Home of the Squeezebox™ & Transporter® network music players.
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    3

    New Home Setup...how does this sound?

    I am in the middle of building a house and have an idea for a multi audio system I would like to install. I am a little new to this so would I really appreciate any ideas suggestions or if what I’m thinking of makes any sense at all.
    To start off my requirements(whish list!) are:
    • Ability to play stream the same music to different rooms.
    • Ability to stream different music to different rooms.
    • Remotely control via laptop\tablet\possibly phone app.
    • Connect to media server.
    • Stream from internet Radio.

    What I am thinking of is:
    • Media Server: HP Proliant Microserver running Ubunty with Logitech Media Server installed (This I already have in place)
    • Speakers: In ceiling speakers all running back to a cabinet in the Utility room
    • Player: Each set of speakers would be connected to a mini-amp and each mini-amp to a Raspberry-Pi with USB sound card.
    The idea is each Pi would act as an audio player for each room, and as there will also be a network switch in the cabinet they call all be patched into it directly.

    Speakers and Amps is not an area I am familiar with so based on what I’ve dug up what I am thinking of going with is something along the lines of a set of “Apart CM608” speakers connected to a Ta-2020 T-Amp for each room.

    If anyone has any suggestions as to whether this is a good/bad/awful idea I would appreciate your input or suggestions. Budget is a factor, but I would still like to have a pretty decent multi room system in place.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    15
    My home is similar to your setup - 9 zones all with computers running SqueezePlay and mostly always synced to Pandora but on occasion they will be un-sysnced and playing from the stored files on the media server. We do not have any hardware players only computer based software players.

    The only problem we have/see is when synced there can be a little (very little actually but it can be heard) difference in the music if it can be heard from two adjacent rooms. This is most noticeable in the kitchen and family room - actually one big room. But when family is here they always have the TV on in the family room and not music so it not a real problem. If all bedrooms are on then walking down the hall you can precived a little difference also, not that big of a deal for us anyway.

    Everything is controlled by laptops, office computer or tablets and of course phones...

  3. #3
    Senior Member aubuti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    8,805
    I don't have experience yet with the Raspberry Pi, but overall you may want to re-think a couple things. Most of all, your plans seem to be a slightly odd mixture of the old-fashioned "home run" wiring to a central closet with "new fashioned" network players and small T-amps.

    The older multi-room designs were usually based on a central multi-zone amp with miles of speaker cable running to the individual rooms. Of course, you can still do something like that, but with a cluster of RPi players and T-amps (one RPi & amp per zone). However, you could alternatively take advantage of the networking aspect by using Cat5e or Cat6 (instead of speaker cable) to get the signal from the server to different rooms, and then having the RPi and amp in the room, either visible or tucked away somewhere. Neither approach is inherently superior, but as you can see from my sig below, I've gone for the decentralized approach when it comes to players and amps.

    A few other thoughts:

    1) you're probably doing this already, but if you're not, put Cat5e or Cat6 cable everywhere, in larger quantities than you'd ever think you'll use. It's worth it, especially when the walls are still open.

    2) the in-ceiling speakers may be okay for background audio, but do you think you'll want a higher-end system in at least one room for real listening? If so, then you'll want to have at least one room designed to have the player and amp in the room, as opposed to a central closet.

    3) consider getting in-wall volume controls, especially if you go for a centralized approach. Yes, you can control the volume with the laptop, tablet, or phone, but believe me, there will be times you want to be able to just reach over and turn the volume down without looking for a remote control. I have simple Russound wall-mounted volume controls in my kitchen and outdoor systems -- they sit between the amps and the speakers, and are incredibly convenient.

