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bmarston
2006-04-08, 23:06
I'm in the process of renovating my two-story house (built in 1907), and I'm trying to design a multi-zone whole-house audio system. I'd like to get some feedback on my plans outlined below.

DESIGN GOALS

Ability to play different MP3s (and Internet radio stations) in different rooms at the same time

Ability to play the same MP3 in multiple rooms at the same time (synchronization)

Between 9 and 11 zones

Background music audio quality

Very transparent -- only equipment required in each room is a pair of ceiling-mounted speakers and a handheld remote control


STREAMING HARDWARE & SOFTWARE

SlimServer running on a networked PowerBook on the second floor. I want to keep my MP3s on my laptop because I occasionally use it to DJ at bars.

Two networked PCs running Windows in the basement. Newegg.com has a motherboard (EPoX EP-8RDA3+ PRO (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123233)) with 6 PCI slots, integrated audio (but no onboard video) and integrated Ethernet for $70, which should cover 6 zones. Each PC would run multiple instances of Softsqueeze, one for each sound card. Newegg has sound cards (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16829117104) for $7.75.


AMPLIFICATION

AudioSource AMP 100 amplifier (http://www.audiosource.net/amp100.html) in the basement for each zone ($110 each)


SPEAKERS

AudioSource AS6C (http://www.audiosource.net/as6c.html) or Phoenix Gold ATc6 (http://www.phoenixgold.com/accessories/atc6.html) in-ceiling speakers throughout house ($55-$70/pair). All speaker wires home-run to the amps in the basement.


CONTROLLER

Control power, volume and track for each zone with Nokia N770 Internet Tablet (http://www.nokiausa.com/770?cpid=ILC-2001-507) ($350) by going to SlimServer web page


QUESTIONS

Will this work? In particular, will multiple instances of Softsqueeze work correctly on one computer with one Ethernet card and multiple sound cards? Can an instance of Softsqueeze direct its output to a specific sound card? Will synchronization work?

Do any of you have a similar setup?

Is there anything you would change to make it better, cheaper or easier?

JJZolx
2006-04-09, 00:19
Is there anything you would change to make it better, cheaper or easier?
How about a Squeezebox in each of those 11 rooms instead of a Nokia 770? Maybe you don't plan on Nokias for every room. If so, that's going to be an obstacle to convenience as someone goes searching for a controller so they can play music.

My experience synching Softsqueeze with just one Squeezebox hasn't been great. Maybe with Richard now working for Slim Devices Softsqueeze will be made more robust, but right now it's convenient in certain applications (e.g. listening to the library while I'm at work) but it's not suitable for a serious audio application, IMO.

Jacob Potter
2006-04-09, 10:19
I would suggest using squeezeslave rather than SoftSqueeze; it's not
graphical, but it is more reliable and lightweight.

Also, an $8 sound card probably won't sound very good...

- Jacob

netim3
2006-04-09, 10:40
I just renovated a house of similar age, with similar goals in mind. However, did a few things differently....

Chose to store library in FLAC rather than MP3 to improve sound quality. Then I use a Perl script (available in foums) to keep a synched copy of library in MP3 on a laptop. Library stored on a NAS device. Slimserver running on a MacMini (Intel). Handling 5 zones so far with no problems, adding more shortly.

Decided that rather than run speaker cable from a central point to speakers in every room, instaed to run CAT5 to each room, and then locally in room have the speaker cables run from ceiling speakers to a wall point next to the CAT5 point. The each room gets a SB and local amplicfication. Avoiding long runs of audio cable (especially if it runs parallel to power cables) helps the audio quality. Eventually I'm assuming I can get descent powered speakers (eliminating local amps). Having the SBs locally allows use of SB remote on ocassion, and is also useful to see 'now playing' and other info if you're in a room without the controller. Also, using SB's as infra-red repeaters, so all other AV equipment can be hidden away.

Chose to run Telcanto on a PocketPC for control rather than use the web gui - this was mostly for speed and ease of use for a large library (10k songs).

good luck with the install - hope it sounds great when you're done.

MikeP
2006-04-09, 10:55
I would have to agree with netim3. I am in the process of redoing my house which was built some 200 years ago. I am running cat5 cable to most rooms, mainly for use by Squeezeboxes, but I also see other uses coming along soon, such as IPTV and other equipment that will in future become networked.

