View Full Version : Multi-room application for multi channel music for special needs kids. Help?

2013-02-04, 15:13

I'm working with a old, established children's non-profit that helps special needs kids, many with behavior issues. Here's what I have-

We have a large house that has been broken down into eight different dining rooms for the differenent groups of kids. We might have staff in one dining room, behavior issue 12 y.o. olds in another, and teen agers in another. Is there a way to pipe different music into each of these rooms, if need be? ie The behavioral kids might need calming, low-key music; the adults maybe classical or jazz; and others might want R&R. The dining room admin has a laptop she can use.

If you were to configure this system, how would you do it? Is it possible to have different music spread out or would it be tricky. Simplest solution? Mosst cost effective solution?

Thanks for your help!

2013-02-04, 18:36
This is precisely the sort of thing for which Squeezeboxes are designed.

Just get one Squeezebox device per room and you will have completely independent control over what's playing in each room.

In rooms where you want to use your own amp/speakers I'd recommend either a Squeezebox 3 (aka Squeezebox Classic) or Squeezebox Touch; for your needs they'll likely be equally useful. In rooms where you want a self-contained system (with its own speakers) then a Squeezebox Boom is a good option. I'd stay away from the Squeezebox Radio unless your audio volume/quality needs are extremely modest.

Each Squeezebox needs to be networked (wireless or wired, either would work fine) and have access to a server.

A note about the server:
A Squeezebox can't do anything without a server. This can be either a computer running Logitech Media Server, or you can use mysqueezebox.com which is Logitech's server "in the cloud". If you plan on using your own music and not music from a music service like MOG or Rhapsody then you'll want to run your own server. This could be as simple as the admin's laptop, but note that the Squeezeboxes won't be able to do anything without that laptop being on. You might find it more convenient to set up a dedicated computer of some sort to act as the server so that the Squeezeboxes won't be dependent on the presence of a portable laptop. Regardless, it needn't be anything complicated; any computer made in the last decade will do.

2013-02-04, 19:14
Just to add a couple points to the excellent summary by my neighbor azinck3.

1) It is correct that your situation is a perfect match for the Squeezebox (SB) paradigm. The downside is that the SB line is being discontinued by Logitech, so some models are hard/impossible to find, and it won't get any easier with time.

2) You may have a hard time finding Squeezebox Booms for sale. There are some used ones on eBay and elsewhere, but that model has been discontinued for a while. If the rooms are too big for the SB Radio, you could come close to the convenience of a Boom by pairing a Squeezebox Classic/SB3 (also discontinued and hard to find) or a Squeezebox Touch (recently discontinued) with self-amplified speakers. The self-amplified speakers could be really basic "external computer speakers" or they could be something quite nice.

3) Re "piping the music" into different rooms, you have some choice about how centralized a system you want. You could set it up "old style" with everything (multi-channel amplifier or group of two-channel amplifiers, a SB for every zone) centralized in an equipment closet, and speaker wire run to speakers in each of the rooms. In existing buildings that is usually not practical, and a more natural approach with SBs is to have the SBs and whatever amplification is needed (either separate amplifier or self-amplified speakers) placed in each of the rooms. You can control the music selection, on/off, volume, etc either centrally via a PC or smartphone/tablet, or using a standard infrared remote control in the same room as the SB.

4) If the idea of running a dedicated computer for this sounds daunting, you could probably do very well by just using mysqueezebox.com and some well-selected internet radio stations and free services such as Pandora or Slacker. These easily allow you to choose a type of music (low-key acoustic, classical, jazz, etc) and keep churning it out without much user intervention. The limitation is they don't let you select specific artists, albums, or tracks. The paid subscription services such as MOG, Rhapsody, and Spotify give you more control over what is played because you can specify exactly what tracks you want to play.

My recommendation would be a SB Touch with a pair of self-amplified speakers for each room. Or start hunting for SB Booms.