    Good luck!
    Nothing high-end, but music anywhere I want it. MSI single-core Atom mini-desktop (Debian Squeeze 6.0.x) feeding: Living room: SB Touch > Emotiva XDA-1 > NAD C325 BEE > Vandersteen 1; Kitchen/Dining: SB2 > AudioSource Amp100 > 2 pair of Polk RC60i; Basement: SB2 > JVC JA-S44 > ESS Tempest LS8; Bedroom: SB Radio; Study: Squeezelite local player > Klipsch ProMedia 2.0; Backyard deck: SB Receiver > AudioSource Amp100 > Polk Atrium 45; Kid's bedroom: Boom; Roaming controllers: Retina iPad (3rd gen) with Squeezepad & iPeng, iPhone 5s with iPeng, iPod touch (3rd gen) with iPeng, 3 SB Duet Controllers, various SB infrared remotes, Nokia N800; In the bullpen (boxed up and ready to use if one of the above quits): SB3 and one more SB Receiver
    http://www.last.fm/user/aubuti/

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by jimbrandon View Post
    My home is similar to your setup - 9 zones all with computers running SqueezePlay and mostly always synced to Pandora but on occasion they will be un-sysnced and playing from the stored files on the media server. We do not have any hardware players only computer based software players.

    The only problem we have/see is when synced there can be a little (very little actually but it can be heard) difference in the music if it can be heard from two adjacent rooms. This is most noticeable in the kitchen and family room - actually one big room. But when family is here they always have the TV on in the family room and not music so it not a real problem. If all bedrooms are on then walking down the hall you can precived a little difference also, not that big of a deal for us anyway.

    Everything is controlled by laptops, office computer or tablets and of course phones...
    Thanks Jim, that is good to know.
    In particular there is an open plan area (kitchen, dining & living room) that I would particularly like to have in sync, its not likely the speakers there would ever play different tunes at the same time so I might look at connecting those to one Amp. It would mean though by consolidating them into one zone it would be either all on or off which I'm not so sure about.

    It might be something I'll have to play around with a bit to see if I is much of an issue in my case.

    Can you tell me if you are using speakers connected to each computer or are they in ceiling or wall speakers?

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    15
    What started all this at our house is SageTV. They have now sold out to Google so I sold my SageTV extenders and put in PC's at all TV's to "future proof" the hardware. SageTV does not sync music between players so another solution was needed. I opted for Squeeze whatever to play music and LMS to manage the music and only the music. SageTV does pictures and video very well - it will also do music but will not sync between players and is somewhat difficult to use.

    Remember my system is entirely software based, no hardware players.

    One requirement from my far better half was NO BOXES in the rooms, this included speakers, players etc.. All our speakers are in ceiling except for two rooms and are for back ground music only, not for serious listening. We have a nice setup in the family room with a sound bar and wireless sub (2.1) for TV/music and we have what we call our Fun Room, 65" TV, floor speakers, playstation, etc. I've tailored the acoustics in the Fun Room for serious music although I am really the only one who really sits down and listens to music for the sake of listening to music, I like to listen loud and for usually 1-2 hours at a time.

    At one time we had the entire main living area (kitchen, living, dining, and family room) on one amp. This ended up being a problem with the gang wanting to watch a ball game in the family room so I split it off leaving the rest on a single amp. I did put volume control in the living room and dining room, the kitchen volume is controlled by software and affects the other two room. Not ideal but once set it has not been touched for many months, again it is for back ground music only, not serious listening.

    There are two media servers in the basement, one for SageTV and one for music only (Logitech Media Server) because I had a computer that was just sitting of the shelf. I built several Foxconn NTA3700 computers for SageTV extenders and for the music in other rooms. These are not the cheapest devices but are compact and easily stacked on a shelf. I think the Raspberry could be a good choice for this also and is far cheaper.

    There are many ways to accomplish this task as abuti pointed out, it just depends on how much time and money you want to spend and the amount of boxes in the rooms you are willing to live with, we did not want any additional boxes (speakers, players, etc.) in any of the other rooms. Is my setup perfect, absolutely not. A stranger cannot turn on/off, change the music or the volume without instruction, it is not in perfect sync between zones but close enough at back ground listening levels and the ceiling speakers lack dynamic range but again for back ground music they work quite well.

    We actually have very little interaction with our whole house audio system. We use HomeSeer with the SqueezeBox plugin to control lights and music. It turns on in the morning when we get up and off when we leave the house or go to bed. We have HS events which allow the changing of the music being played, either a "station" on Pandora or local music playlist. And again a tablet or phone can control everything.