This means that in each zone I have a Squeezebox connected to an amp and hence speakers. By the way if anyone could recommend a good set of powered speakers i'd be very interested.

ctaggart
2006-04-09, 10:58
My experience synching Softsqueeze with just one Squeezebox hasn't been great. Maybe with Richard now working for Slim Devices Softsqueeze will be made more robust, but right now it's convenient in certain applications (e.g. listening to the library while I'm at work) but it's not suitable for a serious audio application, IMO.

My experience synching Softsqueeze with my Squeezebox wasn't great either. The wireless Squeezebox was playing a second ahead of Softsqueeze running on the same PC as the SlimServer. I believe multiple Squeezeboxes will sync fine.

Being a Java software engineer, I checked out the source code for Softsqueeze and I'm trying to figure out how stuff works and how I might be able to improve on it.

peter
2006-04-09, 12:22
On Sun, 9 Apr 2006 10:55:25 -0700, "MikeP"
<MikeP.260dpz1144605601 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> I would have to agree with netim3. I am in the process of redoing my
> house which was built some 200 years ago. I am running cat5 cable to
> most rooms, mainly for use by Squeezeboxes, but I also see other uses
> coming along soon, such as IPTV and other equipment that will in future
> become networked.

CAT5 is always better than wireless...
I also use CAT5 to transport my MythTV TV-Out to an RF-Modulator.

> This means that in each zone I have a Squeezebox connected to an amp
> and hence speakers. By the way if anyone could recommend a good set of
> powered speakers i'd be very interested.

I have a pair of Behringer Truth B2031A active speakers in my living
room. These are made for music studios and I think they sound very nice.
I use Felix Mueller's wonderful AMPswitch plugin to switch them on and
off in sync with the SB3 (yet, I managed to solder the circuit after
all).

For my kitchen and bedroom I chose an even cheaper option. I bought a
pair of Sonic Impact T-Amp amplifiers that I hide away in a closet
combined with a pair of B2030P (the passive smaller version of the
B2031A) speakers which make a nice system together with the SB3 for only
165 EUR per room total (compared to 320 EUR for the active B2030A). The
T-Amp's aren't very loud, but they're plenty good enough for my
kitchen/bed room purposes and so small they can easily be hidden away or
attached to the back of one of the speakers. So, who needs active? ;)

Regards,
Peter

bmarston
2006-04-09, 14:34
Wow, thanks for all the quick responses! You guys are awesome.



How about a Squeezebox in each of those 11 rooms instead of a Nokia 770?

I was only planning to buy one Nokia 770. Sorry, I wasn't very clear above. I have a couple of laptops (one on each floor) that I can also use as controllers, so I shouldn't have to hunt too long to find one. I usually just set the music to a long playlist or an Internet radio station, so I shouldn't have to do much fiddling with the controller once the music starts.

One of my main goals is for all of the equipment to be unobtrusive and hidden out of sight. The only thing I want to "see" is the music. The Squeezebox is very nice looking, but I still don't want to put one in every room.

I'd also have to run a long RCA cable from each Squeezebox to an amp in the basement. Either that, or I'd have to have an amp in every room, adding to the visual clutter and sucking up another outlet.

Plus, eleven sound cards are a lot cheaper than eleven Squeezeboxes.



I would suggest using squeezeslave rather than SoftSqueeze

I just downloaded a copy of Squeezeslave .5 to my Windows laptop. I'm using it to stream from SlimServer on my PowerBook. Squeezeslave started flaking out and stuttering after a couple of songs. Softsqueeze did the same thing. It could just be my generally flaky Windows 98 machine (Pentium III 500).

The release notes for Squeezeslave said that it "can only playback on one audio device." Does that mean it can only direct its output to one sound card? If so, that's a deal killer for my proposed setup.



an $8 sound card probably won't sound very good...

What specs should I look for in a good sound card?



Chose to store library in FLAC rather than MP3 to improve sound quality.

I'm not an audiophile. I can't hear the difference between FLAC and an MP3 encoded with LAME's standard setting through headphones, so I doubt I'll be able to hear the difference through small overhead speakers at low-ish volume.

