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View Full Version : How to do "whole house" audio (multi-room, multi-source)?



rcstevensonaz
2009-08-16, 23:05
I am nearing the end of an extensive house remodel that includes creating a dedicated 'media closet' with speaker wires and CAT6 running to every room. But so far, I still do not know the best way to create a true 'multi-room, multi-source' solution.

Ideally, I am looking for something that can provide a distributed 4 source x 6 zone PREAMP ONLY function with remote keypads. But so far, most of the systems I have looked at are trying to do everything (music server, switched pre-amp, and multi-zone amplifier).

So I am hoping some of you experts on this forum can help me find a solution. Here are my main objectives/requirements:

1. Able to support 6 different listening rooms.
2. Each room can listen to different music or all rooms can play the same
3. Able to easily mute *all* audio (e.g. phone rings, doorbell) without have to run to each room to adjust volume
4. Squeezebox(es) will be the device to access music from hard drives.
5. I will provide the amplification using stand-alone amplifiers
6. Should be able to control volumes from remotes, iTouch or PC.
7. But, also nice to have wall keypads in each room for volume and system mute -- i.e. able to adjust volume if the remote can not be quickly found.
8. Some way to ensure outdoor speakers only play when we are outdoors (i.e. don't want the speakers kicking in at night when no one is there) and ideally automatically goes into a mute state in case we forget to turn off the volume.


Thanks for any suggestions or ideas.

-- Craig

p.s. so far, the best I have come up with is 6 Duets and 6 Audiosource AMP-100 amplifiers. For the outdoor speaker, add one of those 'timer switches' that you twist to set the amount of time and then it automatically ticks back to off. But, I hope there is something a bit more elegant.

shake-the-disease
2009-08-16, 23:31
Your requirement #7 might be a nice fit with the new Squeezebox touch (see below pics), which when released will provide touch screen control as well as IR control. Add to that iTouch/iPhone control and you may not need a duet solution.

http://www.logitech.com/repository/1521/jpg/13589.1.0.jpg
http://www.logitech.com/repository/1521/jpg/13595.1.0.jpg

Pascal Hibon
2009-08-17, 01:01
Items 1, 2 and 4 are standard functions of the Slimdevices / Logitech players.

Item 3 is possible by using the AllQuite plugin found here: http://www.tux.org/~peterw/slim/AllQuiet.html

Item 5 is of course a standard feature as well since all players do not have integrated amplifiers (except for the Boom). But there is a nice plugin that can switch on and off your amplifiers automatically when your SB is withed on and off. It is called Power Switch II and can be found here: http://www.gwendesign.com/slimserver/dev_hard_and_software.htm#powerswitchii
I use this plugin too but I use different electronics for the power section. I use an SSR instead of a relay. This approach does not require an additional external power supply. Info is located here: http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=53b9b3b4d24e857b1686155677bb26856341ab71 b84593d0

Item 6: there are various remote control options for the Logitech system. I use iPeng on my iPod Touch. http://penguinlovesmusic.de/ipeng-the-iphone-webapp-for-squeezecenter/

Item 7: to my knowledge, there is no such thing for the Logitech system (yet). But who knows, maybe someone already made something like this. The SqueezeCenter software is an open platform that accepts a lot of plugins and external interfacing. Technically, this is certainly possible.

Item 8: you might want to consider a Boom for this type of application. It is portable and has integrated speakers and amplification. This device can be used anywhere you want music around the house. It just needs access to your wireless network so that it can connect to your SqueezeCenter.

pski
2009-08-17, 07:35
You could use Nokia N700 or N800 as the on-wall keypads. Just set each room's home page to control that SB.. of course they could be portable also. The price on refurbished units is reasonable.

I use mine with the Nokia770 interface:

http://<SC ip>:9000/Nokia770

while leaving the "PC" interface as "Default"

p

ajkidle
2009-08-17, 09:36
For item #7 you could stock each room with an iPod Touch running iPeng, built into the wall or not.

This sounds like a fun house.

peterw
2009-08-17, 19:08
You say it's multi-source, but it sounds like a Squeezebox-only setup, right? If so, then your Audiosource plan sounds fine. Most of us would recommend that you put each Receiver and amp in the same room as the speakers -- long digital ethernet runs, short speaker cables. If you want the ability to play multiple sources, then you could look at a multizone receiver (Aesculus has a plugin for more expensive ethernet-equipped Denon amps; I have an alpha-quality one for cheaper RS232-equipped Denon amps; both allow Controllers to set the amp volume, turn the amp off, etc.), or having a receiver/preamp feed an audio input on your SqueezeCenter host so you could stream miscellaneous audio sources as 320k MP3.

AllQuiet won't help you if all you have are Duets/Receivers, as it currently is only usable with IR-equipped players (Classic, Boom, Transporter). If all your players are synced, then the Pause button is good enough. :-) Otherwise I could write a Controller/SqueezePlay interface for AllQuiet and you'd have to do something like Home > scroll to All Quiet > press center button. Would that be worthwhile for you? Another option that I could work up pretty easily would be letting you customize what happens when you press the button on the front of a Receiver, so pressing the button on any Squeezebox Receiver would silence all the Squeezeboxes.

lrossouw
2009-08-18, 01:49
p.s. so far, the best I have come up with is 6 Duets and 6 Audiosource AMP-100 amplifiers. For the outdoor speaker, add one of those 'timer switches' that you twist to set the amount of time and then it automatically ticks back to off. But, I hope there is something a bit more elegant.