    One thing to point out if you gang several rooms together on one amp you must use a impendence matching device otherwise you take a chance of burning up an amp or blowing speakers. I used an ASD Audio ISS4 unit for my kitchen/living/dining rooms.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrEb View Post
    Thanks Jim, that is good to know.
    In particular there is an open plan area (kitchen, dining & living room) that I would particularly like to have in sync, its not likely the speakers there would ever play different tunes at the same time so I might look at connecting those to one Amp. It would mean though by consolidating them into one zone it would be either all on or off which I'm not so sure about.

    We actually have very little interaction with our whole house audio system. We use HomeSeer with the SqueezeBox plugin to control lights and music. It turns on in the morning when we get up and off when we leave the house or go to bed. We have HS events which allow the changing of the music being played, either a "station" on Pandora or local music playlist. And again a tablet or phone can control everything.

    It might be something I'll have to play around with a bit to see if I is much of an issue in my case.

    Can you tell me if you are using speakers connected to each computer or are they in ceiling or wall speakers?
    Last edited by jimbrandon; 2013-03-12 at 10:41.

  6. #6
    Senior Member aubuti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    8,805
    Quote Originally Posted by MrEb View Post
    In particular there is an open plan area (kitchen, dining & living room) that I would particularly like to have in sync, its not likely the speakers there would ever play different tunes at the same time so I might look at connecting those to one Amp. It would mean though by consolidating them into one zone it would be either all on or off which I'm not so sure about.
    Here's another instance where separate in-wall volume control(s) can be a good idea. In our kitchen/dining area we have two pairs of in-ceiling speakers running off the same amp (ie, the same zone), one pair as the "A" speakers and the other as the "B" speakers. One pair is closer to the dining area, the other closer to the cooking/prep area. Each pair is on a separate in-wall volume control, thus avoiding the all-on/all-off dilemma entirely.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    9,614
    I have a hybrid system:

    1. Main music listening system (with Transporter feeding preamp/amp/speakers)
    2. Home Theater system (with TOUCH feeding AV System via S/PDIF coax to DAC of AV system.)
    3. Boom (bedroom bedside)
    4. "Whole house distributed systems with speaker wire runs back to central location": TOUCH feeding small preamp/amp. Amp feeds speaker switch box that feeds ceiling speakers in (i) Bathroom, (ii) Kitchen (iii) dining room (also have a SB RADIO in wife's closet....didn't think about needing sound in there or would have added Speakers, but she spends a lot of time in there in the morning and wants to hear morning radio shows in there). Distributed system Touch and RADIO are always synched

    So I can listen to the same thing in Kitchen, bath, dining room, closet via the distributed system (morning radio listening). I can separately listen to my main stereo system or music through my AV system or bedside Boom. And I can have everything synched (and with all hardware players, the synch is rock solid perfect. I can stand in the middle of one space where I hear my main stereo, the AV system and the dining room and bathroom system and all is perfectly lined up. Hardware SB players are known to synch better than "software" SB players (although supposedly the latter has gotten much better).

    All this is served by a single server with all my music that runs 24/7 (6TB vortexbox appliance). I can control all this from various controllers (iphones, ipad, Squeezeplay on laptop, SB CONTROLLER, TOUCH or Radio itself, and of course Boom controls itself from front panel)
    .
    Location 1: VortexBox 4TB (2.3) > LMS 7.8 > Transporter, Touch, Boom, Radio w/Battery (all ethernet except Radio)
    Location 2: VBA 3TB (2.3) > LMS 7.8 > Touch > Benchmark DAC I, Boom, Radio w/Battery (all ethernet except Radio)
    Office: Win7(64) > LMS 7.8 > Squeezelite
    Spares: several Touch, Radio, SB3
    Controllers: iPhone4S & iPad2 (iPeng7 & Squeezepad), CONTROLLER, or SqueezePlay 7.8 on Win7(64) laptop
    Files: ripping: dbpoweramp > FLAC; post-rip: mp3tag, PerfectTunes; Streaming: Spotify

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    3
    Thanks to all for your thoughts

    The point you made Aubuti, relating to in wall volume controls isn’t something I had really considered. I can imagine alright the convince of that for people in the house, going further to Jim’s point for strangers, infrequent visitors (and our folks when they visit) not having an in wall control could be somewhat of an annoyance.