I'm planning to only install one CAT5e drop per floor. Each floor will also have a wireless access point. I hate having to plug things like laptops into an Ethernet jack.

radish
2006-04-09, 15:01
Don't keep the only copy of your music library on a laptop which gets taken to bars, that's just asking for trouble. I also DJ from a laptop and it just has a subset of my entire collection, which is stored on (two, redundant) servers in my apartment. Paranoid yes, but the thought of losing all those tunes is scary.

Plus, slimserver just works better from a machine which is always there and always connected. Use one of the PCs you're already talking about having, and keep the music files synced between both machines.

bmarston
2006-04-09, 15:31
Don't keep the only copy of your music library on a laptop which gets taken to bars

I use Carbon Copy Cloner (http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html) to back up my PowerBook's hard drive to a LaCie d2 Hard Drive Extreme with Triple Interface (http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=10058).

I work at home as a web developer. My PowerBook is my main machine, so it's always on and connected when I'm home.

rudholm
2006-04-09, 15:34
Windows can address multiple sound cards but the application does have to support it as well. Not sure what Softsqueeze/squeezeslave can do in this area.

You could centrally-locate a bunch of Squeezeboxes and amps and distribute the sound from there. Although 10 Squeezeboxes would be about 2500$ and modest amps would be another 50-150 each, depending on quality.

You also might want to look at the Sonos products (no flames, please, I've suggested people consider Squeezeboxes on the Sonos forums when that seems appropriate, too). Their approach is a bit different from Slim's, they put the user interface in the controller. And the players, which are designed to be out of sight, have built-in amps. The players are 500$ each and the remotes are 400$ each, so you'll be spending *way* more money. The Sonos devices are not as open to user modifications or plug-ins, but it sounds like they may be more suited to your particular needs.

radish
2006-04-09, 18:12
I use Carbon Copy Cloner (http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html) to back up my PowerBook's hard drive to a LaCie d2 Hard Drive Extreme with Triple Interface (http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=10058).

I work at home as a web developer. My PowerBook is my main machine, so it's always on and connected when I'm home.

My advice stands, use a dedicated machine rather than a laptop - your results will be better. You already have the machines budgeted - just use one of them.

Michaelwagner
2006-04-09, 18:39
Are people starting to think about cat6 for new installations rather than cat5 or 5e?

bmarston
2006-04-09, 18:56
I ran some rough numbers for the different options based on 11 zones. The costs below don't include labor and materials for the speaker wiring.


Sonos
(I'd have to buy a 12th player for the media room, where I was planning to use Softsqueeze on a Mac Mini connected to a 5.1 home theater receiver.)

$6,000 players
$660 speakers
$400 controller
$7,060 total

Pro:
All-in-one solution


Wired Squeezeboxes in Basement
$2,750 SBs
$1,210 amps
$605 speakers
$350 Nokia 770
$4,915 total

Pros:
Open source

Cons:
I'd feel bad putting such a pretty user interface in the basement.
I'd probably need to build some sort of rack for the SBs.
I'd need a hub and a lot of outlets in the basement.


Computer-Based Players in Basement
$772.50 computers
$1,210 amps
$605 speakers
$350 Nokia 770
$2,937.50 total

Pros:
Cheap

Cons:
I'd have to build the computers.
I'm not sure if it will work.


I'm leaning toward the Golden Mean (wired SBs in the basement) at the moment.

rudholm
2006-04-09, 18:57
Are people starting to think about cat6 for new installations rather than cat5 or 5e?

I retrofitted my house with dual Cat6 all around for phone and/or Ethernet. The four pairs are internally separated by a plastic separator, so it's a bit thicker and stiffer than Cat5e, making it slightly more difficult to work with, but it wasn't much more money, so I figured it was worth it as the primary pain is the labor not the cost of materials.

At the time, I think the spec wasn't fully ratified, so there were variations in cable calling itself "Cat6".

rudholm
2006-04-09, 19:10
I ran some rough numbers for the different options based on 11 zones. The costs below don't include labor and materials for the speaker wiring.


Sonos
(I'd have to buy a 12th player for the media room, where I was planning to use Softsqueeze on a Mac Mini connected to a 5.1 home theater receiver.)