If you have 6 SB3s you could use the IRBlaster plugin and the earphone out to control the amps. I only have 2 and I have then setup to turn on/off the amp as I turn them on/off. This works whether you turn on/off the SB3 with remote, phone, PC or whatever. I'm assuming the amps have IR remotes. You could also then control the volume of the amp with the SB3.

I would suggest that you need less controllers as unless you are 6 people you could switch between players with one controller. Also with SB3 you get a simple IR remote as well.

IRBlaster is not available on the Duet receivers as they don't have the earphone out (I think).

I'm sure you would find the plugin to switch out the outside SB3 after some amount of time, or just use the sleep timer.

badbob
2009-08-18, 09:40
Multi-room is easy, it's just if you want to control every room from every every controller. Perhaps something from Lutron or Crestron? Very expensive though.

rcstevensonaz
2009-08-18, 10:51
You say it's multi-source, but it sounds like a Squeezebox-only setup, right? If so, then your Audiosource plan sounds fine.

So far, that approach is easiest solution I have available right now. It means that I only have a single source per room (which may be OK since Squeezebox can access all my stored music as well as Internet Radio and Sirius). Due to the open floor plan that we have in our house, several rooms logically need to have the same music source, so I can probably control all 6 rooms with just 3 Squeezebox controllers.


Most of us would recommend that you put each Receiver and amp in the same room as the speakers -- long digital ethernet runs, short speaker cables.

I have dedicated systems in two rooms we use for home theater / critical listening. Those rooms each have a SB3 Classic.

For the rest of the house, the goal is to get the equipment out of the rooms and into a central wire closet. From that room, I am running 12 guage, four conductor speaker wire to the other rooms. Run lengths are 15' to 25' with one room at 45'. (Wire is kept away from electrical as much as possible; with 90 degrees crossing)


If you want the ability to play multiple sources, then you could look at a multizone receiver (Aesculus has a plugin for more expensive ethernet-equipped Denon amps; I have an alpha-quality one for cheaper RS232-equipped Denon amps; both allow Controllers to set the amp volume, turn the amp off, etc.), or having a receiver/preamp feed an audio input on your SqueezeCenter host so you could stream miscellaneous audio sources as 320k MP3.

Thanks, I'll look up Aescules -- that is a new vendor I had not heard of.


AllQuiet won't help you if all you have are Duets/Receivers, as it currently is only usable with IR-equipped players (Classic, Boom, Transporter). If all your players are synced, then the Pause button is good enough. :-) Otherwise I could write a Controller/SqueezePlay interface for AllQuiet and you'd have to do something like Home > scroll to All Quiet > press center button. Would that be worthwhile for you? Another option that I could work up pretty easily would be letting you customize what happens when you press the button on the front of a Receiver, so pressing the button on any Squeezebox Receiver would silence all the Squeezeboxes.

Interesting ideas for customizing the Squeezebox controls. If I wind up with a system of multiple Squeezebox controlers, I will cycle back with you to explore these ideas.

Thanks for the input.

-- Craig

peterw
2009-08-18, 19:07
Thanks, I'll look up Aescules -- that is a new vendor I had not heard of.


Aesculus (Chris) is another forum user. You can learn more about his Denon AVP Control plugin here: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=60114

My DenonSerial plugin is in testing phase and is available for SqueezeCenter 7.3 with my test repository, http://www.tux.org/~peterw/slim/slim7/repodata-test.xml . I've used it for weeks at home, and it offers much the same feature set as Aesculus' plugin (turn amp on/off with Squeezebox, multizone support), with the caveat that you need to have a serial cable between the SqueezeCenter server and amp or a telnet serial server like the $80 Sena LS100 (though I have not fully tested the serial server capabilities, as I don't have one myself). When I'm closer to officially releasing mine, I'll put together a web page describing it; meanwhile, let me know if you have any questions. All the features are listed on the per-player settings pages.

The main feature I have yet to add is a user interface (for Classic/Boom/Transporter IR remotes and the Controller) to allow you to select the input source for each zone (mine associates a given player with a certain zone on a certain amp; while the Denon will let you feed multiple zones with a single source, my target has been 1:1 zone<->player mappings, as I think that makes the most sense in *most* Squeezebox setups. I intend to have the input selection feature allow you to assign custom names to each input, using longer strings than Denon allows for the onscreen display (my "09" receiver won't allow the full word "Squeezebox", for instance).

peterw
2009-08-19, 20:22
Interesting ideas for customizing the Squeezebox controls. If I wind up with a system of multiple Squeezebox controlers, I will cycle back with you to explore these ideas.

For what it's worth, I just released a new version of KidsPlay that lets you change the behavior of the button on a Receiver.

http://www.tux.org/~peterw/slim/KidsPlay.html

-Peter