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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2005
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    North Carolina, USA
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    Building a house: what would you do for whole-house audio?

    We are considering building a vacation home. At our prior beach house, I had a Squeezebox 3 hooked up to an old Windows laptop with FLAC files on an external hard drive. We played through a compact stereo system in the main room, which was basically the whole downstairs. I had a separate SB1 that I sometimes ran with powered speakers on the porch. With a new build, I am wondering about a wired whole-house system like we have at home, or maybe even something wireless through wifi. Four zones will probably suffice. I havenít really kept up with whatís available and what works well these days, as what has been in place in our house for at least 15 years still works well, except for needing the occasional reset. So, Iím looking for suggestions. If you were starting fresh, what would you do? Iíd like to be able to use my digital files but also stream, as I have SiriusXM and Amazon music. What do you recommend?
    Regards,
    Jim

  2. #2
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    May 2008
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    United States, Florida
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    For new construction or major renovation there are lots of choices, but at a minimum, no matter what else I do, and whether I even need it or not, I'd do the following:

    0. I'd still use LMS and squeezeboxes or squeezebox replacements (rPi with piCoreplayer OS). You can stream your own music and lots of internet streaming (but not SiriusXM, at least without some other messing about).

    1. runs of ethernet cable (and probably runs of fiber optics at the same time) to at least two locations in each room (probably two runs to each location). Just think of this as electrical outlets... you don't know exactly where you'll need them.

    2. All those ethernet/fiber runs will head back to a single panel, where they can be connected to a switch, the modem/router, etc. fed from outside the house.

    3. There needs to be good runs back to some back room/closet/cabinet where you can set a headless computer music server, where it is out of sight, out of mind, and noise, fans, etc. are irrelvant to the music listening spaces.

    3. When I say all rooms, I mean all. Running cable in open walls is dirt cheap. In a major restoration, we ran ethernet to everything, including bathrooms. But I didn't run to my wife's large walk in closet or the back utility room. I now have music in those areas with Squeezeboxes on WIFI or ethernet over powerline. Who knew my wife wanted to hear stuff in her closet in the mornings!

    4. You'll want to run cable for cable TV, etc., even if you don't think you'll need it. Someone might, and again, easy and cheap.

    5. I'm old school from the days before networked systems that could play synched music to different endpoints, but I'd also figure out a place or two where I might have major stereo system (amp/preamp) and then run quality speaker wire from every room back to those central points, in case I want to ever use some central distributed music system. Again, wiring is cheap when walls are open.

    6. You might want in ceiling/wall speakers in some places (bedrooms, etc). Running speaker wiring for those back to a central place where you can have several rPis set up as players with miniamps/dacs, etc. would allow music in rooms with no need for systems in those rooms. And these systems can be controlled via phone apps, etc.

    I'm sure I'm forgetting somethings, but you get the drift. Over do the cables! If you have the right wiring, you have unlimited choices. WIFI works, but why even try, when you have open walls!
    Home: VBA2.5 4TB or rPi4B-8GB/pCP7.x/4TB>LMS 8.1.x>Transporter, Touch, Boom, Radio (all ethernet)
    Cottage: rPi4B-4GB/pCP7.x/4TB>LMS 8.1.x>Touch>Benchmark DAC I, Boom, Radio w/Battery (Radio WIFI)
    Office: Win10(64)>foobar2000
    The Wild: rPi3B+/pCP4.0, hifiberry Dac+Pro, 4TB USB (LMS & Squeezelite)
    Controllers: iPhone11 & iPadAir3 (iPeng), CONTROLLER, Material Skin, or SqueezePlay 7.8 on Win10(64)
    Files: Ripping: dbpoweramp > FLAC; Post-rip: mp3tag, PerfectTunes, TuneFusion; Streaming: Spotify

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2008
    Location
    Toronto area, Canada
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    Agreed with what GaryM says.