$6,000 players
$660 speakers
$400 controller
$7,060 total

Pro:
All-in-one solution


Wired Squeezeboxes in Basement
$2,750 SBs
$1,210 amps
$605 speakers
$350 Nokia 770
$4,915 total

Pros:
Open source

Cons:
I'd feel bad putting such a pretty user interface in the basement.
I'd probably need to build some sort of rack for the SBs.
I'd need a hub and a lot of outlets in the basement.


Computer-Based Players in Basement
$772.50 computers
$1,210 amps
$605 speakers
$350 Nokia 770
$2,937.50 total

Pros:
Cheap

Cons:
I'd have to build the computers.
I'm not sure if it will work.


I'm leaning toward the Golden Mean (wired SBs in the basement) at the moment.

Are you willing to reconsider your design criteria of having the players out of sight and centrally located? The Squeezebox display really is a nice thing and the case is attractive. They make great nightstand/coffee table/bookshelf/dresser/etc dressing. Even when off the clock looks nice and with music playing the Analog VU meters really are quite keen.

It would save you having to run speaker wires to each location, as well.

snarlydwarf
2006-04-09, 19:13
Computer-Based Players in Basement
$772.50 computers
$1,210 amps
$605 speakers
$350 Nokia 770
$2,937.50 total


That does include the limits on PC's, right? You're not going to get a dozen sound cards on a typical motherboard...

I'd still keep the SB's at the locations themselves, at least for real rooms (living room, bedroom, guest room, etc) where you may actually have volume above ambient levels. Some of these will have electronics anyway (DVD players, TV, etc) so it's not too hard to hide an sb3.

It would suck to lose that display ... the battery life of a nokia would drive me nuts (yes, I know about charger stands.. but... I'm lucky if I can find the right remote, let alone remember to put it in a stand and to find a good place for a stand that has electricity...)

JJZolx
2006-04-09, 19:29
I ran some rough numbers for the different options based on 11 zones. The costs below don't include labor and materials for the speaker wiring.
None of these solutions seem to have much basis in reality. I think the Sonos is best suited for multi-zone use, but you _will_ need more than one controller. Even with just a system in Mom & Dad's room, one in the "media" room, and one in little Johnny's room, I can't imagine people running around looking for the one or two controllers in the house just to change the music.

Squeezeboxes in the basement makes even less sense. Why hide the display and nullify the ability to use the remote UI? Again, it means people have to go find a networked computer to change a song. A $30 clock-radio would be more convenient.

You also seem to be forgetting in-room volume controls. Again, the controller thing - you don't want to go looking for a controller just to turn the music down.

I think you should go to a good A/V shop that does whole-house audio and get a feel for what a typical setup looks like, the type of equipment used, and maybe get some pricing. Then come back and see if you really want to design a system with 12 independant/synched sources for 12 zones. It's not a small task.

bmarston
2006-04-09, 19:30
Are people starting to think about cat6 for new installations rather than cat5 or 5e?

I guess I might as well use Cat6, since I'm planning to just install one short run.

Cat6 FAQ (http://www.tiaonline.org/standards/technology/cat6/faq.cfm)

NWP
2006-04-09, 20:28
Are you willing to reconsider your design criteria of having the players out of sight and centrally located? The Squeezebox display really is a nice thing and the case is attractive. They make great nightstand/coffee table/bookshelf/dresser/etc dressing. Even when off the clock looks nice and with music playing the Analog VU meters really are quite keen.


Since I first started exploring Squeezebox/Slimserver, this has been my major issue with it. Sure the display is beautiful. I'm not denying that. But the fact that they don't make a more affordable device without a display really hurts it as a whole house audio solution.

I appreciate the item in the Faq about how Slim Devices is unwilling to compromise on the quality of the display. That's great - when you need a display. What I don't understand is why they don't make a device, both wired and wireless, that would enable one to bring music to rooms where a display is not needed or wanted. That beautiful vacuum fluorescent display isn't impressing anyone if its hidden in the basement or up in the attic feeding speakers built into the ceiling.

The original poster's dream solution, if Slim Devices made a display-less device for around $150, would beat the living crap out of Sonos.

bmarston
2006-04-09, 20:49
It [not having the SBs centrally located] would save you having to run speaker wires to each location, as well.