    Quote Originally Posted by aubuti View Post
    Here's another instance where separate in-wall volume control(s) can be a good idea. In our kitchen/dining area we have two pairs of in-ceiling speakers running off the same amp (ie, the same zone), one pair as the "A" speakers and the other as the "B" speakers. One pair is closer to the dining area, the other closer to the cooking/prep area. Each pair is on a separate in-wall volume control, thus avoiding the all-on/all-off dilemma entirely.
    This is an idea I do really like, as well as the solving the all-on/all-off issue it would also be the area I would most like to have completely in sync, the others would not be so much of a concern.

    Like Jim I am in the same position with my better half (no boxes!), this was probably the main factor driving my thinking behind running all the speaker cables back to a central cabinet but certainly from the thoughts above I will look to put volume controls, most likely in-wall in at least the main living area. For most of the other rooms I am thinking I may stick with wiring them back to the central cabinet. I guess it is something I will look at on a zone by zone basis and see what works best.



    Quote Originally Posted by aubuti View Post
    1) you're probably doing this already, but if you're not, put Cat5e or Cat6 cable everywhere, in larger quantities than you'd ever think you'll use. It's worth it, especially when the walls are still open.
    This is something I will definitely be doing, at this stage the cost will be little more than the cost of the cable so I am planning to run Cat6 all over the place. Like power points I think you can’t have too many.



    Quote Originally Posted by aubuti View Post
    2) the in-ceiling speakers may be okay for background audio, but do you think you'll want a higher-end system in at least one room for real listening? If so, then you'll want to have at least one room designed to have the player and amp in the room, as opposed to a central closet.
    There is one room I think would be perfect for this(...well unless a few kids come along and then it could well be confiscated!). I will take a look myself to see what kind of system might work here but if you have any suggestions it would be good to take a look at them.

  9. #9
    Senior Member aubuti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    8,805
    Quote Originally Posted by MrEb View Post
    The point you made Aubuti, relating to in wall volume controls isn’t something I had really considered. I can imagine alright the convince of that for people in the house, going further to Jim’s point for strangers, infrequent visitors (and our folks when they visit) not having an in wall control could be somewhat of an annoyance.
    Not only that, but when you're rocking out cooking or washing up and get a phone call, it's nice to be able to just spin the volume dial without drying hands, finding remote, opening app, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrEb View Post
    This is an idea I do really like, as well as the solving the all-on/all-off issue it would also be the area I would most like to have completely in sync, the others would not be so much of a concern.
    Yes, the SB system syncs very well, but for 100% reliable perfect sync, nothing beats a single source ;-)

    Fortunately my better half only pushed for no boxes in our kitchen/dining addition, and was willing to live with boxes elsewhere. She was even good enough to put up with boxes (amp, SB2, network switch) for the kitchen setup as long as they were on the top shelf of the pantry closet, where she can't reach anything anyway. I got very lucky with the timing, as we were in the middle of the remodeling in late 2007, just as we started beta testing the Duet Controller, and the prospects for non-IR, non-laptop remote control of SBs started opening up. Otherwise we would have had a SB3/Classic right where the Controller is next to our microwave (see http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=285125).

    Quote Originally Posted by MrEb View Post
    There is one room I think would be perfect for this(...well unless a few kids come along and then it could well be confiscated!). I will take a look myself to see what kind of system might work here but if you have any suggestions it would be good to take a look at them.
    The possibilities are, as they say, endless. At this stage I would say that in addition to putting Cat5e or Cat6 everywhere, consider putting some decent speaker cable in the walls of the potential listening room, along with wall plates. That could end up being convenient for putting your source and amp somewhere more convenient than near the speakers, or running a lot of speaker cable over the floor. Because in my experience boxes garner more acceptance if they don't come with lots of cables running all over the place. As with the cables you're running for the in-ceiling speakers, be sure the cable is rated for in-wall use.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •