation of the explanations in the existing wikis and threads.
I'm kinda visualising a 5.1 (or 7.1) sound card feeding either a number of amps (each managing 2 speakers; one zone) or a multi-zone amp. Don't mind forking out for the Audigy sound card but I'm keen to better understand whether
i) my understanding of what can be accomplished is correct?
ii) does it become more simplified if I run each zone off a separate amp (logically I'll only really make use of two or perhaps three zones initially so with entry level amps around £50 this may be a pragmatic route)?
iii) is the achievement of single source feeding one or multiple zones a wizard based configuration once things are all cabled up or do I need to start customising templates?
iv) given the format of my needs control of the amps would be less critical -the zones are either on or off (its background music so plan to set it at a constant level per zone)
Hope while the questions may be noobish they at least seem reasonable.. pointers for clarification really welcomed!