I'd still have to run speaker wires from a jack in each room to the in-ceiling speakers. I'd also have to run RCA cables from every room to the amps in the basement, which I wouldn't have to do if the SBs were down there too.



That does include the limits on PC's, right? You're not going to get a dozen sound cards on a typical motherboard...

Yeah -- the $772.50 is for two computers with 6 PCI slots each, custom-built with parts from Newegg.



Some of these will have electronics anyway (DVD players, TV, etc) so it's not too hard to hide an sb3.

Besides the basement, the only two rooms with any A/V equipment in them will be the media room and my office. The only TV, DVD player and receiver in the house will be in the media room. I don't have cable or satellite service. Actually, I didn't even have a TV for a long time, until my friend gave me his when he moved to Honduras. I've got a lot of computers in my office -- five at the moment. Other than that, the house is a pretty tech-free zone. I get my fill of blinky lights during work hours.



I can't imagine people running around looking for the one or two controllers in the house just to change the music.

I don't think it will be that big of a deal. With the SBs in the basement, there will be three controllers -- two laptops that are always in the same place and the mobile Nokia 770. I'm not the sort of person who has to fiddle with the remote every five seconds. Usually, I'm content to just let it go on random play all day long while I'm working.

By way of analogy, I have only one set of keys to open my house's six exterior doors, but I've never gotten trapped inside. If I can find my keys, I can find a remote. If it becomes a problem, I can buy another remote.

In any case, walking through a room or two to get to a laptop to change the music is a lot better than running around looking for one of my hundreds of CDs that are stacked all over the place and often in the wrong cases. Bits are a big improvement over atoms.



The original posters dream solution, if Slim Devices made a display-less device for around $150, would beat the living crap out of Sonos.

Word. If such a device existed at that price point, I'd have already bought 11 of them.


Thanks again for all the feedback.

rudholm
2006-04-09, 21:34
For me, putting all the amps in one place just wasn't an issue. This AudioSource seems quite at home on my nightstand.

http://rudholm.com/sb3-ns.jpg

bmarston
2006-04-09, 22:10
What I don't understand is why they don't make a device, both wired and wireless, that would enable one to bring music to rooms where a display is not needed or wanted.

To follow up on that thought, Slim Devices (or somebody else) could make a better, cheaper version of the Barix Exstreamer (http://www.dansdata.com/exstreamer.htm), which sells for $200.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-04-09, 22:42
If you use wired SBs you can get them for $200 each with the discount. IMO, the display is a very important part of the whole experience. I would much rather have the display/control unit available than just have random music from ceiling speakers, and have to hunt around to change tracks, adjust volume, or see what is playing.

But 11 SBs and powered speaker sets is a bit much. Maybe you could have 1 wired SB on each floor and use a multichannel amp to power the ceiling speakers for the whole floor - you could avoid all those soundcards and having to homerun the speaker cables to the basement. And you'd have 1 SB with display & remote + a laptop or desktop on each floor, making them that much easier to control. This would be among the cheapest solutions, too.

peter
2006-04-09, 22:45
On Sun, 9 Apr 2006 20:49:43 -0700, "bmarston"
<bmarston.26151b1144641001 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:

> > The original posters dream solution, if Slim Devices made a display-less
> > device for around $150, would beat the living crap out of Sonos.
>
> Word. If such a device existed at that price point, I'd have already
> bought 11 of them.

I've been thinking that a modular SB setup could be a nice idea for us
'tweakers'.

1. Networked audio base module (the barix-like solution)
2. Wall mounted display/IR unit that connects to 1
3. Slave amplifier unit that connects to 1

Just add speakers... ;)

Modules 2 and 3 could be powered off the base module. Since SD are
firmly in the business of selling to people who like to tinker, this
could be the ideal setup for many situations, including yours.

Regards,
Peter

bobharp
2006-04-10, 12:51
bmarston,

How are you going to control your 11 zones?
On/Off, volume adjust & input?

bmarston
2006-04-10, 13:10
How are you going to control your 11 zones?
On/Off, volume adjust & input?

