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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Advise on multi room set up

    Hi guys

    I need a bit of help making some sense in my confused head!

    I'm currently starting a downstairs refurb/build project and this means I can set up my ground floor to be a bit future proof for my audio needs.

    What I want I'm needing help on is checking I have come up with the optimum solution for my needs.

    I'm thinking that I'm going to ask the builders to duct in lots of speaker cable into the ceiling space as I want to use mainly ceiling speakers - i will have this ducted to my garage or under the stairs... this is the simple part --- or maybe it's not if anyone else an opinion.

    Then I'm thinking of setting up 4 or 5 pi's with hifiberry amp+ all running max2play (I'm very happy with these at the moment and think it's the best cheap option right now)

    Does anyone see a reason this isn't the best way forward for setting up a (wired) 5 zone multiroom system? I was thinking about finding an amp with multi inputs and outputs rather than invest in multiple AMP+s but I couldnt find one that was in a sensible price range (sub ú300)

    open to ideas or any experiences people can share

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    No experience, but I would suggest that access to the pi's that are used is kept easy and give each a unique name and keep a list of name/MAC address.

    I wish I didn't live in a tent (sigh)

    Ronnie

  3. #3
    Senior Member pippin's Avatar
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    Sounds reasonable to me.
    I would second the suggestion to keep the Pis accessible, the SD cards sometimes die and need to be replaced.
    ---
    learn more about iPeng, the iPhone and iPad remote for the Squeezebox and
    Logitech UE Smart Radio as well as iPeng Party, the free Party-App,
    at penguinlovesmusic.com
    New: iPeng 9, the Universal App for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

  4. #4
    Senior Member pippin's Avatar
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    And I would,not go with multi-channel amps. RPis are dirt cheap and you are way more flexible with the setup you described.
    ---
    learn more about iPeng, the iPhone and iPad remote for the Squeezebox and
    Logitech UE Smart Radio as well as iPeng Party, the free Party-App,
    at penguinlovesmusic.com
    New: iPeng 9, the Universal App for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Thanks guys...I kind of thought I'd got the best solution for my needs and budgets but good to sound it out. Yes pis will be accessible because I want the opportunity to update and I'm still wondering if I should be going the Chromecast audio route but I'm just not sure and I love having a real UI via my boom which I'd lose

    I'm also not sure how the multiroom works with CCA... I like the ability to turn on and off sync with LMS very easily....one for me to investigate maybe.

    I can't remember the last time I needed to access my local music so bbc iplayer and spotify is 99% of my listening needs.

  6. #6
    Senior Member meep's Avatar
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    A few thoughts and ramblings that you can make of what you will....

    When remodelling my house 15 years ago, I ran speaker cable from a central point to various rooms. I eventually installed speakers around the house and an 8 channel M-Audio 410 audio card in a PC, with each stereo output connected to a T-Amp. (this was loooong before Pis).

    On the PC, I ran multiple instances of squeezeslave which gave me 4x independent controllable zones. (I had a 5th using the optical out of the card into by HT receiver but that's beside the point).

    I had a few issues with this set-up;

    1. Control
    Again, before apps and smartphones, the only realistic way of controlling this was via LMS. This wasn't ideal and the rest of the family never really took to it. Even with the appearance of smartphone control, it's still not ideal. It's OK for starting and selecting music, but if you want to switch off or control volume quickly (phone call, visitor etc.), it's a chore. I've replaced my kitchen system with a duet and, while the controller is a bit more efficient (being dedicated to the single task), I still can't get family buy-in.

    2. Topology
    It made sense to me to run speaker cable throughout and have sources and amplification centralised (still does). However, in researching all this, I noted a lot of the commercial systems of the time used a decentralised system which placed amplification in-room with sources connected over wires. (this has morphed to the Sonos model today over wireless). I always wondered why they were structured like this. One of the advantages, I think, is in-room control. If I was doing it again, I would be sure that I had a physical volume control / on-off switch in each zone.

    3. Sync
    I found it difficult to get the multiple instances of squeezeslave in sync. There would always be a slight delay somewhere resulting in an audible echo from another zone. I understand from chatting to some users that this is not a problem with a Pi infrastructure and it may be just be my old-school hardware.


    The bottom line is that, while my whole-house audio hardware is all still in place, I don't use it any more. I now tend to listen on discrete devices be it the duet in the kitchen, the radios in bedrooms or spotify/dlna on my HT amp. Though I would be interested in how you get on with your plans - it may just be time for me to revisit the whole thing....
    Last edited by meep; 2017-01-19 at 08:45. Reason: typos


    ALEXA LMS SKILL: http://www.hab-tunes.com | Twitter: #habtunes
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  7. #7
    Senior Member stereoptic's Avatar
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    Make sure that you tag or use colored tape to identify both ends, both, positive and negative, of each speaker cable that you run through the floor or ceiling.

  8. #8
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    I can't see any issue with what is proposed but I do agree that Volume Control may be an issue which is why I would want a Touchscreen - could be a tablet - in each room and easily accessible.
    Pi3 with piCoreplayer music on QNAP TS419p via NFS iThingys/iPeng/Tablets/Jogglers
    Living Room - Joggler & SB3 -> Onkyo TS606 - > Celestion Ditton F20s
    Office - Pi -> Sony TA FE320 -> Celestion F10s / Pi & SB3 -> Onkyo CRN 755 -> Wharfedale Modus Cubes
    Dining Room -> SB Boom Kitchen -> UE Radio (upgraded to SB Radio)
    Bedroom (Bedside) - SB Touch -> Topping TP21 -> AKG Headphones

  9. #9
    Senior Member pippin's Avatar
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    @meep re: sync, maybe your house is simply too big
    But seriously: I found that Pis which do not also run LMS sync surprisingly well with other devices, much better than PC based hardware.

    Regarding the cabling there's a trade off: centralized structure is probably cheaper and easier built and if you run passive cabling you have less risk of distorting the signal than with line-level analog and you have less latency than with digital.

    Myself, I'm all into active speakers or placing amps and renderers right next to the speaker because this is waaay more flexible, gets you better quality and yes.... easy local volume control...
    ---
    learn more about iPeng, the iPhone and iPad remote for the Squeezebox and
    Logitech UE Smart Radio as well as iPeng Party, the free Party-App,
    at penguinlovesmusic.com
    New: iPeng 9, the Universal App for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    May 2011
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    i think you are right to run the speaker wire to a central point, then you have lots of options

    ive just set up LMS running on ubuntu, using 2 x 8 channel usb cards (ú18 each) which the system can reconfigure to be 16 single channels (downmixed stereo, for a single speaker in each ceiling) or up to 4 channels per zone, and uses instances of squeezelite software players

    https://www.loxforum.com/forum/proje...ox/allgemeines
    http://music-server.net/help/

    is some software that makes the whole configuration web based, i use 8 software players (using the usb sound cards as downmixed mono players for a single speaker in each room) and 8 real radios/booms/etc and a combination of duet controllers and ipeng / logitech app

    it also includes web based equalization software so you can tailor the sound to the speakers/room set up you have

    ignore the stuff about loxone (unless you happen to have that automation system) as its still LMS in the background with a layer of easy web configuration added - its in german but you can use google chrome to translate easily

    i run mine on a reconditioned dell laptop (8gb ram, i7, ú220 from ebay with 1 yr warranty)
    im using a dayton audio MA1260 12 channel amp - 12 channels of 60w per channel powering a single focal 8" ceiling speaker per zone/room
    Last edited by dunk; 2017-01-20 at 08:37.

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