Author Topic: Connecting Hybrid and MD to multichannel/zone amplifier  (Read 3469 times)


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Connecting Hybrid and MD to multichannel/zone amplifier
« on: January 08, 2007, 07:15:39 pm »

I have one hybrid in house that usually outputs audio to main audio zone in living room. But in living room, there is also one MD that is powered on for local video/audio source.

I have Marantz audio receiver/amplifier (SR 5600) that can have one single source outputting to 7+1 (I have 5+1 speakers in living room and 2 on open air gallery - second floor) or can have two sources outputting separately to 4+1 and to 2 speakers on gallery.

But anyway, MD or hybrid can be sound sources for amplifier. Even if I use it as one output device, still have two possible sound sources....

I've connected MD and hybrid to Marantz via two separate audio pipes. But there is a problem, cause currently it's not clear to me, how will be support for multizone devices in Pluto implemented. I'd like to be guinea pig, but would like to have some guidance how to tackle this, so I won't be caught in wrong approach or thinking.

Now pipes work ok in several cases :
- if I play on hybrid, then proper input is switched, also same for MD. But always one device takes over input and doesn't let another to play on second zone, but could. But I would need some kind of info, who and why sent command to change input - in this way I could enable second zone and switch it to proper source, but have no clue if I get that info with command being sent ?

There are few problems currently with such connections :
- when screen saver is started on either device, it swithes Marantz off. So I watch movie on MD, Marantz is switched off, when hybrid goes to screen saver. I guess all operations regarding pipes should be treated more carefully and more parameters should be regarded.

- I'm listening to music from hybrid in living room. But kids would like to hear stories on gallery. I switch on MD, but it plays in living room and gallery. I'd need to have more info about current state and let MD be the source for second audio zone. Do I have that kind of informations around ?

- Audio receiver is not painted in color, although MD playing media is, and   receiver is amplifying that signal. I guess it should be properly colored same as playing device ?

- There is currently no screen (or at least I'm not aware of it) for control of Audio receivers - so I guess it wouldn't be too bad to have one. Sometimes automatic routing/handling is convenient via pipes (just play and hear), but sometimes you need to control receiver manually (connect camcorder to it to watch latest recordings - no pipe will ever handle that situation - so one must operate receiver manually - but it would be fine to do it over scenarios on Orbiter)....

Currently my thinking goes into two directiona how to deal with such situation (but I'm sure there are other alternatives too) :

1. Dealing more carefully with pipes
Right now problems arise cause all devices connected with pipes just get commands automatically sent. But maybe some additional more in depth parsing of received commands and other status informations could be used to properly deal with such multizone scenario. For instance: if I know what is the cause for sending command to devices on certain pipe, I could handle it much better. I have Hybrid playing in living room and gallery. Now I power up MD in living room and want to see movie. I put hybrid audio only on gallery and put MDs audio in living room, cause probably user wanted just that when he got MD running beside audio being played from Hybrid. But for this I need some more info about what's happening in devices that are connected to certain pipe....

2. Spliting parent Marantz into single child devices and distinct their physical location (where they run - Hybrid in this case) and their 'logical' position (Audio zone or room where they output sound into).

This problem will have to solved soon, cause it's the only way to support some more 3rd party media players (currently only squeezeboxes are supported in such way) - particularly if we create audio only Xine player app. Then it will run on one machine (mostly Hybrid or Core), but outputting sound to certain channel on multichannel sound card ie. to certain audio zone or room. The best scenario would be to run such Xine player and Orbiters would respond with popup asking user for some more info about where to put this device logically (physically is alredy known), etc...

That also sound quite reasonable. But currently AFAIK Pluto doesn't like such split devices logically located in different EA or rooms. When I tried that, devices were not shown in web-admin interface - they dissapeared....

But despite that, there is some logic in such approach. One parent code dealing with all in/out messages  and controlling child devices. But I guess some caveats also with such scenarion come along...

At the end have important question I yet didn't discovered answer :

what do "Audio zone", "Audio system" and "Entertainment zone" exactly mean ?

I'd love to have some guidance here and hear your opinions ....