The SlimServer web interface via two laptops, a Nokia 770, a Mac mini and anything else I end up acquiring that has web browser software

Michaelwagner
2006-04-10, 16:38
make slim an offer that you'll take all the returns with busted displays :-)

NWP
2006-04-11, 02:17
make slim an offer that you'll take all the returns with busted displays :-)

hmmmm... there's an idea. good thinking!

peter
2006-04-11, 03:03
On Mon, 10 Apr 2006 07:45:10 +0200, "Peter" <landen-slimp (AT) frg (DOT) eur.nl>
said:
>
> I've been thinking that a modular SB setup could be a nice idea for us
> 'tweakers'.
>
> 1. Networked audio base module (the barix-like solution)
> 2. Wall mounted display/IR unit that connects to 1
> 3. Slave amplifier unit that connects to 1
>
> Just add speakers... ;)
>
> Modules 2 and 3 could be powered off the base module. Since SD are
> firmly in the business of selling to people who like to tinker, this
> could be the ideal setup for many situations, including yours.

Some more thinking suggests the following useful features:

The base module should be powered with Power Over Ethernet.

The connections between the base module and modules 2 & 3 should be done
with CAT5 cables (power and signal) to facilitate devices in seperate
locations.

Regards,
Peter

rock
2006-04-11, 09:07
Bmarston,

I'm with you all the way here as that is exactly how my setup is. Amps in basement with speaker wires running upstairs. I feel your pain and have made similar sentiments in another thread.

One thing that I've considered trying is using one of the un-used pairs in the CAT5 and a SPDIF balun to run the digital audio down to the amps. Now I'll need a separate DAC which poses a bit of a cost problem, but a running thought I've had.

BTW, my house was built in 1902 and I've put about 1.5km of CAT5 in it.

Bart
2006-04-11, 09:26
> 1. Networked audio base module (the barix-like solution)
> 2. Wall mounted display/IR unit that connects to 1
> 3. Slave amplifier unit that connects to 1

The connections between the base module and modules 2 & 3 should be done with CAT5 cables (power and signal) to facilitate devices in seperate locations.

Absolutely! I have three Squeezeboxes in different rooms and two amplifiers in the boiler room - hence I have huge audio cables running back to the boiler room, degrading the signal and restricting where I can put the Squeezeboxes.

bobharp
2006-04-11, 10:12
The SlimServer web interface via two laptops, a Nokia 770, a Mac mini and anything else I end up acquiring that has web browser software

I will caveat my reply by stating that I'm not expert but

could it possibly be simpler, and possibly cheaper, to control your system with one or more Russound RSCAA66 kits?

This I know, no multi-zone whole house system is cheap or simple.

TechHome
2007-04-03, 11:11
This I know, no multi-zone whole house system is cheap or simple.
Single source, multi-room can be done cheap. Up to 16-pairs of speakers may be powered from a single amp or receiver.

You will need a powerful, 4-ohm stable amp or receiver, in-wall impedance matching volume controls (with 8x setting), speakers and of course a Squeezebox or Transporter. Use any web enabled devices to control it.

I love using a Nokia 770 in my Squeezebox setup and think a setup with no local volume control is a bad idea. What will you do when the phone rings, the 770 has gone to sleep and you need to mute the music? Personally, I'd like to be able to hit mute on a simple hard-button remote. Getting up to turn a knob is less than ideal but palatable. Having to wait 30-45 seconds for a WiFi based controller to reconnect is unacceptable.

TechHome

bmarston
2007-04-03, 11:26
What will you do when the phone rings, the 770 has gone to sleep and you need to mute the music?

I probably wouldn't answer the phone anyway. If I did, I wouldn't be playing the music so loudly that I couldn't take the call.

awy
2007-04-04, 00:12
How about an update on the progress of your project?

It looks like about a year since your original post, so maybe my comments are too late, ....

I thought that your original plans did not look so bad. My experience is that SoftSqueeze is pretty CPU hungry so I would probably look for multi-core CPUs, or several really cheap PCs if you reall need so many instances. You do not need 11 sound cards as multi-channel cards are pretty common and cheap. My Creative Audigy SE 7.1 has 4 (5?) analogue outputs that can be addressed independently and it is a reasonable quality card.

With the setup you describe the real trick would be, instead of using multiple instances of SoftSqueeze to drive each sound-card (or channel), to (dynamically) manipulate the Linux sound-system drivers to mix a single SoftSqueeze onto as many channels as you want synchronized. Of course, this would need some significant software development to manage it properly. My understanding of the various bits of the Linux sound system (ALSA, JACK, ...) is not sufficient to work out just how to do this (yet) but I'm quite sure that it is possible.