    Twenty years ago (actually a bit more) we built a house and I had it wired for audio in various ways. This was before streaming, of course, so ethernet to TV places worked out well in the long run, sort of unexpectedly. Ethernet to the potential office places, which is what we thought would be the primary use, has of course been excellent. We had identified the obvious place for the main stereo system, some distance from the main listening area, and ran speaker wire through the walls to the two main listening areas (kitchen/living room). Cheap to do and a great boon.

    What we hadn't predicted was the need for ethernet (preferable in principle to wifi) for what became the Transporter shelf of the stereo setup. I drilled a hole in the floor, giving wired access to the basement near where the router was. Regrettable, but necessary.

    So I agree, the more in-wall wiring of various kinds the better.

    If you are building an actual dedicated system from scratch, from what I see you can't go wrong with rPi/PiCorePlayer as a host for LMS. I don't have one yet, but have the parts and will build shortly. They are so cheap that you could have multiple units set up. If you had an actual player of some sort (e.g. a Radio) in a bedroom, for instance, it could be running a different playlist than the device supporting the living room.

    OTOH, I've had no problems at all with a very small fanless Windows device as my main server. These small Windows machines are popular and readily available, at modest cost -- although not as dirt cheap as the rPi. I suppose the biggest issue is the questionable likelihood of continuing support for LMS on the Windows platform, which is subject to significant and fairly constant evolution.

    R.
    LMS on a dedicated server (FitPC3)
    Transporter (Ethernet) - main listening, Onkyo receiver, Paradigm speakers
    Touch (WiFi) - home theater 5.1, Sony receiver, Energy speakers
    Boom 1 (WiFi) - work-space
    Boom 2 (WiFi) - various (deck, garage, etc.)
    Radio (WiFi) - home office
    Control - Squeeze Control (Android mobile), 2 Controllers (seldom used), Squeeze Remote (on Surface Pro 4)
    Touch x 1 - spare
    UE Radio x 1 - spare
    Boom x 1 - spare
    Controller x 1 - Spare
    Duet Receiver (backup)

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    May 2008
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    Canada
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    You should get 10 SqueezeAMP, that would trigger the next batch build :-)

    Just kidding, they are WiFi only.

    Good luck with your project!
    LMS 7.9 on Pi 3B+ & Odroid-C2 - SqueezeAMP!, 5xRadio, 3xBoom, 4xDuet, 1xTouch, 1 SB3. Sonos PLAY:3, PLAY:5, Marantz NR1603, Foobar2000, ShairPortW, JRiver 21, 2xChromecast Audio, Chromecast v1 and v2, Squeezelite on Pi, Yamaha WX-010, AppleTV 4, Airport Express, GGMM E5, Riva 1 & 3

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2005
    Location
    UK/London
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    3,383
    Amazon Music is not yet solved in the LMS arena.
    You would have to use something else to select from it and then take the output from that as a source into an LMS environment and possibly miss out on cover art or even song name.
    Paul Webster
    http://dabdig.blogspot.com
    Author of "Now Playing" plugins covering Radio France (FIP etc), KCRW, Supla Finland, ABC Australia, CBC/Radio-Canada and RTE Ireland

  6. #6
    Senior Member agbagb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    473
    I'd just turn my little SB Radio up LOUD........

    But seriously, as others have said, ethernet cable everywhere, including closets, garages, workshops, outdoor panel by the BBQ, etc etc. It is so cheap to do when you're doing a big build or renovation; and can be a pain in the ass to add or move later..... I have all my ethernet cables run back to my attached garage, where they all gather into a powered D-Link switch. And the router feeds into that as well, through the cabling, giving me reliable 'net access everywhere. I do still use wifi (not least because there is always somewhere where you didn't put a LAN outlet......), but copper wires are still mostly better. And my house is all stone, so adding more points is troublesome.
    LMS 8.0.1 (1606118512)
    Win10
    Control: Web GUI; sometimes OrangeSqueeze on Android phones / pads

    Machines / devices are in France, in two locations.
    a) Sagem Livebox
    Internal HDD (FLAC music; mp3 voice), Desktop
    3 x Touch - 2 wireless, 1 LAN. (7.8.0-r16754)
    3 x SB Radios [2 wireless, 1 LAN] (7.7.3-r16676)
    1 x Riva Arena (via Airplay LMS PlugIn)

    b) Freebox
    External SSD (all mp3), WiFi Laptop
    1 x Touch LAN (Firmware:7.8.0-r16754)
    2 x SB Radios, Wireless (7.7.3-r16676)

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    10
    As the others have said - over-plumb for connectivity!