Did you consider using powered speakers - like PC speakers. There is a huge range on the market and I'm sure that you could find something appropriate for your needs for little money. I realise that they need power but that should not be so much of an issue give the rest of the project. Running line-level signals from the sound cards to the speakers would require choice of good screened cable and, even so, it is essential to find a cable route that keeps them away from sources of interference (mainly mains cables) - I have had remarkably good results with foil-screened Cat5e!

I started out with just SoftSqueeze and now have bought a pair of SliMP3s; one in the lounge connected to the main amp/speakers, the other in the (adjacent) kitchen. The one in the lounge was because, good though it is and just fine for background music or internet radio (the main use), the remote PC/sound-card/CAT5e/main-amp solution was not quite good enough for serious music listening. Since having the SliMP3 in place, we have come to appreciate the use of the remote, even though a laptop from which the web interface can be used (or, more often, SlimRemote), is usually to hand.

The kitchen SliMP3 has been built into the boarding above the cupboards and looks great, with a pair of really cheap PC speakers behind the ventialation grill elsewhere in the boarding, and with a wireless ethernet bridge (all parts from eBay or the office for-sale board). In this case the motivation was the impracticality of getting any wiring to the kitchen. But again, we find the availability of the display and the remote are really nice. Now the real problem is keeping synchronization with the lounge - I am working on this (see posts elsewhere in this forum) - but the multiple-channels-from-a-single-SoftSqueeze approach that I outlined above would eliminate this problem (except that I have the wiring problem).

I intend to keep the faith with SoftSqueeze elsewhere: basement TV/play room, laundry room and probably the cellar/workshop; all from the same single sound card and using various qualities of PC/powered speakers. But for the bedroom I definitely want a wireless SB so that it can be controlled with the remote.

Alan.

bobharp
2007-04-04, 05:39
Single source, multi-room can be done cheap. Up to 16-pairs of speakers may be powered from a single amp or receiver.

You will need a powerful, 4-ohm stable amp or receiver, in-wall impedance matching volume controls (with 8x setting), speakers and of course a Squeezebox or Transporter. Use any web enabled devices to control it.

TechHome
Define cheap?
Are you talking about a new home install (bare studs) or fishing behind drywall?
Decent ceiling and wall speakers (depending if you are an audiophile or not) can run $150 to $200/pair.



How about an update on the progress of your project?

I started out with just SoftSqueeze and now have bought a pair of SliMP3s; one in the lounge connected to the main amp/speakers, the other in the (adjacent) kitchen. The one in the lounge was because, good though it is and just fine for background music or internet radio (the main use), the remote PC/sound-card/CAT5e/main-amp solution was not quite good enough for serious music listening. Since having the SliMP3 in place, we have come to appreciate the use of the remote, even though a laptop from which the web interface can be used (or, more often, SlimRemote), is usually to hand.

The kitchen SliMP3 has been built into the boarding above the cupboards and looks great, with a pair of really cheap PC speakers behind the ventialation grill elsewhere in the boarding, and with a wireless ethernet bridge (all parts from eBay or the office for-sale board). In this case the motivation was the impracticality of getting any wiring to the kitchen. But again, we find the availability of the display and the remote are really nice. Now the real problem is keeping synchronization with the lounge - I am working on this (see posts elsewhere in this forum) - but the multiple-channels-from-a-single-SoftSqueeze approach that I outlined above would eliminate this problem (except that I have the wiring problem).

I intend to keep the faith with SoftSqueeze elsewhere: basement TV/play room, laundry room and probably the cellar/workshop; all from the same single sound card and using various qualities of PC/powered speakers. But for the bedroom I definitely want a wireless SB so that it can be controlled with the remote.

Alan.

While I have had rare issues with syncing my music between my SB2, syncing internet radio is another story. As diagramed here (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showpost.php?p=103076&postcount=2) my den SB2 and multi-zone kitchen speakers are within earshot of each other. It is dead on while playing my music.
Softsqueeze has never been reliable enough for my entourage.

I will be moving soon and will try to update my diagrams and costs involved in pimping out the new house with mix of Squeezebox and Russound audio devices.

Kyle
2007-04-04, 07:33
Does the ethernet really look like a blue pipe?

snarlydwarf
2007-04-04, 10:41
Does the ethernet really look like a blue pipe?

Of course it does. The internet is a series of tubes...

Speed_Racer
2008-05-26, 18:30
So I've been reading quite a bit not only from this forum but also AVS on both Squeezebox Duet and Sonos. Both great systems, with of course drawbacks but then again nothing is perfect now is it? Like most money is a big issue as I need to buy speakers as well with what I want to do. So this is where I'm at right now.

Onkyo SR605 receiver
Polk RM6880 5.1 speakers

All hooked up in the tv room, this is done.

A little background...

PC is in an upstairs room with wireless router. Kitchen is next to the tv room downstairs, it's an open area, and then the dining room is next to the kitchen with the patio on the opposite side of the dining room. There's a window from the dining room that looks out onto the patio. The kitchen separates the dining room/tv room. There is a crawlspace under tv room/kitchen/dining room to run cable. No basement.

This is what I want to do...

Put either in wall speakers or mount speakers in the dining room and on the opposite side of that same wall put outdoor speakers for the patio. Now here comes the fun part... the initial Duet receiver will hook into the Onkyo. I want to run a multi zone setup for both the dining room and patio which I'm guessing will require two more receivers.

I imagine I'll need an amp to power these so I'm essentially looking for suggestions on a setup for these two rooms as far as a good amp, what cabling I should look for, even decent speakers both in door and out, etc... I'm looking at doing all of this wireless of course unless someone thinks I might be better off with cat6. I'm not looking for high end listening, mostly background. If I were to throw a dollar amount out there I'd say with the Duet and extra receivers included... probably $1500.

I'd appreciate any suggestions, input, etc... doesn't matter how crazy it is.

Thanks

pfarrell
2008-05-26, 18:49
Speed_Racer wrote:
> I'd appreciate any suggestions, input, etc... doesn't matter how crazy
> it is.

I think powered speakers driven by a Receiver is a better plan than a
central amp/receiver running long speaker wiring. You can get fairly
good powered speakers for about the price of a modest amp. And you can
always crank up the budget and get some really good powered speakers.

Partially it depends a bunch on vague things like how much fidelity do
you expect? will that change over time? Do you want a lot of
flexibility, say to have completely independent music in each room? or
will you nearly always want the same music everywhere?

For example, when I do multi-room sync with my Transporter, SqueezeBox
and Duet, I am always using it for gentle back ground music. So a bit of
sync problem here or there is not an issue. For some folks, this is
critical, so it may change the design and solutions.

On wiring vs WiFi, if you can pull the cable, go wired. Its vastly more
reliable, syncs better, etc. So for new construction, or serious
remodeling, there is no question. Cat6 is cheap when the walls are open.
Better, run two or three Cat6 cables to wall boxes now, you'll figure
out a use for them over the next ten years. I've pulled nearly 1600 feet
of cat5 cable through the walls of my house, as home networking was not
invented when I built the house.

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

cshaida
2008-05-26, 20:06
Agree with Pat re powered speakers. I've got the following pairs: m:audio, audioengine2 and rokit5. They've all come down quite a bit in price over the past year. But they all (obviously) need to be plugged in so that factors into your design. fwiw, I like the sound of the rokits best (but they all sound good) and I like the size/design of the ae2s the best. There's LOTS of input on powered speakers on this forum so a search will give you hours of reading material.

I also have a house with the russound system mentioned above in the thread from several years ago that you've resurrected here in case you have any questions about it. (but the short version of my opinion is the unless you've got money to burn and truly want somebody else to do everything for you (and it doesn't sound like that's the case from your post)--stay away!)

If this prompts any specific questions ask away.

Ron Olsen
2008-05-26, 22:20
This means that in each zone I have a Squeezebox connected to an amp and hence speakers. By the way if anyone could recommend a good set of powered speakers i'd be very interested.
The Dynaudio MC-15 powered speakers are excellent. I have them on the desktop in my office, driven by a Squeezebox Duet Receiver and Controller. Great sound, but not cheap (US $1299 list).

http://www.audio-ideas.com/reviews/loudspeakers/dynaudio-mc-15.html