    I'd go one step further and run it all in oversize conduit - even placing some empty runs for later possibilities.

    That way you can easily do new pulls if you have a flaky cable or if something new comes out.

    Think about what else you might be able to use wired network for - security cameras, home automation gizmos, etc.

    Don't forget about speaker outlets!

    If nothing else, conduit stubs running down the walls and opening out into the attic.

    In my experience, many contractors are way behind the curve in planning this type of thing, so you might want to get into the weeds with them.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    May 2008
    Location
    United States, Florida
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    double emphasis on @OldMojo points. Contractors left to their own devices often just don't get it.
    Home: VBA2.5 4TB or rPi4B-8GB/pCP7.x/4TB>LMS 8.1.x>Transporter, Touch, Boom, Radio (all ethernet)
    Cottage: rPi4B-4GB/pCP7.x/4TB>LMS 8.1.x>Touch>Benchmark DAC I, Boom, Radio w/Battery (Radio WIFI)
    Office: Win10(64)>foobar2000
    The Wild: rPi3B+/pCP4.0, hifiberry Dac+Pro, 4TB USB (LMS & Squeezelite)
    Controllers: iPhone11 & iPadAir3 (iPeng), CONTROLLER, Material Skin, or SqueezePlay 7.8 on Win10(64)
    Files: Ripping: dbpoweramp > FLAC; Post-rip: mp3tag, PerfectTunes, TuneFusion; Streaming: Spotify

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    115
    When we had the Big kitchen extension built I had 4 ceiling speakers installed and the electricians ran the cable to where a hifi cabinet could sit. But being electricians and not hifi people they did all the cable to the minimum length so one is 4 metres and two are 15 or so. Guess how it sounded....
    Oh and they installed very cheap soft cat6 that is a nightmare to put plugs on, so beware of that one. Ensure you use tough stuff, I'm sure someone knows the terminology! One is broken in the wall and useless

  10. #10
    Senior Member agbagb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    473
    Very much agreed - my otherwise very good electrician had to be watched like a hawk when it came to the LAN, and he still didn't use the best of cables....... nor did he know how to verify their integrity once pulled. I had one run that clearly had a fault that rendered it inoperative. And for assorted reasons it was impossible to pull another cable through. But I did come up with a work-round - ethernet cables and connectors typically have 8 wires, only 4 of which are used in the working circuit. I discovered that 2 of the normally used wires were broken, and therefore I could cross wire 2 of the "spares" to get me a working connection. Not a perfect solution (there are certain situations where you might want all 8 wires...), and it's important to make a physical note of that cross-wiring at both ends of the run - otherwise, a few years later, you or somebody else could get very confused!
    LMS 8.0.1 (1606118512)
    Win10
    Control: Web GUI; sometimes OrangeSqueeze on Android phones / pads

    Machines / devices are in France, in two locations.
    a) Sagem Livebox
    Internal HDD (FLAC music; mp3 voice), Desktop
    3 x Touch - 2 wireless, 1 LAN. (7.8.0-r16754)
    3 x SB Radios [2 wireless, 1 LAN] (7.7.3-r16676)
    1 x Riva Arena (via Airplay LMS PlugIn)

    b) Freebox
    External SSD (all mp3), WiFi Laptop
    1 x Touch LAN (Firmware:7.8.0-r16754)
    2 x SB Radios, Wireless (7.7.3-r16676)

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